UConn Tell Me About It: Staying present, dealing with toxic friends and using responsibly

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Picture is the words “Here to Help” in white on a black background. Homie B’s advice column is all about them being there for the students of UConn and how to help/advice them on anything that might trouble them. Photo credit goes to Anna Tarazevich

Hello again, Huskies! Thank you all for your submissions to “UConn Tell Me About It.” Because I truly am the best homie, I’ve decided to temporarily release the column twice a week so I can respond to everyone’s questions sooner rather than later. For now, you can catch the column online and in-print on both Mondays and Thursdays. If I didn’t answer your submission this time around, keep an eye out and I’ll get to it soon! Alright, now let’s dive in. 

Q: I’m a second-semester sophomore, and I feel like because of the pandemic, time is moving quickly and passing me by. How do I stay present and enjoy every moment of college?  

Homie B.: A lot of college students have probably heard that these undergraduate years will be “the best four years of your life.” I think we’ve all felt like the pandemic has stolen that experience from us a little bit. College is undoubtedly a time of tremendous growth and transformation. However, that narrative also puts some unrealistic expectations on a pretty short time period. I promise you that life after college will be full of joy, love and amazing experiences too! 

That being said, if you’re looking for ways to stay present, I suggest starting small. Think about all the little things that make this time of your life unique: for example, living in close proximity to your friends, having the ability to meet people from all around the world or even the routine of attending classes. You don’t need to burn yourself out partying every weekend or trying to do way too many things just to say you took advantage of your time in college. Focus on what’s making you happy now, and you won’t worry about feeling like you wasted your time in the future.  

“FOCUS ON WHAT’S MAKING YOU HAPPY NOW, AND YOU WON’T WORRY ABOUT FEELING LIKE YOU WASTED YOUR TIME IN THE FUTURE.”

Q: I have a friend who mansplains, turns conversations to be about themselves and is overall insensitive to how other people differ from them. So far I’ve been giving them the benefit of the doubt but it’s really just getting worse. Should I tell them when they’re being rude or just distance myself from the toxicity? 

Homie B.: Friends exist to support one another! If your friend only responds to your attempts at conversation with things that annoy or hurt you, I’m willing to bet you’ve already started distancing yourself and holding things back from them. If you want to continue your friendship with this person, you need to address the way they make you feel. Instead of bringing up when they’re being rude in the moment, set aside a separate time to have a serious conversation about their tendencies with them. Focus the conversation about the way that you feel rather than about what they have been doing. This tactic will prevent your friend from immediately becoming defensive and starting an argument. A true friend will care about the way you feel and will hopefully ask how they can make you feel better. If your friend doesn’t respond well to this conversation, they might not be worth keeping around! 

“FOCUS THE CONVERSATION ABOUT THE WAY THAT YOU FEEL RATHER THAN ABOUT WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING.”

How do I know if my substance use is normal?  

Using alcohol and drugs is a very normalized part of the college experience. We are all required to learn about drugs in high school health class and to take the online “Alcohol EDU” course before freshman year. However, dealing with the real world consequences of substance use is hard to figure out. Generally, if your substance use is starting to impede on your everyday life — for example, needing to smoke weed every night in order to go to sleep — that could be an indicator of an unhealthy relationship with substances. Ultimately, you are the only person who knows your limits and knows what qualifies as too much. However, I think your inclination to ask this question shows that you are already aware of an issue with your substance use. I encourage you to think about the positive and negative ways that substance use affects you. If you want to try cutting back or quitting there are resources at UConn that can help! See the Alcohol, Other Substance Use & Support page for more information, including links to free, anonymous self-assessments. 

This has been “UConn Ask Me About It” by Homie B., UConn’s anonymous advice-giver for any and every question on your mind. Submit your questions for future columns to this anonymous form. You will be required to use your UConn email to access the form, but no email will be collected from the response. Responses will be published online and in-print on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the semester. See you next time! 

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