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Amy: Pressure on student makes for bad chemistry

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • October 19, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Dear Amy: I’m a junior in high school. My parents are really hard on me about my grades.

They get mad if I get below a 95 on anything. I have a lot going on this year, and just got a new job. So now I’m trying to juggle schoolwork, a job, piano, guitar, horseback riding, clubs, friends and a boyfriend — all on about three hours of sleep, because of my insomnia. My parents know about my insomnia but don’t help me with it. I know I could be a lot less stressed if I drop honors-level chemistry and take “regular” level. When I mentioned this to my mom, she freaked out, saying that I’m not investing enough time in chemistry, even though I spend 90 minutes a night studying it.

All this stress is wearing me out. Without dropping horseback riding (which is the one thing that keeps me sane), is there anything I can do to help her understand or get a handle on this before it kills me?

Amy says: Your insomnia is contributing greatly to your stress — and it must be addressed. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems, including depression.

Plan a conversation. Choose a quiet time. Write down all of your activities and classes. Prioritize them in order of importance to you (insomnia should be at the top — you need to see your doctor). Tell them, “I’m feeling very stressed and I’m worried about a lot of things. Can you help me sort it out?” I don’t think you should angle to drop chemistry. But would they freak out if you came home with an 80 on a test? Ask them.

Friendship soured on Facebook

Dear Amy: I’m 14 years old, and my friends and I are very social-media oriented. We have a classmate, “Derrick,” who — although he’s a bit shy and reserved — has always been a nice guy.

He just joined Facebook and we all accepted his friend requests. He is a horrible Facebook friend! At first, he would just make awkward comments on our status updates. Then he started sending us private messages asking in-depth questions. I know he is trying to reach out, but I can’t take this drama much longer! One of our classmates has unfriended him, and he didn’t understand why. He’s a good guy, and we all like him, but having him on Facebook has pushed us to our wits’ end.

Amy says: Give “Derrick” a tutorial. Just tell him, “Derrick, let me show you how this thing really works.” Show him that on FB, less is generally more. Humor is a surprising danger zone; sometimes a “funny” comment can come off as snarky, insincere or mean.

Send questions to Amy Dickinson via e-mail at askamy@tribune.com.

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