ILL-ADVISED with Aunt Mo and Aunt Jo (April)

Aunt Mo and Aunt Jo are not aunts and are in no way actually qualified to answer your questions. However, they have a lot of opinions and want you to follow them. This column aims to satisfy our need to give unsolicited advice.  


My best friend is getting back with her ex and I don’t think it’s a good idea. I want to support her, but I don’t want to support this decision. Help!!

-Anxious Amiga

Mo: If your best friend doesn’t follow your advice as much as you follow ours, sometimes it can be hard.

Jo: I think the most important thing here is being vocal about how you feel. Make sure she knows that you love her and support her no matter what she does, but I also think it’s OK to tell her that, as her friend who loves her, you have your doubts.

Mo: I am guilty of asking for advice and not always taking it. Some friends take a tough love approach, but I would caution that. Even if I do not follow the advice of even my closest friends, I still need their support. Maybe more than ever, your friend needs you by her side, regardless of if you support her.

Jo: When I was in this situation, I was really worried that my friend was going to stop wanting to be friends with me because I didn’t totally support her relationship. If you have real, legitimate fears about your friend’s safety or well-being, tell her. But also make sure that she knows that you’ll stick with her no matter what. In the end, she’s going to do what she wants to do.  All you can do is go on the journey with her.

Mo: Regardless of the path forward you choose, Aunt Jo and Aunt Mo will stay by your side.

I’m an avid bruncher. Do y’all have any recommendations for good brunch places near-ish campus?

French toast fanatic

Jo: H*CK YEAH WE DO!

Mo: As hungry and impulsive millennials, Aunt Jo and I find ourselves at brunch frequently.

Jo: Possibly too frequently, according to our bank accounts and mothers. My personal favorite is Coffeehouse Cafe.

Mo: I really like Whistle Britches because they have great biscuits and fried chicken.

Jo: We went to a place called Ida Claire that had really good southern-style brunch food.

Mo: Yeah, but Ida Claire’s cold brew coffee on tap tastes too bitter. Not a great start to your midmorning.

Jo: Another new favorite is Breadwinners. They have at least three different kinds of french toast, which is incredibly important in any brunch menu.

Mo: Also, they have crabcakes for breakfast, and that’s what I’m about.

Jo: I’m so glad this column is providing an outlet for our only real area of expertise.

Mo: We will be sure to try some more out and report back to y’all.

I came to UTD on academic scholarship. I was a competitive athlete in high school, but UTD doesn’t have a varsity team for my sport. How do I grapple with the loss of something that was such an integral part of my identity for years? How do I build the sense of community I felt when I was on a sports team?

-The academic formerly known as athletic

Jo: I think one of the hardest things about coming to college is leaving behind the communities you already had. When I was in high school back in New Orleans, I was in drama and choir (that’s the same thing as sports I’m pretty sure). It’s hard because it feels like you’re never going to be able to recreate that feeling when you leave high school.
Mo: The only time I played team sports was middle school, and middle school girls are terrible, so I don’t know if I’ve ever felt the sense of community around sports. But I do know I have felt community in other groups. You should find those groups.
Jo: Sports are a normalized form of group torture, but I understand the community aspect. I think the key is to recognize how great your experience was, get involved in club sports, and take this opportunity to build new and different communities.

I just got a Pap smear and I’m concerned that I might have HPV. What do I do?

-Possibly Positive

Jo: Thank God for Google! We are now experts on the issue of HPV.

Mo: According to our research, about 75% percent of the American population has some form of HPV. HPV can be broken down into low risk and high risk. The lower risk strains are much more common.

Jo: A low risk strain will go away by itself in about two years. Women and men can get an HPV vaccine, such as Gardasil, which protects you against the high risk strain.

Mo: It is important to inform your partners, especially because there is no STI test covering HPV for men, who can also carry and be affected by the virus.

