Dear Dr. Wallace:

My very best, closest friend and I are in the 12th grade. We had plans to go to a community college and get our associate degrees in cosmetology. Our plan was to work a couple of years for someone else to gain experience, and, when we feel we’re ready, open our own beauty shop together.

All of these plans are put on hold because my friend is three months pregnant; she doesn’t want to marry the father because she says she does not love him. She says she is going to have the baby, even though her parents suggested an abortion might be in order. She thinks she can make it through graduation before her pregnancy will show. She will graduate on time.

My friend says that her mother will take care of the baby when it is born in early November. That means my friend won’t be starting college until the second semester.

We want to go through school together. Would it be wise for me to find a part-time job after high school graduation and wait for her, or start school in September and wing it alone just in case a problem arises — as it always seems to — and my friend for some reason can’t enter college until a much later date? My friend is begging me to wait for her.

— Loyal yet Realistic,

via email

Loyal Yet Realistic: Because you and this girl are best friends, I would wait for a semester so you both can take classes together. Taking classes together can benefit both students, especially during study sessions. Even if something happens and your friend can’t start classes second semester, you will only be five months behind schedule. That’s what friends do for friends!

And in the meantime, perhaps you could find a job in your chosen field to build your experience and to network. This could also benefit your friend if she does follow through and join you, as she stated. Even if she does not for any reason, you can start school the next semester and perhaps continue to work and network until you find a longer-term opportunity that matches your goals. It’s always smart to have both a primary plan and a contingency plan.

Dear Dr. Wallace: Our health teacher said that beer, wine and whiskey have the same percentages of alcohol. I didn’t want to correct her, but there is no way that beer and whiskey have the same percentage of alcohol. I have sampled beer, wine and whiskey and can tell you from experience that whiskey is far more potent than beer. It’s obvious that our teacher is not an alcohol drinker. My friends and I wonder if she is qualified to teach about this. Should we go to our principal and share our concerns?

— Anonymous,

Las Vegas

Dear Anonymous: It’s possible that you and your friends didn’t understand the alcoholic differences of beer, wine and whiskey. Beer contains 5 percent alcohol; wine contains 12 percent alcohol; and whiskey contains 40 percent alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is the villain, and it causes intoxication.

One 12-ounce beer multiplied by its alcohol content (12 x .05) equals .6 ounces of ethyl alcohol. One 5-ounce glass of wine multiplied by its alcohol content (5 x .12) equals .6 ounces of ethyl alcohol. One and a half ounces of whiskey multiplied by its alcohol content (1.5 x .40) also equals .6 ounces of ethyl alcohol.

It’s not the amount of liquid but the amount of ethyl alcohol that is consumed. One bottle of beer and 1 1/2 ounces of whiskey both contain an equal amount of ethyl alcohol and are therefore equal in potency. I believe this is the point your teacher was making. And your point that some forms of alcohol are more potent than others is also correct.

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