Top 5 Stress Relievers For Teens

teenagers, anxiety, stress, test stress, stress management, stress relief, how to relieve stress, teenage stress, high schoolSamantha is a 17-year-old from Tulsa, OK. She enjoys babysitting, sewing, drawing, crocheting, writing and anything creative. She loves to hang out with her mom and two sisters and hopes to someday work in the fashion industry.

 

I speak from experience, being a teenager is stressful! School, friends, extracurricular activities, relationship drama, trying to figure out financial aid for college– ugh!  It all starts to build up and the anxiety and stress can be overwhelming. Sometimes teens need an outlet to just relax and relieve stress, but we tend to choose activities like playing computer games, becoming a couch potato or pigging out on ice cream and chips. The bad thing about these things is that they are neither healthy nor beneficial. Teens need a healthy way to release stress and blow off steam, so I have compiled a list of the top five healthy and fun ways to release stress.

 

 

1.) Exercise – Nature’s best medicine! Exercise releases a chemical called ‘Endorphins’ that control the feelings of stress and frustration. Running, pilates and exercise classes are all great ways to put this suggestion in to use.

 

2.) Art – Painting, drawing and even coloring are all wonderful outlets for stress. Art therapy is often used as an option for managing stress and anxiety.

 

3.) Writing – Whether it be journaling, writing a short story, or even your own book, it is a fun way to use your imagination! Not only is this a great outlet for stress, it has also been shown to strengthen the immune system and improve cognitive functioning.

 

4.) Volunteer – Helping others isn’t just a wonderful way to make a difference in your community, it is also a great stress reliever! Serving others is a simple and fun way to take your mind off your own problems and put things into perspective again.

 

5.) Eat Some Chocolate – Instead of pigging out on unhealthy junk food, grab a dark chocolate bar and snack on that instead. Studies have shown that dark chocolate reduces stress and the antioxidants contained within the chocolate, called polyphenols, contain excellent health benefits.

 

 

I hope these tips are helpful if you’re the parent of an anxiety overloaded teen, or if you are a stressed out teen yourself!

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Anna Gutermuth from Flickr

Do Our Social Patterns From High School Stay With Us…Forever?

Does our High School social status determine our social lives and friends for the rest of our lives? Tom Wolfe discovered a pattern of what he calls, “High School Opposites”. He says that in High School we fall into certain social circles because of hobbies, neighbors or strong subjects in school. For example, neighbors who ride the bus together tend to hang out together, students in honors math end up becoming friends or members of sports teams sit together at lunch.

 

Where we fall on the social ladder in High School actually begins to define two lifelong patterns:

 

1)            Our Personality Types (Jock, Drama Geek, Nerd, Goth, Druggie, Rebel, It Girl, Perfectionist…)

 

2)            Our Social Allies and Enemies (Jock versus Geek, Druggie versus Student Body President, etc)

 

Wolfe argues that our adult personality and choice of friends is forever defined by our social alignment in High School. We actually end up keeping our same High School allies (and enemies) as adults. Here are two examples of how we see this commonly play out:

 

-In High School, Guy was a nerd. He developed slowly, was short and, because he was talented at Math he joined the math team. He was picked on and developed a social personality—math geek. His enemies were the jocks that picked on him and forced him to do their homework to escape punches in the mouth. Guy goes to a small liberal arts college where he hits his much awaited growth spurt. He is liked, he is popular, and because at his school it is cool to be smart, his ‘nerdiness’ becomes a good thing. He becomes a Math teacher at a local school when he graduates. Despite his acceptance as an adult, he consistently has problems with the jocks in his class. They give him a hard time and he gives them lower grades because “he just doesn’t like those kids.” His favorite students are like his old social allies—the math ‘geeks.’

 

Guy slipped right back into his High School role and began to battle again with his old High School social enemies the Jocks.

