Advice for Awkward People

Dear Alexandra,

I’ve never felt so trapped, stranded, and lost by everything going on in my life right now. I feel like I’m so far away from getting the grades I’m striving for, and it seems impossible to motivate myself academically. I feel like I STILL have no idea what I want to do with my major and what I want to study so I keep hitting my head on this existential, abstract wall every day. And, worst of all, I feel like I can’t go to people for support, because one of my other friends kind of took my core group of friends as a support system away from me after something kind of terrible that she did. I don’t want to confront her about it, and I don’t want to start any fights and choosing sides, so I feel like I have to lie to everyone and put on a happy face when really sometimes I’m low-key dying inside.

Wow, I’m sorry this is really heavy but do you have anything to cheer me up?

Silently Avoiding Drama

Dear SAD,

Confrontation can be hard, and what you’re going through definitely isn’t easy. While I agree that confrontation is not necessarily the best plan of action, silence is not a good route either — I’d recommend talking with someone. It’s not good to keep these feelings bottled up, and I’m sure your friends are worried about you, even if your other friend took them away from you. Friends are still friends, and they wouldn’t want you to go through this alone, even if it meant making the friend group dynamic a bit awkward. Your mental health is extremely important, and your friends should care enough to put any awkwardness aside to help you with whatever you’re going through. I know you’re worried about making them choose sides, but it seems like you don’t want whatever happened between you and your friend to ruin your relationship, so as long as you’re not picking sides, I’m sure no one else will have an issue either. You deserve to be heard and shouldn’t feel like you have to tiptoe around them and act like everything is okay.

If you don’t feel like you can talk to your friends here though, I would recommend reaching out to friends from back home. I know it’s hard with different schedules and everything, but when I feel down and don’t know how to bring things up with my friends here (or just want a distraction from everything going on here), I reach out to my high school friends and try to set up a time to FaceTime or talk on the phone or something. I was going through a weird time earlier this semester, and connecting with one of them really grounded me and cheered me up. Whether you want someone to give you a new perspective or be a shoulder to cry on, or you just want someone to hang out with and distract you from all the stress of your social life and academics, talking with an old friend is a great way to decompress and also catch up with someone you may not have the chance to talk to very often.

I don’t want to get too cliche here, but it’s easy to get so caught up in the stress that you forget to take a break. Burning out is perfectly normal, and while academics are important, make sure that you take time for yourself. I know finals season is quickly approaching, but even taking a few minutes out of your day to take a walk in the (finally!) nice Pittsburgh weather or jam out to your favorite music could be beneficial and help alleviate some of your stress.

Ultimately, the most important thing is that you’re taking care of yourself. Whatever you need to do to feel better, do it. Don’t be afraid to take a break, from academics or your social life, even if it’s just for a moment or two.

Hope this helps,