Excitement in Gambling

What is gambling? I only associated gambling with casinos, but lately I’ve heard that any activity that includes risk of losing something of value is considered gambling. So that includes placing a dollar into the pot and playing a game of pool to see who wins.

Now that I think about, that means I probably "gamble" 2-3 times a month. Of course, when we have to pay up, no one pays up; therefore no one loses any money and it’s all fun and games.

The only time I’ve lost money “gambling” was at a hockey tournament. After a hard, fought game, my teammates and I decided to play a friendly game of poker. Each person put $5 for a total of $55 in the pot, and the winner would take all. The game started at 10:00 pm.

I was not very experienced at poker, but learned as the game went along. As soon as the first person lost, I got excited that I was still in the game. As the game progressed, I got better and better. Four and a half hours later, two people were left and I was one of them. I was only one person away from winning the $55. I had a significant lead, but with some rash decisions and over-confidence, I lost the next few hands. I ended up losing… This experience really allowed me to feel that adrenaline rush from almost winning all $55, and then taking it all away from me. No matter how close you may be to winning money, there’s always that chance in losing it all. Now I think about that risk before betting my money in any way.  

New Friends, New Pressure

As school starts, we will all be making some new friends. You might only talk to them during school hours at first, but in a few months, you might find yourself hanging out with them over weekends or after school. Little did you know that when you fist meet him or her that he or she does drugs and drinks alcohol. You later find yourself in a position where your friend offers you and your other friends a beer. It's very easy to fall into peer pressure because you see other people drinking around you and they try to force you to drink. You have to stay true to your beliefs and practices and not accept the beer. If you truly believe in not drinking and that everything has its own time and place, you just need to not accept it and maybe reconsider hanging out with these friends. 

Don't Want to Break Parents' Trust

Sometimes I wonder about how teens are able to do drugs or drink alcohol without thinking about their parents. Parents do everything for us, teens, so that we can have a better childhood/life than they did. I'm sure most parents disapprove of their teens using drugs and drinking alcohol. I personally know that if I did either of those and my parents found out, I would be in a lot of trouble. Not only am I doing drugs or drinking alcohol, but I'm also breaking my parents trust in me. I'm so grateful that my parents have a lot of trust in me, and I can't imagine breaking that trust with them. 

Summer Fun

It's summer and I want to have fun. Not all teens will party this summer. Many of us will work, hang out with friends, go on vacation with our families or just relax. I'll be with my older brother and parents a lot this summer so they won't allow me to get in trouble. I guess it's good to have them keep an eye on me.

Before High School Ends, I Want to...

“go to a real party”

“get wasted”

“be in the ‘in’ crowd”

“get high”

“go to a prom party”

Why do high school students have these goals?  Around adults, their goals are to get an A on that Chem test and to get into their favorite college.  Around their friends, their goals do a complete 360 degree turn.  These goals are, in part, provoked by the media’s perception of high school students.  The media normalizes teen drug use and teen sex.  The media perpetuates the idea that underage drinking is “cool”, and rarely ever suggests that there will be serious repercussions; if there are repercussions, they are almost always “one night in jail” or a “lecture from the parents.”  In real life, however, drug use and underage drinking all too often result in DUIs and manslaughter.  People waste away in jail because they saw in a “classic teen movie” that it was cool to drink at a party.  Their parents go to jail because a party was held at their house.  It’s not cool to drink underage.  It’s not cool to go to a party with drinking.  It’s not cool to distribute drugs.  It’s irresponsible, and it’s irresponsible for American media to glorify this behavior.

 

10 High School Party Tips for Parents

This list was created by Howard County teens for parents of other teens:

1. Make sure there is an adult at all parties.

2. Give your child a way to communicate with you during the party in case things go wrong.

3. Create/practice a “safe code” (a secret word or phrase) for when your child is in an uncomfortable situation and needs to let you know to come get them. (Parents, ask HC DrugFree’s staff to help you create a secret code if you do not have one or understand why this is important!).

4.  Set a reasonable curfew and stick to it.

5. Have your child take their own drink with them so they have something to hold/drink other than the alcohol offered at the party.

