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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Eliana’s Advice: What not to do with classes, friends and locks

Published: March 7, 2014
Section: Opinions

Dear Eliana,
After doing well with four classes last semester, I thought I’d push myself and go for five classes this semester. I kept the loaded schedule through the add/drop period, but after getting further into the classes, I’m not sure if I can keep up. One class in particular, a Russian language class, has been giving me trouble. I bombed the first test, which was conveniently right after the add/drop period, and I don’t think I can give the time necessary to do my best in this class. Most of the rest of my classes relate to my Chemistry major, and those take up a lot of time for studying. I took Russian because I need to fill the language requirement, and I’m half Russian on my mother’s side, but I’m struggling with even simple concepts. Is there a way I can drop the class without it looking too bad or ruining my GPA? Or should I just stick it out and study more?
-Lost in Translation

Dear Lost in Translation,
It’s very unfortunate that you did not realize this problem until after the dropping deadline. If you drop the class now, you will get a “W” on your transcript (for “Withdrawn”) and if you don’t, you might get a subpar grade on your transcript. In my opinion, if you don’t think you can do well in this Russian class, don’t take it. It would be more productive if you took it when you have more time to dedicate to it so you can actually learn and do well. You could drop a different class, but then you still have a similar problem, and it seems as though those classes are giving you less trouble than the Russian one. If you still have doubts, you should definitely also talk to an academic advisor. They are experts at this type of thing, and probably have some insight to your problem. Good luck with the rest of your semester!

Dear Eliana,
I’ve been trying to get together with a friend of mine for the past few weeks, but she keeps blowing me off. First she texted me and said that she was busy writing an essay, and I understood that, and we made plans for another time. When that day rolled around, I was sitting in Lower Usdan for 15 minutes waiting for her to respond to my message asking where she was. My “friend” finally answered as I was walking to Lab, saying that she caught up with other friends and had lunch with them, and she was “really sorry.” If she was so sorry, wouldn’t she would have let me know she couldn’t make it? I’m just really upset that I’m putting all the effort into this friendship, and she doesn’t bother to text me if she can’t make it. She’s fun to be around, but I can’t stand it when people don’t respond to me. How do I get her to be more responsive?
-Alone in Usdan

Dear Alone in Usdan,
There is always that one flakey friend who is hard to meet up with, and it can get extremely annoying. However, I don’t think you should dismiss this friendship altogether. If you actually like this person, and you two are actually friends, you should talk to her about this. Tell her that it was not cool of her to ditch you like that and then not let you know. She might just need this extra reminder to stay in touch and make time for you. If she is still isn’t dependable, another thing you could do is invite her to hang out when there will be other people there. That way, if she doesn’t show up, at least you are not sitting all by your lonesome in Usdan. Definitely give your friend a chance to get better at responding.

Lately, I’ve been having trouble making sure I don’t lock myself out of my room. Whether it’s forgetting to take my keys with me when I go to class or just forgetting that the door is locked when I close it to go the bathroom, its become quite the issue. Usually I have my phone and will just call my roommate to find where he is so I can get his keys or just wait until he can come back, but the most recent occurrence didn’t have that. I left my phone, my keys and my card in my room when I went to fill my water bottle the other day. And that wasn’t the first time I had to walk across campus to the Stoneman building and get a police officer to come and unlock my room for me. Is there anyway that I can make it a point to myself to always grab my keys when I leave? How do I get it in my head to not close the door when I just walk down the hall?
-Johnny Bravo

Dear Johnny Bravo,
Those self-locking doors can be quite a doozy, huh? Well, my first suggestion is that you figure out if there’s a setting on the door that prevents it from locking when it closes unless you do it with a key. It usually involves pushing a button near the latch on the thin, inside portion of the door (I have no better way to describe it, ask a friend). If, in fact, your door does not have this setting, you could put a sign on the inside of your door that would remind you to bring a key as you’re leaving. Another possibility is, if you have a lanyard for your keys, just be wearing it at all times so you always have your key. Remember your keys!

Dear Readers, If you can’t already tell, this is an advice column and I’m here to help you with any questions that you might have! If you want more exciting questions, send them in and I will do my best to answer them. Whether it’s relationships, social problems or just life in general—send them here. I can’t wait to start hearing about everyone’s problems (how often do you hear people say that? Oh yeah, never). Send questions to
Thanks! -Eliana