Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 10:01 pm | Fair 63º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Dorm Roommate Problems, Ignored by Friends, Bitten by the Travel Bug

Question from Adam

I’m a freshman in college. I live about 20 minutes from home and I stay in a dorm. We have a few days left until we go on winter break and I’m trying to decide if I should go back to the dorm.

My roommate and suite mates don’t like me because I keep to myself. I’ve tried to have conversations with them but it’s always awkward. I had issues with my roommate, and everyone in the suite is now ignoring me.

Should I really have to live in this type of environment where people are behaving like 10 year olds? I tell myself to just suck it up and be the bigger person because leaving would mean letting them “win.” But I am so tempted to just cancel my housing for spring semester. I don’t want all of this to affect my school work. What should I do?

Weezy

This is not a contest or a competition. “Winning” is not you triumphing over your suite mates. Winning is all of you co-existing well. Start with your roommate. Say, “I like you, man. How can we get along better?”

You should also go and speak with a housing adviser on campus. Do you have an RA or is there a school counselor who can help you? Roommate problems are very typical in the freshman year of college. It’s tough for people who have lived with their families for 18 years to suddenly and instantly have the people skills necessary to cohabitate with strangers. The experts on your campus are there to help you through this.

It would be great if you could make at least one good friend this year so that you can plan to live with that person next year. You will be far less likely to do that if you commute. Moving back home will compromise your ability to make connections and immerse yourself in campus life.

You’ve got an opportunity to live on campus, use it. Many kids have to commute. Their social lives suffer. I know this is hard but work toward a solution. Continue being friendly to your roommates. Offer to help. Ask questions. Smile. Share a compliment. Offer support. And go speak to an adviser.

Jimmy Fallon offers these words of wisdom:

(The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Jennifer

Weezy, what if all my friends have been ignoring me for the past few months? What do I do? I have no one else. Please help me :(

Weezy

That sounds really painful. I know this is hard but let’s start with some introspection. Can you think of anything you may have said or done that would warrant an apology?

Kids can sometimes just be inexcusably mean. This may include even you. So be willing to do some deep thinking. If we can rule this out then we can move on.

A swarm of cruel kids can form around a particularly vicious but charismatic ring leader. This creates a toxic climate, and it does happen within certain groups of kids. This may be what you are experiencing.

If so, please know that this is a pattern of behavior that has been repeating itself for centuries in countless populations of children. You are a fantastic person. Try pulling one kid aside and saying, “Are we OK? Help me understand why I feel shunned right now.”

If you get no explanation then you will need to forge onward and seek out one  new friend. Join a different club or activity. Take part in something outside of school that will allow you to meet different individuals who are not locked into your school’s social ecosystem. There are fantastic people in this world. They just don’t always show their awesomeness in middle school or high school. But they are out there waiting to know you and no situation has the power to strip you of YOU. YOU will get through this.

The Josh Speaks has more to say about this:

(The Josh Speaks video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Katie

I have a huge desire to travel, and it’s been bugging me soooo much. I’m so tried of being stuck in the same place, and I really want to travel to different countries. I have been to a few states, and I have visited the country where I was born and I LOVED ITTTT!!! I really love photography and I long to travel around the world taking pictures.

But I’m only 16 years old so I can’t go anywhere and I don’t want to wait until I’m really old and have barely any time left!!! I see all these beautiful photos of places all around the world and I fall in love with traveling even more. I have the case of wanderlust! What do I do???

Weezy

I’m not sure what is giving you the notion that past the age of 16 you will begin running out of time. Quite the opposite is true. Once you are finished with your childhood in a couple of years, the world will figuratively and literally open up to you. If traveling is your thing, you will travel.

You can plan to study abroad while you are in college. That is often made available to college juniors. Click here for more information about studying abroad.

Additionally, after you graduate college you can volunteer in a charity effort that will pay for your travel, room and board, and send you to interesting locations. All you will need is a passion for hard work. The Peace Corps is just one option. Once you are ready to enter the workforce there are many careers and jobs which require travel. Start googling. The world is waiting for you.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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