The Journal

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Isaac Asimov

A Brief Explanation for My Readers

As some may know, I’m currently attending college; who would’ve thought, right? All things considered, it’s going pretty well. It’s very self-guided if I may say so however, I expected nothing less. One of my classes require the participation in a journal within the curriculum.

Dean Davis, my College to Career Navigation professor, has been gracious enough to allow publication of this journal on Quarterstories as a sufficient means of my assignment submission; how cool is that!? Along with the entries, I’ll be explaining some of these questions and guides in greater detail to help you understand what going on. In the meantime, stay tuned. This journal will usually be updated every Sunday and if all goes well, you’ll keep seeing its publication even after the semester is over.

These entries are taken from Skip Downing’s Eighth edition of On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life.

Chapter 9: Staying On Course to Your Success

Entry #32

1) In your journal, write the eight areas of the self-assessment and transfer your score from the assessment you took in Assess Yourself in chapter 1 (first score) and your score from the scoring chart above (second score).

First Score

  1. 78 Accepting personal responsibility
  2. 78 Discovering self-motivation
  3. 80 Mastering self-management
  4. 44 Employing interdependence
  5. 74 Gaining self-awareness
  6. 76 Adopting lifelong learning
  7. 76 Developing emotional intelligence
  8. 75 Believing in myself

Second Score

  1. 79 Accepting personal responsibility
  2. 77 Discovering self-motivation
  3. 80 Mastering self-management
  4. 66 Employing interdependence
  5. 78 Gaining self-awareness
  6. 78 Adopting lifelong learning
  7. 76 Developing emotional intelligence
  8. 76 Believing in myself

2) Comparing the results from the two self-assessments, write in depth about the area(s) in which you raised your score.

The biggest gain I see is in employing interdependence. At the beginning of the semester I was wholeheartedly against being in groups with others; similarly, I hated how the others that I worked with didn’t seem to understand what I was going through on a daily basis in way of stresses from the job.

So far, my view of interdependence still isn’t on par with my other scores, those of which hardly changed at all. It’s okay though. I’m learning slowly that everything, even practicing teamwork on a daily basis requires patience and persistence, even in the face of the others opposing it altogether.

Like with one of my workmates who just seems to ask for help on absolutely everything. Instead of getting upset and projecting that anger, I try to see it as a positive that they’re asking me for help (some days are easier than others). I try to use constructive2 criticism and ask myself if what they’re asking is something that’s common knowledge, ore if it’s just common to me.

3) Further comparing the results from the two self-assessments, write in depth about the one you want to keep improving.

Ideally, all of them need to be checked up upon often, and I’d personally like to keep improving on my reactions to those I’m working with. I can’t change how I work most efficiently, but I can change my reactions during those weaker points.

The one that I’m going to always be paying a lot of attention to is gaining self-awareness in way of knowing my limits and when to calm down just a bit. I have a bad habit of getting burned out on things because I worry so much about it and work so hard that I end up losing all interest.

4) Write one last entry in which you sum up the most important discoveries you’ve made in this course and plans for a great future.

First off, I’ve come to a very important realization that this website isn’t taking me where I want it to. I originally wanted it to be a place where all different writers from all walks of life could come to write. It’s becoming a place to dump my opinion in a big, ugly satirical package. I don’t like it and it’s not the kind of person I want to be remembered as.

This course has also reinforced, as with many things it’s done, my idea that no matter what you experience, there is always a lesson to be learned from anything you do, and even if you don’t immediately see it, it’ll show itself if you look hard enough.

That being said, I’m going to stop getting upset over things that are out of my control, and I’m going to start working towards recognizing such things as often as I possibly can. Again, this is something I’ll have to be patient with myself over and be persistent.

Lastly, I think the most important thing this semester and for many to come is to understand that being wrong is okay. I mean this sincerely. I don’t consider myself to be a flashy or bullheaded person in public, but some of my thought patterns would prove different; I don’t like speaking my mind about quite a few things however, my actions will always speak louder than my words. At the end of the day, I really just want to understand where my faults lie quickly, not so I can snatch them up and beat them to death (essentially beating myself in the process), but to work on them constantly and as diligently as possible.

Chapter 8: Developing Emotional Intelligence

Entry #31

1) In your journal, write a list of 10 or more of your personal strengths

  1. Resourceful
  2. Self-critical
  3. Accepting of Constructive Criticism
  4. Self-assessing
  5. Comprehensive in the work given
  6. Able to provide helpful criticism
  7. Self-aware of my emotion and familiarizing myself with how to improve how they’re course corrected.
  8. Very Driven Individual
  9. I work well on my own when given tasks
  10. When working out issues, I try to cautiously exhaust all efforts in a timely manner before asking for help.

2) Write a list of 10 or more of your weaknesses.

  1. Under certain situations, lack of patience.
  2. No empathy for those who make excuses; difficulty giving the best positive reinforcement.
  3. I don’t work well in groups because of a lack of patience.
  4. My attention span could use work (in fact, it’s what I’m working on now)
  5. I could use work on how I interpret what others are saying; I should try to hear others out instead of assuming I already know better.
  6. I need to work on my communication skills; my mind functions at a high rate of speed and not everyone always understands what I’m saying.
  7. I need to practice more sympathy rather than trying to feign empathy from something that’s vaguely related. I need to be open that everyone’s situation is unique.
  8. I need to practice self-sacrifice more when dealing with time. In the past I’ve been so hard-pressed to work my ass off, only to realize that with working hard, I could have been giving back.
  9. I need to work on my time management; I need to spend more time in areas that count rather than adding stress to myself by flooding my mind with endless lists of to-dos.
  10. To add to #9, I need to learn about the time that I am managing, and understand that it may be finite, but wasting more of it by fretting on that fact doesn’t help me get to where I need to go in the future. I need to set these schedules and actually understand why sticking to them will benefit me in the long run
  11. I need to discipline in my emotional and cognitive understanding; I need to realize that compiling everything on myself, stretching myself thin will result in breaking down and gassing out. I don’t need to keep doing this, especially with everything that’s going on.

3) Using the information in steps 1 and 2, write about the present state of your self-esteem.

Presently, I feel my self-esteem is a lot better than most, but I also know, in a rather catch twenty-two way, that complacency is the enemy of the productive class. I can’t get too self-absorbed or I’ll get washed up. God knows there are enough of those out there already.

I feel like rather than building a foundation for success, I’m fine tuning the one I have now. For example, I used to believe that simply writing down the long list of things I needed to do from my head and working hard to finish that list was the only thing necessary to reduce the overwhelming stress of it all, and to an extent, that’s correct. But, this habit was causing complacency in the form of only getting half of what needed to be done finished, only to come back with the thought, ‘getting half of this done is better than none at all.’

I can honestly say that once you create a backlog of things to do like I have, you start to realize that a single list of things to do is just the baby step before step one. Any idiot can do it, but it takes someone with perseverance to act upon them and actually stay focused. That’s what I’m currently working on.

Entry #30

Complete one of the following (again, both):

A) Write a letter of gratitude

Being grateful. Have you the grounds or are you simply practicing your skills in the art of sucking up?

That was a quote from somewhere or something, and I couldn’t let that little memento go to waste.

Dear Mr. [Stephen] King,

On Writing has served me well over the past year or so, bringing forth the hope that a writer such as myself, young and completely oblivious to how things ‘really are’, could even begin to think of such an endlessly adventurous career within the fold of collective works as well as composition. But, here I stand.

I’ve probably listened to that book more than a dozen times, and I’ve skimmed it twice that number, highlighting and marking the ever-loving hell out of the damn thing. One could hope Adler would be pleased with me.

Now, down to the rub. I wanted to take some words away from my book and journals to write you a little ‘Thank You’ letter. I’m sure you have a personal gulgatha of them somewhere in your home or office space, enticing the moths as the days move onward.

Since working at an elevator factory for sixty hours a week and deciding that reading was a great alternative to crying myself to sleep tonight, I had thought to myself while strolling down the aisles of my book store, ‘why not pick up something from one of the best.’ Night Shift was one of the best books I have ever picked up to date, not only because of the amount of relativity in the stories themselves, the irony that I, too, was working night shift at the time, and the fact that reading kept anyone else from bugging me while our line was down, I honestly felt a connection with almost every single character.

That fact alone has coerced me into quitting that job to risk the steady forty hours of another, starting my own website devoted to writing, starting a book based off a character that I’ve had in my head for quite some time, and going back to college to be an English professor (I’m currently still an undergrad, but I’m steadily moving).

I won’t bore you much further than because we both know that time is of the essence, and one should only dedicate so many words to practice the worthy art form of asskissery.

My first book, if and when it’s published will be dedicated to the man who not only showed me what good stories were, but who also, through the act of telepathy, showed me how to write the damn things, too.

Yours truly,

B.G. Wallis

P.S.

I’m currently coasting through The Stand and, I must say, I’m very pulled at the heart strings when talking about Nick Andros, especially at mention of the man who helped him understand.

It resonated enough to bring about tears, and I’m moved.

I’m also planning to write about a character whose deaf. Perhaps not mute, she will be deaf, and the compounding hardships of her soulmate, the main character, should pull on the heart strings of many others as well. I love the tale of the underdog.

If I never have the opportunity to meet you in real life, I hope to see you before the pearly gates. Perhaps we could spin a tale or two together if that lending library is still filled to the brim with Chicken Soup books.

Until then.

B) Write about a time when you were you at your best.

This small entry asks to give representation of a difficult situation and how you handled it. My difficult situation would be when one of my late friends had asked me (for the last time) for a favor.

I loved my friend; he and I had been through a lot together, but nearing the end of our friendship he was getting involved with some bad people as well as developing his own list of bad habits.

The straw that broke the Camel’s back was when he contacted me to ask if I would pick him up a lot of cough medicine so he could get high (he has a car but it’s been broken down for months and he refused to use any of his money to fix it.)

I wanted to show up at his house and fight him. I wanted him to know that he had asked for money, alcohol, rides, gas, and a plethora of other things without ever paying me back. And this time, while being patient and assertive, he get’s upset with me and starts blessing me out.

