DR. WALLACE: I will be graduating high school this year, and I want to go to college, but I don't really have the grades to get a scholarship. My parents cannot afford to send me to college, and I don't want to go into debt like my older brother. My brother has a mountain of debt over $50,000, and he is very concerned about how he will ever pay off the money from all of the educational loans he took out.
Should I wait until our country is in better standing before I go to college? There are not a lot of jobs in my area now due to COVID-19, so I would have time to go to college if I had the money. I'm curious to know if you think I should wait to start my further education until I have a good-paying job first. — Thinking It Over, via email
THINKING IT OVER: Going to a four-year college is a commitment, and it does indeed cost money. But fortunately, there are more cost-effective alternatives, such as vocational schools. Some vocational schools offer free tuition via corporate sponsorships in certain industries. This is because companies wish to hire qualified individuals with specific skills, so they are willing to provide the paid training.
Another good option is affordable community colleges. They exist around our nation, and there's likely one or two within driving distance of where you presently live. Some even offer online classes as well. Look into these two ideas, and follow the path you find the most interesting for your particular skill set and mentality. I never suggest waiting to return to educational opportunities after a student leaves high school, unless there are specific circumstances requiring it.
MY RANDOM HOOKUP TURNED SOUTH
DR. WALLACE: When I was 8 years old, my mom married a guy who had a 10-year-old daughter. They soon divorced, and both families went our separate ways. I never saw my mom's ex or my stepsister ever again after that. But last month, 13 years later, we randomly met and didn't recognize each other until after we "hooked up" for the night. I'm 21 years old now, and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that since we were both drinking, one thing kind of led to another, if you know what I mean.
I didn't recognize her at all, but once we started talking, I recognized her unusual first name. I simply said it was a pretty name and asked what she did for a living. She said she's a veterinarian's assistant, and the blood ran out of my face since my "stepsis" with that very same unusual name always told me how much she loved animals and wanted to grow up to be a vet when she got older.
I looked at her much more carefully after that, and to my shock and dismay, I realized exactly who she was! Now I feel gross and weird about all of this. What should I do now? — Didn't Know Who She Was, via email
DIDN'T KNOW WHO SHE WAS: Do nothing, and do not meet again. Some things are better left in the past.
I do suggest that you not drink enough to have this type of "random hookup" occur again. There's a lot more to having a fun and a good social life than merely defaulting to a hookup you obviously looked at as no big deal in the first place.
Spend time to meet others near your age for social interactions without alcohol or substances involved, and I trust you'll soon find yourself on more solid social footing and feel better about yourself as well.
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.
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