Ask Amanda: Crushes, college & confusion


Thanks to everyone who submitted questions this issue!
Since April is the month right before college decisions, prom and graduation, it’s understandable that everyone is going through their own existential crises. For my second to last advice column this year, I decided to help people tackle many of the issues that I’ve personally dealt with myself throughout high school (and answer the occasional question that made me snicker).

— Amanda

Q: How do I raise my grade last minute?
— A Dead Grade Walking

A: “You don’t. And even if your class has some kind of test bail-out/quiz drop, that won’t help you if you’ve been failing your tests this entire semester. I know.” — Elisa Fang
If you’re really desperate though, you could somehow ace the final and bring your grade up at the last second. To do that, make sure you take advantage of every opportunity possible to ask your teacher and peers for help. Ask your teacher, “What can I do to study?” or “Are there any additional resources I could use to help me study?” Good luck! I feel your pain.
— Amanda

Q: Is the yearbook so desperate for material that it has created an advice column?
— He who shall not be named

A: No. Not yet. I love news.
— Amanda

Q: Why am I alone at prom 🙁 ??
— Sad boi

A: It’s a social construct that you have to ask someone or be asked. You could (1) ask someone to go with you as a date or just as friends (2) go with a group of friends. And if neither of those are options for you, then just don’t go. Don’t pay hundreds of dollars to go prom and not have a good time. Put on your sweatpants, stay at home and binge watch an entire TV show. That’s also an equally good time.
— Amanda

Q: I don’t know what’s more appealing: an Ivy League education or the idea of it. Freshmen year, doors seemed wide open, and they slowly started to close more and more. How do I know if my goals are even the same as they were? How do I know if I’m doing enough to get into an Ivy??
— confusedscholar

A: Answers based on my personal experience and testimonies from several of my other classmates:
You never know. But you shouldn’t do whatever you’re doing in high school because you want to get into an Ivy. Setting your eyes on that kind of goal just leads to a low self-esteem and doing a lot of stuff that you hate. I know from personal experience. Focus on (1) doing well in your classes and getting good grades because you genuinely want to learn and prove that you have a firm grasp of your course material and (2) following your passions. Join clubs that you’re interested in and make the most out of every opportunity to pursue your passions. Ivy Leagues are not your passions.
If college admissions has taught me anything, it’s that the whole Common App, essay writing (the pouring-“yourself”-onto-a-page) process is SO MUCH easier if, throughout high school, you actually did things you enjoyed. Otherwise, you just find yourself scrambling to justify why it is you did what you did in high school and trying to write about how it contributed to some “life goal.”
So seriously, if you want to go to an Ivy League, don’t think about wanting to go to an Ivy League, and just do your own thing. Ultimately, it’s not up to you. The admissions process is insane. There’s no formula to get in. There are so many factors other than “how good you are.”
(“Read my column in the last issue.” — Armaan)
— Amanda

Q: So there’s this guy I like, and yes, I’ve checked the list for whether someone actually likes someone or the idea of them. The problem is I can’t seem to figure out for sure if it’s requited, because sometimes it feels like it is and sometimes it doesn’t. (Spoiler alert: we’ve never talked) One of my friends suggested that you “be friends first”, but that doesn’t really seem to make sense, because how can you act… “natural” if you really like that person? Thanks in advance,
— Outoflove

A: Okay, so I think the first thing you need to do is talk to the guy first. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but if you haven’t ever talked to him before, the likelihood of you actually liking him for who he is and not just for his appearance is very low. And how could he possibly express any kind of reciprocation of feelings if you two have never talked before? What if he doesn’t even know who you are?????????? So you should always get to know someone first before you even start thinking about whether or not you like the person or if they like you.
— Amanda

Q: How do I get a W on Fortnite?
— Lord Farquad

A: You can’t.
— Amanda

Q: How do I know if the guy I’m chasing is a [insert a kinder word for f-boy]?
— not looking for a f-boy

A: Check the hair.
— Amanda

Q: I am going to community college this year instead of going straight to college and I feel likes my mom doesn’t like that and now I am really feeling bad because of it. Should I feel bad when all my friends know their future past from high school and I don’t know mine?
— Bob

A: There is no one “right” path to take after high school. Although many DV students do end up going directly to a four-year college, that’s not the only option, and it’s not necessarily the better option. And I promise you that even the people who are going straight to a four-year most likely don’t know their future past high school. Maybe they know what they’re going to major in, but a majority of the people I know, including myself, are still figuring it out as they go. And plans change! Take comfort in knowing that literally no one can, with 100 percent certainty, know what their future is. In fact, it might even be better for your future to be more open so you have more flexibility as you change and the times change.
— Amanda

Q: College seems so scary
— Afraid

A: Yeah.
— Amanda

Q: How are the first 2 months leading up to college admissions really for seniors?
— Salt Master

A: Rough.
— Amanda

Q: Is it better to play it safe when picking your college or take a big risk? I am unsure whether I should challenge myself and discover a bunch or stay comfortable and certain of success.
— confused senior

A: Even though it’s a lot scarier, I would say that you should go to a college that will challenge you. College is a time during which you should be trying new things and going out of your comfort zone. Take the risk! And if it really doesn’t fit you, transferring is always an option.
— Amanda

Q: As a senior, this time of year has been a bit nerve wracking. Of the colleges I applied to, I only got into two, both of which have some flaws that make them less than favorable. I try not to care so much (it isn’t the end of the world, I know), but seeing friends and peers achieve their dreams and get into wonderful colleges is contributing to my already low sense of self worth. On top of it all, everyone is asking me where I’m headed, and I don’t know what to say. How do I get through the day without feeling terrible about myself?
— Semi-Sad Senior

A: When I was in the middle of applying to colleges and waiting for results, my very wise mother sat me down one day and gave me a lot of great advice:
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you go to college. It’s what you make of your opportunities there. There are plenty of people who go to really prestigious colleges who struggle because (1) they get a false sense of security and confidence, losing their motivation to learn more and improve or (2) they had to try way too hard to get into their dream college in high school and barely got in, so once they’re in that college, they realize that it is too intense for them.
Use the fact that you didn’t get into your dream college as something to motivate you to work even harder in the future. Take some classes over the summer to prepare yourself for next year. Know that no matter how successful and unsuccessful people seem right now, in the end, what matters isn’t where you go to college but what you do there.
— Amanda