Tell me how a rational person’s supposed to see that as right?

You can’t, and he wasn’t a rational person. I let the message he had sent me slide for about a day and composed a long message consisting of many built up situations, how all of us (his friends) feel about the slippery slope he’s one, and how my time, money, and energy are all things that I’ve earned by working hard and perverseness through hard times.

I wasn’t going to let a drug addict, friend or no, dictate how I spent what I’ve worked hard for, so I dismissed him and blocked him entirely, reiterating before I did that I was not sorry for him if he continued down such a path. Arguing his case against me would be fruitless. I explained how he could go about straightening up, and left it there in a neat, non-threatening little package in the form of a text, and since have had to deal with, although I did hear that he’s straightening up his act a bit. So, good for him.

2) Read over what you wrote in step one, and take a few moments to savor what you did and what it says about your inner strengths and character. Then, honestly describe whether or not writing step one of this journal entry lifted your spirits and improved your positive feelings. Explain your reaction as best you can.

I’ll start with describing part B because that’s what I did first. I do feel good when I mention this. I don’t look down on the fact that I dismissed a friend from my life. In fact, I pride myself on taking control of situations now and trying my best to understand as unbiased as possible the things others are going through before acting upon a situation.

Part A is something that I may actually send to Stephen King. I’m a passionate writer, and I want him to know that on top of helping me find the time, as well as giving me full permission to write to my heart’s content, he has been a big inspiration to me. His books alone have taught me some of the more important lessons that I think every writer should know. Aside from that, I feel like I have a lot, personally, in common with him from what his book On Writing entails.

Entry #29

1) Write a time when you felt overwhelmed, angry, sad, or anxious.

One of the biggest things that I know I struggle with is anger towards others. My mind often times goes into a very concise, judgemental state when being presented with the shortcomings of others.

Many times, while working, one of the clerks that work in the front of the store will come back to ask me a question. Doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, right? And, in reality, it isn’t. But, my mind goes into several different tangents all at once when this happens.

  1. Why are you asking me again when you know that I don’t even know?
  2. Haven’t you asked me the same question again like 5 times today? did you think the sixth would be any different?
  3. What doesn’t the customer understand when hearing the terms ‘open-ended repair’, ‘subject to variable change in time of repair’, and ‘non-repairable’ or ‘unfeasible to fix device’?
  4. Do you not understand that I can’t fix the damn thing if you keep bugging me about it?

In reality, and with this being part of my 32- day commitment, I need to focus on the positives of being asked these question and understand where my anger is coming from. Typically it’s the repetitious nature of the question in my opinion or the customers that cannot comprehend anything we’re saying, even when breaking it down into baby words.

2) Identify two or more strategies that you could use in the future when you experience this emotion.

I could think of a few predicated around the things above: focus on the positives and understand where the anger is coming from

  • Maybe the customer’s just had tragedy strike (which is common)
  • Perhaps the questions are because the clerks don’t trust anyone else but me to tell them how to phrase something to a customer.
  • I might just be having a bad day, but remember when you promised a long time ago to give everyone your best? Your best isn’t getting upset and pouting. Your best is understanding why that they need help and being as resourceful to them as possible.
  • At the end of the day, just keep in mind that you’re paid by the hour no matter how much you get done. This doesn’t mean slack off, but just remember that you’re there for eight hours to help the business.

Entry #28

1) Write about a time when you felt one of the following emotions: FRUSTRATION & ANGER, FEAR & ANXIETY, SADNESS & UNHAPPINESS.

I guess a really good example would be the first time I ever experienced an anxiety attack. It could have been a panic attack as well, but either way, they’re very scary and tend to happen for no reason.

I was in a nursing class in high (Medical Terminology if I’m not mistaken) and I was just sitting next to the window like I always do, staring out into the nothingness that the large panes of glass provided, when suddenly a feeling of dread came over me.

I don’t know if you watch horror movie, but for the past decade, the use of ‘sound direction’ has played a vital part in setting up a scene to nearly give you a heart attack. Imagine the scratching echoes the character may hear while strolling through the house but a candle (God knows why it’s just a candle), and suddenly the sound drop so eerily quiet, that the only thing to be heard are the creaks of the her footfalls when BOOM! The monster or ghost or serial killer pops out.

The shrieking, panicky feeling of helplessness running up and down your spine like a triathlete mixed with the ‘flight, fight, or freeze response will feel like you’re having a heart attack, your muscles are all clenching at once, you’re going to die for no reason whatsoever, and you are hypersensitive to everything around you that can spike any one of your five senses.

I froze in place and didn’t think I was going to make it out of the class in anything short of a gurney. I even accepted that the end was coming. The sweet kiss of death; I’m packing my bags and heading South.

Fortunately I didn’t die (at least I think I didn’t), and I’m still here today. I experience these all the time now when presented with stressful situations. I can handle them now.

2) Write about an experience when you felt HAPPINESS or JOY.

Any time I can prove someone wrong without spoken word. I like using the the phrase: “I’m gonna make you eat those words.” It’s usually positively connotative, even though it may seem a bit harsh; when someone tells me, “you can’t do that, you’re too BLANK.” or “you’re not BLANK” or “you lack the BLANK” I always try to prove them wrong if what they say goes against how I see myself. Granted, it’s not the primary focus of my achievement however, it is a satisfying little footnote of the accomplishment.

Another time is general praise for actually working my butt off. I’ve had several people tell me, “I want to be on your level, man.” That feels amazing, because at that point they are open to help, and something I love being is a resourceful person. It makes my happy and joyful.

One last quick one is finding joy in hitting the ‘flow’ state when doing any large amount of work, particularly when it comes to writing my book. sitting dull at three hundred words and you already have three hours into, then BAM, you knock out an additional eighteen hundred for a total of twenty-one hundred. That is a good feeling.

3) Write about any emotional changes you experiences as you described each of these two emotions. What did you learn or relearn about how you can affect your emotions?

The one that I’ve had the most experience with, thus learning the most from, would have to be the anxiety attacks. The first year or two having them was hard, and at one point I was really upset about it. I was upset that I couldn’t control it.

I was thinking about that thought for awhile, ‘you can’t control them.’ I started doing some research over what an anxiety attack actually is. Turns out, most of the time, it’s from a very active mind (‘Neat stuff,’ I thought). When your have an anxiety attack, your mind is being flooded with adrenaline. This is why you experience the flight, fight, or freeze sensation. You brain is telling you body, “CONDITION RED CONDITION RED, LIVE OR DIE YA’ GREAT BIG SCHMUCK!”

So I started recognizing when I was having them and developed a system for myself to overcome this.

  1. Realize that this is just a panic attack. Although it may feel like you’re drowning while everyone else around you is perfectly fine, so are you. Plus, anxiety has never killed anyone.
  2. Understand that what you’re feeling is normal, even if it feels like a pack of wild dogs are about to chase you and only you down the street or a rabid bear is about to come through the window and box you. YOU ARE OKAY!
  3. Lastly, create a focal point. I know when I’m in public is usually when the anxiety starts, but being with a lot of people I don’t know for an extended period of time (e.g. in a college classroom), there’s typically a point of focus (the teacher), and all you have to do is direct that panic within your mind to a task. In this case it would be actively listening in a classroom.

Chapter 7: Adopting Lifelong Learning

Entry #27

Again, we’re writing about both.

A) Write about a time when you passed a personal integrity test.

We could be here for a minute if i listed them all. It’s a recurring situation when friends will ask me what I’m doing on the weekend. I usually reply that “I’ll be working all weekend.”

They will ask me if I would like to join them for a few drinks. I always decline, reasserting that I’m busy and would like to spend  the weekend working (believe me if I had nothing else to do, I’d go, but there’s usually something important that needs to be done.)

This is when the nagging starts in to coax me out on a night on the town to drink with them. It never works, and if anything, it makes the experience of communication with them even more unbearable, because they will always bring up the fact that you never go anywhere with them.

B) Write about a time when you kept a commitment that was difficult to keep.

NOT SMOKING! I say this with a great deal of affection for those who’ve both tried and succeeded or failed quitting the little cancerous sticks of ecstasy.

My New Year’s resolution was absolutely no nicotine intake whatsoever. If I’m being honest it was this and about ten other things that I’m still doing (eating healthy, exercise, self-discipline, and over all self-control), but I still have not had a single voluntary intake of a nicotine based product since the years has begun.

You want to talk about something difficult? I was discouraged waking up in the morning on several occasions because I had dreamed about smoking the night before. That’s an addiction, but I’m happy to say that I’ve slowly fallen away from the dreaming about it and this next year’s routine will be equally difficult: keeping a steady workout routine.

Entry #26

1) Return to the beginning of this section where you were asked to imagine getting contradictory opinion about Dr. Skinner, the Psychology 101 instructor. Make a list of ten probing questions you could ask your two friends to help you find the “truth” and make a wise choice about whether or not to take Dr. Skinner’s class.

  1. How is the syllabus laid out?
  2. Are the instructions usually clear or vague?
  3. How many grades are taken per semester?
  4. What actions did he take to explain the coursework?
  5. What the coursework concise or more scattered?
  6. Were his classes conducted at his leisure, or was he an active professor?
  7. Was he responsive in class? through email? within eLearn?
  8. Did he hold the behavior of other students in high regard?
  9. Did he make the coursework interesting?
  10. Was the coursework predicated on facts, or on the professor’s opinion?

2) Write a logical argument that explains which character you think is most responsible for the group’s grade of D in the case study “Professor Roger’s Trial” (found at the beginning of chapter 5)

Anthony, Sylvia, and Donald are all responsible for what happened however, there are some instances where the blame could be dealt more to one member of the group rather than the other.

Anthony, taking on the role of team leader, should have been more responsible in the inclusion of everyone. He should have been a bit more understanding of Donald and listened to Sylvia’s opinion of him sounding too bossy rather than just starting an argument.

Donald could have showed much more interest in the class from the beginning, and now if he wants to get anywhere with it, he must be in this to win it. Having a lack of preparation and overall stubbornness, especially when dealing with the grades of others, will only keep you and your team down.

