Breaks

January 3, 2012 Leave a comment

If you’ve noticed that I haven’t been updating my blog or my philosophy podcasts recently it’s because I’ve been on my winter break. I am doing my best to get back on track but all of this rest and relaxation has taken a huge toll on my productivity. Breaks have vital side effects on life. They first and foremost revitalize us and restore us from the degenerative tolls that our daily tasks take on our bodies and overall well being. It is completely natural that we get tired from exerting our energy on completing tasks and getting work done. We strive for being successful just as much as we strive for those breaks that take away from us getting work done to be successful. If only playing video games and watching tv can get us rich and famous! Well since this economy isn’t looking to hire any professional couch potatoes, it is going to require a lot of extensive and exhaustive work and with that it is going to take a lot of breaks in the process. We can’t continuously exert our full effort at all times and the longer we work the more and more our performance gets diminished. It’s just not humanely possibly to consistently maintain that 100% all the time. Intermittent breaks allow us to get fully recharged and ready to get back in action.

Breaks don’t necessarily need to consist of things you normally think of like laying by the pool and tanning. They can range anywhere from taking a nap to working out. In fact, there are millions of different ways that you can do to make sure your body recuperates. Naps are a great way to take a rest and completely feel refreshed when you wake up. Sleeping affords us the opportunity to free ourselves from the stress and concerns we normally have when we’re conscious. Stress is the main contributor to fatigue whether it is physical stress or mental strain. Working out is another good break because it gets our mind pumping and our endorphins flowing giving us a natural high and the feeling that we can take on the world. Whatever you can personally do to make yourself feel relieved is a great way to take a break. Just make sure it is constructive towards your health or else you are completely defeating the purpose of a break. My personal favorite activity is to play some videogames but you’ve got to make sure you don’t need to take a break from your break. Breaks are usually something we enjoy doing or else we wouldn’t be allowing them to consume our downtime. Things like Facebook become quite addicting and your 10 minute break can take up an hour easily. The break should ideally get your mind off your current task at hand without taking up the entire amount of time you have available to complete the task. Employing this makes me as efficient as humanely possibly but I still can’t deny the charm of sitting on a couch all day watching reruns of Modern Family.

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Showers

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Showers are an interesting and vital invention to modern day society. They were one of the driving forces in bringing society out of the dark ages with improved hygiene but that’s just the beginning. Showers not only represent a place for us to unwind and cleanse ourselves of the previous day but it also gives us an opportunity to reflect. It is one of the only chances that we get during the day to be completely uninterrupted by the distractions that technology and the everyday responsibilities that we have. It is an amazing place that facilitates reflection. I love it how everything becomes so much clearer as you take a shower. It’s as if with each sud that you wash, it washes away the stress and problems of yesterday leaving you refreshed and ready to take on a brand new day.

This reflection period is a very unique time that showers afford us. Relfection allows us additional insight into our lives that we otherwise wouldnt be given. Whether it is reflecting on the actions that you took during the day or reflecting on how their consquences will impact your future, relfecting is very important because it gives us the opportunity to look inside ourselves and learn from the actions that we’ve taken and learn from the mistakes that have arisen because of them or the beneficial impacts that our actions have made as well. We need showers as a chance to look into our pasts and learn lessons and morals from them to apply to our futures and increase the liklihood of our success. We evaluate our current lifestyles and well beings and then use the reflection period to adjust our choices to make sure that we can achieve our desired goals.

Showers also represent a chance for us to think creatively. I don’t know what it is about the shower, but it is an amazing environment to facilitate and get our creative juices flowing. I think  every idea that I have ever had for a philosophy post has come out of the shower. Starting up Human Powered Podcasts, this personal blog, and almost every other venture has been the result of an idea I had in the shower. I was actually thinking of the inspiration for this post while in the shower. There is probably some pretty intense psychological studies that back this theory up but the shower has to be the best place for inspirations and epiphanies. I think it is very hard to just try and have a great idea but if you’re looking for one you will most likely find it in the shower. For all of these reasons, showers place an important role in our society that has a noticeable impact on each and every individual past just keeping us healthy and clean. It is truly the innovator’s paradise. While it may make you a creative thinker, don’t count on it to make your rendition of Better with the Lights Off to sound any better.

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Finals

December 3, 2011 Leave a comment

As I mentioned in the last post, we have entered final exam season. While everyone is looking forward to the 25 days of Christmas, college students are praying they will make it through these last14 days of hell. At the University of Maryland, as well as many other colleges around the world, as we head towards the end of the year, we are also heading towards the end of the Fall semester. With the end of the semester, those dreaded finals are right around the corner. Being a first semester freshman, I don’t have any prior experiences with college finals but from high school I know that finals are no joke. At my high school finals were set up to be worth 10% of your final grades. In college there is no unifying standard on what percentage finals are worth for your final grade so we as students are completely at the whim of professors. Depending on the classes, your midterm and finals could be the only grades in the class! In my case, my Chemistry and Calculus finals are both worth about 30% of my final grade making them a big deal. Because finals play such an instrumental role in determining your final grade, they also play such a huge role in stress. The pressure to do well on finals adds to the already long list of stressors that the average college student has to deal with.

