Iris is a 16 year old from Fremont, CA. She enjoys creating through art, writing, and graphic design, researching anything that catches her eye, and hopes to combine everything she loves one day into a career.
Are you tired of your bookmarks? Find that you’ve been visiting the same three websites over and over again? I know how you feel. Well, after a long search, I have some websites that will bring a little color back into your web-surfing. I have tried to include a variety of websites that you may or may not know, but are as equally brilliant as popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.
The Hype Machine
The Hype Machine is basically a music lover’s paradise. Hype Machine combines all of the music blogs in the world together in a gigantic feed. It’s as simple as reading the blog posts from the websites, listen to the music, buy/download, and enjoy it! It’s very easy to discover new music, especially with the plethora of unknown bands and singers nowadays. I’ve had great experience with discovering French techno, Afro-Cuban hip hop, and indie pop-punk.
Face the facts: sexual education is something that all teenagers need to know and understand. But it doesn’t have to be scary. Scarleteen is an enormously popular site that offers young adults “sex ed for the real world” With its stylish, youth-focused writing, Scarleteen addresses any sexual health issue, no matter how embarrassing, and writes about it in the sincerest detail. Many parents testify that they wish they had this resource when they were younger, and to now pass it along to their children. With its many enlightening articles, I personally found the “Sexual Readiness Checklist” to be a truly insightful guide. There is also a “Sexpert Advice” and active forum, where you can ask any question, and trained volunteers will answer with thoughtful detail.
Everyone has secrets, some never revealed, but Postsecret is the first website where the act of confessing secrets creates emotionally raw artwork. Completely anonymous people write and decorate a postcard with a never-before revealed secret, then mail it to the webmaster, who updates the website every Sunday. I admire Postsecret for the inspirational and heart-wrenching artwork, but I also go on this website when I feel down about my own personal issues, only to discover that someone has posted the same secret. We’re all human, and Postsecret illustrates this brilliantly. If you feel the need to mail one after looking, I highly recommend it.
Students, parents – do you cringe sometimes at the word, “college?” How about “financial aid,” “fit,” or “Will I get in?” I know how you feel, and that’s why I went to College Confidential, a lively resource for everything to do with college. While the website was recently revamped with several features, including College Visit Reports, the real gem is the forum – students and parents alike that struggled through the college admissions minefield are often ready to help. But first, Google search the forum, and you may discover 15 topics answering such issues as how to earn that one scholarship, successfully complete a college essay, and maintain your sanity before the age of 18. Beware though, the CC student population can contain extraordinary achievers, and who do not represent the typical student, so approach the ‘Chances’ threads carefully.
Come here and learn how to survive the Sahara desert, grow your own community garden, use fire extinguishers, and make crème brulee, amongst many other things. School is for learning and expanding your mind, but HowStuffWorks is for everything else you need to know, and everything that you need to know in the future…including if you want to survive a night in the Alaskan wilderness.
Community service often conjures up images of hospital volunteering and canned food drives, but Volunteermatch opens up a whole world of possibilities. Log on to the site, type in your location (type in ‘Virtual’ if you want to work from home) and select an area of interest like animal welfare, crisis support or nonprofit journalism. The site then matches you with a project that best fits your interest/skill set. There’s something for everyone; for example, artsy types can type in ‘graphic design,’ and see several listings for nonprofits are in need for webmasters and logo creators. Current listings include children’s book illustrators, environmental cleanups, and dog socializers.
Are you tired of all of those online quizzes that seem utterly random, like “What is your Ghetto Name?” or “What Twilight Character Are you?” Want to take some actual personality/psychology quizzes with a scientific basis? Similar Minds is for you. The best part is being able to Google the quiz results for further understanding. My favorite test is the “Jung Tests I-E S-N F-T J-P,” which is also known as the Myer-Briggs test, where your personality is matched amongst 16 approximate matches. Extremely accurate, and I retake it every few months to discover how I am growing as a person. It’s also fun to compare results with friends.
A little art nourishes the soul, and fortunately, Deviantart has enough art to nourish the world, and then some. An amazing online art community that is now officially 9 years old, Deviantart is the place, where both amateur and professional artists can display their work, give feedback, and form friendships. The website exhibits a tremendous variety of work and talent – you can see both digital and traditional media, black and white photography, mixed-media paintings, animation, and short films, along with simple sketches and pastels. Whether you are an artist or a viewer, this is one website that you cannot miss.
Stumbleupon is a ridiculously fun website/browser toolbar where the simple act of web-surfing is upstaged by the “Stumble!” button. After you download it into your web browser, you can customize your interests from more than 500 options, which can range from “Greek Mythology” to “Fashion.” Then, click “Stumble!” to be taken to a random webpage. StumbleUpon is built on thousands of recommendations, all by people like you, who are just looking for the next coolest thing on the internet.