/askslash/ 1st edition

Dear UCG community: you asked, we answered. This week Gt and Mia cover your questions about future decisions, sex, darkness, and Christmas gift ideas. You can submit your own questions through this link. 


1. Exchange! Why do I have to decide where I want to go next year? I feel that through UCG everyone changes a lot year by year so I am quite concerned with my decision  


Hey hey! First of all, I understand that making decisions can be a bit overwhelming, cause you never know if this is the right choice for you. But let me tell you this: no matter what choice you make, it’s gonna be the right one. Trust your gut feeling: deep down you tend to lean towards a certain thing. Some people will tell you to make a pros and cons list, I think that’s BS. Don’t try and reason your way into this. No matter what country you end up in, you are going to have the time of your life. Yes, you are going to change, but no matter who you’ll be when you finally go on exchange, you’ll attract the people and the experiences you need in that moment. I think that if someone is unhappy in a certain place, it is rather a problem within themself, rather than the location which is causing this problem. Putting yourself in new and unknown environments is a fantastic way to challenge yourself and grow as a person. 


2. I want to have sex but I don't want my first to be one night stand what should I do?


Romance, relationships, and sex are difficult areas for anyone to navigate. It might help to remember that pretty much everyone doesn’t know what they’re doing. No one has the correct map to charter a path through the wonderfully sticky situations which can come about through sex. Personally, I am not against one night stands or casual sex in general, but I do believe a lot of people will try to separate intimacy from sex. Contemporary notions of one-night stands propagate this idea, and to me, it feels a little wrong. One-night stands can be exciting and thrilling but I had to learn and accept that for me, sex is deeply intimate and trying to seperate that intimacy from the act seems foolish and harmful. Having said that, I also believe it’s possible to have a one-night stand where intimacy is embraced by both parties, and for me, this is far more preferable. Sorry for the bloated answer but as to my advice for you, I would say honesty is your best policy. Be truthful with what you want, and don’t shy away from expressing this. If what you want is to build a connection with someone then go for it. Yes, rejection is scary but also doesn’t really hurt you (except maybe your self-esteem which, depending on the kind of person you are, can indeed be very painful). If you don’t know what you want, however, well then you should express that too. So much in romance and sex is trial and error, it’s a messy world with no clear path to take because what works for one person will not work for another. All you can do is try, and when you try, be honest. 


3.Can you please help me get some motivation in these dark days? I really struggle with doing basic tasks like uni or waking up early when the days get darker :(


This question hits pretty damn hard and I feel wholly underqualified to answer it. In fact, I would prefer if someone answered this question for me, for I myself am also looking for answers. Lack of sunlight is especially relatable to someone who has spent their whole life in warm countries near the equator. Days were more-or-less consistent both in temperature and the amount of sunshine. Now I must live in a frozen wasteland where I can’t spend too much time outside otherwise my hands will be enveloped by numb pain. On a more hopeful note, in regard to sunlight, I only discovered recently that there is a biological process behind why we experience more sadness during winter and that is due to lack of vitamin D which your body uses to release serotonin or some shit like that. Put simply, no sunlight=no vitamin D=less happiness. I have been told multiple times to go get myself some vitamin D tablets in order to mend this imbalance. Perhaps you could tell me if that works? Because this is my fourth winter here and I have consistently failed to go get these vitamins due to my lack of motivation and laziness. Granted, my supplies of motivation and initiative have never been full but winter certainly makes it worse. 

On top of all that we have a pandemic, and it’s made things pretty damn shit. I don’t know about you but I am completely cut off from my family and this Christmas will be an unfamiliar experience, to say the least. I know the government doesn't want me to endorse this but it’s important to have a Christmas experience WITH someone. Not a random of course but with friends, if family is no longer possible. I know this sounds simple but in my opinion, it’s one of the main reasons for the existence of Christmas. This is the darkest most depressing time of the year (at least in the northern hemisphere) which is why there are so many lights everywhere and why it’s a tradition to get together around that sparkly tree and remind each other of the nice things in life. Like that light still exists (even though it doesn't give you vitamin D), the wonderful pleasure of giving someone a gift, and the even greater pleasure of receiving something. Not to mention the good food for there is no better time to indulge yourself in some fine dining than in the depressing setting of winter. I hope my answer was helpful at least in some small regard.


Editors note: I find a routine helps me a lot: If I wrote into my agenda that I am going for a winter swim, or for a run, or to the market, that already helps a lot to get me out of bed in the morning. Set yourself one little goal for every day, like, today I will do laundry. I think everyone needs to find their own source of motivation in their life, that’s just what works for me. I really hope you find your light, and remember, you are not alone in this. 


4. What should I get my brother for Christmas?


This is a tricky one, considering I don’t even know the age of your bro; if he’s 12, then suggesting a nice selection of craft beers is highly inappropriate. If he is into video games (like my brother) a Playstation/Steam/Nintendo/(insert his preferred gaming platform here) gift card would be very welcomed. If you want to give him a nudge towards a more healthy lifestyle, which either of the previous present ideas are clearly not, opt for a book or a new sport shirt. If he’s stylish, buy him a funky bucket hat, or a thrifted 80s jacket from Recessie (my fav thrift store in Gro). For super cheap random as shit head to Mamamini, but not the one at the Noorderplantsoen (here all the goodies are always gone), may I instead suggest the one in Helpman or Damsterdiep? Good presents don’t have to be expensive or new, it’s supposed to be a nice gesture, not send you (even more) into debt. Considering that almost all the shops are closed since yesterday, I can imagine that this is a challenge. Online shopping is going to be your best friend right now. 

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