Ask Addison is a print column of The Student Life for all of your life conundrums.
A note from Addison:
I’m Addison but feel free to call me Addy. I’m new to the 5Cs — exact college unbeknownst to you — but definitely not new to this crazy thing we call life. Coming here as a transfer student who has already experienced so much of life — good relationships and shitty ones, great jobs and deplorable ones, family issues, partying, asshole professors, backstabbing friends, you name it — I figured this column would be an ideal way to get advice from someone you’d consider to be more like a sister or mother, without having to actually call your sister or mother. Knowledge is better when it’s shared, so here I am. I know college is a demanding time but you matter so don’t let your issues or questions go unresolved. Besides, sometimes it’s nice to get a different perspective on things without having to reveal yourself.
No topic is off-limits and no question is stupid, so what are you waiting for?
Let’s get through this whirlwind together.
Q: “Dear Addison,
I like this guy, and I want to know more about him and spend more time with him, but he goes to a different college in the 5Cs. I’m kinda awkward and am not the best texter. What are some good conversation starters?”
A: Hey there! First, don’t overthink conversation. Do you overthink conversation with your friends? I realized long ago that guys are simple, and us ladies simply give them too much credit. A simple “Hey, how’s your day?” works wonders. He’ll most likely say, “It’s good,” and ask about yours. Before you know it, those questions can lead to conversations about school breaks, travel, and interests.
Since he’s at a different college, you can say you’re thinking about your schedule for next semester and wanting to find out what classes he’d suggest. On a weekend night, you can ask about what’s going on around the campuses and soon enough, I’m sure he’ll ask to hang out.
Act on your feelings, diva. You’re a star and frankly, you can’t miss what you’ve never had, so go after what you want and let the chips fall where they may.
Q: “My boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship. It’s hard to stay up-to-date with each other’s lives, and sometimes I feel like it isn’t worth it. Do you have any advice for dealing with long distance relationships? When’s it OK to break it off?”
I feel your pain. Long distance relationships are tough, and that’s just that. College is a time of massive growth, intellectually and emotionally. This is great, but many times, people don’t grow in the same way or at the same rate. That’s no one’s fault. I was in a similar situation last year, and my boyfriend and I simply outgrew each other, although the time we spent together was enriching and magical.
To successfully be in a long distance relationship, it takes equal commitment from both people. You both have to make time to communicate with each other on most days and see one another when you can. If you feel like it isn’t worth it, then it’s OK to break it off when you feel that you’re ready to move on and do you.
Don’t ever stay in something that you aren’t 100% committed to, that’s a disservice to you and your boyfriend. Maybe the two of you can connect in the future, but for now if you’re ready to break it off, be honest with him, keep your friendship alive, and smile at the good times you’ve shared together.
Q: “I’m a first-year, and I’ve been feeling really homesick/haven’t really made a lot of friends yet. Do you have any advice for what I should do?”
A: First of all, welcome to the 5Cs! Feeling homesick is normal. After all, you’ve been in your home for 18 years. Don’t worry and definitely don’t think about it so much. Instead, invest some time into thinking about yourself.
In the process of doing so, you’ll begin pursuing your interests, hobbies, and passions. This can be through clubs, classes, the gym or anything else you enjoy. Can you guess what that leads to? People! What do people lead to? Friendships!
It’s awesome to find like-minded peers that you can have a good time with in college. As soon as you focus on pursuing you, the friendships and fun will grow! Can’t wait to see you shine, sunshine.
Q: “I have a really bad professor this semester, and I’ve had to teach most of the material to myself. What can I do in this situation? Also, how can I prevent it from happening in the future?”
A: Quite frankly, you can’t guarantee that this won’t happen again. Ratemyprofessor.com is a website I like to consult prior to making my class selections. Most of the time, I find the professor I’m looking for and am able to read reviews from prior students. Think of it as the Yelp of professors. Sometimes, though, I find nothing and just have to take a chance!
Through bad professors we not only learn new study skills, but we also improve our discipline, resilience, and even grow up a bit. Through good professors, our newfound skills make their classes a breeze. In your situation, I would make an effort to visit your professor’s office hours so you can ask questions and show your interest in the course.
Hopefully, your professor will be receptive and provide the support you need. If not, you’ll make it on your own. Study hard, create study groups with students from your class, and make lemonade out of the lemons this class is handing you!
Q: My neighbor sings a lot. He’s quite good at it but it’s constant. He sings late into the night, even when he knows I’m trying to sleep. I don’t want to anger him but I’d like some peace and quiet, especially when I’m trying to snooze. How do I gently and politely inform him that his singing is just a little too much?
Since your neighbor sings constantly, and according to you, he’s good at it, he must love to sing! Sometimes when we love something, we want to be immersed in it. He’s probably completely unaware that he’s as loud as he is. While he should be cognizant of the time, some people lack common sense. For those types, I always take the approach of respectfully articulating my position.
Just like he deserves to sing, you deserve to sleep. As neighbors, you need to work together to find a compromise that works for the both of you. You can’t expect things to change without speaking to him, so the next time his tunes are bouncing off of your walls, go knock on his door. Open up with some flattery about his singing, explain the way you feel politely, and ask what compromise the two of you can come to. Here’s to a restful night of sleep!