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Andrew and Jaden’s Third Advice Column!

**Disclaimer: The only reason Jaden looks so much taller than Andrew is because he’s standing on taller ground.**

Cutest animal?

Jaden: Dogs…end of story

Andrew: Doggoooooooooooooooooooos 😀 (if y’all wanna email me cute doggos or send me pics of your own I’m always down)

Jaden’s doggo Lexi

Jaden’s doggo Mochi

Andrew wishes he had a doggo 🙁

What do I do if I’m hungry at night, but already brushed my teeth?

I think this probably depends on how hungry you are. If it’s just a small, kind of insignificant craving, then I’d probably just ignore it (mainly because I’d be too lazy to brush my teeth again), but if I’m really REALLY hungry, I’d probably just get up and eat something and then brush my teeth again. Honestly, it really just depends on how lazy you are (are you willing to brush your teeth again) and how hungry you are.

How do you make small talk?

Small talk is definitely one of the most challenging things to do, because often the conversation is just filled with a sort of awkward tension that isn’t going away no matter how interesting the conversation becomes. I know almost everyone just says you should ask the other person about themselves, but that really is how you make small talk. Let them tell an interesting story, and just listen (or at least pretend like you’re listening). Whenever an opportunity presents itself, ask a leading question to try to get them to elaborate more. It’s kind of a back-and-forth thing; if the other person isn’t making an effort to continue the small talk in some way, honestly, it might not be worth pushing it. Learning when to end a conversation (especially if it’s kind of forced) is just as important as learning how to continue one.

If you could start over as a freshman at College Prep, what would you do differently and why?

Jaden: I think I would have connected more with my teachers freshmen and even sophomore year both on an academic level and a more personal level. As a freshmen, I was a little intimidated to talk with teachers about my grades, let alone make small talk with them. But I’ve realized that CPS teachers in general are a great resource for constructive feedback and just kind people who genuinely care about their students. I think instead of being intimidated, I should have embraced the fact that CPS has such a great collection of teachers who are willing to chat with students about a variety of topics, beyond academic work.

Andrew: We actually got a similar question in our November advice column (obligatory plug-in right here:, and I think my answer here would probably be similar to my advice for freshmen in that column. If I was a freshman again, I probably would try to branch out more and just try to talk to more people in my grade. In general, I think freshmen tend to be kind of shy around each other, especially at the start of the year, so I think I would’ve tried to be a bit more outgoing there. Aside from that, I probably would’ve focused more on finding a better work/friend balance. It didn’t matter that much for freshmen year, because the teachers try really hard not to work you too hard, but it really matters sophomore year and the earlier you develop that, the better.

Anderson.Paak or Kota the Friend? Should Anderson.Paak tickets be over $100? He’s up and coming but not sure if it’s worth $100.

It really depends on my current mood. If I want more upbeat, jazzy and soulful music then I’ll play some Anderson.Paak. Sometimes though, I think Kota the Friend is more appropriate if I need that chill R&B rap vibe. Personally, I wouldn’t pay that much for Anderson.Paak tickets since I don’t listen to him that often, but if you really appreciate his music, I would say treat yourself and go get them. He seems like an engaging and versatile performer who would put on a really sick show.

21 savage or YNW Melly?

I’m gonna go with 21 Savage on this one because of his rich beat selection and his simplistic, yet raw lyricism. While YNW Melly has had a few catchy songs with his latest albums We All Shine and I AM YOU, 21 Savage started his career in 2013 and has been becoming more and more popular ever since. I think that’s attributed to his ability to make both bangers and deeper songs that connect with people on an emotional level.

It’s 2 am, you feel your loins yearning for a snack, what do you eat?

Jaden: Not sure if this considered a snack but I usually go for some instant ramen with SPAM, eggs and green onions if I have them. Also, add American cheese to the broth, it’ll make it creamy and delicious despite how weird it seems (don’t knock it till you tried it).

Andrew: Okay, idk what I just read (American cheese?!?), but I agree with Jaden that I’d probably get instant ramen. It’s just really easy to make and is nice and filling, especially late at night when you don’t want to bother with a lot of cooking. I usually just make Shin Ramen (the best kind), and add an egg to it and maybe some kind of meat (either like pork or sausage, depending on what’s available in the fridge).

What do you do when you have no motivation to study?

