Sunday, March 26, 2006

Q39: We had a fight - how do I know if he still likes me?

Via Email:


He's probably pulling the "I don't like you, so I'm ignoring you" rigamarole. Or perhaps he's trying to make you even more jealous, and show that he doesn't need you. The best thing to do is to talk to him and ask him straight out what he wants to do. Be prepared for him to say that he doesn't like you anymore, but also be prepared for what you'd say, whether he wants to get back together or whether he wants to break up. It sounds like you two have had a fight, so decide if the relationship is something you want to salvage or keep going, in which case you probably should apologize to him, depending on what made you jealous or pissed-off. If it's not, then just ignore him right back, and don't worry about it.

You could also try talking to his friends, but that can often be misinterpreted, and seen as insecure and silly. A direct confrontation is probably the best/quickest/most honest way to go.

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again. :)]

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Q38: Which is better for a resume -- one page or two pages?

Via AIM: [Screename has been substituted w/ a "Q" to protect the innocent.]

Q: holy crap! it's askthebeaver! hey! I got a question...
Q: I have this friend who has a 2-page resume
Q: "what!? are you smoking crack!?" I asked him
Q: but he said that his business writing professor (he goes to a different school) said that that was the way to go
Q: what do you have to say about it?
Q: I mean, I've ***always*** heard that it was supposed to be one page
Q: here's what he said: My Business Writing professor said more people with 2 page resumes get hired as opposed to 1 page

First off, I think it depends on what's on the resume. I've heard of people who have a bunch of info, so they split their resume into two pages -- the first page depicts "experience" and the back page shows a "Summary of Publications" or something along those lines.

In general, I've heard that companies like clear, succinct, concise, one-page kind of resumes that point out the important facets of the applicant. That way, when they're skimming through oodles of apps, the applicant can snag their attention with his major accomplishments.

Though your friend's business professor claims that people w/ two-page resumes get hired as opposed to one-page, I think that's due to the actual stuff the people have done, as opposed to the length of their resume.

I recommend taking the resume to a business counselor, or perhaps the Career Office, and have the professional people there look at his resume. Alternatively, make two versions of the resume -- a single-page one with significant accomplishments, and a two-page one with more details and experiences -- and ask companies (either at a career fair or at an interview) which one they'd prefer. Perhaps you and your friend should have a contest -- if you have a one-page resume and he's got a two-page resume, see which one of you gets into more jobs. Let us know the result! :)

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again. :)]

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Q37: How can I help a friend who might be in a too-intense relationship?

Hi Beavers,

I need advice on how to handle a situation with my friend. She's in a very serious relationship with a guy who I think is a little too intense. She's not doing well in school right now and has lost touch with her other friends because she spends all her time with him. I had started to think he was an ok guy, because she says he is really supportive of her, but now it seems like he's completely taking charge of her life. It might not be any of my business, but how can I tell her that I don't think she should be in such a serious relationship?
- Confused friend

From Beaver #1:
This is serious, so I'm just going to write something down real quick...

For me, I generally prefer a direct approach--she may not like what you have to say, but it sounds like you really should say it. Relationships in which one person is in complete control can quickly become abusive. Hopefully, that hasn't happened and won't happen, but either way, a relationship should not alter someone's life to the point where their future could be affected -- I'm particularly thinking about school here.

I'd say find a way to see her in a place where you both feel safe. Keep your cool, because she could get angry with you. It's also possible that she may need real help, especially if abuse has already started (emotional or otherwise). He may be threatening her, in the event that she leaves him. In this case, also be prepared to help her get the assistance she needs, possibly with mediating groups at your school, or more therapeutic groups in case she's depressed/anxious.

If things go well, you may just need to talk to her and help her realize that her relationship either needs to cool down or break off. But if things are more serious, be prepared (and possibly get other friends involved) to give her the help she might need.

At worst, she could shut you out completely. But it's better than never trying at all.

From Beaver#2:
If you don't think that it's gotten to the point of "possible abuse" yet, then you could try taking an exploratory approach, initially. First off, talking w/ your friend is key. Talk to her alone, tell her that you're there for her, and find out why she's letting this guy "run her life."

There is a possibility that you're worried over nothing -- quite a few people tend to "disappear" when they get into a relationship, especially if they haven't had a "serious relationship" before. However, if she's letting her academics slip, then you might want to find out exactly what kind of "support" her boyfriend is giving her. Be supportive, too. You could throw in a few lighthearted comments that she never spends time with you any more. Ask her about school, and tell her a few of the resources available. These can range from tutoring to extra credit projects, etc.

You could also talk to the boyfriend, or ask him to help her w/ her academics and such. Be VERY careful on that one -- if she's the jealous type, she might think that you're trying to steal him away, or that you're butting into her affairs. And whatever you tell him, he'll probably tell her. And you should definitely talk to her first before talking to him. When you talk to her, you could even suggest that she study more w/ her boyfriend. Then, if you run into him in the hall or something (I don't recommend writing him an email or seeking him out), then you could ask casually, "So... have you and [insert your friend's name here] been studying a lot lately? It's getting really busy for everyone. Maybe we should form a study group. Would you guys like to join?" Try to include her in more group activities, especially academic ones.

