Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

My parents expect so much of me in school. I’m not a bad student, but sometimes I just can’t keep up. I just can’t do it all. What should I do?

New Era

Everyone has felt pressure in school at one time or another. Sometimes it seems you devote all your time to it and still can’t get ahead.

Your parents know how important school is. They’ve been there, and they know that your grades will help determine a lot of things, like which colleges may admit you and which employers may hire you. The better you do in high school, the more opportunities you’ll have later, and that’s probably why your parents are so interested in your performance.

Have a good talk.

But if you can’t live up to your parents’ expectations, sit down and talk to them. Tell them what you think you’re capable of and together try to pin down the problem. Are they pushing too hard? Are you being too lazy? Is the subject matter over your head? Are you just worrying too much?

After you isolate the concern, work with your parents to find a solution you can all feel comfortable with. Do they need to give you some room to breathe? Do you need to develop better study habits? Do you need to budget your time better? Or does everyone just need to relax?

See your counselor.

You might also want to talk to your school guidance counselor. A counselor can help you determine which classes are best for you and may be able to find other ways to lighten your load.

Study in a group.

Since you’re a good student, you already know about budgeting your time and cultivating good study habits, like listening in class, taking good notes, and not putting off homework until the last minute. But if you still feel you are falling behind in your studies, get help from others who know the material. Try studying in groups with friends.

Ask your teacher.

Don’t hesitate to get help from your teachers. Your teachers are there to help you learn, so they will probably be pleased you asked. Ask questions in class and after class, and make sure you understand each concept fully before moving on to something more difficult. Some questions may seem embarrassing to ask, but a little embarrassment is better than being left in the dark.

When it comes right down to it, just do your best, because that’s really all you can do. And if you run into an occasional disappointment, don’t agonize over it. It’s not the end of the world. Even Albert Einstein got a disappointing grade once—he failed math—but he didn’t let it keep him down. Just pick yourself up and get back in the books. You’ll be rewarded for your diligence.

Readers

Try explaining to your parents how you feel. But make sure you know exactly what they expect of you. If you can’t meet those expectations, try to work out a compromise. Make sure they know you’re trying your hardest, and if they know, they’re sure to help you do the best you can by easing your load a little. No one is expecting you to do it all. Focus on what you really want to do and stick with it. Make sure your schedule and your goals are balanced and everything should turn out fine.

Kim Zundel, 17 Portland, Oregon

Here are some suggestions that may help. Do your homework as soon as you get home. Pay attention in class and take good notes. If your parents set standards on your grades, try to beat them. Set your own standards—higher!

Jerry Anderson, 15 Edgewood, New Mexico

Try asking the teacher for some help so you can understand the work. Remember, there will always be one person you can turn to. Try praying to your Father in Heaven and ask him to help you understand your schoolwork. Just do your very best and maybe your parents will realize it and let up on you.

Shawna Smith, 14 Woodruff, Utah

You need to realize that you are going to school and gaining an education for your own growing and learning, not your parents’. When you get stressed out, pray to your Father in Heaven for the confidence and desire to do the best that you’re capable of.

Heidi Henderson, 19 Bountiful, Utah

You may not achieve all of your expectations, and that’s okay. Fix what you can and don’t worry about the rest. Most of all, find happiness in what you have accomplished, for it is through these feelings of accomplishment that improvement comes about.

Elder Jeff Cobabe, 20 Michigan Lansing Mission

If you are honestly doing your best and your parents know that, they cannot ask for any more. When you get that result that is just a bit higher than you expected, it can really boost your confidence. If you are really stuck, ask your parents or an older friend for help.

Martin Bissett, 15 Rossendale, Lancashire, England

Make a schedule. Plan how much time you’ll need each night for homework and include other things, like dinner and special activities. Also, set priorities so that you know which activities you really need to go to.

Erin Lewis, 12 Clackamas, Oregon

I always set personal goals and try to achieve them. It helps to remember that your parents only want what is best for you and what will bring the most joy and success in life.

Elder Oliver Flake, 19 Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission

[photo] Photography by Matt Reier

[illustration] Hannah was prayerful and diligent in encouraging her son, the prophet Samuel, to spend his youth learning from righteous teachers such as Eli. It’s likely your parents are concerned that you do well in the opportunities you are given to gain an education. (Painting Hannah Presenting Her Son Samuel to Eli by Robert T. Barrett.)