Author Archives: David

The Power of Forgetting and an Introduction to Procrastinators Anonymous

Nobody ever, having just given birth, started talking about subsequent labor to produce siblings for the newborn. “I’ll never do this again” or the less articulate “You’ll never touch me again” are more often heard in labor and delivery. A big head relative to birth canal size may be an adaptive advantage, but the mother…Read the full article

Dumb or Easy Versus Smart or Tough

My students, when telling me about classes in which they’ve done well, frequently say, “But that class was easy.” Interestingly, more young women than young men suggest that they’ve done well academically only because their classes weren’t that challenging. I don’t think these 11th grade girls are being falsely modest. I think they have internalized…Read the full article

I Just Read about a Man…

“Mom? It’s me, Joel. Yes, everything’s fine. The kids are great. They’re looking forward to seeing you when you come up next month. What’s that? Yes, my practice is fine. Thanks for asking. Removed three gall bladders on Wednesday. What? No, arthroscopic. It’s called arthroscopic surgery. Yes, I think all the patients were covered by…Read the full article

The “Ifs,” the “If Onlies” and the Firing Squad

The “Ifs” “Daddy, if we had a bigger back yard, could we have a pony?” “Yes, dear, in the sense that if your father had wheels, he could be a trolley car.” — “If I put down on my college application that I am an under-represented minority, would it improve my chances of being admitted?”…Read the full article

Write All Your College Essays in One Day!

Forty pounds overweight, mildly depressed and majorly dissatisfied, I decided to make some significant changes. I joined a gym and worked out for an hour. But when I got back on the scale, I hadn’t lost any weight. Still depressed, I made an appointment with a therapist. But she spent so much time getting background…Read the full article

The Fuzziest Dice

Harvard admits some 3000 students each year. Here’s how William Fitzsimmons, the director of admissions and financial aid, described the process years ago. He asked us—a room full of counselors—to imagine the computer making a mistake. Rather than sending 3000 “yes” letters (“Congratulations. It is with pleasure that the admissions committee welcomes you to the…Read the full article

Come back, Shane!

“No matter where you go, there you are” applies to college students and cowboy movie heroes. Shane, the gunfighter, cannot escape his past. Can college applicants create their own future? Parents’ stress surrounding admissions to highly competitive colleges (hereafter “HCC”) is as misguided as it is unfortunate. Kids who can do stuff–read, write, think–do better…Read the full article