10 Things Teens Should Know Before High School

10 things teens should know before high school 

1) Everyone is nervous going to high school- everyone!  Don’t think you are the only one freaking out, because you aren’t.  Some people are just better at hiding it.  You are not alone, so remember that. 

2) Take a chance early on… that way taking addition risks later won’t seem so big. It’s kind of like jumping into a cold pool. It’s a bit scary, but once it’s over, you like it and wonder why you were so nervous in the first place.  You will comfortably take more chances after that. 

3) The longer you wait to do something…the harder it is to do. Procrastination is not your friend. It will hold you back from amazing opportunities, experiences, conversations, people, etc.  Don’t let it! 

4) Talk to your parents.. don’t drift away.  Some teens get distant from their parents in HS.  However, trust me, this is the time that you really need them.  Find time to talk with them every day, even if only for a few minutes. 

5) Get involved in HS- it goes by fast. It’s easier to stay involved in high school activities if you get involved freshman year. So, join a sport, student council, theatre or the newspaper right away.  You will thank me.  

6) Pick friends that have your back. It’s ok to walk away from unhealthy people you knew in middle school. Chances are your high school class will be pretty big compared to your 8th grade class. Meet everyone and make new friends based on shared interests, likes and values. 

7)  Every day is a new opportunity to re-invent yourself. This is a perfect time. Why? Because everyone else is doing the same thing! Don’t let others define you. Find new interests, change your attitude and explore new things. 

8) Clothes, electronics, make-up and music don’t make you cool. Confidence trumps all those things.  Drop the labels, products and latest apps. These things don’t make you interesting or likable. Show people who you are, have an opinion and make decisions for yourself.  People will respect you and your confidence. 

9) Stay away from drama- don’t get involved.  High school drama is the worst and it’s everywhere. Don’t gossip- it will come back to bite you.  Don’t tweet, post, say or share inappropriate things. You will be labeled very quickly as a mean girl/a gossip and this label can be hard to shake. 

10) Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.  If you stand up for yourself, say no, or walk away from the first bad situation freshman year, people will take notice. That way peer pressure will not follow you for the next 3 years. Instead, you will attract like minded friends. 

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How to Utilize the Power of Fear

thBeing scared isn’t always a negative. You can be scared in many different ways..right? There is the “scary movie” kind of scared, where you don’t know what’s going to pop out on the screen. The jumping out of a plane kind of scared, where you fear real death and your adrenaline is pumping loudly.  Lastly, there is the “taking a chance” kind of scared, where you have to address someone or something that’s anxiety producing and you don’t know if the outcome will be favorable.

Now, with a scary movie, we look forward to being scared.  We want it; anticipate it. We set the mood. Shut off the lights, grab the popcorn and get ready to be entertained.

When jumping out of a plane, we are excited about the experience even if it is anxiety producing. It gives some people a huge rush to look death in the face, which later can make you feel invincible.

Now, the “taking a chance” kind of fear is a little different. This is the kind of fear we don’t look forward to. We avoid it at any cost and dread it all the way through. It’s no surprise that public speaking is the number #1 fear of most people. Why? Because you are willingly putting yourself out there for others to judge you… and who wants to do that?  However, this kind of fear, I believe is the most rewarding and can help teens build self-esteem and confidence.

This type of fear shows vulnerability. It’s you taking a chance and the long-term pay off is far more rewarding than watching a scary movie or jumping out of a plane.  Why? The honestly required is raw and real. Its provides growth and it also involves “approval” from others. This is real fear!  People can judge, laugh, shun or embarrass you for your words. However,  after the “interaction” you feel relieved, elated and maybe even invigorated.  These experiences build upon one another. After your first scary interaction, the next one isn’t so bad. You then take bigger chances with bigger pay offs along the way.

Remember that typically, the actual experience is never worse than how you have imagined it in your mind. Probably quite the opposite. The interaction could go terribly well and you will feel heard, appreciated and accepted. We need to teach teens to take a chance and get scared like this more often.

Teens—Run for class president in front of your school, try out for a sports team for the first time or tell a friend how you are honestly feeling. Embrace the fear.

Parents—-you can help too. Start kids out early. Have them answer the home phone, ask a sales person behind the counter for help or place the family order at the drive -thru. Trust me, for a 10 or 11-year-old this can be scary. It helps them grow and build independence. If these types of actions and interaction become common place, then the fear is gone. They will be less self-conscious, less likely to over think situations and more likely to just “do it” the next time. Then they can move on to scarier (age appropriate) actions in high school, college and even within their careers.

When was the last time you did something scary?

Staying Safe at College (Tips for Freshman Women)

Sadly, sexual assault on campuses happen every day. With college just a few months away, I wanted to send some reminders to the young women out there about staying safe at school. Having worked on campuses for 17 years, I know the reality of what can happen, so let me give you a few practical pieces of advice.

My best piece of advice is to find a great group of friends that you can trust. Friends, who will have your back, be there for you and always protect you. Build a community, a “sisterhood” and look out for each other every day. Find this sisterhood on your dorm floor, in your sorority, through your sports team or through your campus job. I don’t care where you find it, just do it!  This is the best safety precaution you will have during your 4 years of college.

Also, here is a list of general precautions. These are recommended by schools, police and actual sexual assault victims. We all want you to enjoy college. We just want you to be safe too.

Post this list in your dorm room as a good daily reminder. 

Don’t walk across campus alone in the dark. Take the path that is well lit. Forget about shortcuts in the dark.

Know where the emergency help boxes are on campus.

Don’t go to parties alone.

Don’t leave your friend (drunk or not) alone at a party, unless she is with good friends.

Keep the number of your local cab service programed in your phone or download Uber.

Don’t leave your drinks unattended at a bar or at a party.

Bad decisions are made late at night. I don’t care how cool or interesting some new guy is… do not go anywhere alone with him @ 2am.

If you have a male study partner, meet him at the library or at a cafe.

Always let at least one friend know where you are. Text with updates often, especially if you feel nervous.

Keep pepper spray in your purse and/or room. (It’s legal in all 50 states.)

Know where campus police is located and have their number programed into your phone.

Dont wait for a bus or train at a badly lit spot and make sure you know when the last one runs each night.

Find some great male allies on campus.

Download the application kitestring to your phone.

Lastly, trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is.