You Ask, Nelly Answers: Zoom Crushes, Planning for an Unknown Future, and More

Hi readers! I'm Nelly, a wise New School narwhal here to answer your questions on relationships, friends, career, and more. You all asked me some pretty juicy questions through our Instagram stories this week, so let's dive right in!

How do you make friends as an adult?

This is a tough one, but as New School students we naturally learn how to do this SO much faster than your typical college student. So you’re already ahead! Making friends outside of organized groups or clubs is hard. If you haven’t checked out Narwhal Nation for a club or organization you may want to be a part of, definitely take a look! If you’ve already done that and are looking to expand your network, I would recommend you start in your classes. It can be super scary to reach out to a ‘friend crush’ in a class, but it’s how I’ve made my absolute best friends at The New School! Asking a classmate where they’re headed after class is my go-to; I’ll typically add that I’m grabbing a coffee down the street and invite them to come along. Worst case scenario is they’ll say they’re busy, but the best case is that I turn a cool classmate into a great friend! Private chatting on Zoom is a little freaky too, but even a friendly request to be a homework buddy could spark fun text conversations that lead to a friendship-- just in time for our (hopefully) in-person fall semester.

If you’re looking to make friends as an adult adult post-grad, you’ve mastered the whole awkward friend-date-proposals and putting-yourself-out-there thing. All that’s left to do is to put these skills towards networks you’re in or you’re interested in, whether that be your workplace, your gym, or even neighbors in your building! You can also check out social media for local events you might be interested in, or prod around to see if your favorite influencer or podcaster has a Facebook group that organizes meet-ups. Whatever community you find yourself in, you’re bound to meet at least one other person in the same position as you!

gif of Jimmy Fallon saying Jimmy Fallon via GIPHY

How do you start planning for the future again after everything getting cancelled/postponed so often last year? School is set to open for the fall of 2021, and hope is so important, but I’m scared of getting let down again.

I agree hope is essential; however, there is no need to put a timeline on it! Let me explain! I think writing and visualizing your ultimate goals is a good way to get started, essentially envisioning the bigger picture. From there try to decipher the small steps that will get you to those big goals i.e. earning your degree, getting a job or an internship etc. Whatever happens in fall 2021 and after is beyond your control, and it is natural to feel discouraged when things don’t go as you planned. However try not to let this deter you from going for your big dreams, and keep in mind that even if things aren’t going as planned in the present, they can unfold in better ways in the future. Our generation has a tendency to put a timeline on goals such as making it at 25 or before 30, and that is a bit unrealistic. Don’t let your age or a semester keep you from whatever it is you ultimately want to do!

 

How are you finding joy lately?

This is a great question because it’s been quite the struggle to find brightness in such a dismal time. Many people are dealing with unresolved trauma, unexpected tragedies, and the overall stress that comes from feeling hopeless and still having responsibilities that can’t take a pause. While this is all true, we can still remain grateful for the little things that are in our control, and the things that keep us going: good health, a good support system, a fun hobby like drawing or photography, or maybe binging a new show, etc. I personally love to take my puppy on walks to our favorite nature preserve with farm animals and beautiful views, even during the wintertime, and that is always something I can count on to bring joy. I also love food, so I’m always scoping out new restaurants and cooking up my own dishes at home for my family to try when there are not as many things to do with coronavirus still present. Taking deep breaths, listening to music, laughing with people who make you feel good, and remembering that life won’t always stay stagnant this way and brighter days are ahead, are all things to practice when seeking happiness. Take time for yourself and be kind to yourself and others. Gratitude can bring a sense of peace, and peace will bring happiness eventually, too. Hope this helps anyone dealing with challenges find the good in every day because it’s there if you look hard enough!

My Best Friend's Wedding gif Giphy

Sometimes I get so overly focused on school and career-building stuff that I feel like I’m neglecting my friends. Is this normal? How do I show my friends that I still adore them while staying on track with my goals?’

First of all, I think that’s totally normal, especially right now. It’s easy to develop a one-track mind when school gets intense in the best of times, but right now, it’s extra hard because school exists in our bedroom, living room, kitchens, laptops, and phones. There’s really no escaping it or drawing a line between school time and your regular life. To make things worse, Zoom classes are extra draining which makes it hard to want to socialize. Following COVID protocol means that getting together with friends is less spontaneous and more another checkbox of digital interaction in an already oversaturated world. 

I think part of the solution to your problem lies in leaning into what likely makes you so career-focused and productive in the first place. Set an alarm or write a note in your planner to check your messages and set aside a few minutes to thoughtfully respond to your friends. Throughout the day, if you see something that reminds you of a friend, send them a message about it! It’s a quick way to let them know that even if you’re not talking all the time, they’re still on your mind. Also, my friends and I have monthly Zoom/FaceTime meetings where we hang out for an hour or two and catch up on everything we might have missed in each other’s lives throughout the month. As clinical as it sounds, make sure you schedule it and treat it like an important school or work meeting. Socializing is important too! You definitely don’t have to minimize school or career aspirations to make sure your friends still feel loved and like you’re in the loop in each other’s lives.  Calm environment with desk set up for studying Photo by Arnel Hasanovic from Unsplash

How to impress my crush over Zoom?

Good news, Zoom isn’t that different from real life when it comes to compliments. Tell them you like their shirt or that they made a good point in class! You would be surprised how many conversation starters can occur during Zoom. Try to stay away from “this class is so boring”. It may be, but being positive leads to more conversations than mutual boredom. 

It’s safe to assume that if you have a mutual crush on someone, they are going to notice you on Zoom! I know I notice when my crush is in class or not. I recommend sliding into those private chat messages to grab their number if you haven’t already. You become memorable if you are a person that they know they will be able to talk to during class. Obviously, the end goal here would be to eventually get OFF Zoom, but take advantage of the fact you are both required to be there every week by starting up a private conversation or occasionally complimenting them.

Have more questions for me? Submit them through our Instagram highlight!