We’re more than two months into quarantine as we help flatten the curve to get back to life as we knew it, but I’ve been seeing some alarming stuff on my Instagram. Like many of us, I haven’t seen my friends since March since I’m practicing social distancing, but as I’m sitting in my house, I tap through Instagram stories filled with rule breakers. I’m talking about influencers traveling across the country, people attending in-person baby showers, barbecues on the lake, and college parties. Honestly, like…what the f*ck?
For me, this is personal. My sister, a NICU nurse, has self-isolated herself from her 11-year-old son since March because of this pandemic, but you’re going to go to a party because you don’t want coronavirus to ruin your social life? Ok.
NY Governor Cuomo recently said that the current rise of cases in New York City is not from essential medical staff and other workers, but rather, from people who are leaving their homes to shop, exercise, and socialize. Trust me, I don’t want to be self-quarantined any more than you do, but we have to do our part if we ever want to get the f*ck out of here. But what I don’t understand, though, is if these people are being selfish and not following social distancing rules, why would they then take a video of it and post it on their social media for everyone to see? I’d think that if you were doing something wrong, you would want to hide it, not flaunt it.
And this, my friends, is the beginning of our investigation: Why are people posting on social media and not social distancing? Many DMs later, I found some social distancing rule breakers and interviewed them, and also consulted a psychologist for her expert analysis. Let’s meet the culprits.
Since the start of the lockdowns, influencers have been in hot water over quarantine, putting out half-assed apologies on their IG stories (hi, Arielle Charnas), and that trend is not stopping. We’ve all seen the jokes about how quarantine is going to show us who’s really a natural blonde, but a number of influencers are taking that really seriously. Recently, Bachelor alums Amanda Stanton and Corinne Olympios broke quarantine to drive hundreds of miles to get their hair done, and they’re far from the only offenders. We came across one influencer, Serena Kerrigan, who posted an entire video explaining to her followers that she’s getting her roots done (still not an essential service in New York). She says “don’t come after me” at the end of this video, but people came nonetheless.
no words pic.twitter.com/4bBRH7dgJF
— gays0n (@feelinlikeclunt) May 10, 2020
Kerrigan chose to break social distancing rules because, as she explained via Instagram stories to her 56.4k followers, she “hates seeing her roots on camera.” Forget the pandemic, people dying, and families that can’t say goodbye to their loved ones, this girl’s roots are showing!
Dr. Purvi Parikh, allergist/immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, warns that the problem with meeting up with others (whether it be for a roots touch-up or to have a picnic in the park), even when following social distancing guidelines, is that “you do not know where the person has been in the last two weeks, who they have interacted with.” And while you could take certain precautions, like, as Dr. Parikh explains, asking “if they or anyone they have been in contact with has traveled, had fever, tested positive for COVID-19, or had other symptoms like a cough in the last two weeks”, she ultimately concludes, “anytime you interact with anyone, it is a potential risk.”
Kerrigan says in the video that she made sure the woman who came to do her hair had been isolating, and that they were going to wear gloves and masks and “take all the necessary precautions”. Amanda Stanton and Corinne Olympios, however, did none of that, and photographed themselves at a salon with not a single mask or glove in sight.
While neither Olympios nor Stanton outright encouraged their followers to go on an interstate quest for highlights like they did, and Kerrigan ends her video saying, “I’m not saying that you guys should do this, I just am going to do it”, the reality is that influencers can make an impact, positive or negative, on their followers with every post. While they may think that they’re only putting themselves at risk by bending the rules, they may unknowingly be swaying their followers to break social distancing rules too. This is why we can’t have nice things.
The College Senior
I want to note that no one is winning in this pandemic. We’re all making the best of this awful situation. It really sucks for college seniors who are not able to experience their last semester together or walk at graduation—these are moments they’ll never get back. But as tough as it is, it’s not an exemption to break social distancing.
Earlier this month, a group of more than 20 graduating seniors all traveled down to their college in South Carolina. Allie and her friends have been posting their last hurrah escapades, and I asked her why she was posting, knowing that the rest of the country is following quarantine guidelines and watching closely to call out those who aren’t. She tells me, “At first I didn’t post and I would get annoyed seeing my friends’ posts. I saw more and more posts of kids hanging and completely ignoring the rules. As the weeks went on, I started breaking the rules too because it made me so angry seeing everyone else having fun. We went down to school for the last two weeks because we didn’t want graduation to be taken away from us.”
Among close friends, she felt peer pressure to resume the life she had. Allie says, “I wanted to maintain my social life as we all just wanted a sense of normalcy. I felt a strange pressure to show my followers that I was having fun with our happy hours despite being in quarantine. I wanted to keep up with the quantity of content that I was used to posting before the virus.”
