With the presidential election just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our incredible lack of human rights. In honor of National Coming Out Week, I’d like to give a little advice to any and every member of the LGBT community — let your opinions be heard because your voices, thoughts and actions are more important now than ever before.
I consider myself lucky. I grew up with an extremely open-minded family and managed to migrate to a group of very diverse and sexually liberated friends. Granted the chance to see how beautiful, intelligent, brave and empowering the LGBT community is, I was baffled at how anyone could discriminate or hate this group of people without even knowing them.
But within this community, I’ve also witnessed a lot of suffering. I watched as my friend’s parents sent him to a therapist because of his sexuality and listened as another friend debated whether or not to tell her dad that she was gay, knowing that he would be disappointed. I saw the aftermath of a boy in my high school, afraid and ashamed of his sexuality, commit suicide, and I listened as students and parents continued to portray being gay as some sort of disease.
So now is your chance to stop more pain from happening. Whether you’re straight or gay, you can make an impact. I don’t care if you do it by signing a petition, voting for a certain candidate who will move us closer to equality or wearing head-to-toe rainbow for the entirety of NCOW. Just do it. Because the more you show support for individuality and the harder you hold your LGBT friends’ hands, the louder our government will hear our message — we are gay, bisexual, transgender or whatever the hell we want to be, and we are damn proud of it.
Now, back to the basics.
Question: How do you go about seeking out internships relevant to your major?
Answer: Lucky for you, there are plenty of options. You can always take the simple path and visit the Career Center or go to your department’s advising office to get some clear-cut advice, but truthfully, to get your dream internship, you’re going to have to attack it head on. I have two options for you that seemed to work out pretty well for me.
First, research! Research the places that you could see yourself working at in the future then reach out to them about any opportunities to intern. Some companies might not list options on their websites, but that’s where the work comes in — you need to find an email, a phone number or both and get in touch with them. Even if they don’t have an internship program, your enthusiasm might persuade them to consider one, making you an all-star.
Want some expert advice? Go to your favorite professor. Believe it or not, they’re there to help and have a lot of knowledge on the most stand-out programs. My wonderful journalism professor Larry Stains helped me discover the American Society of Magazine Editors internship program, which I would have never even considered.
It might not always be easy finding the perfect internship, but it’s not just going to be handed to you. You need to fight for it, just like you need to fight to find the perfect job out of college.
Q: How do I not end up blacking out at parties?
A: Ah, the problem that plagues most of us college students. Let me just say, my freshman year was a series of blackouts, yet somehow, it was the best and most ridiculous year of my life. I dove into tubs of jungle juice, pre-gamed much too hard and fully took advantage of the cheapness of High Gravity 40s. But, alas, there comes a time when we can no longer use the “but I’m a freshman” excuse and must gain a sense of responsibility and self-control.
How to go about this? You need to set your limits. Now, I understand the difficulty of this situation because I’m still working on it, but there are some simple tips.
One: Never, ever take more than two or three shots before you leave the house.
Two: Resist the urge to continue buying drinks at the bar after you already have your buzz going — you’ll just end up with an empty wallet and an upset stomach.
Three: Keep the next day in the back of your mind. No one wants to end up lying in bed with the remnants of last night’s makeup — i.e. fake eyelashes stuck to your forehead — or a vodka and Redbull-induced headache.
Q: I’m in a long distance relationship and my girlfriend hooked up with another girl. What should I do?
A: I may be biased on this issue because I’ve been cheated on before, and I know firsthand how badly it hurts — like that whole ripping your heart out with pliers and then feeding it to your dog kind of hurt. And I don’t think that kind of pain is worth it.
I mean, you have to be realistic here, people who cheat once often do cheat again. I’m not saying every time, but it’s a strong possibility, and if you take that person back you have to be willing to go through this all a second time. And trust me, it hurts worse the next time around because not only do you feel betrayed but you also feel kind of foolish. But if you honestly think saving your relationship is worth that risk, then you’re going to have to be prepared to fully forgive your significant other because it’s never going to work otherwise.
Cary Carr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.