For a few months last year, I lived in Colombia after college as a digital nomad videographer.
Scrolling Instagram for companies to pitch videos for, I inevitably ran into travel vlogger influencers like this guy:
“I was like, just so stuck with my life… so I just leeftttt and travellleddd because life is about living fully and not following the joneses and chasing material thingssss…. adversity is the stuff that makes you stronger…. So be strong, take those risks and just growww and quit your 9–5 to travel.”
I can’t be the only one rolling my eyes, can I?
Now don’t get me wrong. The reason why I dislike influencer-style travel accounts is not that they hawk bad advice. In fact, taken on its own in isolation, the advice is sometimes solid. …
Sometimes I go people watching. Like most people, I usually do it to pass the time and imagine backstories for the faces I see. But I can’t help wondering, with each person that passes, how they decided to embark on any of the billions of choices they could make on that day.
Take this guy walking into the restaurant I’m eating at this morning. He’s wearing baggy jeans and a grey sweatshirt with a light windbreaker. Out of the dozens of outfits he could have picked from his closet, he chose this. Why? Well, it’s -25 with windchill in Ann Arbor, so one might think him insane, but he’s probably just a hardy local. …
I have a weird habit. Sometimes, when I finish a novel, I write down a ranked list of characters from the book which I have judged to have the most admirable outlooks on life.
I don’t know why I started doing this, but it was probably out of a desire to learn from the mistakes of others to improve my own life.
For the longest time, I was deeply suspicious of fiction. I never really read much growing up, and whatever reading I did do was mandated by my English teachers and quickly glossed over for online summaries.
When I got to college, I slowly started picking up non-fiction. I was, for a brief amount of time, hooked on the self-development subculture that preaches the usual suspects: meditate, make a side hustle, journal. …
“Huge swaths of people spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed.” — David Graeber
There aren’t many anarchists in academia these days. The few that remain usually publish in obscurity or teach at lesser-known universities.
But then there’s David Graeber, an American professor at the London School of Economics. It’s a peculiar school for the firebrand leftie; most of his graduates enter corporate law, finance, and lobbying.
But then again, that’s probably why he loves it so much. It’s the perfect place for a guy like him to be a fly on the wall, soaking in the ridiculousness of it all. …
Five years ago, University of Michigan sophomore Derek Magill walked into his school’s advising center to announce he was going to drop out of college.
Looking around the lobby, he could barely contain the smirk on his face as his peers frantically shuffled papers and scrolled through course guides on their phones
College, he told his advisor, failed to provide any value for him and wasn’t worth his parent’s money. He had intentions to fly back home and focus full time on his marketing business.
The advisor closed the door and returned to her desk. An awkward silence passed. …
In the US, it seems like any time someone protests an issue in which they (as a normal member of society) take part in some shape or form, they get called out for being a hypocrite.
Ex: The environmentalists who drove up to the Dakota Access Pipeline to block its construction. Hypocrites, they burned fossil fuels to get there!
Ex: Someone who wears cheap clothes and protests the unjust business practices of global clothing companies. Hypocrites, they are buying their products!
Ex: Someone who buys things from Walmart or Amazon but thinks their workers should get paid more. …
5 AM, January 1st, *New Year’s Day*, 2015.
I’m in my car waiting to enter one of LA’s most remote gated communities, a sprawling neighborhood carved straight into what is now a large protected mountain range outside the city.
My friend Josh sits next to me, messing around with his new camera. In front of us, contractors sit patiently in pickup trucks, ready to tidy up the yards of a few B list celebrities and well off residents sleeping off hangovers inside. I inch the car forward and pull out my wallet.
At the guard booth, an old man opens a window and stares at my friend and I. He looks confused as he asks for my ID. I give it to him and he motions his hand toward the tripod in the backseat. …
A family friend recently asked me if I had any advice for him before he started college next fall.
“Don’t buy the bullshit that this will be the best time of your life.”
“If you believe that,” I said, “You’ll end up dreading graduation. Your life can only go downhill from there, right?”
He looked concerned.
“But our dads have been telling us how much they wished they could be in our shoes again!”
“First of all,” I said, “There is no universal best time in people’s lives.”
My argument went something like this:
Distraction-free journalism is hard to come by these days.
Some sites do a decent job at streamlining your reading experience, but most don’t. Why? They need to divert your eyeballs to ads to make money.
You might be familiar with the consequences of that…
Pop up ads freeze the page as you scroll.
Text is never the right size.
The stuff telling you to hit subscribe or click on sponsored content is overwhelming.
But there are a few tricks you can use to turn online news into that deep, distraction-free reading experience that we used to find in newspapers and books. …
Last year, I had what could be called a mid-college-life crisis. I switched my major four times, sliced my schedule down to eight credits and decided self-teaching was more valuable than going to class. I even considered dropping out of college.
While making a dramatic exit excited me at first, I decided to take a skeptic’s approach to college. I began to research alternatives. I found a vocal community of college dropouts — or, as some refer to themselves online, “opt-outs.” I read the rants of frustrated students that sounded just like mine at the time. Frustrated by required courses, irrelevant material and the slowness of academia, they pondered leaving for the fast-paced freedom of the real world. …