While Allie didn’t receive any backlash personally, she feared that people were talking behind her back. Hypocritically, she adds, “In my group chat with my close friends, we would discuss different people’s Instagram and Snapchat stories and bash them if they were not social distancing. We were definitely judging anyone who was not being ‘safe’ by our standards.”
Max’s Instagram stories consist of him and his friends playing soccer on a turf field, even after NJ parks have been shut down. He tells me that the police were called to the scene to ask them to leave on numerous occasions, but they kept returning.
While he doesn’t feel pressured to post about his illicit games, this New Jersey native tells me, “Soccer for me is a way to decompress, long before quarantine happened. For my mental state I need my escape, and if people have a problem with that I honestly don’t really care.”
Dr. Parikh says, “Soccer and other sports where there can be physical contact are especially risky, as usually people are spreading the virus more when physically exerting themselves—breathing heavier, coughing or sneezing outdoors, and from physical contact with sweat, there is potential for viral spread.” She recommends wearing a face mask while playing sports, maintaining a 6-foot distance, and if you’re meeting friends in a park, “do not share blankets—everyone will likely need their own.” But above all, she says, “I would avoid sports with close physical contact.”
With an invincible mentality, Max has no intention to stop going to the field with his friends. “If I get it, I get it. If I die, I die,” he says. “I’m not blaming anyone else. We all know the risks and potential problems that arise. I’m so sick of everyone on Instagram acting like they’re suddenly a doctor now trying to tell me how to live my life.”
What The Psychologist Says
Dr. Joanna Petrides, a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, specializes in anxiety and human behavior. She acknowledges that everyone is trying to maintain a sense of normalcy right now, and says, “These three people highlight the desire to engage in activities which energize us, lift our spirits, give us a boost in self-confidence, and help us to find comfort and balance in our lives while publishing it on social media. Unfortunately, these same activities are also putting ourselves at risk and there is a really selfish undertone to the reasoning behind it. Many of the people breaking the restrictions have stated they accept the consequences of becoming ill and were willing to take that on.”
It’s fine, I guess, to not have any regard for your own life, but that mindset conveniently ignores the real reason we social distance: to protect others. “What we’re not hearing is the awareness that they could unknowingly spread this illness with tragic effect after indulging in a seemingly minor activity,” Dr. Petrides warns.
“If enough influencers start breaking the rules or enough people post about social gatherings on social media, then people are going to think, ‘If they’re doing it, why can’t I,’ which was exactly what Allie said was her influence,” she adds. “And when this level of groupthink is present, the desire to fit in with others we relate to can lead to additional problematic decisions and inadvertent consequences of spreading infection when it could have been prevented.”
So, given the potential for blowback, why go out of your way to expose yourself breaking the rules? Dr. Petrides weighs in: “As we saw in the example of the influencer, there’s a push to not let down followers and still try to stay relevant.” She also considers, “being controversial is one way we stay on followers’ radars.”
“Lastly, there’s also a desire for attention during an isolating period like what we are currently experiencing. One way to express, demonstrate, and minimize effects of loneliness and facilitate discussion is through posting on social media and spurring reactions in others. Even if it creates negative attention towards the person posting, it still satisfies our need for attention and provides a break in the loneliness felt.”
Am I the only one who feels like we’re all in one giant group project, where some people are doing all the work to flatten the curve while others just goof off? That, and the whole “do anything for attention, even if it’s negative attention,” feels very middle school. But even though some people care more about likes, replies, and keeping up with their social media presence than potentially getting COVID-19, and a pandemic with over 100,000 deaths and counting in the United States isn’t shaking them, I did find that a lot of people are with me, doing good and following the rules while helping others however they can. Hopefully, we will continue to course-correct the rule breakers to get back to the 2020 we originally anticipated.
There are certain age-old questions we all must contend with at one point or another: What is the meaning of life? What is my calling? How long should I wait before sleeping with the new person I’m dating? OK, so the third one may not be quite as existential as the others, but it’s one that has boggled the minds of many a
lost soul dater in this day and age. Countless books have been written on the subject, and people like Patti Stanger have made careers out of telling people, most often women, that they shouldn’t get into bed before being monogamous with a partner. But *Oprah voice* what is the truth? There’s no hard and fast rule (despite what the Three Dates Truthers tell you), but there are various factors to consider on both sides. I’ve compiled the arguments for and against waiting to have sex with the new person in your life so you can decide for yourself.
