This article was written by Dailey Jackson, Eye’s Teenage Reporter. She wrote it for her high school friends.  Yet – it could also apply to adults too.  Dailey is running for Ms. Bishop Kenny and we will be cheering her on.  She’s a lovely, sweet, smart young woman and we are proud to have her on our team. 


A huge part of the high school experience is about meeting people and making new friends, but do not be ashamed if you find it a daunting task. Entering into a new place with hundreds of people you have never met before can be a nerve-racking and emotionally-draining experience.

Remembering names, picking lunch tables and putting forward your opinions during heated group conversations can all add to the stress of your already busy schedule. Luckily, there are many different ways to not only meet new people, but also to make some great experiences while doing it.

Join clubs and try out for sports teams. Even though this may seem obvious, it is an important step to meeting new people. Not only are you going directly to the source by joining a club where people are encouraged to socialize, but clubs offer a way to experience the things you truly love! You can earn service hours, participate in competitions and learn more about different cultures just by joining. Being on a freshman or junior varsity sports team can also be a fulfilling experience that motivates you and your teammates to work together to improve your skills and earn a spot on varsity. By participating in sports and clubs you can relate to the people around you who are all working towards the same goal.

If you are still lost for words once you have joined one of these extracurricular activities, talk to someone about your newfound common interest. For example, if you have just joined the Medical Career Club, ask someone what they plan to be when they grow up, or what medical field they find most interesting. Once they see that you have made an effort to talk about something they love, they may do the same.

Pay attention in class. Of course, everyone should be listening to his or her teacher during a lecture (even if it is a three-day lecture on the life of Harriet Beecher Stowe and her effect on slavery during the Civil War). But listen to the names and look at the faces of your classmates when they get called on or volunteer to answer a difficult question.

Names are very powerful. They identify us as a unique person and are used in our everyday conversations. They can be used as a checkpoint in your brain to connect your first impression and recent memories with a new friend. When you know someone’s name, not only does it show the person that you care enough to learn and remember the name but also that you want to get to know the person. When you call someone using their name you demonstrate that the individual is important to you in that moment. A study done by Dennis P. Carmody and Michael Lewis showed that when a person hears his or her own name, four different regions of the brain become activated, including the medial prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for memory and decision making.

Simply remembering someone’s name can light the spark to a brand new friendship.

Think about your words. One of the most important parts of a friendship is communication, and knowing what to say before you begin speaking can lead to an enjoyable conversation for everyone involved. First of all, humor is key. Making people laugh releases endorphins, making them feel happy and confident. “These natural peptide chemicals produced in your body interact with receptors in your brain to help you feel focused, less impacted by pain and put you in a better mood,” doctor of natural medicine Dr. Axe said on his website draxe.com.

Crack a joke or make a funny observation to raise the positive atmosphere in a conversation. Another thing to talk about is the other person’s passions. If you know they are currently enthralled with Ready Player One, ask them what is happening in the book or if they have seen the movie. People feel thrilled when they finally get to discuss what’s on their mind.

These two conservation starters can encourage both of you to pay attention and listen to the other person’s wants and interests so you can talk about it later.

The last, and most important thing, is to be confident. Everyone, at least once in their life has been nervous about meeting someone new. The fear that you are going to mess up or say something wrong is totally natural, but don’t let it stop you from trying to make new friends. If it does not work out, that is okay. You are going to meet so many amazing people during high school who are caring and would love to be your friend. If you are trying to socialize with someone else and things seem a little awkward, chances are that the person is just as nervous to be talking to you as you are. Break the awkwardness with a joke or a smile and try not to think about things too much. Remember: your high school experience should be about you succeeding academically and having fun while doing it.

Make the most of your time in high school because you can only experience it once!

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Dailey Jackson was born and raised in Jacksonville and currently attends Bishop Kenny High School. She’s involved in multiple service clubs and organizations and is a Student Ambassador for the Holocaust Learning and Educational Fund. Among other activities, she also writes for the Kenny newspaper, The Shield, and plays in the Drumline. She’s entering her junior year and after graduating she plans to become a chemical engineer. As a high schooler, Dailey is very passionate about the issues teens face and how to address them. She’s looking forward to spreading awareness about current issues and concerns in the Jacksonville community.
 
 


Melissa Adair
Social Media/Lifestyle & Culture
Melissa’s vision is to create a world where communities become the catalyst for connection. Her background as a digital marketer, social influencer, social media marketer and community manager allows her to successfully identify opportunities for connection through lifestyle and cultural events in the digital world. Her unique talents in this field enable her to significantly increase social followings and brand awareness for companies and causes. Formerly the co-founder of multiple online startups, Melissa also has extensive knowledge of podcast productions, video productions, and community building that have contributed to her success as a social influencer. In addition to the accomplishments above, Melissa is married, a hip mom to two teens, a lover of the outdoors and a noted Bigfoot researcher/enthusiast.
 
 


Robert Paul Adelhelm
Guest Writer – Veterans Affairs
 
Bob was born in New Jersey, the oldest of 4 brothers, all who are in law enforcement in New Jersey and New York. Bob attended and graduated from William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey with a BS Degree in Criminal Justice. He was commissioned, as a 2ndLieutenant in the Marines in 1973, were he went on to serve for 22 years active duty.
 
His USMC service included assignments in various command, staff and instructor billets with 8th Marines, 4th Marines, 2d Reconnaissance Battalion, Blount Island Command, The Basic School (TBS) Quantico , Amphibious Reconnaissance School (ARS) NAB Coronado, NROTC University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill / North Carolina State University, Aide-de-Camp for the Assistant Division Commander of the 3d Marine Division. He is a graduate of Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He is a qualified US Navy Diver, Naval Aerial Observer and Marine Corps Parachutist.  He was with 2nd Battalion 8th Marines during operations in Beirut, Lebanon.  He retired from active duty with the rank of Lt Col in 1995.  He is the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal with three Stars, Navy Achievement Medal, Marine Expeditionary Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.     
 
Bob is the founder and past president of the Semper Fidelis Society, Jacksonville, FL and a life member of the VFW, Vietnam Veterans of America and Marine Corps League; also a member of the American Legion. He is past Chairman of the NE Florida Veterans Council, 2001-2002. He is the founder and senior advisor of the ongoing Vets 4 Vets Movement, Jacksonville, FL.   
 
 
Thursday, January 24, 7:20 am

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