 

-Gal was always popular. She was pretty and fun. She was invited to all the parties. She was not super smart, and sometimes had to cheat on tests to make it in school. This didn’t bother her, she preferred parties to book anyways. What did bother her was the snobby, know-it-all girls in her classes. They weren’t as pretty as her, but they still made her feel stupid when she didn’t know the answer in class. Gal went to college, stayed hot and barely slipped by with her grades. When she joins a marketing firm in the HR department she is in charge of new hires. When female applicants come in with loaded resumes and that know-it-all attitude she happily puts them to the bottom of the pile even though they are qualified (if not overqualified) and hires the attractive fun-loving girls who come in for interviews.

 

Gal always resented the smart girls, and punishes them by not hiring them in her current job—even though they are qualified and might be potentially great friends to her.

 

If the adult personality is forever defined by our high school social relationships and we keep our social enemies from high school and allies as adults—can we ever break free?

 

I say yes—and awareness is the key! Once I read this study I began to examine some of my current social relationships. I also began to take into account my attitude and instant biases against certain people I would meet at parties or networking events. Amazingly, I noticed that I did form harsh opinions almost instantly to people who would fit into my high school ‘social enemy.’ I had also been much more forgiving and open to people whom I perceived as my social allies—even though they had not been good friends.

 

I highly recommend you to look at the people in your life and how you develop social biases when you meet new people. Then challenge those prejudices and see if they are based in fact or old high school social lessons. You might be surprised at what you find out!

 

Flikr Image From Studiostoer

Parenting a Freshman vs. an Upperclassman – 8 Things Parents Should Know!

senioritis, freshman, high school, teen independence, Dana is a 16-year-old from San Diego, CA. Her love of reading and writing has allowed her to share the experiences and lessons that have taught her so much with countless others. She enjoys traveling to new places, dancing and cooking, and hopes that one day she will both work in the education field and become a published author. 

Parents who have sent off their children to college can reminisce that the four years of parenting a high school student were part of an illustrious yet rocky adventure. From basking in blissful freshmen orientations to walking the dreadful road of college visits and applications, these parents have experienced it all. Here are eight differences between parenting a freshman and parenting an upperclassman that parents should be aware of in order to stick with their children during the ups and downs of their vital high school career.

1. Freedom. (With a driver’s license, job, etc. upperclassmen have greater responsibilities). Freshmen and sophomores are getting close (but they’re seeking their freedom, so a bit of “rebellion” is a natural part of the process).

2. Moving up vs. letting go. Freshmen make a small jump from middle school to high school, but an upperclassman leaving for college is a jump into a whole different world. Expect and be prepared for change.

3. Parents of upperclassmen face separation anxiety (college-bound seniors are ready to be sent off, but some parents find it hard to let go). Freshmen are heading towards departure, but they still have time to learn and discover themselves, so it is best to give it to them.

4. Upperclassmen know the game of high school (thus, they are independent and know how to manage on their own). Freshmen are new to the routine and still need guidance and advice (such as choosing courses).

5. “These are the best years of your life, so make it count” can be early for many freshmen who have just begun dealing with academic pressure. Upperclassmen might consider college upon these words.

6. Trust. While parents of upperclassmen tend to leave all responsibility in their children’s hands, parents of freshmen are new to the “trust all” practice and at first, might find it hard.

7. Expect Change. Freshmen are still discovering their roles, identities, and passions during high school, but upperclassmen are “stable” and “mature” enough to embark on something bigger.

8. Senioritis. Parents of freshmen should be aware that “senioritis”, an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, etc. is also the freshmen bubonic plague. (Parents should protect their freshmen from such symptoms at all costs).

 

 

Image by Tulane Public Relations on Flickr 

           

 

How do Cliques Impact the Lives of Teens?

Hailee is a 16-year-old student from Pittsgrove, NJ. She enjoys music, going to concerts, and writing. She hopes to major in Marketing (e.Business and Interactive Media) in college.

To teens cliques are almost a safety net; they think that they’ll always have a place where they “belong”, or “fit in”. But when does that “fitting in” or “belonging” actually cause more harm then good? Being in a clique could seem like a lot of fun, but it could also hold you back from a lot of other opportunities.

