Editor's Note: Ask Eric is an advice column published every Tuesday. Anonymous questions are taken from this Google form. Questions are also taken both from The Collegian's Instagram, @thecollegianur, and via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here I am again. No one asked for me but I am back, as it is my habit. This week has not been the best for me, guys, as I am rather sick. The coughing is honestly the worst part of it all because it is even starting to annoy me with how loud it is. I also sound like a very strange mixture of the Emperor from Star Wars and Kermit the Frog. So that is how my week has been so far. Hopefully it gets better. As for all of you, I hope your week has been significantly less filled with mucus.
With that lovely picture in mind, let us get to the questions.
What's a fun way to relax in Richmond?
My favorite way to relax is by going to coffee shops. I am sure that to many of you this sounds pretentious, and it is, but I do love coffee and doing my work at a place that's not my room is actually more of a relaxation strategy than it is work. I go to Shore Dog rather often, which I probably have said before in this column. If I am in the mood for a drive, I pick up my little brother from Randolph-Macon College and we look for places in Ashland, Virginia. There is also Fuel Pump, a fairly new coffee shop on Cary Street, that I think is very good.
I also hear that the hiking around Richmond is phenomenal. I myself do not go hiking that often anymore, but the places I have gone in Richmond are very pretty. If you are more into an adventure I suggest going into the city and just walking around. There are a lot of cool, little places in the city if you give them a chance. I think one of my favorites is Proper Pie Co. in Church Hill, which sells a very large selection of pies. With my driving, however, anything is an adventure.
What's the best job on campus?
To be honest I have not had too many jobs on campus, so if you want a more holistic approach to this question it may be best to ask someone else. If one counts individual summer research as a job, which I guess it is because I got paid, then that is a pretty nice job to have. The fellowships through the University of Richmond are nice, and while it turns out I spent most of the money I earned last summer doing research on the research itself, it was rather fun.
I also found being a teaching assistant for an upper-level lab to be fun. It was fairly easy as most students at that point generally know what they need to do, so it is mostly answering clarifying questions and sometimes restocking pipette tips. I would say that if you want to TA for a lower-level lab, you should be prepared to do a lot more work as you will have students who are much newer to doing lab work.
The last job I had was being a tutor for the MCAT preparatory course that UR has on campus. Again, this is fairly low-stress as people who decide to take the MCAT tend to be fairly self-motivated. My job consisted mostly of setting up schedules, answering questions about the test and going through practice problems. I think if you are particularly good in a certain subject or at explaining things, picking up a tutoring job may be a good idea, as most of the time it is not completely life-consuming. It's also a good way to earn a little extra cash.
Well, that is all for me this week everyone. I know it was a little short, but as I said, I am rather sick and staring so intensely at my computer screen is not helping my headache. I am off to audition for the role of Batman before my voice gets any better. Have a great week everyone!
Eric (Darth Kermit) Bossert