The Forbidding “Reds”!

I’ve talked about this before but deal with it, I’m talking about it again.

Periods, AKA this monstrous Saw III blood bath experience, is something most cis and trans women, as well as trans men, go through. And it’s really not a monstrous Saw III blood bath experience.

There’s a huge stigma around the topic of periods. Anything to do with it, really. Period poverty, sanitary pads, the symptoms, etc. It’s considered this taboo thing that we can’t talk about. So many people, even adults, laugh at the idea of it whenever it pops up in conversation or in the media.

 

But what are periods?

Periods, also known as menstruation, occur every month when the thick tissue lining the uterus breaks down and is discharged out the vagina (period blood). This all happens with the help of two steroid hormones, progesterone and oestrogen. However, periods are much more than this bodily function in bodies that help with preparation for a fertilised egg for a baby to grow. It’s an experience. There are several symptoms, which include bloating (that feeling you get when you eat too much because we’re all fat pigs) and cramps (they’re basically minor contractions) and acne, fatigue, headaches, muscle and breast pains, lower back pain, discomfort (especially at night lying down which leads to trouble sleeping, and something I call ‘period poos’ but we don’t have to get into that.) It’s also the experience of leaking and not being able to do certain activities normally e.g. swimming. Don’t get me wrong, periods shouldn’t be considered a burden and there’s always a way to overcome these issues and inhibitions because of it but I feel like not a lot of people, especially cis men understand the whole experience of it. Some people think periods are just a tap that we release when we go to the toilet, some think it’s a continuous non-stop thing, etc. The average menstrual cycle is 24 to 38 days but periods last about four to eight days.

 

These stigmas and misconceptions and ideas are influenced by our education.

When I was in year five, doing sex education, we had a day where we learnt about menstruation. All the girls, and only the girls, were taken away. Not to another room away from the boys but away to another building (this cabin in the playground) so that we were secluded from the other year classes and from the boys in our class (because god protect their innocent little ears). Despite all this, our teacher spoke in a really soft quiet voice. This, I think, conditioned us to keep any talk of periods within the community of people, who have periods, and to be secretive about it. It made it seem as though periods are some dirty secret us girls (and trans boys) must keep to ourselves. In addition, I barely learnt anything from that lesson. I learnt that we bleed about one/two eggcups of blood but I don’t remember being specified how long periods lasted. I genuinely thought once you started your period, it would never stop until menopause (about 50 years old).

In fact, us girls also had to learn about what happens to boys even though the boys didn’t learn about what happens to girls. We learnt about sperm cells, obviously, but we also learnt about wet dreams and boners. We even learnt about masturbation! Not directly but we were told it’s okay to touch yourself and explore and discover parts of your body, whatever that means. So we learnt all of this, yet learning about the menstrual cycle and menstruation was such a taboo. It’s not very fair that the girls learnt about the experiences of boys but boys don’t learn about the experiences of girls. The argument that “boys are silly so we won’t teach them all of that” isn’t valid or acceptable at all. Boys may be “silly” because of the self fulfilling prophecy that they’re considered silly so must be treated in a way to accommodate to that. Not teaching boys about periods “because they’re silly” means when they grow up, they’re going to be silly about the idea of periods. It’s a cycle. And it support the quote “boys will be boys”, which is also an unacceptable excuse.

 

To tackle this issue, the education system needs to change. Teaching children, at a young age, while their brains are still developing, can create positive schemas, a framework that helps to interpret information, for periods. Sex education and PSHE lessons need to be changed so that every gender learns about periods to help normalise and take it seriously. We need to take it seriously not just because almost half the population experience it but because there are so many issues regarding periods such the financial and environmental cost (many menstruation products take ages to decompose) and period poverty, which is not being able to buy sanitary products due to financial issues and constraints. This is a big issue for homeless people, refugees, asylum seekers, etc. Period poverty is also a big topic that needs to be taught in schools (possibly in RS and PSHE). Here are some shocking statistics I found from Free Period

  • 40% of girls in the UK have used toilet roll because they couldn’t afford menstrual products.
  • Over 137,700 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty. If a girl misses school every time she has her period, she is set 145 days behind her fellow male students.
  • 1 in 10 girls can’t afford to buy menstrual products according to Plan International UK.
  • Menstrual products cost more than £18,000, in a women’s life (£13 every month).

