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Learning to Live

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Recently I have been writing lots of essays and sometimes it is quite common if the questions asked want similar things, but since last week I have been exposed to a lot of things related to “learning to live.” It all started after the project Lead meetings that the director of student life, Jim Walters, holds on certain Thursdays. At the end of the meeting, he showed a video that was talking about how short life is and learning from the experiences we have. At the end of the video, there was a statement that read “Life is short, so….” My conclusion was “so what do you want to do, to leave a legacy.” Two days later, I decided to do an application for the honors program at Notre Dame of Maryland University and the essay question they asked was to develop the idea of their founder which is “Learn to live.” I had planned to one day read a book authored by one of my role models, Eleanor Roosevelt, so three days ago, I stumbled on a book titled You Learn by Living that came to my attention. Obviously I started reading it. I don’t know what I am going to learn in this book but being exposed to this idea got me thinking about what it really means to learn to live or learn by living. Writing the application essay also got me to think about what I learn every day and how to learn to live. It sounds complicated now, but I take it as a challenge to learn and understand what this means. Maybe this is the best time for me to learn all of these as many opportunities are coming my way every day.

I hope that learning about what this means will help me during my alternative spring break trip to Alabama. This spring break, I am leaving with about 20 other students and faculty members for a trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is associated with Habitat for Humanity. I know that my week there will be an important one and I hope that I will return with a more matured mindset and a better outlook on life. I can’t believe the trip is almost here but before that, I still have two exams to take, so I need to work hard on those first.

I will end with a quote today that says “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt.  

(Maybe you will learn by doing that)

On Gritting One's Teeth

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Ah, Thursdays. One day past "hump day," one day prior to the start of the weekend. Usually, this day signifies that you've made it almost all the way through the week with a bit of sanity intact (or, for you blessed few with 4 day weeks, it's the end of your school week!). This typically describes my Thursdays. It's one of the days where I switch my hat from student to teacher, I'm in one of my favorite classes (Spanish con Profesora Naranjo) with some of my favorite people, and I get to fret about what to pen here. It's also the day before getting to see my friends and basking in Dr. Borkman's historical humor.

Today, though, that novelty has worn off. I'm behind in homework for an online class that I absolutely abhor (and, therefore, loathe to actually get it done), and though I love learning modern European history from Dr. Borkman, we have our first exam on Monday, and I've heard that his exams are murder (cue the heart palpitations!). So today, in thinking about all that I had to do, I started to freak out just slightly.

Ironically, in the English class in which I assist on Thursdays, the head teacher was discussing prioritizing time in regards to finishing a research paper and asked me for input. Wryly, I tried to spare the stressed-out high school seniors a monologue, and simply told them that juggling assignments is part of being in college and a great lesson to learn beforehand. Sometimes you just have to let the smaller things go to get the bigger things done (having "bigger fish to fry," in a manner of speaking). And you have to just grit your teeth and get 'er done. It might not be pretty (like this blog post), but it must be done. Just do it!

My so-called words of wisdom to them came back to haunt me just over an hour ago as I sat motionless on a couch, nearly in tears thinking about getting my assignments done and being able to keep my social engagements simultaneously. It can't be done! I bemoaned. There's no way humanly possible that I can finish every homework problem, confidently know how to answer each question on Dr. Borkman's exam and still see every one of my friends this weekend. And so, in keeping with my advice, I started to proverbially clench my pearly whites and just get crap done. I had to take rainchecks on spending time with my friends tomorrow evening. I decided to skip volunteering this week. And I put off going to another friend's house on Saturday night. Only one engagement I agreed to weeks ago will I keep on Sunday. Difficult decisions for me - I hate canceling plans last minute and missing out on a good time with friends. But, as I told my students earlier, it must be done!

Now, lest you think too highly of me, I likely won't optimally use all of the 15 or so extra hours I gained this weekend. Life happens. But, now I at least have them at my disposal to use wisely without panicking. Time to turn off my phone, turn up my Bach, and buckle down. What a weekend!

Kimmie's Thursday Tunes:

 http://youtu.be/NMCquldAWL0 (George Gershwin | Rhapsody in Blue)

http://youtu.be/zi0ENw-JlUI (George Gershwin | An American in Paris)

http://youtu.be/N1l5vgY_3tw (Ferde Grofe | The Grand Canyon Suite) 

Call me nerdy, but these are some of my favorite pieces to have on while I study. I can't concentrate on written words with lyrics in the background, so I opt for these instead. They also help because I can recall certain words in relation to what portion of the music I was listening to at a point in time. Works wonders!

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