The Martlet’s new bi-weekly advice column
Dear Birdie: I was way too nervous in the first few days of classes and I didn’t talk to anyone. Now school is kicking into gear and I’m worried that people will be too busy for me to actually start any friendships. How do I fix this so that I’m not stuck by myself until the start of next semester?
Do not fret! This is the age-old university dilemma. We all believe that everyone around us is living in a John Hughes movie and has reached their friendship quota for the year. In reality — and this is especially true for first-years living in residence — many people have simply hitched themselves to those immediately around them for a sense of social and emotional security. These friendships are based on immediate circumstances, rather than shared interests, and many will not last.
You are in the fortunate position of being able to decide whom you will befriend. The best way to find your “people” and make friendships that will stick is to get involved in activities you enjoy. Join clubs and intramural teams. Attend recitals and faculty meet-and-greets. If you live in residence, participate in the events held on campus by your community leaders — they are designed for this purpose.
And it is never too late to talk to people in your classes! Chances are you share a mutual interest in the subject or can, at the very least, lament over its shortcomings. I know — it’s painful to talk to strangers, and I have shaken hands with someone’s turned shoulder more times than I care to admit, but success is imminent, I promise.
Ultimately, friendship does not adhere to the school calendar. You can and will meet people, but you cannot always predict where and when. All you can do is engage in conversations and seek out activities that make you happy — the friends will follow.
Dear Birdie: I really want to keep fit this year, but CARSA is way too expensive. Where else can I go to exercise, how can I find the time to do it, and can I find a way to do it that won’t cost me an arm and a leg?
Oh man, I feel you. I just shelled out a leg and several fingers for the privilege of running on a treadmill amongst the sweaty masses once a month. Don’t get me wrong, CARSA provides a variety of great fitness opportunities for its students, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding on to those arms and legs — I’ve heard they are incredibly helpful in the pursuit of exercise.
However, if you are not already aware, there are instructor-led fitness classes at CARSA that cost less than a regular membership. You can sign up for these on the Vikes Recreation website.
Victoria weather allows you to run outside basically year-round, if that’s your vice. And if you’re new to running outdoors, I would recommend an app called Strava that locates different running paths in your area and tracks the kilometers you’ve clocked.
As for accountability, I am usually more willing to workout if I have an exercise buddy and plan my workout sessions after a class. So bring your sneakers to that biology lab, grab Steve, and go for a lap around campus. Make this your ritual.
Finally, do not knock at-home workout videos like YouTube’s FitnessBlender. It may seem dorky, but it can be fun to curate your own routine that requires only the weight of your body and a space on the floor.
Dear Birdie: I’ve started living with a new roommate (the two of us are sharing a basement) and she’s already started to leave dishes out overnight or not clean up after she hangs out with her friends. How do I tell her she’s freaking me out without making the relationship awkward for the rest of the semester?
Though this problem is very common, its solution is akin to the pain of splitting an eyelid or doing CrossFit. That’s right, I’m talking about the most painful thing of all: honesty. It’s best if you put a stop to the dirty dishes early in the semester. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to have that conversation with your roommate about your expectations. Suddenly Margaret has a midterm to study for or she’s mourning a breakup or her cat has puppies and you’ll look like an asshole for reminding her about her obligation to the glassware at this sensitive time.
You might consider beginning your conversation with, “Now that we’re settling into our school routine, I was wondering if we could talk more about how we want to divide housework.”
Establish the rules together so that you are justified in calling her out when she starts to lag. She cannot claim to be blindsided by your “sudden” annoyance if she knows that it’s on your radar. Also, try not to downplay your feelings towards the mess for the sake of propriety, and remember to ask her if there’s anything you could do to improve as a roommate yourself (plot twist: YOU’RE ACTUALLY THE MESSY ONE).
Figure out your house policy on various dish scenarios, but also remember to be reasonable with the timelines. Despite what your Aunt Judith says, millennials lead busy lives, often with irregular hours. In my experience, if things are not cleaned up within 36 hours, it’s within your rights to ask her to clean up after her avocado toast.
It’s a mess of awkward, but if you plan on remaining roommates, your resentment will only grow if you’re not honest with her now. And that resentment will spoil your relationship far sooner than your acknowledgement of her failings.
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