Class Enrollment for Dummies

by Lauren

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It is weird to say that this year is almost over. Now is the time to start choosing your courses for next year.  For this year’s freshmen or next year’s sophomores, this process can be very overwhelming.  This year will be your first time picking out classes on your own. Today my job is to make this task a little easier for you by explaining a little more about your options.

To sign up for classes, first you must log into your PowerSchool account.  Once you are in the website, proceed to the “Class Registration” section in the toolbar on the side of your computer screen.  You will then be presented with a list of subjects. In the corner of each subject box there is a pencil. Click the pencil to open up another box with all the classes you are eligible to take. Once you have selected all your classes, you may click the “submit” button on the bottom.

Remember that each year there is a requirement of 35 credits.

To graduate, all students must have:

  • English, 4 Years
  • Social Studies, 1 Year World History
  • Social Studies, 2 Years United States History
  • Mathematics, 3 Years
  • Science, 3 Years (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics)
  • Health-Physical Education, 4 Years
  • 15 Credits in Physical Ed.
  • 5 Credits in Health
  • World Language, 1 Year
  • Visual or Performing Arts, 5 credits (equivalent of 1 Yr.)
  • Career Education – Consumer, Family Life Skills, 5 credits (equivalent of 1 Yr.)
    Vo-Tech Education
  • Financial, Economic, Business and
    Entrepreneurial Literacy 2.5 credits
    (Class of 2014 and beyond)

No need to start panicking—you will have four years to complete this. Financial Literacy, for example, is a required course that you will take one quarter during your sophomore year. This will be in the place of your study hall. This course includes useful information, and is something you can learn more about from talking to your guidance counselor.  If you book an appointment with the freshman guidance counselor, Mr. Lippart, he will help you make a four year plan that will include the courses that fill your requirements, and courses that you like, as well.

All guidance counselors came to English classes and explained how to choose courses on PowerSchool, as well as some of the options that are now available.  I sat down with Mr.Lippart to discuss the best tips and options for freshmen regarding their sophomore year schedule.

A huge difference between choosing classes for freshmen and sophomores is that for sophomores, they have more options to choose from. Also, sophomores have to pay more attention to the state graduate requirements.  Mr. Lippart explained that the best way to pick classes is by choosing what tells “your story” most thoroughly.

“Classes should show demonstrated interest and growth in the challenges you give yourself,” he added.

He urges students to not play “follow the leader” when picking classes. Just because your friends are picking a certain class does not mean you should too.  If you strongly dislike a particular class or topic, it might be a bad idea to take an honors class. 

During freshman year, there were many limitations on which classes you could take. Despite those issues, Ceramics and Woods are typically the most popular. During sophomore year, with more choices, a popular pick is Graphics.  But, it still all matters on your opinion. Mr. Lippart thinks Psychology is a great class, although it is not offered to freshmen or sophomores.  There is, however, an Introduction to Psychology class, a half-year course that is available sophomore year.

A great way to look at the classes and make your four year plan is go on the school website. Under the “Guidance” tab, you can find the course selection section. This area will have all the information you need. Also at the top left hand corner is the course catalog that is extremely helpful.  The catalog has every class described and a great graphic organizer that shows each class a course path you are eligible for each year.   This makes understanding the courses and making that four year plan so much easier.

Now that you have all the information you need to continue choosing classes, the process should be much easier.  Even if you get stuck, you can always ask a teacher or guidance counselor about their opinion.  You are the most important person in this process.  Don’t get stuck in a lame class because you followed your friends.  Go with your gut, and choose what right for you.

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A Night at the Oscars

by Billy

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This year’s group of films nominated for the Oscar Awards was strong across the board. Host Seth Macfarlane, creator of the hit show Family Guy, guided the audience through awards ranging from Best Sound Editing to Best Picture, and everything in between. There were 23 categories, but a majority of the films were nominated for multiple categories. The most prominent amongst the bunch were Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

You probably haven’t watched all of these movies, but I assure you the lineup was quite impressive. An impressive lineup, however, is only made possible by an impressive array of actors and producers. For example, Argo won the Best Picture category, which is not surprising considering Ben Affleck and George Clooney joined forces to produce the film. Bradley Cooper, who is the smoothest man alive, was nominated for Best Actor.  He lost, however, to Daniel-Day Lewis, who portrayed Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. This particular film was produced by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg produced the legendary Star Wars saga, so it is not farfetched that another one of his films was nominated for an award.

