Ask a Man: How to find a mechanic and study tips

A new column that brings back common sense


Jeff Ochoa, Contributor

I’m in need of a mechanic. How do I not get ripped off? – Megan, 25

Good question. Dealerships tend to overcharge and chain shops have been known to jerk people around. Best I can say: Go ask a family member or a friend who just had work done on their car. Word of mouth is always best. They can also tell you who NOT to go to.

You can also check places online like Yelp, but take any of those reviews, good or bad, with a grain of salt.


I just started seeing this girl from my English class. How do I know if she’s the one? – Alan, 19

Man: Bro … you’re 19. She’s not the one. When the “one” does come along, you will know. Trust me on this.


My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over 6 months and I haven’t met his friends yet. What should I do? – Christina, 22

You should have a good talk with him about your relationship. If you’ve been together for 6 months and have not met any of his friends, he does not consider you his girlfriend. I know that sounds harsh but it’s the truth.


How much should I pay for a pair of jeans? – Diego, 21

Twenty to fifty dollars, I think, is the norm these days. You could buy online because it’d be cheaper, but then there’s always that thing about getting something that doesn’t fit or not getting what you ordered.  I know stores like Walmart or Target have no-name brands that don’t cost a lot.

I know we live in a culture where fashion is everything and we often think paying more is getting more, so I will leave you with this piece of advice: Buy what you can afford. You got bills? Rent? A kid at home? Then probably you shouldn’t be buying that $100 pair of jeans.


Any good studying tips? – Anh, 21

In a nutshell:

  1. Get organized. Make a plan for what and when you’re going to do and stick to it.
  2. Don’t multitask. Multitasking is impossible. One thing at a time.
  3. Divide it up. Forcing oneself through a study marathon will only make it worse. Dividing your work into manageable chunks of time then rewarding yourself when you finish each chunk will make studying bearable… maybe more fun too.
  4. Sleep. Don’t underestimate the importance of getting a good night’s rest. It will not only benefit your focus and your working memory but your overall wellbeing.
  5. Set a schedule. Do you work better right after school or after you’ve eaten dinner? Are you more productive in 90-minute blocks or half-hour spurts? Find a schedule that works for you, and stick to it.
  6. Take notes. Taking notes won’t only keep you more engaged during class. It’s also much easier to reread your notes than to reread your entire textbook.
  7. Study. REAL obvious, but there’s a right and a wrong way to study. Review your material several days ahead of time, in small doses (read # 3 again) and mix it up. Find a classmate to help, or family. Don’t cram.
  8. Manage your study space. Find a place that will maximize your productivity. Look for places away from distractions. Whether it’s your local library or somewhere in your home, set aside a study space that you’ll want to spend time in.
  9. Find a study group. Sitting down with a group of people who are learning the same things as you is a great way to prep for a big test. You can quiz each other, reteach material, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Teaching someone else is the best way to learn.
  10. Ask questions. Ask, ask ask! Do not hesitate to ask. I cannot stress this enough! You’re here to learn. Asking for help – from a teacher, a tutor or your friends – is the best way to make sure you truly understand the material.


Need honest advice? Ask a Man is here to help. Send your inquiries for advice to [email protected] with “Ask a Man” in the subject line.