Agony Uncle (3)

The latest release from my archives. It’s short but sweet. Enjoy!

A friend of mine from home is in first year at another university and is having trouble settling in. I am in the middle of deadline period, but I feel I should do something to help. Should I intervene, and if so, what should I say?

Well, kudos for wanting to go and also for being a good friend. This period is a stressful time generally. Not as bad as exams, when you hear people in the library saying, “I don’t understand; I’ve taken four Pro-Plus and I’m still tired”. But it’s stressful nonetheless. You should see your friend, mainly because it may get them in the habit of socialising and interacting with people again. Once you’ve done that, you can talk to your friend about their problem.

What’s the trouble settling in? It surely cannot be pressure of work. I like to think of myself as a good student, but really, first year is not the time to stress out on work. Leave the working until it actually counts for your degree mark.

Alternatively, are they being shunned by housemates and coursemates? With problematic housemates, as with any problem, there should not be any issues that a nice cup of tea and packet of digestives couldn’t fix. If the problem is more serious than this then there are avenues of complaint that you can turn to. If one of your friend’s housemates has anger management issues, university authorities should be notified.

Anyone I know at university who had problems making friends (I don’t know many; but by definition you don’t know many reclusive loners) just did not socialise enough. That doesn’t mean going to Broad Street, drinking your body weight in WKD and then sleeping with a stranger. It just means going to societies that might interest you, or talking to the person you end up sitting next to in lectures; little things like that. There will be people at your friend’s university who will make great friends for them. It’s just a case of finding them.

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