Familiar actors like Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix (the guy who appeared in Gladiator as Commodus, the evil prince,) Denzel Washington, and Anne Hathaway, were all nominated for awards, or were part of a film that was nominated for awards.

In addition to the “main” awards, there were categories for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and a couple of other technical aspects of movie making. To be honest, most people do not know the names of the most prominent tech crew members, but the technical aspects of a film are subtle, yet very important. Watching a movie in a theatre sets the perfect viewing setting, and amidst the candy, famous actors, and hot dates sitting next to us, we only register the technical works subconsciously.

But trust me, they are a largely important component to ensuring the enjoyment of all viewers. Sound editors have to use mixing boards to create the “cleanest” sound possible. I assume that their goal is to make the dialogue sound as if the viewers are in the same room as the actors. I cannot say I know how visual effects work, but they basically make the impossible possible.

For example, explosions and mythical creatures are all creations derived from computers. As technology advances, the people in charge of creating visual effects will be able to make impossible events look very real, which is why it is paramount that the audience appreciate the men who work behind the scenes. Their awards are well deserved.

In my opinion, the Oscars serve two purposes. The most obvious is to honor the people who are involved in making the productions that both capture our attention and make us think about real world issues. The second purpose is to advertise the movies that deserve attention. By commending various aspects of various films, it makes people privy to what they are missing by not watching movies. For that to happen, it is necessary for the Oscar presentation itself to be both interesting and honoring, which is why Seth Macfarlane’s ability to create humor was tactfully utilized. Who better to punctuate the more boring parts of a program with comic relief than one of the funniest guys on television?

While Seth Macfarlane was the main host, there was also a plethora of celebrities who announced the winners of each individual award. There was also an appearance from the talented musician Adele. I could rattle off a long list of names, but if there was an award for the most surprising and controversial appearance, first lady Michelle Obama would win unanimously. Thankfully, most of the controversy seemed to gravitate toward the nature of her appearance, as opposed to the more common form of controversy regarding attire.

I have never been someone who invested even minimal amounts of thought or research into understanding politics, yet from reading an article by Jack Kerwick, I have come to realize why her appearance was so controversial. At first, I simply assumed her appearance derived from the genuine desire to attend the ceremony. She is after all, a human being with interests and desires. I later realized that, as usual, politicians will read deeper into the “real” reason of why she was there. Some say it was to gain support from the politically uneducated who, like myself, would see her appearance as nothing more than a harmless visit from a woman who wanted to see the ceremony live, and just happened to be the first lady. To the politically uneducated, this would cast her in a light that made her seem involved and friendly.

The politically educated, however, have said that her appearance made the Obama’s seem weak, as if they were too overbearing in their attempt to be loved by America. Other say that her appearance encourages the appearances of celebrities at other cultural events, which retracts attention from the ceremony at hand and diverts it towards the celebrities in attendance.

In my opinion, people are thinking too far into the matter, and by doing so they are demeaning the actions of a woman who may have wanted to be a part of the ceremony. She wouldn’t have been able to appear unannounced, for obvious safety reasons, so it made sense that they incorporated her into the program.

Finally, I want to say that watching the Oscars was entertaining, but in reality the only aspect I really appreciated was the advertisement. It honestly made me want to go to the Monmouth Mall at once, and have a movie marathon.

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Spiders: The Eight-Legged Hunters

by Myles

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Spiders may be the most terrifying species on earth; no one wants anything to do with them.  However, they’re actually one of the most interesting. As for those who don’t care for spiders, they may not know or even understand their interesting qualities. Like Daddy Long Legs, for example.

