Dear Blue: Our Advice Column for Readers – Money, Memory, and Sexual Identity


Dear readers,
DEAR BLUE (a pseudonym for our advice columnist) is an advice column to advise people as to how to best deal with their concerns and issues. I try my best to ensure that you will make the best decisions to help you move forward in positive ways. 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]. Thanks!
I look forward to reading your letters.


Dear Blue-
I rely on my parents and birthday money in order to pay for everything I want to do. My parents say I need to become more responsible and earn my own money for the things I want to do. How do I find a job around here to earn my own money?
Broke in Brewster

Dear Broke,
Brewster is actually a very good town to find employment in. Minimum wage in New York is $11.40 per hour. There are laws that prohibit students from working too many days or too many hours per week, but you can work for 18 hours (you probably won’t need to work more that many hours while school is in session anyway).

Some of the places around Brewster known for hiring kids in high school are:

  • DeCiccos
  • Red Rooster
  • Value Village
  • Kobacker’s Market
  • Put Lake Market
  • ACME
  • Bob’s Diner
  • La Strada
  • Palmer Hardware
  • Brewster Ice Arena

If you don’t happen to like any of these local businesses, think about babysitting or tutoring – you can usually earn a little more per hour, but they’re not as reliable as the local businesses. Consider whether you need that steady, weekly paycheck, or are just looking to earn a few bucks.

Think about what your schedule looks like. If you play a sport and are involved with three different clubs, maybe you shouldn’t commit to an 18 hour/per week job – unless the manager knows your availability. No one will want to take your shifts because you forgot to ask for the day off for a baseball game. Think about what kind of money you’re looking for. Are you saving up to buy a laptop, or saving up for college? Whatever you do, save at least 25% of what you make for future needs. You’ll struggle a little, but you will definitely thank me later.


Dear Blue,
I’ve been struggling in many of my classes for a while now. Do you have any study tips or advice for someone who can’t memorize a whole lesson, but wants to perform better?
Kinda Frustrated

Dear Kinda,
You can always improve your grades in school, whether you’re failing or are pulling A’s.

Firstly, make sure to pay attention in class. Even if you’re not taking notes, just engage yourself in what the teacher is saying, and you’ll understand it better. (You might have to hold off on that text…) Many teachers put notes on Google Classroom, so you can go home and copy them. It’s a proven fact that writing out information helps you tremendously.
Use sites like Quora, Khan Academy, Crash Course on YouTube, Schmoop, and Quizlet to study the material before you cram for a test.

Ask your teachers what days they stay after and what free periods they have so you can have one-on-one discussions with them and talk about how they think you can improve. Many students understand material much better after meeting in a small, quiet setting with their teacher. (This is probably because there are fewer distractions and Cool Math levels to beat if you’re making eye contact with the teacher.) If you’re in the middle of a really tough unit in one of your classes, and you’ve already met with your teacher, maybe you could talk to other teachers you know in the department. I’ve found most teachers in BHS are more than happy to help a student succeed.

Before big tests, my friends and I like to meet up at someone’s house (not Starbucks or a pizza place: too many distractions there). We switch notebooks and look through the material in a different way, or we quiz each other on the information. If you want to make it “fun,” you can keep a points system or reward each other for correct answers with candy. 😉


Dear Blue,
I think I might be gay, but my parents are homophobic and I can’t trust them to talk to about my questions. I can’t talk to my friends because they always make jokes about the openly gay people we know. What should I do? Who can I talk to about finding out if I am gay? Thanks, Blue.
Needing to know

Dear Needing,
The most important thing you need to know is: you don’t need to rush into labeling yourself. There’s no simple test that’ll tell you whether or not you’re LGBTQ+. I’m an advice columnist and not an expert on homosexuality. What I do know, though, is that being gay isn’t a choice, and many people spend years trying to suppress their feelings for reasons similar to yours. Homophobic attitudes from parents, immature and insensitive jokes, and fear of disapproval can be very scary. People in the LGBTQ community are a minority. Gay culture is still the object of ridicule. Taking yourself from a place of safety is a scary thing. When we “go” somewhere new, we feel out of place for a while, but as time goes on, we learn about ourselves, we become more comfortable, and we learn who really loves us by who accepts us.

As weird as this might sound, do some research about it. Did you know that more than 3.5% of adults in the US identify as LGBTQ?
There are so many platforms with so many queer activists who make it their mission to educate gay youth. Stevie Boebi and Davey Wavey have some great videos that might help you. Talk with people who you know are comfortably bisexual or gay. They can answer your questions, and you know you can trust them because they had to go through the same hard questions you are asking yourself.

Trust your instincts when it comes to who you can trust. Consider the BHS guidance counselors and social workers; consider a trusted teacher; consider a kind upperclassman. These people can help.


Queridos leyentes,
ESTIMADO BLUE 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. Gracias! Espero sus cartas.

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