Ask L.B. – Our Advice Column for Readers: Social Fears, COVID Blues, and College Choices


Dear L.B.,
Ever since online school has started, I’ve been getting more and more depressed. I’m a really social person and I hate not being able to see my friends. On top of that, I feel so unorganized, and that makes it really hard for me to get motivated to do my work. Learning from home is difficult enough because I have to teach myself everything, but I also have a hard time staying focused because I’m at home and surrounded by my family. How can I go back to feeling like a normal high school student again?
Seriously Slumped

Dear Slumped,
I know how you feel! I myself have been struggling with online learning, especially while working in an environment that’s so conducive to relaxing! The biggest thing that’s helped me so far is making a schedule for myself. I sat down with a piece of paper and wrote out three things I would do each day of the week (Monday through Friday) besides school. By doing certain things on certain days, it helps me maintain some sense of normalcy. When it comes to classwork, I try to do my assignments in the order of my actual school schedule. For example, if you have English first period, do that assignment first; then, if you have Geometry second period, do that assignment second; and so on. That’s definitely my favorite way to make home feel a little more like school! As for missing your friends, make good use of Zoom and Group FaceTime! My friends and I have had several videochat game nights playing online multiplayer games, which is a great way to reconnect. It certainly doesn’t compare to actually hanging out, but it’s a close second.
Hope this helps!

Dear L.B.,
Lately, I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed. Now that we’re home all the time, my parents always have the news playing on the TV, and I get so stressed hearing about all the horrible things happening from COVID-19. I know my family is being safe — my parents only leave the house for groceries, and they try to get a lot of stuff so they don’t have to go out so frequently; when they do go out, they wear masks and gloves. My siblings and I are all staying home and we haven’t left the house in over two months. Still, I can’t help but feel this huge anxiety about the unknown. How can I stay grounded in reality without completely avoiding the news?
Please help,
Call Me Ostrich

Dear Ostrich,
Your feelings are definitely shared; it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by all the sad news lately! If your biggest issue is your parents having the TV playing the news so much, I’d suggest telling them how it makes you feel and asking them if they can turn it off or switch the channel sometimes. If you’re mostly feeling stressed from what you’re seeing on social media, there are a few things you can do. First, limit your intake. As hard as it might be right now, taking small breaks from the internet can make a big difference in your mood. Second, find something to distract you. Whether it’s exercising, taking a walk outdoors, reading a book, or binge watching your favorite TV show, it’ll help take your mind off what’s happening outside your four walls. Lastly, make sure you have an outlet for your emotions. See if a sibling or friend is willing to talk to you about how these current events are making you feel, or write it all out in a journal. Either way, it’s important not to bottle up your feelings!
Feel better,

Dear L.B.,
I’m about to start my junior year, so naturally I’m starting to get a lot of information about college. I’ve toured one or two schools with my parents, and they really want to make sure I get a good education. The problem is, I’m not sure what I want to do in life, or if I even want to go to college. I’m too scared to tell my parents because they’ll probably brush it off, but how am I supposed to find a school that makes me happy when I don’t even think I want to continue my education?
I really need advice,
Up In the Air

Dear Air,
Right off the bat, let’s clear this up: college is not for everyone! In order to make the right decision for your future, it’s important that you accept this, no matter what pressure you may be feeling. I’d seriously suggest talking to your guidance counselor about potential options besides college. Consider taking a gap year during which you could possibly arrange for an internship in a field you might be interested in. You could work or travel, but neither of those tend to be long-term, so you might feel better having a plan for what you’d like to do later in life — no matter how vague. Once you work this out, you can also talk to your guidance counselor or a trusted adult about how best to approach the subject with your parents. From there, you’ll probably start to feel more comfortable having that conversation, and then it’s only a matter of initiating it! Hopefully when you present your parents with options for your future besides college, they’ll be more open to you doing something else and less concerned that you have no plan.
Good luck,

Ask L.B. (a pseudonym for this advice columnist) is an advice column to advise people on how to deal with their concerns and issues in the most positive way possible. I try my best to ensure that they will make decisions that will help them move forward on the right path. I hope you will write to me, in confidence, seeking my guidance. Just a reminder: I will not disclose any information sent to me. What you write will always remain anonymous. I encourage you to be creative with your usernames and send feedback so that this column will be successful in helping those who seek advice. You can email me at [email protected] or drop a note in our standing metal mailbox outside of the English office. I look forward to reading your letters.

PEDIR L.B. es una columna de consejos para asesorar a las personas sobre cómo tratar mejor sus preocupaciones y problemas.​ Yo hago mi mejor esfuerzo para asegurarme que tu tomes la decicion correcta, ayudarte a avanzar de manera positiva. Yo espero que tu me escribas con confidencia, pidiendo mi ayuda. Un recordatorio, yo no voy a revelar ninguna información que me envies. Lo que tu escribas siempre va a ser anónimo. Te animo a que seas creativo con tus nombres de usuario y envíes comentarios para que esta columna sea exitosa para ayudar a quienes buscan consejos. Correo electrónico a [email protected].
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