Tag: learning

How to become better

Often times people quit doing things because they aren’t seeing the results they wanted. I see this all the time with people who commit to losing weight, working harder, or just trying to motivate themselves to do better. I would say 90% people quit, its because they et unrealistic goals and get upset when they haven’t achieved them. This mindset results in failure because people put unrealistic demands on themselves.

My advice is to judge success based on progress not goals. Think in the mindset of “I’m in the process of getting to where I want to be.” rather than “I’m not where I thought I’d be.” The difference doesn’t sound like much, but these two measurements can be the difference between success and failure. A true measure of success is working to become better and better. The most successful people didn’t stop when they got to where they wanted. They kept pushing to keep on the road to success.

In order to achieve, we must recognize that striving to improve and working harder each day is just as important as the results you wish to attain. In any/ all aspects of life, consistency is the key to success. Don’t stop after hitting your goal, make a new one that makes you even better than before.

I can use my last post about health as an example. I used to be overweight and unhealthy as a child. I recognized that i wasn’t healthy and fixed the problem. As a result, I feel better and have more energy. I achieved the goal I set out to accomplish. BUT, I didn’t stop there. I work actively everyday to make sure I continue to live health consciously. I try to learn more about nutrition to make my diet more beneficial for my body and my workouts more effective. Sure, I could have quit while I was ahead but then I would have stoped growing. I would have been better off than where I started but not actively growing.

In short, measure your success by the path you are on not the results that you have/ don’t have. Success isn’t a one time thing like many of us think. It is a process of growing and becoming better and better. Don’t give up because you don’t think you are getting results. Failing while trying to succeed is growing. Failing because you gave up is quitting.

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Independence

Arguably my favorite part of college is being alone. By this, I don’t mean sitting alone and not talking to anyone (although that can be nice sometimes too). I am talking about the ability to do things alone. I like having the option to go to class alone, or go out to activities alone. In the past, activities were dictated around my friends schedules and whenever we could all been the same place at the same time. It’s nice to be able to do things on my own time and not have to worry about other peoples conflicts.

At home, whenever I wanted to go somewhere or do something I would ask my parents first, then coordinate when and where with my friends. This planning caused for a lot of conflicts and missing out on stuff because I was so concerned about others affairs. Now, If i wanna go somewhere, I go. If I wanna do something, I do it. Most importantly, if I don’t want to do something, I don’t have to. I love this freedom and enjoy the ability to do things on my term.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my home in Ellicott City and I love my family and friends there. But, I also love my college life and the independence it offers me. College is truly what you make of it. I enjoy the freedom to live on my own and the endless options I have for activities, events, and how to spend my free time.

I think college is really where the strong are separated from the weak. Those who want to succeed in school, will do it and will enjoy doing it. On the other hand, kids who come to school to party and drink, end up failing and sometimes dropping out. I get the partying is part of the fun but at the end of the day, I am here to learn and to be set up for success. My education will always come first and everything else can fit around this.

The future of the presidency

If this election has taught us anything, it is that little to nothing can be hidden or kept from the public. With the increasing technology and ability for us to access online documents and retrieve “hidden” information. In the future, this will just get easier and easier. Lives will become more transparent and no one will be safe from public scrutiny. I fear in the future, no one will seem “qualified” to be president because we will know every minute detail of their life.

This knowledge will take the presidency of its pedestal and take the picture perfect image of a presidency away. Our knowledge will be our greatest weakness and create an environment where it is much too hard to find any single being qualified to lead the Country.

These thoughts make me wonder if we will ever be able to elect a president like we did in the past. Previously, presidents have been viewed as heroes, icons, and leaders but as we gain the ability to see into their personal lives, they become human and much more like us. I really don’t know what this means for our future elections; but from what i can tell, it can’t be good. I just hope we can learn that everyone has flaws and accept a candidate based on their morals, qualifications and beliefs rather than their private lives and personalities. I think your character and what you don can speak a lot about who you are and what you stand for but the mistakes you make behind the scenes should not determine who you are. I hope in the future we can make this distinction and use technology to our betterment rather than our demise.

 

 

When life gives you lemons…

Sometimes in life, shitty things happen. This is inevitable, and eventually something bad will happen to every one. When these bad things happen, some times theres nothing you can do to fix it and that is okay.

The common saying is, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s a great phrase. Basically meaning turn a bad situation into a good one. In theory, this is great but a lot of times, the lemons are so sour that there is no way to turn it into lemonade.  I think a more realistic phrase would be, “When life gives you rotten sorry excuses for lemons, turn them into something that starts to taste like mediocre lemonade.” By this I mean take a bad situation and figure out how you will grow because of it. The majority of the time, a bad situation can’t be spun into a good one. The good news is, bad situations always teach us something or give us an opportunity to grow.

Next time something bad happens, sit back and reflect how this makes you a stronger rather than mope and be upset about it. Rather than roll with the punches, absorb the blow and figure out how to dodge the next one. Life is full of good and bad things. The bad things can’t turn into good things, often times. Take the bad things and learn from them.

Be respectful

Three evenings a week, I work as a “Lehigh Liner” as a part time job. Basically a liner is a telemarketer but instead of trying to sell stuff over the phone, we ask for donations to Lehigh and various organizations existing at Lehigh. We focus our efforts on alumni and parents of students. Most nights, I am lucky to have three or four worthwhile conversations, the rest are no answers, not available, or hang up before we have time to talk.

