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I feel like I've learned a lot from my teachers, professors, textbooks, and fellow students this past semester at college. Wow, it is so hard to believe that we are already a week into May. Finally, we are past mornings of frosty car windows and our trees and flowers are not every morning being bitten by that nasty sparkling frost. Whew. I am so ready for spring. That means in the cycle of things that it is time to begin a deep serious cleaning. The perfect place to also begin will be by both ridding myself of unneeded items at the same time as I receive a benefit of some always needed cash. While my college textbooks are still holding a decent amount of value is the best time to recycle them. Then either I will have some extra cash or I could re-invest into next semester's textbooks. Why keep a stack of not to be used books about to clutter my already restricted space. There is already enough dust gathering without there being this stack of textbooks here. Besides benefiting myself, I will be helping the next wave of college students who are in need of these textbooks' information. For those interested in selling, please do some research on your own because I was able to sell textbooks when the books I wanted to be selling are ones that were purchased by this textbook sales site online (there are many college book buying websites and places to sell textbooks on the internet). This sounds like it is good for everybody (and I won't stub my toes again the next time I make a midnight run without the lights). I know that when one takes into account the amount of time and energy invested in one's future, education is extremely important.

Besides cleaning and thinning out the used items, it would be well to dust out the cobwebs in my mind and find something new or old and brighten the recesses of my mind. Perhaps some might consider it to be a topic of no use or interest, but whatever the book that I choose, so long as it is relevant to me is all that matters. There are such a wide variety of interests to explore that it does not matter where I begin. With it being spring, maybe I will investigate what the many pests lurking in my yard and garden are. Rather than doing a total destroy on everything that moves treatment of the yard (as so many people do) I try to target specific pests only when they are in specific areas. Many spiders are of the friendly to my space variety and in fact eat our common enemy spiders and bugs. If I eliminate everything, what happens if the new prevailing invasion is mostly bad bugs? Did you know daddy longlegs kill black widows... it's good to know who your friends are LOL. Regarding learning, education, textbooks, and college faculty, they are truly great friends in all respects; in my opinion, anyone that helps me learn new things is deserving of the title of "friend" and deserves my respect as an educational and collegiate resource.

 
 

If I were to invent a college, and create things for instructors and professors to teach in that college, here are some "courses" I would consider offering. I've included my own opinions in the form of elaboration and explanation, but it is up to you how (or if) you want to interpret anything on this list.

