Ask a Panther: Week Three

Here are this week’s questions:

“I’m dealing with a death in the family. How do I cope?”

I’m so sorry for your loss. We’ve all dealt with the loss of loved ones or even those who may not have been close to us. I think that the aftermath of death is a long and difficult process that is inevitable. I understand how you may be feeling right now. It’s a queer feeling when someone that you see everyday is no longer there. It’s a rocky road of shock, grief and acceptance. There aren’t really any ‘cures’ per se for this feeling but there are some things you can do to help yourself move on:

Surround yourself with family and friends

  • This may sound oversimplified, but surrounding yourself with friends and family who may be going through the same thing as you can help ease the pain. Doing so emphasizes the fact that you aren’t alone. Your friends and family may be the very support you need, just as how you may be a source of support for them.

Find a healthy outlet to express your feelings

  • Whether it’s through drawing, dancing, writing or painting, actively participating in an activity that allows you to express your emotions in a healthy way is key for alleviating your struggle. This is especially helpful if you aren’t big on verbally expressing your feelings.

Confront your feelings

  • The two bullet points above list some ways that you can progressively but indirectly deal with what you are going through. This one is for when you feel that nothing helps. Sometimes our feelings can become overbearing and too much to hold in. This is when direct confrontation of the situation and emotions should take place. For example, speaking to a professional therapist or just speaking in general to friends or family about whatever is on your mind. We often feel the need to keep our problems to ourselves but it can be unhealthy in the long run. Don’t be afraid to let it all out sometimes, because you just might need it.

“I took the SAT last Saturday and I feel like I didn’t do well. What can I do to prepare better for next time?”

The most important thing to keep in mind is Don’t Stress Yourself Out. Remember that there are other SAT’s to come! It might feel like a big deal now, but chances are you probably did much better than you think you did. You can check out the Week Two article regarding some tips for studying for the SAT but since you’ve already taken the SAT at least once, you have a bit of an advantage. You’re more familiar with the test format and questions now. With that information, you can prepare better for future exams.

Take note of some of the topics you remember being asked about on the SAT. Next time, try to do this as soon as you can after taking the SAT since your memory will be the freshest then. Take note of the word: topics. I don’t mean exact questions (because who can remember that much?) but try to keep in mind the general ideas and topics you were asked or didn’t fully understand. This will be especially helpful when preparing for the next test since you’ll be left with some ideas as to where to start studying. That way, you’ll be more self aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are so you don’t make the same mistakes next time. For example, when I took the SAT, I noticed that I would often have trouble solving systems of equations. I would later make time to review some problems on systems of equations and practice these problems so I didn’t face the same difficulties the next time I take the test.

I hope this helped, and best of luck on your SAT in May!

“I love reading but lately I haven’t found any interesting books to read. Are there any recommendations that you might have?”

Reading is a great hobby but finding good books to read can be a struggle. Let’s be honest, we all started out our reading habits with Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and A Series of Unfortunate Events, but once we finished all the typical series, we were really left with nothing else. Well, there are a lot of great authors out there and all it takes is some research. Hopefully I can provide some book recommendations that you’ll be able to enjoy. Here they are:

  • Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner

In general, I recommend any and every book by Lisa Gardner. She is a brilliant writer and her books are mostly mysteries and thrillers. This book holds a dark plot but nonetheless it will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is by far one of the most exciting books I have ever read. It’s a part of a ‘series’ that she does with a character named Kimberly and I highly recommend it.

  • When All the World was Young by Ferrol Sams

This book is very different from any Harry Potter or the book above. It’s not as thrilling but it has a really interesting plot that seems to play right in front of your eyes (yea it’s that good). It definitely takes some time to read but it’s worth it. It focuses on a character, Porter Osbourne whose story in the book starts out at medical school. The story follows Osbourne from medical school to serving as a surgical technician in World War II.

  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

This novel can only be described as beautiful in both its language and plot. The story focuses on Li-yan and takes place in a Yunnan village at the very beginning of the book. Li-yan’s family relies hugely on tradition but Li-yan starts to reject these traditions as she becomes one of the few educated girls in her village. She gives birth to a child out of wed-lock and abandons her daughter in the nearest city. The plot later follows Li-yan’s journey as a tea entrepreneur and mission to find her daughter again.

Hope all this helped, have a great week, Panthers!

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