Change your Cognition, Change your Life

I like looking at quotes, because sometimes people say things in a way that you never would have thought to put it, and it works well for what you’re trying to say. A quote showing this and leading into my point is: “Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats” – Voltaire. In his usual wit Voltaire wrapped up what I was trying to say: be optimistic, even in the worst of times. In Psychology right not we are discussing stress and overall health relating to personality types, optimist or pessimist. You would think that these are things that are outside of our control, how stressed/ hopeless/ pessimistic we feel, but in reality a lot of it is just dependent on how you look at it.

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Pessimists tend to think that things happen to them, and that they really don’t get to choose what happens in their daily life. If you approach every stressful event or situation in this way, you’re less likely to try and change your fate. These negative emotions and stress and lack of ambition is a cycle that is hard to get out of.

If you instead approach a problem with motivation, treating it like a challenge where you’re determined to do well, you will have a much better attitude and a better chance of reaching your goal. People that have a positive outlook on the future live longer and are just generally healthier. They get more done, they seek support from others, and they think that they can control their own destiny and therefore are able to.

All of this is just about how you are approaching your problems and in what way you view the world around you, and its amazing what happens if you look on life in a more positive light.

 

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“For those STS types”

Professor Best encouraged us to go to a lecture on Social Science, saying it’ll definitely be intriguing for those “STS” (Science Technology in Society) types. As a program and a set of students, we represent something on campus by being in IDEAS. We have interests that go beyond just the College of Arts and Sciences or Engineering, and instead fuse both of them together, which some lectures around campus already do.

The College of Arts and Sciences is so broad and diverse, its hard to choose what to do! As registration for the next fall quickly approaches, figuring out the avenue you want to take is important. That is why talks and lectures like that help, because they give insight into different areas other people are exploring and that you might want to as well.

It’d be great if more students got involved and sought out all that Lehigh has to offer. There are so many opportunities, and really where most of my blogging inspiration comes from. You’re not just at college to go to class and get good grades and hang out with friends. So much learning and opportunity exists outside of the classroom if you know where to look for it.

The Fine Art of Cramming

Guess what season it is? You’re right! It’s exam season. Just around the corner are the first round of “four o’clocks” for this semester. To the students here, that means burying our faces in the dusty pages of old textbooks. To the good student, this isn’t a problem. We’ve been studying all semester and doing our homework. Yet… then we have those people who always insist on cramming. Personally, I don’t have a problem with people who do this, it’s their call. But let me just say, if you’re going to cram- do it right.
The first mistake is that most people cram the night before a test. No. Just no. You can’t stay up all night packing your head full of luggage and expect to be able to unload it all the next morning. Your brain is not a 24/7 bellhop. Sadly, your brain isn’t on par with the Energizer Bunny, it eventually gets tired. That being said, study the night before… the night before.

The second biggest mistake, most people try to memorize their notes verbatim. Unless you have a photographic memory, are a child prodigy, or just downright inhuman, you’re probably going to fail at this. Most people struggle to remember to floss.Trying to remember everything will simply break you. To get around this, prioritize. Not everything is important to pass this exam. Sure, your chances of getting a perfect score get sucker-punched, but we are cramming after all. Also, if you are struggling at remembering a definition, come up with an unusual phrase or story summarizing the key points. Oddly enough, most of the information in our heads is boring. Attaching a story to something makes it more memorable in the short term. Sure, next week you won’t even know how to spell “Epigenetic,” but the test isn’t next week, it’s tomorrow.

Lastly, the worst thing you can do before going into an exam is panic. When you show up at the exam, you’ve done all you can. Panicking at the last second just makes things worse. Walk into that exam room, regurgitate everything you know, and walk out. That simple. Either you know the content or you don’t, that’s it. You got this.

Exam
Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

This unmodified picture is from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Exam.jpg

New semester, new seminar

We recently had our first IDEAS semester of the new year, and it was good to come back! We revisited old issues and brought up new ones, and had a general discussion to bring us back to where we left off.