Jo: If you want to learn more, the CDC and Planned Parenthood have great online resources.

Mo: Don’t panic and stay informed. Talk to your doctor about your worries, follow his or her advice, and ask questions when you need to.

I’m planning on interning this summer and being abroad in the fall, so I won’t be seeing UTD friends for 7 months. This amount of time is longer than I’ve known a few UTD people who have become some of my closest friends. I feel secure in these relationships, but am still worried about how time apart will change the dynamic. Am I justified in this concern, among others, or am I just being dramatic?

-Worry Wart

Mo: Email? Text? Facetime? Insta? Facebook? Twitter? Snail mail? Skype?

Jo: For me, the thing that is hardest about not being with my friends is not being able to just sit and exist with them and squeeze their cute lil faces. It can feel like you’re not really existing in the same universe and that’s scary.

Mo: The most basic step you can take is just being in contact. It may not feel the same, but it helps to establish regular contact with the people you no longer get to see on a weekly basis.

Jo: When Aunt Mo and I separate for study abroad, I’m going to make a pillow of her face and hug it while I talk to her on the phone (no seriously, contact me if you want the link for this).

Mo: Your future roommates will think you’re crazy.

Jo: Worth it.

Mo: Your friend dynamics will change while you are gone. Change happens and it is not always bad. You have to trust in the ability of your friendships to be there when you get back. I would funnel your worry into positive forms of communication.

Jo: Who knows, you might find yourself while you study abroad and come back a new person!

How important are labels in relationships, romantic or otherwise?

-#NoLabels

Jo: Ugh, we’re millennials, we hate labels!

Mo: I know labels can be hard, but I sometimes wish friendships were as explicit as romantic relationships. I want Facebook to make a public setting for acquaintance, friend, and best friend, just to be clearer about my statuses.  

Jo: Aunt Mo recently made me a “close friend” on Facebook, if that gives you an idea of how she feels about this.

Mo: I think I just need the safety net of other people being forward about caring for me, even as a friend.

Jo: To me, the label thing really depends on the people involved. Sometimes, labels of any kind stress me out because it doesn’t allow for much change. Once you slap a label on a relationship, it feels permanent.

Mo: I can understand that. In the eighth grade, I refused to hold my boyfriend’s hand because I thought it would make the relationship too official and I wouldn’t be able to break up with him, ever.

Jo: Whether the label is important or not really depends on the people and your situation. If it’ll make you both feel more comfortable to label your relationship, go for it. If not, don’t. Make sure you express your needs and remember that the relationship is what’s important, not the label.

 Is it normal to feel like everybody but me has his or her life together? I don’t know what I’m having for dinner tonight, let alone what career path I want to take. What steps can I take to feel more in control of my future and my current academic pursuits?

-Stressed and (Sometimes) Well-Dressed

Jo: Ummmm, yeah.

Mo: You can be like me and flip your career path on daily basis. I wake up an engineer and by lunch I am a professional agony aunt.  

Jo: It’s totally normal to feel this way.

Mo: It sounds like you have a case of imposter syndrome (and I’d know because between my last statement and this one, I’ve become pre-med). Imposter syndrome refers to the feeling that everyone else but you has it all figured out. It can make you feel like a fraud in your field and undeserving of your accomplishments. Most likely, a lot of your peers feel the same.

Jo: I think there are a few things that can help with this. First of all, it’s OK to not know what you’re doing right now. It’s OK to give yourself time to figure it all out. Right now, take a moment and recognize the things that you are good at and everything that you have accomplished. Don’t freak out! You’ve got your whole life ahead of you!

Mo: You also don’t have to know your path. Follow your interests and retroactively make your own path. For right now, you can visit the Career Center and participate in career and intern fairs to give you an idea of your professional interests.  

Jo: Good luck! We believe in you! All you have to do is believe in yourself!

Want to ask us a question? Click “Ask Mo and Jo” above! Let us know How We Can Help.