6. Go through your kid’s room while they are away to look for any drugs.

7. Look through their phones for evidence of drug use/dealing. 

8. Don't allow your teen to attend parties when their grades are bad.

9. Help your children to have friends. 

10. Give your kid a debit card instead of extra cash so they can’t buy drugs and you can see their expenses.

Where would you be now?

Just a few weeks ago I was riding the bus home; as usual, I was sitting by myself, exhausted from yet another long week of hard work, waiting to be dropped off at my stop so I could get a start on my homework before I had to hurry to practice.  There were three or four kids sitting behind me: people I recognize from the hallways, but never really talk to.  They were talking about homecoming, which had been that past Saturday.  I didn’t mean to “eavesdrop,” I just happened to be sitting there, and rather overheard their conversation.  At the beginning of the conversation they talked about their dates for homecoming, which seemed like a relatively innocent topic.  The conversation very quickly escalated to the exciting after parties, which prompted a discussion about how long the high lasted from ingested marijuana versus inhaled, and how one of them called their friend at 3 AM, the morning after homecoming, in a drunken haze.

The colloquialism with which they spoke shocked me.  How could high school students be so casual about their use of illicit drugs and their participation in illegal activities?  How could they so blatantly brag about their 24 hour-high, or their parents’ disappointment?  How could students so willingly sacrifice their given opportunities to drugs?  Then again, I’ve never really experienced this type of community.  I’ve led a relatively sheltered life thus far, and can’t fully comprehend the ends to which others will go for a “good time.”  This certain experience struck me, however.  How do good parents plus good communities plus good school systems plus good students equal drugs? 

Before you dismiss the idea that this was a one case scenario, think about the people you know, think about yourself.  If you had grown up with different friends, if you had grown up in a different school system, if you had grown up with different opportunities: where would you be now?  --  from a Howard County teen

HC DrugFree's Teen Advisory Council

I joined HC DrugFree's Teen Advisory Council (TAC) my junior year of high school, thinking it would look good on a college resume. Not only was my initial thought exceedingly true, but also TAC had many other attributes. TAC was a great place to meet like-minded teens from across the county. I was exposed to new ideas, opinions, and opportunities to become more involved in the community. TAC is a fun and easy way to fulfill service hours for school requirements, including National Honor Society. You can also eat free pizza and candies at the monthly meetings. I would certainly recommend Teen Advisory Council to anyone interested in getting involved.  --  from a Howard County teen

Food inspiration

My family lives by the ancient adage that we eat “anything with four legs and a back facing the sky.” Following our motto, I subconsciously prioritized red meat in all of the meals I cooked. This summer changed everything. I shifted away from this common theme in favor of healthier and tastier options.

This summer, I spent a month and a half navigating Europe on a cross-country food and sights tour. Inspired by the myriad of different cultures and dishes, I experimented with my cooking when I returned home. I made seafood risotto in an effort to emulate the creamy and flavorful rice that melted on my tongue in Italy; cauliflower rice loosely inspired by the fluffy bread expected at the beginning of European meals; carrot and cucumber “spaghetti” to mimic crisp julienned vegetable salads; carrot cake and oatmeal cookies to use up the several pounds of carrots my mom purchased because they were on sale.

I can’t say everyone loved everything I made (especially the cookies), but I found joy in the uncertainty and fun that came with experimentation. I may never pursue a profession in the culinary field, but that won’t stop me from creating at home!  --  from a Howard County teen

My heroes

I have spent this summer volunteering for the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center. I was assigned to work in the Communications Department and I had an enjoyable time assisting veterans with their technical difficulties. Volunteering has helped me interact with our nation's veterans and it has been a very eye opening journey. I have had veterans tell me so many anecdotes about their lives on the battlefield and their return home. Their stories were inspirational as they spoke of self-medicating themselves with drugs and alcohol to relieve themselves of their post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. As they spoke of overcoming their addictions, the veterans described it as a personal triumph. I feel that they are the true heroes. It is an amazing experience serving those who have served. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and is learning as much as I am.  --  from a rising Howard County high school senior