Pillbox

Everything you need to know

Dear Joe,

I can’t stand this school. And what is worse are these waves of unknowing prospective students who only hear one side of the story. Tour guides only tell them about the academic intensity, the high job placement rate, and our wonderful computer clusters. If I see a student with an “Admitted” tag, should I pull him aside and give him the real deal?

—Disgusted in Donner

Dear Disgusted,

I’m sorry to hear that Carnegie Mellon isn’t the right fit for you. I guess plaid isn’t for everyone. Keep in mind that you can always transfer, or at least spend more time on Pitt’s campus. But you should really take a look at yourself before you make such rash decisions.

First off, is it really the school that’s causing your misery? Many complain about the kind of people who come to Carnegie Mellon, but the truth is that you can find all types of personalities if you look in the right places. For instance, computer die-hards (keepers of the Linux, as I call them) can be found in clusters, and anyone with a political opinion can be found at Kiva Han. You just have to know where to search.

If your problem is the work load, then try taking easier classes. Believe it or not, there are many ways to get around a tough schedule. If your major is too hard, simply switch majors. Your happiness should come before experience in mechanical systematic multidimensional logical biology in Java.

After all of your soul searching, you may still find that Carnegie Mellon sucks... well, at least for you. Does this mean you should spread the word to other potential students? To put it simply: no. If you’ve found that you don’t belong here, then quietly leave and try not to make a scene.

And stay out!

—Joe

Dear Joe,

Don’t ask me why, but I listened to your advice column when you suggested that coffee drinking is good for you. Now I’m hooked. It’s gotten to the point that I need coffee to stop, rather than start, shaking. Have you any shame?

—Wired in West Wing

Dear Wired,

To answer your question: yes. I’m ashamed that you would rather bring your question to me rather than think through it yourself over a nice cup of... never mind.

So it looks like you’ve developed quite the habit. With coffee, even though it is absolutely glorious, there does come a breaking point after which it turns into an addictive drug. Now all you need to do is figure out how to combat it.

John Daly, professional golfer, would tell you to take up smoking. According to him, “Caffeine plus nicotine equals protein.” Unfortunately, little to no scientific evidence supports such a claim. Maybe a better alternative would be curbing your cravings with weaker substitutes, like tea or hot chocolate. The road to caffeine independence is long and tiring. To keep you awake, may I suggest a steaming hot cup of... fruit juice?

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,

—Joe