Ask Evie: The junior who tells it like it is

Evie H.

Managing Editor        

I need motivation!

 Lately I have been slacking off in school. My grades have dropped because I am just too lazy to study for tests and do my homework. Nothing seems to motivate me to do it. I really want to try harder and do better, but I do not know how to motivate myself. What can I do?

Dear Need-to-Get-Motivated Molly, well, my advice is to consult with a friend or a family member to study. It might be easier to understand the lessons if you and a friend go through it together. Plus, if you have problems in science or social studies, find something in the textbook that interests you, like plants, animals, or a war, and read about that subject. If you are reading about a topic you like, you will probably do better. That being said, you cannot skip over subjects you do not want to learn. In order to get motivated, think about your future. To be blunt, you will not go anywhere in life without an education. If you spend eight hours, five days a week in school, you might as well try.

Since I moved, I do not fit in, and I want to make new friends.

I have always been friends with everyone, and everybody liked me in school. I think it is because I have been in the same school since kindergarten. Now that I have moved and know nobody in my new school, I cannot make new friends – I am too shy. Deep inside it hurts me because I see everybody hanging out in their groups and having fun, and I am the outcast. For example, when we make groups in classes, I am the last one to be picked. When there is a partner project, I never have anyone to work with. I do not know what is wrong with me; I need some advice in making new friends because I am freaking out! When I talk to my friends from my other school, they ask me if I have forgotten about them because of the new friends I supposedly have, but what they do not know is that I wish I had never moved. My self-esteem is on the floor, and I cry for help in making friends every day.

Dear Needs-a-Friend Nancy, I suggest joining some clubs after school to get to know new people with similar interests. You are not alone; there are plenty of teenage girls that feel the same way as you do! Everything will be fine; it will just take a little time. Never ever think that your life is not worth living. You can and will change the world just by being who you are, and you will find plenty of people who like you for who you are. Never change yourself to fit in, as you are fine the way you are! Eventually, everything will be okay. As for your old friends, make a concerted effort to meet up with them and phone them about once a week; I am sure they miss you. Remember crying is not going to help; be confident, and others will find that your personality and friendship is a very valuable thing to have.

I am scared to tell my family that I want to change religions

My whole family is Presbyterian, and they expect me to be the same when I get older. I go to church every Sunday, but it just bores me. I do not even know if I want to be Presbyterian anymore. I do not want everyone to be mad at me if I go Buddhist or something. I just feel pulled towards Buddhism more than I do Christianity. How can I break it to my family that I want to switch religions?

Dear Worried Wendy, religion is an extremely touchy subject for most people. Many people are raised in their religion and never question it their entire life, but you are at the age where such things start to happen – you start to question everything in your life, and that is a good thing. Here is one piece of advice: before you start telling your family that you do not want to be Presbyterian anymore, find out more about what it means to be a Buddhist. Investigate other religions, too – Catholicism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism…etc. Find out all you can before you make a huge, significant decision. If your parents ask you what you are doing, let them know that you are curious, and you want to know how other people worship. If you do decide to change your religion, talk to the spiritual leader of the church you have decided to join, and ask their advice about how to handle approaching the subject with your family. I am absolutely certain it is something spiritual leaders have had to handle before, and they may be the ultimate experts on the problem. Lastly, please do not make trouble where there is not any. It is quite possible that your parents will understand when you finally tell them your plans. Just remember that your parents deserve respect, just like you do. The fact that you may want to change religions does not mean that their choice to be Presbyterian is not valid.

I want a better relationship with my dad.

My mom and I are really close. I can tell her anything. Well, I used to be able to, but since she got this new job, it has been really hard because she is at work almost all the time. My dad is at home a lot, but he is the problem. I cannot talk to him about ANYTHING. I want to, but it is hard! He used to always be mean and crabby. He would make jokes about me all the time to his friends, and it hurt my feelings. Now that is not happening anymore. He is trying to talk to me, but I always turn him down now. I feel horrible about it, but still, whenever I do talk to him, he turns around and gets crabby again. How can I patch things up with my dad, and be friends with him? Or at least have a civil conversation with him?

Dear Daughter in Distress, talk to your dad first about neutral issues – stuff that both of you like, even if it is the score of the game, or a funny thing that happened to you that day. Odds are that your dad is as frustrated as you are about the whole situation. Do not ever assume that the relationship you have with your dad will be identical to the one you and your mom have. It cannot be. That is what makes each relationship special in itself. As far as your mom’s new job cutting into your time together, change happens. It is how you deal with it that counts. Pick a time that your mom has clear in her schedule, and clear that time in yours. Do something together every week at this time. Play a game; take a dance class or a kickboxing class together. Try to pick an activity that allows conversation. This way you have an opportunity to catch each other up on the week’s events.

Finally, if you wish to contact me and ask questions, email me at evieherbst@gmail.com. I will get back to you as soon as possible!

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