Dear Ephelia: Record advice column

Ephelia Ephelia

Every day is the same, and I’m going crazy. HELP!

Life can feel really futile, but since leaning into the absurdity of my existence, I’ve dramatically reduced my rate of existential crisis recurrence. I go through the motions of life, pushing my stupid boulder up the stupid hill day in, day out, and I don’t question it. If I feel happy, for whatever reason, I don’t overthink or over-analyze that. The same is true for negative emotions like sadness and anger. I’ve found Kierkegaard’s (and pretty much every other existentialists’) claim that consciousness is proportional to despair to be true. So while there might be some cosmic meaning of my life, I don’t actively search for it. Instead I focus on being present and simply existing, not thinking about existing. It’s not easy and I am rarely successful, but I suggest you give this kind of thinking an honest effort. 

How should I greet my friends when they are on bikes? 

I suggest keeping a blow dart gun on your person at all times. It will take some practice to aim perfectly at a skinny bike tire, but before you know it you’ll be able to stop your friend in their tracks for a spontaneous little convo. A wave would also work, but that’s no fun. 

Why are men on this campus so emotionally unavailable? They need to go to therapy.

I’d like to think this is an issue unique to Williams men, but I suspect this is an epidemic that extends far beyond the Purple Valley. It seems like people in their early 20s are fundamentally afraid of connection and/or commitment. This could be because of a host of different reasons. Maybe they do not want to be hurt, perhaps they feel like they’re obligated to have the proper “college experience,” they might have had bad experiences that produced a distaste for vulnerability, or it might be that they just have not found anyone to whom they want to be close. Whatever the reason, therapy is probably beneficial. You can’t be emotionally detached forever.

Dear Ephelia, I want to try and work out more, but I am afraid of going to the gym, and my recruited athlete roommate is always in our room. I am so out of shape it is embarrassing. Please advise.

Lifting weights or doing a HIIT circuit in your dorm are not the only things that qualify as working out. Going on a walk, hiking with friends, dancing, playing pickleball, or doing yoga are all great ways to move your body without entering a gym or risking feeling judged by your roommate. If those alternatives do not tickle your fancy and you want to venture into the rotting labyrinth that is Lasell, find a friend who will navigate the screaming football players and rowers humping PVC pipes with you. Having someone whose company you enjoy can make new spaces and experiences a lot less scary. Before you know it, you will become so addicted to endorphins that embarrassment will not be a thought in your mind. 

Should I use ChatGPT to write my paper?

Given that it is unethical and also a waste of your tuition dollars, I would say probably not! Let’s see what Little Miss ChatGPT has to say for herself:

“As an AI language model, I can provide you with information and ideas that can assist you in writing your essay. However, it is not advisable to solely rely on an AI model to write your essay for you. Writing an essay involves critical thinking and the ability to present your own ideas in a coherent and structured manner. It also requires a deep understanding of the subject matter, which an AI model may not possess. Therefore, while using an AI language model like ChatGPT can be helpful in generating ideas, it is important that you use your own judgment and skills to craft a well-written essay. Make sure to conduct thorough research, organize your thoughts, and revise your work for clarity and coherence.”

Pretty sound advice coming from a robot. Looks like my job will be obsolete someday soon too. 

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