Hop out of your bag: volume 1

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Freshman: How can I gain skills in conversation? I want to contribute in a sensible and pleasant way, but I’m not sure how. Sometimes I will say something without thinking and have it not relate to whatever we are talking about, which isn’t exactly a good thing.

Assuming that this is referring to classroom conversation, one way to contribute is to be prepared with previous knowledge about the topic. Sometimes teachers may inform you beforehand about the topic of the discussion, so you may want to do some research to be prepared.

If the conversation is not announced beforehand, you should always listen to the other speakers. When listening, you can always take small notes and jot down important topics that you may want to follow up on; this allows you to organize your thoughts for your own input and can help to avoid repeating ideas.

If the conversation is regarding a book, don’t use Sparknotes or similar types of websites because teachers can tell if you create a discussion from just the summaries online. Reading the book on your own will certainly help you improve your reading and analysis skills.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify the topics being discussed. This is a great way to help you segway into the conversation by asking about their answer.  Be sure to always speak when you think you have an idea and don’t wait for too long. Usually, others will have similar ideas and so you lose your chance of trying to speak. This has happened several times.

Lastly, sometimes you just have to go for it, even if you’re not entirely sure where you’re going. If the goal is for you to simply just add something to the conversation, say it out loud. This may help you break the wall between your anxiousness and the conversation so that way next time, you won’t be as nervous. However, we don’t recommend you blurt out what you ate for breakfast this morning.


Senior: What is my question? What is the advice that I need? What is the meaning of life, and why are you obligated to respond to my inquiries?

This advice column is open to all Townsend Harris community members to ask any questions regarding any issues you are facing. You can ask about a range of topics, such as academics, extracurriculars, friendships, family, relationships, etc. Although we do not have a degree in giving advice, we are also fellow students who may have shared many experiences similar to yours and would love to help you any way we can. Sometimes, when you’re in need of guidance, the best way to solve your problems is by talking it out with others. Instead of verbally asking for advice, this advice column can serve as a way for you to ask for advice anonymously.

The meaning of life- that depends solely on how you choose to interpret it. Personally, I find my definition of life revolving around having fun and making memories that will last a lifetime. Just do things that make you happy!


Sophomore: How do you know if your friends really care about you?

We would all like to know that answer and the truth is you’re never really going to find out unless some big, dramatic event happens in your life. I personally know that I tend to overanalyze everything and this leads me to question my friendships as you seem to be doing.

You may need to self-evaluate and see what is happening that is causing you to question your relationships with these people. Try to find the root of this insecurity, whether it stems from you or your friends or a mix of both and then you can work to find more security in your friendships. Also talking to someone may help you to sort out your thoughts. I highly recommend Mr. McClary in the guidance suite because he is a great listener and really allows you to draw your own conclusions about the issues you are having.

Sometimes, friendship is not always like the ones they show in the movies. Everyone is different from one another and so your relationships will be different. Signs that your friend actually cares about you is when they offer unconditional and unsolicited support, help, and encouragement.


Junior: Don’t use bags use recyclable brown paper bag their better for the environment

This is great advice that can be taken into consideration by all of us at Townsend. Maybe you can help implement more environmentally friendly ideas at Townsend to make our school greener? : )


Thank you for sending in your questions, keep them coming for more advice!


Yours Truly,

The Helpful Hawks