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Many people tend to take a fairly limited view of high school athletics. The risk of injuries, such as concussions, tends to generate a lot of attention, not to mention headlines. Other aspects draw attention too, such as the emphasis on sporting sch…
The number of children in the US being homeschooled has doubled since 1999, with almost two million kids now getting their education from home. The US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the number…
Surely by now everyone is aware of the effects that stress can have on the health and minds of young people. Already there are common physical symptoms associated with sleep, ranging from high blood pressure to insomnia. New research from Stanford Un…
School reform has been hotly debated in K-12 education circles for some years now. Mostly, however, the resulting efforts have focused on structure, for instance funding charter schools and reining in tenure, or on student performance, as in the case…
When applying for any sort of job whether a part-time job, a summer job or even just an internship, it’s standard practice to prepare to answer questions. But in truth, it can really help your prospects by asking the interviewer your own questi…
Ever since Common Core was introduced in the United States, school boards and administrators have been desperate to find new ways to raise the learning levels of their students, especially in math. Delegations have been sent around the world, particu…
We tend to think of bullying as a modern phenomenon, a product of public schools and the Internet. Bullying, however, has deep roots that go back to the dawn of civilization. Tales abound in history and literature, even, arguably, the Bible (in Genes…
Nowadays it’s rare to sit for an interview as part of a college admission. Only a handful of schools bother anymore, mostly because they just get too many applicants for it to be practical. Being interviewed, however, is still a part of life, because it’s still a key method in the hiring process. Yes, we’re talking about the dreaded job interview, source of so much fear, anxiety and downright panic. It needn’t be something to dread — in fact, with the proper preparation, believe it or not, a job interview can be something to look forward to. It can be your time to shine!
The web is full of advice on the sorts of questions you can be expected to ask, and how you should answer them. There are tips on what to wear, on shaking hands, on every aspect of the interview process. But here’s a tip that cuts to the heart of all of it: what all those questions are really asking.
Imagine you sit down before a manager whose job it is to find out what they can about you and decide whether you’re a good fit for the position. You’re nervous and fidgety, expecting to be asked about your resume or your work experience. Then you get hit by this one: “I’ve interviewed a dozen people today, some of them with more experience than you have. So why should I hire you instead of them?”
It’s a pretty devastating question. It’s also kind of a test. Basically you need to justify yourself in a very serious way. You have to say more than just “I’m going to work hard” or “I’m trustworthy.” You have to be able to talk about yourself with self-awareness, confidence, and especially what makes you unique, what makes you — well, you.
When you think about all the questions that get asked at an interview, most of them boil down to this one, brutal, horrifying question. Just why should you be hired? What is it that you want out of life? Not just out of one job at one employer, but life? What is your relationship with society, and how do you wish to contribute to the world? What are your values? In a crowd of people, how do you stand out? What makes you special? Just who are you, exactly?
Unfortunately there isn’t an easy solution we can give you, but that’s all right. What you need to do is get to know yourself, search your heart and soul, find out who you really are and what you’re all about. Yes, it’s difficult and a lot of work. But once you’ve really explored your insides, so to speak, you’ll be able to march into that interview and not only answer all their questions with a clear voice and a confident gaze. Not only will you be in a better position to get that job, you really will stand out from the rest.
Now go get ‘em!
Growing up has never been easy. Teens have been experiencing stress for generations, but these days, we have data that gives us a clearer picture of what’s going on among today’s teens, in part thanks to a recent study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Canada.
The study offered some interesting observations. To begin with, despite the apparent “kids today” consensus that being young is worse nowadays than ever, reports of bullying have been in steady decline for some years now, as have reports of teen gambling and opioid use. Social media has not created an apocalypse in the realm of teen psychology.
There is one area, however, in which conditions are very serious: teen stress. According to the CAMH study, 34% of teens report experiencing moderate or severe stress — an increase of ten percent over 2013.
Put another way, one in three teens experiences enough stress that those around them should feel concerned. The question is what to do about it.
A big part of growing up is learning how to grasp our own feelings. For some of us, knowing what’s going on is second nature, but there are plenty of folks for whom it’s a struggle. This is especially true of teens, whose feelings can seem feel powerful, even overwhelming, and difficult to master. The subtle feelings can be tricky too, sitting in the background and altering perceptions. It’s important, therefore, to learn to recognize the signs of stress when they appear. Look for physical symptoms and behavioral changes. This should not be limited to the parents either — teens themselves need to understand stress and how it works, and spot the warning signs of stress within themselves in order to respond with the appropriate self-care. Trying to power through it, or maintain a positive facade, does not help anything.
Failure happens in life
A high schooler might feel like a failed exam is traumatic, but in the grand panoply of a life’s experience, it’s barely a pothole on Main Street. That’s not to say it’s nothing — feelings are feelings and they’re entirely valid — but honestly, a test is just a test. Grades are important, as are assignments and presentations and all the other steps on the journey to graduation, but students should understand that failure is a part of life, and a crucial life skill is being able to pick oneself up off the floor, brush off the dust and get on with life.
