Dear Viking: Advice from a Peer

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Dear Viking, 

     High School is commonly known as the most exciting years of one’s life. Between classwork, sports, school events, and developing a social life, the four years after middle school are jam-packed and can be hard to navigate. While the school counselor’s doors may stay open, it can be intimidating to walk in and ask for advice. 

   Even with a foot in the door, there are some questions that continue to fall outside the scope of a counselor’s job description. Through an anonymous questionnaire fellow Vikings could ask some of the more difficult questions. While I am unable to answer all of them, I will do my best to answer a few of the most important ones. 

     “What can a person do to help with their confidence?”

     Confidence is a difficult subject. During high school, adolescents are in the midst of finding themselves and where they fit in with others. There’s a constant pressure to appear perfectly put-together. 

   There are two major steps towards increasing confidence. The first: fake it. While you may not feel it inside, by holding your head high and speaking with conviction, the appearance of confidence will feel increasingly natural. Square your shoulders, smile, make eye contact, and no one can tell the difference. While faking it is possible, it is not a permanent solution. 

     The second, and most important step to increase confidence is to figure out who you are, and who you want to be. Without knowing who this ideal is, you will be unhappy with the way you present yourself. By figuring out, and becoming, the person you want to be, the confidence within will shine through. 

     “How can I be less depressed?”

     Unlike confidence, depression is not something to be faked. High school is a whirlwind of emotions, and without the proper tools to regulate, it can become overwhelming. Unfortunately, there is no cure-all for depression. It is an individual struggle, and what may work for you may be detrimental to another. That being said, there are a few common strategies. 

     As simple as it may sound, a morning routine can be key to maintaining a healthy mentality. It doesn’t have to mirror the ten-step “Get Ready With Me” video you might’ve seen on a vlogger’s TikTok. This morning routine could be as simple as making your bed, brushing your teeth, and washing your face. By completing simple tasks each morning, it allows the brain to reset and prepare itself for the upcoming day. 

     Keep in mind, it is important to prioritize happiness. This should not come at the expense of necessary tasks such as school, but a mindset focused on happiness as a goal can cause great strides in working towards it. This can manifest itself in many forms, whether it be scheduling a hangout with friends, or setting aside time for hobbies, such as setting aside time to curl up with a good book. This is not a guaranteed instant solution, but by setting a schedule for yourself, and moving happiness up on the list of priorities, it can become achievable. 

     “How do I get over someone?”

     As the season of love approaches, this question involves one of the most common struggles in the world of romance: lingering feelings. When dealing with a breakup, or even unrequited love, it can be difficult to put away feelings. Whether it was a breakup, a failed talking stage, or even an unfulfilled crush, it can be difficult to put away those feelings but the recipe is the same: space and time. 

     The world of feelings is complex and difficult to navigate. In this world, however, there appears to be one constant: space is necessary. This could be a hard pill to swallow, as it can be disheartening to realize. Cutting off, or even distancing from, someone you fancy can feel nigh impossible, and that isn’t your fault! 

   When you develop a crush, your brain views them as a source of dopamine, or, “the happy chemical.” Like an addict, in order to get over this, you have to quit. By continuously interacting with the person of desire, the dopamine reaction is furthered, and the cycle continues. 

  While a key factor, space is not the only solution. You need time. It can be tempting to try to rush the solution, but this is one that can’t be sped up. Allow yourself the time to truly get over the feelings. 

   In the meantime, know that it might, and most likely will, hurt. The deprivation of a major source of dopamine is naturally unpleasant, and is compounded on by resurfaced memories you may hold. In the end, love is not exact, nor predictable. It is a rush, it’s exciting, and it’s addicting. 

   But, in the long run, space may be necessary. It is an arduous journey, but it will eventually pay off. Most importantly, the distance does not have to last forever. With enough time, when the feelings are resolved, it’s possible to remain in contact. 

   Like snowflakes, each love is different and beautiful in its own way. The snow may not last forever, but when it melts, it will re-shape into something new, and the cycle may begin again. 

   While my advice may be in print, that does not guarantee it is “fact.” My opinions are based on my experience and the experiences of those around me. 

   High school is not easy, and a majority of that is due to the process of figuring out what works for you. While awkward, this can be an exciting process, and is not to be shied away from. These four years are your time to focus on you, putting you in the best place possible to take on the world.  



Your Fellow Viking