The Case For Waiting
The Case For Doing Whatever The F*ck You Want
Of course, we can’t always reduce human behavior to a formula when every relationship and individual in one is so different. Those who eschew rules about waiting for sex have a problem with the fear-based beliefs that allow such rules to be born in the first place, like the idea that men are wild stallions who must be tamed and trained and women who refuse to do so will end up trampled and abandoned. Ideas like these lead us to create rules that provide some semblance of order, but are these fears really warranted? Andrea Syrtash, co-author of It’s Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date: And Every Other Rule of Dating, Debunked, thinks not: “A recent survey of 1,000 18- to 35-year-old women found that over 83 percent felt that men will lose interest and respect if you hook up with them too soon. But 70 percent of men said that’s not true—if they’re interested, it doesn’t matter. Getting naked won’t affect if he calls the next day.”
It’s true that men and women are different, but according to experts like Syrtash, subscribing to the notion that biology equals destiny reinforces antiquated gender roles and potentially keeps us from taking risks in love that might very well pay off. While it
seems indisputable may feel like every guy is a f*ckboy, that’s not actually the case.
So when is the appropriate time to have sex? One of the more enduring rules states that you should wait until the third date. However, one recent study found that the average was closer to eight dates. Ultimately, only you can know when you’re ready to sleep with someone new. There are compelling reasons to wait or to dive right in. On the one hand, rules allow us to feel safe and help to create order in what can often be a chaotic dating world. On the other hand, reinforcing old-fashioned stereotypes about sex is… well… not very 2020.
Rules are never one-size-fits-all, and these rules are no different. Being true to yourself and your desires is the most important factor of all. Whatever camp you find yourself in, it comes down to trust, both of yourself and the partner in question, whether that takes one date or one hundred. As long as you’re doing what feels right to you and not in response to pressure or some sense of obligation, there’s no wrong answer. You do you (or him/her/them).
Images: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash; Giphy (2)
If you would have pulled bits and pieces of different boys out of different coming-of-age novels, that’s who Adam* was. A true Judy f*cking Bloom character. He was beautiful, with his dark, curly hair and unsettling hazel eyes with a green speck right next to his left pupil.
When I look back now, it almost feels like I wrote my first love story for some young adult audience, ready to be turned into a Netflix film starring Noah Centineo. The sepia-hued memories of us napping in fields, making out in the back row of the movie theater, writing long, embarrassing Myspace (yes, Myspace) posts for each and every one of our monthiversaries—we were the definition of a teenage cliche.
He was all wrong for me because, of course he was. Maybe that’s what made him right? He would pull his hoodie over his head and sleep in the back row of class, waiting for the hangover from the senior party he went to the night before to wear off. He made out with girls two years older than him because they all thought he was hot enough to slum it with, his easy confidence and built arms from years of rowing crew luring them in.
There was no reason for him to pay attention to me, and I had no reason to accept his advances. So, naturally, we fell grotesquely, painfully, horribly in love.
From the note he passed in science class asking me on a date to our dramatic breakup (not the first one. Orrrr the second one. But the third one. That one) to the years-later, post-breakup, “let’s pretend this didn’t happen unless we’re getting back together” hookup on the beach, my first love was the stuff of adolescent fantasies everywhere. And the best part? During it all, I felt like I was the only person in the world to feel that intensely, that strongly, that much.
Turns out, almost every other failed first love story has the same premise. That falling. That unsteadiness. That “maybe I’ll never get over it even though I’m actually totally over it” feeling. While some people say they feel nothing for their first loves, the rest of us
who aren’t lying can admit that just because it didn’t work out, and just because you might not still be in love, there always seems to be ~something~ about your first love that you just can’t shake.
As I typed that, I had a total Carrie Bradshaw moment and couldn’t help but wonder: Why do we even care? For most of us, our first loves are LONG gone and out of our lives, so why do the ghosts of those relationships linger on and haunt us well beyond our final goodbyes?
In order to get to the bottom of my musings, I reached out to Judge Lauren Lake of Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court, because if anyone is an expert on love and heartbreak, it’s the woman who has made a career of educating those with broken hearts and helping them heal… not to mention punishing the assholes who hurt them.
According to Judge Lauren Lake, “First loves are usually so intense and often between two immature people, so, ultimately, they serve as the foundation for future relationships.” (For better or for worse.)
Which means that no matter how your first meaningful relationship went down, your brain literally uses it as the baseboard for all future relationships because it’s, to pull out a word from the 5th-grade science fair, the control. Which is why you might randomly have dreams about said ex or think of them from time to time, even years after things went to sh*t—which, thankfully, doesn’t mean you’re a psycho.
