Welcome to the MCSM Advice Column! Students can ask our XYZ columnists for help by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t worry, all questions and replies are kept anonymous! Each month our advice experts will respond to the 3 or 4 best questions or problems submitted.
Dear XYZ: How do I stop procrastinating?
X responds: “Procrastination is something that pretty much everyone struggles with, especially those who have a lot to do within a small amount of time. Of course, a large work-load can cause one to feel greatly overwhelmed, and make him/her not want to do anything at all. The best way to combat this is to try to manage your time better.
There are many different ways to manage time. One way can be buying a day-planner and writing down all the tasks that need to be accomplished. You can go a step further with this and write everything in terms of importance, urgency, or according to how much time it will take. Then the most time-consuming tasks can be done first, so you won’t feel stressed.
If you don’t want a planner, don’t have access to a planner, or just feel a planner will not work for you, you can always use your phone. Think about it: what’s something that most people always have with them and have an attachment to? Their phone. You can use your phone in the same way you would use your planner. You can place all your tasks in the calendar app or you can set reminders for yourself and your phone will tell you when to complete your tasks. There, of course, are many other ways you can stay on top of your assignments, but I think the most important thing is to stay positive and surround yourself with positive people.”
Dear XYZ: How do I deal with the stress of balancing AP, Honors, and regular classes along with friends and other issues?
Y responds: “This is something that I also have had trouble balancing this year, seeing as I am a senior and I have to deal with college applications, AP classes, college classes, and all my friends.
The best way to go about this is to have a schedule for everything. One way is to make sure all your school work is completed during the week days, so you are free to hang out with friends on the weekends. Another strategy is to hang out with friends after school, but never staying out so late that when you get home you are too tired to do any school work.
Another way to look at this is that you don’t have to do everything all in one day. You don’t have to hang out with friends every day, especially if you see them in school, so the best thing to do if your friends want to spend time with you is to set a day when you know you’re free to do whatever.
When I know I have days in a particular week when have to do something, I try to keep one or two days free so I don’t overwhelm myself. With these free days I either spend time with my friends or I go straight home to catch up on some sleep or just take some time for myself. There is no set way to balance all the chaos in your life. You just have to know what’s best for yourself.”
Dear XYZ: What is your most honest advice on the college process?
Y responds: “Honestly, the only thing I would have to say is be aware of the deadlines. That’s the most important thing. Once you know when everything is due, you will have more time to prepare. The last thing you want to do is have the deadline be one week away while you’re scrambling to finish essays and supplements! If you do everything (or most of it) ahead of time, you will have ample time to get revisions on your essays and supplements. And if you have more time, you might put more thought into your answers as opposed to rushing your answers and hoping and praying that admissions will look past your spelling and grammar mistakes and accept you. So, if you want to have a smooth college process, know the deadlines, write essays and supplements weeks in advance and have someone look over them. Finally, when you ask for letters of recommendation, annoy your teachers or whomever you asked because recommendations have deadlines too.”
Dear XYZ: How can students earn money while in high school?
Z responds: “Being one of the fresh, young, and energetic young people that we are, I’ve realized that the older we get, the more money we begin to spend. Opportunities for earning money while in high school can vary. For example, for most part-time jobs available to students, the minimum age requirement is usually 16-years-old. If you are that age or older, there are different ways to approach your search for after-school or summer employment.
Before anything, you have to ask yourself if you can really commit to a job. Consider your current schedule, and how taking a job will impact it. While searching for the best job for you, think about your personal experience and your comfort levels. For example, are you comfortable enough with strangers to greet visitors and assist customers of all ages? That said, it becomes clear that it’s better for you to do something you’re comfortable with and earn a few bucks, rather than facing difficult circumstances just to earn more money.
If you’re seeking a more career-oriented job, I suggest an internship. While many internships may not be a paid opportunity, there are still quite a few paid internships out there for students.
I strongly recommend internships because they can offer you training within a field that essentially highlights your future career interests. If you are seeking the best way to find the right job for your needs, I advise you to take a trip down to your guidance counselor. Here at MCSM, our counselors are always on alert to share with you the latest opportunities for our students. With the right internship, you can receive quite a high stipend while you explore your career options!”