I am so stressed out! I’m about to graduate, applying for grad school and working two part-time jobs. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to do it all, and I’m considering quitting one of my jobs even though I’d feel terrible about it. How can I stop freaking out about all my responsibilities and how do I know when I’m trying to do too much?
— Stressed out senior
Dear Stressed out senior,
I applaud your ability to juggle all of that at once. Take pride in knowing that you give hope to the many victims of senioritis. But there is a healthy medium between care-free couch potato (who usually fails a lot in life) and a manic overachiever (who is usually unhappier than most) and that healthy medium is what you want to aim for. You are never going to be an undergraduate senior again. That makes it a special year, and one that you’re going to want to remember as being awesome. At the same time, grad school applications, jobs and classes are demanding, so it ends up being too much for one person to handle.
My mom always says, “You have the rest of your life to work, so focus on school and fun,” and I must say she is absolutely right. College is expensive and I believe that students should have a part–time job to pay for toilet paper and the occasional sushi buffet, but that part-time job shouldn’t be top priority.
I highly suggest you quit one of your jobs, even if it makes you feel guilty. Tell your boss about your situation and I’m sure he/she won’t be a tyrant about it. And if he/she is, then that’s one less negative person you have to deal with, right? Trust me, the relief you feel with one less obligation will out-weigh the temporary guilt you feel for quitting. It also sounds like you don’t have much time for a social life, but do something for yourself at least twice a week. Naps, yoga, full-body massages, concerts, baking … I could go on for days! Pick one, you wont regret it.
If you don’t sleep enough and have dark circles under your eyes, if your hair starts greying or falling out, if you don’t see your friends anymore and they start forgetting that you exist, if your “to-do” list takes more than five minutes to make, if you don’t have time for three meals a day, if you get sick more frequently than normal and finally, if you think you have too many things to do, then you are probably doing too much. Stay focused but don’t burn yourself out!
My girlfriend of five years just moved to the East Coast for school and I only get to see her during breaks. What is the best way to handle being away from her?
— Lonely lover
Dear Lonely Lover,
Long distance relationships (LDRs) are far from easy, but they aren’t impossible. Most things get easier with time; LDRs, however, get harder over time because you have different experiences, your lives begin to diverge and your relationship is put to the test. A five-year relationship sounds like a solid one, but you’ll both have to work hard to make your absences easier on each other.
I’m sure you are well aware of one other disenchanting aspect of being apart from your significant other — you are the only person who can satisfy your sexual needs. It’s time to go back to the days where all you had was privacy and the internet. It may not be as good as the real thing, but you have to work with what you’ve got. Luckily, we are living in the day and age of Skype, Facetime and KY Yours & Mine, so you should be all set in that department.
Boundaries. Talk about them. If you are okay with each other having “cuddle buddies” then say so. If you don’t mention boundaries then one of you might overstep them, which will lead to a messy cascade of events, and you want to avoid that. The best thing you can do is to stay involved in her life in any way you can so she knows that you care. The worst thing you can do in a moment of weakness is to betray someone you care about. If that day comes and you find yourself falling for somebody else, do the right thing and talk to your girlfriend before you act on those feelings.
Try not to get frustrated, because the more you dwell on the fact that you miss her, the harder you make it for yourself. Instead, occupy your time with things that you enjoy. Go out with your friends, join an IM athletic team, and focus on you. It also wouldn’t hurt to get a part time job so you can afford to visit her every once in a while. If you are so hopelessly in love that you can’t stand to live 3,000 miles apart, then start filling out those applications and remember to dress in layers!
Got a problem? Gabby can help. Really! E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.