Ask Aliaa: December 2017

All your questions answered by Aliaa Mohamed, the Lisgarwrite’s advice guru.

Q: Tests make me so nervous that even if I’ve studied well, I still think I am going to fail. What should I do?

A: Honestly, I think you need to believe in yourself. I know that sounds super cheesy and it’s easier said than done, but you have to trust that you know this stuff. What I do is, after I’ve finished studying, I put my textbook in my backpack and the next time I open it is after the test is over. That way, you don’t stress yourself out about the stuff that you didn’t go over. Also, try taking a nice and warm bath the night before a test. You’ll be able to relax and if you really want to, you can go over some of the key points for your test while you’re in the soothing water. All I can say is, as long as you’ve studied for the material, then you’ll do absolutely great!

Q: I used to be very good friends with this girl, but now she doesn’t talk to me anymore. Does she hate me or is she just being weird?

A: I can tell that you’re either in grade 9 or grade 10. Here’s why. People in grade 11 and 12 don’t really care about friendships that much. I know this sounds very pessimistic, but it’s just that we all know that friendships in high school rarely last and what matters is what you do to prepare yourself for your post-secondary life. If you remain friends with someone after high school, then that is a very special friendship. High school, friends come and go and as awful and depressing as that sounds, you have to brace yourself for that.

What probably happened with your friend is that she met new people and fell in with a new circle of friends. That’s completely normal! The best thing to do about it, though, is to start meeting new people. There are so many really interesting people out there; so, don’t despair and think of this as the end of your social life. Instead, think of this as an opportunity to forge new and better relationships.

Q: How do I deal with the overwhelming pressure to get good marks, participate in extracurriculars and still have a social life?

A: Take everything one step at a time. Don’t participate in too many activities, but also don’t stress yourself out with too many difficult classes. I think the key in life is to find the right balance for everything. So, since I’m assuming you have four classes a semester, maybe limit your activities to 2 clubs and 1 sport per semester. That way, even if you have friends at lunch. And in terms of getting good marks, try to finish your stuff as soon as you get home. So get your homework done and if you have a test, then start studying for it a few days in advance. That way, you’re on top of everything and you don’t feel over-whelmed. And don’t forget, every now and then, take a day off from all the studying to treat yourself, because all Lisgar students really do deserve it.

Q: I’m having a hard time finding a job that works with my school and sports schedules. What should I do?

A: I would try to find a job over the summer. There are a lot of retail jobs that are part-time and have shifts tailored to your school schedule. The most important thing is to be honest with your prospective employer during your interview. Tell him/her everything that you do (i.e sports, activities, clubs..etc), although don’t forget to emphasize that the job would be very important to you. Even if you don’t and you just want to make a quick buck. Just lie. That way, your employer might feel bad for you and they might offer you a job that’s tailored to your school schedule during the school year and is full-time during the summer.

Q: How do I pick a university?

A: Well, what are you interested in? Where do you want to live? Do you want to stay in Ottawa and go to a local university or do you want to live in another city? Also, something really important to bear in mind is, are you financially able to support yourself if you live outside of Ottawa? Always look at the programs first though. Finding a program that you really love at Ottawa U is way better than going to Queen’s just because you think the campus is pretty.

Another thing to bear in mind is finances. Do you want to travel during winter breaks and the summer? If you do, then it would be best if you went to university in Ottawa because that way, you’ll save up money living at home and use that money on trips. So, in short, you should look at what you want to go into first. And then look at the universities on OUAC to see if any of them offer any programs that you might be interested in. And then assess your financial situation. Don’t forget, you can always apply for a scholarship. And then, pick a university! It might sound tantalizing now but trust me, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders once you’ve applied.

Do you have a question for Aliaa? Send it in to to have it answered in the next Lisgarwrite!