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ATP! Presents: Cassadee's Corner (August 2012)

Our very own in-house guidance counselor Cassadee Pope is back, with her latest monthly installment of "Cassadee's Corner".

Each month, Cassadee will be answering questions and offering advice about school, relationships, breaking into name it! If you have anything on your mind that you would like to ask Cassadee, drop her an e-mail at with the subject title "Cassadee's Corner" and your question might be featured in next month's column!

Hey Cassadee. Do you feel the your solo project will have the same success Hey Monday received?

I think if I work even harder than I did with Hey Monday, there is a good chance I could be just as successful. Hopefully more successful. I feel extremely positive about where my career is headed, and I'm very proud of the music I've released as a solo artist. All I can do is stay grounded and know that I have what it takes. I'm working very hard to get my music out there so hopefully it catches on. I have a feeling it will!

What is your favorite restaurant in Florida?

I have more than one! But I do love a place called the Old Keylime House. It's very Florida-esque.

Hey Cassadee, so I'm a 20 year old guy and I still have never had a girlfriend. I seem to constantly get friend zoned by any girls that I want to be with. Do you have any advice on how to avoid the friend zone and get girls to see me as more than just the good guy friend?

I think you don't realize the position you're in! You may see yourself as "stuck in the friend zone" but that could lead to something more. A lot of relationships grow from friendships. A way to get out of the friend zone is to just be honest about your feelings. There's no way the girl is going to know you want more if you don't make that obvious to her. Maybe do some subtle things here and there to make her see your true feelings. Send flowers, pull out her chair for her, take her out to a romantic dinner date. I'm sure you having a bunch of girl friends means you know your way with the ladies. Take advantage of that, but in a good way!

Do you have any tips for singing during a show? I just started a new band and I'm playing bass and singing. I know to stay hydrated and I've been making sure I got the notes down. I've also been doing cardio and aerobics to help with breathing and endurance. But I was wondering if you had any other tips.

Keeping fit is very overlooked, so I'm glad you're doing that. Make sure you're also warming up before ANYTIME you sing. Whether it's at practice or an actual performance. And don't forget to cool down after.

I was wondering what your inspiration was for the song 'Secondhand'?

I've always written lyrics that were a little snarky and about self-empowerment. I thought it would be a nice change to show a more vulnerable side of myself. I've never experienced "secondhand love" but I've known people who have. I've seen it enough times to be able to write from those people's perspectives. I also got the inspiration to write it from the song "Stay" by Sugarland,

So me and my friend Nick, who I've liked for awhile now, recently had a pregnancy scare and he asked me to be his girlfriend but I just found out that I'm not and I'm scared he only asked me to be his girlfriend because we thought I was. What do I do Cassadee? Help!

First off, be more careful! Secondly, I think this is the kind of thing you will just have to find out over time. Don't let that "what if" get in the way of a potentially good relationship. If it ends up he only asked you to be in a relationship because of a pregnancy scare, he isn't worth your time. If I'm speaking honestly, I think it was actually a respectable move he made to ask you to be his girlfriend. A lot of boys would've run home scared, leaving you to go through it alone. I have a feeling this guy has a good heart. Just make sure you're more careful!!

Hi, first of all I just have to say that I love you. I'm 17 years old & I sing & have been taking singing lessons since the fall. I love your voice and I hope someday mine could sound as amazing as yours. Sometimes though if I sing too much I tend to strain my voice, but I love to sing. So how do you keep from straining your voice if you have to sing a lot?

This was something my voice coach taught me to avoid over the years. If you're singing a lot, warm up before and cool down after. You need to make sure you're hydrated before, during, and after you sing. Also, try out your "middle" voice. You have your "head voice" and "chest voice", but what people don't realize they have is that middle place where straining won't happen. Try YouTubing that! The last piece of advice I have to give is DO NOT SCREAM!!! Don't talk over music, don't holler across the room to your friends, don't do anything even close to screaming. That's the worst thing for your throat.

So recently my best friend has been quite unusually distant lately. Up until May we were inseparable. When I asked her what's the deal it would take several attempts on my part to first receive a response and then once she did reply it was very dry and cold. Finally she did admit she was busy with work and stress, but I'm left wondering why she didn't come to me like she used to. Should I believe her and wait for her to come around or call her out on the sudden change?

