Category: Teen Life

How to Be Safe and Healthy as a Sexually Active Teen

If you’re a teenager and have decided to enter into a sexual relationship, you have to make sure you and your partner are safe. The consequences of unprotected sex are lifelong and can be devastating. There are several steps you can take to prevent unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and other incidences. Keep reading for some important information on how to say as safe as possible as a sexually active teen.

You Can Say No

One of the most important things to remember is never to let someone force you to do anything you don’t want to. All sexual acts should be consensual. If your partner is pressuring or forcing you to do anything against your will, remember you have the right to say no. Talk things out, and see if you can’t reach a compromise. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, speak up. It might be the only way they’ll know.

Be Honest

Talk to your partner before you engage in any sexual activity. Ask them if they have ever had unprotected sex, or if they have any sexually transmitted diseases you should know about. Be open and honest. Even if one of you has an STD, there are steps you can take to prevent it from spreading.

Know the Risks

First, you both need to understand that there is no method of protection that is 100% effective. You still take on the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases no matter which method of protection you choose. If you are not willing to talk about this with your partner, it is an indication that you may not be ready for a sexual relationship.

Using Birth Control

If you do decide to become sexually active, females may want to consider using oral contraceptives. They are highly effective against pregnancy when used correctly, and can be obtained from a doctor or clinic. Even with oral contraceptives, the male partner should always use a condom to prevent the spread of disease. Make sure both partners know how to use a condom properly. Incorrect use can cause the condom to fail. A counselor can explain proper use. You can also visit an STD testing service for information on how to use condoms effectively.

Plan B

In the event that your birth control fails, you can get emergency contraceptives without a prescription and also without parental consent. These also must be taken properly and within 72 hours of sexual activity to be effective.

Don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor, school counselor, or any other trusted adult for advice prior to becoming sexually active. You can enjoy safe sex as a teen if you know the proper precautions to take. Be responsible, and use the proper resources at your disposal to stay safe and healthy.

5 Principles to Maintain a Good Credit Score: Start Adulthood on the Right Foot

Do you know your credit score? Not many young adults can answer that question, and even fewer know why it’s even important in the first place. Think of credit scores as an entrance exam test score for adults. It tells potential lenders, insurers, landlords, and even employers about the type of person you are. A higher score opens opportunities to better rates, apartments, and some careers. You’ve probably got a lot on your mind planning your future, with a little insight and common sense, you can learn financial responsibility. Here are 5 tips to help you maintain a good credit score.

1. Understand Credit Score Math

A credit score is a three-digit number used to estimate creditworthiness. It ranges from 350 to 850. The formula used to calculate scores vary slightly between different credit reporting agencies, and while the exact formulas are closely-guarded secrets, some factors are easy to understand. Some of the most important and basic factors to maintain a good credit score are:

  • On Time Payments – Solid payment history improves your score
  • Debt Ratios – Keep recurring credit balances as low as possible
  • Credit File Age – This factor always starts low and only time helps
  • Inquiries – Too many credit applications damages your credit score
  • Variety of Loans – Experience different types of credit to maximize your rating

Your score is a total of these factors, though some of the factors weigh a little heavier on your score than others. Know which factors impact your total the most, and adapt your habits to improve your score. Negative history items like collections, defaults, and bankruptcy penalize your result. Aim to keep your number above 720, because the higher your score is, the more financially stable creditors will see you.

2. Check Your Credit File Regularly

The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles you to a free credit report from each reporting agency once a year. This report contains details about you, your accounts, and your payment history. While you can read your file for free, scores can cost extra. However, there are independent credit monitoring agencies that allow you to see your score once a month or more. While some of these agencies charge a fee, others are free. By using a credit-monitoring agency, you can catch incorrect or fraudulent activity and report it. To maintain a good credit score, always know what’s on your report.

3. Create Your First Budget

Make a budget and stick to it. Following a budget teaches you about your spending habits and behaviors and will help you maintain a good credit score in the future. Before you start taking out loans, it’s best to test yourself using your own money. If you’ve never thought about tracking your spending before, you might be surprised at what you learn and the trends you see.

