Advice no one asked for

Kaylie Saidin

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My friends love going out on weeknights, and I’m the only one in the group who has 8 a.m. classes. I hate being so tired in the mornings, but when I consider not going out, I either get pressured to or I get FOMO (fear of missing out). I want to spend time with my friends and have fun, but I also want to do better in my early-morning classes. How do I make time for both?

The truth is there are a multiple ways to find balance between your social life and school work, and the path you choose should be tailored to you individually. Everyone is different — we study in different ways, process information best at different times of the day, digest alcohol at different rates, need different amounts of sleep, etcetera. Some students are morning people, and others are night owls.

The first thing to do when considering how to find balance is to determine your particularities. What kind of a person are you, and in what ways do you tackle important activities? Is it the lack of sleep, or is it the hangover that makes your 8 a.m. classes terrible? If it’s the lack of sleep, the only answer is to make a conscious effort to go to bed earlier, ensuring you get the right amount of hours needed to operate at full capacity. If it’s the hangover, it’s entirely possible to go out on weeknights and *not* drink. You may actually enjoy people-watching, and your friends will be grateful they have someone who looks out for them.

The second thing to do is to consider your priorities. It’s clear your studies matter to you, otherwise you wouldn’t be asking this question. (If you need more motivation as to why attending and being mentally present in class matters, do the math on your tuition sometime and determine how much one session of a three-credit course costs). Still, it’s also true that you’ll only be young once, and spending time with your friends in college, results in memories many reflect on fondly. Both are important to your development and experience at this age.

Balancing your schoolwork and social life is a matter of sacrifices. Frankly, anything you have to balance in life is the same way. You will, in all likelihood, have to skip some wine Wednesdays and Thursday pitcher nights with your friends so you can show up for a quiz the next morning and perform well. You will have to limit your drinking for a night to avoid a hangover. And some nights, you will have to let go of your responsibilities and enjoy being a college student in New Orleans. All of these sacrifices are necessary and make your life awesome. What’s important is that for each sacrifice, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Balance your scales.

My roommate’s girlfriend spends every night in our dorm room. How do I tell my roommate that I don’t want her there all the time? I miss my space.

Dear reader, this is a problem more college students experience than you think. Your roommate’s girlfriend may be cool. She may even be one of your friends. But did you really sign up to hear her snore, to have her shampoo in your shower and to have the toilet seat down all the time?

The answer is no. When you signed up to live in a dorm (or signed a lease for an apartment), the contract states that it’s just you and your roommate staying there. Putting aside whatever feelings you may have about the character or behaviors of your roommate and his girlfriend, logically and legally speaking, that’s the fine print. And if you need to, you can talk to your RA or landlord and use this fine print to reclaim your living space

What’s important here is how you communicate. It’s not necessary to get outside authority figures involved if you and your roommate have a respectful relationship (this should be standard between domestic companions, in my opinion).

Your roommate should attempt to understand your concerns and respect your boundaries, as you should understand why he’s made his choices. Everyone loves their significant other and spending time with them. It’s not a crime that he got wrapped up in his overwhelming love and devotion and didn’t think about your needs as a roommate. But because he ignored your silent boundaries so he could share his twin bed every night (how?!), you have to reinstate them.

All you need to do is tell him that you aren’t cool with her spending every night and waking moment in your room. Don’t make it personal — don’t bring up individual incidents or things you don’t like about her. Just tell him you aren’t comfortable. If he’s a good roommate, he’ll respect the line you’ve drawn and seek to find a compromise. Surely she has a dorm room of her own —maybe they can alternate nights if they’re so attached at the hip? Whatever works for you two.

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