I would say to give her space. She'll come to you once she's ready. Maybe there's something else she isn't telling you, or is embarrassed to tell you. Sometimes even your closest friends have issues they don't feel comfortable discussing. If she doesn't end up reaching out after a while, just know it was nothing you did. Friends grow apart. That's just a part of life. If you get to a point where you just can't take it, and you miss her too much, call her up and let her know. But for now, I think it's best to ride it out and let the ball stay in her court.

Hi Cassadee! I'm wondering how you deal with a long distance relationship. My boyfriend and I have been together for over two years, but lately he's been gone a lot and he's been really busy. We're starting college soon so we'll both be even more busy. I'm afraid of him losing interest in me. What can I do?

If you've been together for 2 years and things are just now getting busy, you'll be just fine. A long distance relationship is much different than 2 people being busy but living in the same area. You have the advantage of popping in to his work to surprise him, or cooking dinner randomly just because. Have fun with the fact that your lives are evolving and you're growing together! Also, communication is key. If you are feeling distant or there's a disconnect, it is so important to let him know. Work together on this. It shouldn't lie on one person to keep things fresh. Keep being your awesome self, and he'll be WAY more than interested in you honey. ;)

I recently found a lump in my neck and I've been in and out of hospital for a few weeks now. They think they may need to remove one of my salivary glands which involves a really serious operation cutting open my neck and a serious amount of recovery time. The thought of this is terrifying me and as I've been studying nursing I know the side affects and risks all too well. Just wondered if you've ever had surgery and if you have any advice on how to control my nerves?

I've never had surgery, but have known people who have gone through very intense procedures. Just remember what it's going to do. Don't forget to look at the big picture. You will be better! The recovery time is the worst of it. I'm so sorry you're having to go through something like this. Just be glad they found it before it became untreatable. You're in my thoughts. <3

Hey Cassadee! I'm 13 and I always wanted to go to college and get an actual career, and that's what my parents want. My parents had me sign up for a college prep class for my extracurricular class, but lately, I've been paying more attention to music and I think I want to take a guitar class, and try to focus more on music when I'm older. I don't know what to do, cause my parents really want me to take this class, but I'm not even sure if I want to go to college anymore. What should I do?

I think if you're still unsure about exactly what you want to do, you should still go to college. You can always turn to music if you feel that's your destiny. But unless you feel it in your heart that it's your passion, school should come first. If I wasn't 100% positive music was my purpose in life, I would've gone to college. You can still take guitar lessons before or after classes. Your parents just want what's best for you. If they saw you becoming invested in music and knew it was something you needed to do, they'd be supportive. Just go with your gut, but don't make any impulsive decisions.

Hi Cassadee. I'm 13 and my brother is 15. Like a normal older sibling, he always teases me or annoys me just to get me mad. Lately, I've been getting really really pissed off about what he does, so last week, when he wouldn't leave me alone, I yelled at him and told him that he was "f-ing annoying" and that he should leave me alone. I really regret what I said, but after that, he's been really distant and not talking to me. What should I do?

Just apologize! Explain why you got so mad, and then say you're sorry you snapped. I would try to have a civil conversation about the things he says and does that make you so upset. I'm sure if you approach it in a non confrontational way, he won't get defensive. You both are at these crucial ages where you start figuring yourselves out slowly. Make that journey together and use each other as crutches.

Hi Cassadee! I need advice on dealing with my cheer squad's new captain. She's actually one of my best friends, but I think she's a terrible leader! She's late to everything, she gives us short notice on events we need to be at, and she's mostly concerned about benefiting herself rather than the team. She also didn't consult the rest of the team when she made our State Cheer CD, and it turned out awful! To top it all off, she's also on the dance team, which means she won't be able to attend the majority of our cheer practices. I want to let our coach know that I don't think she's going to make a good captain, but I also don't want to start drama with the rest of the team or our captain. She's also a good friend, so I don't want to make HER mad either! What should I do?

This is a toughie! But if you want what' best for your team, you should talk to your friend directly. Tell her the things she needs to improve. Approach it in a way where you're trying to make the team the best it can be. If she wants to be a good captain, she'll hear you out and work on her leadership skills. This shouldn't hurt your friendship. It's not like you're making a criticism on her as a person. You just want what's best for the team. She should, too.