  1. Study skills. I think study skills should be taught to everyone in college because learning to study helps the prospective student learn information, retain knowledge, and advance the skills they are acquiring. If a student learns these skills, then there is the possibility of an increased chance to learn the topic taught in class in a more enhanced state of mind.
  2. Concentration. Concentration is important because much of life and especially our life and time in college is about staying focused on our studies or the topic which is being taught. One must learn to be disciplined in art of concentration. There are so many distractions we must bypass in the classroom, not to mention how easily we many times allow our minds to drift aimlessly.
  3. Prioritization. Without information and tasks that must be accomplished being placed in a form of order, we will not be as efficient in completing the projects and learning placed before us. If we are able to take the chaos and give it order, we should more efficiently complete our assignments. Then in the unfortunate possibility of not allowing enough time to complete all the assigned work, the least harmful tasks will be the ones omitted.
  4. Prospective Thinking. By this I mean to think beyond "moment thinking" ; to look at the whole picture of life, education and instances as it relates to the larger picture in our lives and how the ripple effects of impulse reactions and choices will possibly impact our lives and futures as well as those in contact with our circumstances.
  5. Financial Management and Money Related Strategy. I believe every college and university student should be REQIURED to take a course demonstrating and teaching how to best handle debt loads (when it is necessary to go into debt) and what the variance is when we allow ourselves to stay in debt verses making the priority to as quickly as possible get out of debt. How to invest wisely our available resources to our future benefits even though it may seem we do not have flexibility.
  6. Healthy Relationships. To help developing adults to identify subtle negative traits and habits within friends, relatives and acquaintances that could lead to the demise of their flourishing futures. Healthy, positive relationships do not require you to sacrifice your opportunities or encourage you to do immature things to fit someone else's ideals.
  7. Stress Management. When much is given, much is stressful. There is need for college students to learn coping skills and distressing techniques so that they do not suffer burnout or the ongoing panic attacks which accompany stress.
  8. Food For Thought. Much is known about what nutrition is utilized by they brain as well as body for optimum learning and endurance of our immune systems. When coping with stress and long hours of study, an enormous difference is visible by the type of diet one partakes of.
  9. Proper Parenting Skills. Many might want to argue about this, but a peek at society and everyone should agree there is need for those who claim the title of parent to do the work and prove they deserve a title which should be held in higher esteem. Whether or not you actually become a parent is your choice, but once you have become one, do the work, you may begin to feel that your progeny is the payoff in all of our futures.
  10. You Are What You Sleep. There are so many studies proving the benefits of sleep and the negative effects of lack of sleep or poor sleep patterns, that perhaps devoting a course on this filled with some "sleep experiments" would emphasize the importance of good sleep habits for a students productivity, health and mental sharpness as well as longevity of life.
  11. Label Reading. There are so many chemicals and additives added to our foods, I believe we should have an in depth study of exactly what these specific additives and chemicals are, why they are added to our foods and what the possible positive and negative effects and implications of these additives are. This course should have the classification of a science credit since you would be learning what the chemical makeup and effects are and interactions of these ingredients with each other and with medications many in society take. Labels are many times purposefully worded to mislead our understanding. We need to learn when a label says wheat it most likely is not absolutely whole wheat and that fat free does not mean better nutritionally or something labeled 100% fruit juice may actually have a few other things in it, in some cases, when allowed.
  12. Life Outside. Between classes and work and meeting friends to hang out, why are so few people spending abundant time outside anymore? We may like the fresh unpolluted air and the energy of nature. There is sometimes less pollution outdoors than in our buildings and homes. There is relevance in moving greater distances than what is between the couch for TV and where your computer is. Why should we sign up for fitness classes that are indoors? We should consider having fitness instruction which move us outside to feel the elements and make us breathe the fresh air outdoors.
  13. Ancient American Penmanship. I find great distress in the fact that younger people are not taught the ART of cursive anymore. My adult children cannot "sign their names". Is not your signature important?.. Is not your signature supposed to be as unique as each person is individually? Way back when I was in junior high, they even taught us calligraphy. What a great loss is true penmanship. What will happen to society if the power were to go out and we were forced to write manually again.
  14. Correct English Language. We have been inundated with poor language skills, all of America. Not "my bad"; no more "dank." College students should speak intelligently. That is what is expected of college minds. When you go to church, you speak "church". When you go to college, you are there to become more INTELLIGENT. That should be reflected in intelligent, articulate language.
  15. Independent Living Skills. College students need to learn to live independently,detaching from their parents pocket books, learning to actually wash their own laundry (if all of the parents' attempts have met with resistance and failure thus far) and how to address problems on their own (i.e. time for an oil change or you have a flat tire. What do you DO?). Allowing dirty clothing to accumulate until there is not a clean pair of jeans is not the option. Running home for a meal is no longer available. You must become independent.
  16. Successful Work Skills and Etiquette. Some college students might like to rely on their people skills which were acceptable in high school but are no longer appropriate for a working environment or for interaction with clients or patrons of a business.

So, that was a list of some ideas that ran through my mind. Thoughts on college, on education, and learning are sometimes what this blog is about!

 
 
There is something, no, LOTS of things, about college and university students are great. I love the energy and enthusiasm in which they tackle life with. They are up at way too early an hour, not always because they want to be, but because because life and their college or university courses are awaiting them. Many of these men and women probably were up until twelve thirty or one a.m. doing homework. The ability of these people not only to do their studies and their homework in mass quantities (usually in a wide range of different topics) but for the outcome of this work to be comprehensive and articulate and readable and intelligent... AMAZING... and impressive. The art of running mentally in a multitude of directions whilst stretching physical sleep - necessities to beyond what should be possible and still be able to retain thinking abilities. Wow, very cool indeed.

Keep in mind, most of these students have part - time or even full time jobs to deal with. As if the business of college or attending an university were not enough. Then most important of all (and I am proud this comes to mind) is how many of them are maintaining an active-as-possible social life, with such grace and balance. To what extent they keep it a "healthy" social life might sometimes be questioned. For the most part, it is highly important to de - stress and blow off steam with friends, colleagues, acquaintances. Truly, let us think about this; these classmates, friends, colleagues and acquaintances ARE many of your future career contacts, mentors, partners in business. There is much to be learned from and with one another and with branches and roots running in and from every direction and interaction with as many and as much of a vast body of varying people as you are able to connect with is a huge asset. Not just professionally and not just for personal joy.

College and university students have such abilities to be so flexible with their energy and creative stretching of time. The ability to absorb so much information, connect it to other areas of interest they have with such seeming ease many times. Then to just plunge off into another class or topic with the same energy and ease.

