Where can you turn when life throws a wrench into your plans? Who will lend an ear, reserve all judgement, and simply listen when you’re in need of answers to life’s toughest questions? Your mom, dad, or dearest childhood friend? No. You ask Jonah (with the neck tattoos). Have questions? Send them to opinion@gateway.ualberta.ca. 

I bombed my midterm and my parents are mad at me, what do I do?

During a job interview, I’ve never been asked what my grades are like. Outside of academia, no one really cares about your grades, and good grades do not guarantee that you’ll land that dream job or any job for that matter. However, your family has every right to be mad, or, worse, disappointed with you when you bomb a midterm. If you accept their money, you live at home, or you receive any love, support, or assistance in any way, shape, or form from your family, they are allowed to be disappointed with you. Academia is a team sport. Stay out of Duke’s Diner, spend more time in the library, and remember to call home every once and awhile.

All the old people in residence talk about Dukes…what is this place?

Duke’s Diner is where failing engineering students go to die. I had a lot of friends that came to the U of A whilst we were all in our late teens and early 20s. I did most of my partying at university before I actually attended class at university. One time, I had come up to Edmonton to visit a friend who lived in Lister. We crushed beers and guzzled rum then ran manically over to Duke’s to play quarters. Side note: playing quarters has been banned because it encourages the overconsumption of alcohol. During the next morning I woke up in a Lister common area tits up in a chair.

I need a job! Where can I get a job on campus? I need some skrilla!

Getting a job on campus makes a lot of sense: you’re already there for classes so why commute off campus to work? But I feel it’s good to put some distance between you and university every now and again. Distance helps configure your perspectives, and it helps remind you that there is a real world out there outside of academia. Imagine you take four or five years to complete an undergrad, and you worked part-time on campus for the majority of those years. Your whole network will be established within the confines of the university setting, and when you go to make the transition into the real world, you may find yourself outside of your network’s support base. Get a job off campus. But if you’re adamant you want to maintain a contained university experience, I hear Emp Fest is coming back – whatever that is.               

How the hell do y’all afford all this?

I can’t: I’ve got student loans, I’m tapping into my hard savings, I’ve been given money from my family, I take leftovers when they are offered, I quietly hope someone else picks up the tab, I say thanks when someone chips in for gas money, I pick up change off the street, I wear old clothes, I drive a beater car, I don’t go out to movies, I don’t vacation, I haven’t been on a proper date in months because eating out is expensive, and I hope the condoms I bought last year haven’t expired yet.

Image courtesy of Joshua Storie
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