The problem with “flawless”

Olivia Mohr

People need to step into the real world.

Let’s face it: when we see a model in an advertisement saying something along the lines of, “you’ll look like this if you buy this,” is that what they really look like? No. The real them is hidden beneath layers of makeup, Photoshop and airbrushing. Yet we constantly see girls feeling insecure about themselves because they don’t look like they just stepped off the cover of a magazine. A lot of what advertisers show is humanly impossible, yet that’s what’s considered beautiful.

Advertising uses human idealism to sell a product. The danger behind this phenomenon? People are never satisfied with what they have and who they are.

We all know about Hollywood’s obsession with looks and publicity. Hollywood stars hide behind a Façade, making themselves seem like something totally different than who they really are.

Sadly, we see that in the real world, too. The influence of the media leads us to believe that we have to become something we’re not in order to be accepted. Not only that, but people feel like they need to completely change their image to get attention. (Miley Cyrus, anyone?)

In the real world, like in Hollywood, all people seem to want is attention, and they don’t care if it’s from doing the right thing or the wrong thing. They think as long as people are paying attention to them, they’ll feel good about themselves. That’s shallow, and that’s wrong. If you’re always putting on a show, you’ll never be happy.

People can become so obsessed with their appearance and getting attention that it becomes their life, and since none of it is real, their life isn’t either.

Though this might sound cheesy, just be yourself, and don’t worry about what other people might think.

On a different note, the media minimizes matters that are actually really serious like drug and alcohol abuse. Hollywood glamorizes them, or even makes them out to be comical when, in reality, they destroy people’s lives. Addiction is not a joke. Everything is fun and games… until you have to pay the consequences. Yet Hollywood makes the lives of drug and alcohol abusers seem flawless, letting people think that’s what they have to do to “fit in” or “be cool.”

We live in a world lacking discipline. So many people are impulsive and don’t think about what will happen after the fact. It might feel great while you’re doing it, but is that temporary pleasure worth a lifetime of regret and misery?

What the media makes out to be glamorous and flawless can really be deceiving, and it’s scary how much people can be swayed by it. What’s important to realize is the problem with “flawless.”

Hitting the ground running: West Jessamine track has high hopes for 2014 season

Josh Preston

As the weather begins to warm up yet again, track runners at West Jessamine begin to warm up and prepare for their upcoming track season.

The team, consisting of both boys and girls (competing in separate events), has already begun conditioning and are hard at work with tri-weekly training sessions. In the weeks to come, the team will begin every day post-school practices in preparation for their first meet. Though relatively young in some areas, the Colts’ track team, coached by Aaron Reynolds and Caleb McDaniel, hopes to continue building off the success they’ve experienced in years prior.

“It’s hard to set expectations for the team right now because we have a lot of new runners, and we won’t know how they will fare until after the first meet,” senior runner Gavin Davis said on his expectations for the team this year.

“We hope to have a lot of people on the team qualify for state,” senior runner Allison Lyon said. “I think our distance team is pretty solid and our boys can really work together well in the relays. Personally, I’d like to qualify [for state] in the 800 meter.”

Come spring, the team will compete in weekly meets showcasing a host of long distance events (800m, 1600m, 4x800m), short distance events (100m, 200m, 400m, 4x200m, 110m hurdles, 4x400m, 300m hurdles) and field events (shot put, turbo javelin, discus, long jump, high jump, pole vault).

Juniors Kenneth Wireman, Joe Bandy and Keith Harmon, as well as senior Joseph Kang are expected to be the boys’ team’s most experienced short-mid distance runners while junior Jesse Seales and senior Gavin Davis are the most seasoned long-distance runners on the team.

As far as the girls go, the most accustomed distance runners are expected to be sophomores Abby Davis and Meg Chaffin as well as senior Allison Lyon. The girls’ team’s sprinters are fairly young, but junior Susanna McDaniel could “do very well in the hurdles,” according to Lyon.

Though fairly raw and young, the team, under the leadership of returning juniors and seniors, has high aspirations for the upcoming season. Stay tuned for results!