“It happens because you’re human,” Lake says. “Love doesn’t just end when someone breaks your heart. It’s very possible to have love for someone who isn’t your Mr./Mrs. Right, especially if it was the first person you thought was going to be your lifelong partner.”
Art Aron, a psychology professor at State University of New York at Stony Brook who specializes in close relationships, told The Washington Post, “Your first experience of something is going to be well remembered, more than later experiences, presumably there’d be more arousal and excitement, especially if it’s somewhat scary.”
And honestly? There are very few things scarier than falling in love. It’s a nonstop anxiety trip of will they or won’t they, do they or don’t they. It’s exhausting and panic-inducing, but that rush is so powerful that humans have been chasing it for centuries. “Even in a fully developed adult brain, the neurological response to being in love with someone is very strong,” says Art. “It’s the same as being on cocaine.”
So, for the not fully-formed adolescent brain pumping weird thoughts into a body full of hormones and Mountain Dew, the feelings, responses, and the lasting effects of falling is love are completely magnified.
“Love doesn’t happen overnight,” says Lake. “It doesn’t end overnight, either. When you truly love someone, there will always be a part of you that still loves them, even if they did you wrong. It is still possible to have love for someone but know you have to move on from them.”
Can u imagine getting married and having a family and staying in love until u die, then waiting in the afterlife for your wife to join you and she finally dies and ditches u for a dude she knew for three days on a boat instead?? Anyway I’d give Titanic a 9/10
— Saddington 2 ✈️🥺 (@2Saddington) November 12, 2019
Easier said than done, right? Still, if you have those lingering feelings, it might be important to take a closer look before they cause real damage to your current or future relationships. While things you learned from those firsts are important (like knowing that you don’t have to stick your tongue in someone’s mouth every time you kiss), there’s a limit. While that first person might be part of your future foundation, there’s a fine line between learning from those experiences and leaning on them.
According to Lake, “You have to be careful not to make your first love a figure in your future relationships. No one wants to hear about someone’s ex all the time, even if it is a first love from years ago.”
While most of us will still, subconsciously, refer back to lessons learned from our first loves in future relationships (or even do the occasional Instagram sweep out of curiosity), there’s a big difference between your first love being a foundation and your first love being a figure in your life. How do you tell the difference?
“Having love in your heart for someone and still pining for them are two very different things,” says Lake. “It’s important to evaluate whether or not you have an unhealthy attachment to your ex. Are you consistently and consciously comparing new people you’re dating to them? Do you still fantasize about being in a relationship with them? Do you regularly look at their social media accounts? Do you still have all of their pictures in your phone? Did you save their texts? Do you drive by their house?”
While most of us (I hope) would realize that the ol’ drive-by move is total You style stalking, some of the other unhealthy habits might be a little harder to not only detect, but also break. As stated before, love, and especially first love, is as addictive as cocaine. Which means that while it’s fun and exciting and keeps you up all night and makes you feel insanely sexy, it can also be pretty effing unhealthy. While those little first love-related pastimes might feel harmless, they could be detrimental in the long run.
According to Lake, “If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may need to admit that you’re still hung up on or have attachment issues to your ex. If so, you NEED to spend time doing the work to heal yourself before you get into a relationship with someone new or to better move forward with the person you’re with.”
Naturally, the big question is “how the f*ck do you do that if you’re so obsessed that you considered driving by their house when you were visiting your family for the holidays?”
“Stop romanticizing it! At the end of the day you left, or they left you. Let go of those unrealistic and unhealthy fantasies,” says Lake. “You might have to just accept the fact that you may never truly get over this person completely. But you can definitely learn to live life without them.”
While taking the steps to fully, finally, and healthily get over them means making pro/con lists, burning all of their sh*t that you still have in a box and then saging your apartment, or seeking professional help, know that “losing your first, or any, love isn’t easy for anyone,” says Lake, “but you can overcome it and access the limitless possibilities for love and happiness that are in your future. One of the most important relationship lessons to learn is that it takes more than love to sustain a great relationship.”
You know, like communication, patience, and pretending that hearing him talk about his fantasy football team doesn’t make your vagina totally dry up. See?! Healthy relationships!!!!!!
So, whether you’re totally over him or still in the process, post your sloriest thirst-trap and say goodbye to past relationship hangups in 2020. The best gift of all? Knowing that no matter how good his life is now, there’s a 100% chance he’ll see your post and hate himself for f*cking things up with you. And THAT, my loves, is the ultimate cure for heartbreak. Well, that and seeing that he ends up on Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court someday. Here’s to hoping!
*name has been changed because, despite popular belief, I’m not a TOTAL psycho.
