Ask Alyssa: Year 2, Edition 1

“What is your advice for handling a professor that you have really different views and opinions from?”

This is the exciting part of college; differing opinions.  And this is the time where you have ample opportunity to shape and build your views and arguments.  If you have a professor that has different views and opinions from you, challenge yourself.  What is it about their view that you disagree? Why do you hold a certain opinion? What experiences could have shaped them to view things in this way and what experiences have shaped you?  A professor who has different views and opinions from you is not an enemy but rather has all of the potential to be an ally.  Despite what the overwhelming majority of our culture may suggest, disagreement does not mean hate.  Rather, a difference in opinion is an opportunity to expand your mind, explore other ideas, and educate and build up yourself.  The most important thing to remember in a situation like this is to always maintain respect.  Professors are our superiors and deserve our respect.  Again, that doesn’t mean you cannot disagree altogether it simply means you should disagree in a respectful way.  Every professor can teach us lessons for inside and outside the classroom.  It’s up to us to choose a perspective that either rises to the challenge, or become defensive and play victim to an idea different than ours.

 

“What should you do when one of your friends gets into a relationship and you don’t see her as much?”

    Spending less time with a friend who is in a relationship, especially a new relationship, is an inevitable reality.  This question can be answered in several different ways based on the place it is being asked from.  This may be difficult, but take an honest look at yourself.  Could this question come from a place of resentment or insecurity because of the stage of life your friend is in versus yourself?  If so, that’s completely normal and certainly no reason to beat yourself up.  However, it is necessary to come to the realization that your friend now has a relationship they need to foster and grow.  As a result, you will see them less.  This requires a good amount of self-awareness, humility and selflessness to realize and accept but that’s what friendship requires just like everything else in life with meaning; an emptying of ourselves.  Celebrate your friends’ successes and give a shoulder to cry on in the failures, especially if you know they would do the same.  

    On the other hand, this question may come from a place of concern.  An objective outsider’s opinion may very well observe that your friend is spending so much time with their new significant other that it is an unhealthy balance.  A relationship should never cause someone to lose a bit of themselves, but rather to find themselves more than before.  If your friend is losing themselves in another person then it may very well be in their best interest for you to sit them down and have a candid talk.  Not from a place of jealousy or accusing, but a place of concern and love.  If gone about well enough and not ruled by emotion, hopefully your friend can recognize and grow from this.  Unfortunately, if they fail to see the situation as you do, this could very well cause tension.  This is where you decide what’s most important.  Do you stand back and watch your friend continue to lose themselves or do you intervene and risk their approval of you? Again, this requires humility and selflessness.  But would you want someone to risk it all for you?