Real Talk: Friendship Woes and College Struggles

I’ve made a new friend this semester and we’ve been hanging out on weekends. We got along really well until one day she just started becoming colder to me. It’s making me self-conscious and sad. Should I just let her go or try to mend the friendship?

What a rapid transition in a friendship! I can imagine that must be confusing for you, especially if it feels like there wasn’t an exact reason why this change occurred. 

Since you put time and energy into the relationship, I think it’s important to have a conversation with her about what’s going on. It’s possible that she may simply be busy and stressed, or that something happened in the friendship that she doesn’t know how to bring up. Either way, it will likely be healthy for both of you to have a conversation about the change and how to move forward. 

This is a great chance to practice empathy – explain how you feel and what you’ve noticed and try to avoid blame. If it truly wasn’t intentional, you don’t want the conversation to blow up and cause an argument that didn’t need to happen in the first place. Her response will play a role in what you decide to do moving forward. If she has an accusatory nature towards you, it may be a good idea to take a break from the friendship or move on. 

A last thing to keep in mind: if she’s going through something personal that she may not feel comfortable talking about with you, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your or the friendship. She may need some space, but again, it’s not your fault. However, if you’re feeling self-conscious and sad, and it’s impacting your daily functioning, it may be beneficial to take some space from the friendship as well. Friendships, regardless of status, shouldn’t be taxing on a daily basis. See what happens when you ask her what’s going on, and you’ll find the answers to what to do next from there! 

I just started college and I’m feeling incredibly overwhelmed. I can’t seem to keep track of deadlines, focus on assignments, or get my work done on time. I’m starting to feel like maybe college isn’t for me, and my self-esteem has taken a huge hit. 

The transition to college is difficult for the vast majority of students, regardless of their high school experience or past routines/habits. College is unique academically, socially, and personally, and it requires a lot of changes, so here are some suggestions on how to determine if it’s truly right for you! You’re certainly not alone in this! 

  • The fact that you’ve just started college is something to keep in mind. It’s very rare to get everything right in the first semester. You’re adapting to the college workload, your program, and the fact that professors love to overlap deadlines with other classes. Do your best throughout the rest of the semester (take advantage of Thanksgiving break and truly relax!) and reflect on what did and didn’t work for you in the end. 
  • Little known secret from someone who’s been in college for a long time: your grades may be higher than you think they are. Depending on your program, there are plenty of opportunities for partial credit and grade curves that may lessen the impact of missing deadlines. When I was in engineering, I was shell-shocked at how much higher my grades were than I thought. Granted, getting a D+ in Calculus III wasn’t the greatest, but I was honestly surprised that I didn’t fail! Examine the syllabi of your classes to get a grasp on the grading system, and opportunities to gain extra or partial credit. 
  • Try to be adaptable to the ways in which you organize your schedule and time. Your methods of time management may vary from your high school experience and may change within the current semester as well. It took me quite a few semesters to find a way that worked best for me. As a procrastinator, I had to work with my own tendency to do things at the last minute without missing deadlines. 
  • Finally, check out counseling/life coaching resources at college. An outside source can help you understand what you’re struggling with, and how to implement solutions and methods that work best for your situation. It can be difficult to keep an open mind or think of new ideas to help you stay on track when your self-esteem is taking a hit, so having some sort of coaching may be beneficial! 

I’d suggest finishing out the semester and reflecting when it’s over. Consider if you’re in the right program, and if not, explore other options that may be of interest. If college isn’t the right option for you, that’s okay! There are a lot of successful people that I know and love that are well off without a college degree. I think that you’ll know deep down if college is the right choice for you by the end of the semester. If you’re unsure, there are also options to take a gap year/semester to figure it out. Again, you’ve just started, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your semester.