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Talk to Tabitha volume three: dating apps, money worries and housemates from hell

Does anyone actually read during reading week?


By the sounds of things, Notts students need a total reading week reset and my advice on finding a study-party balance, online dating and housemate pickles is as unhinged as your questions.

Shocking Attendance

“My attendance is so bad. Sometimes I go to one thing a week and it’s only because they will notice if I’m not there and chase me up. I’m so lazy and would rather sleep than go to my lectures and because they are recorded I just tell myself I’ll watch them back later and surprise surprise I never do. Even if I do go to lectures, I’m so tired I can’t learn anything. How do I balance uni life and socialising late at night with my academics?” – Lazy Queen

Dearest Lazy Queen,

I feel you so deeply on this one. First of all, stop it NOW with the negative self talk, if you keep beating yourself up you’re going to continue to act and feel beaten up. You’re not lazy, your life is just out of balance. My main advice on this regard might sound completely counterintuitive, as it’s almost like taking on double the workload, but stick with me on this one, as it works;

Step 1) Make it to those 9ams

Extra points if you’re able to walk there, hiking up the hills on campus is the best hangover cure known to man. The point is that you made it and you’ll feel better later in the day for doing so.

Step 2) Don’t take notes

If you’re completely zombified in your ungodly-hour-early classes, don’t touch your laptop the whole time and just listen, or ponder what to have for dinner tonight. Make sure you have water with you and try to re-hydrate. If you’re really worried about missing info, sit at the front and hit voice record on google docs, it will take notes for you.

Step 3) Do your reading after the lecture

Step 3) Do your reading after the lecture

Step 4) Listen to the lecture again

Pop on some headphones and stick that lecture on 1.5x speed and listen while you do laundry, cook or do your makeup for a night out. When you go back over your likely garbled voice notes, it will all magically make sense and you can edit your notes to your liking.

Now, when/if you make it to your seminars, you won’t sound like a total idiot. If the hangover isn’t too brutal, I’ve even been known to tune out my lecturer and write answers to seminar questions in the lecture itself. My philosophy is that if I’ve made it onto campus, I might as well be doing work. The likelihood is that after a successful day of actually being a student, you’ll be tired and might not go quite so hard at night, thus a work-life balance is achieved.

Sending lots of love and Berocca your way,

Tabitha xx

Never Had a Date

“Do dating apps actually work? I’ve been on a lot of apps and never get any matches. Should I just give up on trying to find anyone to date? I am 22 years old, don’t really have a lot of friends. I moved away from home for work and don’t know anyone where I live now.”- Lonely One

Dear Lonely One,

Bin the apps for now, you’ve got to focus on building a strong social life that you actually like and thrive in. How are you going to date someone if you don’t know where the funs bars and best restaurants are? Join a club or a sports team, or organise more nights out with your existing friends where you can all meet new people. It doesn’t have to be expensive either- there’s tonnes of local pub quizzes, arts and crafts events and as the weather warms up, more open air events like food and drink festivals and outdoor cinemas. Hopefully you’ll meet someone in real life that sees you for you and not the digital version of yourself. However, good friends are the best critics when it comes to dating profiles; if there’s something about your profile that is off-putting that you can’t see, your friends will spot it instantly and call you out on it. The best way to reflect your true self on a dating app is to showcase you doing things you enjoy surrounded by fun, likeminded people- no selfies!

Best of Luck,

Tabitha xo

Housemate from Hell

“My housemate is so disgusting, she leaves clumps of hair everywhere, leaves used sanitary products in the open when we have guests visiting and leaves her raw chicken drumsticks uncovered directly on the fridge shelves. She also refuses to contribute to group things like toilet roll and soap but will still use them and leave everyone else to go without. One time she asked to use my ketchup saying she’d run out when I could see her full bottle in the fridge- so obviously I said no and she went on a rant at me. I’ve tried to talk to her about these issues but she just ignores me and goes off to her room fake crying loudly. My other housemates agree she’s being unfair. What shall we do about her?”- Depressed Housemate

Dear Depressed Housemate,

First of all, I completely get where you’re coming from with your frustrations with this girl. Uni is taxing enough without feeling like you’re coming home to an absolute pigsty and having to step on eggshells around someone. During my time at uni I’ve been both the messy horrendous housemate and you in this situation, when dealing with my own housemate from hell. All of the instances you listed are symptomatic of the declining sense of self worth and self-care fatigue that comes with ill mental health. The only way out of this one is practicing extreme kindness. Apologise for your prior stance and acknowledge that your ‘harshness’ (even if you don’t actually feel that you’ve been particularly harsh) comes from a place of frustration. Say that you want to get along and that you’re here for her. She probably feels totally ashamed of her behaviour and is lashing out defensively, contributing to her low self-esteem and perpetuating the cycle of mess.  If you’re going to the shops, you could ask her to come with you and maybe grab a coffee while you’re at it, to re-build pleasant memories between you. If you’re buying things for the house, offer to buy the loo roll if she buys the soap etc. You could even jokingly pop cling film in her basket and say ‘it’s for your chicken, you minger’ – all the while keeping it light and friendly so that she knows it’s not malicious. When you feel low mentally, you already feel isolated. By the sounds of it, she’s too deep into the cycle that it’s really become a ‘me vs them’ situation. Olive branch all the way, even if it takes a while before she becomes a team player again. You make me wish I could apologise to my old housemates, but unfortunately I lost them as friends because I couldn’t take my own advice!

Be kind and buy bleach,

Love Tabitha xoxo

Housemates and Bills

“Hi, so ever since I moved into my house this year, a really tense topic has been money. Everyone’s on quite different budgets, and I feel like people don’t respect other peoples needs when it comes to not over using the washing machine, leaving lights & heating on etc. How would you suggest I approach this with them? Also I’m struggling to know what items are ‘house items’ (e.g. toilet roll, washing up liquid etc.) and how these should be split cost wise? What would you suggest we do, take it in turns or split the cost every time? or bulk buy?”- Tight4money

Hi Tight4money,

If you’re not the only one in the house in this predicament, you guys need to work together- there’s strength in numbers. If it is just you, unfortunately you’re going to have to be very loud and very annoying in order to be heard. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sit down lecture about how poor you are, but conversations about the heating especially need to happen. It’s more energy efficient to put the heating on a timer and not to whack it on for quick blasts as and when people feel like it. Message in the house group chat and suggest a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night. As for laundry, that’s a little harder to enforce, but you could announce that you’re doing a colours wash and ask if anyone has anything they need clean and go from there. As for ‘house items’ a visual aid always helps; put a list on the fridge or ask when you’re going shopping if you guys need anything for the house. Definitely go for bulk items where possible- it’s easier to split financially, rather than quibbling over pence. I’ve actually found that hosting social events at your place makes everyone miraculously understand that things get dirty, cost money and get used up and there isn’t a toilet paper fairy who replaces the roll during the night. Suggest a party or a pres and watch with glee as they realise your friend group are monsters who leave the tap running, spill drinks everywhere and tread mud up the stairs.

Not long till Easter when you can go home and freeload!

Love, Tabitha xx

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