 

Education changes and matures attitudes towards topics, such as periods. And that’s exactly what we need! If people become educated, I’m so sure we could  make a huge difference to societal approaches to periods and issues revolving it.

I also think teachers and people, who have periods, shouldn’t talk to younger girls in a way that my teacher did with me and my class. We should discuss periods with girls so they feel comfortable with it and not scared of it and make them understand it’s a normal thing. The majority of the population wouldn’t exist without periods!

 

Here are some period charity websites you can donate to and learn from:

  • Bloody Good Period – “We supply 16 asylum seeker drop in centres based in London and Leeds, and our ambition is to supply many more food banks and drop-in centres across the UK, so that everybody has the right to a bloody good period!”
  • Action Aid – “Provide sanitary kits in our humanitarian response work, alongside other essentials including food, water and shelter. We have distributed sanitary towels (and aid) in crises.”
  • Freedom4Girls – “We actively support women and girls in both the UK and in developing countries, who struggle to access safe sanitary protection by offering not just disposables, but environmentally-friendly, washable re-usables and menstrual cups.”

 

What do you think? Do you agree with what I said? What are some other ways you think we can normalise and overcome the issues and stigmas revolving periods?

 

-Shay

My First Valentine’s!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Or Galentine’s, or Palentine’s, whatever you like to call it. I’m all inclusive.

This Valentine’s Day was my first Valentine’s Day not because I was born less than a year ago like “Baby’s First Birthday” but because this is the first year I’ve been in a proper exclusive relationship. I’m really happy and content and since it’s the perfect day to celebrate it, I thought I’d share and articulate my feelings and emotions about them and my experience of being in a relationship.

 

I met you in a coffee shop. Cheesy and old school, I know, but I guess life just happens. I wasn’t looking for a commitment, and to be honest, I wouldn’t normally go for someone like you but I gave it a go.

Fortunately for me, you turned out to be quirky and vibrant, but sweet, soft and warm on the inside. And I love the way you smell. I love your rosy complexion and creamy white quiff and your curves and how cute you look as you just sit quietly. I can sit with you all night, wondering about the possibilities of the Universe, our future lives, things to put on our bucket lists, how weird it is we pretend to be asleep to fall asleep. You know, the usual.

But I know our relationship has an expiration date. My parents keep telling me you’re not good for me but you make me feel better when I’m stressed and depressed. I get excited knowing I’ll get to see you at the end of the hard days. We’re unconventional and untraditional but come on, it’s 2019! We can be free with our feelings. Who cares what people think? People can date whoever they want!

You make me feel really good. Especially inside me. 

You were really yummy, my little Red Velvet Muffin. ❤️

 

-Shay

Should White People Say The N-Word?

Today I want to talk about something that is very controversial, even though I don’t think it should be.

 

My school has several societies that involve debating, in which one would have discussed the issue of white people saying the N-word. However, this debate topic was cancelled due to it’s controversy and potential of making people upset, which I think was not a valid excuse to cancel a debate for. Debates are supposed to be controversial and is supposed to tackle and even cause cognitive conflict in order to bring right social change and justice. Anyways, I felt this was an important topic to be discussed since a lot of white people and people from other ethnic minorities that aren’t black throw around and use the N-word, without thinking. People that I am even friends with.

I’m not just talking about people who use the word as a way to discrimate and belittle black people. I’m also talking about, particularly in this post, the people who use the word casually, with no bad intentions, and in songs. I mean, I’ve had so many arguments at parties with white boys about this issue and have heard of so many situations where white people will agree not to say the N-word but will hypocritical say it when there’s an absence of black people. That’s still racist.

 

The History 

But before I get into my own personal opinions, let’s recap on the history of the N-word. It started with the word ‘niger’ in Latin, meaning black. Other languages adopted and adapted from this latin word, for example “negro” became the word for a black person in English, but not derogatory, and became the colour black in Spanish and Portuguese.

However, it was in the 1800s when it became a derogative term to use as an ethnic slur. It was and is mainly used against black people but other ethnic minorities have been targeted too. It became heavily used amongst people in day to day lives, featured in literature and was a term that “put black people in their place”. See, black people were considered less evolved cognitively, psychologically and socially, deemed as stupid, aggressive, and inferior. White teachers taught the white students, who were the children to grow up to be the next generation, that black people are less evolved in this way. The media portrayed and represented them as dangerous people and here to serve white people, etc. Everything was very unjust, in terms of education, treatment and the criminal justice system. Some of these unjust qualities are still prominent today but more of that in a different post. The N-word holds these racist connotations. It was normal and socially acceptable at the time to use this word and was heavily used to insult black slaves during the slave trade.