Sylvia seems to be the more passive of the group. Instead of properly asserting herself, she’s let’s herself explode , nearly getting kicked out of the library. She had good reasons for what she wanted, but didn’t implore them as much as she would have like.

Overall, lack of effort and communication is what received them a D, not any one person.

Entry #25

1) Write about the most challenging course you taking this semester.

The most challenging course I’m taking this semester is probably… this class. It’s not difficult under any circumstance, but dealing with relearning all of the fundamental things that have gotten me to this point feels degrading at times. Then again, I’m a 22 year-old, bull-headed kind of guy.

This class reminds me, many times I might add, of all the times people in my life have told me that I couldn’t do something or that I’m doing something wrong. I have to wonder at some point in time whether giver of such information is actually trying to teach me something or if they’re simply basking in the ambience of their own mindset.

This is the mindset of a cynic, I know, and I want to make it clear that I do believe this class is important. Sometimes however, I feel like I’ve hear all of these things before.

Perspective comes into play here, and in trying to find my way in this world I’ve found that trying to put yourself in someone else’s shoes can help you understand a difficult situation. But, when some semblance of the past is starting to ping the nodes in my neural network and bring up memories that agitate certain emotions, it hits home.

2) Using what you now know about the way you prefer to learn, write about choices you can make that will help you learn this challenging subject more easily.

Again, empathy some into play here. Dean Davis, whether you read this or not, I still have to say it if it wasn’t apparent already: I feel like most days I’m wasting my time walking into class BUT, that doesn’t mean that relearning these things isn’t helping find some particular answers that are buried deeper than other. In fact, some classes are nice to simply reiterate these skills. It’s passive learning in my opinion, and it eases the tensions I feel most days, being in a classroom setting.

I prefer to learn on my own, completely alone. Up until this year, I believed the idea of going to college was ludicrous, simply because of the vast amounts of knowledge that one can learn on their own, and I feel that I’m partially correct at this point; many entrepreneurs don’t deal with college because they’ve found a niche and exploited it (which I’m not necessarily connoting as good, but it makes money), worked their asses off, or a combination of the two.

There’s only one thing that stands out in my mindset (to me anyway) that separates me from said entrapment, other than the obvious exploitation of others. I do practice humanity once in awhile. My difference is that I’m scared of falling flat on my ass and no having a chance to pick myself back up.

Getting this degree is a backup plan to (at the very least) facilitate an environment that shows a certain quality for life because it’s something I like to do, and through transitive property, working towards getting this degree means dealing with many obstacles to be overcame. This class is one of those many obstacles, but being a bull-headed person will not earn me useful lessons for the rest of my life. Life is finite, and even the wasted time, in my opinion, can be salvaged with lessons.

Although most of the time I spend in this class feels as if it’s a mistake, I feel like seeing the positives of it will yield a better experience (this is something I’m trying to practice regularly in life as well, staying positive). Good things such as:

  • So many people willing to some to class
  • Being in class with future doctors and teachers and possibly even others English majors
  • Knowing that I’m on the right track as far as keeping my stuff together in the real world
  • Knowing that I can practice future teaching methods

Entry #24

Make a choice — Write about one of the following (This is a writing blog, so we’re doing both.)

A) Describe an important course correction you’ve made in the past.

I think one of the bigger one from the past would be choosing friends as wisely as you choose which words to say to them. I used to be a bad friend; I’m not saying I’m perfect now, but I think my current friends would agree that I’m pretty good.

Being tactful in what you say when you’re being assertive can really make the difference when you tell your friends no, especially when trying to better yourself. I felt like a completely different person when I hit the real world. To say the least, it’s scary when you want to tackle it on your own, and making that decision involves making more difficult decisions in the future.

A good example is when I had to tell my friends no, instead of being a yes man. But, this alone will yield it’s own difficult decisions. Some friends that I thought I would never want to b around ended up being the ones I needed most, and one friend could never wrap his head around what I was doing. As a consequence of his bad decision, as well as it spilling over into my own well-being, I had to tell him that I wanted nothing to do with him anymore. It was easily one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made, but I look back now and am glad that I had the fortitude to make such a decision even though it was hard.

B) Identify where you are presently off course and offer a plan for making a course corrections.

One thing that I find recurring time and time again is burnout from pushing myself so much. This always result in a two week to three month period of doing absolutely nothing to better myself in the fields that I’ve come to learn so much about.

One of the biggest ways I plan on stopping this is to moderate myself more heavily in everything that I do. I need to remind myself often to stay on task and not sweat the small stuff, and I need to always remember the difference between moderation of skill development and scrutiny of my skill building processes’ efficiency; I guess I could probably blame that on time management being something that’s become very important to me. After all, you can make billions, spend it, and gain it back, but our clocks are always ticking.


Chapter 6: Employing Interdependence

Entry #Holland Test 11/4/2018

This seems to be the chapter for additional journal entries. That’s okay though. For this journal entry, I’m going to take what’s known as a Holland test. It’s an assessment designed to test which kind of job field I’d be most interested in for the future. I’m doing this with a clearer head than when I normally do these journal entries, so the result should bee pretty good.

Screenshot_2018-11-05 Holland Code Career Test.png

According to the Holland test, I’m a persuader with heavy undertones of a thinker and a doer. This feels pretty accurate. In most of the things I create, I’m trying to always make the reader wonder about their stance against or for the main character.

Most of what I try to do in the book I’m writing now is to try and show the reader that our main protagonist isn’t a murderer.

All of this being said, I think the choice to be a English professor rather than a high school English teacher was a very good decision. I don’t want to have to carry my students, and I believe that professing what I love in way of lecturing is something I would enjoy over pandering to the few who may fall behind.

Entry #Seabiscuit

The professor has asked us to watch a few videos about Seabiscuit, the tale of racing horse born to lose in the eyes of his breeders, and reflect on a few times when it feels as it we have been setup to fail.

The first question (of three) asks to write about a time when I’ve experienced failure because I was “trained to lose.” Professor Davis had mentioned a student from another class saying that high school was their example. I’m going to stick with the same answer for different reasons.

In high school, I was made to fail because I felt such a lack of guidance. Luckily, whereas expression of my creativity was never stifled, it was never and encouraged thing, either. Sometimes I look back and wonder that if I were disciplined a little more, I would have a bit more of an appreciation for my early education, but I took it for granted because, in short, I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. I hold regret for it now because I took away experience with something that’s not nearly as useful in the end.

As far as getting back on track, I did see the positive light of this. Working in mills and factories gave me some perspective on what I really wanted to do with my life; doing the same, monotonous task day in and day out will give you time to build muscle, character, mindset, and your bank account, but it also gives you time to think about the things that matter the most to you.

For me, this was the time to subconsciously, and consciously, considered what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. My last factory job was when the reading started again, and from there it took pretty quickly for this only being two years ago. Now, I’m back in college, building websites, doing electronics repair, writing a book, writing short stories, and working on myself as a writer from the ground up, hence the degree in English.

Entry #EscapeRooms

The hashtag is purposeful to keep up with the times, but to make things more clear for my readers, my professor has included an escape room in this semester’s academia.

There’s only one problem with this: I was sick and couldn’t make it. But, this is no excuse for someone who wanted the experience to not talk about the experience with his group and give collective feedback. In lieu of my absence, my professor has allowed me to make this assignment up by watching a movie (selected from a list given by the professor) and writing a summation on how characters deal with the vicissitudes of the story and how those behaviors relate to a few of the 8 Choices of Successful Students found in chapter 1

Of the movies, I choose…tsk tsk tsk….hmmm….it’s tough. Pretty good list though. Let’s go with Good Will Hunting, a story about a M.I.T. janitor with a gift for mathematics who trusts in the judgement of a psychiatrist for guidance in his life.

I know you said you didn’t want a summation Dean Davis, but I’m only including this for the sake of my readers. I haven’t seen it, so I’m hoping it’s something that piques the interest.

Here we find a young, bull-headed Boston local who cannot seem to find the direction in which to give his life. One of the things that I see immediately is how fond he is of getting into trouble and simply talking his way out of it.

I want to start nearing the end of this movie as far as any comparison to the books goes. First off, throughout the entirety of the film, Will Hunt has this air around him the are representative of a student who doesn’t practice any of the eight traits. He’s is a genius, and his shrink (Robin Williams) even tells him this, but goes on to mention that no one is trying to take that away.

Throughout the movie, Will expresses many things that are overtly logical, turning down interviews, playing the devil’s advocate between his shrink and the math professor at MIT that found him, as well as explaining why he can’t love the girl who he’s clearly in love with. This is all storytelling, so the gradual ascension of the events leading up to final decisions represents that of which he cannot express until he’s overcome something more.

I feel as though the main character’s inner critic has turned outward, never having scrutiny for wasting not only his time, but his gift as well; this may be a bad thing, because self-criticism is something that strengthens your mind. The guide seems to have been closed off, showing a heavily fortified wall in the sense of Will’s over achieving ‘bad boy’ status.

But, what really hit home with me was during one of the counseling sessions, mandated by the courts and facilitated through the math professor who discovered his talent, when Robin Williams was talking to Will after he had turned down a job at the NSA.

The job is prestigious, yet Will denounces it, giving cause to how it could destroy lives. Williams comes back to explain to him that if he understands his own talents, yet still chooses a mediocre job such as being a janitor, then why is he a janitor in the most prestigious school of math in the world?

It begs the question of a successful person, and this is something I went through myself: If you don’t know what you want to do with yourself, could not at least look at the trace amounts of evidence in your day-to-day activities that speckle the so far unmarked canvas that is your life? Remnants of little habits that you wanted to succeed with but perhaps you felt too doubtful of yourself to even try.

Nearing the end of this story, Will, after having not shown up to his meeting, refusing to tell his girl he loves her, and burning an important equation in front of the very eyes of the professor that saved his ass earlier in the movie, FINALLY has a breakthrough when, after hearing everyone and their brother state it, his friend steps in, saying he will “literally kill [him] if [he’s] still here in 20 years.”

It clicks.

