by Frankie

One day, my friends Katie, Aubrey, Korryn and I decided to try a maze room, a place where a bunch of staff lock you into a room and you work with your friends to escape with the resources in the room. There are many different maze rooms, from Demon Hunters to Prison Cell, and they usually consist of one main room and a bunch of other rooms that branch off and lead you to your escape.  There are only (at most) seven people allowed, so we had to exclude one of our friends, Jadyn.

The maze room requires wits, bravery, and  the ability to use your brain. Not to forget teamwork, which you cannot succeed without. This is what scared us. Our group, a bunch of zany, reckless middle-school students who are very unobservant and (sometimes) act like first-graders, aren’t necessarily fit for the job. Nevertheless, we decided to do it, because it sounded fun. At least we were good at teamwork.

Once we reached the limit with the number of people we could bring, we drove to Los Angeles to get to the maze room. Finding the actual building was a maze within itself. Once we found the building (which was up a sketchy looking set of stairs), we waited until a woman told us everything about the room. She said to ask for a hint if we needed one and explained that we only had sixty minutes. Then we went inside the room, where we saw a door to the left, a door to the right, a table with a chair against the wall, an end table, another table with a bunch of books on it, and a lamp in the corner. The table with the books also had several drawers below. It was very weird. When we looked to the left, paint on the wall read “The rat eats the furniture.” At that moment, Katie tripped on her foot, and landed beside the table with the chair, and picked something up. What a coincidence! It was the rat.

We didn’t know what to do after that. We were just wandering around, literally tearing the room apart. We must have gotten the rat for something. Aubrey’s mom took the rat and stuck it against everything, to see if anything else would happen. Korryn and I turned over the end table, only to find nothing. But there were weird markings on it as well. Aubrey’s mom put the rat against the markings and the end table, which was previously locked, opened up. Inside was a creepy photo of some dude, but there was a date on the back of  the photo. We typed in the date in a lock, and a box beside the door on the right opened. Inside was a metal rod. Okay . . . interesting. At that same moment, the door on the left opened, because Katie was fiddling around with the rat against the left door. We were told through a walkie-talkie that the door wasn’t supposed to open yet, so we closed it.

We didn’t know what to do for a while, so we asked for a clue through the walkie-talkie. The woman said to remove all the books. So we all did, and a small hole appeared, the perfect size to place the metal rod in. A drawer swung open below the table, and inside it had the code to escape the first room. We did. The rest of the maze room was full of random problem-solving, and we all worked together pretty equally. Once we escaped, which involved putting candles on all five tips of a pentagram, we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant nearby. But, that wasn’t all.  Because the joy of escaping and figuring out how to do so, and locking your brain into high gear was so thrilling, we HAD to do it again. We did the Demon Hunters one first. We had five minutes left to spare. That was medium difficulty. We decided to do the Soviet Spy one, where we were FBI agents that were trying to find the undercover Soviet spy. It was rated HARD DIFFICULTY LEVEL. We knew we could do it.

Just like the first location, this maze room was very hard to find. We had to go up a small elevator, then we walked along the second floor of the building until we found the maze room. A man welcomed us, and we were given fake mustaches and vests that had fake FBI names on it. It was amazing. We could already tell that this maze room was going to be the best. We went through a series of crazy steps, and one even involved a closet opening from the back. It was epic. We ended up finishing the room with fifteen minutes to spare. But all the crazy adventure made me think of Jadyn, whom we had excluded. I had to set things right, especially because all of my friends said she was going to be invited. It was a serious problem. After having the time of my life in a bunch of maze rooms, it was time to go back to school and face this.

I went up to Jadyn, and told her that we had gone and weren’t able to invite her because  there was no more room. I told her that it was wrong of me for going without telling her anything beforehand, and then we worked out a date where we could go and do something that was just the two of us. It took some planning, but after Spring Break, we did the Bean Boozled Challenge [a game of chance involving Jelly Beans], ate some delicious food, and hung out, spending lots of time having fun. Not only did I have a great time at the hangout with Jadyn, but I felt a lot better about our friendship.

