Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m responding to the girl who wrote to you and said that she was put under a lot of pressure to become a party girl. So far, she has said no, but her resolve was weakened thanks to her best friend, who convinced her she’s missing out on a lot of fun and good times.

Reading this really scares me now, especially because a few years ago, I was a girl in precisely the same situation.

At first, I had a really spectacular time. I experimented often and freely with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and drugs, and I had my first sexual experiences in such rapid succession that they are a blur to me now.

But after one night of particularly heavy partying, my best friend and her boyfriend got into an automobile accident. My best friend survived, but her boyfriend was killed instantly. The police report revealed that the driver, her boyfriend, was over twice the legal limit for driving drunk.

That very night of the crash, I made up my mind that my party days were over. It was not easy to get back on track, but I stuck to my promise and got my grades back in order and received my college degree. I am now teaching third graders. I met a wonderful man, and we got married and have a 2-year-old son. Every night, I say a prayer of thanks for my life being spared during my journey through a wild and troublesome part of my life.

What I wish to say to other teens is that giving in to this type of behavior and peer pressure is literally like playing Russian roulette. Some of us lived; some of us did not. Don’t get me started on friends of mine who have survived but who have huge life problems these days.

My advice? Stay in control of your journey in life. Don’t let the pressure from others cause you to do things and take risks that you would have never taken on your own. I should know; I’ve been there and feel ever so fortunate to be one of the few who came out intact on the other side.

— Lucky Teacher,

via email

Dear Lucky Teacher: Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with our young readers. Your message comes from the heart and outlines the dangers and the downside of an extreme party life.

I’m sure many young readers will pay attention, and some may learn from your wise words without having to learn these lessons the hard way. Sadly, it often takes a tragedy to make teenagers realize that they are not as invincible as they often feel.

Dear Dr. Wallace: I just graduated from high school and am contemplating going to a community college. My dad promised he would buy me a car for me if I attend college and pass all of my classes. Now, this is only going to be a reasonable used car for transportation, but I do like the idea. I’m not sure, if in our area, the community colleges are going to hold in-person classes or only online, but Dad did say that his promise holds either way.

I’ve been a B to B+ student in high school, so I shouldn’t have much trouble getting into a community college near me. I desperately want and need my own car, but I’m not positive I want to go to college or take the time to go back to school and read all those textbooks again. What should I do?

— Car-Crazy Girl,

via email

Dear Car Crazy Girl: I suggest you take your father up on his offer and enjoy the car. Attend a community college online or in person, and keep your B average or better in a few classes that are of interest to you.

The great thing about college is that you can select the courses you wish to take. You can choose what field you’d like to major in — if you stick with college long enough to select a major.

I say, give it a try. You might experience some truly compelling classes that you’ll enjoy, and you’ll love your new wheels, too!

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

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