Teens, being in a clique is like having a label taped to your forehead, that’s what people know you as. But who wants to be labeled? Who wants one word to define who they are, and what they can give? Not me. This is where cliques can start holding you back.

Some say cliques are unavoidable, and are just a part of life. But I believe they can be avoided, I am a junior in high school and I do not, nor have I ever belonged to a certain clique. I find the best way to go through school; even just daily life is to have an open mind to new people. Who knows, maybe the person your clique doesn’t talk to could in reality be your best friend? But you probably wouldn’t get the chance to know that or not if you had a set clique holding you back.

Teens, being in a clique limits you to finding new friends and new people. If you are in a clique and just strictly hang out with those people, you could be missing out on so many things. Teens who aren’t involved in cliques are usually much more outgoing and involved in things because they don’t have anything, such as a label holding them back. They’re free to make their own choices, make different types of friends and possibly get new experiences. I mean who wants a bunch of friends that are just like you? The best friendships aren’t based just on similarities, but also the differences. It makes the friendships grow stronger by opening yourself to new things that you might not have tried before.

Parents, Cliques are not necessarily a bad thing, so don’t get immediately worried about your teen if they are involved in a clique. The clique that they are involved in may give your teen a sense of belonging, and that’s always a positive feeling. But, if your teen gets to the point where the clique that they belong to is the only people your teen associates with, this might be the time to step in. Cliques should be acceptable, as long as it’s not limiting your teen from other opportunities in their daily life; such as, making new friends or trying new things. You can do this by encouraging your teen to find something that they really love to do, even if the people in their clique do not. This way your teen could reach out to new things in this thing that they love to do, and be open to new people that they may meet.

So whether you’re involved in a clique or not, the best way to live each day is with a open mind. Don’t be afraid to try something new, or talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to.

Behind the Classroom: A Teacher’s Perspective of the Classroom and Tips on How to Help Your Child Academically

teacher interview, high school, classroom, academicsCatherine is a 15 year-old from California. She loves reading novels and her favorite subject is English.

It’s 11:10 A.M., and the bell has rung to signal the start of fifth period in my high school. Once one enters the room, they’re instantly greeted by the vibrant posters plastered on the walls. Along the top of both sides of the room are inspirational quotes by prominent women authors. Near the teacher’s desk, one gets a glimpse of our teacher’s personality through a poster of the classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, and a movie poster of her favorite series, The Lord of the Rings. As the door closes behind her, a cheerful voice exclaims, “Happy Hump Day!” As the chattering died down, all heads swivel to the front of the classroom. Standing at the center of the room was our English teacher, Ms. Angie Yi, always eager to start the day.

Last year was my first year in high school, and I was fortunate enough to have Ms. Yi as my English teacher in ninth grade. She was one of the two new teachers at our school, and all of us were wondering what she, and her class, would be like. We instantly learned that she absolutely loved literature. Ms. Yi was extremely enthusiastic when it came to things like symbolism and imagery. Her love for English was infectious, and for students, it made learning the subject all the more enjoyable. She became one of my favorite teachers, and was well-liked by my other friends as well.

For parents, high school can bring back fond memories of first dances, wild antics, and lifelong friends that stuck by you through thick and thin. Yet at this moment, you may be worried about your own teenager who is currently attending high school. They may be struggling with their classes, and you wonder what’s going on in the classroom. You ask yourself, “Why is my child failing their classes? What can I do to help them improve?” Most parents think to arrange a conference with their teen’s teacher, but some parents are unable to make an appointment due to their own, and the teacher’s, busy schedule. In order to obtain some ideas of how to help students in school, I thought, “Who better to ask than a high school teacher?” So last October, I met with Ms. Yi to discuss the teacher’s perspective of the classroom and how to help students improve their grades.

The first thing we talked about was her teaching style. She explained to me that she diversified her teaching style according to the needs of the students. Ms. Yi actively engaged us by bringing in YouTube clips, sports analogies, or music that pertained to the novel or theme we were currently analyzing. She also emphasized the importance of discussions in class, when students are allowed to voice their thoughts and able to hear the opinions of their peers. Discussions help students appreciate and respect what others have to say without judgment.

