Culture & Travel

Dodgy suggestions from a girl who has no business giving advice to people

By January 16, 2018 No Comments

Image: Sacha Besson//The Sundial Press


By Sophia Greenaway


This is Sophia Greenway’s inaugural advice column for The Sundial Press. Here she addresses questions submitted by students through a Google Form on the Sciences Po Campus of Reims Facebook group on a wide range of topics.


Q: I am an awkward person and super introverted. So it is hard for me to talk to people or keep the conversation. I always feel the need to end a conversation and I never facilitate or message people to meet or hang out. I wanna be more social but it seems so daunting. Any advice?

From one introvert to another: social skills are learned and yes, it’s important to improve them by interacting with actual people; however, absolutely no one wants to hear vague, ivory tower advice like “go out and socialize despite how stressful and exhausting it is,” so here, instead, is the most painless, tangible, specific method for you to expand your horizons and make friends without the stress of dealing with another person:

The number one way to be more social without the pressures of face-to-face interaction is, in fact, by becoming more active on social mediaat least, that’s how I did it.

The funny thing about 2017 is that you don’t need to actually interact with people in order to be considered “social.” On Facebook, the axis upon which the majority of student life at Sciences Po turns, posting in high-traffic areas such as YikYak, Sciences Dodo, and the more general student groups a few times a day will work some unbelievable magic on your social sphere. People will see you, and see you often. In our brains, “social” doesn’t necessarily mean someone who goes around and speaks to everyone; simply seeing someone often enough creates the impression of sociability even if you haven’t left your apartment in three days like yours truly. Post original content, so keep the posts you share to a minimum. If a deep, odd, or funny thought comes into your head, write it down to edit and post later. By posting your thoughts online, you have the ability to think about what you’re going to say, rather than the half-second you get between verbal exchanges. Use it to your advantage.


Q: How to know if someone is into you?

Ask them. You can Google this.

Q: How to deal with homesickness?

Dealing with homesickness in the form of a list:


  1. Videochat your family. Text your siblings, if you have any.
  2. Make a Pinterest/Tumblr moodboard of photos that remind you of home.
  3. Cry really hard. Crying is underrated and will make you feel better (but don’t wallow in your sadness. Cry, but as soon as you feel you tears drying get up and do something productive, like yoga.)
  4. Cook a massive quantity of your favorite dish and invite some friends over for dinner.
  5. And on the topic of food, by the way, stop eating brasserie food and kebab takeout and begin cooking what you ate until the day you moved to Reims. Memories of home are 96% what you ate there.
  6. Clean your room until it’s spotless.
  7. Change your entire outfit and hairstyle a lot — and I mean wear something totally different each day. You’ll feel incredibly refreshed.
  8. Ignore all of your responsibilities for a night and sleep for 12 hours. The world won’t implode, I promise.
  9. Journal. Journaling is a great way to restore equilibrium.
  10. Find a hobby. Finding something to occupy your time outside of school and friends is important in keeping you sane when you’re far from home and living alone. Read, draw, play video games competitively, sing, write, create weird sounds for your downstairs neighbors to puzzle overanything you enjoy doing.


None of these things will make homesickness go away entirely, but I hope that they make it at least a little bit easier to deal with.


An excerpt of this column originally appeared in the November print edition of The Sundial Press on Page 8 under the same title.

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