The gift he’s been squandering all along was his worst enemy, his greatest defense mechanism, and yet it is what everyone else sees that make it his greatest strength. It helps him realize that the fault of the beatings he received as a child were not his own and that it’s okay to ‘not know’ something. Williams, earlier in the film, will go onto explain that it isn’t someones perfections, but their imperfections that will gauge whether they are perfect for you.

In the end, Will accepts the responsibility that his gift carries weight. He decides that maybe living life, listening to the advice of others isn’t such a bad things. He finally takes the opportunity to look within himself and find out why he can’t trust those around him with necessary things such as love. In the end he develops emotional intelligence, harnessing that fact that he may be a genius, but he will always have flaws, just like everyone else.

Entry #23

1) Title this journal entry “My Personal Rules for Success in College and in Life.” Below that, write a list of your own rules for achieving your goals in college. List only those actions of which your are willing to do consistently.

  1. Stay persistent
  2. Try to reach your ‘flow state’ every day
  3. Ask yourself the younger & older questions.
  4. Goals must be set, without them your can’t score.
  5. Be resourceful
  6. Be diligent
  7. Don’t be too self-critical
  8. Accept critique from others and understand it well.

2) Write your thoughts and feelings about which of your personal rules is the most important to your success in college and in life, and why.

The three that I find most important are persistence, resourcefulness, accepting reasonable criticism.  Persistence because nothing short-lived is ever really worth the time. Think about a cheap goldfish or the gratification that comes with Facebook likes. They’re great for a few minutes but they die out quickly. working hard a long hours produces the results of someone who’s drive. People are rewarded in public for what they practice for year in private.

Resourcefulness is my want to give back to the world that’s given me so much. I want to be the kind of person people can come to and trust with real dilemma, talk through it with them, and ultimately help them overcome their obstacles.

Understanding and receiving well the criticism given by yourself and others is important; it keeps us level on the level. The biggest thing for me is to never take my own criticism to heart, and to always wonder whether the criticism I receive externally is constructive or simply criticism, and vice-versa with the two.

Entry #22

1) Write a dialogue with your Inner Guide that will help you revise your self-sabotaging scripts. Have your Inner Guide ask your the following 10 questions. After answering the questions, let your Inner Guide use one or more of the active listening skills to help you dive deep

Q) IG: In what area of your life are you off course?

ME: As of now I feel mentally gassed, as if I’v slowed down because of the stress I’ve induced to myself through all the work.

Q) IG: What self-defeating thought patterns of yours may have contributed to this situation?

ME: One of the biggest thought patterns is never feeling like whate I’ve done, no matter how large, is enough for where I want to go.

Q) IG: What different thoughts could you choose to get back on course?

ME: One of the main thoughts that I’ve been recently implementing is adding more external motivational sources to fill myself with more motivational thoughts in the future.

Q) IG: What self-defeating emotional patterns of yours may have contributed to this situation?

ME: Anxiousness and fear of a wasted life. I feel like our time is finite because it is, and I want my existence to count for something in this world.

Q) IG: What different emotions could you choose to get back on course?

ME: It may sound pretentious but knowing that I know what I’m striving for in the future and why I’m doing what I’m doing put me ahead of the mass population in the world. It makes me happy knowing that What I’m striving for is truly worth something to me.

Q) IG: What self-defeating behavioral patterns of yours may have contributed to this situation?

ME: Deciding to watch Youtube videos that are unrelated to getting me in the flow state and take my attention away from it. Letting procrastination sink in is always something that brings about anxiety and fear later on.

Q) IG: What different behaviors could you choose to get back on course?

ME: Something I do often is to create a habit that gets me in the mood aswell as reminds me to take it one assignment at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed or you’ll become discouraged.

Q) IG: What limiting core beliefs of yours (about the world, other people, or yourself) may have led you to adopt the self-defeating patterns we’ve been discussing?

ME: I feel like the world is going in a bad direction, other people are too concerned about themselves and how they can drift by in this life without contribution to society and development of themselves, and I feel like if I allow myself to become part of the problem then I’m no better that the rest of them.

Q) IG: What different beliefs could you choose to get back on course?

ME: I think it’s important to understand that I have no control over anyone but myself, but that’s a positive thing. Keep grinding, and know that even if I don’t have control over anyone, I do have a certain amount of influence in my social activity. As a responsible person that feels obliged to help others, I want to be as resourceful to people as I possibly can, through teaching, writing, or just conversing with others.

Q) IG: As a result of what you’ve learned here, what new behaviors, thoughts, emotions, or core beliefs will you adopt?

ME: What I’ve been trying to incorporate lately, feeling the ups and downs of trying to accomplish a large goal, is to have a plan of action when I get down and out from my goals. I hungry for success, but everyone has their off days and I’m no exception. I’ve been in this state for the past week but what I’m doing to remedy this is to remind myself why I’ve put all this work in so far.

I’m a consequence of my actions, my state and how I perceive things both on the inside and outside. It’s no surprise to me that when I take in nothing but the negativity, that’s what I give in return.

Entry #21

1) Write about one of your self-defeating behavior patterns.

One self-defeating behavior pattern I find myself often doing is criticizing others. In my ideal future, I only really have to deal with the people that matter to me. I’m a quiet person and I like keeping to myself, but whenever there’s a team effort, I don’t immediately shut down the idea of being on one.

To me, although  this is a real-world exercise and I know that groups are inevitable in life, I feel groups cannot be a deciding factor of this critique. I try to round out what I see in others, taking age, race, sex, home life, current environment, stress, and quite a few other factors into account. At the end of the day I just feel that most people are just lazy.

2) Repeat step #1 and write about a self-defeating thought or emotional patterns.

One of the continuous thoughts I have is that nothing I do will ever make up for the time I’ve wasted. Operating at a very high capacity for a long period of time can cause someone mental wear and tear, and this is something that I’ve battled with all year. letting yourself rest when necessary and not beating yourself up for it is important for maintaining the malleability that’s necessary to deal with life’s many vicissitudes, especially those brought on by trying to better yourself.

Some of the self-defeating emotional patterns that are brought on by this thought are anxiety and fear, but through the fear, I work a little harder and through the anxiety I try not to shy. I expose myself to experiences that give me these feelings so I can overcome them.

Entry #20

1) Write about a time when you were off course and too effective actions to get back on course.

When I first moved away from my mother’s house, I knew what I was doing at that point wasn’t going to cut it, so I buckled down and stayed focused on establishment of myself. From that I learned quite a lot about discipline, respect for myself and others, as well as perseverance.

2) Write about an area of your life in which you are off course today.

The biggest issue I have lately is actually reading before I go to bed. It keeps light from TV away from my mind the last hour or so. (studies show that watching TV just before or doing anything related to harsh light keeps your biological clock for day and night off kilter.)

I like it because it helps me get a grasp of what I’d like to do with my own writing and like Stephen King says, “It’s a portable magic, a hatch one can use to escape the world for a little time.”


Chapter 5: Employing Interdependence

Entry #19

1) Make a choice – Write about one of the following (We always do both here on Quarterstories):

A) Write three responses to the instructor described in the following situation by placating, blaming, and leveling. 

(You register for a course that is required in your major. It is the last course you need to graduate. When you go to your first class meeting, your instructor tells you that your name is not on the roster. The course is full, and no other sections of the course are being offered. You’ve been shut out of the class. The instructor tells you that you’ll have to postpone graduation and return next semester to complete the required course.)

Response #1 (Placating): There has to be a mistake. I signed up for this course and was given the green light. If I could just go to the administration and find out if there’s any way for me to attend. This is the last class required for my major. I only need this and  I can move on. At least give me the chance to talk to administration. I only want to find out what went wrong.

Response #2 (Blaming): This isn’t my fault. Admissions told me I was booked. If you have a problem with that you need to ask them and stop wasting my time. Hoe do I know that you have the most up-to-date roster available. You need to re-check this, and if you still don’t see it, do your job and go ask admissions yourself, they’ll clear this up

Response #3 (Leveling): Okay, here’s the thing: I know what admissions told me. It could be anyone’s fault, but I just want to know what happened so I can avoid it in the future. I’m going to go to administration and find out who’s at fault. I’m going to see if they can work something out.

B) Think about one of your most challenging academic goals. Decide who could help you with this goal. Write a letter to this person and request assistance.

Dear Math Professor,

My name is Benjamin Wallis and I’ll be attending your Friday night 6pm this fall at JSCC. I want to be forward in saying that I don’t think I will do very well in your class with the skill that I currently have as far as Calculus is concerned. If you find the time, could you please point me to a good reference so I can brush up on some of my skill. Thank you in advance.

Regards, Benjamin W.

2) Write what you’ve learned or relearned about being assertive.

Being assertive is very different from being aggressive. In a professional environment especially, being assertive can mean the difference between getting what you need or being interpretedd as too passive and maybe not as interested in the subject at hand.

Entry #18

1) Describe a time when you felt disrespected.

See 1 of Journal entry #7 (it’s too good an example to only be used once; it’s based in a real world work environment as well)

2) Describe the experience a second time, but this time revise what people said in a way that would have left you feeling fully respected.

This coworker asks me about work that being done to a phone in the back. (This question has been asked a couple of dozen time and it never fails that it has everything to do with a process that’s been explained over and over again.)

In a better scenario, I react without the expression of an eye roll or a sigh of tiredness. I let her know that it’s still being worked on and she says, “thank you!”

After that the conversation is over and she doesn’t call me an asshole, we wouldn’t have to have a private talk to figure the problem out either.

Entry #17

1) Write a conversation between you (ME) and your Inner Guide (IG) about a problem you are facing in college. Label each of your IG’s responses with the listening skill it uses: silence, expansion, clarification, reflection (remember to reflect feelings as well as thoughts)

ME: I’ve set such a high standard for myself and I’m not sure If I can deliver every single time like that. The assignments are gradually becoming more and more strenuous.

IG: It’s great that we’ve done god so far, but remember that it’s those same grades that will help you with tuition costs as well as creating job opportunities in the future with your degree.

ME: I’m just worried that I’ll snap under all the pressure.

