Ask Nina

Ask Nina

Nina Ortiz, Reporter

Welcome to “Dear Nina”, an advice column for students. Junior Nina Ortiz offers advice and a different perspective on questions asked by fellow Novato High School students. Although Ortiz is in no way an expert, she intends on offering advice to help and support students in any way possible. All submissions are anonymous. 

You can submit your own for future columns at [email protected] 

Q: “Dear Nina, Part of me wants to experiment with certain drugs, but the other parts of me know there are consequences to that. I don’t know what to do, because I feel like I’m missing out when my friends talk about it.”

A:  I understand you’re feeling unsure and possibly even a little uncomfortable with this situation. It is so important to ask for a different viewpoint on personal issues if you’re feeling confused about how to handle any situation. In high school, issues like this will certainly arise and that is no surprise at all. It’s normal to want to experiment with certain drugs, but at the same time, it can be dangerous and even cause serious trouble later on. You shouldn’t feel pressured to experiment just because you feel left out. If your friends are always talking about it and it makes you feel uncomfortable or even left out, maybe you should talk to them about it. 

I know it sounds scary, but being honest and sharing how it makes you feel excluded could relieve some of that pressure of feeling the need to experiment. Although it is ultimately your decision, there are a couple of questions that you might want to ask yourself: Do I really want to experiment with these drugs, or am I just doing it because I want to be included? Am I feeling pressure to experiment with these drugs? Would getting caught by a family, friend, or police officer and receiving consequences for my actions be worth it? If I decide to experiment, will I be in a safe place with people I trust, just in case I have a bad experience with these drugs? 

Personally, I would recommend really taking the time to think about every aspect before making your decision. Every action has a consequence, and every decision is ultimately your own. Perhaps you could research the specific drugs as well to truly examine if the impact of the substance is something you actually will desire.

Q: “Dear Nina, How much time a day do you need to do something to be amazing at it?”

A: It may be difficult to find something you’re passionate about. It may take weeks, months or even years for you to figure out what interests you the most. Once you find that passion, it won’t matter as much about being the “best”, but more about working the hardest to grow as an individual through that passion. If your passion is something you hope to pursue in the future, I would recommend working on it as much as you can. Even if you work on it a little bit every day, you will slowly start to notice improvements and see the development you’re hoping for. It takes a lot of hard work to improve in any field, and there will always be difficult roadblocks, such as personal hardships and frustration. But, the most important thing to remember is to never give up. If you ever feel like giving up, just imagine that feeling of satisfaction you will experience once you reach that personal goal. Patience is the key.

Q: “Dear Nina, What do you think I should do to balance relationships with friends, family, and significant others?”

A: Balancing relationships can be tough. If you’re having difficulty balancing relationships, the first thing to keep in mind is to not blame yourself. Every individual has had some sort of difficulty in balancing their personal life with their social life. It’s important to remember that you are never alone in situations like these. If you’re interested in working on balancing these relationships, there are three important areas of focus. 

The first area of focus is communication. Communicating your feelings and thoughts are beneficial for every happy and healthy relationship. It can help others become more understanding and aware of what you want and where you stand in that relationship. The second area of focus is honesty. Being honest builds trust, and creates more comfort in a relationship. In order to focus on aspects of your life (such as school or work) while maintaining relationships, each person must put a significant amount of trust in each other. If only one person puts trust into the relationship, that level of trust and comfort will not exist. The last area of focus is vulnerability. I understand it can be really difficult for most people to be vulnerable in general (even with themselves). In most cases, people don’t want to be vulnerable, because they’re afraid of being hurt by others. In all honesty, vulnerability is probably the most difficult issue to work through. 

Although a majority of people are just looking out for their emotions, it is important to become more open in your relationships. Being more vulnerable not only contributes to trust, but also builds more empathy and a sense of understanding in relationships. It increases our sense of worth and creates a deeper connection with one another. Just remember that not every relationship is perfect. There will always be issues or some things that need to be fixed in any healthy relationship. The most important thing to remember is to never give up. There’s always a solution. 

Q: “Dear Nina, I need some advice on body image.”

A: Let me start off by saying that every body is beautiful. I know that this is not the first time that you’re hearing that statement, but let me explain why every body is beautiful. The most interesting thing to every individual is that we all look unique in our own way.  Social media creates this “ideal” physical appearance for not only women, but for men as well. If you’re a woman, you have to have a flat stomach, and small thighs in order to fit the mainstream mold. If you’re a man, you have to be muscular and tall. These beauty standards create an unhealthy mindset that can ruin your perception of what beauty truly is. 

Being beautiful is celebrating those insecurities. Being beautiful is finding your own unique style. Being beautiful is eating whatever you want when you want. It’s so important to nourish your body and eat when you’re hungry, instead of skipping out on that meal just because you want to look like someone else. The only person you should want to look like is you. Your true and happy self is the best type of person to work toward being. By being yourself, you can gain a sense of self-worth, love, and confidence that you have never felt before. It may take some time, but nothing good ever comes that quickly. Be true to yourself and I can promise you that your mind, body, and soul will be so much happier. 

If any intense emotions start to arise and you’re in need of talking to someone, feel free to call any of the numbers below:

California Youth Crisis Line: 1-(800)-843-5200

Teen and Youth Help Hotline: (310)-855-4673

California Coalition for Youth Crisis Line: (800)-843-5200