Experts give advice on major high school decisions

Maia D'Amato, Staff writer

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Should we flip a coin? Should we ask the magic 8 ball? What’s the best way to make a decision? Na Pueo sought expert advice on how to make some of the biggest decisions high schoolers face.

College: Where to apply for college?

Everyone is different, but students should look at schools that will best suit their needs. Students shouldn’t pick their schools based on what their friends are going or what their parents want, said Derrick Kang, director of College Counseling. 

“It becomes all about [the students], not anyone else,” Kang said. 

Doing research will help students figure out what is important to them and what experience they want in their school, Kang said. 

When choosing a school, students are also faced with the question, ‘should I leave the island or stay on island?’

“Once again, it’s all about the student as an individual. Not everyone wants to go away. It could be they don’t want to go away, it could be finances, [or] it could also be due to family obligations, so everyone is very different,” said Kang. 

Dating: Who to date?

High school is where some of students’ first dating experiences begin, and they are important ones.

“In high school you’re starting to get your first dating experiences and if you were to choose to date somebody, I think it’s really important to see how they match up with you,” said Doctoral Student of Clinical Psychologist, Pedro Benach. 

Choose someone that will add to your life, said Benach.

“It’s important to date somebody that’s a good fit and somebody that’s going to be easy and will not cause any disruption,” said Benach.

You may meet your potential date through a class or through your friends, Benach said. 

“Maybe they’re in a different grade, but you hear good things about them and you [two] get along,” said Benach. 

Students may come into situations where they feel uncomfortable, but they ignore these signs. 

Paying attention to what goes on inside of oneself and how you feel can help us make better dating decisions in who we date and if we should date them, Benach said.

“I think the most important thing is just to take everything really slow. Don’t try to rush anything, just let life be,” said Benach. 

Homework: Should I do homework over the weekend or go out?

Decisions such as ‘should I go out or should I do my homework over the weekend’ are based on where you are at in your high school experience, said 11th grade dean, Myron Seu. 

Priorities differ between high school years.

“Let’s say you’re a freshman or a sophomore, the last thing you’re going to think about is college, so you’re kind of living in the moment,” said Seu.

Juniors and seniors have other focuses.  

“It’s no longer living for the moment, but living for college,” said Seu.

As you start becoming a junior or senior, what you do matters and you’re running out of time, Seu said. 

“Base your decisions on your priorities, not opportunities,” said Seu. Priorities should be homework and school. If an opportunity, such as a last minute event with friends, arises, students should still focus on their priority first. 

 “If you live your life basing your decisions on opportunities, you’ll be all over the place,” said Seu

Peer pressure: How should I handle peer pressure?

As a high school student and an individual, how others think about you means a lot, said Pedro Benach 

“This is not just as a high school student, this goes on for your whole life. But I think it’s really just [to focus] on the qualities that make you you and that you’re valuable,” said Benach. 

Benach offered advice on how to handle peer pressure: take yourself away from situation, and then reconsider your decisions. 

If the decision you make is the same, then maybe it’s more aligned with who you are, but if you feel any conflict, then it’s probably better to not make a decision right away. 

“You have to really pay attention to what’s going on inside of you, like what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking.  Listen to those body senses because if you do that, you’ll make a more informed decision,” said Benach. 

Movie selection: How to choose a movie?

Choosing a movie is about challenging yourself and to not always watch the easiest things.

“Push yourself outside of your comfort zone a little bit and watch something that you think might take a little more work to watch,” said Film Production and IB Film teacher Paul Faber.

Faber said to try to watch movies with high critical acclaim. 

“Watch the film that you think has more redeeming, artistic, literary filmic value,” said Faber.

Faber also said to watch the films that are considered to be well made, well written and have good acting.

But don’t take movie choosing too seriously, he said. But generally, Faber would advise to watch the best quality movies.

“Try to watch movies that are considered great films and even though it might seem like it would be more boring, in the end it might be something that’s a lot more rewarding,” said Faber.