Sam the Student: Skipping Class and Asking for Notes

Dear Sam the Student:

There's this girl in my class who doesn't come about half the time, and then she always asks me for my notes. I'm tired of giving her my notes, especially because I make the effort to come to class all the time. What do I say to her to make her stop?

Signed, Not Noting it Anymore

Dear Not Noting it Anymore:

Your last line is really interesting because it speaks to how you actually perceive the situation: you're trying to change her behavior instead of your own. She's probably not going to stop skipping class and asking others to do the work for her, but you can stop being the one she comes to.

Next time she asks you--and if you want her to stop asking you--you'll have to be tough. Firmly, but kindly, tell her, "Michelle, I'm sorry, but I can't give you my notes anymore." She'll inevitably ask why, but don't answer her; she'll just be trying to engage you. Keep repeating, "Michelle, I'm sorry, but I can't give you my notes anymore" and eventually she'll get tired of hitting a brick wall, and stop asking you.

Dear Sam the Student:

I know this isn't completely rational, but all the school shootings since I started college have made me wonder just how safe it is to get a degree.

Signed, Sitting Duck

Dear Sitting Duck:

Fear and anxiety are normal reactions to school shootings because they're imbalances in what's usually a very safe environment, and schools are one of the safest places to be. It may not feel like that when the media constantly bombards us with stories of horrific accidents, but that's their job: for better or for worse, gruesome news sells and media outlets' only concern is to stay in business.

At the end of the day, though, there's risk everywhere in this world and it's up to you to decide what's worth it and what isn't. Is getting a degree and becoming one of the rare few in the world to be highly educated worth risking an incredibly small chance of it happening? Or is it better to blow off life and hide in the basement where you'll be somewhat safer? Only you can make that choice, but whatever you end up doing, remember that the day you let fear take over is the day "they" win.

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