The Collegian
Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Ask Eric: Making friends and staying optimistic

<p>Eric Bossert is the writer behind "Ask Eric," The Collegian's advice column.&nbsp;</p>

Eric Bossert is the writer behind "Ask Eric," The Collegian's advice column. 

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, 

Hello all,

Well, here we are again, back for another week of advice and entertainment. I myself am using the opportunity of writing Ask Eric in order to decompress after working for a while. My hope as always is that taking the time to read this column will at least give you a break from what is stressing you out at the moment. Hey, you might even get some good advice, but I can't promise that one. With that, let’s get to the questions.

Hey Eric! Any advice for looking forward to the future? Things seem scary right now!

I for one am a huge proponent for not taking things too seriously. There are very few things that get me worked up regularly because of this. Of course, there are serious issues that we all have to deal with and at times it may feel like these issues take up more and more of your time. This is where I tend to find comfort in my life as a man of little to no importance. To me, I do not take life too seriously because there is so little riding on the fact that I should. I do the basic things like call out prejudice and be kind to others, but there is a comfort in knowing that my actions have a limited impact. As more and more people come to depend on me as I get older, this excuse becomes less applicable, but no matter how many people depend on me, even if I were king of the world, my actions will never be the end of it all. The sun still rises and sets, the tides come in and out (though maybe a little further in than we would like), and time continues to move forward. To take the whole of the world’s problems on your shoulders is greatly overestimating one’s own significance to the point of paralyzing fear. Focus on yourself and those around you first. Realize that the future is not set in stone and while you might not be able to change the big things by yourself, you can change yourself for the better. So look forward to making yourself better than the you who existed before. 

I feel like I lost a lot of friends. How do I meet new people on campus after being at UR 2 years already?

For this, I have two suggestions. One, join a new club. Making time to socialize is important and being part of an organization with a bunch of people that share common interests makes the beginning conversations of a friendship easy as you can start by talking about the club. 

Two, talk to the people in your classes. I know many of us go to class with our heads down and just listen to the lecture and leave, but is there any reason not to talk to your classmates? Theoretically, they should have a similar interest in the content of the class, or maybe a shared dislike if it is a general education requirement. I have made some of the greatest of my friends in college through the classes I’ve taken. It takes very little to say hello and start a conversation. That is one thing I would change about the University of Richmond if I could: normalizing interactions between students in classes. Learn your classmates’ names, say hi, and you will probably make a new friend. 

How do I make it easy to wake up for 9 am classes?

The easiest way to make sure you do not sleep through your 9 a.m. class is of course not to sign up for one. If you are not so lucky as to be able to skip any and all classes before 10 a.m., then I suggest getting up much earlier than you need to. While this seems counterintuitive, it has worked for me so far. If I have a 10:30 a.m. class I will get up at 7:30 a.m. and get ready. I then go get coffee and do some work. By the time my class comes around, I am awake and already in the mindset to do school work. You could move this time back but I feel that leaving yourself a bit of extra time to work with helps make sure you go to class. Additionally, GO TO BED EARLY. Working on things at 2 a.m. is for people who do not have 9 a.m. classes. 

Well, that is all for me this week. I am off to make my dear editors translate the borderline 2,000 B.C. grammatical structure that I spew onto the pages of our school newspaper. Remember, if you have any serious problems I recommend you contact CAPS. Now go out there and be a better you.


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Eric Bossert

(Yes I have seen Gossip Girl, do not judge me.)

Contact columnist Eric Bossert at 

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