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Dear Donna: Advice on fitting in, relationships, more

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

In this first edition of The Cougar’s weekly anonymous advice column, I discuss fitting in, relationship advice and more. To submit your question for future issues, click the “Dear Donna'” button on our home page.

I’m a freshman and am having trouble fitting in. Any suggestions?

Hello there! Just to preface, congratulations on starting your college career, it’s not an easy task and I’m proud of you for making it to this point. To dive into your question, I think it’s really valid to feel like you don’t fit in and have trouble finding people that resonate with you. No matter how you’re feeling right now, I’m here to assure you that the University is huge and there are people out there who will understand you. I think the best way to find people you mesh well with is to find a common interest. Join some organizations about topics you’re passionate about. Put yourself out there and talk to the people there. You never know what could come from it.

I’m having trouble communicating problems with my significant other, any advice?

Hey, I’m really sorry to hear about this bump in the road with your significant other. It’s really important to recognize that all couples face difficulties and what you’re experiencing is normal. I think even though communication can be scary sometimes, it’s so beneficial in the long run. I recommend being genuine and respectful when initiating communication and calmly telling the person how you feel. I also think that different people like to be spoken to in different ways, so consider that before starting a conversation. Think about if your significant other likes straightforward and direct conversation, or if they prefer things sugarcoated. If they’re the right person for you, they’ll hear you out and understand.

What are the best leisure activities to do on campus? I know a lot is restricted to coronavirus, but I want to know if there are great places to jog, meditate and just relax on campus?

Hi! The former orientation leader in me is thriving off this question! Before the pandemic, I would love to go to The Nook Cafe by myself and spend quality alone time with music and a cup of coffee. They’re still open with limited seating, if that’s something you’re comfortable with. But if not, I completely understand. Bringing a blanket and having a picnic in Lynn Eusan Park, watching the Cullen Fountain at night and sitting by the cougar statue at TDECU Stadium are other fun things I would recommend to do on campus.

I’m a freshman and I’m currently feeling overwhelmed with exams, any advice?

As someone who was in your shoes just last year, I can heavily relate to your question. My biggest advice is just to be kind to yourself. If you’re studying and putting in the work, there is nothing more you can do. Exams are hard, and the world is hard, and honestly, when so many things in life are hard, please be warm and soft to yourself. Try your hardest to do well and put in that effort, but whatever happens, happens. Don’t beat yourself up too much over a score. You did your best, and things will pan out how they’re meant to be.

What are some ways to cope with loneliness?

Hello, I’m sorry you feel lonely, and I hope in a cosmic sense that all is well. College is genuinely a period of figuring out who you are and with that can come loneliness. The thing about loneliness is that it can’t be filled by other people. Strive to fill that void by being OK with yourself. Do things that make you feel loved. I recommend eating a comfort meal and watching your favorite movie. You could also call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and hear what they have to say. You’re not going to feel this way forever, and there are better days ahead.

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