DR. WALLACE: I’m starting my senior year at Northern Illinois University. In less than a year I will be entering a very “confused” job market. Please tell me what you think about my very worrying situation. I understand that restaurant jobs are easy to find at the moment, but I’ve heard that good career “leadership” jobs are difficult to find because a lot of those people have been laid off and even more now through zoom conferencing and teleworking from to Can work from home.
This job market worries me at the moment, but I believe that things will return to normal over time. What do you think is most important: pursuing your passion or making lots of money while building a stable career? – NIU student, by email
NIU STUDENT: As a retired educator, I would be inclined to seek an enjoyable career in an area I was passionate about and avoid the stress of only making decisions that are 100% money driven.
My educational career began in the very small and beautiful town of Kirkland, Illinois, and ended in Orange County, California before I began writing this column for teenagers, their parents, and relatives.
Working with teenagers is and always has been my “passion”. The NIU did a huge part in giving me this opportunity by awarding me a Masters Degree in Education which helped me kick off my administrative career in education. I loved the early days as a basketball coach in college, and I also enjoyed being a high school principal. Both gave me the opportunity to work with young people, to guide and encourage them to achieve their goals.
DR. WALLACE: I’ve been reading your column since I was 12 years old. I’m 20 now. I agree with most of the opinions you’ve given on your columns, especially the “evils” of drugs, smoking and excessive alcohol use. But I disagree with encouraging obese teenagers to reduce themselves for health reasons.
Why do you think obese people are unhealthy? I happen to be what society may think of an obese person. But I can eat what I want, when I want and as much as I want. Eating is fun! I love to eat and guess what; I consider myself a healthy young woman. I am employed. Every week my employer tells me what a good employee I am and how lucky the company is to have me on the team.
I am healthy and have never had a day of sickness. Please refrain from scolding overweight teenagers in the future. I’m sure most of them enjoy being overweight and wonderful lives and food like me. – Happy as I am, by email
HAPPY AS I AM: I support your optimism in life and congratulate you on having an excellent, valuable employee in your job. But I have to honestly say that your letter is an exception. Most of the overweight teenagers who contact me are unhappy and are actually looking for advice on how to shed the excess pounds they are trying to get rid of.
I encourage them to come up with specific plans to reach their ideal weight and be healthier in general.
Approximately 1 million American teenagers have metabolic syndrome, which is defined as three or more of the following conditions: high triglycerides, low “good” cholesterol, high blood sugar, or high blood pressure. These factors increase your risk of heart disease, which is one of the most important conditions that shorten life.
When asked, I tell teenagers that the best way to lose weight is to eat nutritious foods – like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats -, get adequate rest (at least eight hours a night), and four times a day Exercise week. But of course, always ask your family doctor before embarking on any weight loss program.