Daddy Long Legs are most commonly considered spiders that don’t instinctively harm humans. As usual, people that do not understand spiders are corrected. Two experts by the names of Danielle and Noel from lhric.org, they found out that Daddy Long Legs are not spiders because they have six eyes instead of eight. Not only that, Daddy Long Legs are 1-20 mm in body length and 0.04 to 0.9 inches in length. Though being very small, Daddy Long Legs are venomous creatures.

In 2004, the TV show Myth Busters examined the myth regarding the effects of being bitten by a Daddy Long Leg. Many people believe that these spiders’ venom is the most poisonous, but that their teeth are not strong enough to puncture human skin.  One of the cast members were bitten by a single Daddy Long Leg. Though the “victim” reported mild burns in the punctured area, the pain quickly disappeared, just as it does with smaller insects that are bitten. This disproved this myth. The venom does affect an animal/human, but doesn’t cause death. Another interesting quality is the spider’s web.

Spider webs are the most common identifier of a spider’s presence. As many know, spiders construct their web or otherwise known as silk; they are common in areas of being strung are trees, bushes, blades of grass, and homes. They’re able to do this is by producing chains of amino acids, primarily glycine and alanine. Spider webs are five times stronger than steel and can stretch 30% longer than its original length. The reason how it can be so strong and flexiable, because from how quickly and tightly the silk is strung. This technique is what causes the webbing to be so strong and is why their prey have a hard time trying to escape.

There are many types of spider webs; funnel webs made by arachnids for tunnel-like habitats, orb webs that insects fly into, sheet webs made by Linyphiidae for capturing animals, and cobwebs made by cobweb spiders for capturing their prey inside homes. So anywhere spiders go, they create their nest completely made out of silk that are not only used for trapping their prey, but also living in the very spot their prey is tangled in.

On August 6, 2007, at Lake Tawakoni Park, rangers, who had been absent for two weeks, returned to find that the entire park was covered with several web sheets. The trees, bushes, and ground were covered. The webs that were tangling trees, the ground, and especially the bushes were intended to trap the animals in the forest. Web sheets have two layers; the first layer isn’t as sticky as the second layer, but its purpose is to scare animals into thinking they’re caught so they’ll break the layer into the sticky second layer. From here they are easier prey.

With webs strong enough to capture animals practically our size, spiders dramatically affect most people, resulting in Arachnophobia. Arachnophobia is an overwhelming fear of spiders in which even the sight of an empty web could cause panic.  However, there are also many cultures that love spiders and consider them a natural resource. Many Europeans ate them as much the French eat snails. So with spiders being so popular in so many ways, where does their reign of terror and deliciousness begin and end?

In Greek Mythology, there was a beautiful woman named Arachne who loved to weave tapestries. Her work was adored by others so much that she became arrogant and boastful. So she announced that she was the greatest weaver in the world, even better than the goddess Athena. Such a comment not only insulted Athena, but also the other Gods. So when Athena heard, she came down from Mount Olympus and threatened to kill Arachne. Though as she began to strike, Arachne offered Athena one of her best carpets and suprisingly changed the Goddess’s mind. Instead of killing Arachne, Athena challenged her to a weaving contest to see if Arachne’s comment was true.

The victor was no other than Arachne who not only won, but even impressed Athena. However, because she challenged the gods, Arachne was punished by Athena with the company of Zeus and turned her into what was once known as an insect, but is now known as a spider today. Today spiders are not known as insects or bugs, where we named the species “Arachnid” from the woman who challenged the gods.

There are many reasons to respect spiders.  First of all, they’re actually important to us humans. Without spiders, places that have crops with a large amount of vegetation would be consumed by insects, because they wouldn’t have a predator to prevent them from eating food primarily for humans. Most importantly, spiders are a form of protectors. As there are insects that like to bite humans for our blood, spiders can isolate insects away from us.

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Atlantis: A Spring Break Favorite

by Josh

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Spring break is a time that every student and teacher anticipates, and since the Rumson Fair-Haven student body was deprived of a winter break during the month of February, this year’s break will be a very appreciated time away from school.  It seems as though this year’s spring break hotspot was the Bahamas, more specifically the the Atlantis Resort . This place is extremely beautiful and has remained the most popular vacation spot during my tenure at Rumson Fair-Haven.