Motivation is always one of those things incredibly challenging to find, and it’s something that I’ve noticed seems to be a big issue for a lot of CPS students. I think a large part of finding your motivation is knowing why it is you study and having a tangible goal in mind. Again, a big part of that is just being honest with yourself. If your “goal” is something that you don’t actually care about that much and is just something you believe is expected of you, then it won’t generate any motivation for you because you don’t actually care about it. Be honest with yourself. Once you find that something that you, by yourself, genuinely desire, the motivation will follow. Even then, there will definitely be days where you’re just too exhausted to actually push yourself and just have zero personal energy to make yourself do something. If that’s the case, as long as it doesn’t happen too often, I think it’s okay to treat yourself and take a break. Send your teacher an email, let them know that you could use a mental health break, and they might help you out with an extension (obviously, they might not, but CPS teachers in general do try to be understanding. They probably care more about seeing your best work and that you take care of yourself rather than seeing you do something for the sake of completing it).

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…

Jaden, please define Smino, Tobi Lou, and Saba?

Saba: Based out of the West Side of Chicago, Saba is an indie rapper and producer who really gained widespread attention from his hook on Chance the Rapper’s “Angels.” While he is featured on R&B, hip hop and other indie albums quite frequently, his own work is more metacognitive and a reflection of personal challenges he’s faced growing up. I think what’s really cool about him is he’s dedicated to his music and doesn’t really care about signing with a label, which becomes apparent with his more experimental songs. In one interview he said, “I feel like anybody that creates something — if you have an idea and that’s your idea — you can’t give me an amount of money that can make that idea yours”.

Smino: Smino’s singing combined with his lyricism on his two albums blkswn and NOIR capture the rapper’s attention to precise emotional detail. While I think he taps into his relationship with darker subjects, he also manages to maintain a more lighthearted approach to his rap which makes his work pretty refreshing. To be honest, I didn’t know about him until I heard his song “Wild Irish Roses” and later “Amphetamine”, both representative of his intricate and more ethereal approach to music.

Tobi Lou: Originally from Nigeria and later Chicago, the most notable thing about Tobi Lou is definitely his laid back rap style depicted in cartoon like music videos. His original work established his upbeat rap style with his music video for his more recent song “Buff Baby” expressing his joyful and animated side. His first few albums and singles, while limited, were really fun to listen to and I’m looking forward to hearing more from Tobi Lou.

How can you talk to your old friends without being awkward, especially if you haven’t seen them or talked to them for a while?

This is pretty similar to the small talk question (see above), except I think seeing old friends in particular is something a lot more doable and easier to do, mainly because the fact that they were your old friends at some point means you already have shared memories and common interests. I’d start off with those; relive some of your fondest memories together, or spend time talking about something you know both of you are interested in. Obviously, it’s going to be pretty awkward at first, but, for me at least, I find that once I get into a conversation with someone, that awkwardness fades away and it starts to feel like we weren’t apart for that long, especially if I was already pretty close with them. Hopefully, at some point in your conversation, you can get into that groove again, and it won’t feel awkward after that.

How do you survive English in this school? How do you survive History at this school?

These were originally separate, but I’m just going to group these two questions because they’re pretty similar. I think the most important tip is to meet with your teacher. Office hours exist for a reason, and oftentimes teachers deliberately try to make sure that they’re free so that students can meet with them to try to get advice and answer any questions. Especially with courses like History and English, it’s important to meet with your teachers to get constructive feedback on how to improve your writing style, and what areas to focus on, and how to practice. It also helps you get a sense of what your participation grade is (most teachers will let you know if they want you to participate more in class).

For History in particular, it’s important to take detailed notes in class obviously, but it’s also important when studying at home to try to sort through events in your head. Try to understand why events happened, what led up to an event, and how the concepts relate to each other. CPS history courses in particular focus a lot more on conceptual understanding as opposed to just generic memorization, so try to focus on asking the “why” question in each unit. Also, make sure you stick with the term paper schedule, otherwise your work’s gonna start piling up.

English classes are really unique in that you get to pick what your course material is in Junior and Senior year (Freshmen and Sophomores, you just have to stick with your English courses until you get older, sorry. :P) I think the most important thing for that is to just pick something that you’re genuinely interested in. I know it’s tempting when choosing English seminars to just pick one with all your friends, and I know that who your classmates are can be just as important as what the material is, but it’s important that you at least have some level of interest in the material. That’ll make doing the reading and taking notes in class a lot easier and more manageable.


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