Content warning: self-directed violence
"df demystifies'" is TechNews's singular advice column, offering students the opportunity to access 13 years of undergraduate experience to help make the decisions that will or break their time at Illinois Tech.
DEAR df: I’ve started seeing someone recently and things have, somehow, been going really well. We see each other multiple times a week, we have great chemistry, and so-far I haven’t said anything off-putting I couldn’t wave off as a joke. I really like this person, and I can see being with them for a long time to come. The problem is, however, that I’m starting to catch feelings really hard and I’m thinking I might be in love! The love isn’t the problem of course, it’s the timing; we’ve only been dating for two months and I’m worried if I say how I really feel it’ll scare them off. So my question is: how soon is it appropriate to confess my true feelings and how should I go about doing it?
---Afraid to Love
DEAR AFRAID: Before I get into the meat ‘n potatoes of my answer, let me just say congratulations on your relationship. If you’re writing to me you’re likely a student at Illinois Tech and thus a STEM major and it’s oftentimes quite difficult to find someone who tolerates you as a greasy lifeless nerd. That being said, the easy part is starting the relationship, the hard part is maintaining it as your partner slowly realizes just how bad of a mistake they made. Now, to answer your question, there’s no hard-and-fast rule on when to say "I love you" for the first time, each relationship is different and sometimes you can get away with expressing your feelings within the first week whereas in other situations you’re better off never saying it until well after you two have broken up. The best thing to do is to simply wait it out. Intimate relationships are oftentimes like the Cold War: each party nervously eyes the other waiting for a slip-up or misstep to seize on and get the ball rolling, in our metaphor this being a global thermonuclear war. Similarly, sometimes it’s best to engage in a proxy relationship: don’t make it about you and your feelings, make it about someone else’s and play off that to see where you stand. Perhaps the person you're dating has close friends? Angrily demand to know if they love THEM and if they say they don’t come back with a “Then who do you love?!” Alternatively, make ultimatums and/or threats: “I love you and if you don’t love me back I’m going to napalm your home until you do.” Look to the Vietnam War for good lessons in this regard.
DEAR df: Well I don’t know how you feel but as far as I’m concerned the weather has started to suck hard. The days are shorter and colder and it’s not just making me cranky it’s affecting my work. I’ve been self-diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), so I know for a fact it’s not my fault and that just drives me crazy. It may feel nice to sleep 12 hours a day in the moment, but when I wake up to five overdue assignments and dozens of unanswered emails it’s enough to make anyone just straight up miserable. I’ve tried coffee, I’ve tried getting more sun, I’ve tried exercise, h**l I even tried vitamin D supplements and none of it helps! I’m starting to notice my overall grades slipping and going into the second round of midterms I can’t afford any more screw-ups. You seem well-put together and productive, what’s your secret to staying on top of your responsibilities as the seasons grind onwards?
---How About That Weather?
DEAR WEATHER: As beautiful and exciting as our city of Chicago can be, these winters can truly be nightmarish for those of us with a weak grasp on our mental health. In fact, as much as I try to maintain the illusion of being a productive, well-adjusted individual year-round, I too feel myself slow-down (or completely stop) every year when it starts to get colder. With that in mind, I can provide a few tips to keep yourself functional until we get through these hellish months. First off, you touched on one of the main issues I, and most of us, face when the days shorten, namely the unshakeable feeling of fatigue no matter how much sleep you get. Coffee and other chemicals can work in the short term, but you know what works even when you get a tolerance to stimulants? Pain. Next time you feel yourself nodding off or unable to focus, try hitting yourself! I like to use a belt across my back or inner-thigh, but don’t be afraid to find what works for you. Maybe it’s closing a door on your fingers, maybe it’s biting your wrist, maybe it’s even a full fledged medieval rack if you have the budget, as long as it hurts it’ll work. Second, sometimes you’re not tired you just can’t self-motivate. After all, when there’s snow on the ground and your room is cold just getting out of your warm bed can be a huge obstacle. To address this issue, I like to just throw out my warm clothes. You’ll find it so much easier to stay on track when you’re mildly hypothermic, after-all there’s nothing like the lingering, instinctual fear of freezing to death to keep that focus razor sharp. Finally, regardless of whatever your specific issues are it’s important to just remember that SAD is only ever temporary, eventually it’ll be warm and sunny again and you’ll be right back at it! Until it’s cold again. Actually I guess there’s no escape unless you move south so maybe try that? I don’t know, I’m so tired, get off my back.
DEAR df: You do such a nice job answering these letters and running your show and I just want to take a moment to thank you for that. It’s nice to know someone is out there providing not only hilarious and informative content, but also the important knowledge students need to do not just well but excellently in their life on-campus and off. In fact, my favorite part of cracking open each fresh issue of TechNews is seeing all the amazing ways to solve problems I didn’t even know I had! I also look forward to every Wednesday 10 p.m. to midnight only on WIIT 88.9 FM to learn about the latest news on campus and listen to thought-provoking guests, sometimes I even call in at 312 567 3088. (But only during the second hour where you have your call-in segment of course ha ha!) I don’t have a question for you, I just wanted to express my deep gratitude and the endless joy I feel to know that the student body has such an incredible, intelligent, wise, charismatic, and handsome individual among them.
---Definitely Not a Sock Puppet
DEAR DEFINITELY: Thanks.
Tune in to "are we cool yet?" broadcast live 10pm - midnight every Wednesday exclusively on WIIT 88.9FM. If you would like to ask df a question go to fb.com/arewecoolyetFM and click "message page'" or email [email protected]