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BlackEagle5374

Catching up with my Train of Thoughts

Month

December 2015

Snow low, slow-mo.

I tried to make the weather from yesterday and today sound funny… obviously needing some improvement.

Anyways, if you’re in the area (Ottawa & Toronto included), chances are you’ve seen a lot of snow fall in the last… 36 hours? Here in Montreal, we’re supposed to get about 35 cm (equivalent to 14 inches) of snow.

So, when I woke yesterday morning, there were thousands of pictures all over social media about the ridiculous amount of snowfall:

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Via MTL Blog – Montreal Breaks Snowfall Record

There are many, many others, but I couldn’t get the link (poke around Instagram – there are a few funny ones there).

Yesterday, trucks were clearing the roads every two hours while people cleared their driveways every 3. On the other hand, I found myself having cleared half of the driveway after an hour (snow had covered up a lot of the progress). On the road, everyone was going about 30, maybe 40kph (let’s just say less than 30mph) because of the snow sticking to the tires and the very low visibility.

Today was pretty much the same, but to a lesser degree. People were still cautious of the road conditions and a few found themselves on the side, unable to get out.

I want to say that, as Canadians, we should get used to snowfall, but we always seem to be caught by surprise when it does come and almost always seem under-prepared (if not prepared at all). Best of luck to everyone having a snowy winter!

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Social Sciences – The Big Picture

Ever notice that a lot of students today are more interested in Social Sciences? Ever notice how many crime shows look at the psychological state of those involved? Or notice how a series like Bones, where the evidence is found with forensic anthropology, seems to have a huge fanbase?

Personally, I’m a bit of a math nerd (possibly also a science nerd, but never took physics or Chemistry), so I’m never surprised when I hear the question – “Why Psychology?” or “Why Sociology?”

In the recent years, the general field of Social Science has been very popular in the media, finding it in TV shows, books, and even on the news. Its popularity might be due to the possibility of explaining what many take for granted – the Social Environment. In CEGEP (College in Quebec), it’s a program that a few thousands of students apply for, mainly because of the fact that it has the most basic of requirements.

But what is Social Science? I’ve had a taste of Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology and I found that many of the theories are based on statistics that have been conducted on a focus group (a selected group of individuals/sub culture/set of remains). That means that many of the theories are to explain what is normal and what is deviant/abnormal based on these statistics.

However, having taken 4 (possibly 5) courses on statistics (all of which were mandatory in the corresponding program), there’s one thing that I’ve learned – no theory is 100% correct EVER. These theories are meant to understand the big picture.

Think of a puzzle set. The theories would essentially give a general idea of what the image should be, and the stats narrowing down which piece should fit where. Piece not fitting – probably from another puzzle – discarded. Pieces not fitting? Something’s not right.

Anyways, that’s social science. By looking at the history of a given behaviour or culture, a better understanding emerges. While it may not be perfect, it gives a comfort to those who want to know the explanation for the traits that make us human.

 

Christmas 2015

 

To have a post on Christmas, is it expected for it to talk about what happened on Christmas? Or to talk about the things that were bought in the process of preparation of today?

I could talk about what I did today or I could talk about the things that I may have thought to buy for those of whom I hold dear, but would that be too mainstream?

Somehow, I feel something changing – I’m more conscious of my actions and the consequences of them even without acting out in the real world. I’m more appreciative of the little things and I seem to have taken a widen perspective of the world and the people in it.

While a lot of people will probably find themselves doing the typical things on Christmas – Opening gifts, having big dinners, hanging out with dear ones – I know quite a few that find other things to do.

Being a university student, I met a lot of international students who travelled a long way to be a student of Concordia University here in Montreal. In the process, they’re a long way from their families and friends. Maybe it’s because they can’t afford a round trip back home and to arrive back in time for the next semester.

Many of my friends are simply staying at their place/apartments on Christmas, maybe celebrating today with their roommates. While their celebration might not be as big as many others, it means a lot for them to not spend Christmas alone.

As Madge Arwell said, “You shouldn’t spend Christmas alone, and your friends shouldn’t spend Christmas without you.”

