Dear Charlie: An Advice Column with Charlie Crusader



Writing a letter brings joy to those who receive it, and it highlights the joy of giving during the holiday season.

Dear Charlie,


I am a junior, and though I was excited to become an upperclassman this year, I feel lost. My homework keeps stacking up, there is pressure to think about colleges, and I feel like I’m not taking on a big enough leadership role in the community.


Junior year is supposed to be the year I come out of my shell and become more independent. But now, I’m stuck at home stressing about all the work I haven’t done. Help!




So Much To Do, So Little Time


Dear So Much To Do,


In the words of Billy Joel, “Slow down, you crazy child!” As a junior, it may feel like the year to make your mark at Jesuit. If you are feeling motivated, go for it, but during the holidays, Admissions Director Erin DeKlotz recommends a simple six step plan to help you relax and take the pressure of success off your shoulders. 


“Breathe, move, rest, laugh, give, pray, and connect,” DeKlotz said. “I know when I’m stressed, I find myself holding my breath. Focus on breathing deeply. If you’re on your couch all day, stay physically active, even if it’s taking a walk. Get enough sleep. Try not to watch the news too much. Give back to your community.”


Deklotz said that practicing gratitude is also another big part of her life. She advocates for journaling, and making a habit of writing down one item that she is grateful for every day, like a warm blanket or a cup of coffee.


AP Psychology and Macroeconomics teacher Malia Bernards is a big believer in staying active, not only physically, but mentally.


“Challenge yourself to learn something new, something you’re interested in that has nothing to do with school, whether that’s sketching or baking or learning to cook,” Bernards said.


As the year comes to an end, focus on making connections, rest before the new year, and focus on your health. That will help you reach your goals of making your mark when the school year starts back up.






Dear Charlie, 


I am a freshman, and high school is a bit overwhelming. I wanted to do really well in my classes at the beginning of the year, but I’m kind of burnt out after a crazy year of COVID, wildfires, and quarantine. I thought high school was about meeting new people, going to dances, and taking every opportunity, but I am the only person from my school to come to Jesuit, and I feel very isolated because I don’t know anyone.


How can I make connections with new friends?




Down and Out


Dear Down and Out


Making connections can be tricky, but it is a natural, and necessary, part of life, one which is especially important during not only a pandemic, but also the holidays.


“Swallow your pride,” DeKlotz said. “Be brave. Try randomly reaching out to people and see what you get. Don’t worry too much if you get silence. Maybe someone said something in a Zoom class that you appreciated, and you could text them and let them know that you appreciated their comment. I’ve heard people say it meant the world to them when someone reached out and texted them. Don’t underestimate the power of small acts of hope that you bring to other people.”


Theology teacher Sara Salzwedel mentioned some ways to reach out to family members of close friends during the pandemic-themed holiday season.


“Write letters to friends,” Salzwedel said. “Think about people to whom you could tangibly send something in the mail. I think anytime we start to go beyond ourselves, having those brief moments of respite where we put our focus on someone else I think really does help.”


Salzwedel and Bernards agree that the holidays are a time to check in with ourselves. 


“Just remember to take care of yourself first,” Bernards said. “We teachers are more concerned about [students’] health and well-being. Get outside and get some fresh air. Reach out for help. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Everyone is vulnerable right now.”


It may be difficult to begin your high school career like this, but take care of yourself, reach out to people, and surround yourself with people and things you love this holiday season.


Don’t forget to reach out to old acquaintances. Touching base with friends, catching up on Zoom, or even getting together while socially distancing can make your season that much brighter.






Charlie encourages you to talk to a counselor or trusted adult if you have any concerns.

Writing a letter brings joy to those who receive it, and it highlights the joy of giving during the holiday season.
(Steele )