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Advice-Free Column

I hate being given unsolicited advice. I feel that a person who gives such advice assumes that they know more about my situation than I do myself. And to such a person, I say, “If there’s a conclusion to be drawn from my situation, I’ll draw it myself. And if I need help, I’ll let you know.” Or at least that’s what I think. In reality, I usually just smile, nod politely, and wait for them to go away.

Now this isn’t to say that I hate the people who give such advice. I understand that they’re trying to help me, and I appreciate that others have more experience in any number of things than I do myself. Still, whenever someone starts a sentence with “You should really” or “If I were you,” my mind screams, “You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’m going through!”

That being my attitude, I try to avoid giving unsolicited advice as well. But inevitably, I will sometimes let slip an answer to an unasked question, or start some stupid sentence with, “You should’ve…”

I write all of this as a sort of preamble to a policy that I will try to maintain on this blog: no life advice. Note that I write no advice; I may still occasionally lapse into talking about my previous academic failures, but I’ll try to keep any preachiness out of such monologues. Additionally, I’ll still provide study tips and test-taking strategies, but I guarantee I won’t talk about getting enough sleep before a test or respecting your teachers. I realize that having some faceless blogger tell you how to live your life doesn’t do much good.

With this in mind, I have to ask myself: how does one make an educational, academic blog without giving advice?

After a bit of reflection, I have realized that I most enjoy teaching through questions and anecdotes. So rather than create a series of blogs filled with advice on how to succeed in school and impress your teachers, I will ask questions that I find intriguing and then attempt to answer them. Mind you, I’m rarely satisfied with the answers I provide to such questions, but I think that’s more often a symptom of a good question than a bad answer. Occasionally, I will also include blogs that reflect on my failures as a student and academic. I feel that many students struggle with similar problems, and a main issue is simply articulating them; I won’t tell you how to solve these problems because I can almost guarantee that I can’t.

So with few exceptions, you can expect to find three types of blogs here in the future: questions, anecdotes, and tips and hints.

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