The Skills of Living



This semester in Living Skills we learned about people's influences, individuality, health (both emotional and physical), substance abuse, and sexuality. We also learned a bit more about life in general and about succeeding at Gunn.




Influences


Values:400px-Unbalanced_scales_copy.jpg

Everyone has values. Values are a mix of what we want from life and our interpretation of life's obligations. For example, a main value of a lot of people is 'Peace.' They want peace for themselves and others. A value is also something y ou w ould sacrifice for. People whose main value is peace would then try to uphold peace whenever possible, however possible. many people also value Friendship, Love, Truth, Freedom, Wisdom, Knowledge, Honor, Family, Beauty, Purity, Riches, Popularity, and/or Long Life. We get our values from our families and other influences while growing up. Sometimes, people's values conflict with each other. For example, if you highly value both Friendship and Knowledge, and your friend wants you to travel around the world with him after high school but you got accepted into a great college, what do you do? Value Friendship (and a bit of Freedom) and travel with your friend or value Knowledge and go to college? People face these kinds of value dilemmas every day, and what they choose to do shows who they really are.


www_worth1000_com.jpg
Sibling Rivalry
Family Dynamics:
When people live with each other 24/7 some issues/alliances may emerge. There can be issues between the siblings (sibling rivalry), issues between a parent and child, and issues between parent and parent. Out of all of them, issues between parent and parent are the worse and most damaging to the family. Issues between siblings are normal. Issues between parent and child are normal if the child is a teenager. These issues are hopefully solvable. To solve a problem, first identify it. Then, ask how everybody feels about the problem. Clarify it and figure out the root of the problem. After that, come up with ideas for solutions. make sure that you can find a solution that works for everyone. If a problem is only affecting two people in the family, still include a third person, because they may have a clearer objective point of view and solution. When interacting with your family, remember that you love them.







Individuality

Sexual Orientation:
Everyone has a sexual orientation. most people are heterosexual, and some people are homosexual or bisexual. The term 'straight' is used to describe heterosexual people. The term 'gay' is used as a blanket term to describe all homosexual and bisexual people. However, female homosexuals are usually known as lesbians, and bisexuals are known as bisexuals. There are many stereotypes for all sexual orientations, but the majority of discrimination is towards LGBT people (LGBT stands for 'Lesbian,' 'Gay,' 'Bisexual,' 'Transgender' although transgender is not a sexual orientation). People who hate or are afraid of LGBT people are 'homophobic.' The reasons people are homophobic are that they are uncomfortable about their own sexuality, and/or they have learned it from the people in their life. The best way to end homophobia is with education. Sexual orientation is not a choice, and it is not a set thing. over the course of their lives, people (not everybody) go through slight fluctuations of their sexuality... however, people will usually stay around the same thing. Homosexuality is not unique to humans. There have been cases where animals are homosexual as well. Also, homosexuality has been aroundfor as long as humans and animals have been in existance. Sadly, Homosexuals are being discriminated against when they cannot be married legally in the majority of the world. In places where homosexuals can have the legal benefits same to marriage, it is not called that, and it is called a 'domestic partnership.' In many places, the marriages of gays who married elsewhere are not recognized. Homosexuals are further being discriminated against when the country they live in has laws that say that merely being gay is illegal, and they can be fined, sent to prison, or be put to death. In some places, same-sex couples cannot adopt children, even where single people can. LGBT people and their straight allies around the world are fighting for civil rights.

Gay rights march in LA
Gay rights march in LA


Race Issues:
Racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that one race is inferior or superior to another race. Racism is not inherent and is created by people who want power, or want to stay in power. Racist people believe that people of other races are not as good as people of their race. It is not limited to the 'Black and White' racism we hear about in America. Racism has been around for a very long time and it exists between many different races. However, people of the majority race group experience less direct racism. In America, White people are the majority, and experience something called 'White Privilege.' White Privilege is hard for White people to notice. They are trained to ignore it and it is hard to remember it later. An example of white privilege is that White people can be themselves and not have that put down to their race or turned into a stereotype. Along with racism comes stereotypes. Stereotypes are traits or personalities that people assume that other people have, based on their race or how they look. Ninety-nine percent of stereotypes are not true and most of them are negative. A few positive ones do exist, but even they are unwanted. Racism and stereotypes come from ignorance. Therefore, the best way to end racism, like homophobia, is with education.




Health

Stress (Emotional):
Stress happens to people when they have to deal with emotional or physical challenges, or stressors. Many things can be stressors - school, relationships, family, and more. Up to a point, stress is good, and healthy. However, after that, the persons allostatic load is too much and they respond to it badly. The body's response to stress is to mobilize energy, to increase cardiovascular tone, to suppress digestion, growth, and reproduction, to not regulate the immune system, and to sharpen the senses. these things, if done enough, can cause stress-related disorders, such as diabetes, hypertension, digestive disorders, dwarfism, infertility, immune suppression, depression, etc. People who are stressed out are more emotional, anxious, and impatient. They get sick easier, loose sleep, gain weight and are tense. there are different response styles to stress, each with their own symptoms. The different stress responses are 'Fight or Flight,' 'Freeze or Please,' and/or 'Tend and Befriend.' People respond with one or a mixture of these stress responses in different situations. when stressed out, it is important to get rid of the excess stress and to stop it from building up. everyone has their own way to do this - reading, meditating, building, reflecting, or simply getting rid of the stressor in the first place (for example, finishing the homework). It's good to have a moderate amount of stress, because without it, we would never change, but when it's harmful, get rid of it.

