I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for all of you and that it gets off to a great start! Hope to see you here often in the new year!
2017 has been a trying year, in more ways than one. So many unexpected things took place and made it a year of revelations in a sense. It brought to light many issues and circumstances that have either been swept under the rug or blatantly ignored. And I suppose that is what made it harder to process, that we have known that there were issues to take care of yet insufficient effort has been put into solving them. As a result, 2017 has felt to many of us as a long year and uncertainty has been in many cases, a constant companion. With such seemingly grim reflections on this past year, it is difficult to find the brighter spots in the year. But though they were hidden, they were there. And I think we all can count at least a few of those moments in the past year, ones that made it so 2017 was better than it first appeared. And even in the harder times, there were lessons to be learned and understandings to be reached. I wish I could say I accepted these things early on but sometimes (more like most of the time) the hard way tends to be the way I go about doing things. Maybe 2018, I'll learn to do better.
I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for all of you and that it gets off to a great start! Hope to see you here often in the new year!
"Remember, we will only end up
what we are willing to work to become."
Duly noted! Well, I would not be completely honest if I said that I invested the time in myself that I ought to. Sometimes, it can be the daunting amount of things to accomplish that make it seem too difficult or just that the hours in the day seem to never be enough. But at the end of the day, I know I am making excuses for myself. My long list is no longer than it's ever been nor am I allotted less than 24 hours each day. But that does not make it any less overwhelming.
While I haven't come up with a foolproof plan yet (let's be honest, that it's pretty unlikely anyway!), I hope to remember the little steps that I take are better than none at all and that in order to achieve any growth, the time and effort investment has to be there.
“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character.
But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
Leadership is often a position sought out by many, though centuries of proof show it to be trying, difficult, uncertain and very unforgiving. Then why do so many people put all they have on line for just a taste of it?
Define leadership. It is the act of leading a group of people or an organization. Seems simple enough when you put it that, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it isn't. Leadership requires several skills and traits that not all of us have, and sometimes even if we do, it just won't cut it.
To be a good leader, takes skill, experience, patience, persistence, and of course responsibility. Skill and experience come hand in hand, if when given a task you pay attention and learn as much as possible, you'll be able to learn a new skill every time. Patience is hard to come by if you don't naturally have it, it tends to be impossible for many of us. However, with consistent effort and tolerance, it will come to you. Persistence is something essential, no matter what you decide to do with your life. It enables you to continue on with something, even during setbacks and hurdles thrown midway. It also helps build commitment and learn how to stick with something and see it through. Responsibility like persistence is a skill needed to accomplish anything of worth. Responsibility allows you to make the most of a situation by allowing you to see the whole picture and make plans from there. Running away from problems doesn't eliminate them, it only allows them to grow and hurt you later.
Charisma is a trait that makes leadership sail smoothly when communicating with others and boosting morale in a group. Charisma alone can turn a difficult situation into a golden opportunity. Though sometimes genetic, it is also a skill that can be developed. The key to charisma is positivity, and always having an opportunistic and optimistic attitude towards things, planned and unplanned. Taking that attitude and applying rational and realistic measures can turn the situation into an unbelievable chance at accomplishing amazing feats.
"The capacity to learn is a gift;
the ability to learn is a skill;
the willingness to learn is a choice."
In preparing for a presentation I have this week, I came across this quote and immediately thought it belonged here. As someone who loves to learn and believes any and all opportunities to do so should be taken, I was happy to see that it emphasizes that learning is a choice. One that we have to make in order to make the most of our experiences, chosen and unchosen. Unfortunately, this sentiment is sometimes lost and you often hear people saying that "such and such is irrelevant" or "I don't want to learn that/I can't learn it!"
In so many ways, your attitude towards learning largely determines whether you learn or not. If you believe there is something to be learned and therefore some benefit, you'll make the time and effort to do so. But if you think the opportunity is useless and forced upon you, you likely won't make the most of it.
I think you could liken the situation to that of a good friend, a good friend tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear and likewise a good learning experience teaches you what you need to grow, not just what you already know. The key for success in both situations is choosing to listen and learn from what is there.
"I'm learning to trust the journey
even when I do not understand it."
Well, that's certainly something isn't it? The truth in this statement is comforting; the journeys we take are often confusing and this can trouble the mind more than we'd care to admit. Sometimes I wish I could be the bigger picture just so that I could get a better sense of what's going on. With such major changes and unexpected events happening constantly, it feels as though nothing is quite as it seems. And this is a little scary.
But when I look back at previous times that were similar, I realize that they had a way of coming together and creating a journey that gave me what I needed most. So with that in mind, I am just going to trust that there's so much out there I cannot see and that there's always a silver lining even in the strangest and hardest of times.
"You have only failed,
if you have given up
Defining failure as something we choose rather than something that happens to us is the key in overcoming obstacles and building endurance. When this is done, we not only take responsibility for ourselves but also prove that we are (at the end of the day) our most important investment. This serves as an important reminder when things do not go as planned and setbacks seem to start piling up. While no one wants to hear that such events are great learning experiences (even when we know they are!), it is important to note that the state of "failure" as many call it is in fact a voluntary and temporary one and cannot be permanent if we do not choose to make it so.
