With five years of experience being in therapy, I’d like to say I have a good grasp on life’s most complex questions. Lucky for you, I pay very close attention to my therapist’s answers, and I now consider myself qualified to step into the role of advice giver for you lovely readers based on questions you submitted to us here at 34th Street. I also took Intro Psych my freshman year, so I’m well on my way to being an expert.
Dear Arielle: How do you cope with jealousy?
— Green with Envy
Dear Green with Envy: Jealousy is a disease babe <3 Get well soon! That being said, there are totally ways to ease the sharp, gut–wrenching, mind–numbing pangs of bitterness that consume your entire being and force you back into the same social media rabbit hole, sick–to–your–stomach spiral of fierce self–hatred that leaves you sobbing on the shower floor and grasping the curtain for support in the wee hours of the morning when no one else is awake to see you suffer.
So what you’ll want to do is really super simple. First, get to the root of the problem. What or who are you jealous of? Maybe it’s the girl who so effortlessly moseyed on up to the boy you were right about to make a move on, stuck her vape in his mouth, and had him exhale into hers? Right on the dance floor? How did she make it look so easy? I—sorry, I mean you—was/were totally getting vibes from him, and it would’ve happened if she hadn’t waltzed in there with her stupid teeny tiny top and her stupid Puff Bar.
Now that you know why you’re feeling this way, talk to a trusted friend and put the situation into perspective. Hey, at least you’re not the one addicted to nicotine! Maybe you dodged a bullet. He’s kind of a slut, anyway. But God, he looks like an excellent kisser. No, wait, focus! At the end of the day, he’s just a guy. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and just remember that you’re a catch *wink wink.*
End by expressing gratitude for what you do have. Number one, healthy lungs. Number two, friends who look out for you. Number three, not a split end in sight. See, you’re doing great! No need to feel jealous when you can recognize all the good in your life.
Dear Arielle: After a hookup, if they don't respond to messages, what do I do and what should I say when I see them in public?
Dear Ghostee: Penn hookup culture leaves a lot to be desired, don’t get me wrong. If you’re not one of the lucky ones who gets cuffed after a date night scheme, you’ve probably experienced getting ghosted. When that happens, there’s two courses of action you can take: one confrontational and one avoidant.
We’ll start with the avoidant one because that’s more my speed, and I even have an anecdote for you! Recently I crossed to the other side of the street—even though I was already on the side I needed to be on—because I saw a past hookup up ahead. I highly recommend just turning around in your tracks, even if it’s inconvenient. This is a good way to demonstrate that they wronged you, as you’re showing them that your highest priority, above timeliness, routine, and schoolwork, is getting the fuck away from them. They’ll definitely notice this and start to fall in love with you because they can’t have you.
Now for the confrontational approach, which I don’t recommend for the weak–hearted. Go up to them. Say hi, how are you? Ask them what’s going on. Tell them that you had a nice time and if they aren’t interested in hanging out again, that’s totally fine—but that you deserve their respect and honesty, and they should just tell you straight up.
Some people are only interested in a one–night stand, and that’s okay (as long as they aren’t making false promises, because then they’d just be a liar). If all else fails, just smile and wave. It’s only weird if you make it weird.
Dear Arielle: How do you figure out what you really want to do with your life?
— Lost Boy
Dear Lost Boy: Lucky for us, Penn has a career center! Just kidding, they’re probably gonna tell you to go into consulting no matter what you’re actually interested in.
Honestly, the best way to figure out what you really want to do with your life is to try different things. One of the easiest ways to learn what you like is to narrow it down by learning what you don’t like. Say yes to new opportunities, make mistakes, quit and start all over again. Every opportunity can lead to a new discovery if you know where to look.
If you still have time in college, try taking a course in a different department. You might be pleasantly surprised at the niche cross–disciplinary classes that Penn has to offer, i.e., Literature and Medicine or Cinema and Politics. They combine various interests and may put a new spin on a subject that’s bored you in the past, paving the way for professions you never knew existed.
If you’re graduating soon or have already, just remember that your first job out of college doesn't have to be your job forever. Adult life isn’t linear like all our years of meticulously planned curriculum might have led us to believe. If Penn is good for anything, it’s teaching us how to network—so cast a wide net, build connections, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Of course, you could always try consulting. I hear it’s pretty easy.