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Dear Eliana: Back-to-school problems

Hi Eliana,

So far my classes have been fine. But the professor for my Spanish class is giving me fits. It’s a mid-level Spanish course, but she usually speaks only Spanish during class. Half the time we all have no idea what we are supposed to do, since none of us are that accomplished at speaking Spanish. Should I drop the class or try talking to the professor?



Dear Confused,

While it is harder for a class to take place in a different language, especially in a lower level class, it does help you with your understanding in the long run. It will definitely get easier as the semester continues, but in the mean time you should not be afraid to talk to your professor. I would assume that she wants you to know what’s going on in class, so if it’s ever unclear, just raise your hand and ask for clarification. If the rest of the class is having trouble as well, then you have no reason to be embarrassed and people will probably be glad you asked. If it continues to be a problem, go to the professor’s office hours and just tell her that you’re having some difficulties. She will most likely want to help you, so you can go from there.

¡Buena suerte!




Hi Eliana,

I turned 21 over the summer and it’s been great. But since I’ve come back to school, some of my other friends are asking me to go out and buy alcohol for them since I have a car and can now do so. While I don’t mind helping them out, I’m starting to get worried that the cashiers at Gordon’s think that I have a problem since I’m in there almost every day. I want to tell them that this isn’t all for me, but I think that would just get me into more trouble. What do I do? Should I start cycling through all of the local liquor stores so it doesn’t look so bad?

-Old Man Jenkins


Dear Old Man Jenkins,

It’s very nice of you to buy alcoholic beverages for your friends, but if it’s going to continue, you’ll probably want to create some guidelines. It might be helpful if you make a Gordon’s run only once a week. Tell your friends to decide if they want anything and what they want by Thursday, for example. If they don’t let you know by then, they have to wait until next week or find someone else. If you still feel uncomfortable buying alcohol in bulk every week, then don’t do it. There are many other ‘adults’ on campus with cars. You could also rotate who you’ll buy for each week, so you don’t have to get as much at once.




Hi Eliana,

I’m living in a suite for the first time and I’m having trouble keeping everything clean. Cleaning the kitchen, bathroom and common areas is a pretty big hassle on top of having to go to class and working during the week. How the heck do I find time to get this done?

-Stuck in a Pigsty


Dear Stuck in a Pigsty,

Cleaning is an unfortunate necessity. However, you are not alone. If you live in a suite, that means you are living with other people who can also help you clean! Get together as a group and work out a system to split the work. Maybe you rotate who’s in charge of cleaning one area for the week. Perhaps you each have a chore, like dishes or vacuuming. The possibilities are endless! That way, it’s not just one person cleaning everything all the time. Besides that, just be aware of the messes you make and clean as you go. Don’t just leave everything to pile up and then have to do everything at once.





Hi Eliana,

In an effort to save a lot of money on books, I ordered a bunch of used books through Amazon marketplace. But since they’re from places like Oregon and Ohio, it might take a while to ship them to me. Some classes are already assigning readings from these books, but they haven’t come in yet, and probably won’t for a while. How I do tell my professors that I don’t have the books yet, so I can’t complete the reading?

-Waiting Patiently


Dear Waiting Patiently,

Saving money is always nice. While you’re waiting for your books to arrive, here are some ideas on how to keep up with the work:

1) Ask a friend! If you know someone in the class, ask them if you can borrow their copy until yours comes. If you don’t already know someone in the class, this is also a great opportunity to make a new friend!

2) Go to the library! Many professors put a copy or two of the class’ books on hold. Go to the front desk and see if they have a copy you can use. You can also photocopy the pages you need, so you can bring the text to class.

3) The Internet! Some texts are available online, so you can always check there if there isn’t a hard copy around.

I hope this helps! May all your books arrive speedily.


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