Think About Why You Want To Get Married
Does Your Partner Really Need An Ultimatum?
Deal In Facts
Make It A Dialogue
Stick To Your Guns
Whether you’re a bright-eyed freshman, have switched your major three times so far this semester, or you’re a junior and somehow still not quite sure what you want to study, let me assure you that the major you pick will impact your entire life in a pretty big way. Freshmen especially, listen up: your major also plays a big part in who your friends will be, what your college experience will feel like, and how other students perceive you. Will it matter after you graduate in terms of getting jobs? Not one bit. But it will affect your social life, which is the most important part of college, obviously.
Your major is also extremely important because if you’re gonna be hungover in your 8am, you might as well enjoy the other 200 people in the lecture and have some interest in the class material you’re so desperately trying to retain. For those of us not sitting in that lecture hall (we stop making that mistake after one semester), and eager freshmen alike, here’s what your major says about you.
Accounting And/Or Finance
I hooked up with a guy with this major who freaked out at me when I asked what made his major so hard. Apparently asking him how entering numbers into a spreadsheet qualified as a legitimate course of study wasn’t the most supportive thing to do in that moment, but whatever.
If you’re majoring in Accounting or Finance, you’re probably super ambitious and a douchebag on the side. Honestly, I don’t doubt you’re better at money management than me, so please hit me up if you want to teach me how to save money or if you know what the f*ck a 401(k) is.
Looking into the future, you’re probably super pumped for the Wall Street summer internship your sister’s boyfriend promised to score for you, but spoiler alert: you’re really doing coffee runs and won’t see any daylight, so have fun with that, sweetheart! You’re likely planning on being the betchy version of Jordan Belfort (you know, without all those legal issues and hopefully no quaaludes) but in reality, you’re looking at a sh*t ton of time spent networking with your dad’s friends.
Basically, if you’re delving into a business school major, be prepared to both work and schmooze your ass off each year to get ahead of the rest of your class. Unless of course, you quit after freshman year to become a comm major. No shade.
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It’s bizarre to me that econ majors and business majors have beef. Guess what? You’re all smart, you’re all annoying as hell, and you’re all equally as likely to either fail miserably or become the next Bill Gates!! You watch Bloomberg and read The Wall Street Journal while scrolling through that weird stock app I can’t delete from my iPhone. Obviously, you can also recite the entirety of The Big Short from memory.
I wouldn’t call myself an econ expert, so I’m not really positive how people actually apply their economics degree post-grad. You’re probably planning on going to even more school and becoming a professor or one of those
try-hard ~cool~ high school econ teachers or something.
Due to the interesting state of America today, these students are multiplying overnight. Poli-sci students tend to fall on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. Whether sporting MAGA hats with no shame or constantly skipping classes to protest whatever dumb sh*t came out of the White House this week, poli-sci wins as the most entertaining spectator sport.
If you have absolutely zero chill, did Speech and Debate in high school, and enjoy starting sh*t with your friends, this is the perfect major for you! You get a thrill from causing fights after four vodka sodas, especially when the bartender tries charging you $9 for the fifth. Just remember, “God Brad, don’t you realize you’re contributing to capitalist oppression!?” isn’t as good of an argument as you think when you’re slurring your words… especially when the bartender’s name is actually Ryan.
If this is your major, you’re probably planning on going to law school and becoming the next Liz Warren or RBG (good luck). Just remember, we can’t all be Elle Woods, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Comm classes are the 21st century version of Noah’s f*cking Ark. Seriously, where else can you find a clueless fifth-year senior, a hungover VSCO girl, and a future Pulitzer Prize winner learning the same thing?
If you’re a comm major, you’re either constantly asking your friend which filter matches your Insta feed aesthetic or talking about the depressing state of journalism today. Comm majors are constantly posting on social media, remain the go-to friend for caption ideas, and daydream of comparisons to Walter Cronkite as you host your own MSNBC (or Fox News) show.
In any case, your parents are paying a sh*t-ton for you to spend four years lazily plagiarizing Wikipedia articles about famous journalists to graduate with a fairly limited amount of hard skills. Congrats.
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If you’re uptight, a stoner, and have a bit of a superiority complex, philosophy is the perfect major for you.
When you come home for the holidays and your family asks about school, some of them shake their heads in disappointment, some of them have no further questions, and there’s a good chance your uncle will start an argument with you about Descartes’ theory of the self.
