YCA Week One: Diving Back In


Hello, hello, hello! What’s that? Your Aunts are back? Yep, you heard right, we’re diving head-first into our week one column, no-nonsense style. Want some niceties and further introductions? Check out our week zero intro column. We’ve got a lot to unpack, so let’s empty those suitcases.

Remember, there’s three of us working on the column now after the addition of the fantastic Emily so this week’s advice will be extra spicy.

Q1: Hi ! Love what you’re doing ! I guess my question/worry is about my friend group.We’ve gotten a long so well during michaelmas term (I’m a fresher) but during Lent most of them stayed in college and I went home. It sort of seems like since the beginning of Lent they’ve ‘forgotten’ me and carried on with their lives without me. Although it’s a bit meaningless, I think they also have a group chat without me… I’m not sure how to take it, I might be overthinking it but should I talk to them about it?

We’re so sorry to hear that you’re feeling like this, but first and foremost we want to say that even if they do have a group chat without you, this definitely isn’t a problem.  Yes, it may make it feel like you’re being excluded but realistically, if you were at home, they probably set it up to organise things without making you feel left out. If you feel more isolated in the friendship group, the best thing to do is talk to them.  Don’t allow your (completely valid!) anxieties to undermine your relationships with them.

I think it’s also important to realise that, naturally, you will not be as close to them as they are with each other simply because you weren’t here last term. They will have new inside jokes and stories that they laugh about but please don’t let this upset you! If anything, be happy that they had a good time and have plenty of stories and drama to update you on! The best thing to do is to avoid villanising them – it’s not their fault that they ended up spending time last term without you – blame it on le pandemic! Just have a casual conversation with them about how you’re feeling, get yourself updated on all the tea and then let the times you missed out on drive you to see each other more! I’m sure you’ll all have a great Easter term!

Q2: I’m pretty worried about finding somewhere to live after my college contract is up. I won’t be given accommodation next year, but as an international during COVID, I really don’t know much about the UK, including the rental market, bills, taxes, or even the currency. I have special accommodation requirements so I’m really worried that I won’t find a place I can afford. The colleges know it’s important to house undergrads, but they think it’s fine to chuck postgrads out onto the street…

This is definitely not a subject that we specialise in, but again we are so sorry that you have to deal with this and can’t imagine how horrendously stressful it must be.  If you have special accommodation requirements, it may be worth speaking to the DRC.  We would also definitely recommend that you make an appointment to talk this through with your tutor ASAP!

Q3: At what point is it okay to tell your partner their mental health issues are making them a bad partner – I know they can’t fix their situation overnight but I also can’t be an infinite sponge for anger, sadness and frustration especially given everything else going on right now

You’re absolutely right about not being the sole bearer of your partner’s mental health. This can (and sounds like it is) taking a toll on your own wellbeing. As soon as this situation starts negatively impacting you, I think it’s fair to have a conversation about it. Whilst it is essential for you to be there for them, you can be there for your partner in other ways than just listening to what they have to say about mental health. 

A sit down chat with your partner is the first thing you can do to help both of you. Don’t blame them for their mental health but just chat about the impact it’s having on you so that they understand how you feel. Certain issues can be particularly heavy – just explain this to them. You are still there to chat and happy to listen to their worries but for your own wellbeing, you may sometimes have to take a step back from this. That is okay! 

After explaining your situation to them, you can discuss new ways in which you can support one another – maybe dates or meeting up can provide a distraction…



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