The Atlantis Resort is located in the Bahamas and first opened in 1998. With an average temperature between 70 and 80 degrees, you can spend nearly your entire stay outdoors, and with the countless attractions that Atlantis has, you are guaranteed a good time. The most popular attraction is the Adventure Water Park that covers a total of 141 acres and uses 200 million gallons. It has a combination of slides, a lazy river, and rapids that open into one large waterscape. The four main water slides in the water park are The AbyssThe DropThe Falls and The Surge.

Then there’s The Current which is a mile long water slide complete with waves and artificial tidal surges. Also there’s the Dig which is the resort’s aquarium located beneath one of the hotels. Hundreds of different species of fish can be found here along with varieties of sharks, manta rays and jelly fish.

Another very popular attraction is Atlantis Live, which is simply a chain of concerts hosting a slew of today’s pop icons. Taylor Swift, Justin Beiger, Katy parry, Sheryl Crow and Michael Jackson are only a handful of the big names that have made appearances here.

Personally during spring break I will be staying right here in Fair Haven, I may take a day trip or so to New York but the majority of my time will be spend at home and I’m actually happy about that. It’s nice sometimes to just stay home with your friends and enjoy some of the local attractions and that’s exactly what I plan to do. But regardless of where you travel this spring break is sure to make the most of it!

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Girl Power Song Power Rankings

by Jeff

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Let me start this article by addressing a few things. I am not a female. More specifically, I am not a girl. I am, admittedly, just a foolish 18 year old man. I am not a feminist (just kidding, ladies!); I’ve even been called a misogynist. What I am, however, is a lover of music; girl power songs included.

You might be asking yourself, what exactly does he mean by a “girl power song?” A GP song empowers women of all ages. It teaches us that we don’t need no stinkin’ man in our lives to be happy. They are perfect to listen to after a breakup, at a slumber party, or cruising around town. There have been countless amazing girl power songs that will never get old, but I attempted to narrow it down to the top ten.

Honorable Mentions
The following songs are girl power classics, but did not quite make the top ten.
“So What?” by P!nk
“Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin
“Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé
“I’m a Survivor” by Destiny’s Child
“We are Never Ever Getting back Together” by Taylor Swift
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
“I Love It” by Icona Pop

And now, without further ado, I present the top ten girl power songs of all time.

10.) “Man! I feel like a Woman” by Shania Twain
We start out our top 10 with a little bit of country flair, courtesy of Shania Twain. In this upbeat country song, Twain sings about going out with her girls, feeling alright, and having a fun time. While this song might not be universally appealing to non-country fans, we can all agree that its message is timeless and simple.

9.) “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
The title basically speaks for itself. This 80s classic is simple in nature, yet serves as a lighthearted reminder to sometimes let go and just have fun.

8.) “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani
Many people have mixed feelings about Gwen Stefani’s break from No Doubt and question her solo career. However, nobody can deny the legitimacy of her 2004 song, “Hollaback Girl.” In this urban-pop song, Stefani tells the world that she isn’t, in fact, a hollaback girl. She also ensures that none of her listeners will ever misspell the word “bananas” again.

7.) “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé
Number 7 on our list is unlike most of the upbeat, peppy songs on our list. It is actually relatively slow, but just as empowering to women. In this song, Beyoncé is in the process of kicking her boyfriend out of her house. All of his stuff can be conveniently found in a box to the left. This song is so good because it reminds us that nobody, no matter how special they may seem, is irreplaceable. Except Beyonce herself; she seems as close to perfection as possible.

6.) “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood
Vandalism is rarely a good thing. Under normal circumstances, it is NOT a good idea to dig your key into the side of a car, carve your name into a leather seat, take a baseball bat to both headlights, and slash a hole in the car’s tires. However, if you are country star Carrie Underwood, and your boyfriend cheats on you, then by all means, go ahead and do so. Normal people would probably have charges pressed against them for such actions, but after listening to this song, I doubt any police officer would want to mess with my girl Carrie Underwood.

