I would like to introduce you to a new series, “Tea and Talk with Jamie and Sam”. This is a new advice column where you can submit questions at the end of each issue, and we will address your questions in future articles. Please make sure that your questions are appropriate, as we will not be answering questions that are not suitable for all audiences.
Without further ado, we have five questions this week that we will be answering for you. We hope this helps provide some guidance on some real life issues you all may be going through!
“I’m having friendship issues, what should I do?”
Jamie: No matter what the situation is, I always say that communication is key. It may be uncomfortable bringing up issues that you are having with your friend, but leaving the issues unsaid will cause more issues in the future. It could also bring an awkwardness to the situation with an “elephant in the room” scenario. It’s always best to bring things up right away, instead of pushing it off and trying to avoid the situation.
Sam: I personally believe that communication is key to solving most friendship issues as it’s often a simple misunderstanding or assumption which didn’t turn out to be true. I feel that the longer an issue is left undealt with, the more likely other issues will arise as a result. Don’t be afraid to reach out and discuss those issues, let them know how you feel and why you have those feelings. That will allow them to give their perspective on the situation, perhaps it’s something which neither of you even realised and that will at the very least give you a starting point on fixing that relationship. It’s even better if you’re able to discuss this in person or over the phone as things can’t get lost in context. However, texting is better than not talking about it at all!
“I’m not doing well in school at the moment. What should I do to get myself back on track?”
Jamie: It’s always hard to find motivation to get yourself back on track; this is a hard one to answer because everyone has a way in which they work best. For me, I am most productive in the morning, so I get through my work shortly after I wake up and get ready for the day. Since most things are remote, it’s also important to figure out how you work best in your home setting. Doing work from your bed is definitely more comfy, but your productivity will probably decrease. And, who knows, you might end up taking a lot of surprise naps while you’re supposed to be doing work. My advice for you in that situation, is make yourself a work space that has a desk or table, and plenty of open space for all of your supplies. Make sure it is a place away from noise and distractions, and even put your electronic devices away as well, so your concentration is fully on your work.
Sam: It’s really easy to get off track, it happens to the best of us so firstly, don’t panic! The most important thing to do is to speak to your teachers, they’ll be more than happy to support you if you show initiative and willingness to improve. Whether that’s providing extra tuition outside of school, providing alternative resources or allowing extra time to catch up on work, they’ll know exactly how to help. My best advice when studying is to avoid any distractions by working in a different room or environment and have regular breaks.
“I’ve had a very unhealthy lifestyle since lockdown had started earlier this year. I’ve been eating unhealthy food and haven’t been exercising. What are some ways to get myself motivated again?”
Jamie: Wow, can I relate to this, hahaha. I’m not saying I’m the best person to answer this question, but I can give you some input on what I’ve been trying to do. My one piece of advice is accountability. Find someone or something that helps you stay accountable with your health and fitness goals. I’ve been looking up healthy recipes and ideas, and asking friends who also eat healthier foods. It’s hard because there’s always temptation, but remember that it is OKAY to have a cheat day every once in a while! Find the healthy food that you love, and incorporate that into meals and snacks. In terms of exercise, accountability is SO important. What I’ve been doing is going to the gym with one of my real life friends – by setting plans to go with friends, you’re way more likely to follow through and go than if you were to just go by yourself, and you guys can work together to reach your goals!
Sam: We’ve all been there. Before lockdown, I would run 8 miles every Wednesday after work and now I struggle to run half a mile! You’ve already made progress by acknowledging you need to change your lifestyle which itself is half the battle so you should be proud! The key thing to remember is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint; you don’t want to make too many changes straight away else you’ll end up quitting. You’ll want to get into a habit, I find that going for a walk at the same time every day has been super effective as it’s now part of my daily routine without even thinking. The same can be applied to any form of exercise. With diets, I find that swapping junk for healthier alternatives are hugely effective and the realisation that I can still enjoy food whilst being healthy has really motivated me to keep on going. Try different recipes and different foods until you find something you love.
“I’m feeling very stressed out and angry recently. What are some ways to help me calm down and relax?”
Jamie: I can totally relate to this one as well. During a pandemic, it’s hard to find ways to channel your stress and anger when you can’t do all that much. As mentioned in the previous question, managing your diet and exercise is shown to have crucial effects on your mental health as well, so if you have the opportunity to be active, I would highly recommend it. This is another question where it all depends on the person. Some people find that exercise helps manage their stress better, while some enjoy taking relaxing baths. It all depends on what you are interested in! There are many online resources as well to help you find which option best suits you.
Sam: Close your eyes and take a deep breath. And another one. It’s simple, but effective, and has helped me calm myself down when I’m in a panic. It’s important to stay positive as much as possible. Of course it’s easier said than done, but every negative comes with a positive and it’s your job to find it. I was stressed the other day as I had too much work with the same deadline and I was panicking. Once I took a moment to breathe and calm myself down, I realised that it helped me develop and learn the importance of prioritising and distributing workload. It’s such a minor positive, however it helped me so much and it boosted my mood. I remember telling my manager about it the day after in my 1:1 meeting and she agreed with me. Another method is to write down your thoughts and feelings, getting things off your chest is a huge relief, even if nobody else will see it.
“I have a job interview that is coming up later this week that I’m super nervous about and I’m not sure how to prepare for it. What are some pieces of advice you can give me for going into this interview?”
Jamie: I actually have a great piece of advice for this one that I learned last week during a work webinar. “Present yourself simply and confidently”. Don’t overthink the questions, and just be yourself. I know the main goal of an interview is to impress, but you will be a lot less nervous and stressed if you just be yourself. There are SO many online resources that you can go to to help yourself prepare. It’s always nice to have a mock interview as well, answering online questions that are frequently asked during interviews. Another piece of advice I have is, don’t be afraid of silence. You don’t need to answer every question the second they finish asking it. Take a second, collect your thoughts and develop an answer, and then answer it for them. People would rather have you take the time to develop an honest answer than to say the first thing that comes to your mind.
Sam: I’ve only ever had two job interviews, however, I did get the job on both of those occasions so I guess my method works well for me. Before the interview, I researched the company and found out what they did, what their goals were and what their culture was like. The more you can align your interview answers to their company goals and culture, the more points you’ll score. It’s a bonus if you already work at the company and are interviewing for an internal position as you’ll already know this. Afterwards, I wrote down potential questions I found on Google relative to that industry and what my answers would be. An important note which my old manager told me: always link your answers to examples regardless of how irrelevant they may seem. When I was interviewed for my apprenticeship, they asked me about the biggest risk I had ever taken. I was 18 years old and had just left college, that was a very difficult question. I told them about the time I switched college and course, it was so irrelevant, yet they loved the answer. As long as you can link your answer to an example of a time you have demonstrated that particular skill, it doesn’t matter how irrelevant you may think it is. When they ask if you have any questions, find out more about working for the company and what development opportunities are in place. Those questions will show that you care about the position and that you’re wanting to develop and succeed. Finally, first impressions count. Dress to impress, iron your clothes and look like you’re serious about the job. Say hello to the receptionist, ask how they are and make small talk; it won’t go unnoticed!
Thank you for reading this article. We hope we provided some worthy advice to you, and that it may help you in parts of your life that you may be struggling with.
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