Advice columnists weigh in on long-term relationships, school stress
“Getting it Together” is a weekly advice column published every Friday in which columnists Jalen and Grace weigh in their separate answers to readers’ questions.
Question: I’m in a relationship right now, but I have the hots for another man. He’s foreign. And very forward. He probably wouldn’t want to date, so if I did break up with my boyfriend, it would be for something else that wouldn’t last long and probably would not be worth it. Should I go for it anyway so I won’t regret it later?
Jalen: Get out of the relationship you are in right now, foreign man or not. The fact that you are even contemplating leaving the guy you’re with at all means that you need to have a conversation with him, or just leave. It sounds like he’s just a placeholder for you, and you can’t just waste his time like that; that’s not fair to him.
You’ve also got to see what you want for yourself in a relationship. If you are willing to leave your current boyfriend for something transitory, go for it. As long as you are aware and content with this choice, there should be no problem.
Grace: If you “have the hots for another man,” you most likely aren’t satisfied with your relationship with your current man! You said yourself if you broke up with your boyfriend for this foreigner (I know, accents are the kicker) that it wouldn’t be worth it because he isn’t looking to date. But think about this – if you are looking at other men, exactly how happy are you with your relationship? Consider taking a break from your current boyfriend to see how the single life is and maybe take a trip “overseas” to test out the foreign waters. Communicate with your boyfriend, but also spend some time alone to understand what makes you happy, and just how happy you really are with your situation.
Q: I wake up feeling stressed and/or anxious, sometimes for no reason! How do I fix this?
J: Well, most people aren’t stressed for absolutely no reason. There is definitely something in your life that is causing your anxiety, and you need to identify what this problem is. It may not be obvious or explicit, so you should take some time to yourself and be introspective. To do this, you’ll need to be completely objective and honest with yourself. If you can do this, the solution may just surprise you with how simple it was!
G: There is probably something stressing you out that you are ignoring. Try to zone in on what it is that has been giving you anxiety and do what you can to manage it better. Loads of schoolwork cause tons of stress, unavoidable social contact in residence hall settings, food that you might not be used to, homesickness – basically every aspect of being away from home to attend college. Try drinking chamomile tea before bed and taking an hour to do something relaxing by yourself. Also, try to avoid too much television or computer use before bed, and don’t scroll down Twitter once the lights go out.
Q: So here’s my deal- I’d usually consider myself a great student and a hard worker. In the past, I’ve always been a high achiever. However, since I’ve gotten to college I’ve been dealing with pretty bad work anxiety and as a result my procrastination has gotten so bad that I’ve been turning in assignments late- and my grades are suffering for it. I’m starting to feel really depressed and I’m losing motivation to change my habits- even though I know they are awful and on a rational level I want to fix this problem. where do I begin???
Running Late Again*
J: College is the WORST thing to ever happen to our time management. We go from taking eight classes to five, and there is nobody breathing down our necks to get our work done. The best advice we can give you is to schedule everything.
You also need to keep your long-term goals in sight. If you want to apply for certain programs and jobs, you may need to provide your grades. Don’t let laziness and temporary pleasures kill your opportunities for your future, and get rid of these bad habits before they actually stick because you don’t want to be an independent adult.
G: Personal organization is key. Figure out the best form of organization for you. I know a lot of people put all their classes as events in their phones, utilize their calendars, use different color highlighters and so on. Personally, I use a desk calendar, and at the beginning of every month I look at my syllabi and fill in each assignment’s due date. This way, I just look at one place and know immediately what I have to expect from myself work-wise for the next couple days.
Q: Dear Jalen and Grace,
So here’s my problem. I’ve been with the same guy for a little over 3 years, I love him, he loves me, yada yada yada. But lately things have been different. With senior year and all, he doesn’t have much time to hang out and quite frankly neither do I. When we do have time to hang out, it’s after we are done all of our work at night and just want to chill. But when we are hanging out, since we’ve been together so long, things have gotten very casual. We just don’t take advantage of our time together like we used to. Do you have any advice on how to make things less casual during the times that we do see each other. Nothing like “take him out on a date” because we’re lazy.
Uncomfortable with Comfort
J: And you’ve identified your own problem: “Nothing like ‘take him out on a date’ because we’re lazy.” There is no motivation to keep your own relationship alive. The honest truth is that you’re going to have to take some steps and make some kind of an effort to liven things up again, which will be impossible if you’re too “lazy” to even do something simple like go on a little date. Start from your shared interests that connected you two in the first place. But, if going on a pizza date is too taxing, you may need to reevaluate how much you guys want to be together.
G: The only way you’re going to get out of your comfortable slump is to work for your relationship. This means you’re going to have to get out of your comfortable environments to keep things exciting. Dates don’t have to be expensive or too formal – they could just be time for the two of you to enjoy nice weather or go to a museum. You said you don’t have much time to hang out because of your busy schedules, so get yourself pumped up to hang out with your boyfriend when you do have the time, and surprise him with something exciting to do together.
Q: “I feel like greek life is pretty big at AU. What factors would you consider when deciding whether or not to go ahead and rush?”
J: Transferring from a school down south, I can assure you that the greek scene is not as overbearing and overwhelming as it could be, so hopefully that helps calm some of your nerves. When looking into a fraternity or sorority you may want to join, I think you should answer whether or not you’ll be interested in being part of a collective group like them. I chose not to go greek because I just didn’t think it was for me, but I have a lot of friends who are in greek life and they are having a great time. You can always ask any friends or family members that rushed for their experiences as well. If you decide to rush, be sure you like the people that will be your future brothers/sisters.
G: Consider absolutely everything. Do you like the people in the fraternity/sorority you’re considering? Do you support the organizations it supports? Do you want to be involved in the pressing social environment? Do you want to pay dues every year? Do you want to go through pledging process? (Also, keep in mind, greek life does not mean John Stamos is going to show up at your door eating greek yogurt, unfortunately.) If you don’t think you fit in with the fraternities or sororities that you’ve experienced so far on campus, don’t join just because you want to be in one at all. Decide which ones you like before deciding to rush. If you want to rush just to be a part of one, you run the risk of settling for whichever one gives you a bid and you might end up miserable. Keep your mind open!
To submit a question for next week’s column, fill out the form below. All submissions are anonymous, so ask us anything.