In order to adequately prepare for such a rigorous ordeal, this requires a lot of studying. Many people have been pulling out all the stops in order to end the semester on a high note. I am no exception to the rule and am doing everything within my power to make sure that I am fully prepared to these finals. Whether it is going to my professor’s office hours or getting a tutor, you can never say that you are completely ready. There are still more chemical formulas to remember or mathematical proofs to solve. The greatest part of this time in my opinion is the fact that we are all experiencing similar hardships. The old adage “misery loves company” is applicable to this situation and by being able to relate and share in said misery; there is a greater sense of camaraderie among students. I can go up to any random stranger in one of my lectures and we can instantly converse on how hard molecular geometry is. Regardless of how much work is involved in finals the good news is that there is only two weeks left of school!

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Rekindling the Flame

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

While Thanksgiving break has come and gone it provided college kids with the opportunity to return home to their friends and families. While I live within 30 minutes of my home, other friends went to school hours away and it could potentially be the first time home since they left for college in the first place. One thing for sure is that it represents a chance for everyone in your friend group to be home at the same time. I was given the chance to see some friends who I hadn’t seen for 3 months and it was amazing. Naturally we shared stories of our respective colleges. Whether it was inquiring how classes were or listening to the craziest stories, it really proved to me just how important friends are. “You never truly appreciate something until it’s gone.” This old saying rings true in this case and I can say from personal experience I missed my friends a lot more by going to college than I would have otherwise. When you leave your friends behind as you leave for college, there becomes a huge void in your life that you desperately try to fill during the first couple weeks of school. It can be stressful during this time but, for me at least, it gave me a great chance to meet such an awesome and diverse group of people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. I am very thankful for the environment I’ve been welcomed into in college and judging from the conversations I’ve had with my friends, they’ve been able to fit in at their colleges as well.

Friendship is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. We are innately social creatures, and while some are more outgoing than others, we need people to relate with and share our deepest emotions with. They serve other roles as well like support systems and just people who you can go to when you want to have fun. I have found that your high school friends and college friends get separated into two different categories. Your high school friends can go with you on your journey to college and make that transition but it is more than likely that you develop two unique friend groups. In order to maintain strong relationships, there needs to be a semi-constant contact between the two individuals. If you don’t keep in touch after long periods of time, it is inevitable that your friendship will wane in strength. You will invariably spend less time with your high school and more with your college friends because they are within your immediate environment almost 24/7 in the case of dorm life. While Facebook allows us to regulate our connections with our older friends who could be across the world, nothing can compare to the actual physical presence your college friends have and thus they will most likely start gaining priority in your life. This is why you must take full advantage of these breaks we are given to fully rekindle your friendship. I spent a majority of Thanksgiving break reminiscing over past memories and made new ones as well. Thanksgiving break proved to me why I loved being friends with those special people in the first place and I know I look forward to spending more time with them in the future. Now the only thing preventing me from making that a reality is finals. Wish me luck!

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Fantasies

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

With all of the homework and exams that go along with being a double major in engineering and business, life can get very stressful at times so this post is being dedicated to the breaks that I take in college. Recently I was given a brand new tv for my dorm room as an early Christmas present from my parents. Naturally, I decided to bring my Xbox 360 from home and hook it up. Well let’s just say that my productivity has gone a little downhill. This does give me the material for a blog post however. I have been playing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for a while now and after dedicated hours of my life to it, I have gained a good amount of insight into the fantasy world. When I say fantasy I don’t exclusively mean a land with dragons and elves but a place where your imagination runs wild and free. It is a place that has allowed me to experience things that are not only improbably to occur but likely impossible to happen without breaking a few laws of physics somewhere along the line. This fantasy is a necessary part of life and human nature in fact, because we all use our thoughts and memories to personfiy and create a magical place we call our own within our subconscious.

 Fantasies serve an important role in an individual’s life because they provide us with the opportunity to escape the doldrums and stresses of life, even if it is only for a short duration. Escapism is an important part of life that our fantasies tap into because they shift our focus away from unpleasant circumstances to a place where we are in control. Fantasies take reality and combine it with your imagination so you build an optimal environment all within the confines of your mind. Fantasies are also used to express your hopes and dreams. I can’t speak for everyone but I often play out what I hope my future will look like in my mind and it fuels my motivation to make that fantasy a reality. I essentially get a window into an alternate dimension where everything I want to happen does. It is truly an amazing gift the human race has been bestowed with and I definitely recommend that everyone should utilize it to its full potential.