For anyone going through rough times or difficult situations, I am aware this post may seem over simplified and maybe a bit heartless as no one can truly understand the troubles that others face. Which is why I think it is important to acknowledge that comebacks usually take longer than setbacks to happen and have effect. And this time does not mean someone is necessarily weak or indecisive but rather is taking the time needed to fully learn from their experiences and grow as a person. These experiences are often more bearable with the support of loved ones, but at the end of the day are extremely personal too because only we have the power to choose what we do next.
"Don't despise what
you've been through.
You needed the lessons."
I wish I could say I am someone who looks back at the past and quickly remembers its lessons. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten there yet. More often than not, I grumble and wish my past was something else, something other than what it has been.
But as time goes on, I've grown to appreciate more of my experiences. the good and the not-so-good. While not all of them bring back the pleasantest of memories, they do bring reminders, ones of strength, gratitude,hope, determination, love, and faith. These things are invaluable and to despise the lesser than lovely experiences would be to disregard everything they've gifted me. They've taught me to look beyond the surface of the water and the clouds in the sky and realize there is more than one side to every story and that each relationship you have is unique and different as the people you have them with. Nothing can be taken for granted and everything matters. For this, I am grateful for everything I've experienced because it has taught to appreciate everything I have today.
"Interrupt anxiety with gratitude."
With everything that is going on right now, I found this quote to be a powerful reminder of how to live in times of tension, uncertainty, and pain. For anyone who feels anxious right now as I do, I think the essence of this quote helps to stem the intense shock, disbelief, and sorrow from being too overwhelming. In times of hatred, ingratitude, and selfishness, we must invest even more time into actions of appreciation, words of gratitude, and moments of kindness.
For every negative thing we see, we must acknowledge, if not do, something to counterbalance it. If someone is rude, be especially kind to someone else, if someone ignores you/doesn't appreciate you, appreciate those who are there for you, and if it is one of those days where goodness isn't apparent, think about all the struggles you know that others have that you do not, as a reminder that even in our darkest days, someone out there has it much harder than we do.
Hope you all had a great week and a wonderful weekend!
P.S. I hope this post wasn't too somber. The events of this past week (and really this past year or so) have been so upsetting that I felt I had to talk about in some way. Let's hope that with the little things we can turn the page to a better time in history and leave the world a better place than it was when we entered it.
I know I said the same thing about a year ago, but I honestly cannot believe I've finished my sophomore year of college! College seems to be going by faster than high school did, anyone else think so? Well either way, sophomore year came and went and along the way, I learned many valuable lessons, both college-centric and life-centric. Here are a few that I wanted to share with you guys.
1) Figuring out your major is a journey unique to you and you should keep it that way.
Right? That seems like a pretty obvious statement yet my college experience thus far and those of people close to me indicate that there are several outside sources that at times appear to "force" people into majors and programs they do not particularly care for. This is not only done to students who are unsure of what major/majors will work best for them, but even students who have their plans figured out because said plans are unconventional. Isn't college the place where we are told to learn about ourselves and expand our horizons? Follow our path. not the one always traveled? Well, it appears that this is not always the case. At times, you'll find resistance towards the course of study you've selected (it's amazing where it comes from, often not where people expect it to!) And getting it together may take time, but if you've done your "research and soul-searching" (whatever that process is to you) and figured out that this plan is the best for you (and no other plan can equal it in knowledge, experience, and enjoyment) go for it! I say this from personal experience, because I faced tremendous resistance when trying to put my course of study together and till the end was being pressured to pursue majors I wasn't passionate about. But in the end, it works out for the best. So follow your path wherever it leads, explore multiple opportunities if available, and trust your gut when finally making your decision.
2) Some classes just won't turn out the way you want them to. Accept that.
This is a hard one! My freshman year, I was extremely fortunate in getting professors who were competent, understanding, knowledgeable, and interesting. While there were obviously areas for improvement, I loved each one of my classes and did not regret taking any of them. Sophomore year that was not the case. There were classes that I could not wait to get out of! Funnily, it was never because I did not care for a topic or the subject matter itself; but because I just could not fully enjoy learning in those classes because of instructional decisions made by those professors. Some were inexperienced, but most were just unwilling to engage with the students in class and office hours. Their teaching styles and ways of communicating with us went completely against my university's values and educational tradition. I had to accept this because often times there are only a handful of professors who teach specific classes (sometimes only one!!) and I needed those classes for my major. My advice in these situations is to put your best effort regardless of the professor and make the most of outside resources like TAs, peer tutors, educational videos, your textbooks, and your university's library to best learn the material and its application/s.
3) Take at least a few classes outside of your major.
While I could go on and on about why taking a few classes outside of your major is very important, I think I'll start with an explanation from Stanford University's website because they sum it up really well.
