The Pa[i]ge Advice Column

Paige Oyler answers questions on managing priorities, test-taking strategies and finding a career.

Hi Paige! My problem is I have a lot going on with school and life in general, such as theater, school work, choir, and work. How do you make time for your friends and find motivation to get things like chores done?
– Bricyn Stoll, Sophomore
Dear Bricyn, As someone who also has a million things happening all the time, finding the motivation to get everything done isn’t easy. I think one of the biggest reasons I get so stressed out at times is because of procrastination. So to prevent this, I try to make my life easier by getting schoolwork done in school. And chore-wise, going about your tasks in categories makes it seem like you aren’t doing as much as you really are. All of these small changes can really make a big difference and gives you the time to do all those extracurricular activities and hang out with friends.

Hi Paige! How can I do good on tests? I come in after school, before school to get help and I still am not keeping a good grade in that class how do you. Prepare for tests? Even if you put in all this work including studying at home.
– Anonymous
Dear Anonymous, testing may be different for everyone, but there are some small changes you can make that will change your scores big time. Did you know you only remember 80 percent of new information after a day? And if you don’t review that information, after three days, you only remember 60 percent of all the new stuff you learned, this is called the forgetting curve. However, if you just look at your notes for a little bit every day, say 15 minutes, you will remember significantly more information vs. cramming in information the night before a test. Most importantly, get some sleep! Sleep provides so many mental and physical benefits and isn’t a waste of time, as some may think. It’s critical to get a good night’s sleep, this is because that’s when your body gets the chance to actually properly process all that material you just learned. So, review some of that stuff you just learned for a little bit every day, get some extra sleep, and take good care of yourself!
Hi Paige! I have been interested in art for years, but I’m not naturally very talented. I continue to practice but I’m not really seeing any improvement. I wanted to do art for a career, but now I’m considering just giving up. I’m almost 18. I have to make a career decision soon, and I don’t think my art can improve in that amount of time. I’m not sure if I should and go on to do something I’m more naturally gifted at, like writing, and just give up on art, or if I should keep trying.
– Anonymous
Dear Anonymous, This is a pretty tough situation. I think sometimes us teenagers are a little too hard on ourselves, and sometimes all you need to really see that improvement is a new perspective. It’s natural for us to critique ourselves more harshly than others would. The thing is, everyone starts somewhere.
Think about all the artists who made absolute history whose art was disliked they were alive, but now their pieces are now going for millions of dollars. Finding something you’re truly passionate about is a gift of its own. But think about it this way, you don’t necessarily have to make art your “career,” it could be a hobby or side business. Be kinder to yourself, and pursue that passion!