But times are changing.

 

Yes, They Should Be Allowed

Well, it’s just a word. The N-word consists of racist connotations but by using it today in society, we can create new connotations, that are more positive. And when used casually, there are not bad intentions.

Black people use the word, which is seen as accepting, but when white people (and other ethnic minorities) it’s seen as racist. That’s a double standard.

The N-word is in songs, films, literature. We are surrounded by it in society so we should not be blocked from using a word that exists. Freedom of speech!

 

No, They Shouldn’t Be Allowed

White people have more power and privilege in society than ethnic minorities, in general.  The same way white people have had more power in the past. When a white person uses the  N-word, it’s almost reinforcing a time of extreme oppression for black people. The word was formed as a degrading, dehumanising and racist slur by white people. So the use of it by white people, in this day and age,  is like passing on the word to generations like the white teachers taught the future generation of white children that black people are inferior. Not the exact same level of racism but the same sort of principle.

Other ethnic minorities shouldn’t use it because it’s still a racist slur against black people and racism is one group being discriminative to a minority group.

 

So why are black people allowed to say it? Because it’s being used within the sub group of people, who are the target group for the word. The N-word was formed to be demeaning and discriminative to black people, referring to them as property of “the superiors” rather than people (especially during the slave trade). Therefore, it’s more acceptable for a black person to use it because it was a word to oppress them. It’s all about context!

Let me paint you a picture. If my best friend came up to me and said “Hey bitch!” that would be more socially acceptable than a random stranger coming up to me and saying “Hey bitch!” Although the word “bitch” is still deemed a rude word, much like the N-word, it’s more acceptable for my friend to use it to me than a stranger  because me and my friend are on the same level within a subgroup, which is friendship. Me and the stranger are not within the same subgroup. Same with black people. It’s more socially acceptable for the N-word to be used amongst black people because they’re in the same subgroup, which is the black community.

And it is a double standard. Deal with it. A lot of things are and for good reason.

 

But what about songs?

click above for article on Kendrick Lamar calling out white fan for the N-word

Whether you feel that fate is leading your lives or God has a plan for you, you are responsible for your actions. Full stop. There’s this thing called locus of control, which is the extent to which people believe they are in control of their lives. And there’s two types. High internal locus of control, where people take responsibility for their actions and are more resistant to social influence, and high external locus of control, where people have fatalistic, ‘luck’ dependant attitudes and are not as resistant to social influence. In this situation, you need to have a higher internal locus of control. Just because Kendrick Lamar or Kanye West wrote a song that has the N-word in it, does not mean you can blurt it out just because “it’s in the song”. You have a responsibility to not say it. That’s if you have morals. And it’s not difficult either. Just don’t say it.

 

Also, as a side note: I’ve heard white people argue with the point that “it’s racist to use the term “cracker” against white people if they’re not allowed to say the N-word.” First of all, reverse racism doesn’t exist. Second of all, “cracker” was created as a word to empower white people as it represented the sound the whips made when beating black slaves. It was made to empower white people not dehumanise them.

 

My Opinion

Should people, who aren’t black, say the N-word. My answer: no.

It’s a racial slur, with racist connotations and history that it still holds, even in this modern day and age. I understand that it can make people feel uncomfortable, which is also why I think the word should be limited in use amongst black people but I think it’s okay for them to use it.

It used to be socially acceptable (in primarily white societies) in the past decades but as a society, now, we’re moving on to more equality and equity. 

That all being said, I strongly believe in freedom of speech. Say what you want. But with that, be prepared for the consequences of your actions (consequences like me arguing with you at a party XD ). And think before you say things. We need to minimise the amount of discrimination and the use of demeaning words like the N-word as well as, of course, staying woke. You can’t really afford to be ignorant right now so take responsibility and educate yourself on issues and controversial debates like this one!

 

What are your opinions?

 

-Shay

Planet Shay’s Fourth Anniversary!


Planet Shay Just Turned Four!!

 

This time in 2015, Planet Shay was created.