Carefully track your expenses for several months and look for patterns. Compare your results to your existing income. Never spend more in a month than you earn, and get into the habit of saving money now. Say no to things you don’t need. If you’ve done your homework, you know what you can afford and what you can’t.

4. Minimize Your Debt Burden

From a lender’s point of view, a high level of existing debt makes it more difficult for a borrower to manage new loans and pay off all their debt. This is why it’s so important to minimize what debt you have. If you don’t need to take out a student loan, find another way to pay for school, because even if you can make the monthly payments for the next five or ten years, the high principal will show up on your credit report and will affect your creditworthiness.

Avoid new debt and pay with what money you have available first. If you’re in college, apply for scholarships or work a part time job. Put high down payments on cars and only use credit cards for emergencies. Pay debt off quickly. The lower your debt ratio is (how much you can borrow versus how much debt you have), the less risky you appear to a lender and will help maintain a good credit score.

5. Use Cash Whenever Possible

Just about every commercial business looks for a way to exploit impulse buys. For example, the checkout lane at the grocery store is loaded with overpriced merchandise. Stores put these items within easy reach and hope you’ll grab them, and many people do.

Credit card companies take advantage of impulsive behavior as well. It’s a well-documented fact that people spend carelessly with credit and even debit cards. The convenience of plastic lends itself to high debt burdens, but if you’re handling physical cash, it’s often harder to let go.

With a little insight and some planning, you can keep your credit score high, even if you know practically nothing about finances. Stick to the basics, and over time, you’ll be able to maintain a good credit score and have no problem getting approved for any loans you may need later in life.

Sources
https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/help/5-parts-components-fico-credit-score-6000.php
https://www.gottabemobile.com/best-budget-apps/
http://www.creditkarma.com/
https://m.wgu.edu/online-business-degrees/accounting-bachelors-program.html
https://www.usa.gov/credit-reports

5 Ways to Avoid Bankruptcy

Declaring bankruptcy is one of the most negative life-altering events you can experience. For teens, the consequences of filing for bankruptcy can last well into early adulthood. Not exactly the best way to start your future. Below, there are five ways to avoid bankruptcy. They will help.

Live on a Budget

Budgets are super easy! At the top of the page, try to figure out how much income you’re going to get this month. Even if this number is the same every month, your expenses won’t be, so make sure you do a new budget every month. Now, you need to try and guess how much you’re going to need for all your expenses. These are clothes, dating, eating out, entertainment and recreation, savings, and any other expenses you are responsible for. Allocate every dollar of your income to these categories, and withdraw that amount of money and put it into an envelope. Try not to overspend in any category – that’s how debt happens! This process is even easier with tools like Mint or Everydollar that will help you figure out your expenses and can even deduct the money from each category as it comes out of your bank account.

Avoid Debt

We’ve done extensive research, and it turns out an astonishing 100% of bankruptcies happen to people who borrow money. Our culture and probably even your parents have always told you that there’s no way to get an education or buy a car without going into debt, but this is just not the case. Most Americans today are living paycheck to paycheck and using their credit card as their emergency fund. All of these things can be done much better by saving up and paying cash. “Building credit” is a scam that has sentenced too many young people to a life of financial servitude. Don’t get a credit card, don’t pass go, and don’t collect $200 in late fees.

Settle and Negotiate Your Debts

Essentially, debt settlement is making a deal with your creditors, and sometimes it takes some creative negotiating. If they are faced with never getting their money back or a reduced payment plan, lenders will obviously choose to create a reduced payment plan. Some creative negotiating tactics work well like asking for a waiver of current payments but agree to make larger ones later. If creditors are calling all the time and demanding money, there’s a high likelihood they’re actually violating federal laws. You may consider contacting Collection Bully – not just to hit back against abusive collectors, but sometimes they can even help get some of your debt forgiven!

