In the 250 Words series, the RU Student Life writers are posed a question, and in 250 words they each offer their insights.
Question 12: What kind of advice column are you most qualified to write?
Sunita: On Anxiety
There are certain things I love to talk about. I could go on forever about my passion for media, my experiences travelling around the globe and my dreams and desires. But I also love talking about the harder stuff in life – not because it’s easy but because it’s important. Since suffering from anxiety at a very young age I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with my mental health, but when I began to open up about it I learned to overcome it. When I ask someone “How are you?” I am usually given a typical response, but I’ve never liked small talk or superficial conversation. I want to know how someone really is, what makes them happy to be alive but also what makes them wish they weren’t sometimes.
I suppose I am most qualified to give advice about anxiety because of my own experience with it. I know what it’s like to have the weight of the world on your shoulders, but I also know what it’s like to turn it around. It’s been a long and difficult journey, but I’ve found my silver lining and I would like to help others to know that it’s out there. That doesn’t mean there comes a day when everything is suddenly perfect, but it means a time when you realize you’re not the product of past mistakes or the things that you fear. It’s an empowering experience to become your own hero, but once you do you can become another person’s hero too.
Jessica: On Racialized Sexism
As a certified Asian Canadian woman with 23 years of experience under my belt (I joke), I am qualified in giving advice on handling race-related sexism. I am a feminist – I say this with complete ease and without the slightest of hesitation. To the dismay/relief of others, I don’t burn my bras (it’s not like I have money to burn to begin with), stay groomed (I actually suffer from mild trichotillomania), and definitely don’t hate men (I am, however, allergic to assholes). Of course, I know these behaviours have little to do with being a feminist; yet, it somehow gets brought up whenever I mention that, “I’m a feminist.”
I have experienced racialized sexism my entire life. I recall a man striking up a conversation with me about the weather, only to launch into a story about his friend dating an Asian girl who had a “tight pussy.” He inquired whether, “It was true for all Asian girls?” I have to navigate the dating world avoiding “Yellow fever” like it’s some sort of “Yellow Plague.” And through all these experiences, I still get told, “Some people just prefer Asian girls, what’s wrong with that? It’s a compliment.”
Two years ago, I began researching fetishism academically. I wrote about media representation of Asian women, including their portrayal in pornography. I argued, with personal experiences to support my argument, how incredibly damaging these images have on how Asian women are perceived and treated. For these reasons, I feel extremely qualified in giving advice on how to combat aggressors and speak openly on this issue.
Stefanie: On Preparedness
After two years of commuting to school I think it’s safe to call me an expert. There are definitely students who have done it for longer and even more who travel a greater distance but my organizational skills and ability to avoid rush hour like the plague make me decently eligible.
My friends have dubbed my school bag the “Mary Poppins” bag for it’s many, many pockets and ability to hold anything you (might) need in it. If you can name it I probably carry it: deodorant, mouthwash, perfume, a lock, hair elastics, gum (no, you can’t have one), hand sanitizer, coffee, water, my FedEx printing card, extra socks, a gym shirt, a bag for the dirty gym shirt and the list goes on. For what my bag can’t carry I have a locker at the MAC, so if it’s not in my bag it’s probably in my locker.
I also have the ability to sense rush hour from at least three blocks away. If it’s 4:45 p.m. then I’m staying at school until 7 p.m., so, hey friend-from-politics-class want to get some dinner? But if it’s 3:45 p.m. you won’t be able to keep up with me because I’ll be walking oddly fast to catch the next train. If you miss the train, ask me where to buy lunch for under $5 and if they have a vegetarian option because I’ll be able to tell you. Lastly, if I had to choose, “How to never be smelly in class,” would be my catchphrase.
So, what kind of advice column are you most qualified to write? Let us know @RUStudentLife or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or FB message of your own 250 Words.Read more 250 Words questions and responses here.