Advice Column 18-19: Week 6

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 7’s responses will be available on Sunday, November 4.

Week 7 form:

Q: hey! Basically, I have been super stressed about my math grade for the last couple of weeks. As the quarter goes on, it keeps dropping and dropping. Despite doing everything I can, I do not know if I can raise it back up in time for the end of the semester. That includes taking good notes, asking questions, and reading the textbook. But, it has never been enough. To be frank, working this hard and not seeing any improvement is so discouraging. Honestly, I might just drop the class because I have no idea what to do. Any tips? 

– struggling student.

A: Dear Struggling Student,

I’m sorry we got to your question a little late! If you haven’t yet dropped the class, I hope I can still provide you with some advice.

You seem like a very dedicated student, and I applaud you for that. From what you’ve described, I can understand why you’ve felt hopeless and considered dropping the class. If you’re confused as to what to do next, maybe you can start asking the teacher for extra help during lunch, brunch, or access. They may be able to better understand what you’re struggling with, and they may be able to explain concept sin a new way. For additional interpersonal support, you can utilize the tutoring services at our school. You can request tutors from the Academic Leadership class by speaking to Ms. Decker at room 1205 or asking your teacher to request a tutor from her class. CSF also offers student tutoring services. When you’re not at school and you don’t have these resources, try to establish reliable sites/apps where you can watch tutorials or complete practice problems. Sites like Khan Academy offer helpful videos explaining concepts.

With all that being said, if you have all of your math credits, your career isn’t related to math, and/or the class is taking a toll on your emotional health, you could consider dropping the class. However, if you’re willing to continue on in the class, then I would encourage it! You have a good work ethic, and I’m sure that with the commitment you’ve written about in your question you’ll be able to seek out support and find some success in the class.

Best of luck!




Q: How can I better time manage when my weekends are jam packed with extracurriculars? 

– Clueless Claudia

A: Hey Clueless Claudia,

The answer seems clear to me: make your weekends less jam-packed with extracurriculars.

Having said that though, I acknowledge that that course of action may not be feasible for you. You know better than I do why you’re taking those extracurriculars, after all.

If you don’t though, I’d suggest you discover those reasons soon. Better time-management applies to all activities, including your extracurriculars. Is taking that particular activity really necessary? Is it something you actually need or want to do? If not, scrap it in the name of better time management. You’re wasting time and energy that could be spent doing something more productive and beneficial to you if you’re doing these things for no reason.

If your weekends must be so jam-packed, then the advice I have for you are probably things you’ve already heard before or knew. You have to cut down on your leisure time, and straighten out your priorities. Do your school work before anything, and don’t procrastinate. Do assignments beforehand, and be organized! Keep a planner, and communicate with your classmates. It’s tough, but it’s the realest advice I can give you.

Wishing you the best,




Q: How can I boost my grade and keep calm before exams?? I’m always so nervous and I began to have long term fatigue 

– Tired tired DOUGHERTY student

A: Dear Tired tired DOUGHERTY student,

Exam nerves may seem unmanageable, but there are definitely a few ways to counteract them. First, do not under any circumstances begin frantically reviewing the day of the test; going over a few concepts may be okay, but nothing hardcore. If you’re always cramming for a test or worrying about said test, that constant state of nerves can really get to you and drain your energy.

While I realize that it isn’t always possible, try to get a full night of sleep before the day of the test. Wake up slightly early and just go through your routine at a slightly slower pace. This will allow you to get your thoughts together, have a few minutes to relax, and not fret about finishing your routine on time. Keep a snack for before your test- something like a orange- so that you’re slightly more alert and your hunger doesn’t build up and cause your anxiety to worsen. Before the test, make sure to take a few deep breaths. Closing your eyes for a few seconds may also help.

Once you receive your test, try going through it methodically or using some pattern. In my situation, I tend to be calm during a test until I hit a problem I can’t solve. After that, I become frazzled and make a greater number of mistakes than I would have if I were calm. To control that reaction, I typically start off with questions at the beginning, and when I hit a tough one, I either circle it and skip it or start doing the test from last question backwards. This way, a tough question doesn’t build on my pre-test anxiety; once I tend to get to the harder questions, I’ve finished the easier ones, so I’m more at peace.

