Dear Pepper: Isolated and Concerned

Dear Pepper, 

I feel as if I’m not actually a part of my friend group. I sit with them every day, but they never actually make an effort to engage with me unless I engage with them. And even then, they just give me a quick response like “Cool” or “I agree” and then go back to their own conversation. 

I really want them to treat me with mutual respect, but I’m too afraid to tell them that I feel left out. 

What should I do?


Somehow Isolated Sophomore


Hello, Somehow Isolated Sophomore– 

I know, friendships can be very hard to navigate. Especially in high school, there’s a pressure to find “your people” (whatever that really means.) 


I am sorry you feel lonely in the presence of your friend group, but I want you to know that you are not alone. Your first option is to talk to them. It’s true, having vulnerable conversations can cause a lot of anxiety and dread, but If you do want to preserve these friendships, you have to speak up. 


If these people are truly your friends, they will listen to your feelings and take steps to change their behavior. However, if they do not respond well, remember it is in no way your fault. Remember that there are people who will appreciate and treat you in the ways you deserve. 


Going to a school with nearly 2000 students can be intimidating, but it also means there are so many possible friends in the same place as you at least five days a week. I really recommend utilizing Bear Time to scope out different clubs. Clubs are a great way to meet people with a common interest as you! You can also start reaching out to people you are friendly with in classes, go to athletic/artistic events, and attend social events. 


Whatever you decide to do, I support you and wish you the best.  



Pepper 🙂 


Dear Pepper, I am a freshman and am very nervous about finals. We have never done finals and I am not excited! It seems stressful and hard. This seems so scary, do you have suggestions?


Concerned Freshman


Hello Concerned.

I remember my freshman year; I also had a lot of anxiety approaching the dreaded finals week. The reality is, it can be stressful, but if you put aside some time to prepare and for self-care, you will be okay. 


I recommend making a list of everything you need to do (ex: study guides, reviewing notes, watching crash courses, etc.) and then dedicating a day for each task. 


This method is a lot less intimidating than waiting until the last second to do all your work. The beauty of it all is that you just have to get to February 3rd, and then we start with a brand new semester.  A clean slate is in sight.


You’ve got this!