DR. WALLACE: I asked my mother for a new cellphone and a new laptop since the ones I have are really old (like over seven years old!). I feel I am falling behind in school since my old equipment can’t do what the modern ones can do these days.
For the first few years, it was not much of a problem for me, and I understand that new computers and phones are expensive. But over the past three or four years, the advancements in technology have been huge! I’m 17 now and I need to use my computer and phone in far different ways than I did when I was only a 10-year-old girl, when I first got them as gifts from my mom.
Now I feel I’m suffering because I haven’t had one single upgrade for many years now. My mom said she would eventually help me out at some point regarding this, but so far, she hasn’t done anything. It’s now been a few months since school started and I feel I’m falling behind more and more.
One thing I might also mention is that my mom bought herself a new phone recently, so she obviously had the money for that! What should I do? I feel I need to find a way to catch up! — Old, stale technology, via email
OLD, STALE TECHNOLOGY: I trust both your computer and your phone are still working even if they aren’t as modern as you would like at this point. So do the best you can with what you have and feel free to mention to any teachers if you feel some of their assignments are not applicable to your older technology.
At your age, you may be able to get a part-time job or even a babysitting gig or two within your neighborhood. See if your mother will commit to paying part of the money you need and if she’ll agree to let you work to earn the balance you’re required. Also, seek to trade in or resell your old cellphone and computer when the time comes.
Getting a part-time job with the goal being to save up enough to buy a newer laptop sounds like a worthy venture to me, and therefore, your mother may indeed be inclined to agree to let you seek employment in order to help you achieve your goal.
If you were successful in executing this plan, my advice would be to first upgrade your laptop as that device will provide you the maximum leverage for your studies. Seek to replace your cellphone only after you have first successfully upgraded your laptop.
I’M SO BORED IN CLASS!
DR. WALLACE: I’m in sixth grade and must totally admit that I am beyond bored in my class at my school. I’d like to do something more useful than just listening to boring lectures that cover material that I have already read in our textbooks. Our teacher is a very nice lady but she goes over the same material very slowly so many times!
However, I don’t want to create any problems or start to let my mind wander during class. Do you think it would be OK if I were to ask my teacher for assignments so I can work ahead a bit? Or would it be appropriate to ask if I could do extra credit work?
I don’t intend to become a “grade grubber” or anything like that; it’s just that I want to use my time in school wisely. — Beyond bored, via email
BEYOND BORED: Definitely talk to your teacher quietly after class one day and be as diplomatic as possible. Simply tell your teacher exactly what you’ve outlined here in your letter to me. Let her know that you don’t want to let your mind wander and that you’d be fine doing some additional work, even if that work would not apply to your grade in her class.
Every good teacher is motivated by helping each student to achieve their best work and best methods of thinking and studying, so I trust your teacher will not only be fine with your request but she will be happy to work with you in this regard.
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. Email 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.