"Perhaps the most important reason to take classes outside of your major, however, is that exploration is the means by which you make your education your own. More than anything else these choices -- how you acquire disciplinary breadth, how you decide to challenge yourself outside of your comfort zone, which independent avenues of inquiry you choose to pursue -- make your academic career uniquely yours and distinguish getting an education from merely going to school."
I found this explanation really compelling because it emphasizes the importance of making your college education your own, something that often gets lost in the college experience. We are told to make the experience our own through social engagements and campus activities, but rarely our own from an academic standpoint which I think is a major (pun not intended!) oversight on the part of college advisors/faculty. There will always be the depth vs. breadth debate, so each one of us has to determine for ourselves what the balance is going to be. I struggled to figure out my major because of my diverse interests, and soon realized that an interdisciplinary major was the best fit for me (along with a minor or two) to create a course of study that is engaging, comprehensive, interesting, and challenging, and one I truly love. It has allowed me to learn about a variety of topics and have different aspects/concepts to focus on each term. It also helped with burnout and becoming disinterested in major classes (which happens even if you really like your major, because the rigor & overlap in structure & material in those classes.)
4) Figure out what study habits work best for you and which ones don't work
Having taken 2 years worth of college classes, I think I have mostly figured out what study habits work well for me. I have found that doing homework the day it is assigned is almost always best and reviewing it before the day it's due is helpful as well so that I am reminded of the concepts/ideas before the next class. I also try to give myself a day or so gap between paper revisions so that I can almost have a fresh perspective when editing and revising them.
It's important to remember that office hours are there to be utilized and in general having a clear line of communication with every professor really helps me stay on top of my work in all of my classes (Sometimes this takes a lot of effort!)
And while we often focus on what study habits work for us, sometimes we forget to keep track of those that don't!
-Example: going to office hours right before an exam always overworks my mind and leads me to be confused and tense going into the exam.
I figured this one out this year and have since tried to plan to attend office hours and have all my questions answered at least 24 hours before an exam so I can process the information and then let my mind relax a bit so I'm alert and well-rested for each of my exams. (This requires extra planning if you have multiple exams on one day!)
5) Learn about your major and its applications outside of the classroom
This probably seems obvious, but work experience and even simply seeing the knowledge and concepts from your major classes out in the world brings them into perspective and shows you what your major is/can prepare you for. It reveals the value and importance of the sometimes very theoretical information from classes and also exposes inconsistencies. A class can introduce us to many of the aspects of a topic/concept, but often simplifies it or attempts to streamline a concept into an idealized form which isn't practical for "real world usage."
So take advantage of volunteering opportunities, internships, jobs, events, and other options to get a sense of the paths your major offers you. This will help you figure out so many questions ahead of time, like what branch of your major you should specialize in, whether a second major or minor is valuable, and even if a major change is a good idea if a different major would better prepare you for the work you would like to pursue. (It is sometimes better to stay undecided/undeclared for the first year or so (while taking different GE classes) to figure out what your major is than to declare a major while unsure and end up switching back and forth, which can delay graduation and take away time that you would otherwise devote to the major you really want to pursue and extracurriculars that are of interest to you. Taking up an internship/job during this time can really help with making this decision!)
6) Set aside some time to recharge every now and then.
College is intense and seemingly all-consuming at times. So remember to take care of yourself and do things to recharge and simply be yourself outside of your college life. This could be taking time to restart a hobby (baking, painting, hiking, swimming, blogging, stamp collecting, or whatever it is.) Or just taking the time to sit and enjoy a meal everyday or spend time outside (I know this may sound difficult to schedule, but planning can help you fit this in and make life more enjoyable and fulfilling on an everyday basis.
“The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even
introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.”
I really love this quote. I think it speaks to an important truth that is often forgotten. Yes, we don't get to choose our families and there are plenty of places where we see people gripe about this fact. But, perhaps we should consider that it is this unique circumstance that makes family so special? We get to choose so many elements of our lives. (I know a lot of people will argue with me on this point, so my response to that is just think about it and see if my point of view has some truth to it.)
Often times, it is in those moments where "choice" is supposedly taken away, many of us find our greatest joys and learn our most important lessons. And our families are the people we often experience those moments and times with. And while family life is far from the rosy picture that is sometimes imagined, I think it has a certain kind of perfection, one that cannot be crafted, rather just is. It's raw, real, and authentic and this makes the good times, amazing, and the not so good times, seemingly unbearable.
I personally prefer this to the idealized version of family, where everyone is happy all the time, because frankly that is unrealistic and unhealthy. The trials and struggles are what make families strong and relationships resilient. It is messy and difficult. Sometimes, you wish you didn't have to deal with the situations that you are put in, but life is such that we'll always have those types of things come up. The question left is "how do we choose to deal with them?"
Anyways, my point is, family is special, and a kind of special that cannot be replicated or recreated elsewhere.
So, let's try to appreciate it and all that comes with it, because at the end of the day, those people were put into your life for a reason.
So, there's really not much to tell. I'm a person of many interests, and talking to others about theirs.
So, I guess that's it for now!