As a student, I enjoy calling alumni because I like to hear what kind of success people have gotten after attending Lehigh and any stories/ advice they have about Lehigh. Unfortunately, oftentimes people are incredibly rude over the phone and really make us feel bad for calling them. I understand that some people have no desire to donate to Lehigh (which is fine), but I still appreciate a good conversation or politeness when declining to speak with me.

Because I now make calls to strangers, I have a newfound respect for others that do it as well. Rather than being rude to them, I will now politely decline their offer or at least listen to what they have to say. I think it is important we all try to do this. It’s important to understand people make these calls because it is their job. They aren’t doing it because they want to annoy you and waste time. Making phone calls is a job for a lot of people and we should try and respect that they are working hard and working legally to make money. So instead of being rude to them, just let them say their spiel and be respectful.

Technology

I remember when I lived at home, I would always get frustrated with my parents for not being able to operate technology. Helping them with their smartphones, televisions and computers always tested my patience. I couldn’t understand how a human being could be so inept to use a piece of equipment.

I still really don’t understand why they desire to own powerful smartphones and devices when they don’t use features that consume this power. With that being said, it’s their money and they can spend it how they choose. Recently though, I learned to let go of this anger when helping them navigate technology.

A documentary about digital media used this quote and it really spoke to me.

“Adults are immigrants to the world of technology; we grew up in it.”

This one sentence changed my entire view of why parents can’t seem to understand technology like younger genrations do. The comparison of technology to immigrants really made sense and caused the whole concept to click.

The majority of people who move to a new country as an adult, often retain their accent and culture beliefs from their country. Children, on-the-other-hand, adapt and learn the ways of a new country quickly and transition to the new environment easily. If you think about it, people with accents speak the same english that we speak, but they may take longer to get their point across.

Because my generation grew up with technology, we adapted and let is shape our brains to use it to the full extent. Adults still have a large sense of the world before technology. They speak the digital language, but it make take them longer to find the point.

Children’s brains are growing and learning at a much faster pace than that of an adult. They are able to learn new things quickly. Because technology was available at a young age, we learned it quickly and incorporated it into our knowledge. This is completely different than how adults with fully formed brains were introduced to technology.

Now whenever my parents have issues operating their devices and call me for tech support. I’ll just think about myself trying to communicate with people in Spain. In both cases, we can speak the language, but it takes longer to process it and figure out what it means. So your welcome Mom and Dad. I get it now and will be willing to help you with any technological concerns you may have.

Education. But can we really call it that?

Today I read an article about flaws that exist in our education system in the U.S. The article, which I obviously don’t own and didn’t write, talks about why the way we teach students is so messed up. Basically it states that kids are fed information just so they can spit it back out on a test and then forget it shortly thereafter. This flaw in our educational system is so obvious to me now that it has been pointed out by this article. Students are never asked to challenge their beliefs and really learn from others instead of a textbook. Growing up, this is exactly what I experienced in my k-12 education. I was always the type of student to learn the information just in time for a test and then forget it the second it no longer had value to me. I really only started questioning the knowledge when I was old enough to understand that their are things beyond my understanding (and that is okay).

Honestly like what does a student really learn by this “rinse-and-repeat” method. The only thing they learn by doing that is that the better you are at cramming, the better off you will be in school and in the long-run life. This fact is not true! So many talented people sucked at school because they were smart enough to question the information they were given. Why are students who don’t succeed in a “traditional” education environment viewed as dumber than those who do? The fact-of-the-matter is students are brainwashed from kindergarten to believe there is a right and wrong in everything. This concept of absolutes leads to the arguing and tension I was talking about in yesterdays post. The anger between opposing views is groomed from such young age because children learn that kids who think differently than them are wrong and won’t succeed.

Freire, the author of the article, proposes an alternative to this. He suggests that students should be placed in a learning environment that facilitates discussion and curiosity. This idea of a discussion based curriculum is such good idea. Not only will it encourage kids to express their own views, it will also teach kids that their isn’t a right or wrong to everything in life. Even though I was one of the “smart kids” who was able to succeed in school. I still feel like I would have benefited from this type of learning. Knowing that my peers have knowledge that I may not have and that we all contribute something unique to the conversation is such an important lesson that so many schools are failing to teach.

Now in high school we did have teachers who “tried” to facilitate these open-ended discussions. By try I mean they sat us down in a circle and forced us to talk about a book we  were currently reading in class. They were called “Fish Bowls.” The name is appropriate because the students were treated like fish in a tank. These discussions are not what I am talking about. All these discussions consisted of were kids looking to say exactly what the teacher wanted them to in order to earn points for participating in the discussion. None of this talk was raw, unfiltered conversation. No one learned anything from each other, we all just wanted to get it over with as fast as possible.

If I were a teacher, the discussion start with me posing a difficult question to the students like, “Should our school offer trans-gender restrooms?” and then, for the rest of class I would let them talk, free from judgement. As a teacher, all I would do was make sure no one got too upset and that the discussion remained on topic. The teachers job would be to listen and learn along with the students.

I just cannot get over how backwards our current education system is. I really am just upset that I had never realized this major flaw that existed and it took me 18 years to find out I was cheated out of a true learning environment. Oh well better late than never.

The more and more I progress thorough college, I am starting to realize that the world we live in is super messed up. Even in America, “The greatest Country on Earth,” so much is wrong with what we do. And even worse, we have no good reason for doing these things (like education) the wrong way, but we continue to do them the wrong way.  I just hope people will start to realize these flaws as I have sooner rather than later.