A Stressed Out Dude
A Stressed Out Dude


Sleep (Physical):external image good-nights-sleep_5810.jpg
It's important for everyone to have a good amount of sleep (9-10 hrs). without enough sleep, people will become grumpy, they will do worse in school, their overall happiness will go down, their brains will not develop properly, and they will not grow as much as they should. Also, they will get bags under their eyes, they will get sick easier, they will get stressed out easier, and they will focus less. sleep deprived people risk death, stroke, high blood pressure, less cognitive ability, they will be hungrier during the day and put on weight more easily, and they will make more mistakes. Diabetes risk will go up, and metabolism will go down if a body doesn't sleep enough. If someone is sleep deprived and falls asleep at the wheel, a car crash will occur. also, people well rested are generally more pleasant to be around. Obviously, sleep is very important, and one should get enough of it.






Substance abuse

Addiction:
When you take drugs, there is always a risk for addiction. Some drugs are more addictive than others, and they can be physically addictive or just habitually addictive. Some of the most addictive drugs are tobacco, methamphetamines, cocaine, and crack. a drug is physically addictive when it directly goes to the brain and takes the place of a
Tobacco, a highly addictive drug.
Tobacco, a highly addictive drug.
specific kind of neurotransmitters. the brain, thinking that it has enough of them, stops producing that kind of neurotransmitter. Therefore, without the drug the person is worse-off than how they would normally be, so they take more of the drug to just get back to normal. when the person taking the physically addictive drug wants to stop, they experience severe withdrawal symptoms. A drug is habitually addictive when the person forms an emotional attachment to having it at a certain time. this, while being less drastic, is still harmful if the person doesn't have the drug. however, they will not go through severe withdrawal. Physically addictive substances are more addictive than habitually addictive substances. A common habitually addictive substance is marijuana. Either way, being addicted to drugs will ruin your life. Your pursuit of the drug will get you into trouble and you might end up doing some things you don't want to do. When the drug that you are addicted to doesn't even get you back to normal, you will search for a more effective drug or a higher dosage. This can lead to overdose which can lead to coma or death.



Short Term and Long Term Effects:
There are many short term and long term effects of drugs. Drugs make you high short term, but in the long run, you are causing damage to you body. For example, tobacco either calms you or energizes you, depending on what you need. It helps you focus. But when you are older, you might have a stroke, throat cancer, lung cancer, stomach ulcers, osteoporosis, and/or you may be infertile. Depressants: in the short term, slow down your bodily processes. However, the will make you have slurred speech, staggering, a coma, or respiratory failure when you're older. Crack makes you have a short high instantly, but your heart might stop, your blood vessels might burst, your lungs will be destroyed if you are inhaling it, and you will become depressed, or paranoid. Narcotics are very addictive. They dull the senses, and bring on sleep, but you might have nosia or vomit, and later, you might die, or go into a coma, or have convulsions. Overall, drugs may seem fun when you are using them, but you wont be thanking yourself when you are 50.

The one on the right is a cancerous lung, from smoking. You don't want it.
The one on the right is a cancerous lung, from smoking. You don't want it.


Sexuality

A simplified version of the HIV molecule.
A simplified version of the HIV molecule.
HIV/AIDS and other STDs:
STDs are Sexually Transmitted Diseases. One in four teens get an STD each year. The most common STD among teens is chamydia, which is bacteria. STDs come in the form of bacteria or a virus. Bacteria STDs can be cured and virus STDs can be treated, but they never fully go away. HIV,
Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a very serious STD and leads to aids. HIV is transferred through bodily fluids rich with infected T cells. The four bodily fluids are breast milk, semen, blood, and vaginal fluids. Therefore, HIV can be gotten by sharing hypodermic needles, having unprotected sex, getting a transfusion of infected blood, and from mother to child. HIV cannot be fought off by the body because it attacks the T cells of the immune system, which tell the B cells what to fight off. Normal viruses attack the workers of the immune system, but HIV attacks and kills off the overseer. When a person has 200 or less T cells in their body, the person has AIDS - Aquired Immune Defficiency Syndrome. This usually takes 10-12 years. People with AIDS are killed by opportunistic infections. They are infections that a normal body would be able to fight if it had all of its T cells.


Should I, or Shouldn't I?external image spring.jpg
you should have sex when you are ready for it, with someone you love. when you are ready to have sex, you have protection, a safe place to do it, and a loving partner, go ahead. If you are not ready, don't let them convince you to have sex with them. If they say that if you really love them, you will have sex with them, then turn their words back on them and say "if you loved me you would respect the fact that I'm not ready for sex." Remember, there is no hurry. You have the rest of your life to have sex. It's better to wait for someone you love than to have an awkward encounter with someone who you don't.





Bibliography:

Images:

Values: Made by Claire
Family Dynamics: http://www.zimbio.com/member/pamm/articles/166126/Family+Dynamics

Sexual Orientation: http://www.neurotranscendence.com/?p=257
Race Issues: http://www.digitalapoptosis.com/archives/lightbox/000747.html
Stress: https://relax-pamper-renew.com/In-Office_SPA_ESCAPE.html
Sleep: http://cherrie.tigblog.org/archive/04_2008
Addiction: http://www.villageeap.com/employee-resources/tobacco.html
Short Term and Long Term Effects: http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/
HIV/AIDS, and other STDs: http://www.rkm.com.au/VIRUS/HIV/HIV-virus-structure.html
Should I, or Shouldn't I?: http://www.aussietheatre.com/oldernews.htm

Sources:
"Drug Packet, Sex Packet."Ask Me If I Care.
Living Skills Notebook, notes.
Dulce. "3-day lecture on STDs." Outlet. Jan 5-7, 2009.