Editor's Note: Ask Eric is an advice column published every Tuesday. Anonymous questions are taken from this Google form. Questions are also taken both from The Collegian's Instagram, @thecollegianur, and via email, collegianaskeric@gmail.com. 

Hello all,

Did you miss me? I know I missed writing this column. I so enjoy being able to give advice to people on campus, no matter how bad my advice is. However, we are back and starting the spring semester at the University of Richmond. I can feel the excitement in the air and I am already back to drinking way more coffee than I probably should, but hey, have to stay up on those long study nights somehow. 

This week I do not have too many questions to work with so the column may be a little short. I implore all of you to go to the form and put as many questions as you want. The more questions you put the more likely I am to answer one. With that, let us proceed to the questions.

Where should I go on my first date in Richmond?

I think a mistake people make when going on a first date is that they try too hard. In my opinion, a first date should not be "sweep you off your feet" amazing. To that end, I suggest just going to get coffee (or tea, I suppose) so you can have a relaxed conversation. I personally like to go to the Shore Dog Cafe because it is close to campus and I like the coffee. If you are not into the idea of coffee, then just find something you both like to do and do it. If you are doing dinner and a movie, go to the movie first so if all else fails you can talk about the movie -- at least, that is what I would do. Basically, any restaurant on Cary Street is good and the Byrd is cheap so that’s nice. Finally, remember that a date, especially a first one, should be low-stress. It is supposed to be fun, otherwise, why bother going on a date with that person? 

How do you casually ask someone for their number?

I will be honest, my social graces are lacking at best, so I have never really been good at this myself. Add to this the fact that I have not asked for anyone’s number that I am romantically interested in for at least five years and you will see that you should take this advice with a grain of salt. 

Now that you have been warned, I give you two options. One: just ask, it’s not their social security number so it should not be a big deal to ask for it. If they say no, then it probably was not gonna go anywhere anyways so move on (also just a reminder that, if someone says no, to not keep asking for the number -- that is super creepy). My second option, for the more adventurous, would be to use a very cheesy line like, “Oh darn, I forgot my phone number at home, can I borrow yours?” I know this sounds stupid, and it is, but I think it would be rather funny and if it does work you have the ability to brag that you got a phone number despite having a terrible sense of humor.

Hey Eric! How was break?

Break for me was very relaxing. I basically did nothing but hang out with my little brother (or not so little, I guess, since he is 20 years old) and my girlfriend. I spent a lot of time with my parents and grandparents, which I love to do. I read a significant amount on Ottoman history because I will always be a history nerd. I also forgot my laptop at school for all of break so I was forced to not work, so I am relaxed and ready again to stress out about my history thesis.

Did you go abroad? Where should people think about going?

I did not spend a semester abroad because it was not really something I felt like I wanted to do. That being said, I think that going abroad is a wonderful idea. I personally am limited to the English-speaking world, not because it is a deal-breaker, but because I would not want to go to a country where I do not speak the language for an extended period of time. Study abroad has so many options that I will not list them all here but instead direct you to the Office of International Education’s website. It has a list of all the programs that can range from a summer abroad to a full year. Of all the places I have been in a not-so-study abroad way, my favorite was Rome. It is a beautiful city and has so much history. I even ate in the place where Julius Caesar was supposedly stabbed to death (side note: the restaurant was very good). London was lovely and fairly easy to get around. Bulgaria and Romania are beautiful and the places I learned that communication using only your hands works surprisingly well, though I am unsure if we have programs for Bulgaria and Romania. Right now, I would love to go to Ireland or Germany, which we do have programs for, but that has nothing to do with studying. Then again, does study abroad ever actually involve studying?

Well, that is all for me this week. I hope you all are as excited about this semester as I am. Keep sending in questions and I will keep answering them. Also, if anyone has a sign-off phrase they think I should use, feel free to send a suggestion. I feel “sincerely” is too formal. Have a good week everyone.

Sincerely (see what I mean), 

Eric Bossert

Contact columnist Eric Bossert at eric.bossert@richmond.edu.