January college corner

Catherine Graham

Welcome to January: a winter wonderland of freezing cold temperatures and the occasional surprise snow day. Now I know we all love a good day off, but too many of these little blessings can turn into a curse (especially with some big tests right around the corner once the spring thaw comes). I want to help you guys out with your snow day survival plan. Here’s how to stay on all your schoolwork and deadlines while chillaxing at home, sipping hot cocoa:

Try to do at least one productive thing per snow day. With so many January deadlines, it’s not hard to do – maybe finish up those last college applications since they’re starting to pile up, like the snow is outside. Snow day free time can be a real relief if you’re behind in your applications. Don’t wait until midnight the night before deadline.

Also, don’t ignore your current classes on a snow day. You could miss a whole unit if you skip reading and doing homework. That’s dangerous, especially in an AP class. AP test days are set, and the College Board doesn’t care how often you were or weren’t in class. Most teachers will give you assignments in advance if they’re expecting bad weather, but don’t be afraid to get ahead or even email your teacher if you’re confused about something.

Most of all, enjoy your snow day! You never know how many you’ll get, and they make a boring, gray winter a little brighter. Keep up and keep warm!

Polson’s West Jessamine jersey retired

Mia Zanzucchi

Jarrod Polson with his WJHS and UK jersey on Jan. 24.  Photo: Tonya Griffeth

Jarrod Polson with his WJHS and UK jersey on Jan. 24.
Photo: Tonya Griffeth

On Friday, Jan. 24, the red No. 5 basketball jersey previously worn by University of Kentucky senior basketball player Jarrod Polson (West Jessamine ’10) during his time at West Jessamine High School was retired.

Polson was presented his high school jersey and a key to the City of Nicholasville. The entire UK men’s basketball team, including Coach John Calipari, showed their support by attending.

“I was pretty shocked,” Polson said before the ceremony. “That’s just something I’m proud of and my family’s proud of.”

Polson played as a West Jessmaine Colt all four years of his high school career, finishing his senior year season in the third round of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Boys Sweet Sixteen®.  He still holds the KHSAA record for free throws both attempted and made. He is West’s all-time leading scorer with 1,884 points.

Jarrod Polson began his Kentucky career as a walk-on, but earned a full scholarship his freshman year, playing in 17 of 38 games. His sophomore year, the Cats won the NCAA National Championship. Since then, he has stood out in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), hailed as “player of the game,” “the MVP for Kentucky” and more.

“The reason he’s [Polson] getting his jersey retired now is because of how hard he worked, what he’s become,” Coach Calipari said to Kentucky.com just before Jan. 24 practice. “I think it’s a great thing for other players to look at him and say he wasn’t the best player in Kentucky, but he made himself into something.”

The maze

Young Koh

Again and again, you are thrown into a maze. You have to get out of it, or the Letter might be altered. Given less than an hour, you have to make it out of this maze or face the consequences. Dashing past the colors, the movements and most importantly, all the NAMES. With every step you take, you risk your ability to turn back. But you aren’t planning on even looking back; no, that’s a mere distraction. You have to consistently make perilous calls, and with each step, you find yourself at another junction. You can hear the sighs of relief from your fellows on the other side, and you are not about to let them enjoy the freedom themselves.

Twenty minutes.

Footsteps thunders behind you as a multitude of others try to catch up to you. Time is running out, and you see a quick turn to the Outside. It’s risky, but it might just work… and you hit dead end. A wall of darkness was erected before you, and the path is closed behind you. This cannot be, you say to yourself, but it is there. It is the Block, the near-impenetrable barrier between yourself and the finishing point.

Ten minutes.

You aren’t out of tricks just quite yet, however. Again and again, you slam yourself against the wall. You summon your minions of memories, old sayings, and they are brought to life against the malicious obstruction.

Five minutes.

Your mind is working more furiously than ever. The countless minions you have summoned lie dead next to you, but more keep responding to your call. You can feel the darkness waning, and the wall is weakening, but you are almost out of time.

Three minutes.

You cannot waste another moment locked in this meaningless duel, and with the last remnants of your mind, you channel all your experiences against the block. It first shudders, and finally, with a sigh, it collapses. You cross the finish line, weary and wounded.

