Advice Column 18-19: Week 4

Hello DV students!

Thank you for submitting to the Wildcat Tribune’s Rapid Response advice column! We’ve tried our best to answer your questions for this week.

Want to ask some anonymous questions and get advice? Our form opens every Monday and closes on Friday at 11:59 pm. Responses are always posted on Sundays on this website. Week 5’s responses will be available on Sunday, October 21.

Week 5 form:

Q: How do I get into college? I am a senior and bad at life. Please help!!!!!!!

–  Lyan Riu

A: Dear Lyan Riu,

I ask myself the same thing every day. To be entirely honest, I probably can’t tell you anything that your teachers and counselors and parents and friends haven’t already said, but I’ll try my best.

Keep a list of safety, target, and reach colleges for yourself. If you haven’t started your applications and essays, start them now! Essays are difficult to approach because it feels like there’s a lot that depends upon your writing. If you feel intimidated and find yourself procrastinating, at least draft parts of your essays or brainstorm topics. Your essays don’t need to be perfect from the start. Ask friends and teachers to review your writing to see how you can improve. You should ensure you have a solid resume and a clear idea of who you are as a person (as well as your passions and interests) in order to write your essays. 

Make a to-do list so you have a clear goals and a timeline for finishing and submitting your application. It may help you feel less overwhelmed, and it will definitely help you manage your time. Lastly, don’t fall victim to senioritis (which, is always easier said than done), in case you need to submit transcripts later in the year.

Good luck!



Q: I’m honestly having a very hard time keeping my grade. I’m a sophomore and my grades have never been lower than a A-, but this year I have a C and it’s about to go down to a C- later. And the rest of my grades are all B’s. How do I bring my grade up? Please don’t just say “Study hard” or “Get good sleep and eat good breakfast” Cause I’ve heard of these before and these don’t seem to help me. 

– Thanos

A: Dear Thanos,

I experienced the same when I entered sophomore year- there may be a few factors at play in your situation. Typically, freshman classes are a little easier to manage than sophomore classes, because teachers are trying to get you comfortable with high school; when you enter sophomore year (and each subsequent year), the courses will get harder and harder. Now, naturally, there’s a period of acclimation before you get used to the new rigor in which your grades, simply put, won’t reflect the amount of hard work you put into your work. For example, when I started off this year, I certainly didn’t start off with all As; I’m still struggling to keep A-’s and B+’s in many of my classes, but it gets easier as the year goes on. Make sure to keep in mind that things will improve.

However, could this also be a case of biting off more than you could chew? With the pressures of Dougherty Valley, it’s not too surprising to come across a student taking far too many advanced classes and extracurriculars (or even too many classes in general). One of the hardest, but most important, question you can ask yourself is what you can take out of your schedule. In a nutshell, you can’t do everything and everything perfectly. Try prioritizing the classes that are the most important to you (APs & honors, as well as classes you have lower grades) and spend the most time on them. For relatively easier classes, don’t be a perfectionist- do enough that you perform well, but don’t put hours of time trying to shift a 93 percent to a 95 percent. Once you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns (when what you get out of a situation doesn’t match what you put in), stop. If you can and want to drop something (like an extracurricular you do but don’t particularly enjoy or do well in), drop it.

And study smarter- remember that three hours of studying in the night gives you about the same retention of knowledge as an hour in the day. Structure your homework so that any revision of concepts and studying for a test come first, not last or buried in the middle of your work. For science and history classes, make sure you use a Barron’s or Princeton book to supplement your textbook. Getting your information through another (shorter) format could help you understand new concepts. Even if you aren’t taking an advanced class for a particular subject, books that cover concepts for the AP exam or the SAT subject test are a huge help in day-to-day studying (in comparison, some school textbooks can be, in my opinion, far too long and wordy to digest properly).

And the last piece of advice I can give you is don’t let your situation affect you too much. Sometimes, the best thing to do is not let your troubles follow you around and plague you 24/7. Give yourself an hour each day in which you take a nap or do something relaxing and unrelated to school. That unwind period will definitely amp up your productivity for the rest of the day and will make it so you don’t feel the need to procrastinate or get off track while you’re working.

Don’t worry too much! The year is still young and you have a lot of time to bring those grades up.

Good luck!