Sell off Property

In Chapter 7 cases, the court appoints someone to pick property and sell it off to cover debts. Look at the bare minimum of what you need and sell off the rest. Then, use the cash raised to pay off some debts. Even if you are unable to raise a lot, at least it is on your terms.

When all else fails, remember that bankruptcy is not the end of the world. According to Eric Severeno, “When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, all of the creditors who have been hounding you and performing collection actions against you will be legally forced to stop. All financial proceedings against you…will come to a halt.” Whether you can get current and pay off the debt, or whether you need to file in order to escape, either way the goal is to start adulthood with a fresh start. The important thing is for you to change the behaviors that put you here in the first place, or the whole cycle will start again.

How to Choose Your Major

With all the different college majors available, choosing between them can be overwhelming. Some students find that there are several potential major choices they like, whereas others struggle to find just one that feels right.

You don’t want to stress out too much from choosing a major, but it’s also not a decision to take lightly. There are a few solid strategies for deciding what your major will be.

Basing Your Major on the Career You Want

If you already have an idea of what your dream career is, you can look up what degree you’ll need for the best chance of success in that field. Not every career will have a specific major you need to get, but many will, and if your chosen career is one of them, it makes it much easier to pick your major. Look for professional degrees such as a law, teaching, or healthcare program.

Colleges have expanded their course offerings quite a bit, making it more likely yours will have a major to fit your career. Be careful, however, that you are not pursuing a career with no real marketplace value. Universities will use all kinds of marketing ploys and catchphrases like “lifelong learning” and “broadening your horizons” to shoehorn you into a degree that may or may not yield any economic return. Always look up average earnings and underemployment statistics for your chosen field of study. You’re obviously set if you’re getting into a traditional career path, such as finance, but you can also major in newer fields, such as software development or graphic design.

Going with a Major That Has the Potential for High Earnings

If you don’t have a specific career path in mind but earning a large income is one of your chief concerns, you can focus on developing your marketable skills by choosing a major with the potential for high earnings. Some of the highest-paying majors include computer science, statistics, finance and nursing. Majors related to engineering, including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering, also tend to be high paying.

The potential drawback with this method is that you could find yourself majoring in something that doesn’t interest you. This will make it harder to do well and stay engaged during your classes. You also don’t want to end up in a career you dislike, which means you should still make sure you can live with any major you choose.

Choosing a Major Related to Subjects You Enjoy

This is the “follow your dreams” approach. While you’re completing your general education requirements, you’ll get the opportunity to check out a variety of classes. You could opt to major in a subject that you feel drawn to. The main benefit of this method is that you’ll be majoring in something you like, which makes it much easier to learn the material and get good grades. Again, however, be sure that your “passion” isn’t leading you down an educational path that will result in years of underemployment in an unrelated field.

There can be a bit of a stigma surrounding certain majors which others view as wastes of time. Although you shouldn’t let anyone else’s opinion change your major, it is in your best interest to consider life after college when you make your decision. Being a major that interests you is great, but make sure you have an idea of how you can use that degree in the working world.

Your Major Isn’t Set in Stone

Especially at the beginning of your college career, remember that you can change your major later if you want. There’s also the option to say “Undecided” when you’re first asked to select a major.

Being unsure of your major is okay, particularly early on, when you’re completing the required general education courses anyway. As you move further along with higher education, it’s smart to finalize your major so that you can take the courses you need and it doesn’t take you longer than necessary to get your degree.

Since your major could affect you for the rest of your life, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time on the decision. Think about all your options, and when in doubt, trust your instincts.

How to Conquer Your Fear of the Freeway: Driving Tips for the Fast Lane

Freeway driving is a necessary part of driving that can be intimidating at first sight. As you drive more and explore more highways, you’ll become less fearful of the activity. Teens leaning to drive should review highway rules and practice as much as they can. Review these tips to help improve your skills for the fast lane.