Time’s up.

Author’s note: this is just a WAY cooler way of looking at writing blocks and essays, and hey, who says it can’t ever be interesting?

Unicorns

Albina Laskovtsov

Someone great once said, “Take criticism, smash it into dust, add color and use it to paint breathtaking images of unicorns frolicking through endless fields of greatness.” Teenagers are terrifying and dangerous creatures. We are reckless and scary and we tend to break things (i.e. vases, rules, hearts). We’re “young adults”, and we’re forced to learn and to apply for colleges and pay for our own meals. Sometimes we even have to dress ourselves. It really is a big world out there, and sometimes, we get lost in it. There are days when school is tough and our test scores are failing and it seems like that studying you did until three in the morning never paid off. Maybe that biology test kicked your butt and your grades seem to disagree with you. Perhaps you put your shoes on backwards and got that rejection letter.

On top of our daily struggles we have teachers and parents breathing down our necks encouraging us and slightly pushing us over the edge, praying we take AP Psych more seriously. That D you brought home? Oh we won’t talk about it. Tomorrow you’ll just try harder. We have our mornings when we drag ourselves out of our cocoon of warmth, and if you put on pants today, I’m proud of you.  Then, we deal with surprise English tests we weren’t aware of and by the end of the day, we are cold, hungry and drained.

You see, it’s not hard to come up with all of the different scenarios we deal with on a daily basis. It’s easy to lose interest in the world around you because you’ve got that essay that’s due tomorrow and two-dozen math problems that must be completed in thirty minutes. I bet you didn’t know that outside your window there were unicorns frolicking in an endless field of greatness. I assure you they’re there. Look up and see. I promise your textbook will be right where you left it.

(In case “someone great” didn’t ring any bells, I introduce you to Matthew Gray Gubler.)

Van Arsdale heads West band department

Bradley Phelps

Just a few weeks ago at the beginning of this semester, Mr. Pat Van Arsdale began working as full-time band director at West Jessamine following the departure of Mr. Michael White, who had been the band director for four and a half years before recently accepting the role of assistant principal at Red Oak Elementary.

This is Van Arsdale’s first full-time job since he graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in music education. However, he spent the past two years working at Lafayette High School in Lexington as a music and visual coach as well as offering private music lessons to students. The Lafayette marching band won the state championship in their competition class both years that Van Arsdale was involved in the program. He has also worked as a substitute teacher in Fayette County and Woodford County.

Before that, Van Arsdale was in the UK marching band for two seasons as a drum major. He once saved former UK basketball player Anthony Davis from falling directly into the UK pep band during the 2012 Final Four game against Louisville.  He was also involved in UK’s wind ensemble, symphonic band, symphonic orchestra, jazz ensemble and trumpet ensemble.

Van Arsdale attributes his heavy involvement in music to both his family, which consists almost entirely of musicians, and to a performance by Canadian jazz trumpet player Maynard Ferguson that he attended when he was young. He said that this performance was what inspired him to play trumpet as his primary instrument, although he plays many others, including piano and his favorite instrument, French horn.

Although Van Arsdale is technically an interim band director for this semester, he intends fully to return for the entirety of the 2014-15 school year and beyond. Some of the goals he has set for the next few years are to return to the marching band state finals, which the Colts have not done since 2011, and to increase total band enrollment to around 125 students, which is considerably more than the program currently has due to declining numbers over the past few years.

As for the more distant future, Van Arsdale is unsure of specifics, but he sees himself being a music educator in Kentucky for a very long time.

The dreaded f-word

Meredith Crockett

In this day and age, women have more opportunity for success and achievement than ever before. A woman calling herself a feminist has become as natural as a man saying he’s a banker or a fan of baseball.

But with feministic views come great issue. In our society, some women have used the title “feminist” as an excuse to say, do and act however they would like. For example, a woman may go out and have sex with many men or make statements that are completely irrational, but her reasoning becomes, “It’s okay, I’m a feminist, and I have rights as a woman.”

