This is the first edition of Dear Ruby, Love and Life on the Block, The Catalyst’s anonymous advice column. If you are interested in submitting a question for Ruby to answer, please scan this QR code.
“I want to quit my sport here but don’t know what my life would be like without it? What do I do?”
My advice: quit. If you’re contemplating quitting, you should quit. If your sport doesn’t add to your college experience, quit. As a DIII athlete, you’re pretty much playing your sport solely for personal enjoyment. There are no legal implications and no money involved, just your own time and effort. The minute you stop enjoying the time and effort it takes to be involved, there’s no reason for you to keep playing. Continuing to compete in a sport you no longer enjoy (at an intense level, might I add) will only tarnish your fond and joyful memories of your time playing. Quit on a positive note, before you are filled with hate and resentment for a sport you may have once loved.
I assume you played this sport for a very long time, and it was a big part of your life. Losing your athletic identity is a tough loss; however, there are ways to build your identity independent of your sport. Discover new things that make your heart pound – take on an adjunct, go to Clay Club, enjoy a new type of exercise, start climbing, go to free swim, devour (rather than skim) your academic readings, spend more time with friends who aren’t in sports. Life without your sport may seem daunting, but I promise there are other ways to find fulfillment, you just have to look.
And, believe it or not, the “NARPs” (non-athletic regular persons) are shockingly fun too. I’d also like to add that you are not any less of a person being a non-athlete. Athletics often come with an ego and some sense of superiority, but I promise you are just as important, whether you play a sport or not.
Do with this advice what you will, but I am proud of you for thinking about it. At a school so heavily influenced by athletes, the mere thought of leaving the world of athletics is unsettling. I can assure you there are plenty of ex-athletes (or non-athletes) out there that you can confide in, befriend, and appreciate. I wish you all the luck, and please, never hesitate to reach out.
“I just discovered that the boy that I’ve gone on a couple dates with has different political views than me… is this a valid thing to be concerned about?”
Dear Conflicted Dater,
I can certainly understand why this would be concerning. And yes, I think it is a valid thing to be concerned about; you are justified. However, I don’t think opposing political beliefs should be a deal-breaker, and here’s why:
I think it is unbelievably important to surround yourself with people you disagree with. Now, I don’t mean you should disagree on everything, especially things that may be harmful to you. I do think being around people with different opinions and views from your own can be a beautiful thing. This can expand your own horizons and maybe even get you out of your own head.
I’d also like to remind you of the stereotypes surrounding politics. We hold so many assumptions about political beliefs that can lead to misunderstandings and preconceived judgment. Just because your partner may be liberal or conservative, it does not mean they stand for everything the political party does or that they are a bad person. Try and set these assumptions aside to genuinely hear your partner.
Now, I’d like to note that the only way your opposing political views can be possible in your relationship is with open communication and mutual respect. There are some things you can do to facilitate healthy conversation and to prevent this from becoming a problem:
- Don’t try to change your partner’s mind. Conducting a conversation by trying to make your partner agree with you is not respecting their beliefs. Shift the narrative to have political conversations where you both actively hear each other, rather than trying to manipulate the conversation into trying to get them to agree.
- Agree to disagree. Without differences in lifestyles and beliefs, there wouldn’t be any growth in our world. Learning to get along with someone who disagrees with you may not change your mind, but it will change your mindset.
I wish you the best of luck in your romantic endeavors. I completely understand it may be intimidating to facilitate a relationship with someone who has completely different beliefs from your own. In the event your conversations turn hostile or respect is lost, it is no longer a relationship you should be in. However, I believe there are things you can do first to prevent this from happening.