Suggestions for the worried adolescent

Source: Flockine, Pixabay, public domain

My teenage clients are, on average, more worried than they were years ago. This is a composite:

My dominant emotion is worry. I had wondered for a long time if college was still worth all the money. But now, with the university likely to be remote? ! Not just having to sit on Zoom even more, but what about that great social life I looked forward to in college? I was already nervous about meeting new people and now what?

I don’t really like math, science and computers. I’m not very good at them either. Will I be employable in our increasingly technological world?

When I hear about house prices, I think I’ll never be able to afford a house unless I’m in a field that doesn’t interest me like investment banking or corporate law. Even used car prices are crazy.

There is so much tension between the sexes. Will I ever find someone who will be loving and kind?

And my parents, although still in good health, are starting to go downhill. Will they be able to get good health care? How much will I have to sacrifice to take care of them?

In short, I’m scared.


These ideas can help you prevail despite the headwinds.

In high school, focus more on your development than on impressing colleges.

It may be hard to believe amid peer pressure, but your high school, college, and later in life won’t get any better and possibly worse by “going the extra mile” to try to look good in colleges. Instead, prepare only modestly for the SAT and take it only once, take a course load that requires only moderate work and therefore reduces the temptation to cheat, and, with the extra time , do extracurricular activities that will be fun and help you grow rather than just pleasing colleges. Do you really want to play the tuba or get up at dawn to freeze while you row? It may be better, for example, to get involved or even start a small business or non-profit activity.

If you go to a college that’s a little less selective, even though you probably get a higher GPA, it may be a little harder to land your first professional job, but in the long run, that won’t matter. What will matter most is attending a college that suits you and that, without undue effort, leaves more time for extracurricular activities that could enhance your professional and personal life more than the selectivity of a college would. .

More important than Who college is whether you get the most out of it.

Perhaps surprisingly, more important than the college you attend is how carefully you choose and get the most out of your teachers, major, and extracurricular activities:

Choose teachers whose online reviews indicate that they are engaging, moderately challenging, and ideally. which are transformational: making you a clearer and more open-minded thinker, a more persuasive writer, a greater appreciater of our amazing yet imperfect world.

Choosing a major, yes, give brownie points to majors that are likely launch pads to a career you think you enjoy and be good at. But Don’t Ignore the Pleasure Potential of a Major— pleasure matters. Also, if you enjoy a major, you are more likely to work harder. At your applying colleges or institution of your choice, see the list of majors. For whatever intrigues you, take a look at the required courses and elective opportunities. And remember that you are only making a tentative choice. If you don’t like a major after a class or two, you can switch.

As for extracurricular activities, try again to balance their potential for fun and help you grow. Do any of these proposals intrigue you: work-study work for the college’s counseling center? Work at the student newspaper, on the radio or on television? Become active or even create a club? Note that all of this can be done remotely and provides opportunities for socialization.

When it comes to meeting good friends and romantic partners, your best chance is to continue to give your best and prioritize intelligence, ethics, and kindness. And when your intuition tells you that being involved with a particular person isn’t in your best interest, cut your losses and look elsewhere. The are lots of fish in the sea.

Try to find mentors. Much of the growth happens one-on-one. So ask your favorite teachers, administrators and older students for advice. Show your appreciation.

As for your concern about future income, given our materialistic culture, the following may be hard to accept but, more important than buying a million dollar house, a cool car, expensive clothes and luxury vacations, there are good connections, a creative outlet and a rewarding experience. and, yes, a reasonably remunerative career. Pick a career you’d probably do well in, then do a diligent job search or start a simple, low-risk business, invest rather than overspend, and you’ll have the odds in your favor.

The take-out sale

It is almost axiomatic that adolescents resist the advice of adults. But does this message even contain seeds that you would like to plant? If so, your “tree” will probably grow well and bear fruit.

I read that out loud on Youtube.

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