My Advice for Students at Lindsey Pollak's Blog

In honor of my book, Don’t Be Stupid, Lindsey Pollak (author of Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World) asked me to write a guest post on her blog, listing some of my best tips for students. Take a look at my post and the rest of the great advice at her site — or pass it on to a deserving student in your [Continue reading]




New Book Announcement: Don't Be Stupid

Don't Be StupidToday I’m releasing my e-book Don’t Be Stupid: A Guide to Learning, Studying, and Succeeding at College. A paperback version will be available soon.

Don’t Be Stupid is everything you need to know to succeed at college. Written by a college professor based on years of experience teaching and advising students just like you, Don’t Be Stupid tells you what you need to know to:

Why Math Matters

Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a former student about math. That’s right: math.

The Women’s Studies department I teach in has a sort of open adjunct/student lounge with computers and a small library and a table and such — a place to hang out and get a little work done or chat online or whatever. This student was working on some algebra, and was clearly frustrated. She turns to me and says, “Why do we have to learn this stuff?! When am I ever going to need to know about imaginary numbers?”

Two things you should know about me. First, I started my academic career as an engineering major — aerospace, to be precise. While I quickly bailed out of engineering, I have a great respect for the applied sciences, and the sciences in general.

New E-book:

Learn More, Study Less by Scott Young>My friend, <a href=Scott Young, who I interviewed on Lifehack Live back in January, sent me a copy of his new e-book called Learn More, Study Less. In our interview, he describes his notion of “lifelong learning” (which he says is a misnomer — “if learning isn’t life long, what is it?”) which makes up the subject of his new book.

Best Practice for Students: Ideas vs. Formatting in Essays

Every semester, I spend a lot of time explaining the term paper assignments to students. I talk about them when I hand out my syllabus, I spend a good half-hour discussing the assignment about 3 weeks into the course, and I revisit the topic several times up until the last week before the due date.

Every time I bring it up, I ask if students have any questions. The questions I get are always about teh same damn thing: formatting. “Does it have to be typed?” “What size margins should I use?” “What style do you want the references in?”

I can only imagine that other professors and/or high school teachers hammer students over formatting, without paying much attention to their ideas — which are, ostensibly, what we assign papers to help students get at and express.

A Defense of Used Books at the Text and Academic Authors Association

Last August, I wrote about the high price of textbooks and what I feel is an exploitative relationship between authors and publishers on one hand and the students we serve on the other. An officer of the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA), to which I belong, came across the post and asked me to write up my argument for the TAA Newsletter. The piece is coming out in print next month, but is already up on the TAA website. The post itself is in the member’s only section of the site, but I’ll post it to my portfolio once it’s out in hard copy.

Why All the Capitalization Lately?

I read a lot of other people’s writing, in both my role as a teacher, grading papers students hand in, and as an editor at lifehack.org, preparing contributors’ work for publication on the site. Lately, I’ve been noticing a strange phonemenon: the gratuitous Capitalization of random Words.

It’s as if suddenly we’ve returned to the days of Pilgrim’s Progress, where Words are capitalized to show that they represent Important Concepts — except the words That are capitalized are often not All that important. Or it’s like we suddenly adopted German Grammar, where all the Nouns are capitalized — except it’s not Just nouns. In fact, I’ve searched in vain for a pattern, and can’t find one.

Scholarship Opportunity

If you’re a college student and a blogger, CollegeScholarships.org is offering a $10,000 scholarship you might want to apply for. $10,000! Why didn’t we have blogging when I was in college…?

This Week on lifehack.org

Last weeks posts at lifehack.org

The Price of Knowledge

Let me let you in on a little secret: college textbooks in the US are grossly overpriced. It’s been shown time and again that the same books can cost much less in Canada and the UK, and can often be ordered for less even after adding the cost of international shipping!