When asked about her stance on group projects, she replied, “I don’t assign a lot of group projects, at most two a year. But I do believe that they are necessary to work with each other and learn how to communicate with one another. I do want to teach students the value of group projects and to learn to respect other group members’ input” She went on to specify that group projects help students delegate responsibilities and trust each other. In addition, they will learn to communicate effectively and have everyone’s wishes respected. She admits that group projects are difficult to grade because one student could do all the work while the other members merely “skate by.” Overall, it is up to the students to do the best they can while working in groups.

I then went on to ask, “If a student were struggling in your class, what would you recommend to the student and their parents in order to help him/her to raise their grade?” First of all, Ms. Yi made it positively clear that if a student were struggling in class to never call out the student in front of the whole class. It only embarrasses the student and makes them feel under attack. One way to assist the student is to have a meeting at lunch, where the teacher and student can set up tangible goals. This is something to let the student know that the teacher cares about their academic goals. It is also imperative for the teacher to communicate their concerns to the student’s parents. It is essential to not lose the struggling student early on, for if one does, then there will be dire consequences. Overall, the point that Ms. Yi wanted to get across was that teachers are the biggest resource in the classroom for both students and parents. The teacher is the one grading the student’s work, so it is logical to come for the teacher for help if the student is falling behind. In order to make sure the student is improving, parents should make sure the student speaks with the teacher individually for at least ten minutes a week to check up on their progress. Open communication between the parents, students, and teacher, along with the expectation that the student is going to improve, are both keys to the student’s academic success.

These past few years, we have heard on the news numerous amounts of teachers being laid off across the nation. With budget cuts slashing teachers’ salaries, and the daunting pink slip, teachers are becoming underappreciated more than ever. So I asked my former English teacher, “What first inspired you to become a teacher and what motivates you to continue teaching?” Ms. Yi replied, “My parents instilled in me a sense to give back to the community, do volunteer work, help those in need. They taught me that life is most fulfilling when you’re able to be a part of people’s lives for the better. Having that kind of mindset inspired me to be a teacher.” Ms. Yi takes her job very seriously, and strong believes that teaching is a noble profession. She wants students to become someone who is confident and inquisitive about the world. She attempts to foster that through the array of novels read in class, and other materials relevant to the subject at hand. While Ms. Yi was my English teacher, I remember she consistently reminded us all that we have the potential and power to make positive changes in our society. Having been laid off every year since she started her career, Ms. Yi described it as, “emotionally draining and traumatic.” However, she feels the rewards of being a teacher are worth it. Ms. Yi enjoys watching her students’ little successes throughout the year. Ms. Yi said, “Teaching has taught me the value of each individual life, that every year is a gift.” Yet one day she hopes she will be able to remain at a high school where she can have a class as freshman, and see them graduate as seniors.

Hopefully, these tips will help your teen improve in high school. Knowing the teacher’s teaching style may help your child by knowing what to expect in the classroom, and how to prepare for upcoming homework, projects, and tests. Also, having weekly teacher-student meetings will help with maintaining your student’s progress. Lastly, remember that the teacher is the most valuable resource in the classroom. If you notice any signs of your child struggling in school, make sure you contact the teacher immediately before the problem gets any worse. Good luck and happy studying!

Book Review! Lucy Dakota: Adventures of a Modern Explorer – Rocky Mountain Beginnings

book review, teen reading, teen books, young adult novel, fiction, high schoolSamantha is a 17-year-old from Tulsa, OK. She enjoys babysitting, sewing, drawing, crocheting, writing and anything creative. She loves to hang out with her mom and two sisters and hopes to someday work in the fashion industry.

 

 I want to wander distant fields,

climb higher mountains and explore mighty rivers.

