Ask Alyssa: Edition 1

Q: What is your advice and what are some tips for transitioning back to a regular school schedule after a break?

Probably the most important aspect to transitioning is the balance between social and academic life.  It’s exciting to reunite with friends and live syllabus week to the fullest, but that only lasts so long before deadlines quickly approach.  My advice would be enjoy the time with friends and don’t hold back with the excitement and FOMO but each day write a to-do list.  This should be made up of just a few, small, manageable tasks that keep you on top of your schedule.  As small as the tasks are, it’ll feel pretty good crossing things off a list. Try it out!

Q: What is your advice for someone perpetually stuck on an ex?

I’d like to start by asking some questions to identify if you are perpetually stuck on an ex and it’s time to call it quits for good:

  • Have you called things off more than once in your relationship?
  • Do you text/snapchat/stay in touch with your ex even though there’s no longer a title on your relationship?
  • Do you hesitate to talk to your friends about your ex because you feel like you’re annoying them (since they’ve heard it all before)?

If the answer to these questions is yes, I’m sure you are well aware but I’m here to remind you that you need to break up. For good.  Let me ask you another question, would you be able to see yourself marrying this person? Answer that honestly.  Could you deal with the reasons that you broke up in the first place for the rest of your life? If not, then the only other possible outcome of your relationship is a break up.  That means that anytime between now and when you break up is a waste of (both of) your time.  I know that sounds extreme, but when you take out your emotions and look at the situation realistically there are only two options.  I’m not here to point out what you probably already know and then leave it at that because all of this is so much easier said than done but the first step is to come to the conclusion, with valid reasons to back you up, that a break up is necessary.  

I’ll try and keep it brief, since I could construct a novel and I’m sure we’ll dive into this topic more in the future.  Find yourself a breakup buddy.  If we’re being honest, the chances of you cutting ties successfully on your own are pretty slim and you deserve the support of a good friend.  This is someone you can call or text when you get the urge to call or text your ex.  

In order to get over the hump of a breakup, we need to identify what makes it so hard to break up and stay broken up.  Immediately after a breakup, it’s hard to sit back and think about the "what ifs” and whether or not you made the right decision.  I’d argue, without even knowing you, that getting to the point of breaking up was a long, thought-out, difficult decision and you made it with or without realizing that deep down you know you deserve better.  If the relationship meant anything to you, then of course it will be a sad time and you will miss the fun, the laughter, and the comfort of having someone that chose to spend their time with you among the 7 billion people in this world. But make no mistake. You know full well that you broke up for a reason. If you say you’re broken up but your actions speak otherwise, slowly but surely all respect in your relationship is lost.  Keeping in contact or hooking up with your ex is a lie. You’re better than this.  Recognize that it is normal to feel sad and crave love and that it does not change anything.  Don’t fall in the trap of believing that if you still have feelings after a certain time then it’s meant to be.  Seek friendships, family, a good book, new hobbies, schoolwork and focus on building up yourself to be worthy of the love that awaits you.  

Grab a break up buddy, admit your feelings and then choose to control them instead of the other way around.  Remember, every time you walk away from the counterfeits of love, you’re one step closer to the real thing.

Q: What is your advice for managing college stress?

As lame as it sounds, the first step to managing college stress is accepting the things that you cannot change and have no control over.  I have never met someone that procrastinates more than I do, so if you’re like me, you end up causing most of the stress that you endure.  We have to be realistic when dealing with stress.  Take a good look at the way you spend your time.  If you’re taking naps, watching Netflix, or spending time with friends when work is to be done, it’s time to prioritize.  All of the above can help us relax, but it will stress us out more if we choose those pastimes and push work back.  

Once these are ordered correctly, it’s up to you to find your remedy.  When I get stressed, I get really bad neck pain so I use a heating pad on my neck to de-stress.  Creating a playlist on Spotify that calms you or buying a stress ball may be cliché but has the potential to help.  

Take a look at your situation.  In five years, even one, will this test, assignment or social problem be a big deal? Do what you have to do but in the meantime, look around, smile, laugh and don’t miss out on life going on around you.  (I’m thinking of the movie “About Time” here. Once you’re done with your work, check it out!)