What should I do if Great Uncle Jim starts talking politics at the dinner table over the holidays? Do I engage with him, with my new sense of understanding and opinion? Or do I get up and start clearing plates as soon as possible?
Maddie D.: I’m sure you have plenty of opinions about your great uncle’s political comments… but will voicing those thoughts really get anywhere? If Great Uncle Jim says something condescending — and doesn’t direct it towards you specifically — I’d probably just keep quiet and let Great Aunt Margie or Grandma Betty duke it out with him instead, if they so dare. Talking politics with a great uncle who probably has a lot to say sounds like a recipe for a bitter holiday dinner. I’d rather listen to the clanking of silverware as I’m clearing plates than my family coming at each other’s throats over foreign policy. But that’s just me.
I’ve heard freshmen should wait a semester before entering a dating relationship if they want it to last. How long should a freshman wait to date?
Maddie D.: This question depends on what a “dating” relationship looks like. In the context of Bethel (at least in my experience), “dating” looks more like “courting” (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch an episode of 19 Kids and Counting).
After a Bethel girl goes on a date with a Bethel guy, there’s a 99% chance she’ll go back to her dorm room and start another Pinterest album entitled “Rose Gold Engagement Rings.” So, confused Bethel dater, if you’re talking about that kind of dating, then yeah… I would wait to officially enter that “dating” relationship until you have a good idea that they’re “the one.” Say, maybe, three years?
On the other hand, if you’re talking about real-world, normal dating — the I-think-she’s-pretty-so-I’m-going-to-ask-her-out-to-coffee kind of dating — then what are you waiting for? My now-famous little brother Ivan says he usually waits about five to six minutes before he asks a girl out. And he’s in kindergarten.
Maddie C: I don’t think we can help you with a hard and fast rule here. The answer is, it depends. Often times, freshman roll in during welcome week bright-eyed and bushy-tailed hoping to impress every cute new face they meet. Girls stay up late on their floors talking about the hunk they ran into in the Dining Center and how they hope they’ll marry him in four years. Boys make lists on the bathroom mirrors of the “most dateable girls”.
Is this fun? Sure! Meeting all kinds of potential suitors is exciting. Should you start dating the #1 girl on the dateable list by the second Tuesday of the school year? Probably not.
At the college in my hometown, “the October rule” is the unspoken code of conduct. Freshman are expected not to enter a serious relationship until after Oct 1. The upperclassman keep tabs on the freshman relationships forming, and if they find out any daters have made it official they’ll pull a prank to let it be known that the behavior is discouraged.
My advice is wait it out. Let the crazy girl down the hall start and end her relationship before fall break. As they say, patience is a virtue!
Should I hang up my pants? Or fold them and keep them in my dresser?
Maddie D.: I envy the fact that you have enough time on your hands to ponder this decision. My personal preference is to fold my pants and keep them in my dresser, because it takes too much time to hang them up in my closet. But you seem like you need more things to do. So I think you should hang your pants.
Maddie C: This Maddie also folds her pants. Although, it’s not because I don’t have time to hang my pants. It’s because the armour in Heritage has severely limited my hanging clothes space. Due to my excessive amount of dresses and sweaters that are hanging, there isn’t room for me to hang my pants even if I wanted to. So those of you living anywhere but Heritage and Lissner, hang your pants with your extra closet space!
How do you leave the house and start becoming an independent adult? How much should you rely on your parents?
The Maddies: That’s a really hard question. In my (Maddie D.) brother Ivan’s words, growing up means saving a million dollars to buy a new car, driving somewhere far away in said new car, and staying far away until you feel like visiting home. I wish the answer was that simple.
On the one hand, there are students who still count on their parents to buy them gas, give them $20 for the movies and send them off on a spring break road trip to Florida with friends. On the other hand, there are students who can barely make ends meet paying for their own tuition. But I’d wager that most students — including ourselves — fall somewhere in between.
Whether you’re wanting your parents to be more or less involved in your life, here’s what we’ll say: Once you move out, your parents are no longer obligated to do anything for you. Everything they choose to give to you — time, money, a warm meal — is a gift. The extent to which you want your parents involved in your life is up to you. If you feel they’re too involved, you need to let them know. But if you don’t think they’re giving you enough, think again.
What is the value of relationships with faculty and staff members?
Maddie C: Invaluable. When I was college searching, all the small schools used the same line to prove this point. The bubbly admissions tour guide would say, “I know my professors so well. Just last night my biology prof had our whole lab class over for dinner! And I’m actually grabbing coffee with my admissions boss after our tour! That’s what I love about a smaller school like this, you can really get to know faculty and staff on a personal level.”
And I thought that line was annoying. But now, I would say the same thing. Get to know the faculty and staff here on a personal level. Take advantage of being at a smaller school like Bethel where you have the chance to get to know your FacMan boss or your CWC professor. They are much wiser and more well-connected than we are—use that to your advantage. Professors, provosts, presidents and pastors are people just like students, chances are they’d love to get to know you on a personal level just as much as you’d like to get to know them. And maybe they’ll pay you to babysit their kids or write you a stellar recommendation if you’re lucky.