Now, in no way am I saying I am against feminism, so save your angry letters. I am a strong feminist, but I believe in a different kind of feminism. I believe in a society where women are seen as equal to men, a place where gender bias for men and women doesn’t exist. You may think gender bias isn’t around anymore, but look at this: we tell girls to aspire to marry, but we don’t enforce it on boys. Girls are to see other women as competition for men, not competition in the work force or in academics. We want girls to have ambition, but ambition strictly within a boundary that includes marriage and kids. Women have become okay with “stay in the kitchen” and “make me a sandwich” jokes, but if we say something about boys’ “manhood,” they become infuriated. Why is this suddenly accepted? Why do women our age just accept this? Why, because we are teenagers, are we expected to put up with this?

As a school and community, we should all band together to fight gender bias. No, this doesn’t just include girls; guys, you can get in on this also. We can start including girls in positions of leadership, letting women have just as much say on important issues as men. And guys, you can leave the jokes and the condescending behavior at home. If you treat women the way you do now at a job, you will get fired so fast you won’t even know what happened. Also, support your friends and girlfriends in their womanhood. Don’t bring them down. Let them know that they can achieve anything they want and they are just as important to society as you are. Girls, stop accepting sexist behavior. When guys are being rude and unfair, say something to them. You must confront bad behavior, but with that you must also be respectful.

Use your womanhood to your advantage: don’t overdo it and don’t keep it hidden.

January Athlete of the Month

Josh Preston

aom pic

This month’s Colt Nation athlete of the month is senior Ashley Pope.  Ashley has been a member of the basketball team for the last four years.

With enrollment in multiple AP and accelerated classes as well as involvement in clubs such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes at school, Pope says she has had to learn to apportion time between sports and school.  “It was difficult at first with my schedule,” Pope said. “But it has gotten easier as time has gone on.”

“I believe the work ethic I’ve had to show in basketball has carried over into my school work as well,” says Pope on how her basketball career has positively affected her academics, “Having coaches that view being a good student as more important than being a good basketball player has really helped me along the way.”

Pope plans on attending BCTC for two years and then transferring to the University of Kentucky for her major.  As far as collegiate sports, Pope plans to throw in the towel and stick to intramural sports so that she can focus more on her academics and future career.

Amazon’s drone delivery

Cory Laird 

Amazon may have the next big thing: delivery drones. But how well will this work? How will it affect employment? Will it raise employment, lower it or have no effect? The idea of hour delivery, the ability to order something and within an hour it is sitting on your front porch, is amazing. This is truly a step into a futuristic world that we dreamed of as kids. But as anything new, it may have too many cons to work.

Amazon has put thousands into these drones, which have a GPS and can deliver anything the size of a shoebox or smaller. It has made the ability to shop online easy and quick. Many would say there couldn’t be any cons to this, but even the company has seen flaws in their creation. They have put thousands into this, but with no defense system, so how long will it be before they are replacing hundreds of these drones because they have been damaged or stolen. Let’s face it: we don’t live in a perfect world, so while these drones are an amazing breakthrough, in the world we live in today, are they safe? These drones are being piloted by somebody in a warehouse, and while we want to believe that nobody would use these for bad, the possibility is always there.

The drones that Amazon has created have to be piloted by someone who knows what they are doing, so what about the truck drivers who work for Amazon? Is Amazon still going to keep some of their trucks? But even then, this puts a lot of people out of work. Many Amazon drivers will either have to transfer to factory work or packaging, a completely different world from driving a truck.

Amazon has mounted cameras on the drones in the hopes that if anything were to happen, they would be able to know who did it, and the GPS would track them. All of this has been released to the public, so there is someone somewhere who has already found a way to cheat this “full proof” system. Many do not like the idea of cameras with someone they don’t know piloting it – it gives someone you don’t know an insight into your personal life. Have these drones crossed a personal boundary? Will this eventually be a long-term plan? How much of a learning experience is this for Amazon and any other company doing this? How many people will this put into unemployment? While this is only a test run for the company, this is a huge eye opener for the world. Technology has taken off and has made leaps. While we want to keep improving technology, sooner or later we may grow too big for our britches.