I’ve been giving a lot of advice lately. And it’s odd. Because I haven’t expected it from myself to really be in this sort of position. My students come to me for a lot of stuff and it’s wild. I’m only in my second year of college – just a year ago, I would’ve loved to have had someone who was chill and straight-up with me about stuff. These are first-year college students, fresh out of high school, asking me about what I think about various things or what they should do in certain situations. It’s an interesting role to play, but it can be really rewarding when your advice makes someone really, really happy.

One thing that I’ve been telling everyone is balance. This is a broad aspect of life. Balance can cover literally anything you want it to. Everything from your diet and exercise to managing schoolwork and social life. But typically, when it’s been coming up here, it’s been regarding emotions and how we can take a stance with things that happen to us. A balance of emotions.

When people, in your eyes, have done you wrong – they’ve betrayed you, they’ve made you feel awful about yourself for no good reason, they do a variety of cruel things towards you, etc. – we can decide how to handle it, right? And in a couple of situations now, I’ve seen that there are some who want to rage at the people who have done them wrong. This is understandable, especially if something hurtful has been going on for a while. But as freshmen, many of these guys are going to be seeing each other often within the next four years of their college careers in their own departments and majors, their buildings, and even various events throughout Detroit. It’s important to keep communicating. Taking things on yourself – as in saying “I feel…” and making use of the word “I” rather than pointing and saying “you, you, you” – is one of the most productive things that we can learn as people when we’re living together. It’s this perspective that can usually make conflicts so. much. better.

If things don’t work out for the better in terms of a friendship, still remaining neutral and polite is a powerful thing. Might not always work because people are complex, but I have to say, I’ve personally seen that it isn’t the worst option, and it can be the higher road to take when you’ve been hurt, rather than lashing back out. This balance of neutrality and the ability to let bad things go is strength in the best way.

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