It was a boring January evening. My mum and sister sat in the living room watching TV and I was on the family computer, bored. January was always an awful month, to me. Miserable weather, nothing excited to look forward to, Christmas was so far away. With that in mind, I decided to create a blog. A thoughts blog where I could just talk about anything I wanted to and help other people out with problems, etc. I was already familiar with WordPress so it wasn’t difficult getting started. And Planet Shay was born.

Well…

Geekaline was born.

Cringe factor 100% I know!

The idea was combining the word ‘Geek’ (because I was into ‘geeky’ things and a few people called me that so why not just embrace it?) and ‘Coraline’ (because I loved Coraline).

 

My first few posts, apart from the introduction, were my new year resolutions, a post about siblings, and phobias. All those years ago, I wasn’t as knowledgeable as I am now, obviously, since we learn as we age, so many of my posts were a load of BS and some very negative and ‘ranty’ because I wasn’t in a good place and was always very sad and gloomy. But after four years, I’m happy with this blog. I feel like I’ve talked about topics and issues I’m passionate about and I feel like it has a much more positive atmosphere. I have also learnt a lot from it and from doing it.

 

I can’t believe it’s been four years! FOUR! And four is my lucky number so maybe a bit more luck this year and with my posts? XD

 

Thank you everyone who reads, likes and comments on my posts. It really does motivate me to carry on blogging! I know I haven’t been active lately and I haven’t been really good with catching up on other bloggers’ posts but I am very thankful for you, yes you, reading! 😀

 

Here’s to another year! 🥂

 

-Shay

Hellooo 2019!

We are finally in the New Year!! Whoop whoop!

 

Although in my last, very depressing post, I mentioned that 2018 wasn’t a great year, I realised a lot of good and exciting things happened. For one, I got a little kitten, Willow, who is my pride and joy. I turned 18 (still a little bitter about it 😂 ) and my friends turned 18. I made really close new friends and formed new relationships!

And it all got me thinking about the exciting things to come in 2019! So, today I’m going to be listing some things I’m excited for in this new year.

 

Last Months at My School

I’ve been at my current secondary school for about seven years. That’s more than a third of my life. And now, I only have about six months left of being there. I’m not looking forward to leaving but I’m looking forward to the last moments with the people I grew up with and the place I call a second home.

 

Prom 2019

I am really really looking forward to my sixth form prom! It’ll probably be the last time my year comes together and I can’t wait for the parties after. 😂

 

Freedom in Summer

If any of you did GCSEs, you know the summer between the end of your actual GCSE exams and beginning of sixth form is like heaven. You can literally do anything without feeling guilt for not revising, etc, because there is nothing to revise for and absolutely no school work to do. It’s going to the be the same thing between the end of A Level exams and the beginning of University! Maybe not as heaven like because I have to prepare to go to Uni but still!

 

A Levels and Uni

Everything I’ve been working forward to since year seven will be coming to completion soon (fingers crossed though, I might still fail). I cannot wait to finish A Levels. It’s tiring and emotionally draining and yeah, I love my subjects, but I also need a damn break. I also can’t wait to go to University and study biochemistry!

 

Moving Out

I’m hopefully going to live in student accommodation while studying at University. Even if it is just for my first year (depends what one I get into). I can’t wait for the new experience of living with totally new and different people and the experience of struggling financially. 🙂 Most of all, I can’t wait for the freedom.

 

Keeping in Touch with Friends

Funnily enough, I’m looking forward to seeing what friends I actually stay in contact with. I know a few I definitely will still talk to but there are some, who I’m a bit sceptical about, and I’m interested in seeing how things pan out.

 

Climbing up the O2

For my 18th birthday, I was given a voucher/ticket to climb the O2 arena. I’m taking my best friend with me and I’m just really looking forward to almost dying. 😀

The 02 Arena

 

New Year Resolutions

I’m actually kind of excited about doing my new year resolutions. I barely did any of the ones I set last year because I overestimated the time I had but I made achievable ones this year, taking everything I’m doing this year and the time I have into consideration. So here they are:

  • Stretch daily (I want to be flexible)
  • Own a plant and look after it (apparently it helps your mental health…I didn’t read much into it 😂 )
  • Find a new hobby (a few years ago I was looking for a new hobby and decided to do dream journaling and I love it so I’m open to another new hobby I wouldn’t normally think of doing)
  • Learn a new skill (possibly an instrument…like piano cause I used to be able to play it)
  • Stay optimistic (wrote this for my 2017 resolutions and 2017 turned out to be the best year of my life)
  • Be more spontaneous and confident, don’t hesitate (I’m pretty spontaneous as it is but there are times where I remain in my comfort zone when I know I shouldn’t)

 

Looking forward to what 2019 holds! What did you do for New Year’s Eve?

