Dear Devil’s Advocate, I have a problem. I have been good friends with a couple of people for about a year now and I like this group of people a lot. Recently I met this really cool girl and I started hanging out with her and she introduced me to all of her friends. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but eventually I started realizing that I was hanging out with my new friends more than my old ones. I tried to fix the situation by introducing my new friends to my old friends, but it didn’t work. They didn’t like each other. I like both groups, but it seems like each one doesn’t want me to hang out with the other. Please Help, Too Friendly Franny ?
Dear Franny, One of my favorite children’s songs goes like this: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” You should not have to pick one set of friends to hang out with 24-7. If you did that, then there would be no chance of meeting new people and going on new adventures.
Not that friends should get boring, but if you constantly surround yourself around the same people all the time, things are going to get old really quick. And the more time people spend with each other, the more likely they are going to get on each others nerves, which will most always lead to a nasty confrontation when someone finally snaps.
Instead of this being a burden, embrace that you have two different groups of friends. Each set will be able to offer different people, different settings and different activities. Tell your old friends that it’s alright if they don’t care for your new friends, because it is none of their business. They should be happy that you’re meeting new people, not trying to hold you back. Reassure them that you’re not going to ditch them for the new group. As for your new group, tell them that they were your friends long before you joined this group, and that you’re not that type of person who drops friends like a hot potato.If they are your true friends, then all of your friends will respect your decision and if they do not, then it is time to move on.
Dear Devil’s Advocate, I am a new student at St. John’s and I am excited for college, but I am also scared because I don’t know if I will be able to make the jump from high school to college. I mean, high school was easy for me, but from what I have heard, college is a lot harder. I’m starting to get nervous about the amount of work I am going to have to do. I just don’t know if I will be able to cope with the differences. Do you have any advice to help me make the jump to college? Sincerely, Jumpin’ Jackie
Dear Jackie, The transition from high school to college is a tough one to make, but I have developed a system designed to make it as easy as possible for you. I call it the Devil’s Advocate Transition System, or DATS. It’s a simple system and it works.
First, make sure that you have good time management skills. You are going to have a lot of work, but you are also going to have a lot more free time.
College is less structured than high school, so you have more responsibility. It is so easy to choose to go out with friends, or play Guitar Hero instead of studying for philosophy. That is when time management comes in, to balance studies and social life. Try to stay on top of your assignments and not wait till the last minute to write a paper.
On the flip side, make sure that your days are not all work and no fun. Make sure that you keep one day a weekend to have a day off from academics. Go out to the city, see a movie or play Guitar Hero all day and night. Taking a break from studying will help relieve the pressure of academia.
Second, make sure to put forth an effort to build up a relationship with your professors. Now, I am not saying you have to be best friends with your professors, but it helps if they at least know who you are.
By building a relationship with your professor, he or she will be able to get to know you better, and will notice the hard work that you put into the class. It can also be the difference between a D- and C. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help when needed. Your professor won’t know you’re struggling unless you tell him or her.
Lastly, you should definitely get involved with extracurricular activities. Being involved in any organization improves the quality of life on campus, whether it is a fraternity, performing group, writing publication, media organization or a human interest club. By being involved, it opens a door of opportunity to meet different people who have the same interests as you and that enjoy doing the same activities. Meeting all these people will also help with networking and making contacts that could potentially help you later in life.
This transition is a tough one to make, but hang in there! First semester freshmen year is always the hardest because everything is new and unknown. In a few weeks, college life will become second nature as your horizons expand into a new chapter of your life! Hope that helps! Devil’s Advocate