I’m minoring in philosophy and TBH I’m not even really sure what else there is to do with a philosophy degree aside from becoming a professor or marrying rich.
literally no one:
musical theater kids: https://t.co/PwPukUbzt5
— sadie (@sadieoleary) November 27, 2018
These are the students you hear belting everything from Phantom of the Opera to Wicked to Mean Girls in the communal bathroom. Theatre kids are basically real-life versions of the cast of Glee (during those awkward seasons that followed them to college).
If you’re overdramatic, kind of narcissistic, and not completely tone-deaf, a theatre major will feel like home. You probably continued taking dance classes and doing community theatre loooong after your friends outgrew their second-grade tutus.
When you aren’t loudly singing in your dorm during midterms (please quiet the f*ck down, practice rooms exist for a reason), you’re inviting your entire Facebook friends list to the event for your upcoming class performance of Guys and Dolls. You’ll most likely move to New York or LA after graduation and spend the foreseeable future in endless auditions. Good luck with that—the whole world’s your stage, betch!
I know, I know, these majors are actually really different, but they both, like, do math and build a lot of stuff so they’re grouped together in my mind.
The only real interaction I’ve had with an architecture student is the time I wasn’t watching where I was walking and almost knocked their model building over. Architecture and engineering both seem really challenging, and since I’ve never met either type of student, I can only assume they spend even more time studying than pre-med students.
If you’re studying one of these subjects, you probably played with Legos until you were 17 and did really well in subjects like geometry and physics. Since so much of your time is spent studying and building stuff, you’d better hope you can at least tolerate your classmates. From what I’ve heard, engineering and architecture students “like, basically live in lab/studio,” so you have to be cool with becoming a hermit.
Everything I know about architecture is based on Ted Mosby (so I wouldn’t exactly call myself the most credible source on this one), but maybe you’re aspiring to design a skyscraper in NYC one day! We love #betchesinSTEM.
While this isn’t technically an actual major, it might as well be. I’m not quite sure what pre-med students even learn about or how they do it, but anyone who has enough motivation to make it through a semester (or two) of organic chem is a better person than me.
You probably picked your major after binging Grey’s Anatomy for the first time. If you’re in pre-med, you have to be very patient (lol). You can expect to spend countless hours in labs and in the library. When you finally surface from the black hole of studying to go out, you’ll get stuck with whoever ends up puking, because “med school.” Your friends will probably treat you like f*cking WebMD any time they have a weird sneezing fit and tell you vivid details of alllll of their symptoms when they think they have a UTI.
Pre-med students should look forward to pretty much spending the rest of their young lives in school and residencies before finally starting to make enough money to pull themselves out of student debt.
If you’re just as smart as your pre-med friends (but with more people skills) and aren’t into the idea of a decade of school and a ton of student debt, you should consider nursing! You get to take a bunch of science classes, learn all about medicines and the minor difference between them, and in my experience, nurses are a hell of a lot more fun to be around and they get cooler scrubs. Then when you graduate, you get to do a bunch of the same stuff doctors do, only you get way less credit, are paid less, and treated worse! Exciting!
Spoiler Alert: Getting a 5 on your AP psych class does NOT mean you’ll automatically be good at college psych, trust me.
If you’re majoring in psychology, you’re probably not into letting your friend use Mercury in Retrograde as a reason to justify hooking up with their ex. It’s more likely that you’ll end up psychoanalyzing how their repressed experiences cause low self-esteem (which is such a buzzkill).
While some people who graduate with a psych major end up doing something totally unrelated, a lot of psych majors are truly doing the Lord’s work and making bank for it. Who else is willing to listen to the problems of bougie millennials and suburban moms whose kids have left for college?
What’s good, future Ms. Frizzle? Education majors often get a bad rap, but we all know that teaching is literally one of the most important professions ever.
Education programs are home to washed-up camp counselors, patient saints, and future trophy wives alike. If you can tolerate anyone from children to pretentious sorority girls, like coloring, and basically own stock in Michael’s and OfficeMax for all the money you spend on school supplies, this is the field for you.
Who knows, you might go on to be a kick-ass teacher and change some lives, Dead Poets Society style. If so, try reeeeally hard not to be one of those assholes who takes a full school year to grade papers because if it’s not abundantly clear by the 15 emails you’ve gotten asking for an update, students hate that sh*t.
There are literally hundreds of majors (and minors) you can choose to study, and this list just scratches the surface. If you’ve somehow gone through the whole course catalog and still don’t vibe with any of the options, your next steps will probably be to either create an individualized major or re-evaluate if college is actually right for you.
No matter what you decide to do with the next four-plus years of your youth, be prepared to spend at least half of that time pushing your body to its absolute limits in every way: hygiene (yes bitch, you do smell after spending three straight nights in the library), coffee intake (“is six espresso shots too many? I have a final tomorrow”), and stress levels, because you’re in for a wild ride. Good luck.