ᴵ ᵍᵒᵗ ᵃᵖᵖˡʸ ʲᵘᶦᶜᵉ ᵈʳᵘⁿᵏ

 

-Shay

What 2018 Taught Me!

2018 hasn’t been the best year but I remain optimistic and continue to believe everything happens for a reason so with that, I want to dedicate this post, the last post of 2018 on my blog, about what I’ve learnt.

 

Over the course of this year, I’ve been experiencing weird symptoms. Years ago, typical and well known symptoms of depression I experienced included lethargy, eating a lot more and irregularly, loss of interest in hobbies, minor memory loss, etc. Although it was a horrible period in my life and I wouldn’t want to go through any of that again nor would I want anyone to go through any of that, it was more comforting to know that those were ‘normal’ and common for someone who is depressed. More comforting that what I experienced this year, anyway. There were two major new symptoms:

  1. Personality Crisis
  2. Depersonalisation

The personality crisis situation was the worst one. It began at the end of Spring/beginning of Summer. I started to feel not like myself and I didn’t even know what ‘myself’ was. I didn’t know how to respond or behave in situations because I didn’t know how I would respond. You know how actors have to try and put themselves in the shoes of their characters so they know how to behave like them – that’s how I felt. I felt like I was trying to put myself in the shoes of myself. It felt like I was getting to know a whole different person. What made it worse was people were catching onto this. I got called ‘dead’, which means boring. And boring is one of the top things I never want to be. I would literally prefer someone to call me ugly, annoying and dumb (tell me something I don’t know 😜 ) over boring so as you can imagine, it really hurt. But because other people started to notice my ‘new’ personality, I conformed to it. I kept asking people what they would describe me as, I even did personality quizzes to see what my personality was because I didn’t even know. That’s the extent it got to.

But I learnt that, like what straight adults say to bisexual teenagers, it’s just a phase. It goes away and you have to remain strong. Don’t give in to what people tell you, that’s the worst thing you can do. I learnt to ‘connect’ back with myself and stay in tune with my own emotions and thoughts not others. You might suffer with personality crisis more or less than I did but you have to remain strong and try to talk to someone and help yourself. YOU CAN GET THROUGH ANYTHING!

 

Depersonalisation is ‘a state in which one’s thoughts and feelings seem unreal or not to belong to oneself.’

Real life doesn’t feel real, basically. The first time I came across this term was when my cousin told me she had it. I had never heard of it before but it sounded unreal and crazy. She had it bad, too. I began experiencing mild doses of it every now and again, just for a minute. It felt like my mind was on a rocking boat on the ocean and reality wasn’t straight. My mind felt out of my head but surrounding my body and it felt like I was in a dream. I almost felt trapped and stuck. I was surprised that I was experiencing it since I never thought I would go through it when my cousin told me about it. I’m almost 100% sure I didn’t have the disorder, I just had experiences of depersonalisation. 

What made it worse is I lucid dream so sometimes real life would feel like I was just in a lucid dream. The small periods of time I would feel this way began to stretch into days and weeks. I’m pretty sure it’s positively correlational with the amount of stress I was experiencing because now that I’m not as stressed, I don’t feel out of my body or in a dream. I do have a really embarrassing story, that happened recently that links in with this but that’s for another day. 😄

This also linked in with the personality problems because, since I felt so out of it, I didn’t know how to respond to situations anymore.

Honestly, I don’t know what I learnt from experiencing depersonalisation (apart from what it is) but it made my year poop and also, it’s a good way to educate people about it since I had no idea what it was. And if you, yourself, are experiencing it, you’re not crazy or weird and you can get through it! Seek help, talk to someone, manage your stress, etc.