Finally, don’t be afraid to take a nap of 15-20 minutes after school or longer after you finish a test. It helps you unwind for the day and get you focused for homework (and the next test).

Best of luck!




Q: best history course at dougherty? 

– no. 2 pencil

A: Dear No. 2 Pencil,

This is all a matter of opinion, but I really enjoyed AP World History in my sophomore year. It’s an informative class that helps you to draw connections, analyze cause and effect, and understand how historical phenomena have an impact on world dynamics today. It was difficult in the sense that you have to be able to memorize a lot of information, dates, and events, but it’s rewarding in that you can develop your worldview. I’m not sure what grade you’re in right now, but if you’re a freshman who’s considering taking an AP history class next year, I’d recommend it!





Q: I’m part of this guy group (one of my lunch groups) and I’ve really liked one of the guys since last year, but our group is more of friends who have been stuck in the friend zone (or attempted to leave the friend zone but got kicked back into the friend zone). Anyway, I can’t really say anything because we’re just friends and everyone sees me as their little sister. What should I do?  

– SofieDossiFan

A: Dear SofieDossiFan,

I think when making important decisions, you should evaluate the good and the bad of the possible consequences. Try making a pros and cons list on whether telling the guy is a good idea or not. If your list points to more pros, then shoot your shot. If not then maybe he isn’t worth it! Another thing you can do is see if he, in anyway, reciprocates the feelings. If you guys are in the same friend group, that means he may trust you enough to tell you (or at least hint at who he likes), so ask him! If he does show that he likes you, then tell him about your feelings. Talking about it may seem difficult but it could be the easiest way out of this situation.

Hope that helps, and good luck!




Q: How do you make conversation with people especially when you’re new to the school and have social anxiety? 

– Indian sunset

A: Dear Indian sunset,

Two of us decided to answer this question – we hope you can benefit from our advice!

As a mostly introverted and very shy person, I’ve also found that it’s really hard to start conversations with others. I think the best advice I can give you is to start small – you don’t have to talk to everyone in your class, but you can talk to the person sitting next to you. This may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s possible to start building relationships by asking small questions, such as “Hey, what day is our test on again?” or giving simple compliments. If you’re a part of any clubs, try to talk to others at meetings. If you share similar interests, you may already have a basis for conversation. Sometimes, it’s also helpful to pretend to be confident, even if you’re not. Even if your mind is racing, and your heart is pounding, try to keep a smile on your face and not waver. When I first started journalism and had to do interviews, I was a nervous wreck (sometimes, I still am). What’s important is that you tell yourself that it’s possible for you to appear confident, because once you start practicing these behaviors, it’s easier to actually make them a natural part of how you act.

Involving yourself in clubs or extracurriculars that require you to interact with more people (Speech and Debate, Journalism, DECA, etc.) can be helpful in allowing you to communicate with other students. If there are more extroverts in your environment, it may be easier for you to build a relationship because introvert-extrovert friendships have the potential to be naturally complementary. Joining these types of activities can also force you outside of your comfort zone and interact with others.

A final note – in my interactions, I’ve found that I consistently over-analyze what others are saying, and it’s difficult for me to open up and make genuine friendships. It’s taken me awhile to start breaking away from those habitual behaviors, and I’m still a work-in-progress myself. I’m sure that as a person with social anxiety, you understand that what I’ve been recommending you to do is easier said than done. I’m aware that some of these things are uncomfortable, but sometimes, it’s necessary for you to push yourself. Confidence isn’t an inherent trait, it has to be cultivated. Sometimes you’ll have bad days, and sometimes you won’t feel like being extra brave and reaching out to someone new – but please know that progress won’t always happen overnight, and that that is ok.

Good luck this year! I’m rooting for you.



Hey Indian Sunset,

I was also new to Dougherty Valley last year, so I can relate with you on some level, especially concerning the whole socializing-slash-acclimatizing aspect of adjusting to a new school environment. In fact, I daresay I have some practice! I was not only a new student last year but also the year before and three years before that and a year before that and—well, you get the idea. I’ve moved around a bit. The status of “new kid” has stuck around, although in Dougherty Valley there are so many people that people don’t even know if you were around the year before or not. The socializing is still difficult, though, and I understand.