IG: We’ve dealt with great amounts of pressure in the past, and now we’re just dealing with an unfamiliar pressure. The important thing is that at some point in the past, we saw that furthering our academia was something that was absolutely necessary in order to further ourselves. Don’t forget what brought us to that decision.

ME: Of all things, I have to work in groups now. I hate working interdependently.I’m better off on my own.

IG: It is true, we work very well with minimal luggage and distraction but, these are people who are in your class as well. They may find themselves in situations you’ve been in the past. Do your best to help them when they need it, and their overcoming of problems may remind you why and how you started in the first place

2) Write about what you learned or relearned about active listening during this conversation with your inner guide and what changes, if any, you will makes in your communications.

The biggest thing is knowing that I’ve been through a lot to just throw in the towel now. It shouldn’t e something foreign to me to help others, even if that help could put my grade on the line. I say that with sincerity; I want to be a teacher and something they have to be great at is explain to a vast plethora of different people from all different walks of life.

The biggest change that I’m working on is active communication within my workplace as well as my relationships back home. Interdependence is much more than just being on a team. It’s communicated and working as one. It’s something that’s hard to achieve, but with a strong team ad good communication, you can overcome anything that’s holding you back.

Entry #16

1) Write and complete the following ten sentence stems.

  1. A specific situation when someone assisted me was when I needed help understanding more about my major and which career path would best suit me.
  2. A specific situation when I assisted someone else was when I was training new people where I work on doing things correctly.
  3. A specific situation when I made assisting someone else more important than my own success and happiness was when I comforted my friend after the death of one of his parents. I felt like it was suitable considering the circumstances.
  4. When someone asks me for assistance I usually feel happy to help anyone who wants to learn.
  5. When I think of asking someone for assistance I usually feel like I’ve exhausted all effort and need some additional support to get the task at hand finished.
  6. What usually gets in the way of my asking for help is my pride, usually wanting to figure out what the problem is on my own.
  7. If I often asked for other people’s assistance I feel like it would give me an idea of how others perceive the problem so I can better understand the issue.
  8. If I joyfully gave assistance to others, they would probably better recieve the information I gave them
  9. If I gratefully accepted assistance from others, they would probably do their best to help me as completely as possible.
  10. One goal that I could use assistance with today is finding a medium for my teammates to best receive the section that I’m teaching.

2) Write about two or more choices you could make to create a stronger support system for yourself in college

 One of the biggest things that I try to do is find out as much as I can about anything before diving into it, whether it be projects, classes, or larger endeavors like going to college. I like asking advisors about advice, especially since my new advisor is a an English instructor. I can learn a lot from people who’ve done the work that i want to do.

Another thing I’d like to start employing is asking instructor what the specifically believe is ‘A’ work within the class and if there are any resources to help further my education. I’m particularly worried about any math classes because of how badly I performed in those classes in the past. I fell like with a bit of help from the instructor and some classmates or tutors, if necessary, it’ll be easy to pass with the grades I want.


Chapter 4: Mastering Self-Management

Entry #15

1) List the successes you’ve created in your life.

  • I’ve taught myself how to build computers.
  • I’ve started reading and writing again.
  • I’ve built several successful websites.

2) List your personal skills and talents

  • Photography
  • Writing
  • Digital Design
  • Web Design
  • Electronics repair
  • Independently-minded
  • Self-starter
  • Effective time management

3) List positive risks that you’ve taken in your life.

  • Leaving my home at 17
  • Leaving one of the best factory jobs in the area to pursue the unknown.
  • Investing a few hundred dollars into a building a site that keeps me writing
  • Buying an affordable car to boost my credit
  • Joining a band to learn more about influential music.
  • Starting a Youtube channel to see if it was something for me.

4) Write a visualization of yourself successfully doing an important action that you presently have some resistance about doing.

One of the things I currently feel resistance about is actually making the time to proofread short stories for magazine submissions. I can feel myself wanting to do it, but I always have what are actually reasonable excuses to ignore them for the time being. The feeling of loss isn’t there because no one is holding me countable, and that includes me, too.

I can see the positive impact it would make for me as a writer. Even if I failed, which I probably would the first few times, I would still hold a deeper sense of determination. If the failures stack up, I would only get more determined. Having that feeling of accomplishment if one of these short stories did get published. I think I may finish that second draft by tonight, actually.

Entry #14

1) From your life plan in journal entry #9, copy one of your most important and challenging short-term goals from your role as a student.

Working diligently in the sense of keeping up with my reading and my writing, never forcing myself to do it but to actually make time for it.

2) Write and complete the following sentence stem three or more times: I would moves steadily towards this goal if every day I. . .

I would moves steadily towards this goal if every day I read before I went to bed.

I would moves steadily towards this goal if every day I reminded myself of the gravity that reading new things holds in my life.

I would moves steadily towards this goal if every day I actually made it to my goal early, I kept going, pushing the story itself to better heights.

3) On a separate page in your journal, create a 32-day Commitment Form. Complete the sentence at the top of the form (“Because I know . . . “)  with one action from your list in step #2.

*Note: Professor Davis explained that this should be our lowest score from journal entry #3. My shortcoming was interdependence, or working with others as well as I could. So I’m going with this

Because I know this commitment will keep me on course with my goals, I promise myself that every day for the next 32 days I will take the following action: Be more resourceful team player to my peers

  1. Day 1 – 9/28 – Went well today. Not where I want to be about avoiding anger with someone’s shortcomings, but that’s okay. I followed through and kept a playful tone when getting frustrated, making jokes and laughing it off.
  2. Day 2 – 9/29 – Today was good. Making jokes is a a good way to lighten a stressful environment.
  3. Day 3 – 9/30 – Kept good communication with my team today. Still need to work on employing some different tactics when expressing opinion about someone else shortcomings
  4. Day 4 – 10/1 – Making use of good communication and making people laugh are what help the shortcomings I feel when employing interdependence feels hard.
  5. Day 5 – 10/2 – It gets repetitious, but humor, even if you’re making fun of yourself, it works.
  6. Day 6 – 10/3 – Had a more difficult time with this tonight, but I kept to myself in any case. I don’t think I did well, but I didn’t do bad either.
  7. Day 7 – 10/4 – Communication and employment of active listening was important today. It helps to know that you have people on your side.
  8. Day 8 – 10/5 – Today went well
  9. Day 9 – 10/6 – Today was testing in my opinion, but it’s starting to become a matter o which angle to approach the situation from.
  10. Day 10 – 10/7 – Today was a bit of a snap for me, but I didn’t let it show to everyone else, really just letting things not bother me as much, but sometimes you just can’t help sweating the little things
  11. Day 11 – 10/8 – Today went well
  12. Day 12 – 10/9 – This week at the shop is difficult for everyone because the bosses are gone on a Disney trip. We’re working well though
  13. Day 13 – 10/10 – Today was good for opening up the store, and I was willing to naturally help without expecting anything else. No complaints, even if it wasn’t my job. It isn’t my place to judge someone if they need help, even if it bugs me.
  14. Day 14 – 10/11 – Today, I contacted my advisor again and was talking with some good friends. Social interaction is important sometimes.
  15. Day 15 – 10/12 – Today, helping everyone else when they asked the typical questions wasn’t so bad. It felt good to take the problems one at a time as well.
  16. Day 16 – 10/13 – Today was normal, not really anything to complain about.
  17. Day 17 – 10/14 – Today I realized that asking for help is never a bad thing, even if it’s just with dishes.
  18. Day 18 – 10/15 – Today was good. It’s getting easier with time
  19. Day 19 – 10/16 – Today was good.
  20. Day 20 – 10/17 – Today went okay. It could have been better but, tomorrow’s a new day.
  21. Day 21 – 10/18 – Today was really good. Everything went smoothly
  22. Day 22 – 10/19 – Today was good. I’m starting to see a recurring pattern with waking up early as well as reading directly before bed to help get a better night’s sleep. It allows me to be more engaging with my co-workers in a positive way.
  23. Day 23 – 10/20 – Today was good.
  24. Day 24 – 10/21 – Today was a Sunday, no real room for interdependence. Although, I did interview my great grandmother this afternoon. Her perspective on hard work and helping others is very concrete when compared to how the average joe is today
  25. Day 25 – 10/22 – Today was slow, but I made the day work for me instead of the other way around.
  26. Day 26 – 10/23 – I’m interacting a bit more. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s making the day a little less stressful as well.
  27. Day 27 – 10/24 – The days are getting easier, i just need to stay as malleable to them as possible
  28. Day 28 – 10/25 – Today was good
  29. Day 29 – 10/26 – Today was okay-ish
  30. Day 30 – 10/27 – no real call for interdependence today
  31. Day 31 – 10/28 – today went well
  32. Day 32 – 10/29 – Today went well, really just need to focus of trusting others more.

4) Make a choice — write about one of the following: a) Describe your thought an feelings as you begin your 32-day commitment, b) Write a response that you imagine your instructor might write to the two anonymous students.

A) I feel confident that I can do it, but it does scare me. At the beginning of this year I started a very rigorous regiment that flipped my world upside down, and I stuck with it for about a month and a half. At that time and among other things, 4:30 in the morning was the norm, and my writing goals were never allowed to drop below a thousand, no matter what. Because I know now that it’s important to let yourself off the hook sometimes, I’m more confident now about this goal and others, but the thoughts will always worry me.

B) Student A: “I missed day four of my 32-day commitment, and now I feel terrible about myself. I’m great about keeping promises to everyone else, but I’m not so great at keeping commitments to myself.”

Response: Being able to allow yourself to fall is important to keep going. Don’t think that just because a day was missed that you can keep up with the rest. After all, the goal hear isn’t to get you to be perfect, its simply to get you in the habit of doing something you know you need to. Just the fact that you made the commitment brings you a step closer to your goal, and the more you persist, the more often you’ll find yourself hitting that goal.

Student B: “I missed two days of my 32-day commitment already, but it doesn’t matter bother me at all. It just a stupid homework assignment. What difference does it make?”