The flip side is those students who are tenacious when things do not come so easily. The great courage and sheer will - power to square their shoulders and bend their heads down deeply into those textbooks and exams that is sincerely to be praised and admired. Nothing is better than to work hard to obtain something more precious than gold. It is not always easy to accept and choose to commit to "however many more years of school as it will take."

College and university students have my greatest admiration! I might even write more about them later.
 
 
Whether I'm reading a novel or a reference book, there are only four ways that I go about the simple act of reading. Sometimes I only use one method, sometimes I use all four (or even a combination of any given number of the four methods). Here they are:
  1. Wide style reading. That means "taking it all in." In my mind, I have the entire context of the book or journal or magazine I am reading. This context affects the specific words that I am perceiving.
  2. Focused concentration. When I am using the "focused concentration" method, only the words I am reading are being perceived by the language centers in my brain. No context is associated with what I am reading.
  3. Concentrated reading. This is simply reading as one would normally do; no distractions will interfere with the assimilation of the written material.
  4. Imaginative. When I read using the "imaginative" style, I am picturing and imagining the structure of what I'm seeing. For example, if I'm reading about a happy story, I'll try to imagine what about the story is so joyful.
Some examples of #1 ("Wide Style Reading") may be reading a book on history. The past may affect the future. Focused concentration may be used if learning a mathematical formula. If I'm trying to learn a math formula like the calculation of the distance between two points, I don't really care about what year in history this formula was developed. Method number 3 ("concentrated reading") is often used when I am trying to learn a skill, e.g. how to program a software code, or how to compute a function. And, finally, method 4 is the most enjoyable. I use that when I'm reading a novel or a literary work. It is fun to imagine and picture what I'm reading about. On occasion I will combine "wide style" with "concentrated reading." On other occasions I will imaginatively be concentrating in a focused way. Get the idea? Interestingly, almost every time I concentrate on a project or a point of focus, I learn something regardless of whether I use any of the methods I've mentioned. That, alone, reinforces how I feel about concentrating.
 
 

I'm in the library reading some books. Getting tired of sitting, I decide to wander around and see what everyone else is doing. Of course, there's a group of people at the computer table probably reading about different things happening in the world. Looks more interesting than the book I was reading, so I embarked on... you guessed it! Research! Okay, well actually I was just goofing around until I stumbled on some news websites where people had various opinions about these tracking devices found in ID bracelets, various media, and even trees! (There are some scientific experiments involving some sort of nano-spray paint where trees were painted with this type of paint which would facilitate the transmission of radio frequencies -- or whatever. I can't remember all the details, but it was something like that.) Anyway, I started reading a news article about students at this one school having to wear some sort of RFID tracking badge. Mandatory tracking? Hmm... I was trying to understand why some folks think good things about this, and why some people think potentially not-so-good things about this. When I finished reading that interesting article, I decided to spend my remaining hour at the library finishing the book I started a few days earlier. And then I noticed something. In the back of the book was this raised metallic-looking lump. I didn't really see or notice it at first because it was covered with paper, but if you held it a certain way (I held it up to the light) I could see this pattern in it. When I peeled it back, well by golly it was an RFID tracking device. Was this just like what I was reading about on the computer earlier? I learned even more upon further research. I learned even more upon further research that per Buys Textbooks, Fact #2: A number of books...have RFID ("radio frequency identification") chips bound into the cover...so that they can be scanned, tracked, or inventoried more easily. Then, I thought "wow" I'm actually experiencing and discovering something I read about in the actual book I was reading. Cool!

Anyway, I think all that RFID ("radio frequency identification") stuff is pretty interesting. And I'm sure it has a lot of neat applications. What continues to amaze me is no matter how much I do research, how much I read and experience the media, or how much I study, I feel like there will be no end to my own education! (Oh, by the way, I was trying to remember what that little antenna looked like that I found in that textbook. I tried my best to sketch and illustrate it here. I'm not sure if this is exact, but it's how I remember it:

guess at what that rfid chip looked like
My guess at what that antenna chip looked like.
You can read more about RFID here. Thanks for reading my post. Your comments are always welcome!
 
