Advice Column

By Talia Levin and Bella Nessim ‘20


Q: I’m really stressed out about the pressure of standardized tests for college. How do I handle that? —Pressure in Paradise

A: When it comes to ACTs and SATs, students experience a lot of pressure from their parents, peers, and themselves. The most important thing to keep in mind is that standardized tests do not determine how smart you are. Not everyone thinks in bubbles, and that’s totally fine! Also, you will get into college, and a score doesn’t make or break that. It’s important to do your best, but don’t worry too much.


Q: I haven’t hung out with a friend in a while, and a few weeks ago, I promised that we could have a sleepover this weekend. It turns out that my camp friend whom I never get to see is coming in from out of town for a family event and is only free the night I agreed to have a sleepover. How do I break it to the first friend that I can’t sleep over? —Conflicted

A: It’s important to let your friend down gently. Tell them the truth about why you are rescheduling in order to avoid a future conflict. Express regret about having to do this to ensure that they are not hurt. Suggesting another date when you would be available to have a sleepover would show that you are still interested in spending time with them but are sadly not able to this specific day.


Q: I don’t know what atmosphere I work best in and I always feel like I’m doing something wrong when I sit down to start working. I constantly find myself playing with my music, and the seat, and the table height, and the setting, thinking maybe I’ll go to a coffee shop, or the library… —Working Hard

A: Try different things! A good work spot is really helpful for trying to get things done. Go to places around your house, school, or other spots and try to find what works for you. What works best for me is the New York Public Library; that might be a place that suits you also! See what works best and stick with that.


Q: Lately, I have been branching out to other friend groups, which has allowed me to make a ton of new friends. I am still very close with my old friends and I don’t want to make it seem that I don’t want to hang out with them anymore. How do I balance both groups of friends without hurting anyone? —Balancing Act

A: It’s a great thing to branch out and make new friends, and there is no reason why you should feel that you need to choose between the two groups! If you truly care about both your new and old friends, it is easy to split your time in order to spend time with both groups of friends. Also, don’t be afraid to hang out with both groups at once. All of your friends might get along really well!

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