Response: Ours actions hold an overall gravity to our outcome. Stop and think of why this teacher may give us more homework than anything. Could it be because he wants us to learn what an independent mindset feels like? Point is, you can miss a few ‘stupid’ homework assignments, but you can’t deny the feeling of regret when you see how much your mindset has effected your grade. Being a student means having a passion to learn; knowledge is power. Don’t think you’re above something so easily, or it may just end up above you.

Entry #13

1) Write about the system (or lack of system) that you presently use to decide what you will do each day.

The system I use is weekly because of how sporadic the day-to-day is; the week-to-week is much easier. I currently use a pen and paper method of ‘generalizing what I do, from the time I wake up to the time my face his the pillow again. I think it’s important for students to remember that you should create a skeletal system before trying to make an entire, well-thought schedule. It’s important to be malleable because there will come times when there’s no option but to alter, no matter the amount of planning.

2) Write about how you could use or adapt self-management tools in this chapter to create a leak-proof self-management system and improve your outcomes and experiences. Or, if you do not want to use or adapt any of these tools, explain why.

What’s interesting to me is that all of them reinforce what I do already to a very similar degree however, I will need to make use of the waiting-for list. I don’t have many but there are a few things in my head that people either owe me or need to check back with me for. The waiting-for list will definitely help with that.

My current organizational tool is Google Drive. The fact that it saves the work as quickly as your typing makes it an invaluable tool for school. Gmail is secure as well, and the biggest thing that should interest college students is that it’s FREE. That’s 15gb worth of cloud storage included; as long as you keep it paper and written work (maybe a photo or two here and there), there will never be a need to stress over these things again or running out of space. It even keep the documents in Word format or .docx, what most of our professors expect to have anyway.

Something that I didn’t see in this chapter was relating to monetarily-straining to-dos. Granted the project folder could be this however, I like to keep money in one place and plans for projects in the other because the project may not be something that costs any amount of money, like writing a book for example; that just takes a lot of time.

Entry #12

1) Write a list of fifteen or more specific actions you have taken in the past two days.

  1. Waking up and writing my goal of words for the day
  2. Playing videogames
  3. Studying for a history quiz
  4. Investing time in my relationship
  5. Working (Job)
  6. Reading up on the book for history class
  7. Watching TV
  8. Commuting to and from work
  9. Calling close relatives for checkup
  10. Watching positive YouTube videos
  11. Feeding my pet snake, Noodle
  12. Taking afternoon naps of days off
  13. Checking my sites and its various social media
  14. Going to the park for a walk
  15. Going grocery shopping

2) Using an entire journal page, draw the four quadrant chart like the example in the article. (I cannot draw, nor do I possess the coding skills necessary to do such on this site. To compensate, I will list these quadrants as accurately as possible)

For my readers who may not have the book, the ‘quadrant’ that this question, or task rather, talks about is important. Imagine you just drew a two-dimensional square. Within the square, draw a line down the center as well as across. the result should look like your original square has become for equal yet smaller squares. I’ll label the Quadrant list to avoid confusion as I go.

  1. Quadrant #1 Important & Urgent (upper left-hand quadrant)
    1. Commuting to and from work (1 hour)
  2. Quadrant #2 Import & Not Urgent (upper right-hand quadrant)
    1. Waking up and writing my goal of words for the day (3.5 hours)
    2. Studying (1-5 hours)
    3. Investing time in my relationship (3 hours)
    4. Working (Job) (8 hours)
    5. Reading up on the narrative book for history class (1 hour)
    6. Calling close relatives for checkup (1-2 hours)
    7. Watching positive YouTube videos (1-2 hours)
    8. Feeding my pet snake, Noodle (1 hour)
    9. Going grocery shopping (1 hour)
    10. Checking my sites and its various social media (30 minutes)
  3. Quadrant #3 Not Important & Urgent (lower left-hand quadrant)
  4. Quadrant #4 Not Important & Not Urgent (lower right-hand quadrant)
  1. Playing videogames (1-2 hours)
  2. Watching TV (1-2 hours)
  3. Going to the park for a walk (1 hour)

3) Write about what you’ve learned or relearned concerning the your use of time. And as a result, what will you do that you have note been doing?

First, I want to explain to my readers that the books sense of urgency when using the term isn’t the immediacy in which to do something; the book uses the term to describe something that has a very close deadline. They even use the term grim to describe just how close.

I’m fairly comfortable with how I spend my time. To give a good example, I was at ends with myself on whether to watch a movie this evening (Saturday) or do the journal entries and stay caught up. I decided, seeing as how Saturday’s are my quality time with someone special, that I would meet in the middle and do half the entries tonight and half tomorrow night after the coursework from the other classes are finished. I have it in my mind that if the task of doing the entries bleeds over into the Monday and, consequently, the following work week, I won’t worry too much about it because they will get done either way.

I explained that because this is simply how my mind works. I try to keep myself busy, often not having adequate time waste even if I wanted, and the times I am watching TV, walking, or playing videogames, I usually have a subsequent goal.

Let me explain.

I’ll listen to audiobooks, comedians through Pandora, and explore new music when I can (meaning entirely new genres, if possible). It makes for an interesting walk, and since my commute to work is long, I can knock out good portions of an audiobook (I made it through Ready Player One by Ernest Cline in a matter of a few days).

The movies themselves are what I consider Passive Research. I’m a writer and I like writing and reading the horror genre. I never got to see many of the cult classics like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th. Those just scratch the surface; since imploring my new schedule this year—the same schedule that’s made me think it even possible to attend college— I’ve tried not to waste time on the newer movies that no one knows whether or not they are good. I like sticking the golden oldies.

My videogames, or game rather, is of the arcade sortWhat does this mean? For me, most videogames nowadays only want to flaunt the endless hours of gameplay you get from them, but a game that’s of the arcade sort is something that you play just to see how far you can go, no saves and no drawn out story; my life is my big story and I’d like to invest long hours into it, but every now and again you get over whelmed and need a brain-number. Arcade videogames are perfect, losing all those power ups and armor will take too much time to get back, and I have more studying to do. It keep my work:reward ratio more tightly knit as well.


Chapter 3: Discovering Self-Motivation

Entry #11

1) Write a one-sentence statement of one of your most motivating goals or dreams in your role as a student.

I’m watching as my students enter a classroom like they’ve never seen before.

2) Write a long list of personal qualities that would help you achieve this educational goal or dream.

Resourcefulness, enlightened, mindful, pensive, well-read, well-met, Empathetic, determined, driven, goal-oriented, ceaselessness, selfless, lacking of all excuses, and taker of extreme ownership.

3) Underline the three qualities on your list that seem the most essential for you to achieve your goal or dream as a student.

4) Write three version of your personal affirmations.

I’m a selfless, mindful, and driven man.

I’m a selfless, mindful, and driven man, pursing my happiness and taking it because I deserve every ounce of it that I work for.

I’m a selfless, mindful, and driven man, and I will be relentless in achieving what I want out of this profession.

5) Underline the sentence in #4 that you like the best.

6) Write three paragraphs — one for each of the three qualities in your affirmation.

I feel that I display selflessness during my daily life. Through consideration for others and understanding that everyone deserves the best version of me and nothing less, the bar is set high, but it’s not something that has to be difficult to do. I’ve wanted to be selfless in the sense of resourcefulness since I was a child. Helping people and changing things for the better is selfless, and it’s the quality of a hero, big or small. When you read about my heroes (Roland Deshain of Gilead, The Baudelaire Orphans, or The Losers Club) they all display the traits that I want to work hard for. One of the biggest being selflessness.

Being mindful of my surroundings is something that comes natural to me as an introvert, but the understanding with that mindfulness that’s necessary to keep a patient and steady balance within myself and my relationships with others is the mindfulness that I strive to achieve.

Being driven is not something someone can simply decide to do. I’m a person who could give quite a few excuses when it comes to being driven. I had ADHD, GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), and I’ve got a rough past to top it all off. I wasn’t always as determined, as driven to achieve my own success, but after spending times getting to know myself, real time getting to know myself, it was evident that I wasn’t happy. Other people, including my mom, could see it written across my face, but something you can’t always rely on people to be is honest with you (not that she wasn’t, but she’s never been one to harp for very long). Being driven is something you have as a self-developed skill, and everyone has their own version of this, or should in my opinion.

Entry #10

1) Write a visualization of the exact moment in the future when you are experiencing the accomplishment of your biggest goal or your dream in your role as the student.

I see myself propped in front of a large dry erase board, holding a book in my hand a pretending to read something while quietly taking in the expressions of my students entering the classroom one by one.

On the table in the center of the room, there’s a diorama of a murder scene (not obscenely graphic for those students who may be a bit queasy. The body will be covered). On the large dry erase board behind me, there will be a voluntary assignment to write two hundred words on what has happened.

These high schools students may be in my class for the first time, but I want to test their grit. I want to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie, even if that strength or weakness has much to do with wanting nothing to do with writing or English, and that’s okay! I want them to know that in my classroom, things will be different. They aren’t just going to learn about English, but they will learn about the gravity of its foothold in their lives.

This first day in class is something that I’ve visualized before knowing that I even wanted to teach. It was a thought of showcasing something, and exploring how someone elses mind would interpret such a thing. The scene may change to a fairy tale or a great battle of the future, but no matter what It may be, I want to express to my students that English is not just rules of grammar and rhetoric guidelines that must be followed like a prison yard line. English is a form of communication the spans over 600,000 words, has given us some of our best works of fiction in books, television, movies, comics, and more. It’s an archaic form that’s part of their main curriculum for a reason. It’s to give them the adventure, the excitements, and all the terrors of a good story. It’s there to give them information that makes them better people. And, most importantly, it’s here for them to communicate there ideas.

Entry #9

1) Title a new page in you journal My Life Plan . Below the title, complete the part of your life plan for your role as a student.

My Life Plan

My Dream: To become a published author as well as a pronounced teacher in the fields of English, creative writing, and other forms involving literature, mainly teaching English itself.

My Life Role: Student

My Long-term Goals in this Role: By 2020, I want my Associates Degree in Teaching, and by 2022, I want to be actively searching for a teaching position whilst starting work on a Master’s of the Fine Arts in English to further move into the college level of teaching English.