Hey Cassadee, So I've just turned 16 in march and well, it hasn't been exactly 'sweet'. (this may be awkward for you) I've been really depressed as of late and I really depend on my 'friends' to help me out! I had one friend, I was super close to her and we told each other everything and she was really the only reason why I never self-harmed. Anyway, she has this other best friend whom I really dislike, with a passion and we started to argue and my friend took her side, which would hurt enough right? So I've always felt like no one cared about me and well her friend said "Well it's not like anyone cares about you so go drop dead", so then I started to self harm and it go so much for me that I wanted to take an overdose, which I kind of did but thankfully before anything bad happened, my mum took me to hospital... because of everything, my mum felt it was best to pull me out of school, she felt I was safer at home. So I never really had to face them again a few more things have been said to me from other people at school via social networking sites and now I have finished school completely but I have an opportunity to go back for post 16 (It's like a different type of collage in England) but I'm scared if I go, I will let the girls get to me and I will start self harming again... I just don't want to put my mum through it all again, what shall I do?

That's horrible that your friend didn't come help you in that time of need. I'm sure you thought she was a "friend for life" but she showed her true colors. And you deserve much more than that. I hope if there's ever a time you want to turn back to self-harm, you remember the chaos and worry you put your family and yourself through. Something you have to work on is depending on yourself to stay positive. Try not to lean on others for support or to make you feel good about yourself. If you were to write don't all the pros and cons about yourself, I guarantee the pros would be infinite. We all don't realize the small but significant things that make us different and good. Keep your chin up, and use this opportunity to start fresh. Leave the negative behind, and only focus on the positive ahead.

Well, hi.. I love you a ton, but anyway, I convince myself that everybody hates me. Even you. There's so many things that I don't like about myself, that it's easy to tell myself other people don't like me for those same reasons. I know, the smart thing to do would be to feel better about myself, but that's a lot easier said than done. Any advice on how to boost a self esteem? I'm sick of thinking everybody hates me.

Well first off, I don't hate you. I actually love you and think you're an incredible person. I think the main issue is your inability to see yourself for what you are. A creative, smart, and loving human being. Using your spare time to do things like community service or spending quality time with your family helps with self-esteem. It gives you the feeling that you serve a purpose on this earth, which you do. Everyone does. People don't just hate other people unless they've done something unforgivable. And if they hate you for no reason (which I'm sure nobody does) they're just unstable and off their rocker. Stop worrying about what other people think. You're an individual, but the best part about that is there are other people out there who share the same interests as you. Just know you're not alone in your way of thinking. Everyone at some point thinks the world is out to get them. Unfortunately for you, that's all the time. The world is not out to get you! It's there for the taking! Use your knowledge and creativity to do something awesome. I believe in you.

Ever since about 3rd grade I've had a difficult relationship with my dad. When I was in middle school my parents got a long overdue divorce, but some things led me to believe that he was cheating on my mom before they split. He got deployed soon after my parents divorced, and when he came home he only really wanted to spend time with my brother and not me. For example... he bought me tickets to the Dirty Work tour for Christmas, and bailed on me the night before the show because he had dance class, and he couldn't miss some new salsa dance. Even though I tell him it hurts my feelings, he consistently blows off plans with me and makes others with his friends or my brother. I guess I thought I was just being stupid and going through that whole "nobody cares about me, I'm a moody teenager phase", but as I get older I still can't seem to find a common place with him. In addition to my parents' divorce, my mom also kind of... switched teams if you will. You know, became a lesbian ;) Which I have been fully supportive of and love my mom to pieces, but I really miss having a male figure in my life. As I get older, the more I feel like I'm trying to repair our relationship, but he's not putting in the effort... and I feel like he should be considering he's my dad and he's supposed to be the more mature one. Now that my senior year's about to start and I know I'll be leaving home soon enough, I don't want to leave on bad terms with him and I really want to have a decent relationship again, but I feel like I've tried everything. You seem like a nice young lady with a clear perspective and a level head on your shoulders :) What would you suggest I do?

The whole dad thing is hard. Because as much as you love him, it feels like he doesn't reciprocate that love. The only thing I want you to remember is he, just like the rest of the people in your life, is a person. Forget the whole blood thing that ties you together. At a certain point, it becomes less about that and more about the fact that this person doesn't make you feel loved. We are told from day 1 that we need to surround ourselves with positivity and people who make us feel good. If someone, who just so happens to be your father, doesn't make you feel happy, then that's his problem. You can take comfort in knowing you tried. I don't think it's fair for you to put forth all the effort. You're his child. I know you're about to be a senior, but to him you're his little girl. He needs to step up and be a father. Don't spend so much time and energy on this. He'll come around after he realizes he's losing you. If he doesn't, maybe some father daughter counseling would help.

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