The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ask Eric: New food and books

<p>Eric Bossert is the writer behind "Ask Eric," The Collegian's advice column.&nbsp;</p>

Eric Bossert is the writer behind "Ask Eric," The Collegian's advice column. 

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, 

Hello all,

Here we are again. I am back to answer all of your burning questions with as much seriousness as I can muster (which at this point you should know is not much). Now that school has gotten into full swing I find myself getting more and more stressed out about the things going on in my life. Between papers, readings, tutoring and other extracurriculars it can be tough for me to find time to actually relax. I find that even while relaxing, I end up feeling guilty because I feel like I could be using that time to do more work. 

I am sure I'm not the only one who is in this state of mind right now so I will give this advice to both you and me: Life is short and the day is even shorter. If you never take any time to truly relax -- that is, forget all the work you have -- you will never feel refreshed. So do yourself a favor and stop checking your email, put down the book for a little and have some fun. Never feel guilty about taking care of yourself. With that, let us get to the questions.

I want to try some new food on campus because I am always eating Dhall chicken nuggets. How should I branch out?

I personally will eat anything that is put in front of me, but I understand the problem of getting stuck in a rut when it comes to D-hall. Those chicken nuggets also do not help by being so good. However, if you want to branch out in D-hall I would suggest choosing a different station before you go to eat. That way, you have a plan that steers you away from the chicken nuggets and toward maybe a salad, pizza, one of the vegetarian options, etc. Additionally, pretty much all of the dining locations on campus have weekly specials. Trying the specials is a good way to break out of getting your usual meal. 

What is a good wellness course to take for the gen ed?

I have a couple of suggestions depending on what you actually want from your wellness requirement. If you would like to be not useless when it comes to a medical emergency, I would suggest taking CPR/AED/First Aid. While by no means will this make you a medical professional, you never know when you may be the only person around who can help in a medical emergency. I personally would like it if CPR/AED courses were required in high schools, but that is a fairly big project so I will take this platform I have to suggest everyone at UR try to learn these skills. 

If you want to focus more on yourself, then courses like Stress Management and Sleep and College are good choices from what I hear. If your sex ed in high school was lacking, which usually it is, I would suggest taking any of the courses such as Sexual Health. 

What books should I put on my bookshelf to impress my guests?

I am more a fan of functionality when it comes to books, so if you are not going to read the books you buy, do not bother. I do, however, appreciate the look of a good book on the shelf, and if you have actually read the book it can serve as a wonderful conversation piece for new guests. Many older or classic books also have releases with particularly fancy covers and I would suggest those if you want to look good. 

When it comes to the content of books, one usually cannot go wrong with philosophy -- it makes you look smart and while I do not particularly like reading pure philosophy, many scholarly pursuits have some sort of philosophical basis. Things that look impressive are big books like “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, which I have not and probably will never read, or “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond, which, in all honesty, is at best a stretch of what one can assume is “scholarship” and at worst extremely Eurocentric, but it looks impressive (side note, I realize the argument that this book is a reaction to unfounded ideas of Eurocentrism exists, but giving history a geographically focused determinism does little to fix the actual problem and, in my opinion, exacerbates the disgusting ideas of Eurocentrism, racism and prejudice). “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu and “Orientalism” by Edward Said are books that I have read quite a few times and people always seem impressed when I talk about them. 

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All in all, look for books that you like, and if they have any substance to them and you can carry a conversation about them, then they have the ability to impress. 

Well, that is all for this week. I am off to turn this in to my lovely editors so that they can make my pretentious prose readable. I hope you were helped by some of my answers. Please keep sending in questions and I will keep answering them. Remember, if you have a serious problem, I encourage you to contact CAPS. Thank you all for reading and I will be back next week for more questions. 


Eric Bossert

Contact columnist Eric Bossert at 

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