If you are ever in the situation where you feel peer pressure to exclude someone, think twice and always include them.


Lunar dream

by Lily

Everyone is exposed to many stereotypes every day. For example, it is a popular belief that because a lot of terrorists are Muslim, all of them are terrorists, which is absolutely ridiculous. Another example is Donald Trump. He once stated that if he becomes president, he will make sure that no one of Muslim descent will enter the country. Once again, absolutely ridiculous. He also said that he would definitely build a wall to keep ‘the wrong’ people out. Why discriminate someone based on how they look or their race? It just makes no sense.

The Holocaust was also a big example of mass stereotypes. Hitler made a huge decision to try to kill anyone who didn’t have blonde hair, pale skin and blue eyes, which was considered ‘holy’ at the time, even though Hitler himself didn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes. People  with any other combination of hair, eyes, or even skin tone, which were most commonly Jews (brown hair and brown eyes most likely), would have been considered ‘not normal’ or ‘subhuman.’

And there are stereotypes that don’t have to do with race, ethnicity or religion. Such as the joke that goes way back that police officers are immediately associated with donuts and coffee, or that people who wear glasses are smart or ‘nerds.’ Making a judgement about someone has a very close side effect that leads to stereotyping people, and stereotyping can lead to prejudice or negative judgements about people, but all in all, we just shouldn’t judge people from the beginning. We usually make judgements about a person because we haven’t met them before, and our mind is deciding whether you should be their friend or not, according to a 2012 study by UCLA.

The media makes a very big imprint on us in terms of what we’re supposed to look like, how much money we need to make, or who to vote for when we get older. For example, the newest trend in the media is that women should have a ‘thigh gap.’ According to google a thigh gap is a space between the inner thighs of some women when standing upright with knees touching. A thigh gap has become an aspect of physical attractiveness that has been associated with fragility and femininity. It is added to the mass stereotype about what women’s bodies should look like. That’s RIDICULOUS. Why should the media have the right to tell us what looks good and what doesn’t especially when it comes to a person’s body? If having a ‘thigh gap’ is natural for you, that’s great! Embrace your body. But if it’s not, don’t beat yourself up about it just because the media is saying that’s not pretty, because believe me, as long as you’re healthy, it’s all good. Don’t let stereotypes affect the way you think about yourself . . . or about other people.

However, we have come so far in stereotypes since even the fifties. Sexism and racism stereotypes were even more common in public back then: for example posters featuring men hitting women, directly saying that men are better than women, saying that it’s a man’s world—and even posters featuring a photo of a woman down on her knees serving a man. I wonder what they would have said if they had known that our generation would experience what we are today: that we might have a women president next in line? As for the racist ads, there were many for the movie Song of the South, a product called skin whitener, and others littered with tons of racial slurs, making fun of how various races supposedly talked, and other equally inappropriate things. It’s really, really scary to think that this was the normal thing to be around and hear back then. Basically, only white privileged males can go back in time and actually enjoy themselves from what I’ve seen so far, otherwise, almost anyone that was a woman or of a different race would have been faced with these advertisements in the media all around them. And the schools and drinking fountains that only white people can use?

If we could all stop judging each other for no reason, everyone would just all around (a) be better people and (b) be nicer not just to one or two specific people in our lives, but just have a better attitude about everyone. The main three things I try to live by in life is (1) have fun in life (2) be nice (3) make friends. I feel like making friends and being nice is always a good place to start, and having fun in life is a really good way to think about everyday life. I believe that by doing as many fun things in life and to be busy every day until the day I die helps put a positive outlook on everything that is to come, and just everything in general. But in the end, if we all just stop judging each other and giving in the stereotypes being put out by the past and the media, we would all just be better people and make more friends.




Senior Moment? Stereotypes about Aging Can Hurt Older Adults’ Memory
Your Pain, My Gain: Feeling Pleasure over the Misfortune of Those You Envy is Biological
Cold, Callous and Untreatable? Not All Psychopaths Fit the Stereotype
If We Could Talk Like the Animals