- This week, we discuss finding post-lockdown motivation in 2020, difficult relationships in the classroom, and finding yourself
- If you have difficult, embarrassing or awkward questions to ask about teen life, send them in anonymously, and ‘Friend of a Friend’ will do their best to help you
Dear Friend of a Friend
Obviously this year sucks, and it’s really changed my attitude towards completing tasks. It’s getting really hard for me to motivate myself to do anything productive any more. Usually, if an assignment or exam was near due, the due date would give me the energy to do the things necessary to achieve my goals.
I’ve lost the drive to do any of that since 2020 has been such a terrible year for school and career prospects. Once school moved online, I lost all motivation. Even once we returned to the classroom, I still felt that lack of motivation caused by the previous lack of structure.
I end up watching Netflix for hours because I don’t feel any goals I have are actually worth working towards. I try to get away from the screen but I end up failing.Do you have any advice?
It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t feel you have a goal. A lot of people are likely in the same boat. However, as terrible as this year has been for almost everyone, life goes on.
Maybe you no longer have the same goals for school and your future career as you had at the start of the year. That’s understandable. But you can re-evaluate what you want to achieve, whether that’s in the short term, or the year to come.
The first step is to get out of your binge-watching cycle, and change your habits.
Do you open Netflix the minute you get home from school? Be harsh and stop doing that. Instead, assign a set “Netflix time” in the evening instead. Complete your homework, do your chores, and catch up with your family before you settle down on the sofa with a show. This might be a struggle at first, but persevere. Itis possible to change.
It’s also important to reduce the number of hours you spend watching TV. Set an alarm clock, or a strict limit on how many episodes you watch. It’s so easy to get carried away with Netflix , but add up how long you spend glued to the screen on an average evening. Now think about how many other things you could achieve in the same time. Try switching up your interests and planning different activities throughout the week so you have other things to look forward to. Ask a friend to work out with you after school, or sign up for a new hobby with a friend.
Set small, achievable goals, both in and out of school. For example, you could join a school club, or take a more active role in a club you’re already in. You could learn to cook that meal you love to eat. You could try a new sport with a friend, or visit a different place in Hong Kong every weekend.What you do is less important than doing something. By following through with commitments you make to yourself, you can really boost your motivation to do other things.
Propose one goal, do it, and focus on how you feel afterwards. Hopefully that positive energy will get you back on track.
Best of luck, Friend of a Friend
Help me! My teacher never lets me answer questions, even though I raise my hand all the time!
I feel miserable and angry about it. I’m not the strongest student in class, but I don’t think that’s a reason for my teacher to hate and ignore me so much.
What should I do?
Ignored in Class
I’m sorry to hear that you are being ignored in class.
It is important to speak to your teacher directly about this to find out why they aren’t calling on you.
After class, ask if they have a moment and politely say, “I would like to get involved more with class discussion, but I’m feeling left out right now”, and see what they say. They may not be aware that you feel excluded. Once you speak up, they will hopefully make more of an effort to include you during class time.
I sincerely doubt your teachers hate you. Maybe they are pressed for time and have fallen into the habit of choosing students who often know the correct answer, so they can steer the conversation in the direction they want to. Of course, that is not fair, especially for students who want to participate. It’s likely that your teachers may not realise they are being biased.
Express your feelings about wanting to get involved clearly and respectfully to your teacher. That way, they will hopefully encourage more students to join in.
Good luck, Friend of a Friend
I feel like I don’t have much of a personality compared to my friends. One guy is really into football, another plays guitar, one is obsessed with collecting vinyl records, and another is really good at maths. I don’t know why they’re friends with me, because I don’t know what I contribute to the group. I feel like I’m just … there. How can I find “my thing”?
Thanks, Invisible Guy
It’s actually positive that you don’t have “a thing” . It means you’re not limited by your interests, or pigeon-holed as “the vinyl guy”. But I understand your concern. The first thing to remember is that comparing yourself to others will often end in disappointment. If you really want to find your “thing”, stop looking at what your friends are doing and look at yourself.
Start by asking yourself simple questions like: What are your interests? What are you good at? What would you like to be good at?
People don’t just pick up something overnight and become brilliant at it – skills and interests take time to cultivate, and most people (including adults!) take years to figure out “who they are”.
Your friends probably found these interests as children, and through repeated investment in those skills have become better at them.You can totally do the same!
It’s honestly as simple as sharing something you like in conversation with your friends. Don’t worry about judgment; the point of conversation is to introduce new topics. Also don’t try to establish yourself as “the person interested in that thing” immediately. You need time to let it sink in and stick. Spend time looking into whatever that thing is.
Read books, listen to podcasts, trawl forums, share things on social media, or try a new hobby yourself. Before you know it, you’ll have established that thing as a part of your personality.
Finally, if you can’t find one thing in particular you want to pursue, there’s nothing wrong with being a jack-of-all-trades and knowing a little bit about a lot! Not having “a thing” will not make you less of a person. You may find it when you’re older. For now, don’t stress, and enjoy the process of exploring
Take care, Friend of a Friend
If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please send an email to [email protected] with “Asking for a Friend” in the subject line. Don’t worry, you will remain anonymous!
This column is here to answer all your difficult or embarrassing questions about being a teenager. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to overcome particular situations at home, school, in your social lives or even in the animal kingdom, our “Friend of a Friend” is an expert to help provide answers for you!