• I’ve discovered that it takes trying something to determine whether you truly hate it or not. I have a vast array of interests and the myriad of possibilities (especially in career choices) has nearly rendered me paralyzed. There are so many options that I don’t know where to begin and, when I’m about to pursue something, I wonder if I’m making the wrong choice and should chase something else. For example: I have been toying with the idea of getting involved in the government and public policy for a few years now, and Trump’s election brought the issue to the fore. As... Read More
  • Mental health issues — anxiety, depression — are huge problems around the country. This is something that a lot of college students can testify to firsthand.   The pressure put on college students is overwhelming. Stress levels at colleges has been increasingly rising (the American Health Association reported this recently), which could be due to rising financial costs among a whole host of things. A lot of people are talking about this because recently a new course at Yale, called “Happiness,” became the most popular course in the history of that school. (UMass does have... Read More
  • I love coming back to school, yet here I am, feeling overwhelmed after two days. You wouldn’t think that was possible, right? Well, I am the walking embodiment of biting off more than you can chew. Heck, even my own parents have been begging for two years that I take fewer classes and just enjoy college! You know it’s bad when your folks are telling you to work LESS. And then there’s my girlfriend, who is the epitome of low self-esteem; that she is somehow inadequate. She thinks that she doesn’t have the brains to pass a class. She doesn’t feel worthy of compliments. She... Read More
  •   Another semester draws to a close, the snows move in, and it’s time for a relaxing winter holiday. And here I am freaking out like it’s the end of the world. I mean, in some ways it is. I’ll be graduating in May (unless I royally screw something up) and that’ll be the end of my UMass and undergraduate world. People keep telling me “You can always go to grad school, though!” and “You don’t need to ever stop learning,” along with similar platitudes. While that may be true, I still get the feeling that things will never be the same. Even if I go straight to graduate... Read More
  • So … Class selection … For those of you who have not undergone this before, you will soon discover that this is perhaps the most stressful time of the year, vying for first with finals. On the bright side, you can take a good week to prepare, and then class selection lasts for all of five minutes. On the downside, classes fill up fast, every course you need seems to be scheduled for the same time, SPIRE doesn’t want to process your request, professors aren’t answering your requests for overrides, the one class you need to graduate got cancelled ... Okay. Take a breath... Read More
  • I think that we’ve all suffered loss. It might have been a favorite uncle, your grandparents, the dog; any number of things. It happens to almost all of us and almost all of us say that we feel the same thing. When loss hits, there’s a hollowness in your chest. Everything is muted for a while. Colors, touch, music, everything. It all seems less vibrant and that, in itself, can make the feeling worse. For some people, the best way of dealing with this is by taking time to themselves, maybe to reflect, maybe to distract themselves, maybe to hold themselves together. My... Read More
  • As you may have noticed, climate change has decided to drop by for a visit and screw with everyone. Last week, we were waking to temperatures in the 50s, gliding mists vanishing like ghosts in the morning light. By lunch time, we were looking at 72 degrees and folks taking out their frisbees and crop-tops. This week decided that it’s going to stick with a theme and that is “Mid September,” a.k.a. “Unpleasant.” Personally, I rather enjoy the rain, especially when it’s this warm. It feels … cleansing. Invigorating, even. What neither I nor anyone else I know likes,... Read More
  • One of the big advantages of living in the dorms is that you are surrounded by potentially interesting people and perhaps new friends. Thing is, a lot of people are too shy to take advantage of this. They’re too worried that going to a stranger’s door, even if it’s standing open, and saying “Hi” will make them sound desperate for socialization, or too peppy, or that the encounter will be awkward for lack of common interests, or any number of other things. Well, I hate to say it, but that’s all possible. However, you’re not going to discover all the wonderful people around... Read More
  • There are all sorts of ways for you to exorcise your demons. I know it’s early in the semester, but many of us are feeling those classes closing around us, suffocating and crushing, like we’re sinking into a tarry, black pit. Some people manage pressure well. I happen to work optimally when a little stressed. Too much, though, and I’m as liable to break as anyone else. I’ve seen enough of my friends walk around with hollow eyes or those little twitches you can get from sleep deprivation, and I’ve seen one of those people looking out at me from the mirror. Luckily, that... Read More
  • If you’ve been following this blog (in which case, my condolences), then you’ll notice that a recurring theme here is about productivity. That is in part due to my parents’ various bits of advice and in part because of my complete inability to follow it. I have a problem focusing. Not from A.D.D. or any actual excuse. I’m just lazy and easily distracted. In order to remedy this, I’ve stumbled across a little trick that sometimes will help me at least get going. When you were a kid, I bet that your parents or someone tried to get you to do a chore by turning it into a... Read More

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