DR. WALLACE: I am a high school senior. The COVID-19 pandemic will have finally ended by the time our school reopens. I have received good grades in high school and will be attending the University of Illinois after I graduate. Both of my parents graduated from the University of Illinois.
I worry because I don't enjoy being a high school student. Don't get me wrong. It's just that attending high school does not give me a thrill. I will be a good college student, because my grades are good, and my parents expect me to be a college graduate in due course.
My big concern is that I'm not sure what to expect when I start classes at this university this fall. I'm planning to live on campus there, so that alone will be a big change in my life. Are colleges and universities simply an extension of high school, or is there a huge difference? Please be honest. Did you enjoy your time in high school and college? Is college much, much harder? I'm now a bit worried since I'm kind of out of practice in going to school in an actual classroom — Future College Student, via email
FUTURE COLLEGE STUDENT: I enjoyed attending and graduating from Emerson High School in Gary, Indiana, many years ago. Having many good friends and participating in athletics made my high school days special.
College was indeed very different and definitely not an extension of high school. I lived on campus and participated in athletics. I spent more time studying because I knew that good grades were quite important and I wanted to reach my goal of becoming a high school English teacher and a varsity basketball coach.
I reached that goal after receiving a college degree at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and a master's degree in education at Northern Illinois University. Living on campus means you will be more independent, so plan in advance to make good, logical decisions regarding your education and your lifestyle.
You will make new friends, take interesting classes and have the opportunity to participate in many campus activities. I am very confident you will have a wonderful and challenging experience at the University of Illinois. Your parents will be very proud of you, and you will be very proud of your achievements once you put in the time and effort to earn them.
KEEP DRINKING AGE WHERE IT IS
DR. WALLACE: I'm 18 years old. I am old enough to serve in the military, old enough to hold down a good-paying full-time job or to get married and begin a family. I can own and drive a car all across our vast country. But if I want a cold beer on a very hot day this summer, I'd have to break the law to get one because I'm "too young" to legally purchase alcohol.
The drinking age in our great nation should be lowered to age 18, since that is widely considered to be the legal age of adulthood. Don't you agree with my logic? — Freshly Minted Adult, via email
FRESHLY MINTED ADULT: The reason why 18-year-olds cannot have a cold beer on a very hot day is that beer is alcohol and all alcoholic drinks are potentially addictive substances. One drink can lead to another.
I am firmly convinced that alcohol has caused more overall pain and destruction to families than it has brought healing and enjoyment. I've received thousands of letters from readers who've shared very sad and even devastating stories regarding the negative impact alcohol has had upon their families. I would not be in favor of seeing our national drinking age lowered to any age under 21.
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.
Photo credit: JESHOOTS-com at Pixabay