Merry Christmas, everyone, and a happy new year. IMG_0256

Wanting and Needing – Different Things

Ever see how erratic people can be during this time of the year? Ever see the parking lots of shopping malls just minutes after it had opened? Ever see people arguing with the employees for a sale or for the purchase of a particular item?

Whether you’re eight years, eighteen or even 68, the week of Christmas is crazy in almost every aspect – there are sales in every store and thousands (if not millions) of items are being bought online. Kids are impatient while waiting for Christmas and for Santa to drop by their homes to shower them with gifts.

But.. do we really need all of these things that we’re buying? On the TV, there are frequent commercials that indicate using debit over credit to avoid debt in the following year. People are lining up hours in advanced to catch a sale and looking in all directions for a spot to park.

I’ve heard recently that as we grow older, our Christmas lists grow shorter and the things that we really want are not things that can be bought. Things like an overdue Family Reunion, A break from work, Karaoke with Friends, to catch up with favourite TV shows, reading those books that you always wanted to read – they’re not things that can easily be bought, and even if they were, it wouldn’t feel the same.

Wanting is a desire from the mind – something that is interesting to have as a possession, not necessarily as a tool of sorts. Needing is a necessity – something of which is required.

Those moments with family, friends or even with a favourite book – they’re all things that many of us need as a way to get back in touch with others and with ourselves. The other things – toys, electronics, clothes – they’re just one of the many ways to invite people to connect with others (or to reconnect).

Just remember, not every one can afford the items of the highest value – maybe that’s why people say that it’s the thought that counts. And those items? There are other ways to buy them without fighting or waiting in a long line.

“I’m walking a tightrope, I’m counting on high hopes~”

“I feel like I’m walking tightrope,

My heart is in my throat, 

I’m counting on high hopes to get me over you.”

~ Man On A Wire by The Script

Ever have something (or somethings) stay the same for long periods of time? Ever have a period of time where things were frequently, if not constantly changing? Ever wish that things were more routine or more unpredictable?

It seems like complaining of change or routine is something that a lot of humans seem to share (myself included). While we are adaptable by nature, too many changes can make us exhausted and too long of a routine can make us bored. 

As a student, school (High School/College/University)… Would it be just to say that they love irregularity? And, somehow, some student manage to keep a consistent routine and keep a good grade. While one option could be to shake the answers out of those particular students (only in fiction), maybe they’re just better at adjusting their routine according to the changes. 

Physiologically, we are adaptable, but mentally is a challenge since changes can be stressful. I’ve heard pieces of advice to start slow, or have a reward for progress. In an environment like a school, routine & surprises are on a tightrope – no one has the same level of balance nor the same level of skill or confidence. As a result, some are excelling, others are good, and many are struggling.

To say that it’ll be easy is a big lie – I mean, it’s perfect balance on a wire, not easy. However, to say that it’s impossibly hard, absolutely not. Society tells us to get an education that will lead us to a high paying job, but there are some people who find a way to do otherwise. Just as there are many ways to do tightrope, there are many ways to succeed in life. Find that method, whether or not it’s mainstream, and try it out. If anything, it’ll be a brand new path that is yours alone.. And maybe it’ll be a thicker wire than those on the mainstream.

Helping for the sake of others or for me?

Ever help out someone? Ever hold a door for a stranger? Ever help out a sibling on their homework? Ever volunteer for an event? Ever explain a concept to a classmate so they can better understand it?

When we’re doing something for someone else, are we really helping them, or are we helping ourselves? I’ve heard stories of people doing something for someone else in the hopes of it acting as an owed favour to be used later in the future, or some people would give others a hand simply because they were told to do so (I see it a lot among kids). Some people do it as a means to boost their self-confidence or their self-courage (among many others), others do it as a chance to try something new or something completely unrelated to their field just because it’s a temporary task.

In Concordia University, we have something called Note-Takers for the Access Center for Student with Disabilities. As the title applies, students like myself would take notes as usual, but the difference is that we would upload them into the Centre for other student to use.

