Dear Jane: February

Jane Doe

Dear Jane,
My girlfriend of 2 years is going to college next year, and I am not.  I am worried about what will happen with our relationship, but I am afraid to bring it up in conversation.  What should I do?
Sincerely,
Lover Man

Dear Lover Man,

First off, I would like to thank you for calling yourself “lover man” and making me smile. Now to deal with your dilemma. Last year a friend of mine was faced with a similar situation, as her boyfriend of six months was going to college and she still had two more years of high school left. Neither she nor her boyfriend wanted to bring up the conversation, but eventually she did. After discussing it pretty extensively, they decided to take a break over the summer and if they still wanted to be together in the fall to try out a long distance relationship. While this may not be the route you or your girlfriend want to take, my friend did give me some useful tips for bringing up the topic with your partner. 1) Wait. It is only January, and you still have a couple of months left in the school year. If your girlfriend has not even heard back from schools yet, then it is especially pointless to bring up the conversation now, as your decisions may change based on whether she goes to Penn State or UCLA. Even if she does know what school she is going to, it still makes little sense to bring up the conversation so early in the year as it may just ruin what time you two have left together. 2) When you do bring it up (I suggest mid to late spring) make sure you do so privately and during a time you have set aside specifically for this discussion (don’t bring it up in the middle of a date as it may make the rest of the evening uncomfortable). Instead maybe invite her to go for a walk. 3) Do NOT start the conversation with “there is something I need to talk to you about…”. Are you trying to give someone a heart attack? 4) When you do have this conversation, decide beforehand what will happen to your relationship.  Do not be vague.  Say “I want us to stay together because…” so that everyone is aware what is going on.  Definitely have this conversation, but wait until you are sure she is going away.  Having this conversation too early could put pressure on her, or put a deadline on your relationship.

Sincerely,

Jane

Dear Jane,

I got a D on my Biology midterm, and my parents have grounded me for a month.  However, the highest grade in the class was a low B.  I spent hours studying for the exam, but my parents won’t believe me.  What do I do?

Sincerely,

Frustrated and Grounded

Dear Frustrated and Grounded,

Did you try explaining that no one was capable of scoring higher than a low B on the exam?  Comparatively, it seems as though you did fairly well, even though the grade may not reflect that.  I suggest that you also explain to your parents exactly why the exam was so difficult.  Was it too long to finish, or did it cover more material than you were able to retain?  You could also ask the teacher to email your parents and explain that your grade was not actually as poor as it may seem.  You can also tell your parents why you got wrong what you did on the exam, and you can try to show them all of the things that you did to prepare for it.

Sincerely,

Jane