 
I need some sort of planner. They call it a planning book or "planner book" where I can list all the ideas that I have, when to do them, and at what time, supposedly, is supposed to be my free time. The problem is, this entire weekend is going to be all about research. I can't even type the word right (I keep spelling it "reasearch"). I know the "re" probably is short for "redoing" something (I'm good at that) and the "search" is like looking for something. Anyone seen my keys? (joke). Don't laugh, I know you'll be faking it. What, exactly am I researching? I'll share that with you here. There's no room in my planner book to list it, so I'll list it here:
  1. Resolution. That is when I decide to do something, and then follow through. There are so many resolutions, though.
  2. Loudness. Huh? Yes, loudness. To me, being loud means getting a result without being distracted. Not "loud" as in loud music, but being loud as in stating something so clearly that nothing else gets through.
  3. Final approach. Ever heard the pilot landing a plane? They say they're on "final approach" which usually means it's time to land. Time to reach the successful end of a trip. If I am doing a simple task like getting groceries, then "final approach" means I'm putting that bread in the cooler, or putting the bulk almonds and cashews in their respective little glass jars. When I imagine a project, and then follow it through, the success (for me) is the final approach.


So, that list mentions "resolution," "loudness," and final approach. Since there are so many permutations and variations of those, each deserves some research. Right? Does that make sense? Let's see YOU read that in some textbook. I just now explained some really simple steps I take in my approach to life. Do we have a comment section here? I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on what your approach to life is.

Thank you for reading.
 
 
So I've been educating myself. I have been going online studying cultures and humanity across the entire world. Being a big fan of Indian food, I searched for various aspects of culture in India. I couldn't resist refreshing my memory about India's great leader Mahatma Gandhi. Quite a few years ago, I used to read and study the scriptures of India and appreciated how in ancient times, scriptural text was a "space" that was sacred. I believe that to be true nowadays, but perhaps more widely understood in the days of long ago. Books on the Sanskrit language still intrigue me. Not long ago, on the radio, I heard an expert talking about Sanskrit, how it consists of every possible sound the human voice can articulate. Isn't that fascinating? But it takes years (I think he said 9 years or something like that) to truly master it. Regardless of exactly how many years it takes to master a written language, it is still quite exciting to study and research it.

I do admit, though, that my Indian cultural search began with a daydream consisting of eating some amazing food. Sometimes dozens upon dozens of spices are used in a single dish. I once found an eastern cookbook that had lots and lots of pages, but only a few recipes; perhaps each recipe took lots of pages because of so many spices. The book was well-worth it, though.

Sometimes when I check out the news for India, the media might cover interesting topics like Bollywood, and cricket, but what really fascinates me is the eastern culture. They are so very thoughtful in the far east. Very contemplative, very smart, very intelligent. I wish it was closer to here. I would travel there very often. Imagine that! Flying to India to have lunch and dinner, and being back here the next day. Wouldn't that be fun!? Unfortunately, travel there takes hours from where I'm at. Perhaps even a full day of airports, changing planes, not to mention changing time zones with jet lag and all the things that go along with
 
 
When I think of things to write about researching stuff, or getting educated, I think I'll write those things, here. I just watched a show on TV about how we have an innate ability to learn. Why is that ability innate? How come we don't have to 'learn' to learn? I think the answer is because we must learn to survive well. Therefore, this requirement to learn becomes an innate ability. Here are some examples to clarify (before my readers get too confused):
  • Eating food. We naturally gravitate towards attempting to satisfy our hunger. We don't necessarily have to "learn" to eat to satisfy hunger.
  • Finding a path. Anyone knows to get from where they are at, to where they are going realizes that they must follow a path (or else, create a new path).
  • "Getting educated" about basics. If we have an built-in ability to learn, or, have an aptitude to learn, then the basics come naturally (at least, for some people).
So, surviving well is different than merely surviving. But an important thing to consider when learning to survive well is that education, learning, research, and finding a path are all a part of gaining the knowledge we need to make it through life with understanding.

Understanding.
What exactly is "understanding?" Is it a state of mind, or a result issuing forth from our mind once we have learned something? I believe understanding and learning are two different sides of the same coin. Once we've learned something, it's sometimes incorrect to assume we understand it. But on the flip-side, if we've understood something, have we learned it? That is where one of this blog's main topics come into play: research. For me, research follows learning, and understanding follows research and learning. Is that true for all people? I don't know. I don't mind saying "I don't know," because my readers should feel free to comment how they feel about this. So I'll finish this paragraph with some thoughts: research may mean something as simple as learning and understanding something. Or, research may mean reading, rereading, and assimilating the material in a textbook or a journal. And finally, research could be something as "unassuming" as sitting in one spot, contemplating something one has learned. That, my dear readers, is my understanding.