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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Early semester problems and solutions

Published: August 22, 2014
Section: Opinions

Dear Eliana,
After picking my classes last semester, I’ve become a little regretful over some of my choices now that I’m looking at my schedule again. First of all, I have class early in the morning most days, and after being able to sleep in ‘til noon for the whole summer, I don’t think I can wake up at 8 a.m. Second, I’m just not that interested in these classes anymore and might actually want to change my major. Should I sleep in and skip my early classes? Should I just change my whole schedule? What if all the other classes I might take are filled and I can’t get in?
-Stressing Out

Dear Stressing Out,
I get that things were different in May than they are now, but past you wasn’t totally oblivious. I’m sure there is a reason you chose the schedule you did. Of course things change, but I think that you should be open to trying some of the classes that are already on your schedule. You can also try other ones that seem more your speed if you’re really not feeling the old classes. Sign up for what you want now, but be open-minded because there is a whole shopping period to look forward to where you can add and drop classes freely! If it’s not too painful, try waking up a little earlier at least once. If it is really unbearable, don’t worry—nothing’s set in stone.

Dear Eliana,
So I received a package this past week from my grandmother, who had knitted me a sweater. She included a really sweet note explaining how much care and love she put into every stitch. But it is just ugly. She put in this pattern of a turkey on it, because she expects me to wear it when I see her at Thanksgiving dinner, but it barely looks like an animal. And it is just very uncomfortable. I talked to my mother, and she said that my grandmother is really looking forward to seeing me wear it at Thanksgiving. I love my Nana but I hate the sweater. What do I do?

Dear Itchy,
Thanksgiving is still a few months away, but it’s never too early to start planning how to avoid an ugly sweater! It sounds like your grandmother was just trying to be nice. The sweater might not be the most fashionable item in your closet, but since it’s your grandmother, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for you to wear it for one meal. Think about it this way: You wear it for Thanksgiving dinner, and maybe for a bit before that. You really only need to wear it when she’s around and you’ll probably be at home most of the day. Additionally, is there really anyone you need to impress? It will probably be mostly family and close friends with you, who like you enough not to care what you’re wearing. If it turns out there is someone of the opposite sex that you do need to impress, I’m sure they will just think that you’re sweet for caring so much about your grandmother’s feelings.

I have a car on campus, so I’m usually the first person that my friends call when they need to get somewhere. Typically I don’t mind, but one friend in particular seems to feel that I’m his personal chauffeur, expecting me to drive him wherever and whenever. Every once in a while is no problem, but sometimes he calls me looking for a ride to Hannaford’s or something when I’m trying to write a paper. How do I let him know that this sort of thing isn’t right and it gets inconvenient for me to always abide to his wishes?
-Taxi Driver

Dear Taxi Driver,
Having a car on campus is definitely both a blessing and a curse. You can go wherever you want, but people will always come to you for a ride. In this case, it sounds like this particular friend needs to learn some boundaries. Next time he asks you for a ride, help him out, but also tell him in a kind way that you have a life and can’t always drive him around. Let him know when you’re busy, and help him figure out alternatives, such as the BranVan or other friends who have cars. If you feel generous, you could give him a specific time every week or so when you know you’ll be free and have a standing Hannaford’s date at that time. If he does keep coming to you, just remember that you are allowed to say no. Tell him you’re sorry, but you have other things going on. Just be honest.
Safe driving!

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