Have an Experienced Driver in the Passenger Seat

Have an experienced driver accompany your trip on the freeway. A partner prevents you from making mistakes and increases your chances of driving successfully. An experienced driver in the passenger seat works as insurance in case you get into an accident as well. Be sure you feel comfortable behind the wheel before trying the freeway.

Drive at the Least Crowded Times

The most obvious tip for novices is to drive when it’s the least crowded. Choose a time and part of the highway that has the least amount of traffic. Some highways are crowded at all times, while others are less crowded on the weekends. The best way to know is to review the traffic reports and ask your parents if they know anyplace that might be good for practice.

Know Your Route

When you learn to drive, you must follow a predetermined route. New drivers cannot drive aimlessly on the freeway and take random exits or they’ll easily get lost and might increase their risk of an accident. Plus, you want to become familiar with driving on the main roads and exits you’ll usually take.

Start at Low Speeds

Start by driving at low speeds and remain on the right side of the road. Freeway accidents occur often when people change lanes too quickly or brake too late – all while going too fast. As your skills improve, drive at the same speed as other drivers. A freeway is the worst place to get into an accident because the drivers do not like to stop. The last thing you want is find a car accident lawyer just because you were trying to get some practice in.

Review Traffic Rules Beforehand

Review common freeway rules before you head out onto the road. Know the best way to merge onto the highway, remembering to signal properly and increase your speed at the right moment. Once you merge, it’s important to avoid accidents by flowing with the traffic.

On any road, drive for the safety of yourself and others. Also, get used to changing lanes and checking blind spots. At the same time, pay attention to exit signs and change into the right lane at the right moment.

Approaching the ramp is a nervous time for any new driver. However, there will be a time when approaching the ramp with ease becomes second nature. With enough practice and dedication, become a more experienced driver on the freeway.

What Do I Do if I Get Hurt at Work?

Getting your first job is an exciting prospect. You get to earn your own money and you have more freedom then you did before. You might be prepared for various challenges, but have you thought about what you are supposed to do if you get hurt while you are working?

Inform Your Employer

If it is not a life-threatening injury, the first thing you should do is inform your supervisor. When you get hurt at work, you are eligible to have your employer pay for your medical bills, but you have to follow the proper procedures. Your supervisor will help you with any paperwork and make sure you know what you need to do.

Seek Proper Medical Treatment

Go see a doctor as soon as possible. Instead of going to your primary care physician, talk to your employer about which doctor you should go to. Your employer has insurance for worker’s injuries and if you go to a doctor outside of their network, they won’t cover your medical bills. If you are confused about this, have your parents come with you to talk to your boss. You should also keep all the documentation from the doctor about your injuries so you can file a report.

Follow the Doctor’s Orders

This may seem like common sense, but you need to make sure that you do what the doctor tells you to. If the doctor tells you not to go to work, don’t go. If they tell you not to lift heavy things, don’t. You run a huge risk of hurting yourself more severely, so be careful. You don’t want to hurt yourself more or cause yourself any more pain than you are already in.

Review Workers’ Compensation

See if your employer provides a workers’ compensation program that benefits injured workers. The information about this should be in your employee handbook. You probably aren’t eligible to collect lost wages, but if the accident was caused by negligence, you may receive some compensation. If you have more questions or can’t find the information, talk to the human resources department.

Consult a Lawyer

Hopefully, your employer is easy to work with and they are willing to pay any medical bills or provide the compensation that they are required to. However, some companies will try to get out of giving you the compensation you deserve. If you run into this problem, find a lawyer who has experience with worker’s compensation claims. They will go over your case with you and help you get the assistance that you need to pay your bills.

The likelihood of being seriously injured at your first job is pretty small. Follow safety regulations, and the chances get even smaller, but they are still there. It’s better to know what to do if you end up in this situation than to get overwhelmed by everything that happens when you are hurt.

This is the Fittest Teenager in the World (and she’s homeschooled)!

There are a lot of things you can do to get and stay in shape, from running to P90X to martial arts to soccer. One teen has raised the bar on fitness recently through the sport of CrossFit, where she was just dubbed the “Fittest Teenager in the World” in her age bracket for the second year in a row!

