Welcome back to MOR’s advice column! This quarter, students asked a wide variety of questions via the MOR Instagram page. This quarter, the questions focused on students’ personal lives and how they may need help with certain aspects of that.

How do your classes influence who you’re friends with?

I think it can go either way. If you are someone who is more introverted, definitely being with a friend in your class and having that familiar face to look at can be amazing and make you feel super comfortable. However, there’s always the dreaded time when the teacher tells you to work with someone you haven’t before, or worse…picks the partner for you. While it can be scary to no longer be able to work with a friend who knows you well, sometimes it can be beneficial too. Working with someone outside your comfort zone can help you meet new people in your classes. I think this can be beneficial too because if it’s an elective course, then you’re meeting someone who may have a similar interest to you that you can relate with. This can help influence who you’re friends with, and does not mean that they will have to be your best friend, but it can give you school friends. School friends may not be your best friends and maybe you only hang out every once and a while, but they’re someone you can relate to in class and get to know better as time goes on.

How do I stay more focused during my classes?

Take it from me when I say that focusing in class is not one of my strong suits. The smallest things can easily distract me and take my mind off the lesson. I think a lot of this is because of the technology burnout many kids feel after almost two years of online learning. I know I certainly can get distracted when doing assignments on a computer and will find myself feeling bored. One way I have improved my focus is by taking handwritten notes. I find when I handwrite assignments or notes, I feel like not only am I comprehending a lesson more, but also, it’s forcing me to stay focused because I’ll know that these are notes I’ll need for later and keeping them nice will also help me more. Another way to stay more focused is to find something good to listen to when doing work. I love background noise and need it in all aspects of my life, especially when doing school work. I used to listen to music but found myself getting bored of the songs or changing them a lot. This is when I then discovered podcasts. Podcasts are a great tool because you feel as if you have someone talking to you. I love horror ones, especially from Disturbed and Lights Out, which tells almost 3 hours of different stories so I’m not stuck listening to the same thing over and over again. It’s about finding what works for you and building off that to improve your focus in areas all around.

I feel like my relationship may not be working out, what do I do?

Alright people, I know right now your high school relationship may feel and seem magical, and it probably is, but chances are it won’t last forever. While everybody would like to believe they’re in the one relationship in a million that will work out, this is probably not the case.. However, this does not mean to just give up. Most of the time, after a relationship gets out of the honeymoon phase, it gets harder. The feeling of the beginning of the relationship has faded and you feel nothing can go wrong, then it does. School gets in the way, you start to maybe notice the flaws in both of you, it just gets harder. This doesn’t just mean you should give up though. The reason you guys started dating in the first place was because of who each of you were. Even if the relationship feels like it’s losing its flare, find ways to bring that back. Do things you haven’t done before, visit a place you’ve always wanted to, just in general find new ways to fall for each other all over again. An important piece of this, though, is recognizing the signs of a toxic relationship. Sometimes when in a toxic relationship, things seem perfect at first and then take a turn for the worse when true colors are shown, trust me. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, read Hannah Muessig’s article Glamorized Toxicity or Happily Ever After to read more about the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship. Remember too, it’s okay for the relationship to end and it’s okay to be sad too if it does. Relationships are a different level of trust and connection and as we get older, anyone who wants to will experience a lot of different relationships. It takes trial and error to find what works for you and even if that’s not with your current partner, then that’s okay.

What clubs have been most fun for you in high school?

I have found a lot of clubs that piqued my interest in high school. During the 2019-2020 year, I joined Model UN and absolutely loved it. In Model UN, you acted as a country and worked with other countries to solve real world conflicts that were being discussed in the United Nations. I thought it was so fun because you interacted with so many people and got to work together to come to good solutions that work for all. However, I think after COVID and because of minimal interest, the club is no longer running. During the 2020-2021 year, I didn’t do any clubs because we weren’t in school. However, this was the year that I joined Unified Soccer. While this isn’t a club but rather an actual sport, it was such a wonderful experience. It was so good to watch everyone on the team grow and become better players. We made it to the championship that year and came in second place. However, this did not deter us from becoming the champions this past season. I also played Unified Volleyball which was just as inclusive and also went home with a championship last season. One club that I did not expect to join was the Red Cross Club, but then I did and I absolutely love it. This club helps with blood drives, runs fundraisers, and does so many fun things. Joining clubs is so important in high school. Not only does it look great on college applications, but it also gives you those extra connections with people you may not expect to have them with. Whether you’re not sure where to start with joining clubs or if you’re already a member of several, make sure to go to the club fair at the beginning of next year.  This will give you so many different clubs that you can check out to make sure you find the one that you’ll be able to connect with.