“Carpe Diem” is an overrated mantra.

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I’m a sucker for self-help. Addicted to it. But there’s one piece of advice that has never made sense to me. “Live every day as though it were your last.”

Maybe you are nobler than me, but when I hear that “wow, 24 hours of absolutely no consequences for my actions! I’m going to spend all my money, drink too much, get laid, and commit some crimes!” If I actually did that (and that is absolutely how I would spend the apocalypse, by the way), I’d wake up broke, hungover, and full of regret.

Even the more responsible phrase “Carpe…

Any book that starts with a political analysis of Nazis and ends with a theological analysis of angels is gonna be strange.

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I’m obsessed with listicles, but one of my pet peeves, as a lifelong reader, is reading a million book listicles that all have the same generic classics in it. We get it, Heathcliff is your fictional crush. You relate to Jane Eyre. You managed to get all the way through Moby Dick.

I want to share 7 weird books with you. Books no one talks about. These are books that disturbed me, but changed the way I look at the world. Enjoy!

#1: American Psycho- Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho is a first-person account of Patrick Bateman, an investment banker/ serial killer. Apparently, it is so…

The hardest year of my life set me up for a decade of success.

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I truly think, despite everything, that 2020 was my best year. I made 5 key decisions that I believe might be the 5 most important decisions I will make for the rest of the decade. The best part about these decisions, is that everybody can make the same choices and improve their lives.

I Got Serious About My Finances

Covid-19 caused the 2nd “unprecedented” economic recession in my lifetime…. And I’m only 23 years old. I lost my job and my classes all moved online as I was forced to move back…

And, what you can do to finally find them.

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We live in instant gratification culture. Admit it: you can’t stand boredom. The moment you are threatened with boredom, you grab for your phone. The next thing you know, it’s 2am and you’ve been scrolling Facebook or watching cat videos for 6 hours.

Combining instant gratification culture and our social interactions is a recipe for disaster.

Why You’re Addicted to Swiping

When we meet someone in real life, it is usually through shared circumstances:

  • You work with them or go to school with them
  • You meet them through a mutual friend
  • You always see them at the gym

In all three of those examples, it’s…

For when you can’t focus on writing your magnum opus or building up your side hustle.

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In 2020, everyone is a little more anxious and a little more lonely than ever before. Usually, a little solitude is great- you can eat a pint of ice cream without judgment, walk around naked, and can generally do whatever you want, whenever you want. But sometimes those bouts of loneliness, boredom or anxiety get super overwhelming and you feel bad for not being productive. When this feeling of (totally unwarranted) guilt overwhelms me, I turn to the my more casual hobbies. Hopefully, some of these activities can help you out, too.


“Chess is life in miniature. Chess is a…

From someone who went from couch potato to half-marathoner

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I used to hate, hate, hate running. More than anything. You couldn’t pay me to do it. My lungs would burn, my heartbeat would get out of control, I’d get side stitches. I’d have to start walking, unsightly grimace on my face, after an embarrassingly short amount of time.

Yet, in the middle of a global pandemic, I became far more health conscious than I ever have been. A few years ago, I was a serious weightlifter. So serious that I thought running or stretching too much would ruin my gains. The thing is, lifting exclusively for aesthetic reasons is…

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I’m so glad we are finally talking about the challenges interracial and queer couples face while dating. As a queer, I’ve had my fair share of uncomfortable conversations about my love life with hateful family members.

I’m also a low-income, first generation college student. Universities are dominated by rich people. And while there are plenty of online resources for coming out, or telling your parents about your interracial or queer relationship, I’ve rarely ever seen anyone talk about love across class lines.

But we need to talk about love across class lines. There are so many problems that arise because…

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Capitalists don’t care about the social effects of machines — and never have.

The Social Dilemma is one in a long line of shows Netflix has put out in 2020 that make me wonder, only half sarcastically, if AI is trying urgently to deliver us a message. Netflix’s latest doc shows, with the use of classic reality TV-style confessional booths, the leaders of Silicon Valley looking back in horror upon their Frankensteinian monsters. Just in time for Halloween.

These confessionals make for a frustrating viewing experience, as a parade of tech big-wigs address the symptoms of the real problem — the inherent nature of the profit motive — without ever naming it.


DO prepare to write multiple drafts. This is probably the second most important part of your graduate school application, after your writing sample.

DO take the time to prewrite. The prewriting process for personal statements can take quite a long time because you need to reflect on all of the experiences you have had in the last 4 or 5 (or even longer, no shame!), which experiences are the most pertinent, and how they fit together into a cohesive narrative,

DO write chronologically. In general, it helps the story-of-you seem more cohesive.

DO tell a story. Scholars aren’t automatons, they’re…

Once you’ve compiled your list of potential faculty mentors, it is time to begin reaching out to them! This can be quite a nerve-wracking experience and it makes a lot of students nervous, so here are some tips to prepare you for meeting up with your potential mentors. (see my 2 Minute Guide on Identifying Research Mentors here: https://valerieking16.medium.com/identifying-research-mentors-in-2-minutes-704ea47f509)

-If you plan to go to their office hours, it is a good idea to email them first so they are expecting you. (See my guide to emailing professors here: https://valerieking16.medium.com/dos-an-donts-of-emailing-your-professor-in-2-minutes-cb8964bbc4f0 ).

-Do your research before you meet them! Learn (from…

Valerie King

I love philosophy, history, and social justice. I help students succeed with academic consulting.

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