This semester, Professor Best noted that it would be “more of the same yet profoundly different”. Now as we have a semester’s worth of discussions behind us, we can start to try to find the fundamental questions we will carry with us as IDEAS majors, the ones we will default to. Each major has their own set of questions that they bring with them, and we will be finding ours.

He asked of us things that over break have been “bothering us”, and students mentioned a range of topics from Flint, Michigan to genetic discrimination to robotic power/superiority. All of these topics tie in to the issues we will be discussing throughout the semester and our time here, and yet they are events and issues that arose within the past few months. It just shows how relevant and important what we are discussing here truly is.

How to deal with Finals

So finals are just around the corner and people are already starting to freak out about this fact. It’s really surprising how fast time goes by here at Lehigh. Now, there are three things you can do about finals. The first, and perhaps the easiest is to just freak out, blow a gasket, and run around manically stressing yourself out. You could also pretend that final exams aren’t real and that they don’t really exist. You can then go on with your life, not study, and life goes on.

But there is a middle road. There’s the road that says: “Bro- there’s only so much you can do about this exam. If you’ve been doing your work and staying on top of everything, you can do this. Keep working hard, study what you need to and you’ll probably still have time to do the things you want.” Now sure, this probably seems a bit obvious. Yet for some reason we still see people cramming for exams the week before they happen. Maybe this works for them, I don’t really know, but in my opinion, sometimes people just need to take a step back and relax. Stressing about exams almost always seems to back-fire.

So yes, perhaps this is just me rationalizing the fact that I’m not studying from dusk till dawn, but sometimes someone just has to come out and say it. Hopefully this mindset helps someone else. If not- well it works for me and I’m okay with that.800px-Lewis_Hine,_Boy_studying,_ca._1924

‘Tis the Season

Every semester there is this wonderful thing that happens. Perhaps one of the greatest things of all. I am referring of course to Lehigh registration!

With the end of the semester close on our heels, we have to start thinking about the future; that is, the second semester. As an IDEAS student, this can be one of the most fun/painful experiences you’ll ever experience. On the one hand, looking up courses that sound interesting and that you’d actually want to take can be invigorating. On the other side of the spectrum, the actual registration process… well… let’s just say it’s downright painful. When I first came to Lehigh, I dropped my entire schedule and built it from scratch so I have some experience in this. Essentially, it consists of a student making a list of the courses they want to take, and then rushing around like a madman to make sure no one else takes your ever-so-valuable seats.

This process is further hindered by the fact that many IDEAS students overload their schedule (at Lehigh the max credits per semester is 18, overloading require special permission and can go as high as 21 credits). We also often deal with pre-requisite overrides so we can avoid taking some intro level courses. All this in mind, registering guarantees to make you miserable for at least 24 hours. That being said, I still love the whole prospect and can’t wait to get officially registered. Brace yourself second semester- I am on the move.

Television’s Continuing Influence

Watching television is something now so common and an integral part of our lives that we don’t even notice its influence. It is a major factor of socialization and has been for quite some time. What do the shows and movies out now tell us about society today, and how does that affect the people growing up watching it?

It may seem strange that shows like The Walking Dead and How I Met Your Mother actually reflect something about society, but a closer look reveals that they do. Most shows are filled with allusions to the current times, which dates them. When you watch a show from the 90s or even early 2000s it is clear that it is an “old” one. These allusions create a feeling of connection and understanding to the present times, but also mean that in a decade or two these shows will have lost meaning to the new generations.

And then how are these shows affecting the attitudes of people? The most impressionable time is when we are children, and many kids now are watching these more “adult” shows. But does it also affect adults? It may model the way in which they perceive society and those people their age that they would feel more connected with.

This issue of television and its affect on society was brought up in another class but also relates to the IDEAS seminar—television is a technology that has become a seamless part of our life, but it is an older technology, so do we really understand or even recognize the impact it has on our lives?