 

– Lucy Dakota

 This quote (borrowed from the Lucy Dakota journal) describes the empowerment I felt after reading Lucy Dakota: Adventures of a Modern Explorer – Rocky Mountain Beginnings. Throughout this book Lucy transforms from a chubby Coloradan tween who hides from bullies in her middle school teachers classroom, to a strong, adventurous, and brave young leader after climbing a 14,000 peak in the Rocky Mountains. As you grow with Lucy from middle school to the summer after her high school graduation, you see her make many mistakes that a lot of young people make. Whether her mistakes be with boys, drugs, friends or work she learns from them and, to be honest, as a teenage girl who has made similar mistakes and can relate a lot to Lucy, I gained a lot from the times she stumbled and found as she grew from her mistakes, so did I.

You don’t have to be an outdoorsy person to enjoy Lucy’s adventures. She is very relatable and you find yourself being encouraged to pursue your own dreams while reading about her adventurous excursions. I encourage all the tweens, teens and young adults, especially the girls, to read this book– and I encourage all the parents out there to get this book for their kids to read. Rocky Mountain Beginnings is one of the best books I think I have ever read.

Lucy Dakota’s adventures will inspire you to know your own worth as a young person, leaving you empowered and encouraged to aspire to and achieve your own dreams. By the time you have finished this book you will find yourself on top of a mountain! Just make sure you keep a good look out to know when to get the next book in this series so you can Journey To Nepal with Lucy Dakota!

 

 

 

Follow Lucy on Twitter: http://twitter.com//lucydakota

 

Like and get updates from her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lucydakota

 

Check out her website: http://lucydakota.com/

 

Also, make sure to read Lucy’s blog while you are there! Each week Lucy puts together an article she feels is relevant to girls her age! http://lucydakota.com/blog

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Cairn on Mt. Bierstadt trail – taken by flickr user emerson12

Alphabetical Truths of High School

A writer, hopeless romantic, and lover of all foods, Kimberlie is a seventeen year old living in Arizona. Her mind consists of a million chambers always pondering the what’s and why’s of life, and she considers herself anything but simple. She loves having long conversations with friends over the goodness that is a cup of chai tea latte.

 

A: All high school relationships and friendships cannot last forever, no matter how hard you try—it’s inevitable. However, the ones that do last, they will always be worth fighting for.

B: Boys will find you, whether you like them, or they like you, they will find you. Good luck.

C: “Cool” kids don’t really exist. I mean clearly there are people who are better known and popular, but that one popular boy and girl in movies we all thought we’d hate or wanted to be…it’s just cinema gold.

D: Dating seasons exist. At one moment it seems like love is in the air and the next everyone is suddenly single. My theory? It comes and goes with the seasons and holidays. Nothing screams “relationship” better than right before prom or Christmas, but nothing seems better than riding solo than right before the warm summer nights.

E: Every teacher will not make an impact on you, but at least one teacher will.

F: For every high school-related problem you have, someone else is experiencing theexact same thing. Never feel alone, misery loves company. My advice? Just start a club revolving around your issue; you’d be surprised at how not alone you truly are.

G: Girls will find you, whether you like them, or they like you, they will find you. Good luck.

H: Having a Facebook is somewhat crucial. From club reminders, teacher reminders, and just your daily dose of gossip—technology is taking over and one can only resist for so long.

I: Idiots run amuck

J: Junior year is the year when the bliss and excitement of having freedoms start to hit. From going to prom, getting your driver’s license, first jobs, and more. Take advantage of it, just don’t derail too badly.

K: Keep in touch with all the teachers that really liked you! They give the best advice at times and are always there when you’re in need of letters of recommendations!

L: Little freshman are oh-so-cute, and oh-so-torment-able. Just remember, you were one not too long ago. And picking on them all the time makes you look like such a sophomore.

M: Marriage-talk during high school is not appropriate. It’s weird and people will think you’re loony and somewhat delusional.

N: Nothing beats half days…except having only half of a schedule your senior year.

O: Open relationships don’t ever work out. The green-eyed monster is always creeping.

P: PDA on campus is frowned upon, and looked at with disgust. Don’t be that couple that everyone loves to hate and that teachers just cringe with awkward when they see.

