PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 December, 2008, 12:00am

A few words of encouragement

Examinations always give me a real headache.

I feel overwhelmed with anxiety as they draw near and always burn the midnight oil when preparing for them.

Actually sitting an examination is a terrifying experience for me and I am sure it is the same for many other students.

It is not surprising that some of us lose confidence due to stress, and fail as a result.

I seldom get good marks.

I would love to, not because of the good results themselves, but rather for the appreciation and recognition I would get from my teachers.

I don't think teachers realise how much students appreciate a few words of praise, such as 'excellent' or 'well done'.

I am very motivated by my teachers and I long for their praise.

Teachers can easily encourage us. They can support us by praising us more.

Bonny Chan, Tin Ka Ping Secondary School

Shopping for a change

A lot of shops and companies give away environmentally friendly bags as promotional items.

They are perfect for shopping, and mean you don't have to buy a reusable plastic bag.

However, these bags are usually made of cotton and are not waterproof.

There are two ways to deal with wet products like meat and fish that can soak a cloth bag.

You can either wash a plastic bag and reuse it a couple of times, or you can use a plastic box instead.

A box is better because it also stops liquid from leaking into your reusable bag. It's a more hygienic solution all round.

If we really want to help save the environment, we should learn to say 'no' to cashiers when they offer us plastic bags.

If everyone said they didn't need a plastic bag, shops would eventually stop supplying them.

Koo Tsz-wing, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

Worshipping the idol rich

Teenagers, especially those in Hong Kong, adore pop idols blindly.

Some of them spend a lot of their time and money on their idols by buying their CDs and tickets to their concerts.

Others steal their parents' money to pay for these products.

Teenagers also spend too much of their time trying to get a glimpse of their idols when they should be studying.

Less time spent on studies can lead to problems, too.

Teenagers who don't work hard at school get poor grades.

Their parents are usually unhappy with their children's performance.

Some teenagers worship idols without considering their talent or personality - they just concentrate on their appearance.

Others just follow the trend. When their friends adore an idol, they follow suit.

I think we should develop our own opinions and ideas in life instead of simply copying others.

However, worshipping pop idols is not all bad.

Teenagers can build character through imitating their idols, some of whom have worked very hard to achieve success. Leticia Chan Ka-man, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Uniform approach

The way we dress tells other people about our personality.

Our choice of clothes helps us express our individuality, but school uniforms do nothing to make us stand out.

Few Hong Kong students have an independent mentality, but that is not entirely because they have to wear school uniforms.

It is a reflection of the city's education system.

Our schools don't require us to think as individuals.

All we need to do is remember the topics that will come up in the examinations.

We have little say in the subjects and courses we take.

Letting students wear their own clothes might help them develop as individuals, but I believe that the benefits of wearing school uniforms outweigh the disadvantages.

There are better ways for students to develop their personalities than by wearing fashionable clothes.

Denise Tam, PLK Vicwood K.T. Chong Sixth Form College

Smile when times are tough

Life can be unpleasant, but don't let it get you down. Smile when times are tough.

If you feel unhappy, talk it over with your friends.

If you feel angry, try to understand why.

If you feel sad, think of funny things and laugh.

Smiling can have a positive effect on others.

When people see you with a big smile on your face, they feel better, too.

So, don't knit your brows when you are down. You never know who will fall in love with your smiling face.

Tse Yan-fong, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

Money doesn't make you happy

Everybody wants to be rich.

When you have money you can buy whatever you want and you don't have to worry about life.

You can choose what to study and you don't have to make a living by working.

However, being rich does have disadvantages.

When you have a lot of money other people want to take it away from you.

Criminals could even kidnap your relatives and make you pay to get them back.

I would rather be poor and happy.

Money doesn't buy you love and it doesn't solve all your problems.

The more money you have, the more you worry about it.

Shanza Malik, Delia Memorial School (Broadway)