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Time to stop being classmate's steno

November 18, 2009

Dear Amy: I am a freshman in college and am just now getting used to having 200 people at lectures and the fact that we are not required to go to class.

I have a friend in one of my classes who always skips our lectures and study sessions. Whenever we have a study session before the test, he asks me to type up everything that was said and e-mail it to him.

I did this a couple of times, but now it feels as if he is just using me to get answers. It doesn't take long to type up the notes, and I do it anyway for myself, but is it wrong to not send them to him?

Lost in College

Dear Lost: In my family, we call this the "while you're up" syndrome. As in, "While you're up, I'd like a cup of coffee."

But in school, people should not piggyback on your studies.

Because you sound like a sweet person, I'll frame it this way: When you do your friend's work, you are actually discouraging him from participating fully in the college experience.

Let him know you're not willing to be his stenographer.

::

Dear Amy: I'm a 16-year-old high school girl, and I'm sensitive about my weight. I'm not overweight, but I thought I should lose a few pounds, so a few weeks ago I restricted my calories severely, down to 1,100 to 1,300 calories a day.

According to my mother, who works at a health club, that's the equivalent of a starvation diet for someone my age.

I lost weight, but now I'm having trouble restoring healthy habits.

My mom is continually berating me to eat more, but it's hard for me. I end up eating too little during the day for fear of eating too much, and then I binge at night.

The thought of losing control is terrifying for me. Is there anyone I should talk to about this?

Weighty Issues

Dear Weighty: You are exhibiting all the dangerous hallmarks of having an eating disorder. Eating disorders are progressive illnesses, and if you catch this now and get treatment, you can recover. But you must take this very seriously and get help before you spiral into a very dangerous place.

Your mother is already concerned, and she sounds conversant in nutrition and health issues. Tell her right away that you are worried you have an eating disorder and ask her to assist you in finding help.

You should visit the National Eating Disorders Assn.: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

Send questions to Amy Dickinson by e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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