Kaela Stephano has been doing CrossFit for about 3 years and Olympic weightlifting for 1 year. In July of 2016, Kaela competed at the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games in the 14-15 year old category, and was crowned in 1st place – making her the fittest 14/15 year old on earth! In addition, Kaela competed at Youth Nationals for weightlifting in June of 2016 in the 58 kilogram weight class in the 16-17 year old category and won 1st place overall. Earlier last year, she also competed in Wodapalooza Miami 2016 in January and took 3rd place in the 13-15 year old category.

Earlier this month, Kaela returned to the Reebok CrossFit Games where she took First Place again! Here is a list of her achievements so far:

2017 Reebok CrossFit Games, 1st place, “fittest 16/17 year old girl on earth”
2016 Reebok CrossFit Games, 1st place, “fittest 14/15 year old girl on earth”
2016 National Youth Weightlifting Champion, 1st place, 58 kg 16/17 year old girls
2016 CrossFit Open, 8th place in the world, 14/15 year old girls
2016 Wodapolooza Miami CrossFit Fitness Festival, 3rd place, 1-15 year old girls
2016 Junior National weightlifting, 5th place, 58 kg 16/19 year old girls

With obesity still a crisis in the United States, we reached out to Ms. Stephano for some tips. Hopefully this motivates to get off your phone for a while and break a sweat today!

Hi Kaela, nice to e-meet you! First of all, tell us a little about yourself…

First of all I just wanted to thank you for reaching out to me. It means so much to me! My name is Kaela Stephano, I am 16 years old and I am the fittest 16-17 year old girl on earth.

So…you were dubbed “fittest 14-15 year old girl on earth” after winning the 2016 Reebok Crossfit Games….and you just took first place AGAIN about a week ago in the 16-17 year old category, right? Congrats! What was the best part of the experience at this year’s games?

My favorite moment of the Crossfit games this year was crossing the finish line on the final event and realizing that I had just won.

At what age did you start training?

I started crossfit in January of 2014 when I was 13 years old.

Tell us about your training regimen—as far as how many days per week and what a typical training day looks like.

I train 6 days a week 2 times a day for around 6 hours.

Did anyone ever discourage you or tell you that this sport is not for girls?

When I first started crossfit, the trainers at my old gym didn’t believe in me and they didn’t encourage me. However, after switching to Crossfit Hype I have found life-long training partners and friends who encourage me, cheer me on, and believe in me.

Have you even been bullied? If so, what did you do to handle it?

Since I have been homeschooled my entire life, I have never been bullied.

What is your personal favorite exercise?

My favorite exercise is handstand push-ups, strict or kipping.

Tell us about your diet…what do you generally eat and what do you absolutely avoid?

I eat lean meats, lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, complex carbs, such as Explore Cuisine pastas, oats, rice and sweet potatoes. I try to stay away from anything unhealthy. I also weigh and measure everything I eat and track it on myfitnesspal to make sure I hit my calorie, protein, fat, and carbohydrate goals for the day. Explore Cuisine pasta helps me to meet my protein goals for each day as it is loaded with plant based protein and fiber and low in fat and carbohydrates.

Crossfit and weightlifting are tough sports…what keeps you going and motivated?

I am motivated by my desire to be the best and to glorify God.

Give me your Top 5 Tips for teens to get into shape.

  1. Work hard
  2. Eat healthy
  3. Believe in yourself
  4. Make exercise a priority and a part of your daily routine
  5. Get a workout/accountability partner

Who are your role models in general…who do you really look up to and why?

I don’t have any specific role models, but I look up to all of the Crossfit Games athletes and to some Olympic weightlifting athletes.

Where would you like your training to take you in the future…that is to say what are your goals?

My goals for the future are to win the Crossfit games as an individual female and to go to the Olympics as a weightlifter in 2020.

Best experience as an athlete thus far?

