Advice Column: Dear Mrs. Madison

Photo by Kira auf ser Heide on Unsplash.

Dear Mrs. Madison… 

Mrs. Madison will answer any question you ask! From dating advice to questions about school, I’m here for you – so ask away. Question form: 

Why has the school year felt so long? It feels like we’re halfway through the semester and it’s only been three weeks?

I completely agree. There is something about the semester that just seems off. I’ll chalk that up to another bad result of COVID-19 – honestly though there’s too many to keep count at this point. Usually, we would have had at least one school-sanctioned party and loads of back-to-school events by now. But instead, we’re eating in a sort of prison-style cafeteria and retreating back to the dorms after class. Further, I could swear the professors are piling even more work on us at the front end of the semester, maybe out of a subconscious fear that we’ll be shutting down at some point. Either way, this semester has felt, and I fear will continue to feel, tiring. However, it’s always nice to look on the sunny side when one finds oneself in a global pandemic. We are in classes and on campus. We can still see our friends and have socially distant gatherings. Things could be better, but they could always be worse!

 I am trying to start hooking-up with people on campus but I don’t know where to start. And I’m afraid of what other people will think.

Thank you for submitting this question! You are putting yourself out there just for asking and that’s a very brave thing to do. Dating, hooking-up or even liking someone on William Jewell College’s campus can be difficult because of the small environment. Everyone seems to know everyone, and it’s hard to keep most romantic endeavors secret. That being said, here are a few things to start you off on your journey:

  1. Dating apps. Using dating apps can introduce you to a new pool of people outside of your regular bubble at Jewell. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to someone or see if other people on-campus are looking for similar romantic situations as you. However, I’d say that downside to using dating apps is that you will eventually run out of people to find that are on campus.
  2. Look around. Your dorm can be a great place to meet people who live around you! It might be scary to reach out to someone you live near, but, honestly, if you see someone regularly or even everyday it’ll break the ice nicely by just saying hi.
  3. Join a club. I know it’s harder to join clubs during the time of COVID-19, but by meeting someone in an organization, you already know that you have at least one common interest. This can make talking to someone easier when you can just naturally start talking at a club meeting or event. 

Finally, I’m here to tell you that no one else’s opinion of your habits matters! As long as you are respectful to others, it is no one’s business what you do in your free time. It’s easier to say that than to actually do it, but disregarding the opinions of others will free you to be your true, amazing self! You can always reach out to a friend to talk to about this kind of stuff or even counseling services, if you would like it to be a bit more anonymous. Every Jewell student has free sessions that you can use.

What are the best tips to pass Responsible Self? I’m feeling really overwhelmed with the homework and everything.

Responsible Self is hard – as the thousands of Jewell students who have taken this class before will gladly tell you. It is a sort of rite of passage here and some professors do seem to take some pleasure in seeing the first-years struggle through the class. However, here are some pointers for getting through.

  1. READ, or Sparknotes, or Google the books, or do something! Never come to class without having at least looked up the book you were supposed to read. It will just make your life more miserable. Ideally, you would read the whole book, but we all know that very few of us have read all the course books in their entirety. Getting a Sparknotes summary or Wikipedia page overview of the book will help you tremendously to not feel as lost in the discussion, and sometimes it’s better to see the book explained in simple terms.
  2. Accept failure. At some point, you will get an essay or test grade back in Responsible Self that you don’t like. Relax and take a breath because that happens to everyone. Responsible Self is used as a way to shock first years to the reality of college so it is supposed to be hard. 
  3. Ask for help. I can’t state this one enough. It took me a few essays before I went to a Responsible Self tutor, but it helped immensely. You can even get tutors that had your specific professor so they know what exactly to suspect from the assignments. Don’t be afraid to ask your professor for help either. Yes, they’re scary. But, believe it or not, they do want you to succeed. They can usually clarify a lot of questions or essay feedback if you go ask.

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