This is our first installment of our now-regular advice column. We are accepting anonymous questions through the Argus website at: http://wesleyanargus.com/submit-a-tip/. Please feel free to reach out with any and all questions!
Whenever I talk to my friends at other colleges, they tell me that they are having the most fun and the best time EVER. I like it here, but I don’t have that many friends and am stressed out most of the time. Talking to my friends from home should make me feel better, but it makes me feel worse. What do I do? – Jumpy and Jealous ’19
Dear Jumpy and Jealous,
I totally hear you, kiddo. Here’s the thing: Your friends are full of shit. Being a freshman is GODDAMN HARD. Being a sophomore, junior, and senior is really hard, too. Maybe your friends are having a great time, but more likely they’re a little bit nervous and little bit lost, just like you. The difference is that they are hiding it behind big smiles and sexy Instagram posts. Don’t be fooled by the heart emojis: The first few months of college are the emotional equivalent of having the flu (which you probably do, actually) and getting your thumb slammed in a door. Sometimes you’re just achey, and sometimes things are extra painful. But just like the flu and a slammed thumb, you’ll get better!
Here are some tips for speeding up that process: First, stress can be managed by developing a schedule for studying and finding a good space in which to work. I can’t work in my room, and I can’t work after 11 p.m., so I have to plan around that, and then my work is no big deal! Second, join something with a culture, like rugby or Hermes, Wesleyan’s political and cultural magazine, or something with a committed group of students. The Office of Community Service is a good place to start, and the Ultimate Frisbee teams are always looking for new blood.
When you’re in a new place, trying to stay totally connected to home is tempting, but it makes transitions a lot more difficult. Imagine looking at your ex’s Facebook page every day after you break up. Or rather, don’t, because that is the worst thing in the whole world. You’ve got to focus on the Wesleyan you for a while. Stop looking at your friends’ Instas and set a Skype date for once a week, then spend all this new free time getting involved on campus. Plus, give yourself a break. This is one of the hardest transitions around. Fake it ’til you make it and buy yourself some $5 kombucha at Weshop.
I find everyone I talk to so annoying. How do I fulfill my dream of taking on a lover this semester? – Loveless in Lower Central CT ’17
Loveless in Lower Central CT,
Babe, that is the million-dollar question. I hope you have a million dollars, though, because I’m about to answer it. First, we need to identify what you’re looking for. Are we talking a slampiece for 11:49 p.m. the day before a paper is due when we need a 20-minute hookup to get our minds off of medieval England, or someone to buy furniture with and talk about the merits of craftsman bungalows while eating a homemade frittata? Both options, and everything in between, are totally legitimate things to seek. I’ve tried most of the options, and there is a time and a place for each one.
So, if you’re looking for some nice liberal arts ass, you need to start by breaking out of your usual habits. If you eat lunch at Swings, then play squash, then have a few beet vodkas at Farm House, then wind up on Fountain every single weekend, you’re not going to find anyone outside your current crowd. If you always eat dinner at Usdan, try cooking with a friend. You may meet someone in their house or dorm that really tickles your fancy. If you always pregame in Lorise, hit up Russian House. If you always study in Olin, try the basement of SciLi or Espwesso or the COL library. I met my current lover sitting in Olin, because he decided to try sitting in a new place during exams. Go to one of the many writing publication meetings on campus (where I met my previous lover), or an ASHA meeting, or go to Star & Crescent with an open mind and some confidence.
That’s the most important thing: confidence. I can’t really ascertain from your question how you feel about yourself, but it really matters. You must come from a place of confidence. If your friend makes brownies, and then when you ask if you can have one, says: “Sure, but they taste like they were made from the feces of one of those rat kings from the New York sewer system,” YOU WON’T WANT ONE. Who are they to judge what is good and what is bad? Go into every interaction with a hearty sense of your own self-worth. You bring so much to the table! Make a list of things you like about yourself and think about it whenever you meet someone cute. You are WORTH IT. You are NOT ANNOYING and you deserve an AMAZING LOVER who isn’t either.
All this being said, sometimes you just need to wait. It sucks. I hit puberty really late, so I know the agonizing crush of waiting for something you feel like is happening to everyone around you. But it’s usually worth it.
I was really smart in high school, but I feel like the dumbest person in the room here. I’m never brave enough to talk in class, and I have trouble contributing to discussions, especially when I’m not confident in the material. Everyone else seems totally comfortable talking! What can I do? – Am I Dumb? ’18
Dear Am I Dumb?,
Something we’ve all asked ourselves! For me, it was when I lost my bra in the fitting room of an American Apparel, but for some people, this question arises when they get to college. Going from being the know-it-all in your high school to being a Wesleyan student surrounded by other Wesleyan former-know-it-alls can be really rough. I’ll repeat what I said above, though: It’s all about confidence. If you have something to say, just say it!
Part of that is the hugely painful process of learning. Learning is a difficult thing, and it comes with some really shitty moments. We’ve all asked a question and then berated ourselves for, like, an hour about how fucking stupid that question was, UGH. But you can only learn if you put yourself out there. One of my favorite things to do in class (keep in mind, I’m a smartass bitch) is to play devil’s advocate. You can say things you don’t necessarily believe and support them with evidence from the text, and let other people explain things to you.
You know you’re smart, and so do your parents or high school friends or your dog, so who cares what Econ 101 thinks of you? Everyone knows you just take Econ 101 to meet hot athletes.
Simple things to do, though: Do ALL of the readings. If you have a good grasp of the information, you won’t feel as stressed during the discussion. Do your problem sets with the TA. Read your notes before you go to bed to stick them in your mind. And then just be confident. Who cares who the smartest person in the room is? I’m pretty sure you’re great anyway.