Advice Column Vol. 1

Jose Carlos Serrano

Hi All,

Here are the responses to our first round of questions submitted to our new Advice Column. Responses will be posted every Tuesday! If you’d like to anonymously submit any questions, you can do so here:

Without further ado, let’s get to the questions:

  1. How to make friends if I am alone?

Good question. It’s usual for people to feel like it can be tricky to make friends at first and not knowing where to start. The way I see it, the best way is to try to become good friends with one person that you both share common interests or hobbies with. Build a rapport with them. I remember back in middle school; I had this one best friend of mine — Daniel — we’re still brothers today. Our friendship bonded over both being into stop motion animation and art. The school I’d gone to was K-8, so I had known who he was, but we never quite became good pals since we hardly shared any classes. When 5th grade/ middle school rolled around, we shared a lot more classes together and got to know each other a bit better. A lot of the students at my old school could be insincere at times so Daniel, being the decent guy he was, felt like a good friend to have. As the years went by, we truly became brothers and still reach out to each other for advice on anything; whether that be academic or old things like stop motion. The main point I’m trying to make here is that its more valuable to have one or two best friends that you can infinitely rely on rather than a hundred who don’t care for you that much or your success. Hopefully this sheds some light on the question you were asking — I am more than positive that there are people who’d like to become your friend. WESS is a great community with people who truly care. I’ve met people here that I am also fortunate to call close friends and have given excellent advice. I’m sure everything will go well.

  1. Is New York a country or a continent?

Honestly, unless my map is wrong, I’m certain it’s a state.

  1. Almost always, I feel like people don’t actually like me and are just pretending. What do I do?

I see. Perhaps the best thing to do in this situation is to evaluate the people who make you feel this way — either your friend group and/or classmates. What makes this feeling tick? Is it in the mannerisms or speech of those you’re talking to? Regardless, there is one trap that you shouldn’t fall into. Most people who want to be liked, end up changing themselves against who they actually are or want to be. This can be in personality or cosmetic fashion — but not for personal gratification; rather to fit in to a certain group of people. While one can attempt to improve themselves socially, there is a fine line between improvement and conformity. The one thing you wouldn’t want to change is who you are — it sounds cliche, but it’s true. If you feel like there are people who don’t actually like you, maybe they aren’t the best individuals to befriend, let alone associate with. Above all, the thing that matters is being able to like yourself and your accomplishments rather than what a certain group of people believe.

  1. What is it to live a meaningless existence and where do I go from here?

It can be easy to fall into the cycle of asking yourself: what’s the point of existing? Especially when we repeat for the most part, the same cycle every day. Or at least, that’s how it might seem at first. There’s a quote from a great movie called It’s a Wonderful Life starring James Stewart. At one point in the film, the protagonist – George Bailey – believes that his life has had no meaning thus far and is willing to throw it all away. In the midst of this, he’s told, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. And when he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” This is in my mind, is the most powerful message in the entire film. It is something that people need to hear today. Life doesn’t seem that bad when one realizes that they have been, and still are, valued and needed. That they’ve made a difference. Think about family and friends: without realizing it, you have made a meaningful impact in their lives. Even the little things. Back to It’s A Wonderful Life, Bailey is given the opportunity to visually see what the world would be like without his existence. George Bailey is someone who has had to give up his dreams and make compromises — never leaving his dreaded hometown which he comes to love at the end of the film. Without Bailey, his brother, Harry, could never have lived to join World War II and save lives — all due to rescuing Harry as a child from drowning in a lake near town. As a young boy, Bailey worked for Mr. Gower – a pharmacist. Gower has become distraught after the death of his son and nearly poisoned a prescription due to his drunken and grief-stricken state. Bailey, however, was able to stop the prescription from being sent — therefore saving an innocent individual’s life and Gower’s reputation. Without Bailey’s existence, Gower would be imprisoned for manslaughter and would forever be the laughingstock of town — condemned eternally to a harrowing existence until the end of his days. Additionally, while Bailey hasn’t noticed it, his commitment to the welfare of others in sacrifice of his personal pursuits is what has made the town and its peoples’ lives better. Building affordable housing for the needy, giving personal money away to those who need it, etc. The point I’m trying to make here is that beyond what may be seen at first glance, life does have meaning. Even if you don’t know it, you have impacted someone’s life for the better. You have made a purposeful difference. Someone’s happiness is directly derived from you. The world is better with you than without. Always remember that. If you need any additional support, please feel free to reach out to Tammy, our school guidance counselor who can be reached at [email protected].

You see George, you really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?”


That’s all for this week’s round of advice column answers. A big thank you to everyone who was featured in today’s post — I hope these answers can assist you in any way possible. Have a safe, healthy rest of your week and be sure to submit any questions to our advice column to be answered which I’ll post again here:



J. Carlos Serrano