My Short-term Goals in this Role: I want to work diligently and continue my morning writing routines whenever possible. I want to publish short stories to help save for a move to a new place that I might eventually incur on my search for a teacher’s position somewhere in the country. I want to study hard, and never forget where I started before starting this new chapter in my life.

2) Write about what you’ve learned or relearned from designing your life plan.

One thing that will never change is the basis of writing. Something that has changed is knowing whether I want to teach high school level English or College level English, both of which take a college student on vastly different paths of course work. I want to do what I had originally planned: I want to teach at a high school level while attending night classes for my Master’s degree and work at doing both. I know the craft I love, and I want to know every form I can of it while teaching.

Entry #8

1) Create an empty table and fill in three or more of your own desired Outcomes for this course and/or this semester. Next to each explain why you value each outcome.

Desired Outcomes:

  1. Scoring high in all of my classes.
  2. Taking away more than what I came in with (in a sense of knowledge).
  3. Leaving people with a better representation of who I want to be, rather than who I really am.
  4. Publishing my first short story.

Value:

  1. Scoring high in my classes means that my hard work has paid off, my GPA is respectable, and I’ll have a better chance of applying to other schools or for scholarships.
  2. I wanted to go to college to actually enhance the ways I absorb information. I value my time as well as the time of others very seriously, even if they don’t. I want to use this time and learn about the craft I love, and hopefully, one day, I can share that passion with students of my own.
  3. I want to be revered as a determined and resourceful personality. A few years back I had the realization that can be anyone I want to be, the best version of me. I have to keep updating and through this I can inch closer every day to the person I saw myself as all those years ago.
  4. Part of the reason for going to school for teaching is to facilitate an environment that enables writing more. I write a lot now, but I want to be published. In order to do this I need to do three main things: read a lot, write a lot, and work on the finest details of my craft as a whole.

2) Create an empty table and fill in three or more of your own desired Experiences for this course and/or this semester. Next to each explain why you value each outcome.

Desired Experiences:

  1. I want to experience more interdependence.
  2. If I’m afraid of something that’s of no harm, I want to do this more.
  3. I want to enjoy crafting my process and learning more about it.
  4. I want to enjoy the ‘little moments’ in class.

Value:

  1. I’m a very reserved person from the start. I don’t want to have to spend unnecessary time helping others when I know what I need to be doing however, if I ever plan on becoming an effective teacher, I’ve got to know how to do more than just show up and do the work; I have to commit to being a leader willing to do what it takes for the betterment of others.
  2. Things frighten us all the time, but something that we should never fear is failure at something. There’s no guarantee that I’ll make it as a writer, but I know that failing day in and day out means that I’m trying and getting that much closer; and, I know that I would rather die trying than live without failing at all. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, says in her Harvard commencement speech, “Failure is inevitable, unless you live so cautiously that you never fail at all, in which case you fail by default.”
  3. I value writing as a medium for story. It’s the story, after all, that I enjoy the most, but something about knowing how to paint an image in a great numbers of readers’ heads so vividly that they weep as result, kindling a spirit of commradery with the characters they’ve come to know and love, is something that I’m very grateful I have the ability to do. It’s something that I’m not perfect at, nor do I ever want to be perfect at. It’s something to build and enjoy the process of building.
  4. Classroom antics may not have the best ring to it, but the lively nature of the instructors is something I value as a student pursuing a similar career. I want to grab someone’s attention and have them, if only for a brief moment, enjoy the act of learning itself. Sometimes this tales a bit of those classroom antics.

3) Using the formula V × E = M, Write about your level of motivation to be successful in college.

The value I place on being successful in college is 9.5 and my  expectation of being successful in college is 10. Multiplied together, this gives me an achievement motivation score of 95. I think mt score is naturally high because of all the other added pressure that I have. It’s not a bad pressure by any means, but I could’ve stopped at wanting to just be a writer. Since I want to actually teach English, I need to know the subject from the ground up. Because of this, I’m highly motivated and plan on keeping it that way, even if it involves putting in odd hours and burning the midnight oil.


Chapter 2: Accepting Personal Responsibility

Entry #7

1) Write a sentence expressing a recent problem or event that upset you.

I’m actually pretty proud of this event because it’s resulted in constructive criticism in my workplace and has cleared the air of tension, making it easier for me to focus on work and college studies.

About a week ago, one of my co-workers called me an asshole. My normal thoughts are that this worker doesn’t go the extra mile like me and my group of people do, and I get angry about what I believe to be their incompetence. That’s far from the truth, but this bothered me for obvious reasons: 1) I don’t want to be an asshole and 2) I especially don’t like being called rude names by someone who I, at most times even though I shouldn’t, consider incompetent.

But, the situation was handle and as a result, everything feels a lot better.

2) Write a list of three or more criticisms your Inner Critic (IC) might level against you as a result of the situation. Have your Inner Guide (IG) dispute each on immediately.

IC: You are an asshole because your angry all the time over nothing. IG: It’s true that the work is piling on, but it’s no reason to victimize yourself; instead, try thinking of ways to make this situation better.

IC: Your not a resourceful person if you have your closest coworkers calling you names, maybe she’s right. IG: The past few weeks have been difficult, and you’re under stress. This doesn’t denote your resourcefulness. Fundamentalists think everything has to be right all the time, but you know you’re going to make mistakes, so let’s see if we can mend the situation.

IC: She hates you because your not good enough at solving your own problems. You want to deflect them on other instead, and for this, you are an asshole. IG: She doesn’t hate you; she asked for your professional advice just last week, so why would she hate you. She’s expressing her opinion, albeit in a tensive way, about how your acting is affecting everyone  in your workplace. Go talk to her about this, communicate.

3) Write a list of three or more criticisms your Inner Defender (ID) might level against you as a result of the situation. Have your Inner Guide (IG) dispute each on immediately.

ID: She just doesn’t understand the immense amount of stress you’re under, don’t let her words affect you. IG: She may not understand what you’re going through, but that’s not an excuse to toss away the criticism. She’s normally not like this, so she didn’t call you this for no reason at all.

ID: She’s the asshole, how many times do you have to tell her how to do her job. It’s only the hundred-thousandth time she’s asked the same question. IG: Yeah, she and the rest of the girls working in the front have asked these same questions  time and time again, but each customer has a slightly different circumstance. Don’t get upset when they’re only trying to do their job. Instead, be happy that they are working to ‘bridge that gap’ so you don’t have to go back and hunt for their notes on this customer’s ticket.

ID: You’ve got an allergy infection, one of the other technicians isn’t here, your college work is piling on, and you have your own side business. You even wake up early to write a thousand words before work every morning that you can. She doesn’t understand all that hard work. IG: She may not completely understand what you’re going through, but that doesn’t mean that your attitude can’t be helped from her criticism. Talk to her, give her your point of view after you apologize, and empathize with where she’s coming from. Who knows, you may find a common middle ground.

Entry #6

**Note: Our instructor has allowed us to skip this one (I’m assuming because of its length), but the overall exercise is to explore the Wise Choice Process. For my readers, I’ll give you the process itself and maybe you’ll find it helpful.

  1. What’s my present situation? (Describe the problem objectively and completely)
  2. How would I like my situations to be? (What is my ideal future outcome?)
  3. What are my possible choices? (Make a list of all the choices that may result in your preferred outcome.)
  4. What’s the likely outcome of each choice? (If you can’t predict the likely outcome of of an option, stop and gather more information.)
  5. Which choice will I commit to doing? (Pick from your list of choices in step 3)
  6. When and how will I evaluate my plan? (Identify the specific date and criteria by which you will determine the success of your plan.)

Entry #5

1) Instructions for #1 is to draw a center line and copy down the ten phrases they have for you below. The coding of this page wouldn’t allow for this, so I’m going to make do with the clearest method I can find.

2)

  1.  VictimIf they’d do something about the parking lot on campus, I wouldn’t be late so often. / CreatorMaking I should start leaving five minutes earlier; the school’s parking lot is huge, and it may take a minute to get to class from there.
  2. VictimI’m failing my online class because the site is impossible to navigate. / CreatorI need to step back for a minute, and when I come back, I’m going to try to navigate the site myself; if I need help, I’ll ask someone for help.
  3. VictimI’m too shy to ask a questions in class, even when I’m confused. / CreatorIt’s scary, being in college for the first time, but questions are the only way you can correct yourself before you make a time-wasting mistake.
  4. Victim – She’s a lousy instructor. That’s why I failed the first test. / CreatorI need to start taking better notes; she might be a seasoned professor, and I might actually learn something that changes me from the experience.
  5. VictimI hate group projects because people are lazy and I always end up doing most of the work. / CreatorI don’t like working in groups, but this may be my opportunity to practice interdependence for future classes.
  6. VictimI wish I could write better, but I just can’t. / CreatorIf I set aside thirty minutes a day and try to read good writing to get clearer example of what writing well looks like, my writing could improve.
  7.  Victim My friend got me so angry that I can’t even study for the test. / CreatorI need to resolve those problems with my friend. I may not be able to study before resolving the conflict we had.
  8. VictimI’ll try to do my best this semester. / CreatorI’m going to make sure I make detailed notes on the syllabus about all the assignments and what the instructor expects of me. From then, I’m going to make it a point to meet with them to ask about any pressing things that may confuse me. If I get this out of the way, I can enjoy class more as well.
  9. VictimThe financial aid document is too complicated. / CreatorThis document is asking for a lot of information; I bet if I make a documents folder with all my important information in it and make a point to add as I go, I can easily fill out complicated forms like this in the future.
  10. VictimI work nights, so I didn’t have time to do the assignments. / CreatorI work and these assignments are starting to pile on. I bet if I turned off my phone to turn from the temptation of checking it too often, I could make some good headway the next time I sit down to do work. If it’s not enough, I bet I could cut down an episode or two of my favorite show to wake up earlier and do some of the work in the morning.

3) Write what you’ve learned of relearned about how you use language: Is it your habit to speak as a victim or a creator? Do you find yourself more inclined to blame yourself, blames others, or seek solutions?