Unfortunately, to make conversations, you’re going to have to be the one to start them. You don’t have to force yourself, though! Opportunities to socialize and make friends will come naturally, all you have to do is take them. You don’t have to push yourself to talk at every given chance, but make sure to jump in every so often. Start a conversation with somebody that seems nice—this can be a teacher!—and respond to questions with more than a one-word answer and the same goes for asking them, too. Socializing with classmates will only get easier as time goes by, even if that does seem to happen slowly.

All in all, I think Taylor (the one who responded above) covered it amazingly. Start small! Just practice putting small, manageable bits of effort into everyday interactions with the folks around you, and things will naturally progress from there.

I’m sure you’re already doing great, so don’t sweat it, new kid! Like I said, time will make things easier! All you have to do is wait for yourself to get used to the new environment. You got this.





Q: tips for not procrastinating? 

– pROcrasTinAtiOn

A: Dear pROcrasTinAtiOn,

I am in no way equipped to help you answer this question; in fact, to illustrate that, I’ll let you know I’m writing this response about half an hour before my deadline to submit it. However, I personally do feel like I’ve improved over the course of my last two odd years at high school, so I can share some personal tips that help me keep my life from descending into (complete) chaos.

  1. Guilt yourself into doing work: this one is one of the most helpful. Take a planner (don’t make one, because you will for sure procrastinate in doing that) and list out your tentative due dates and assignments/etc at the beginning of each week. Keep adding to it throughout the week, and if you don’t meet your expectations or plans for a day, circle that assignment in red. As the red builds up, so does the self-hatred, but eventually, it gets to you and you feel more inspired to finish your work on schedule.
  2. Use an app: Apps can be inordinately pesky; someone recommended the free app TickTick to me, and in addition to having a wide variety of really cool features (like marking an assignment according to its level of priority), it has a simple interface and gives you data about your completion rate for assignments. You can program in when you want your notifications and reminders to be sent and you can change deadlines and due dates easily. I would also recommend Google Calendar, especially because it’s synced with your email and all, but honestly, sometimes that application is too much work.
  3. Get up early: Starting this year, I set 12am as my hard bedtime; if I need more time to finish an assignment, I schedule waking myself up that exact amount of time earlier in the morning. So if I have two and a half more hours of work at 12, I wake myself up at 5am instead of 7:30am. And it sucks. Waking up early (initially) feels way worse than staying up later, but that’s what makes you work faster at night. In addition, work typically gets completed a lot earlier in the morning, when it isn’t dark and you aren’t drowsy from dinner.
  4. Take a break: If you take a half an hour or hour long break to nap or do something relaxing in the middle of the day, it makes you a lot less likely to get off track when you’re actually supposed to be completing something. So give yourself about 45 minutes each day, and that may motivate you to stop getting sidetracked.

I wish you the best of luck! This journey might not be easy- heck, it may not even begin, but you’ll realize that not procrastinating is well worth it once you have the option of sleeping before 1am in the night and your grades go up. I, for one, haven’t yet reached that stage, so I’m rooting for both of us here!




Q: One of my guy friends and one of my girl friends keep shipping me w/ someone else. What do I do to make them stop? (P.S. they can’t even make a good ship name)

– Lemmestaysingle!!

A: Dear Lemmestaysingle,

Tell them politely (but firmly) that it bothers you. Just explain to them that it makes you uncomfortable, and that while you appreciated the joke before it’s just not fun for you anymore. Don’t even do that weird half-laugh/smile thing that people do when they feel awkward to shrug it off if they tease you again. Be stone-faced about it, and don’t be afraid to make them uncomfortable for making you feel uncomfortable.  If they’re really your friends, then they’ll accept it.

Good luck!




Q: I’ve been feeling really depressed lately. My teachers all hate me, and I sit alone at lunch. My grades are not up to the standards of society and my parents. Since I can’t often tell the difference between “your” and “you’re”, I get bullied by my classmates. People call me special ed because I can’t run properly in PE. I am always behind in PE and I never change in the locker room. I have to go change and hide out in the bathroom and I get dress cuts!! Please tell me what I should do?????? 