 

I learnt a lot about friendship over this year. In life, you make close friends and even though you love them, you may end up distancing. By all means, if you want to, reconnect and build back that bond. But…sometimes you’ve got to let it go. I don’t even like Frozen that much but that ice chic is a smart chic. Let it go. You may damage your relationship and mental health if you keep trying to reconnect. Let the past be in the past. Don’t cut them out, unless they’re a negative person, but just let nature do it’s thing. New friends will come along the way. Probably. 😄

 

In terms of school, be persistent. The amount of teachers, this year, who didn’t have as much hope in me as I would have wanted them to was heart breaking. I’ve talked about not conforming to what people say plenty of times and proving people wrong but it’s become such a problem. Believe in yourself and work hard! It’s fun when teachers realise you’re smarter than they thought. And don’t be afraid to be a little confrontational. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to apply to Universities I wanted, this year. 😂

 

There’s a lot of other little personal things I learnt, which aren’t lessons you can take away. I learnt on my duke of Edinburgh award expedition that I’m physically and mentally stronger that I thought. I learnt I have really high highs and really low lows ad there’s never really an in between. I’ve finally figured out my style – basically bright colours and quirky little things like rainbow holographic hoop earrings and colourful, pattern trousers. I also learnt my hair grows really freaking fast. This time last year I  had Lord Farquaad Dora The Explorer Edna Mode hair but now my hair is almost down to my elbow.

 

Most importantly, I’ve learnt to have faith in the Universe. I know, it sounds like some cheesy quote that should be stitched on a cushion in a gift shop but I’ve just learnt to let life happen and stop forcing and controlling things and situations so that others and I can be happy. It doesn’t really work that way. You might not believe in this but I genuinely believe everything happens for a reason.

 

Oh, and one last thing. I learnt to not go overboard on the new years resolutions – you’re not gonna complete them! 😬

 

I feel like this was a very deep and cheesy post but who cares!?

What did you learn this year?

 

-Shay

I’m Not Dead!

Like the Pitch Perfect film series, I’m back but not bringing much to the table!

I haven’t posted since Halloween, which was almost two months ago. Sorry… 🤷🏽‍♀️

 

Blogging was on the list of things that was stressing me out and it felt like a chore for me to do. So, I just stopped for the sake of cutting down workload. I wanted to focus on my offline life, in terms of friendships, mental health and education a bit more. I’ve been going through these weird symptoms lately, which I’ll talk about in another post.

But, the main reason was my laptop keyboard stopped working and I don’t have money or the decision making skills to buy a new one at the moment.

 

That’s why I can’t promise there will be posts anytime soon. But there may be! I will definitely post a new years one!

 

I know I also haven’t been very active in terms of looking at my feed and reading other blogger’s posts. I’m genuinely sorry for that – I’ll try to read my feed often now cause I do enjoy it. It just takes time.

 

This was kind of a pointless post but just wanted to let those of you reading know, I’m not dead! 😄

 

-Shay

This Is Halloween!

Happy All Hollows’ Eve!

 

On Sunday, me and my sister trekked over to the supermarket and bough some pumpkins, to carve. We’ve never carved pumpkins before, for Halloween, so I felt this would be the perfect year to save the childhood, that is slowly coming to an end. 😦

Also those pumpkins are HEAVY and I lack the upper body strength most people have. And my sister is selfish so I carried it all the way home. First world problems. 🙌

 

Anyways, several people have told me how hard it is carving pumpkins so I stuck to an easy design because I underrated myself, which I shouldn’t because I did one whole year of Art GCSEs. Only one year because I dropped because I was at a grade D….but still. Every little helps.

It turned out that I’m not that bad at carving pumpkins. I broke a knife, which I had to hide from my mum and I almost stabbed myself but it turned out pretty great!

Lilith, my pumpkin.

I went for a cute little happy face vampire pumpkin head. I also gave her eyelashes because she’s a Bad B and she probably coats her eyelashes with Vaseline every night – that’s why they’re so long.

My sister decided to go for a cat face, which I helped her with. She, however, accidentally, carved off one of the teeth so that’s why it only has three.

I’m not going to lie, I was really proud of myself and although

My sisters pumpkin.

Lilith (my pumpkin, but her friends call her Pumpkin Spice Queen) will rot after a while, she will live on in my heart. In all our hearts.

 

My sister’s one, on the other hand, is already rotting on the inside. It’s disgusting.

 

Next year, I’m gonna up my game.

 

Along the lines of Halloween, I have a little horror story to tell. It was a grey, miserable morning when I was told I had a biology ‘pre-mock’.  I revised for about two months, shedding blood, sweat and tears. A lot of tears. No but seriously, I need help. That gloomy biology exam Wednesday finally approached and I walked into the exam, hands shaking, heart pounding. JK I wasn’t actually scared. I was ten minutes late (not my fault) and came out of the exam depressed because I knew I did badly. Turns out, I got a B. And only three marks away from an A, which is a big improvement from my E’s in year 12. Anyways, a few days later, I go into my biology lesson, felling happy that I’m no longer considered stupid in the education system and my biology teacher announces the grade boundaries have gone up. My B, almost an A, is now a C. Whatever. I’m not bitter.

i’M nOT BiTteR!

