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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Adamsky - MRH Faculty

New column: Ask A.J.

Dear AJ,

How do you maintain your self-esteem when it seems like you're constantly lacking or failing in multiple areas of your life? It's hard to keep positive when it feels like you just can't get a win in. How do I motivate myself to keep trying when I'm on the verge of giving up?



Dear Self-Deprecation,

High school is hard and I understand how you feel. The feeling like you can just never do or be enough for anyone, like everything you do just doesn’t meet the standard.

When it comes to feeling like you can never win, there’s a relatively simple solution. Do something that makes you happy. Take 10, 15, 20 minutes to do something that really gets those endorphins flowing. Whether that be playing a cozy game like Stardew Valley or doing a mindless color by number, do something that makes you feel rewarded.

Here’s something I was once told by someone very close to me: Even 1% better is still progress. You don’t have to get good at everything all at once. Pick one area of your life and set a small goal for yourself that you know you’ll achieve. If you struggle to do and turn in assignments on time, set a goal to turn in at least 1 assignment on time. It’s okay to mess up, and it’s okay to not be perfect (even far from perfect). As long as you keep going. That’s what really matters. Progress above all.

Good luck,


Dear AJ,

How can I get over commitment problems if I want to be able to connect with someone on a romantic level but can’t seem to?


Forever Alone

Dear Forever Alone,

Commitment is tough, especially in high school. Everyone is already focused on so many things, and committing to one more thing can be overwhelming.

I also understand wanting to be in a romantic relationship. Surprise surprise- yours truly is single. And it can be difficult when it seems like everyone around you has a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner. It sucks. Believe me. I know.

I have 2 pieces of advice to give you:

1. If committing feels like too much right now, don’t commit. Focus on you, focus on the things that are most important to you.

2. If being in a relationship is important to you, be open with your partner. It’s important to be honest in a romantic relationship, especially if you want it to last. You can say something along the lines of, “Hey, I really, really like you and you’re really, really important to me. I’m having commitment issues, and if you ever feel like I’m pushing you away, please be honest with me.” This also means you need to be able to take constructive feedback with humility.

Being single in high school is never fun. It’s also really important to be able to focus on thriving before you put energy into a relationship.

Hope this helps,


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