It feels good to reaffirm some of the old truths I’ve learned from writing the creator responses. For example, I actually do keep a file folder with all of my legal documents in them; I like to think that the reason behind doing it is to make my life easier because I know I’m going to want to do things that will require those documents in the future. Over the years, it’s been filled and had attention brought to it whenever it’s lacking anything. I feel like I’ve bridge that particular gap over the years from keeping this; when more people say, “I don’t have my birth certificate for this job interview” or “I don’t know my tax records from 2016,” I tell them about the file folder and some of them actually move on to getting their own.

I feel like under most circumstances, even if in my posting on this website may seem derogatory or negatively connotative, I like to look for the solutions that will ‘bridge the gap’ of the situation. If you can find a way to build that bridge and make sure it’s sturdy before you move on, that’s one less thing to worry about.

In the end, there are a few things that I would like to work on. The On Course book for this class even says that you can’t have a creator mindset all the time. As far I’m concerned, working on how I react to certain stressful situations and rewiring my brain to think of better solutions is something I’m working on currently. Rather than to let anger build and result in hateful words to be said, I’d like to see the result that will have be look at me in the way I would like them to, as a resourceful person rather than an angry one. We have enough angry people in this world and too few resourceful ones.

Entry #4

1) Write and complete each of the five sentence stems below.

  1. If I take personal responsibility for my education, I will not just do the bare minimum work to pass classes.
  2. If I take personal responsibility for my career, I will go above and beyond to achieve success for my team.
  3. If I take personal responsibility for my relationships, I will make time to spend with the important people in my life.
  4. If I take personal responsibility for my health, I will make efforts to stick to my semi-healthy diet and get plenty of rest.
  5. If I take personal responsibility for all that happens to me, the ownership I take will help to improve my quality of life.

2) Make a choice (write about one of the two paragraphs)

I chose to write about a time when I did or did not take personal responsibility for something and what effect it may have on my life. One of the biggest times in my life was deciding to move away from home; anyone who’s ever done this in the past knows that it’s not easy, and it takes a lot of personal responsibility.

For at least the first six months of living with a friend in a beat down house, I made daily decisions that had effect on the remainder of my day, and sometimes had enough impact for the week if it had to do with school or my job. When you’re on your own, you start realizing a ripple effect. For example, have you ever forgotten to make your coffee because you didn’t set your alarm clock? You may the conscious effort to assume it was set when, in reality, it wasn’t. Your assumption caused you to be late, rendering coffee a thing of the past, and now, you’re falling asleep at that first job interview.

Actions have consequences. Realizing that taking extreme ownership of your mistakes will make you realize when mistakes happen at the core instead of letting them permiate into worse thoughts or actions.


Chapter 1: Getting On Course to Your Success

Entry #3

1) In your journal, write the eight areas of the self-assessment and record your scores for each.

  1. 78 Accepting personal responsibility
  2. 78 Discovering self-motivation
  3. 80 Mastering self-management
  4. 44 Employing interdependence
  5. 74 Gaining self-awareness
  6. 76 Adopting lifelong learning
  7. 76 Developing emotional intelligence
  8. 75 Believing in myself

2) Write about the areas on the self-assessment in which you had your highest scores.

All, with the exception of one, of the scores were very high; some were even as high as they could be. Eliminating doubts with a proactive attitude and seeing my own faults without letting them get me down are just a few of the many things I’ve learned while being out in the world and trying different skills. These skills include: photography, digital design, web design, writing, reading, and computer building. Those are just the ones that stuck as well. There were others like playing keys in a band, running a youtube gaming channel, podcasts, and even software design. I failed at the latter, but the former sticks with me to this day. Perseverance is what I learned while teaching myself these skills, and knowing when to throw in the towel was a big self discovery as well. I only ever did it when I stopped surprising myself with the result of the work I was putting in, not just when it got difficult.

3) Write about the areas of the self-assessment in which you had your lowest score

My Lowest score, by a landslide, was employing interdependence. Although I do understand interdependence is important for both a college and career environment, there’s something that I just feel better going at alone. My train of thought is typically centered around a calm and collected environment where I can reflect on myself, read the proper source material, and over just express my personal learning for myself.

I’m not blind in the slightest by the fact that it’s important for me to practice this. I want all of my instructor’s to know that I care about the subject material and that I want to learn. I don’t want just the good grades; what good is a degree is you have no real  knowledge behind it at the end of the day.

Because of this, I feel, not solitary, but reserved in a sense. I’m willing to open up to others, but knowing that some of their responses, mannerism, and general lack of care for their own well-being (e.g., their education) makes me think, ‘Why are you even here.’ I can’t lie, I reserve myself because I feel like I’m wasting my time with some people, and time-wasting is one of my biggest pet peeves however, understanding that there will be a few students out there in the future who will make the journey worth it is why I know I need to improve this weakness. This class should be a good start for that.

Entry #2

Which of the eight expectations of college educators (explained above) is most different from the culture of your most recent educational experiences (e.g., high school, another college or university, or trade school)? Explain the differences, using personal examples wherever possible.

The biggest difference I see is the educators expecting the student to have a passion for learning (#2). This goes double for my last year of high school. The atmosphere was one of acquiring easily passable classes and not caring. After twelve long years, everyone seemed to have had enough of it.

I was the exact opposite of this. Senior year, for me, was a turning point when I realized that I’d been wasting my time. This wasn’t in the sense that going to class was a waste, but being handed classes for putting forth no effort absolutely was.

For example, I remember a class I took my junior year called U.S. Government. The class was designed to… you know, I can’t remember what it was designed to teach. Probably stuff about the U.S. government. Looking back, I’d like to know more about the government considering they run quite a few things, but alas, the teacher was adamant about being the ‘cool’ teacher and decided to let the class cut loose with a movie, every…single…class.

It wasn’t until the end of the semester, maybe she knew in the beginning and maybe she didn’t, that we needed those things that show we’ve been evaluated on the subject material. What were they called again? Grades, of course!

The last two weeks of class was the biggest cheating session I had ever seen. One student was accidentally given the teacher’s copy of the test(you know, the one with all the answers on it), and before too long, word had gotten around.

The questions is, did I cheat? Yes, I did, but this was before realizing how important an education truly was. By senior year, it was hard to bring a low GPA up but, This is why college separates those who can from those who can’t. There is no such thing as an easy “A” in college, and if it exists, I’m steering clear of such a class because the teachers here want you to experience the subject for the joy of learning. But, and this is my favorite part, you signed up for the class, so they’re gonna teach you whether you actually wanted the class or not.

2) Which of the eight expectations of college educators do you think is the most important on for you to fulfill, and why? Explore how difficult you think it will be to fulfill and why. Throughout the response, use personal examples wherever possible.

The expectation for the students to succeed is the most important. This should be a no brainer because without this trait in a student, the rest go down the drain. Success, to me, is defined as doing what you love, loving what you do, and having what you love as well as the act of doing increase your quality of life.

As far as how difficult this will be is concerned, my biggest hurdle to overcome will the the self doubt during ‘the process’. I always think to myself, ‘is this really what you want to spend your time doing?’ Time, to me, is a precious commodity, and I’m stingy with mine. But sometimes, just like everyone else, I’d like a bit of recognition for the work I put into something. The silver lining of this dilemma is that I’m already highly driven to succeed in college, and my grades will reflect that. I take constructive criticism well and try to build from it. My passion for success is deep rooted, so in turn, I feel like the hardest part will be to remember how I got here and why I’m still going.

My last year of high school was a panic between moving out of my mom’s house, obtaining my first job, and spending as much time as I could on my assignments. In the end, I still got rejected by many major universities I had applied to. I had the thought that I was too good for community college for the time being, and after working in factories for three years, I had gotten used to doing the same thing over and over and over again.

This gave me time to think about how I wanted to be remembered and what kind of legacy i wanted to lead. It didn’t hurt that I love two of the things I had right in front of me. First, an underdog is someone everyone loves, especially when hope is low, and the second, which took me a few years to realize while being on my own, is that I steer my own ship. So my mistakes are mine and mine alone; they’re no one else’s.

Entry #1

1) Contrast the surface culture of your most recent educational experience (e.g., high school, another college or university, a trade school) with that of your current school.

I wouldn’t think graduating from high school four years ago would feel so odd, but it does. I can still remember high school to a degree, but college is vastly different. One of the thing I did expect was the amount of independent work. College, amongst many other things, is about building yourself. Personally, I feel like some of my classmates don’t understand this, but through  interdependence, as explained in the beginning of the chapter, I feel like I have something to offer to this class, and vice-versa.

I’m not gonna lie, reading a lot of this material beforehand made me think this class was just going to reinforce a lot of the values that I’ve already learned, but like college compared to high school, there’s more to it than that.

Another thing to mention is not only the difference in age, but the difference in location. This past week, I took a history course with approximately thirty other people. Six of which were in another region of the state! I knew the coursework would be different, but If I’ve learned anything in the past it’s this: malleability comes into play when doing anything intimidating with your life (starting a new job, expecting a child, starting college, etc.). Go with the flow and run with the current, not against it. There are others in your shoes, whether in a different region or old enough to be your mother.

2) Explore the one college custom described in the article above with which you feel the most uncomfortable.

All of the things mentioned are really easy to get on with, but one that did stick out was titled ‘In-groups’. I’m assuming this means being in a group. Being in a group, to me, means finding the goal together and achieving it together. There’s only one problem with this for me: I’m an independent worker.

In the past, whether through work, school, or hobbyist collaboration, nine times out of ten yields a big goose egg for my tolerance for the approach of others in finishing a big goal. Lo and behold, I have a new group in this very class.

Something I don’t necessarily want happening in college has happened but, something that I do have a strong suit for is challenging myself, especially if it means growing as a person. I’m a sucker for helping others. This is the same reason I want to be a teacher; I don’t like seeing anyone squander a talent , and if I can help others in this regard, I will.

I think it’s for this very reason that I’ll start texting my group reminders about the assignments due. I may understand chapter 1 very well already, but what good does it do a team effort if the group doesn’t communicate.

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