Ask Suzanne – Parents, Peers, and Pressures


Dear Readers,

ASK SUZANNE 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.  Thank you!  I look forward to reading your letters.


Suzanne 🙂


Dear Suzanne,

I’ve been thinking recently about what I want to do with my life, because I’m headed into my senior year of high school, and I need to start thinking harder about it so I can apply to colleges.  Whenever I think, “Hey I might actually really enjoy doing this thing for the rest of my life,” there is always something or somebody that has to put that idea down.  This causes confusion and a million questions to run through my head on whether or not I actually want to do this or if it is worth going through so many years of schooling just to get to the point where I can do it.  I basically have two options as of now that I have been leaning towards, but as usual there are people in my life that are causing me to second guess myself and my choices.  As of last year, I’ve been thinking that maybe I would enjoy working as a vet.  I mean they make pretty good money, and they get to work with animals all day, which is my cup of tea.  However, whenever I told someone about this, the first thing they said was not, ¨Oh, wow I think you would be really good at that.¨  No, it’s, ¨You know they have to perform surgery, right?¨  I understand why they ask me, but I’m not kidding when I say literally everybody I told asked me this.  So, this caused some confusion, not to mention that when I went to the doctor the other day for a physical, this doctor went on and on about how I shouldn’t work with animals because they make no money and so on, and so on, so that added to the ¨what am I going to do?¨ Recently, I’ve been thinking that maybe I should go to school for nursing.  There are so many different options for jobs as a nurse, and I think that I would really enjoy being a labor & delivery nurse or a midwife.  If you have any advice on different jobs that may be available that I might not even know exist, it would be greatly appreciated.  Any advice on picking colleges and how to start looking would also help me a lot.  Thank you.



It is crucial to remember that other people’s opinions should not be a major factor in deciding what you want to do.  If being a vet or a midwife makes you happy and interests you, then you should strive to do it.  Sometimes, it’s nice to have opinions from people because they have a lot of experience and know how the system works.  But, if they can only talk about how much money you are going to make and not about how happy that job will make you, then their opinion shouldn’t be highly regarded. When picking colleges, I think it’s important to know what your GPA is and how high your SAT scores are.  This makes picking the right college easier.  It also helps to pick safety schools and reach schools.  Safety schools are colleges that you are guaranteed to get into.  Reach schools are colleges you want to get into (dream schools).  I would start searching for colleges that are in-state and match up with the degree you want to pursue.  Once you get a few colleges, you can branch out to other states.  It’s also important to know if you want to go to college far away or close to home, and if you want to go to a city college or a rural college.  I hope this helped!~ Suzanne 🙂

Dear Suzanne, 

These past few months have been a horrible burden on me.  I have had homework almost every day, and I don’t have any time to eat or sleep.  I know it’s not healthy, but if I don’t do it then I won’t get good grades in my class.  My parents have been pressuring me to get good grades and study hard so I can get a high SAT score.  I’m sure if I continue doing this, I’m going to have a nervous breakdown.  Should I tell my parents that they are putting too much pressure on me?  And do you have any tips that will help me with the SAT?




It’s understandable that at this point of the year you’re being buried in assignments.  Regents and finals can be stressful at times and a terrible burden for most teens.  But you have to remember that sleeping and eating are more important than studying.  Imagine this scenario: you spend all day before your exam studying nonstop, and you only get a few hours of sleep.  The morning of your exam, you miss your bus and sleep through your alarm.  Since, you were in a rush, you skipped breakfast and continued studying on your way to school.  Then when you open your exam, your stomach starts to growl really loudly.  Now all you can think about is how long till the exam is over so you can eat something.  After an hour or so has passed, you start to yawn and fall asleep on your exam.  So, because you stayed up all night studying and skipped breakfast, you failed the exam.  Compare this situation to this quote by Virginia Woolf: ¨One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.¨ Most parents’ aim is for their children to be the best at everything they do.  You have to remember that your parents don’t mean for you to be stressed; they only want you to have a good future.  You should be honest with them and tell them that you are stressed; they will understand how you are feeling.  I found the SAT Prep classes to be very useful when it comes to taking the SAT.  But, if you don’t want to pay for the class, you can always download apps that tell you useful vocabulary for the SATs.  Plus, there is the practice exams on College Board.  Remember to keep calm when you are taking your exam.

~Suzanne 🙂


Dear Suzanne,

I have multiple questions for you that all really connect to one thing.  So, I’ve always been a shy, quiet girl, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll always be that way.  I’ve started noticing that my shyness has gotten much worse than it used to be.  For example, some changes I noticed include: being afraid to go to church (my church has a LOT of people), being afraid of crowds, and being afraid of socializing.  I always feel like I’m being watched or stared at, even when I’m in a room by myself.  I’m afraid of speaking in class, I hesitate when I talk to others, I hate being called on in class, I don’t like working in groups in school (I never know what to say or do, and then afterwards I feel bad for not helping), or even saying others’ names out loud (it’s always been that way).  I never seem to know what to say to anyone, even a friend.  In other words: I can’t start a conversation at ALL.  I get nervous when I see someone I know in public, and then I’ll even feel embarrassed.  I always feel myself blush, even while talking on the phone, and I especially hate answering people who ask me ¨how my day at school was.¨  I never really tell my parents how my day was.  For example, I’ll leave things out of my day.  I especially have a hard time wording things, and I will always say ¨um¨ or ¨uh¨ between sentences.  I always dwell on the future also.  For example, I might post something on social media and once it’s already posted, I feel embarrassed about what people might think about it and remove it soon afterwards.  Now, to me, this whole situation seems like a problem that I would like to get fixed soon, but what I’m nervous about is telling my parents.  I could be telling them about a problem I have, or how I might feel about something, or going out in public.  This one time, I was afraid to go to church because the amount of people there terrifies me, and I always feel like people are staring.  So, I told my mom, and she just told me to, ¨Stop being silly” in a serious tone.  Or, if I start crying, my mom seems very frustrated with me for doing so.  But I would like to be able to tell them about these issues, and I want them to understand me, and I want to get help for it.  I just don’t know what to tell them or, for that matter, if these problems are serious things that need to be taken care of.  I just don’t know where to start or what to even do.  If you can help me, that would be wonderful.  Thank you so much.



I agree with your feelings about this situation.  This is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.  It’s okay to be afraid of things, but when they are preventing you from interacting with the outside world, it becomes a serious problem.  I advise talking to someone that you trust and respect, and telling them how you are feeling.  They can help you  become comfortable talking with others and surrounding yourself with other people.  I would also recommend a therapist.  Therapy helps a lot of people figure out why they are who they are.  I hope this helped and I wish you the best of luck in your journey! ~ Suzanne 🙂