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Monday
09/10/18

Staying Motivated Through Slumps

Posted by bostonki on September 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

I have a graduation countdown, 250 days.  I wish I was kidding.

You’re probably thinking, “Senioritis?  Already?  It’s September!”

Yep.

I had the option to graduate in December, but I decided to stay through the year so I could continue working and take part in all those fun senior spring events (I’m looking at you, Senior Brunch and Celebration of Academic Excellence!)  But there’s a paradox.  By the time your last year of college rolls around you begin to think about how you just wish your time hadn’t gone so fast and that you could go back to freshmen year when it was, as I like to tell my friends, acceptable to head back to your dorm at noon with some Sizzles and watch Netflix for eight straight hours.  There just becomes more places you need to be, and more places you need to look professionally dressed for.  Anyways, but we’re also simultaneously thirsting for the sense of accomplishment and perceived freedom that wait for us eight months from now.

I think the most important thing to do in order to push yourself through senior year is to keep things academically interesting and challenging.  The last thing you want to do is slack and make things too easy for yourself.  Nothing is worse than going to a lecture you find unstimulating.  I’m in an elective course right now which sounded super interesting but just makes me groan whenever I look at the textbook.  I wish I’d just signed up for an extra education elective.  (Funny story about that elective class: my apartment neighbor is the course instructor.  I didn’t know it was him when I signed up for the course, and I still don’t think he recognizes me.  Our bedrooms share a wall.  He was a making a lot of noise cooking dinner for himself today.  It’s weird.)

Try to make some goals (academic, professional, personal, whatever) to work towards and fill your days with as many interesting things as possible.  I’m enrolled in a graduate level course on Global and Comparative Education, and let me tell you, I think after taking this class I want to make a career out of it.  Seriously.  I love going to class each week.  The readings are through the roof (to be expected in a 500-level), but I just don’t mind doing them because I love the content so much.  Plus, it feels really good to give my brain that workout it feels when you take a really good class.  I’ve probably wrote about this before – your brain strengthens when you use it in new areas.  I’m getting such a good exercise in analyzing and critical thinking that’s honestly impossible in an undergraduate level course.  They tend to be more lecture-and-regurgitate.  Or, once you get to a higher level and smaller class size, a little more discussion-based but still for some reason nowhere near a graduate level.  Maybe it’s the readings?  In undergrad you usually have published texts or easier-to-read books.  Here, it’s straight up research papers, OECD reports, and in my case, a book written by a Finnish education specialist type person.

Another challenge I’m taking on is getting more teaching experience.  I’ll be the first one to admit that my teaching record is weak.  I had a summer of experience working with high school students, but teaching is a whole different level.  Especially across cultural boundaries.  I wanted to strengthen my teaching experience and skills (hey, it’ll probably come in handy some day!) and so opted to complete an internship at Newcomers Academy downtown.  This school is for students who have been in the country less than a year.  They know English on a very rudimentary level, if at all.  Many of them have fled war, governments, or other adverse conditions.  I’ve only met a handful of my teacher’s students, but so far we have students from Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Vietnam, and Thailand.  The first day of school, we taught them how to play Jenga, Uno, as well as did several speaking and writing activities.  It was much easier than I expected, and interesting to see how the ENL (English as a New Language) teachers communicated.  More on that when I have more experience.

I guess the point of this blog post comes to this: keep yourself involved and challenged when you feel it least.  Whether the goals are personal, academic, whatever.  It’s important to feel accomplishment if you want to keep yourself motivated until you finish.  Thesis, internship, teaching, study abroad, running five miles in twenty minutes, saving money to take a nice spring break or end-of-year trip, ya’ll can do anything.

Wednesday
09/05/18

The Future of This Blog?

Posted by bostonki on September 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

As I approach two years of having written this blog, I’m beginning to reflect on what I’ve written over that time period, and how I’m going to increase my blog’s quality.  Most of the pieces have been about my experiences at UB – various jobs, study abroad, student life, but also about my personal life.  I want to write about those same things, but with a more sophisticated and analytical tone to them.  After graduation, I want to take the blog out on its’ own and keep writing about my experiences, but also about issues in education, books I’m reading, and just interesting stuff that I hear throughout the course of a day.  I have no idea whether it will catch anyone’s eye or gain any traction, but I really find writing relaxing and stimulating.  Hey, you never know.