Q; Quoting things from the Jersey Shore doesn’t make you cool.

R: Running to class will always make you look like an underclassman. Don’t do it. Running to lunch however, is actually perfectly understandable. We like our food.

S: Senioritis actually sets in during August, not later in the year like they say.

T: Time flies

U: Upperclassmen generally don’t care about underclassmen. No, they will not shove you in lockers and trashcans. No they will not push you down stairs. Truth is, no one cares enough to.

V: Voice travels in classrooms. Secrets are never kept secrets. Rumors suck.

W: Writing on bathroom stalls is suddenly uncool. Unlike middle school when you learned that “Becky was a loser” and “Jill loves Max 4eva”

X: Xylem is something you will learn in AP Biology

Y: You will miss these people around you. Even that girl you hated in your second hour English class. You’ll miss hating her—it’s true.

Z:  Zits. Enough said.

 

Photo: Kyle Van Horn on Flickr

Top 3 Documentary Films for Teens

biographies, documentaries, film, movies, bullies, high schoolGabriele is a 17-year-old aspiring writer from Jacksonville, FL.  She loves the wit of Charles Dickens, the smell of sharpened pencils, and the charm of coffee shops. She lives her life by a Benjamin Franklin quote: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write the things worth reading or do the things worth writing.”

Billy the Kid, Hoop Dreams, Spellbound: All of these films have one thing in common—they’re real. Since the lives and situations are provocative and genuine, sometimes documentaries can be more compelling than fictional movies. Along with the preceding films above, here are a few more examples of gripping and entertaining documentaries to watch as a teen, with a teen, or as a parent.

1.      The Bully Project: A Year in the Life of America’s Bully Crisis

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dVX0tWiG2E[/youtube]Though the film has not yet been released, The Bully Project has already been featured on The Dr. Phil Show and has made its mark on numerous schools around the country. Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, The Bully Project follows five teenagers throughout the course of a single school year. With stories of suicide and other real consequences of bullying, the film offers a fresh insight into the brutal world of the lives of bullied children. Through the honesty, sincerity and power the stories embrace, the film serves as a vehicle for change in our schools, our homes, and ultimately our lives. To learn more about the film and future showings in your area, or to join the movement, visit thebullyproject.com.

 

2.     Bowling for Columbine

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIOALTngExs[/youtube] An interesting look at gun control, filmmaker Michael Moore questions America’s love of guns and why Americans are involved with more violent gun acts than other democratic nations. Focusing on the shootings at Columbine High School, Moore explores what central causes could have affected the violent outrages and how America as a nation can cease some of the violence in the country. Filled with a blend of empathy and humor, the Academy Award winning documentary, Bowling for Columbine, looks at a different side of violence in America and suggests that maybe the problems are not to be blamed on others, rather ourselves. Film critic Roger Ebert described the film as one that teenagers “most need to see.”

*This film has been rated R for violent images and language, though mature younger teenagers should be able to handle it with some guidance. Watch it before your teen if you are unsure, or with your teen to spark discussions throughout the film.

3.     American Teen

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEfZzcmL6vA[/youtube]If there is one documentary that epitomizes the average life of an American teenager, this documentary takes the cake. The film follows five teenagers from Warsaw, Indiana. In the midst of their senior year, the teens find the world and themselves through heartbreak, life-lessons, and mistakes. Directed by the academy award nominated director, Nanette Burstein, American Teen delves deep into the lives of the teenagers, exposing secrets, emotions, dreams and desires that any teenager can relate to.

 

Photo: Fensterbme from Flickr


 

 

Senior Year: The End of the In-Crowd

popular kids, high school, cliques, nerds, social status, Sam is a seventeen-year-old from Montgomery, NJ. When she isn’t obsessing over the New Jersey Devils, Sam is doing charity work, reading magazines, and hanging with friends. She also wishes to make an imprint on the world in the future.

 

For the past three years (or if you’re like me, even longer), there have been a group of guys and girls that people seem to fixate on. They come in all the different flavors: athletic, ditzy, well-dressed, attractive, whatever. You may know these students as the popular kids, or the “in-crowd.”