Images: kaboompics/Pixabay; off campus / Instagram (2); sadieoleary / Twitter
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when you go to Target, you’re going to spend $200 more than you need to. Like, sure, you came in for witch hazel and maybe a candle but you’re leaving with a back to school set (even though you graduated three years ago), a throw pillow making kit, and directions for a barbecue that you’ll never buy. That’s how it works.
But what if I told you that Target knew exactly what it was doing and was letting the throw pillows mess with you on purpose? I know. Welcome to the glamorous but also sad world of advertising.
After some research that was put into the very questionable dynamic of Target shoppers, Refinery29 has confirmed that your impulse buys have a scientific basis. So you’re still fiscally irresponsible and in possession of two more micro-fleece blankets than you actually need, but it’s nice to know that it’s not entirely your fault.
Basically, Target is laid out to fuck with you. According to Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at New York University, “Stores have an idea about the path . Walmart was once famous for doing things like putting like Band-Aids next to fishing hooks and things like that. Something you don’t naturally associate, but once you see them there, it makes sense.”
So the evil genius layout that has you staring at clothes clearly made for high schoolers, combined with the generally cheery aesthetic and likely the oxygen they pump in like a Vegas casino (unconfirmed) creates the perfect storm for an impulse buying environment. And the worst part? They know it. Joe Perdew, Target’s Vice President of Store Design, knows it. “That whole ‘I came in for shampoo and left with two carts full of other things’ phenomenon is real!”
TL;DR: Target is that guy from college that you used to hook up with when you were feeling shitty about yourself, who fully knew the situation and played into your self-destructive behavior. You will remember him. You will revisit him. You will never trust him. Or his buy one, get one candles.
It’s time we get real for a second. Your mental health might be an area of your life that you’re neglecting, but it shouldn’t be. It can feel difficult to talk to someone about your mental health, so that’s why we enlisted Dr. Jenny Taitz to answer some of your most common mental health questions. Dr. Taitz is a clinical psychologist and author of How To Be Single And Happy: Science-Based Strategies For Keeping Your Sanity While Looking For a Soul Mate. Dr. Taitz has already given some great advice on how not to let being single depress you; now, we’re talking to her about anxiety. Read below for how to tell if you have panic disorder (what most millennials refer to as “having anxiety”), or if you’re just feeling temporarily anxious, and how to cure it.
Remember that time you had a barely noticeable pimple that you tried to “fix,” leaving your face looking worse? The way people handle anxiety reminds me of attacking a minor blemish to the point that you have a scar. I don’t want to minimize—it’s so frustrating to feel like you want to relax and can’t calm down. Yet, there are so many ways we make ourselves much worse. If you notice that worry is stalking you, you’re not alone—millennials’ biggest mental health complaint is anxiety. The good news is that if you truly have panic disorder, your life isn’t over. While you may think you belong in the E.R., the problem is so treatable that cognitive behavioral therapy frees 80% of people from symptoms in as little as 8 sessions. If you have other forms of anxiety, evidence-based therapies that teach you mindfulness, acceptance, and ways to approach your fears will empower you (studies have found these therapies work as well as medications) and won’t entail investing years lying on a therapist’s couch.
What’s A Panic Attack?
If you’ve been freaking out for more than 30 minutes because you have so much to do you and you don’t even know where to start, you are—technically speaking—anxious. As panicky as you feel, by definition, a panic attack hits people out of nowhere and lasts less than 10 minutes. Some symptoms of panic include sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, and fear of either losing control dying. While anxiety can include physical symptoms, panic is briefly terrifying and your stress is about your physiology (e.g. I’m going to pass out), not issues in your life. Some people feel so nervous about being overwhelmed by panic that they develop agoraphobia and try to skip any situation that they can’t easily escape (e.g. subways or concerts).
Anxiety is annoying—of course you don’t like worrying, feeling restless, uncontrollably tensing, or struggling to restfully sleep. Generally, if you worry excessively about others judging you, that’s known as social anxiety, and common fears include sounding stupid or introducing yourself in a big group (if you think you have this, 15 million American adults meet the criteria). If you have general anxiety, lots of topics from money to health run wild in your mind. Specific phobia, the most common anxiety disorder, describes irrationally fearing a specific situation (e.g., seeing rats or flying).
How TF Do I Get Better?
