January: Since You Asked....

Do you have a question in mind but are too shy to ask? Do you need an outside perspective on a topic or situation? This semester, Her Campus at Concordia is introducing a new feature: an advice column. The advice column is a non-judgmental space where our contributors will answer, to the best of their ability, our readers’ questions about different topics. You can submit a question to [email protected]

Q: I live in the West Island of Montreal and during winter, I find the cold weather makes me less motivated to go out which usually means I end up skipping class. Is there any way to cure this or to improve my behaviour during the freezing months?

A: Winter is a hard season for most students but travelling from the west island downtown when it is minus 40 out seems like an impossible task. Even for the most dedicated students, especially when travelling means taking public transit that may or may not show up on time. But there are ways to stay a good student during the cold months. 

For once, Concordia University has a load of online classes to choose from. This does not mean that they are easy, but taking an online class means that you are responsible for staying up to date on readings and assignments. While some offer video lectures, most online classes are self-taught. If this isn’t your strength I do not recommend making up a whole semester with online classes. 

Another trick is to schedule most of your classes on a single day. While it may seem daunting to have back to back classes, it means cutting down on travel time by going to school less often than if you spread out your classes. During our six long months of winter - unless global warming changes that, - everyone’s mood seems lower, and an important lesson to remember is that you aren’t the only one dealing with the winter blues. Sometimes, simply reaching out to loved ones or even a teacher can help with motivation and one’s overall attitude during the icy months.

Q: There is a girl who I went on a date with a couple of weeks ago and while the date went fine, I found myself not really seeing myself with her and I’d rather remain friends. How do I tell her without ruining our friendship and hurting her feelings?

A: Open communication is key. The hard truth is we can’t control how others feel or think. Therefore, the sooner we accept their feelings, the easier it is to have difficult conversations. While it is great that you want to remain friends with this girl and avoid hurting her feelings, how she reacts is not really up to you. No one wants to be misled or think they have a chance with someone when they don’t, so telling them straight up is the only way to handle a situation like this one. It is important to hold a conversation like this face-to-face, so no one misinterprets the other’s tone or context. When you are talking to her, make sure to be clear that it isn’t their fault but that this is a decision you won't be changing your mind about. After you talk, the ball is in their court, so to speak. If they want space from you, you should allow them to have it., If they never want to see you again, it may hurt but you also need to respect that. Sometimes, the person will agree to remain friends, but the friendship may get awkward or even change. Again, that isn’t anyone's fault it just how it might have to be for a while.

Q: I have been working at the same job for the past five years and I hate it! While the job itself does provide benefits, the thought of going into each shift just fills me with dread every time. How would you recommend dealing with this feeling or even finding another job?

A: It is time to crack open that pro and con list because when it comes to situations like these, writing down your thoughts can help you to make an informed decision. You stated that your job provides benefits. Do these benefits take away from the dread you feel? Are you certain that you won’t be able to find the same benefits at another job? Normally, in any situation where someone is feeling dread, I would advise to just leave the situation that makes them feel that way because nothing is worth that feeling. However, when it comes to part-time jobs, telling someone to leave seems unethical. Some students rely heavily on part-time jobs to pay for school, their bills and lifestyles if they aren’t getting help from their parents or the government. So, if you are leaning towards quitting your job, I would suggest making sure you have a new one lined up before you give in your resignation. Try checking out all sources possible such as online sites like Indeed or you can go back to the traditional way and apply in person at stores or establishments with a CV in hand. Starting over at a new job can be scary but if you were able to maintain a job for a long time what is to say you won't be able to maintain another job for even long especially if you enjoy the work you are doing? However, if you decide to stay at your place of employment, is there a specific element that gives you that dread feeling? Is it something you can control, such as availability? Or something that you can discuss with your supervisor? Are the elements are out of your control, such as customers or other employees? Things that have nothing to do with the job itself but rather the people around it mean you would have to learn how to handle them without letting it affect your mood or work ethic. Reflecting on the pros and cons, and perhaps discussing it with someone who you know can see the situation from a non-biased point-of-view can help. Life is too short to be constantly miserable but then again, money is a crucial factor to consider.