Free to be me

Have you got a question for Jaime? E-mail her at [email protected]


I'm very passive and shy. I never raise my hand and ask questions in class. I don't know what to

do about it. Can you give me some ideas so that I can change my life?


Thanks for your e-mail, Hifsah. Firstly, I want you to know that everyone is different.

Some people are naturally more talkative and louder than others, so if you are a quieter person, don't feel like you need to change who you are to fit in.

However, one thing you can do is learn to be more assertive.

Being assertive has nothing to do with being loud, making jokes or being the centre of attention. It means that you have confidence in who you are and that you believe in yourself.

Start building up your assertiveness by improving your confidence levels.

Give yourself a goal of raising your hand and answering one question a day, or start one conversation each day.

A good exercise is to practise in the mirror at home.

Say some words of encouragement to yourself like, 'I answer questions in class when I know I have the right answer', or 'I'm confident to raise my hand in class.'

Say these things to yourself every day to build up your confidence.

Hi Jamie,

I graduate from school this week and now have a few weeks in which I need to study for exams.

I'm quite worried about getting my studying done.

I'm not very good at planning my days, and knowing that I have heaps of time off, it's easy to think I've got plenty of time and then find I'm panicking at the end.

I know I want to study hard but know that I probably won't. What can I do to solve this problem and make the most of my time off?

Rita Dear Rita,

Great news that you are about to graduate - congratulations!

As exciting as it is to graduate, you still need to focus until your exams are over.

Just think about all the free time you'll have then - you won't need to worry about studying until you go to university or college.

Now that you don't have to attend school, you'll have approximately six extra hours a day to spare. You can use that time productively if you start planning now.

I think one of the things that could be important to you is learning how not to procrastinate.

Procrastinating is the biggest stealer of our time, and often teenagers will procrastinate simply because they don't give their studying a high enough priority

early on.

What I would encourage you to do is draw up a realistic schedule for the next few weeks.

Write down all the things that you have to fit into your week and then schedule them in to a daily timetable, just as if you are at school.

Give it to your parents or a friend who will keep you accountable to keeping to the schedule. Good luck with your exams.