The best experiences I have had as an athlete have been winning the Crossfit Games 2 times in a row and being able to travel nationally and internationally for weightlifting representing Team USA.

And the worst?

The worst experience I have had as an athlete has been the mental aspect of training. I struggle with being in my head and telling myself that I am not good enough.

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

Something that often surprises people is the fact that I never did gymnastics and that I was a dancer for 13 years of my life.

Biggest pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is a lack of order. I love planning, having a schedule, and being organized.

Any causes you are passionate about?

I am passionate about glorifying God with my life.

What’s coming up next for you?

In October, I will be traveling to Colombia for the Pan American Championships for weightlifting with Team USA.

Where can people connect with you on social media?

Follow me on Instagram @Kaelastephano

Could we please get a quick selfie?

Texting and Driving Will Probably Kill You

We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve felt invincible – catching the winning touchdown pass, receiving a first kiss, or acing the math midterm you’ve been stressing about for weeks. Unfortunately, some of us tend to feel invincible even when we’re very, very not.

According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, nearly 1,600,000 people were involved in accidents caused by a distracted driver. By the time you read this, someone else will have been hit because someone was texting and driving. If you’re reading this in the car, on your phone, for God’s sake put the phone down and focus on the road. Otherwise, read on.

In the Blink of An Eye

We all love social media – except for that one weird libertarian friend who wears a Snowden shirt and tries not to have any digital footprint. Adults tend to overblow the consequences of so-called tech addiction, without fully appreciating technology’s positive influence in society. But when you are in control of a one-ton hunk of metal hurtling down the road at 88 feet per second, your parents aren’t being dramatic – they’re right! Even when you’re going slow, even when you think there’s nobody around, even when you’re looking back at the road, by the time you look down and then back up again, it is too late.

In the time it takes you to take your eyes off the road and look at the screen for three seconds, your car has traveled 264 feet. If the person in front of you slows down suddenly, it will take your brain an additional 3-4 seconds to apply the brakes, according to Safe Drive Training. That is about 6-8 seconds too late and you probably never saw it coming.

What Happens Next?

The consequences of texting and driving can ruin your life. If you are not hurt, the very least that will happen is that you will get a ticket. You will have to replace or repair your car. Your insurance rates will go up as much as 4 times. Brauns Law lists these potential consequences of accidents: severe injuries, brain drama, spinal cord damage, amputations, internal injuries, extended medical treatment or surgical needs, the need for long-term care, problems with medical insurance, and car replacement and maintenance problems.

And that’s assuming no one else is hurt, and this is what should really scare you! The CDC says that distracted driving kills 9 Americans and Injures 1,000 Americans every day. Not only would you have to live with that, but you could even face manslaughter charges in some instances! That is scary, and all because you could not wait to check your phone until you could pull over someplace safe.

It Can Wait

I know that it is easy to think that it is Ok to look at the phone for just a second, but if you really care about your friends, it is time to stick together and make sure that someone you care about does not become the next victim. It is time for texting and driving to become something only losers do, because in the end, everyone who does it loses. If you think it is important, think again, it can wait.

So You Want to Ride a Motorcycle? What Teens Should Know

You’re a teen who wants a motorcycle license. How cool! It’s entirely possible for you to get your license, but first you should be aware of the fees, law,  and safety procedures involved in riding a motorcycle. Knowing what to expect can keep you safe and prevent surprise expenses from throwing you off your goal. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Classes Save Lives

According to Esurance, 90% of motorcycle accidents involve drivers who never took a motorcycle safety class. While taking a class doesn’t guarantee you’ll never be in a crash, or that other drivers will be safe, it can provide you with the knowledge that can keep you safe as possible. If you’re a minor, you may be required to take these classes. Taking safety courses has another bonus: you can save money on your insurance!

