DR. WALLACE: I'm 16 and love my sleep. Now that I'm on holiday break, I'd like to sleep until noon, even if I go to bed before midnight. I'm trying to make up for all the sleep I lost during the school year because I had an 8 a.m. class.
My parents think that I'm lazy. How much sleep is enough for an active teen? — Sleepyhead Who Loves My Bed, Ames, Iowa
SLEEPY HEAD: It's true that teens need more sleep than adults because of their rapid growth spurts. But sleep cannot be stored by the body in the same manner that food can (in the form of fat). So excess rest (more than the body needs) can be counterproductive. Ten hours of sleep in a 24-hour period should be sufficient! I trust you will be quite rested with this much sleep. If you do feel fatigued even after 10-plus hours of sleep or experience ongoing tiredness in a major way, please seek medical attention. A good medical professional can guide you through some initial tests to see if there is potentially an underlying problem. And if there isn't, then you'll have peace of mind.
TO BE PAID OR NOT TO BE PAID
DR. WALLACE: I'm a senior in high school and am very interested in journalism. I like speaking, writing and reporting the news (I mean, to my family and friends, for now!), and I'm an above-average student — but not a straight-A student. I heard from one of my teachers that a local business is seeking a summer intern to help them with publicity and public relations. This business is well-known, reputable and has about 30 employees. The job involves writing press releases, attending public events and spreading the "news" of the most recent developments the company is involved in.
My problem is my dad does not like that this internship is unpaid. It's a volunteer gig. I really want to apply for it, but my dad told me, "Don't waste your time." Dad said he can get me a summer job filing papers for an accounting office he knows and they will pay me minimum wage. What should I do? I really want the experience of the job in the field I'm interested in! — Reporter-To-Be, via email
REPORTER: I understand where you are coming from. Both points are valid. One job provides experience in the field you're interested in, while the other will pay you some hard cash. How about this: Tell your father that you will apply for the internship to see if you happen to get an offer. If you do, see if you can work at that job perhaps three or four days a week during the summer. Then tell dad you will work around the house, garage and garden for him for minimum wage with your remaining free time over the summer. You'd get the best of both opportunities that way — some experience in a field you enjoy and some hours worked around the house for pay.
Now, if you apply for the internship and don't get it, you can take the other job dad's planning to set you up with. In that case, at least you will have made a few contacts at your preferred business. You may be able to successfully revisit that firm at some point in your future. My advice? Whenever possible, seek to work at a job you truly enjoy!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.