 

Another scary story is The Haunting of Hill House. It’s a show on Netflix, which is about a family of seven, who move into a mansion and the aftermath of it, many years later. My friend kept persuading me and I finally started watching it with her and it’s honestly and truly such a good and well thought out show. I highly recommend it.

 

And on the lines of TV Shows, I’m gonna share my favourite Halloween-y but not really horrific films and TV shows:

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Monster House
  • Paranorman
  • Stranger Things
  • Frankenweenie
  • Coraline
  • American Horror Story
  • Coco
  • Super 8
  • Corpse’s Bride
  • Casper
  • E.T.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch (the OG one)
  • Charmed
  • Harry Potter (all of them)

 

Okay, that’s the end of my Halloween post!

Did you do anything for Halloween? Did you carve a pumpkin and if yes, was it as good as mine though?

 

-Shay

Study Drugs: Trick or Treat? | St. George’s University Spotlight on Science

Last Thursday, I attended a lecture at St. George’s University, about ‘study drugs’.

Study drugs are defined as  prescription stimulant medications that are used improperly by a person with a prescription, or more often, illegally by a person without a prescription, increasing concentration and stamina.

That’s the proper, fancy definition so to put it into simpler terms, they’re basically drugs that people use to help them work better or study better, kind of like the pill in Limitless, except these drugs are made for medication not solely for doing better in school, etc.

Minor examples of this include caffeine and cocaine but today I’m going to be focusing on other examples. Examples that include Strattera, which increases noradrenaline (a hormone with is involved in the fight or flight response), Ritalin and Adderall, which increase noradrenaline and dopamine. Modafinil is also an example but there’s not a lot of information known about it.

 

Raymond Hill, a professor in pharmacology, stated there has been a 56% increase for Ritalin prescription in the past five years, in England. He also claimed that they are being “regularly approached by students who feel under pressure to take drugs as they feel like they are falling behind their peers.” And that being said, I feel like it’s important to specify that Ritalin in a class B drug and can result in prison for five years just for possession of it.

 

Students are feeling pressured to take these study drugs to do well and survive the education system by consuming and even overdosing on these drugs, risking the fact they could end up in prison. I even know of someone, who takes study drugs to do well in school. Dr Jennings, a science communicator, showed the effects of increasing the dose of dopamine and noradrenaline, which some of these study drugs do. These are the stages of increasing the doses:

  1. Wakeful (cognitive enhancement)
  2. Vigilance
  3. Hyper-locomotion
  4. Mania
  5. Euphoria
  6. Psychosis
  7. Coma
  8. Circulatory Collapse

You might be thinking Hmm, why can’t you just stop using it when you feel like it’s going too far. Well, Ritalin and Adderall are addictive so it can be hard to stop once you start.

So far, we know study drugs are often taken by students to get an advantage in school but these drugs have severe side effects. You might be thinking these students are cheating and are too stupid to think about the consequences. And don’t feel too guilty if you do think that because I’m @ing you right now. I kind of thought the same too.

But then, Neil Gibride, a lecturer in education, opened my mind.

 

Me and My Best Friend in Chemistry

Gibride explained that GCSEs and A Levels, which are academic qualifications taken in secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges, in most of the UK, are designed so that 30% of students will fail! 30%!

The education system is a competition amongst young people, which parents and students try their hardest to get through. 1/3 of parents knew of other parents that used ethically dubious strategies to secure a good school place for their child, like using their grandparent’s addresses or moving house temporarily so they are considered in the catchment area of the school, which gives them more of a priority into getting in. Some parents send their kids to private tuition for the 11+ exam, which, by the way, has a substantial bias against some ethnic groups.

And once you’re in the school, if your grades are suffering, the school can do this thing called ‘off-rolling’. It’s the ‘removal by one means or another, of students from a school’s roll.’ They informally exclude students so they cannot impact the exam results and make the school look bad.  Off-rolling is basically a way to boost results and climb up the league table. It’s like one big unethical game.