Feelings are responses to reality, they’re not reality itself
Stress is a thing that occurs in our lives from time to time, at all ages. Stress, however, is a response to one’s interactions with the world, it’s not the world itself. In other words being a teenager applying to university, preparing for the SAT or ACT, waiting for responses to applications — well, it’s perfectly natural to feel stress in response to all these things. But that stress, however justified, is still just a feeling. It shouldn’t be allowed to alter one’s perception of life itself. If it is allowed to do so, then life can seem mighty dark and unhappy indeed. In practical terms, this can have many negative effects on health and happiness, as well as making it harder to succeed in life. Acknowledge feeling as feelings and don’t let them take over.
Do some good, it might help
One of the worst things about stress and anxiety is the feeling of being out of control, of an absence of independence, even of agency. But some studies point to an unusual way to tackle that feeling: helping others. According to Michael Ungar, director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, helping other people can be an empowering experience. “One of the best things you can do with kids if they are anxious,” he says, “is not just ask them to do things for themselves, but ask them to do things for others.” A bit of volunteering, mentoring or coaching might help a stressed teen.
Get some sleep!
Seriously, sleep is a crucial component not only of mental development, but of mental health. Getting a good night’s sleep as often as possible is one of the most important things anyone, of any age, can do for themselves. Sleep. No joke!
Get more exercise
No, this isn’t about being thin. It’s about getting the heart pumping and working the old muscles a bit. Playing a sport, going for walks, swim, climb — it doesn’t matter. Exercise works wonder for stress and always has. It doesn’t need to be intense; even a moderate, gentle workout can really help in relaxation. Be careful, of course — don’t risk injury. But try moving around, it’s likely to help.
The key to handling stress is to be open about it, acknowledge it, and be methodical about tackling it. No one should feel any shame or embarrassment in being stressed. Indeed if left alone it can be very harmful, both physically and mentally. Learning healthy ways of dealing with it while still young can be a fantastic, empowering skill that will reap great rewards for decades to come.
Every parent wants their child to be successful in life: to succeed academically, socially, spiritually, in every way possible. Included in that list is the desire of every parent to be rest assured of their child’s ability to get a good job and be financially stable for the rest of their life. Some might dismiss career talk as materialistic, even crass, but a good job is the gateway to good health, secure housing, good food — everything necessary for a happy, meaningful life. So how can youngster and parent prepare early for the many career choices to come?
1. It’s never too soon to pick up skills
There are all kinds of practical skills that are useful in the job market, yet are neglected while in school. For instance a strong familiarity with a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs will be a useful line on a resume. Another extremely helpful ability, but one that often gets overlooked, is a mastery of spreadsheets. Being able to handle loads of data and process them into pivot tables would come in handy in a great many professions. There are also manual skills, such as carpentry, welding, car repair. If you put your mind to it, you’ll probably come up with a long list of skills and abilities that your youngster could get a head start on, an effort that could pay major dividends later on.
2. Try to get a deeper understanding of interesting careers
There’s a strong tendency, when researching jobs and careers, to start and end with web searches. But that approach drastically limits learning opportunities, and, as a result, limits potential career opportunities. Don’t just surf the web, get your kid out there in the real world — visit workplaces, talk to people living and working in various fields. Find out what it’s really like to work in the fields in which your youngster is interested. You might be surprised by how much can be learned with direct experience.
3. Know your requirements
The earlier you understand what steps are required to reach your child’s career goals, the better off you’ll be. Courses needed to get into needed college majors, college credits needed to get into postgraduate programs, further programs and work experience required for professional certification — there are a lot of steps that will have to be taken on the long journey to working life. A bit of strategic thinking early on will make sure it’s a productive journey.
4. Build a portfolio
It’s easy to buy a web address and build a basic website. Such as A website can be an ongoing project maintained and updated throughout the years spent in high school and college, allowing the youngster to develop all the skills related to web design and upkeep.There are also tons of websites designed to distribute content created by individuals, so photography, music, writing, art and more can be shown to a global audience. Now it may not bring in money to your child (though it just might!), but it will create an identity and a brand that can be controlled and shaped. Why is this important? Because everyone should expect to get Googled when applying for jobs, post-secondary education, and more. A positive online identity will be a huge help.
Career exploration can be an immensely stressful process. The younger your child is, the more it can feel like career discussions are threatening to lock them into something long before they’re ready. It can turn a useful process into a counterproductive exercise in stress and anxiety. Therefore, don’t try to lock in anything too early. Keep an eye out for special skills or potential interests. Assure your child that the point isn’t to decide what to do with their life, but to ensure the best possible tools are available if and when that decision is made.