5.) “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera
In this girl power anthem, Christina Aguilera tells her listeners about how her breakup with a man has made her more powerful than before. She has now become stronger, harder, wiser, faster, smarter, and most importantly, a fighter. Aguilera uses her powerful pipes to empower women and make any girl out there going through a breakup feel better about herself. This song has an awesomely turbulent mood to it that leaves all jerk guys out there shaking in their boots.

4.) “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
Coming in at number 4 on our list is American Idol season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 hit “Since U Been Gone.” If you’re able to look past the text lingo in the title (Really, Kelly? You didn’t have time to type out “You?”) you’ll definitely realize how amazing this song. In this song, Clarkson belts out how happy she is now that her ex-boyfriend is out of her life. This song is uplifting, and perfect for screaming along to.

3.) “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé
According to Kanye West, this song produced one of the “best videos of all time.” While Kanye might have been a tad hyperbolic in his praise of the video, the song is certainly an all-time great. It calls for all the single ladies in the club to band together and show the world how dope they really are. It is literally impossible to listen to this song and not dance. Seriously, try it. If you were successful, then you likely have no soul.

2.) “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
This classic disco song takes the silver medal of girl power songs. Gloria Gaynor admits that while at first she was afraid and petrified, it is possible for all girls to grow strong and learn how to get along without their men. So whenever your stupid boy comes crawling back from outer space, put on this song, tell him to walk out the door, cause he’s not welcome anymore.

1.) “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
The top spot on the Girl Power Song Power Rankings is this iconic anthem by the queen of girl power, Aretha Franklin. Aretha doesn’t ask for much, but she does demand respect from her men. This upbeat song is literally impossible to not sing along to, and it also provides a helpful spelling lesson while doing so. As an all time great vocalist, Franklin delivers a powerful vocal performance which echoes the powerful sentiment of her song. “Respect” garners the respect of all its listeners.

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Whats Down at “Downton Abbey”

by Lauren

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Recently, all the rage has been about the British TV series, Downton AbbeyDownton Abbey takes you back to the 1900’s where you follow the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family. The show first aired in the UK in 2010, but soon came to be the international hit it is today. 

Caution: spoilers ahead! 

This fictional series is filmed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England but is called Downton Abbey, where the Crowley family lives.  The first season opens up with the shocking news of the Titanic sinking in the Atlantic Ocean.  During this time,Lady Cora Grantham, mother of the house, had three daughters and no male son to inherit the estate and family fortune. A binding contract on the house states that a male heir must inherit the house. This creates a big dilemma for the Crowley family because their daughter, Lady Mary Crowley, lost her fiancée, the hier to the estate,  in the Titanic. Now, the fortune must go to the next male family member in line.   

This is when we meet Matthew Crawley, an unsophisticated man, who becomes the next heir. Matthew and his mother, Isobel Crawley, move to Downton Abbey and try to become respectable aristocrats.  During this process, Lady Mary tries to find a respectable husband to marry.  That task becomes very hard after a rumor was spread that she had slept with a man, unmarried, and he had been found dead the next day. Without knowing the rumor was true, Mary and Matthew fell in love and became engaged.  This engagement, however, was broken off right as World War I started, and Matthew went to war.

Season 2 aired in the U.S. on January, 2012, and in the U.K. a year before that. This begins a new journey of finding Mary a husband, and meeting Matthew’s new fiancée, Lavinia.  Mary and Matthew, who are still clearly in love with each other, attempt to become friends, and support each other’s romances. Mary becomes engaged to Sir  Richard, the owner of a popular newspaper in New York, who helps her conceal the rumor of having a relationship with a man while unwed.  Then, while in battle, Matthew is injured in the spine and told he will never walk or have children. This created unease in the Crawley family because they must find another heir. Later in the season, Matthew begins to feel his legs, and can eventually walk again.