Ofsted should really change the focus from competition to curicuulum. That way students would probably enjoy school and learning more and suffer less in terms of anxiety and mental health AND consuming dangerous ‘study drugs’.

Therefore, it’s ignorant and inconsiderate of us to neglect the understanding of human behaviour since it’s a dynamic between the individual and context, as Neil Gibride said. You can call it cheating but it’s almost as if society is designed to force people to end of seeking these drugs.

 

In conclusion, are study drugs a trick or a treat?

They are dangerous and can be lethal but they can work in enhancing cognitive functions. And students are regularly using them to pull through the competition pinned on them through the education system and Ofsted and because of their own mental health. Personally, I think it’s not worth taking. I understand the education system is corrupt and puts pressure on getting the best grades but they can take your life or ruin them. However, I don’t think it’s cheating, even though it may be considered that. Yes, these study drugs put students at an advantage but so does private tutition and the ‘ethically dubious’ methods I mentioned earlier, which are tactics that aren’t considered cheating.

 

What do you think?

 

-Shay

P.S. Don’t do drugs, kids, unless it’s paracetamol or calpol.

She’s A Lady!


I AM NO LONGER THE DANCING QUEEN! 😢

It was my eighteenth birthday yesterday. A day I wasn’t really looking forward to.

 

My helium balloon!

First of all, I had four tests (in the week) to prepare for, which is also the reason I’ve been MIA, and the stress of it all, although I don’t show it, was getting to me. However, that being said, I had the best day! Since it was a school day, I got a lot of ‘Happy Birthday’s and messages and birthday snapchat stories because that’s how our generation show love. And my friends made it such a great day.

 

But, as I promised from a previous post, I’m going to explain why I didn’t want to turn eighteen.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not saying any of the following is relatable and about all adults, I just felt like me, being eighteen, means I’m more prone to these things.

 

First of all, being an adult tends to be associated with maturity and responsibility. I, on the other hand, am a very weird, energetic person in real life. I do weird crazy things. Being an adult means I can no longer blame that behaviour on the fact I am a child. This is sad news. I still have the face of a twelve year old, though, so I might pass as a child.

 

Making friends is easier when you’re a child because you’re in school practically everyday. I still have another year in school but still! I have university either next year or the year after and although there will be people there to talk to, I feel like it might be harder to make friends. I am a social person and will take initiative in situations like that but it’s still daunting.

 

I used to get stuff for free. NOW I HAVE TO PAY. For example, I have to pay for eye care, dental care and probably a bunch of other stuff I don’t know about. That’s actually a little bit of a lie because I still get eye and dental care for free since I’m in full time education but my point is, being eighteen means I have to pay for stuff. My parents are making me pay for my phone bill. ☹ I do like to be in control, though, so maybe it’s a good thing.

 

I hate the idea of being grown up. I don’t want to grow up. This ties in with the acting weird point because I don’t want to be completely mature and ‘normal’. I also don’t want to worry constantly and get so involved in money issues.

 

I have to make big decisions and there’s not much leeway for my indecisive ways, right now. I can’t just change my mind tomorrow and decide I want to be an astronaut, like you can do when you’re a child. I know that it’s never too late to do what you want (unless you’re on the brink of death, then I’m so sorry) but the way society works and the school system works, I feel pressured to make sure my whole life plan starts now and isn’t a failure.

 

I can go to prison for a criminal offence. This one’s going to be really difficult for me. 😬

Despite all of the negativity that’s been most of this post (sorry), I wanted to add a little bit of positivity because on the majority of occasions, I try my hardest to look on the bright side of things. 😄

  • I can finally vote, which is important to me because I like to make my own decisions and have my say on things.
  • I can serve jury duty, which is always fun, amirite?!
  • I can get a tattoo. I actually want to get one of a semi colon!
  • Ya girl gets paid more! A whole two pounds more. 💸
  • I can make a will, which, again, is always fun!
  • I can buy fireworks.

The vegan Baileys ft. Willow, my cat

I can do a lot more important things but those are my top six.

 

 

Also, big announcement! I had my first legal alcoholic drink. It was dairy free almond milk Baileys. Dairy free because one of my best friends, who gave it to me, is vegan and is clearly respectful to the acne prone antichrist that is my skin. She also made me a vegan cake.

 

To end on a high note, eighteen isn’t that bad. AgE iS JuSt a NuMBeR…

 

-Shay