Parents might ask, what does being part of an “in-crowd” mean? The “in-crowd,” as you would expect, rules your school. Their opinions appear to be the only ones that matter. They win class offices, regardless of how capable they are of maintaining them. If a nerd and a popular person both held parties on the same night, guess whose shindig would be the hit?

Yet, come senior year, these students will matter much less than you would expect. How is it possible that a seemingly unshakeable hierarchy, ranging from the in-crowd to the “losers,” ever be broken? You may feel like those who have always succeeded before will end up succeeding again during their senior year, and that it isn’t right. However, you aren’t alone. Chances are, other students feel the exact same way you do about the in-crowd. Senior year, it seems, is the perfect time to express discontent.

There are many ways that the in-crowd disappears during senior year. First, and the most lasting, is success. The first half of senior year revolves around college, from the application process, to decisions, to finally announcing where you are going to school. It is likely that while you have put a large amount of effort into your academics, tests and extracurriculars, these popular students have not. As a result, many of these students end up going to colleges with less-than-stellar reputations. A common trend I’ve noticed at my school is that, when decisions are announced, more people seem to swoon over the “nerds” who get into the top universities. This being said, the major success of others is one of the main reasons being part of the “in-crowd” appears to not matter.

Second, and more blatantly, is being assertive and active. Think of Mean Girls. Though I don’t recommend feeding Kalteen bars or cutting holes in tee shirts, it is possible to diminish the “in-crowd”’s power without acting maliciously. For example, my school holds a powderpuff football game, where junior and senior girls play flag football. After the popular girls controlled tee shirt designs, practice time and the rosters during junior year, my grade felt it necessary to put the more capable class officers in charge for our senior year. When a well-known cheerleader attempted to control the tee shirt design, the officers stepped in, reiterated that they were in charge, and simply chose who they felt had a better design. No humiliation occurred, the officers’ point got across, and the cheerleader complied without complaint.

Third, and most subtle, is simply ignoring the popular students. A general perception could be that, since you are not likely going to college with those students, you might as well adjust to life without them being a complete preoccupation or strain. Furthermore, these students, especially the girls, thrive on being noticed and receiving attention. Take away that attention, and their actions will be all for naught, and eventually stop.

So, as senior year continues, don’t get discouraged about the popular girls and boys. Know that everyone is just concerned and upset as you are. If people are willing to make a change, whether it is getting into Stanford or standing up for the little guy, those seemingly untouchable kids in “in-crowd” will be nothing more than just average people.

 

Photo courtesy of prc1333 from Flickr

What Being Single Through High School Has Taught Me

A writer, hopeless romantic, and lover of all foods, Kimberlie is a seventeen year old living in Arizona. Her mind consists of a million chambers always pondering the what’s and why’s of life, and she considers herself anything but simple. She loves having long conversations with friends over the goodness that is a cup of chai tea latte.

 

You may have clicked on this article because you are anticipating my rant of how lonely I am and all I need is love, and maybe you think that’s funny. And you might be imagining me with three legs and two noses or something with a wart on my chin.

 

Or maybe you clicked on it because you are experiencing the same thing. You’re in high school, and whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, you are significant other-less and always have been.

 

Well, I hate to disappoint, but I have all the right number of body parts, and if you’re the latter, than empathy is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

 

Yes, that’s me in that picture you clicked there—standing road-side with half of my heart, waiting for some knight in shining armor to drive by and blow me away.

 

Any takers? None? No, really?

 

I’m kidding.

 

Sort of.

 

Being single ain’t all that bad. No anniversaries to worry about, no date night to dread, no one to call you “pookie” or “honeybear”. Who wants that anyways, right?

 

Oh, everyone.

 

But enough with the nonsense, enough with the jokes; I’m here to teach you something.