Just as you think everything is calm, and wedding preparations are finalized for Matthew and Lavinia, the 1918 flu pandemic comes to Downton.  Many of the household staff and family members are stricken ill. In the end, Lavinia dies. Along with this stunning news, Lady Cora’s third daughter, Sybil, shocks the family with the news she is in love with the chuffer, Tom Branson, and they are getting married. Her father is angryat first, but gives his limited blessing to the couple in the end.  Mary then realizes she is unhappy with Sir Richard and breaks off their engagement, ready to face the old, nasty rumor, which continues to spread.  Mary, who prepared to go to America to escape the papers, is asked by Matthew to marry him once again. The season ends with her agreement to marry him.

Season 3  greets you to the marriage of Matthew and Mary. Now the family no longer needs to worry about an heir, and the estate and fortune stay in the family.  As usual, peace is long to stay, as Sybil and Tom write to the family from their home in Ireland that they are expecting their first child. This shakes the family as they want to reconnect their relationship with Sybil and the new baby. Lady Edith finally gets engaged to an older aristocrat, Sir Anthony, who later leaves her at the altar.   Soon after the wedding, due to complications, Sybil dies during child birth. Tom, names the child after her, and remains at Downton. Mary and William struggle with fertility, but after Mary undergoes a minor surgery, the couple becomes pregnant.  Lady Edith, wanting to be independent while still unmarried, starts writing for a newspaper.  Here she becomes close with the newspaper’s editor, who is married.

Season 3 is continuing to air in the U.S.  A fourth season has been confirmed, and one thing is for sure. It will be nothing short of the jaw-dropping drama that began 3 season ago.   If you have never watched the series, I highly suggest you catch up, and watch away. Downton Abbey has captured many hearts and is well worth the collective seven Primetime Emmy Awards.

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What’s in a Password

by Lauren

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With all of the technology that is around today, one of the most common problems people face is forgotten passwords.  It seems that the whole world has embraced passwords even if they seem a nuisance. In reality, passwords play a key role in technology.  Why are these locking restrictions needed? What do they do, and more importantly, how can we remember them?  

Today passwords are used to keep information safe. A computer is much like a vault; inside the computer are all your important documents, pictures, and other media information that you may not necessarily want open to all eyes. For the protection of this information, a password is set into place. This acts like the vault’s combination lock, but this one is digitalized.  So in reality, a computer with a password is a computerized vault.

Many people, such as business workers, teachers, and even those super secret spies you see in movies use them.  Passwords not only unlock things now, they also help keep your computer and its files safe from viruses and computer hackers. 

Hackers today are not always after your information.  They might want to get into your emails and send letters that are not from you. They also might want to take photos on your computer.   Also, you can be held responsible for all damage that is done on your computer while it is hacked.

Computer viruses can be also very damaging for the hard drive in your computer.  Once a virus is in your computer, the virus will spread like wildfire. Then after the virus has taken over your computer, the computer will become slow, unresponsive, and may need to be replaced if not fixed.

With all the risk involving no password protection, it is much simpler to just apply a password to your computer and other information-holding files such as an email.  Once you have applied that password, you can be rest assured that your information is perfectly safe.

Choosing a password can be a little tricky.  When creating a password, you want to make one that no one can guess.  If your password was as obvious as your name, then it wouldn’t do much protecting from anyone who knows you. Here are some guidelines on creating a great password:

How to Create a Great Password:

  • Use at least 8 characters (letters, symbols, and numbers)
  • Does not use your real name, user name, or company name, or any personal information
  • Use  a combination of numbers and upper and lowercase letters
  • Get creative
  • Create one that you will remember

When making your password, being creative is not using your name with a bunch of zeros. Combine the name of an old stuffed animal with your favorite age, or your favorite movie with the number of times you have seen it.

Here is an example of a good passwords:  

  • SpiderMan8
  • Harvard101
  • GaGa247

NEVER:

  • Use the same passwords for multiple important accounts (such as Gmail and Banking).
  • Tell anyone else your passwords.

Now you are all set to create your own password. Follow this simple guide and your information will be as safe as a vault.

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