Thursday, May 22, 2014

Final Post for Freshmen

Well, you made it... this far. You can do it. Finish Strong. 

As I said in class, thank you for being you. It's been a fun first year for me, and you have taught me much this year. I hope I have taught you a few things too - we shall see ;) But seriously, being new to school, as some of you know, can be challenging. I have great respect for EA and EA students - it is amazing all that you do. I look forward to watching you excel in the future. Don't be a stranger.

A few final words of advice and encouragement that might help you for exams - and beyond.

Do your best. 
But understand...

2. Deep breaths... maybe meditate.

Workout - a healthy study break. 
Consider it "emotional hand washing"

4. Eat Right - be sure to have a heathy breakfast: your brain needs fuel. 
Sugar is like a gasoline - it burns fast and then you crash. Avoid overdoing caffeine and energy drinks.

5. Sleep - your brain needs rest and time to recover.
All-nighters or late nights over the weekend will set you back big time.

6. Choose your study partners carefully. Bring out the best...
Remember stress can be contagious - don't panic.
Help each other. And be kind, be kind, be kind...

7. Really study: learn for mastery and understanding 
- not just familiarity.  Watch MACBETH, reread The House on Mango Street, etc.

8. Make good use of your time next week. Avoid procrastination, especially unnecessary drama, social media, Netflix/gaming marathons, you-tubing cat videos, etc. 
Practice self-discipline. 

9. But remember to keep a sense of HUMOR. 
The light is at the end of the tunnel. 
And one more time...

Yes, that was hypocritical of me to play a cat video, but I couldn't resist.

10. Lastly, ride the wave.
Make exam week an extended metaphor :)

A passage from one of my favorite books on mental performance in sports, The Inner Game of Tennis:

              I began by pointing to surfing as an example of a form of recreation which didn't involve one in competitiveness. Reflecting on this remark, Dad asked, "But don't surfers in fact compete against the waves they ride? Don't they avoid the strength of the wave and exploit its weakness?"
             "Yes, but they're not competing against any person; they're not trying to beat anyone," I replied.
             "No, but they are trying to make it to the beach, aren't they?"  
             "Yes, but the real point for the surfer is to be beautiful, to get into the flow of the wave and perhaps to achieve oneness with it." But then it hit me. Dad was right; the surfer does want to ride the wave to the beach, yet he waits in the ocean for the biggest wave to come along that he thinks he can handle. If he just wanted to be beautiful, he could do that on a medium-size wave. Why does the surfer wait for the big wave? 
                The answer was simple, and it unraveled the confusion which surrounds the true nature of com- petition. The surfer waits for the big wave because he values the challenge it presents. He values the obstacles the wave puts be- tween him and his goal of riding the wave to the beach. Why? 
                Because it is those very obstacles, the size and churning power of the wave, which draw from the surfer his greatest effort. It is only against the big waves that he is required to use all his skill, all his courage and concentration to overcome; only then can he realize the true limits of his capacities. At that point he often slips into a superconscious state and attains his peak. 
                In other words, the more challenging the obstacle he faces, the greater the opportunity for the surfer to discover and extend his true potential. The potential may have always been within him, but until it is manifested in action, it remains a secret hidden from himself. The obstacles are a very necessary ingredient to this process of self-discovery.
                Note that the surfer in this example is not out to prove himself; he is not out to show himself or the world how great he is, but is simply involved in the exploration of his latent capacities. He directly and intimately experiences his own resources and thereby increases his self-knowledge.   
                From this example the basic meaning of winning became clear to me. Winning is overcoming obstacles to reach a goal, but the value in winning is only as great as the value of the goal reached. Reaching the goal itself may not be as valuable as the experience that can come in making a supreme effort to overcome the obstacles involved. The process can be more rewarding than the victory itself.

Go for it. Embrace the wave. 



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