Dear Devil’s Advocate,
I’m not the sharpest crayon in the box, but I work really hard to get good grades in school. My friends all seem to get good grades without even trying or studying at all. I know that some people understand things easier and most of the time I don’t mind. But, it gets on my nerves when they all go out and have fun on a Wednesday night and I am stuck in the library studying for hours. They always tell me that I need to get out and have some fun. The thing is, I know that if I don’t study as much as I do for this one class, I will get an F in it. I feel like a loser when I don’t go out with them though. Should I just loosen up and have fun?
I feel your pain. I, too, am not the juiciest apple on the tree, if you know what I mean. Doing well in school is important and so, it’s important that you take the time to study. It is also important to allow yourself some free time to let loose and to ditch the books for a while.
There are some aspects of your life you could change to create an even balance of academics and social life. Schedule yourself time during the middle of the week where you can hang out with your friends. “Friend time” should be just as important as “study time”. All work and no play is a bad idea all around because it can affect your happiness, and well-being. Your friends should understand that it is harder for you to retain information and try to help you, not harass you. Make sure you also remember to include time for yourself every day for at least an hour.
It is important that you take time to focus on your own needs and wants, in order to make sure you body and mind are up for rigorous studying.
Also, make sure to remember the difference between working hard and working smart. Working hard means you study for long hours and stay up until 4 AM writing a paper. Working smart means you use your time effectively and in such a way that you do not need to study until the wee hours of the morning.
You can work hard and get an A or you can work hard and still fail. However, working smart will get you good grades every time.
By making these changes, you will be a happier person because you will have more time for your friends, and hopefully it will be easier to focus because your mind gets to take a break for a bit.
Sincerely, Devil’s Advocate
Dear Devil’s Advocate,
I live in the dorms with a few of my good friends and we get along great. However, there is this one kid, let’s call him Tony. Tony is, well, I’m not quite sure how to describe him.
He is different to say the least. Anyway, sometimes the guys are just a bit hard on Tony and it makes me feel bad. The other night they gave him a swirly. Last week they made him strip to his underwear and then paraded him around the girls’ floors of the dorm. Sometimes they just do some really mean things to him, but I don’t know what to do. Can you give me some advice?
Dear Miffed Max,
What your friends are doing to Tony is not only horrible and mean, but also very immature. You guys are in college, and all adults, but apparently your friends have the maturity of my eight-year-old brother. Tell them that maybe that would be cool to do that back in 3rd grade, but not now.
Ask them how they would feel if they only reason you hung out with them is because they’re good for a good laugh.
If they make fun of you for standing up for him, then just walk away from them, because there are so many other people who are more intelligent and mature that you could be friends with.
I would also recommend having a talk with Tony. It seems to me, he has self-esteem issues, and could use a good friend.
Tell him that he should hang out with people who like him for who he is, not because he is an easy punching bag and will strip down to his underwear just for a good laugh.
Hopefully you two will find a better group of people who do not treat their friends like crap. Hope that helps! Sincerely,Devil’s Advocate