DR. WALLACE: I'm 15 and a sophomore in high school. My two best friends are my age and both of them have boyfriends. They always keep encouraging me to start dating so I can join in the "fun" of having a boyfriend. I have spent time studying with a boy, but I have never gone out with a guy.
Our high school has an annual Autumn Carnival Dance and a guy in my drama class has invited me to be his date for this dance. His invitation surprised me and I told him that I would enjoy going to the dance with him. He said that we should go out a few times before the big dance so we wouldn't be strangers. I told him this would be a good idea.
Now I'm really excited, but since I'm inexperienced when it comes to dating, I'd appreciate any tips you can give me. — Nameless, Denver, Colo.
NAMELESS: Believe in yourself. Confidence is one of the greatest qualities you can have! Don't mold your personality to please a guy. When you put on an act, you're not fooling yourself and chances are you aren't fooling him, either. In other words, just be yourself.
Let go of your expectations. Just because all of your friends seem to be paired up right now is no reason to charge into a date already thinking that he's your own boyfriend. Take it one date at a time!
Go slowly. Though your friends may be telling you that things are serious with the guys they're dating, don't rush into a relationship just to be like them. Take things slowly and the odds are much better that the guy you're interested in will be interested in you.
And, finally, set your mind on having a fun time and do all you can to have an enjoyable dance. If you arrive home happy, I'm positive so will your date.
STUDENTS CAN LEARN FROM ALL TEACHERS
DR. WALLACE: I do not like my history teacher. He doesn't appear to like girl students and he always favors the boys, especially the athletes in class. It so happens that my history teacher is also our athletic director and he used to be the boys' basketball coach.
I decided that I wanted out of this teacher's class and asked my counselor to transfer me to another history class, but the answer was a firm NO. He said that students can never initiate class transfers. I asked him if my parents could initiate a transfer and, again, I was told NO.
What do I have to do, get a lawyer, to get out of a no-good class? — Tony, Chicago, Ill.
TONY: All a lawyer could do is take your money and then inform you that a transfer would be impossible. Only school personnel can have a student transferred when it would be in the student's or the class's best interest. Rarely, if ever, will a student be transferred because of a dislike for the teacher. If students could initiate a transfer, counselors would be inundated with transfer requests because "the teacher is too hard" or "I want to be with a friend in another class."
Do your very best in this class. Students can learn from all teachers, even teachers who need to improve their teaching technique.
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.