Dear Amy: I'm entering my second year of high school. I'm a straight-A student and I plan to graduate my junior year.
My problem is, I hate school. I don't have any close friends my age, I feel trapped and hopeless every time I even think of school. I hate the thought of textbook work, group projects, exams and everything about school. Every time I think of going back I feel hopeless and depressed.
Countless times I've thought about dropping out, but I know that would make my future more of a struggle.
I just lost my only close friend, and I have marching band to make things more stressful.
Do you have any suggestions on how to make school more tolerable — or any ideas about other ways to get a diploma without being in a physical school?
Amy says: You sound like a talented student, and you might do better taking some classes at your local community college, or through online courses. Attending part time as you supplement your education in other ways is something to explore with your parents and your academic guidance counselor. They might suggest starting out the school year and waiting to see how things go once school is underway. I hope you will keep up with marching band — or other school-based activities — as a way to stay connected with other kids and adults in a nonacademic environment.
The loss of your only close friend leaves a very big hole in your life, and it is natural for you to feel very sad, depressed and anxious about returning to school. If you find these feelings continue to derail you — or get worse — and you lose sleep or have trouble eating or concentrating, please tell an adult immediately and ask for help.
The Crisis Text Line is available for anyone in crisis who needs to communicate. Just send a text and you're immediately connected with a counselor.
Add this text number to the contacts list in your phone: 741741 (I have it in mine).
Dear Amy: I've been dating my boyfriend for two years now.
I am one of four daughters and my sister is currently planning her wedding for November. It has been a yearlong stressful period for everyone.
I am constantly asked how I'd like my future wedding to be and my answer has always been "stress free." I don't want anyone there except my dogs and my future groom.
Each time I respond this way, I'm given the stink eye and basically labeled selfish for imagining a wedding that does not include my friends and family.
I mean no disrespect to any of my loved ones, but I also don't want to plan an event I can't get behind.
Am I truly being selfish for wanting a low-key day? I feel I'd be facing repercussions should I decide to go through with my plans.
Amy says: If you are old and mature enough to promise to be with another person for the rest of your life, then you are old and mature enough to handle whatever opinions others have about the way you choose to do it.
Elopement is a legitimate choice.
I would think that on some level your parents might be relieved that one of their four daughters is choosing to step away from the wedding industrial complex.
Regardless of what others may think — or choose to do in their own lives — you have the right (and the duty) to take responsibility for your own wedding.
Send Ask Amy questions to email@example.com. Twitter: @askingamy.