Crashes Are More Dangerous Than Car Crashes

You’re 35 times as likely to die from a motorcycle crash than a car accident. We’re not trying to scare anyone away from enjoying riding a motorcycle, but it’s the truth. You can seriously mitigate this risk by being knowledgeable and safe, which includes wearing a helmet at all times. Oh yeah, and take a class like we just mentioned : )

And Speed is a Factor

Super sport and sport motorcycles are popular because they’re sporty and speedy, but they’re also the type you’re most likely to crash on because of their light frames. It’s best to practice and own a motorcycle that’s more beginner-friendly until you’re more experienced.

But Protective Clothing Helps

If you’ve ever looked at a biker covered in leather on a hot summer day, you might have wondered “Why?”. While the thick layers might seem warm, they also add protection should you get into an accident. That gear might be the only thing that comes between you and the asphalt. At the very least, you should wear boots that go over your ankles, shatter-proof goggles, and gloves.

Not All Helmets Are the Same

Some helmets are more form than function. They’re small and light and don’t offer as much protection as helmets that are approved by the DOT. You’re only required to wear a helmet in 19 states, but you’re 40% more likely to die from a head injury if you don’t wear one, so you definitely don’t want to skimp here!

Owning a motorcycle seems fun, but it might be more dangerous than you realize. Knowing the rules and safety measures can prevent tragedy, but it’s also important to remember to ride safe and have fun.

5 Ways to Fit in Without Hurting Your Future

Social groups can define who you are. As social creatures, we all want to feel like we belong to a group. But sometimes groups can influence individuals to make bad decisions, and these decisions can have pretty far-reaching consequences. Fortunately, there are a few ways for you to fit in without compromising yourself or your future.

Get Involved In Academic Groups or Sports

You might be thinking there’s nothing about academics or sports which interests you, but that might be because you haven’t looked closely enough. There are plenty of disciplines and there’s bound to be something that piques your interest. Schools typically try to facilitate those interests by offering extracurricular clubs. This kind of social group would equip you well for the future and keeps you busy enough to keep you out of trouble.

Be Ethic-Centric

An ethic-centric person is somebody who thinks about what’s right and tries to live by it. That doesn’t mean you have to be a goody-two-shoes, but if your friends are doing something that could hurt themselves or others, you should abstain or try to stop them. This could be something as simple as ditching a class in school or as drastic as drinking and driving. A gentle reminder to be careful could save your friends and others, and they might even thank you later for interfering.

A way to fit in without hurting your future would be to hang out for a while, and then when things get out of hand (someone pulls out a joint–or people start making out heavily), simply leave. Don’t announce it, just go. Text them later if needed, saying you didn’t feel comfortable and left.

Be Careful About Pictures You Send

Many young adults don’t know how to handle negative emotions. After a breakup, they might try to take revenge on an ex they’re upset with. For example, if you sent explicit pictures to your ex, they could use that against you. It doesn’t matter how trustworthy you think your partner is; a lot of people trust their partners only to find those photos on the internet after the relationship ended. Don’t become a statistic.

Fit in by sending flirty or cute pics, but never nude ones.

Don’t Skip Classes

Don’t skip class. There’s not a lot to do between 8 AM and 2 PM anyway, so you’re really not missing much of the social scene by sitting in class. While it might sound cliché, your education really will define your future. If you fall too far behind, it could take years to catch up, and that’s how some people end up living in poverty.

In this case, you cannot really fit in with the class ditchers except by hanging out with them after school. But do you really need to hang out with this type of crowd?

Control Your Emotions

This is probably the most significant thing you can do. Emotions can be useful, but they can also be destructive when they influence your decisions. A bad emotional decision could lead to you getting pregnant at a young age or something equally life-altering, like physically hurting someone. Try to think through your decisions as if you weren’t so influenced by emotion. Fit in by interacting with others, but don’t get caught up in the drama. Again, just leave or make yourself less available. If you find things to keep you busy, such as art, music, dance, martial arts, etc. you will have all the excuses in the world to not get involved in the b.s.

You don’t have to choose between your future and fitting in with your friends now. However, you do need to make wise decisions, and by following this advice, you’ll be off to a great start.