Dalhousie University Introducing a Fall Break?!

http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1192220-dal-considers-fall-break-for-students

 

This article talks about a Dalhousie student who recently submitted a proposal to promote a study break at the middle of the Fall semester. This student stated that if we keep classes running for an extra day before Christmas break, along with two other days around University closures throughout the year, the school could afford to provide a week break for students. 

I think this is a great idea. By the time November comes around, many students are run down while having homework and deadlines up to their eyeballs. Not to mention that this time of the semester is typically the time for everyone’s favorite thing……. mid-term exams!!!!! I think it is important for students to have a week just to take a breather and relax. University can be a stressful place, especially mid-semester. 

During the Winter semester, we get a break after about a month and a half of school. After speaking to many students after our break this year, all of them were grateful to have a full week off. I thought it was interesting that not one person actually used that week to study. It was mostly a time for students to recuperate and spend time doing other things. 

People may argue that a break in November is not a good idea as students do not use this time to study. This is true. Many students choose to do other things over their break than study. I did not touch my books over the break in February. Even though it is called a “Study Break”, many students take this time to relax and rest up.  

Being able to relax and de-stress is crucial for success in University.

 

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Have Millennials Lost the Ability to Speak?

In this blog, I will talk about my thoughts on how the major advancements of technology are affecting the Millennials (also known as Generation Y). For those of you who do not what who Millennials are, they are a demographic group that start in the adolescent ages and go to around 30 years of age. 

In this three minute video created by BBC, people elaborate on how technology has changed the way that this age group communicates with others. Many believe that we have lost the ability to speak. I say we because I myself am also part of this demographic. However, when it is said that we have lost the ability to speak, it means that technology has grown so much that many people choose to use the internet to communicate with others (e-mail, social media, texting, etc.) rather than face to face communication. Many people of older generations believe that we rely too much on technology 

When I am faced with an issue, I am never biased and I make my decisions based on what I have learned by looking at both sides of the argument. 

Pros to Technology for Communication:
– faster and more convenient
– the business world is huge with technology
– ability to share more in a shorter period of time
– always changing, always improving

Cons to Technology for Communication:
– issues with public speaking
– job interviews that are face to face many become an issue for some
– anxiousness to interact face to face with others

Personally, I have not lost the ability to speak. My job involves a huge amount of customer service so I associate with multiple strangers every time I work so I am very comfortable speaking in all situations. However, I do see where others are coming from and I think it is important that we learn the communicate in all ways. As we get older and start our lives, we will be faced with situations where we will need to have the proper speaking skills. But at the same time, technology will be even more advanced so we will still need to know how to effective use it for communication purposes.

I feel as if the people who believe that we cannot interact the same anymore, are just not used to the fact that so much has changed since they were our age. Older generations did not have nearly as much technology as we do now. It is only going to keep growing so I think it’s time for them to accept it. I have yet to see a situation where someone in my demographic had any difficulty communicating with others. We went to school for years where we had to do presentations, meet new classmates and participate in activities. Going to school is all about human interaction. Just because we use technology a lot, does not mean that we are unable to communicate face to face. 

Ted Talk Time! (Repost)

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Thoughts Before Watching:

I have always known that the way you present yourself is very important. People will take you more seriously if you have proper posture and speak with confidence. When going into a job interview or doing any public speaking, you do not want to be slouched over and have zero motion whatsoever. That is just plain boring! Being able to present yourself in an appropriate and professional matter (verbally and physically) is crucial. This applies especially to the business world.

Thoughts While Watching:

Amy mentions how others see our actions. There was a clip shown with President of the US shaking hands with a British Guard and then the Prime Minister of the UK rejecting the handshake from the same guard. This told me that the President of the US is friendly and that the Prime Minister feels too superior. I feel this way about people when they do not show interest in small gestures that make people happy (such as a simple handshake!)

She then goes on to talk about how we are also influenced by our own body language. I completely agree with this statement. The way we hold our bodies shows how we are feeling. For example, if you were sitting with a crouched back and folded arms, you may not be the most confident person.

The majority of this Ted Talk was about “Power Dynamics”. I think she did a great job introducing this to the audience. The first thing she talked about was the body language of animals. Animals will make their bodies large and take up more space to show their dominance and power. This also explained why this is done when you are approached by a bear. You have to show that you have more power than them by making yourself appear larger.