At MIT, if someone's failing their classes, he/she will receive an academic warning. If she's gotten one and refuses to do anything about it, you might want to talk with the Dean of Student Life, or perhaps one of the various academic or residential advisors on campus. They have more experience in dealing with sensitive or possibly harmful issues, and might also be able to give you more insight into the situation.

We wish you the best of luck, and we hope that your friend will be okay.

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again.]

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Q36: How do I snag a smart guy?

Hey! I got this little bit of a problem. I like a smart guy. He's my senior by two years and I've been close to him for the past month. I've hinted at him that I kinda like him, and I've been asking him questions on my genetics lecture notes (he's a final year biology student doing a project on fish genetics, who always ace his exams, and I'm a second year biology student who still has no idea what to do for my own final year project, and I'm just an average student), even though I totally understand everything stated in the lecture notes. He didn't seem to get my hints and to tell you the truth, it's starting to drive me crazy.

I have no idea how to pursue him since he said he prefer Chinese girls over all other ethnic group. I've tried asking him out but, he declined me politely, telling me that he's too busy doing his project.

How do I pursue this smart guy? Is it similar with pursuing average guys?

Just another question, this is biology-related though (the subject, i.e.)

I'm supposed to be doing a final year project in two years' time, of which I've to make up my mind by next year so that I can plan on what to do. The trouble is, I just can't make up my mind whether I want to do field work or lab work.

I like doing field work since I like being in the rainforest, but I hate the heat and the fatigue of working in a rainforest, since I suffer from a controlled asthma which only attacks me when I'm feeling very tired and if I stay up until the odd hours in the morning. Meanwhile, though I am comfortable working in the lab, I don't really like it as much as I like field work, but somehow, due to my condition, almost all my lecturers discourage me from doing field work.

Please do give me some advice...

-Bio Babe

Here's what I'd say, without much editing done:

Although it's not true that all men are the same, well... they kind of are. Unfortunately, I have to say it means he is just as oblivious to any and all hints as any other guy. Sigh.

He's just got the added bit about being very driven academically. It's like asking if it's different to go after a sporty guy than an average guy, or a stylish guy. I think in some ways you're avoiding bigger problems by wondering if the issue is that he's "smart".

Now, I think you're on the right track trying to engage him intellectually since that seems to be his thing. But I think you're already selling yourself short by placing him in a higher place intellectually than you are. He may be bright, but he probably doesn't need you to tell him that, and if you're really interested in him, you're probably better off talking about some subject in which you are "equals". By always treating him as someone "superior" to yourself, it's not anything like the beginning of a relationship -- it's like he's your TA.

Heck, that conversation about your fieldwork... might you be able to ask him about that? Or your final year project? Something where his input really *would* be valuable.

I think things will become a lot easier for you once you stop thinking about him as someone who is so much smarter than you, and really think of him as just another human being. He has faults, flaws, and embarrassing stories just like the rest of us. Changing the way you think about him may really help you interact with him better.

That said, we come back to what I said before about hints. Guys don't do hints. Definitely not subtle ones, but even clear and obvious ones can pass them by. What confuses me, though, is that you said you've already asked him out and he's said no. I think that is far more important than him being "smart" or "oblivious", because here I come back to where I said you may be avoiding the bigger problems with these labels: you are probably more worried about the fact that he seems "uninterested".

Put aside, for now, the fact that he is a "smart guy", the fact that he prefers Chinese girls... these things are only going to make you more insecure and less likely to catch his attention. The first thing you need to do is ask your gut if he's really too busy to go out with you (in which case he may not be the most exciting catch anyway), or if he's trying to politely let you down. Either way, you're going to have to change his mind, whether it be about making time for you or considering you at all. And that's going to take confidence. So put aside anything that might make you feel defeated and put on your game face! The right woman can change a man's mind about race, religion, class, or any preconceived notions he may have about who would be right for him. And when she can't, all that means is that the guy probably isn't worth her effort anyway.

So this is my long, convoluted way of giving a little tough love and giving you the bottom line: no more excuses (he's too smart, he prefers other girls), no more games (asking him safe questions about genetics), just be yourself and treat him like you would any guy that you genuinely like. Show interest in things he likes (academic pursuits) and also make sure you get him thinking about your interests (field work in the rainforest must be cool!). And if he says no, it's probably not because you failed to find the appropriate snag-a-smart-dude technique. He might just not feel the same way.

Now, as for your field work... I say, stick to your passions. Do your best to find a way to do what you love, and you will be happier than settling for something comfortable but cold. Like Hannibal, you'll find a way, or you will make one.

Hope that helps!

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again! :)]