Edited by – Zenya Siyad
Why are the liberal arts so confusing? Am I not supposed to be clearer rather than confused as to what I want to do?
-A girl questioning all her life choices
Dear Confused Girl,
When you think of a liberal arts educational experience, what do you think of? Reading Sartre dressed in all black while smoking a joint looking all broody, mysterious and sexy? Quoting Adam Smith and F.A. Hayek everytime you hear your privileged communist friend mention “wealth inequality” and the “evil rich” to justify your desire for the moolah? Being the above-said Macbook-using communist friend raging on about the injustices of capitalist society while spending daddy’s money sipping wine in Santorini?
If any or all of the above come to your mind, let’s just say you’ve nailed down the concept of what a liberal arts education is supposed to make you feel – privileged, hypocritical and useless. What a shocker! It is rational that you are so confused. After all, you have chosen a specific realm of education that will leave you with close to zero employability prospects after graduation. I mean, apart from the OSL of course. But don’t let that dampen your spirits! Save your despair for the excruciatingly contradictory panic-inducing identity-crisis-stoking classes you will find yourself in! That being said, what you do in life – the choices you make, the major you take, the cash you rake – is not going to matter because at the end of the day we are all headed the same way. No, before you have a full blown existential crisis, I wasn’t referring to the vicious cycle of life and death. I was referring to bed.
I have been single all my life. I’m horrible with guys. They get bored and awkward with me on text. And now, there’s only very very little scope of meeting someone, and charming him with my twisted overcompensation for being unfunny, in real life. Can you give us some tips on how to maintain our dignity, conceal our desperation, charm the guy we’re chasing without letting him know of our sleaze and chase, keep his interest alive without sending “bob picks” and still be sanskaari enough not to die alone – all on a VIRTUAL SCREEN?
Present-day Sweety from Kal Ho Na Ho
While I sympathize with your “I just want a man for me” vibe, I must fess up that I have been there many many times. The first question I want you to ask yourself is, are men really worth it? The short answer is no, the long answer is “No. I’m older beta, I know better than you”. Do you think the boy you’ve mentioned is bored of you or boring in general? I’m telling you, he’s boring. And I hate to break it you honey, he isn’t thinking about you. It’s not because you are horrible, sleazy and desperate (hey you said it). It’s because they just don’t have the braincells to realize that there’s a pretty, desperate, awkward girl like you trying to get their attention in the first place.
In my aged experience with men of all kinds and breeds, I have realized that men are simply not worth the pedestal we give them. Do you think they think about dignity and desperation before texting a girl “u up?” at 3 am? You got one thing right though, “bob picks” work magic in keeping their interest alive. But why do you want to be sanskaari for someone who needs “bob picks” to hold a conversation? Actually, why do you have to be anything for them men? My parting words to you Sweety is that you can satisfy yourself – intellectually, sexually, emotionally. And dying alone is actually a great idea – you don’t have to share your grave which means all those flowers and rolling space in bed are yours. After all, the need for men is dwindling. And a girl like you is going to shake the world alone.
How do I cope with anxiety and depression amidst all the assignments, heartbreak, the pandemic and online college ?
Dear Tired Girl,
How are you? Do you ever really think about the answer to that?
You need to first acknowledge how you are feeling, to be able to cope with anything. Don’t think you are alone. I understand that having anxiety and depression makes it harder for you to deal with the current situation, maybe even making you feel like you are the only one at times; I want to remind you that you are not alone and you will get through this.
Secondly, do you take enough breaks? Breaks are truly underrated, and are perhaps something that we need to condition ourselves to really believe in. The whole “productivity is key” mirage is a capitalist gimmick that we should all rid ourselves of. Especially given that online classes and assignments make it really hard for you to imagine doing anything other than just college work, you need to be wary of the amount of time you spend doing college work. The overwhelming workload might make you feel like you have no time and energy to do anything other than college work. But remember, spending time with friends, sleeping and self care are just as important, if not more, than college work. You’ll thank me later. In my time, productivity was a hoax and all work and no play made one very dull. Kids these days, I tell you.
While I understand that some of you have Professors who don’t seem to understand that we are in a literal pandemic and choose to double their course load in these strange times (yes this is a dig at the Econ dept whose legendary tales I never get tired of hearing), it would not be crazy if sometimes you avoid all your work and just go to sleep (I would say ‘or your equivalence of sleeping’ but pfft like there’s anything better). It helps more than you think.
Lastly, reaching out for help is always a good idea. You deserve happiness and feeling great about yourself, but talking to your friends about it just might not cut it sometimes. Don’t let that discourage you. There are tons of resources available for anyone who seeks it and you shouldn’t be afraid to unload your stress and vent at all. I know reaching out takes a lot of courage and energy, but it will be worth it. Getting professional help is also an option and while the stigma around it needs to vanish, the option is not uncommon. You are not alone. We’re all in this together. (*cue High School Musical dance routine*)