Q: how do you get a guy to admit that he likes you

– middle schooler wannabe

A: Dear middle schooler wannabe,

This situation depends on whether you reciprocate these feelings or not for this person or not. If you don’t, the best way to do this is by slowly asking questions, dancing around the topic until you have the answer you are looking for. Ask questions like “Is there someone you like?” or something along those lines, and these sort of questions will lead to the person telling or most likely giving you enough information to draw proper conclusions. Do note that if you don’t like this person, you could potentially come off as if you like this person. To avoid that, make sure you tell them that you aren’t interested in them.

If you do like them, just tell them that you like them. You seem certain that this person likes you, so if like them back, they most likely will tell you that they like you back.

Hope this helps!



Q: how can I avoid spending too much time uselessly browsing on my computer and spend more time being efficient? also any ideas on how to stay awake late at night w/o drinking any caffeine? 
– é

Dear é,

I have to admit that this is a problem that I struggle with myself. But! Because I have some (a lot) of personal experience on this subject, I think some of my advice could help!

First of all, I recommend simply trying to keep your computer and your phone-use to the minimum. What I mean is: whenever possible, shut off your electronic devices and leave them shut off. For homework or other responsibilities you might have that requires electronics usage, try to designate a particular time for those assignments in particular to finish them as soon as possible. If that’s not possible, or your browsing issue just pops up again, then maybe consider downloading an app—or if you use Google Chrome like I do, an extension—that blocks distracting websites (like Youtube). Yet another precautionary measure you could take to dissuade yourself from being distracted is to do your homework, especially the homework that requires electronics usage, in full view of a parent or friend who will keep you on track. I know that last suggestion sounds less than ideal, but it’s definitely effective!

As for being able to stay awake late at night… Really, I want to just say that you shouldn’t. But, unfortunately, I know that at Dougherty Valley that’s not a viable option all the time. The healthiest, most effective way to maximize your productivity, though, is definitely to just use time effectively even if that means forsaking your free time. I know it sounds like hell, but I guarantee that you will appreciate the extra sleep in the long run. Having said that, however, I know it’s sort of an unrealistically idealistic option. Heck, even I fail at taking that advice myself, and I came up with it! So, to actually address your question, I would recommend chewing on ice or a healthy snack when you feel the sleep come on. Drinking cold water can also help keep you up. And if possible, taking really short naps can be helpful when you find yourself actually drifting off. Personally, I set five minute timers and sleep several five-minute naps in succession so as to prevent myself from inadvertently sleeping any longer than I want to but also to allow myself enough sleep to be able to function. Your napping preferences may differ depending on your physical condition, the amount of sleep you had the night before, and the nature of your own body, though, so keep that in mind!

Despite everything I have said, I have ultimately found that efficiency isn’t something that can be acquired by implementing a few new practices or something so simple. It requires a real change in attitude and behavior! Even if you try to do all the things I mentioned, if you don’t discipline yourself to really get your work done and instill in yourself a devotion to the work you’re doing, then it will fall apart again. Once again, I speak from personal experience. Like physical muscles, you have to train your self-control and work habits in order to be truly efficient and productive. Abs can’t be acquired by drinking a high-quality protein shake every morning without actual physical exercise accompanying it, and the reality is, it’s the same for this, too. So, the best solution to your dilemma here, which should go hand-in-hand with everything else said up to this point, is to reevaluate the reason why you do what you do and reestablish your devotion to that reason. Push yourself to be the student you want to be! If you want it hard enough, I’m a hundred-percent sure that you will get it!


Sarah Kim


Q: Hi, wildcat tribune!
I like someone right now (intensely) but they’re dating someone! I honestly know that they probably like me back, so I don’t know what to do?! Should I wait till they breakup or just forget about it altogether? 

– Hopeless Romantic

A: Dear Hopeless Romantic,

Unless you’re really interested in them, you might want to consider moving on – it’s not worth your time to wait for someone who isn’t pursuing you. Even if you think they may like you, they’re still in an established relationship without a foreseeable end. Being around this person and knowing that they’re committed to being with someone else while you have feelings for them is probably an emotional burden for you too. Lingering on unrequited love can be both consuming and draining, and it can sometimes end in disappointment. You are deserving of someone who loves you back!

If they do break up at some point, and you still want to be romantically involved with them, don’t immediately begin trying to start a relationship. Give the other person some space before you try to establish something with them.