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The Power of Information

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Last weekend was pretty busy so for this weekend I will write two blog posts to make up the difference. For the first of these posts I wanted to talk about information and it’s effects on society. One of the most important things I have learned in my short existence so far is that you can never stop learning nor should you ever be complacent with what you have learned so far. There is so much out there to try to understand and there is no possible way that we will ever be able to figure it all out but actively trying to learn everyday is an important part of progressing your life both professionally and your overall well being. It is true that you learn something new everyday but your can learn more than just one thing a day if you have a thirst for knowledge. Possessing knowledge gives you so many advantages. If you have an extensive knowledge on a particular subject it gives you the ability to do so many things like hold intellectual conversations about the topic, teach that topic to get paid, apply that knowledge to build things as well as many more things that I couldn’t even begin to list.

The only way the cavemen evolved into the modern society it is today is by using their knowledge about how to build a fire and wheels that it eventually led to the iPhone and Facebook. Knowing what is going on in the world is one of the most important if not only way you can get ahead in life. In this world there are almost 7 billion people and many of them are working on something newsworthy. Whether it is a research project, politics, press conference, natural disasters, etc, this information provided by the news is invaluable. With the proliferation of the internet, you can easily find out the latest details from everything in the world to your specific friend group over twitter. Twitter is a great way to stay up to date on current events because it provides the information in real time. In the past, power was gained from physical strength, land ownership, abundance of resources and a multitude of other ways. Now in the digital age, the power of information reigns supreme. Power is essentially granted by having leverage over your competitors and nowadays, if you control the flow of information you can control everything. This is why staying current with the news is such a vital part of having a successful life because  possessing the knowledge of information allows you to be more powerful thus giving you the ability to achieve more of your goals and dreams.

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Travel

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently I have been prowling around the study abroad offices to try and figure out how I can incorporate traveling internationally into my four year plan. Looking at how I am double majoring as well as pursuing a minor, all of that will probably force me to take 4 and 1/2 years in order to graduate with enough credits. Regardless, I still am looking to take at least some time and dedicate it to learning in a foreign country and being assimilated in their culture for at least a semester. Today I went to an information session about taking engineering classes at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi of the UAE. I don’t know if that it necessarily what I would be my final destination but I know that I need to go somewhere outside of the United States besides Canada.

Speaking of the U.S., I have had the amazing opportunity to visit all 48 contiguous states before I even entered the University of Maryland College Park. My parents made a promise to me that we would travel the nation and I am so happy to be able to say that I have. From the deserts of Arizona to the Redwoods of Northern California and the beaches of Florida, I have been blessed to be able to see almost every aspect of the nation’s landscape. I believe it is imperative that every single individual take the time to get out of their hometown every once in a while because there are things about life that you can only learn by traveling to those unique destinations. Traveling has afforded me the chance to broaden my perspective on life and see how other cultures, even within the same country, live their lives. A person’s environment is one of the greatest determiner of how they will develop. Your upbringing is the nurturing aspect of the psychological debate on what makes a person who they are. If you are living in the freezing tundra’s of Maine, your lifestyle will be significantly different from those who are in drought ridden areas of southern United States.

Mother nature isn’t the only factor in how someone will develop but also the regional cultures and ideals. In revolutionary times, it was easily distinguishable that the values of northern society varied significantly from those of the south. Immigration has also brought with it a unique culture as well and it is interesting to see where they have taken residence within the country. Sometimes immigrants clump together in specific areas like a city’s “Chinatown” or “Little Italy.” Some may chose another route and live wherever they want independent of where others with similar descent choose to live. They then naturally assimilate into the existing culture and contribute their own ideals into that particular society. Sometimes that transition is smooth and painless and allows for a beneficial relationship to both those already living in a specific place and those who choose to immigrate there from other countries. Other times those who currently live there are resistant to change (usually because of those culture’s existing ideals and traditions) and will often force those moving in to bend to their culture or drive the outsiders to retreat from their boundaries.

Because the United States is such a diverse and varying there I have had the opportunity to learn so much out there and would love to apply that to other locations around the world. Travel is such a vital part in becoming a complete human being and will undoubtedly open your eyes to so many new ideas. How can you know exactly what you want to do with your life if you have no idea of everything that is out there? While traveling, it is imperative that you keep an open mind and possess willingness to take in these new ideas even if you may not agree with them. Stubbornness is one of the main hindrances to progress and you will gain nothing if you refuse to take the devil’s advocate every once in a while. Regardless, get out as soon as you can. I am trying to travel as much as possible while I am young because I realize that adult responsibilities like raising a family and maintaining enough finances to pay the bills will hold me down and keep me away from places that are further than my local bank or grocery store. So get out there and start exploring. Maybe I will see you out there in the world.

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