Amy also mentions how women feel chronically less powerful. Female students are more likely to have poor posture and to not raise their hands as high as men. When she made this comment, I was shocked. I was actually expecting her to say the exact opposite. However, I could be disagreeing with this statement due to the fact that my university is female dominated and I have never witnessed this occuring. The majority of people that speak out in class and participate are female. Also, I know for a fact that I do not fit the description she is giving.

“Power Posing” is an effective way to train your mind to deal with stressful situations. I thought this was silly until she went on to explain the experiment that was completed. Students were asked to pose for two minutes in a position that made them feel powerful and then a position where they felt powerless. Mouth swabs were taken after each position and the results were surprising. Posing in these positions for only two minutes actually changed the hormone levels of these people. By practicing “Power Posing” for a few minutes before entering a stressful situation (such as a job interview or a class presentation), you can increase your testosterone levels which allows you to deal with stress better. You will feel more powerful and therefore improve your overall performance.

“Don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it”
This quote will be carried with me forever, it is so inspiring. We need to put ourselves out of our comfort zone and pretend that we feel more powerful than we actually do. Eventually, this behavior will become so familiar that is becomes a part of us and we don’t even have to think about it anymore.

Thoughts After Watching:

After watching this TED Talk, I feel as if I have a better perspective on how important your body language really is and how much influence it can have in your life. It is the initial communication between two individuals. People will decide how they feel about you in seconds. Since first impressions are the most important, you need to present yourself appropriately. Body language is also an important part of how you see yourself in society. You have to stand tall, show that you have power and feel confident.

The “Power Posing” technique explained in this video seems like a great way to make “tiny tweaks” for even bigger changes in your life. Over the next few years, I will be entering the business world where the competition is high and I will not do very well if I walk around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I think Amy had some very interesting points in her presentation that we all should think of from now on. How we present ourselves will define how well we do in society.

Remembering Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Most people will know Steve Jobs as the creator or Apple and Pixar, two of the most well known companies all over the planet. However, there was more to this man. Steve Jobs ran into many bumps along his path to success (as he mentions in this speech) and was an inspiration to us all.

During this speech, he tells the audience three stories:

1. “Connecting the Dots”
This story has lessons that we can all learn. Steve talks about his back story and how is isn’t your typical success story. First, he was adopted into an uneducated family and continued on in life to drop out of college himself and lived a “homeless” lifestyle afterward. He stayed at that facility as a drop-in and he was couch surfing, eating from food banks, etc. all so he could go to multiple different classes that caught his eye. He then created the very first Macintosh computer with a friend while in his parent’s garage. Imagine, one of the most successful human beings known to today’s population, does not have a secondary education. If feels like everything I’ve ever known about careers just went out the window.

2. “Love and Loss”
Steve’s next story talks of his love and loss within his career. He was fired from Apple, his own company. The Board of Directors sided with Apple’s CEO at the time and gave Steve the boot. He talks about how much he loved this company and how it was all  he had ever worked towards. He was devastated. However, his next move was so inspiring…..he created two companies called “Next” and “Pixar”. Pixar went on to come out with the first animated movie called “Toy Story” and Next was bought by Apple. After all of this, Steve Jobs was back at Apple. From this story, Steve shows this group of students to never give up. If he had given in to his devastation over the loss of Apple, Pixar would have never happened and we would not have many of the classic movies we know today from our childhoods. If he can create two very successful companies after being fired from his first creation, I think we can overcome anything. “Keep looking, don’t settle”

3. “Death”
In this last story, Steve talks about how death shapes our lives.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon, is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything , all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure.. these things just fall away in the face of death. Leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die, is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart”

Directly after he says this, he talks about his battle with cancer. With this “near death experience”, he is able to share certain things about it that comes straight from the heart. I think this is the quote that stuck with me the most during his speech. Death has always been a concept that I have struggled to accept and I know many other people feel the same way. This shows us how he was able to cope with his mistakes and take as many risks as possible. Anything you do wrong or any negative feelings you may have, all disappear when  you die. It’s okay to take chances and mess up.

I’ve always loved speeches at graduation ceremonies, university convocations, etc. It’s the time where the students can get a last minute piece of advice before they head into their next chapter. I always learn so much from motivational speakers and many quotations will stick with me forever. Before watching this video, I only knew Steve Jobs as the man who made Apple and who had enough money to feed the entire continent of Africa. However, he is such an inspirational man and I have taken a lot from those 15 minutes.

For anyone interested in hearing more from Steve Jobs:
https://www.youtube.com/user/EverySteveJobsVideo