DR. WALLACE: My brother graduated from Indiana University last June and he has yet to find a good paying job. Right now, he is delivering mail. Good jobs are almost impossible to find. I will graduate from high school next June. I'd like to go to college, but it could be a huge waste of time and money.
I know you will probably disagree. Please tell me why. — Nameless, Hobart, Ind.
NAMELESS: Yes, I heartily disagree. Your chances of getting a job with a good future will be greater if you have a college degree. According to a United States Census study, a college graduate can expect to average over $750,000 more in his or her lifetime than someone without that degree.
As considerable as the economic benefits of a college education are, they pale in comparison with the intangibles. Knowledge is valuable for its own sake; the older you get, the more you realize this. Get that degree and be patient about the job market. When you have a college degree, you're in a better position to learn valuable skills even from a job you might think is below your expectations.
P.S.: Many college graduates would be happy to be employed by the Postal Service.
DAD'S NEW WIFE IS NICE
DR. WALLACE: I'm 13 and I have a problem. My parents were divorced a year ago and I live with my mom, whom I love very much.
My dad got married a month ago and I see them about once a week. My stepmother seems very nice, but I just can't seem to warm up to her. She's trying very hard to have me get to know her, but deep down I don't really want to. She didn't do anything wrong. Dad didn't meet her until after the divorce.
Why do you think I feel this way about her? I honestly would like to feel comfortable around her eventually. She appears to be a nice person. — Kay, Peoria, Ill.
KAY: I'm sure your concern is that you don't want to betray your mom. In time you will be able to accept your stepmother for who she is — a nice woman who happens to be married to your father. It's important for you to make your mother aware that you are finding it difficult to warm up to Dad's new wife but that you would eventually like to. Follow this up by giving Mom a big hug and telling her she's the nicest person in the world, and that no one could ever take her place. And then give your mom another hug and tell her that you love her very much!
WE SLEEP OVER 24 YEARS IN A LIFETIME!
TEENS: According to the publication, Parents of Teens, the average North American sleeps a total of 24.5 years over the course of his or her lifetime, spends 13.5 years at work and at school, 12 years watching television, 4.5 years socializing, 3 years eating, and 1 year on the telephone. The other 13 years are spent in various activities, including doing nothing at all.
Here's my suggestion: Cut the television viewing by two-thirds. Just think what you could do with an extra 8 years of life!
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. E-mail 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.