Archives for January, 2011


Unpacking Romantic Love

I was intrigued by Margarita's post about choosing a single word as the theme for a year. What a cool technique for reflecting on life's moments and composing them into a coherent shape! I love this simple tool for lending structure and making meaning.

The word I selected for 2011 is Unpacking, and my project for the month of February is to unpack and share what I've learned on the subject of romantic love. I hope you'll keep tuning in to see what I pull out of my suitcase over these days and weeks.
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Should Struggling Students Reduce Their Schedules?

Many students and parents face this decision now, at the beginning of the second semester:

The student signed up for too many classes first semester
or the classes were harder than expected
or extra-curricular activities or jobs or personal issues entered in.

And so:

Grades were lower than desired
and/or the workload was stressful and felt overwhelming.

I recognize that every situation is different, but here's my general advice:
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Emotions and Feelings

Bad Moods, Good Moods

I arrived in the city Friday afternoon, in an especially good mood, and as I stood on the street corner waiting for the light to change, I detected a delightful, festive fragrance.

Heaps of discarded Christmas trees lay on the curb.

In New York City the sanitation workers have been so busy plowing snow they're behind on picking up the garbage.  The trees had been out there a while, and had been snowed on and rained on several times, dampened enough to release what was left of their Christmassy scent.
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Emotions and Feelings

Bad Days, Good Days

I'm having a "good" day today.

What, exactly, does that mean?

I feel rested and relaxed
I feel safe and secure
I feel "on top of things"

I had a relatively "bad" day yesterday.

I felt pressured and disorganized
I felt insecure
I felt nervous
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The Rewards of Learning Boring, Hard Stuff

I wrote about how most important subject matter is tedious and difficult, especially at the beginning. Kids complain that they don't see the relevance, don't see why they need to learn this stuff!

Colleen responded with some nice perspective:
At age 28 I finally think I understand why it is important to absorb and incorporate all of the information that is available... I would hear my professor talk about cells, intersitual fluid, membranes, transport systems, etc… In my job, at a hospital, I see it applied....Trig for example and sin and cosine. I look at the heart monitor… It has taken me a while to realize this but I can’t get enough.
There's also a lot of satisfaction in learning difficult things for their own sake. It's fun to feel my mind grasp hold of some piece of learning, like a tire slipping on ice and then finding traction.
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Emotions and Feelings

The Need for Defiance

We went to The Whitney Museum of American Art this afternoon; we dutifully stood in line and bought our tickets, which had little yellow peel-off proof-of-paid-admission squares on the bottom. A guard at the exhibit entrance had the job of reminding everybody, over and over and over, to wear your stickers.

Along with taking in the Edward Hopper exhibit (future blog fodder), I appreciated the creative ways in which several people had complied with the order to wear your sticker!

Instead of sticking the little yellow tag on his lapel, one guy had his on his upper arm, like a military decoration. Another guy had reached back and slapped his onto his left shoulder blade.

And then there was the woman wearing hers in the middle of her forehead.

Look, they were all saying I'm wearing my sticker! way!
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Why (Really) Do We Have to Learn This Stuff?

I wrote about what kids really mean when they complain Why do I have to learn this stuff?

J Morgan replied:
For me at school, it meant, "I really can't stand this topic and I can't see a bit enough benefit to justify suffering through it," as well as finding it difficult.
I mostly agree with J Morgan, but I hasten to add that, unfortunately, lots of extremely important subject matter is very, very hard and not much fun.
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