 

Being single through high school has made me like wallpaper, and I say that in the least self-demeaning way possible, but I am the observer of all things love and relationships. I am that girl you almost run over while you tongue wrestle your girlfriend in the hallway, I am that girl who listens to you jabber loudly about your date with so-and-so last weekend, I am that girl who sees you wearing sweat pants and panda eyes as you grieve over the end of your two-month relationship with “the one”, I am that girl who helps you decipher his texts to the very last letter, I am that girl that sees all. And through it all, I’ve learned many, many things. However, before I bestow you with my bountiful knowledge, let me remind you that there are exceptions to every rule, and any statistic I throw out there is probably wrong, but used for emphasis, so just go with it.

 

Firstly, ninety percent of the time, singleness is a self-inflicting state.

 

In other words, it’s your own fault.

 

Yes, I’m talking to you, guy who says he’s too busy to date, or girl who says that no guy is worth her time because they are all chauvinist pigs, tools, jerks, etc.

 

They are excuses. Excuses, excuses, excuses. And the real stupid thing is, people think your excuses and rejections are some form of egotism. And that you’re some cold-hearted bitch because you can’t seem to go out with that perfectly decent guy.

 

Now I must point out to avoid all hypocrisy here by saying that I am the queen of all this. But truthfully, the excuses derive from nothing of that sort. Do you want to know the real reason?

 

They’re scared.

 

I’m scared.

 

We’re scared of feeling vulnerable, and placing our feelings on a silver platter for someone else to take or throw on the floor. We’re afraid of wanting something or believing in something that can’t be ours or just disappoints us.

 

In the end, you know offers have been made, interest has been expressed, and people have taken a chance on you. And you can sit here and whine and complain about being single, but nothing will change unless you reciprocate that, and build a bridge to get over your fears. I’ve learned that fear is one of the greatest enemies in love and relationships. It gets in the way of potentially great things. And as Pat Benatar once sang, “love is a battlefield”.

 

Through my single years, I’ve also learned that once you’ve been officially snatched up, and you’ve gotten a taste, THERE IS NO GOING BACK.

 

I’ve witness countless friends experience their first relationships, and when that relationship comes to a mighty end, nothing is ever the same again. They all undergo this identical change. There’s a confidence that’s gained, but it’s paired so inconveniently with a sense of never-ending nostalgia, and lingering feeling of loneliness. And for most people, I don’t think it ever really goes away. Once you experienced that feeling of happiness, you can’t help but wonder when exactly that is going to happen again. It’s a brilliant reflection of humanity’s rebound rate, which unfortunately, sucks. So if you’re sick and tired of the irritating thoughts of “WHY AM I SINGLE?!!?” that just floats around in your brain, I guess you can consider yourself lucky because the way I see it, “I NEED TO BE IN A RELATIOSHIP! THIS REMINDS ME OF HER…I MISS HIM…REMEMBER WHEN WE USED TO…” is just so much more depressing. So take my advice, if you’re not ready to dive in those waters, don’t. Seriously. I’ve had one too many friends zone out in class on that one person…four months after the breakup…

 

Now for the positive.

 

Let’s all just pretend for a second I’m Beyonce—fierceness and all. And I’m going to tell “all the single ladies, all the single ladies, all the single ladies, now put your hands up!”

 

Fellas, you too—put your hands up too! Go celebrate your singleness by going out with your bros, go do some manly things, go rub some dirt in your wounds and growl like the men you are.

 

I’ve learned that I don’t need a guy to be happy, for now. I swear I refuse to be one of those cat ladies, but for now, I’m okay. Sure there’s a void, and sometimes I wish I had someone to call mine, but it’s not a deep, endless pit of sorrow and tears, I promise. And I’m not just saying that so you won’t feel sorry for me. There really is just so much more in life to be happy about. I guess my main point is that through my single years, I learned that I get to focus on myself. I get to grow to be the kind of person I want to be without having to think of someone else, and molding myself to whatever I think may please them. And whenever I do find someone, I will know that they like me for the person I am, and that person is the kind of person I want and chose to be.

 

So fear not, my fellow single guys and gals, because if there something else I learned about being single in high school, it’s that there’s life after it.