Planning Ahead (Sort Of.)

planning ahead

It’s almost impossible to consider that the majority of your life will be lived outside of the confines of high school, and the haze of block scheduling and after school commitments and hallway drama will become a lumpy blur of “that time I was a teenager.” High school is a life lived in brief yet intense duration. It seems like forever; but once you are out, four years feels more like the span of growing out your bangs than an accurate measurement of time. That said, it’s also condescending for any adult to act like adolescence – especially your high school years – aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. They are. Extremely important. But for all of the right reasons – not the kinds that involve unrequited love or acne.

The true importance of high school boils down to two things: Who you choose to be friends with during this time, and how seriously you take your school work. These elements set the stage for who you become long term.

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The Evolution of *Your* Identity

your identity

Who are you? If you ask your mother, she might offer grandiose characteristics such as “amazing, extremely talented, beautiful inside and out…” Your friends might note your excellent dry sense of humor, your talent for belting out “Shake It Off” in the locker room after games, and your insatiable appetite for Peppermint Patty’s. People who don’t know you very well at school might suggest you are “Loud, smiley, and into sports and math.” When you stop to answer the question yourself, it’s probably more difficult to boil yourself down to just a few adjectives and flippant descriptors.

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Holiday Sadness: 5 Tips To Cope This Season

holiday sadness

Does December fill you with cheer and excitement for the upcoming year? Odds are, no – not at all. According to the American Psychological Association, half of all people experience sadness or irritability during the holiday season, while up to two-thirds of respondents acknowledge feeling stress and fatigue.

There can be many factors affecting our mood as the days become shorter, darker, colder, and seemingly more hectic; it’s no wonder the month of December can usher in feelings of loneliness and depression. For teens and young adults especially, it can be a time of bitter sweet nostalgia as you remember a time when life may have been less complicated, and the holidays were once actually magical. Maybe family relations are more strained at this juncture in your life or this time of year; maybe your future after the year ends is more uncertain. You could also be experiencing the simple sugar crash from too many icing glazed cookies and party sweets. What ever the reason for your sudden decrease in happiness, there are a few ways to make it through the holiday haze:

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Dealing with Tragedy and Fear

dealing with tragedy and fear

In the wake of recent global terror attacks, such as those in France, Lebanon and Kenya, and the frequent domestic mass shootings across schools and public places within the US, it is important to pay attention to what you may be feeling in response to tragedy. It is common to experience heightened anxiety as a result of communal or global events, and it is ok to feel scared, angry, saddened and confused by random acts of violence and terror.

You may see friends and family band together on social media during times of crisis and feel a sense of unity, or you may find that no one wants to discuss the events – including you. Whether you find yourself deeply saddened by these random acts of violence or you’d rather shrug it off as something you are not directly affected by, it may help to take the time to consider your feelings surrounding these issues so that negative sentiments or fears don’t creep up and unknowingly impede other areas of your life. Here are a few ways to deal with tragedy and cope with potential anxiety and fear following a catastrophic event.

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The Art of Speaking in 5 Steps

the art of speaking

So much depends upon what comes out of your mouth. Whether you are sitting in a sticky leather upholstered chair on a hot day being grilled by a chipper college admission counselor, or trying to impress the mom of your significant other with your knowledge of Phil Collins tunes, the way you turn a phrase – in one sentence or less – can send out all the right (or wrong) signals about who you are as a person and what your intentions are.

Fortunately, language is something you can work on, and everyone can improve somehow, whether it’s through diction, word choice, tone, or perhaps even more importantly – the ability to know when to stop talking and just listen.

Adjusting speech patterns, elocution and diction doesn’t happen overnight – but the more aware you are, the more likely you are to develop your speaking skills. Here are a few places to start.

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Building Lasting Friendships in 5 Steps or Less

building lasting friendships

A follow up from Part I: 5 Ways to Make Friends Fast (Just Don’t Expect It To Last).

Whether the honeymoon period from Freshman Orientation is growing stale or you are new to the neighborhood, building real friendships is important for your well-being and emotional life. It may be easy to bond with someone over a shared yoga class or a frozen yogurt, but it can be trickier to establish real, intimate friendships where you feel comfortable sharing your deep thoughts, venting personal frustrations, or just being together in comfortable silence. Remember: It’s takes time to meet people and build lasting friendships. Here are 5 steps to help you along the way.

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How To Apologize (And When You Shouldn’t)

How To Apologize

A recent New York Times opinion piece raised an important question every woman should stop to consider: Why do I apologize, and do I apologize more just because I’m female?

“For so many women, myself included, apologies are inexorably linked with our conception of politeness,” shares NYT contributor Sloane Crosley after apologizing half a dozen times to a waiter for an unsavory dish she was served. “Somehow, as we grew into adults, ‘sorry’ became an entry point to basic affirmative sentences.”

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