– logitechisdabest

A: Hey logitechisdabest,

It sounds like quite the complex situation you have there, and I have to say, I’m not quite sure that I can help you just by “telling you what to do”; however, I can give you some advice as a layperson.

First, I want to address your issue with bullying. Bullying is not acceptable in Dougherty Valley, and it never will be. If you are being bullied, you have several options open to you. You can ask a trusted adult to file a form for suspected bullying for you; this is online on the Dougherty Valley homepage under Bullying Prevention. Or you can directly contact a teacher, an administrator, or any other staff member on campus, such as your counselor about this problem. Contacting an adult concerning this issue is your best way to stop the bullying. I can say comforting words and provide you with some advice, but the words of a fellow student is nothing but superficial in actually tackling the problem if it is bullying. You are not alone in this, and the school has a duty to ensure a safe environment for their students—take them up on that responsibility. This is my best advice to you.

Depression is yet another very serious issue, that I must urge you to contact an adult about. I remind you that Dougherty Valley does have professional, on-campus psychologists, and that the counseling office is open for drop-ins. If you feel comfortable though, which I hope you do, I suggest looking to your parents first even before contacting the afore-mentioned staff members. Once again, I can provide you with flowery language and maybe impart upon you some of my own similar experiences, but nothing beats the helping hand of somebody trained to address these issues or somebody who knows you personally. Your reaching out to us is a good first step, but we are a far cry from professional help.

As for your other dilemmas, I’m afraid that without more context to work off of, I’m unable to provide you with a lot of clear, specific advice, but I can provide you with some general suggestions.

To start off, let’s go in chronological order of the issues you’ve described to me. You said your teachers hate you. I’ll be honest: they very well could. They’re human, after all, and we all have the capacity to hate. But the fact of the matter is that they’re teachers! They see over a hundred kids a day, every day. They may not act particularly nice to you, but I highly doubt they have the will nor want to actively hate a single kid in one of their classes purely because they can. I hear a lot of my own friends say the same thing: “Oh, Mr. So-and-So totally hates me.” And I will say, again, that I have no idea why you think the way you do; perhaps your situation is totally different and this anecdote is totally inapplicable! That’s up to you to decide. But in my opinion, teachers (in general) don’t really care enough to go out of their way to hate some high school kid. And if teachers do care an inkling, usually they don’t go straight to hate but to concern or mild exasperation. In all likelihood, I think your teachers probably don’t think about you or put you so close to heart as to expend extra energy to hate you. That’s not to say they don’t care..! I’d give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re decent people who would care about their students, but hate requires a little more self-investment than that, even as counter-intuitive as that seems.

As for the rest of your problems, such as those with having to change (and hide?) in the bathroom and getting dress cuts… I admit I have a hard time understanding why you are repeatedly having this problem. The dress cut for PE in Dougherty is relatively clear-cut; you have to wear the assigned clothes and have your name written on both articles. If you’re getting dress cuts, then that seems to be your fault for leaving your clothes at home or wearing something else. If you can’t seem to remember to bring your PE clothes to school, I suggest you either set a reminder on your phone every Sunday that mentions that you have to pack your clothes or buy another pair that are always in your locker (you can ask the PE teachers and they’ll help you out with that) for emergencies.

As for not feeling comfortable changing in the locker room, I think you should talk to a counselor or PE teacher if you are having problems with bullying or are feeling self-conscious about your body. If the problem is that severe, I think they’ll help you work out a solution. If this isn’t the case- why do you have to change and hide in the bathroom? That is the question you have to ask yourself and find the answer to if you want to stop doing so. Perhaps that will address your dress cut issue as well- why do you keep getting them? The other issues you’ve mentioned appear to require more introspection, as well. Maybe instead of asking a layperson like me to “tell you what to do”, you should ask yourself that very question. What should you do? What are (or aren’t) you doing? What’s at the root of these problems? Before figuring out the solution, figure out the problem, and work your way from there.

I regret that I couldn’t offer you better, more applicable advice, but I hope some of the suggestions I made to you are helpful in their own ways. I wish you the best!