I’ve been offered the task several times, and was never sure about doing because I thought it would be time-consuming given that I might end up re-writing my notes to make them legible and easily understood.  As a volunteer, there’s no pay, but there is a certain recognition that would accompany doing such a job over the course of the semester(s).

But then I hesitate – by taking notes for other people, who would I really be helping? Technically, yes I would be helping them in better understanding the lecture, but I’m also helping myself by going over my notes and review what it is that I had written when in class (My writing in class isn’t the cleanest, and the short-hard doesn’t help). At the same time, there’s an innate fear that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all of the work that come along with being a note-taker – maybe the students of a particular would email me questions that I wouldn’t be able to answer. However, maybe by doing this, I would be able to figure out a way to efficiently take notes and that I would be able to be more confident in myself in new ways.

Can I write an accurate conclusion? Maybe not, but I can say that by helping others, I would also be helping myself. Whether the act of helping is as a means to have a favour to use later, or simply as a means to feel better, the act of helping can be beneficial for both parties. While it might seem that maybe one would benefit more than the other, it really depends on who’s telling the story.

Studying for what you like Versus what you’re good at?

Ever hear that one should pursue a career with passion and motivation? Or that the field of study should be something that has peaked one’s curiosity? Ever hear that if you’re interested in something, you’ll be motivated to continue it?

As the first half of my second year comes closer to an end, I slowly realized so many things that are wrong with my way of thinking (in terms of what program I wanted to go into).

I realized that my interests in things like psychology, sociology/anthropology were just interests, noting more. I mean, a job like a detective’s or like Bones’ sounds like so much fun… If I knew what I was doing and if I was good at it.

Things like psych/soci/anth are mostly theory based, where the application is only in research papers or in everyday life. However, because it’s theory, it can be modified or rejected by individual cases.

In Concordia University, they offer a few tests of which can indicate which careers would suit certain personalities – that are the MBTI and Strong Interest Inventory. I won’t go too much into details, but they can give ideas only and are not to tell you that you have to go into it.

Anyways, both tests didn’t have Psych in the top twenty, let alone any other Social Science field… but they did point towards more science-orientated fields, like engineer, science teacher, and even a nurse!

So what am I aiming for now? Computer Science. Why? It can be science related, but first requires some math background (Cal I & II, Linear Algebra). I know, big difference between Sociology and Computer Science, plus I know almost nothing when it comes to programming. However, I tend to pick up quickly on patterns, which is a core part of programming. Plus, math is something that I’m usually good at. Because of these two, I’m confident that I can do well in it (just got a shot of dopamine in my head 😀 ).

Running, never stopping

Ever try to create a new habit? Ever have a series of success? Ever find that the new habit fades away, to the point of which it’s gone?

Somehow, it feels as though I haven’t written anything for the entire semester (even though it’s only been a month and a half), and I actually became stressed on not writing anything.

Finals just finished for me this semester, and next semester starts as early as January 6th (I think), and so, I have a lot of… residual stress? The finals are always a stressful time, but I never took the time, during the second half of the semester, to calm down or to relieve some of that stress.

As a result, it accumulates. Nail-biting, lip biting, irregular sleep patterns, high levels of alertness, massive bad cold (again) – classical stress symptoms from Psych Class. Moreover, the number of distractions that my imagination made? It was on overdrive – I made a story of Virtual Reality crossing Fictional Doctor Who and Reality, I made a story of Alice in Wonderland and Criminal Minds – the list goes on (none are completed as they were forgotten over time).

So, what to do after the finals? Take a breather. I’m the kind of person who calms doing simple things, so I got myself an art-therapy book (wish list – DOCTOR WHO colouring book) and started turning scrap paper into little boxes to be used later for stuff (very useful). I also got a new camera and took the liberty of discovering the Montreal-equivalent of Diagon Alley (Keeping my word to two folks I met, I’ll leave it to you to find out where it is)DSCN2934.jpg

Oh, and of course, get back to blogging! As I mentioned before, I tend to calm myself doing simple tasks and writing these posts actually do calm me a bit (or distract me). I hope to continue it into the 2016 and find new ways to manage this accumulation of stress (suggestions? Comment!)

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