Things You Do Not Need to Apologize For (Nursing, and otherwise)

1. Barely making the minimum passing grades, even though you study consistently.
2. Being a straight A student, and not needing to devote painstaking hours to achieve it.
3. Choosing to not discuss your grades, good or otherwise.
4. Being slow to comprehend a concept, because you’d rather take some time to mull it over.
5. Needing more time on exams, aside of the 2 hours assigned.
6. Finishing exams before anyone else.
7. Saying no to, or missing out on social activities, because you’d rather be alone, reading, studying, listening to music, or just prefer taking a solo drive.
8. Being exceptionally good at something, to the point where people question you, your abilities, and how you “got so good” at it.
9. Speaking up when you don’t understand something, or disagreeing/debating a point everyone else seems to agree with.
10. Taking years to achieve your dreams - who “decides” the deadline anyway?.

remembering to ask questions

Some phrases in academic argument are used to assert that an argument has been successfully been made. If someone’s really good at using them, it can make their arguments feel better than they actually are.

One countermeasure is to learn what those phrases are, and to use them as indications that it’s time to check to see if you agree with their argument.

A few examples of phrases that often work this way:

  • “It is clear that…"
  • “We have seen..“
  • “Now it is evident..”
  • “It has been demonstrated…"
  • “It follows from…"
  • “It goes without saying that…"

If you get into the habit of reading things like this as  questions, it becomes much easier to tell what you think the answer is.


  • Do you think it’s clear?
  • Have you seen the point being made? Do you agree with it?
  • Do you think it’s evident from the evidence the author brought?
  • Do you think it has been demonstrated?
  • Do you think it follows from that?
  • Do you think it goes without saying? Do you think it’s true at all? 

tl;dr Some rhetorical devices make arguments feel better than they are. Getting into the habit of seeing them as indications that it’s time to ask a question makes it easier to evaluate arguments on their merits.

If you’re 18 right now, you think you invented platform shoes. You think you’re doing something new. You think you’ve invented something so ugly that it’s beautiful. When we were young, we knew things. We knew basic history, even as it related to fashion. Now, when something reappears, an 18 year old has no clue that it’s a revival. Despite the fact that they’re almost always online they don’t get references. I think that’s part of why visual things are becoming so derivative. Designers now, they all have these things called mood boards. I suppose they think a sense of discovery equals invention. It would be as if every writer had a board with paragraphs of other writers—’Oh, I’ll take a little bit of this, and that, he was really good.’ Yes, he was really good! And that is not a mood board, it is a stealing board.
—  Fran Lebowitz being delightfully cranky. (As for the stealing board, good idea, I think Phil Pullman would call that “reading.”) Like she says in her Paris Review interview, “I wouldn’t say that I dislike the young. I’m simply not a fan of naïveté.” Fun to compare with Bill Cunningham, who has 20 years on her, on seeing a youthful art show: “It gave me the greatest hope for our civilization.” I liked later in the interview, where she makes fun of young people for having a good relationship with their parents. (“Our parents weren’t our friends. They disapproved of us.”) Reminded me of Stafford Beer: “If we can understand our children, we’re all screwed.”

As a lyricist, are you peerless?

“Well, the obvious answer is yes, but as people read these lines they would hate me for saying so, particularly those people who make music and perhaps think they are peerless. But I say it with the maximum concern for the future of pop music and, let’s face it, it doesn’t really have one. Although I will go home tonight and play music very loudly and get very excited, I rarely hear lyrics sung by others which motivate me in any way. Even the people I quite like are quite silly, really, lyrically.” - Morrissey, 1994