Action is the way out of anxiety, so please don’t wait to feel better in order to realize your goals (especially if your goal is feeling better). Avoidance literally maintains your fears, so therapy will cheer you on to approach what you want to postpone. Life is hard and learning skills to accept uncomfortable feelings (yup, that means skipping self-medicating with weed or wine) will set you free, since we all get screwed over when we won’t tolerate less than feeling comfortably. I love the quote, “the price of security is insecurity.”
Btw, do you know what you do in therapy if you have panic attacks? Your therapist will help you do things like hyperventilate so you realize that you can cope (on that note, more than 80% of what you worry about never actually happens). You got this, betches!
If you feel trapped by anxiety, you can find a therapist who specializes in evidence-based therapies by visiting www.abct.org.
Images: Kyle Broad / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
As a clinical psychologist who works with 20-30 somethings, clients have been sharing how awful this moment in time feels. Sexism and women’s mistreatment is all over the news, yet guys on apps haven’t totally changed their ways. And now, Valentine’s Day candy is sitting on your co-worker’s desk. It can feel like problems in the world (dating disappointments) are colliding to make you feel worse about your love life. Here are some of the ways to feel freer from my new book How to be Single and Happy, since you’re awesome and it’s too risky to wait for the world to change.
1. Know That A Partner Is Not The Path To Happiness
Even if shows like The Bachelor or stories about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s engagement seem to suggest otherwise, social scientists who devote their careers to studying happiness explain that happiness has more to do with your activities and your headspace than your circumstances. In a study of more than 24,000 people, marriage increased happiness, on average, by 1%! I’m all for coupling, it’s just practical to remember that you can be joyful regardless of your relationship status, since having the mindset that you need a plus one to feel whole will depress you. Plus, happiness is attractive and charismatic. You don’t deserve to wait for another person to live best!
2. If You’re Worried About Ending Up Alone, Your Thinking Is Off
Imagine someone tells you that based on certain facts, you’ll probably end up alone, then asks you to complete math problems. How do you think you’ll perform? One of my favorite psychologists actually did this and found basically what you’d expect. As he describes: “Anticipating aloneness reduces intelligent thought.” No one can predict his or her future, and the moment you decide you’ll be by yourself forever, you are simply not being rational. The smartest thing to do when you begin to imagine isolation is to remind yourself, compassionately, that you aren’t thinking clearly. After all, ruminating and obsessing negatively creates suffering.
3. Don’t Wait For Cupid To Say OK
Take a moment and make a list of how your life will be different when you meet someone you cherish. Now take that list, and start taking action! I know this is easier said than done, but you don’t need to feel like you’re spending your life in an airport waiting for a flight to your dream destination, especially if you’ve been waiting a long time. Creating a schedule of activities that give you pleasure and a sense of accomplishment increases your well-being. It can be tempting to imagine how these plans may be more fun with someone, but when you notice that trap, observe it and come back to participating in whatever it is your doing. If you haven’t been lucky (and yes, a lot of coupling has to do with luck), you still deserve to savor opportunities. And when you meet someone, you don’t want to regret missing moments of your life. People joke about FOMO, but you will miss out IRL if you’re watching and waiting rather than committing to experiencing.
4. Appreciate That A Lover Doesn’t Solve Loneliness
Amazingly, and in the most respectful way, experts on the topic of loneliness have found that feeling uncomfortably alone has a lot to do with you. Telling yourself you’ll never make close friends, judging yourself as separate, or others as not worth your time can close you off from meaningful connections. By thinking less judgmentally (and considering that someone may have forgotten to text you back, rather than writing him off as a flake) and avoiding the conclusion that you’re a loser, you’ll feel more motivated to get close to people. Of course, it’s hard to meet people and not everyone is going to become your dream tribe. That said, being kind and acting easygoing can make you feel friendlier. I see many people in fulfilling relationships who feel lonely. I also see people who are uncoupled who feel fulfilled in their lives. Researchers clarify that a single person can’t remedy loneliness—most people need roughly five close friends to experience a sense of fulfilling intimacy. It’s not too late to connect, especially since satisfying relationships extend your life and make your life worth extending.
5. Think About Ways You Can Give Love
Habitually, we often focus on our goals, or what we hope to achieve (think a perfect person, job, and body) rather than on our values, or how we show up in our lives (think being a good friend, working hard, and making healthy choices). When people think about coupling, they often imagine all the ways they hope to receive love. But interestingly enough, to feel the emotion of love we also need to offer love. And there are so many ways to give love. Amazingly, self-compassion and contributing to others can create loving feelings and remind you that you can experience real love. I’m willing to bet that kindness meditation, practicing gratitude, and volunteering (all of which I expand on in more detail in my book) will improve your life more than a hot Valentine.
For more information visit Dr. Jenny Taitz’s website.
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