How to be Class President According to Genghis Khan

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8 minute read

So you’d like to learn how to become class president? Well, join me for a story of the man who was class president of his country. And he founded the country too!

Genghis Khan attended no school and didn’t get an education. He was actually a barbarian. But the man had street smarts like few people ever have. That is, if there was actually a street back when he lived.

But this guy and his ancestors got A LOT of hate after he took over the world.

The French naturalist Compte de Buffon wrote in the 18th century that Mongolian “skin has a slight dirty-yellow tinge, and is deficient in elasticity, giving the appearance of being too large for the body.”

So Genghis Khan was subject to racism. Trust me, he earned every vote of confidence he ever got. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

He also had people imitating him in all the wrong ways. Try to imagine with me a high school bully that throws you into lockers, steals your girlfriend and kisses her in front of you, and then somehow becomes friends with the principal. The bully then claims to be best friends with the class president, but doesn’t even follow him on Instagram!

how to be class president
This is Genghis Khan’s Instagram profile

This was Timur the Lame and he falsely claimed to be a descendant of GK. But the guy enjoyed torturing people, and GK never stood for that.

Then there was Matthew Paris who was alive when the sons and grandsons of GK invaded Hungary and Poland way back in 1241. Matthew called GK’s family “an immense horde of that detestable race of Satan.”

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This is a self-portrait of Matthew Paris. The man was not known as a reliable historian.

With all that hate, here’s rule number one:

If you want to be class president, you’re going to make some people mad.

That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. You want to do something cool in life? You want to stand for something, anything at all? You’ll eventually make some enemies.

And Genghis Khan made a lot of people mad. He was a 12th century Mongolian warlord who came from nothing and ruled over land that stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

Now you might be asking yourself “what does Genghis Khan have to do with becoming class president?”

Well, a lot actually. GK knew how to lead people. He wasn’t from the race of Satan, and he was actually a really healthy person. GK probably did the Keto diet before it was even a concept since he ate almost exclusively meat and dairy. Growing up on the steppe, he constantly rode horses too.

But GK was at his best when he was surrounded by smart people. When he defeated a territory, he would look for talented craftsmen, artisans, entertainers, and doctors that could share their expertise with others.

And that’s the second rule for becoming class president:

If you want to be class president, you should work on your campaign with people smarter than you.

Here’s what GK did to take over most of Asia:

GK limited the power of religion by accepting all religions. Under his empire, he accepted Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and the shamanism of his own people. At the end of the day, they were all subject to rule by GK.

If you want to be class president, be willing to accept and embrace jocks, nerds, and band geeks. Remind them they all go to the same school.

GK created wealth by spreading information. Arab doctors knew how to do surgery really good, but the Chinese understood better how to identify internal organs. GK advanced medicine by bringing them together. The Arabs were experts in astronomy in the 12th and 13th centuries, but the Chinese excelled at creating textiles. What one civilization possessed in excess, Khan would send to other territories where it was exotic, useful, and desirable.

If you want to be class president, identify people’s strengths and position them to help others who would benefit the most.

GK insisted on egalitarian behavior. When a territory was defeated, scribes would come in to fairly distribute the loot among not just the soldiers but all the people. Everyone had a stake in the success.

If you want to be class president, look for opportunities to celebrate. Throw parties and create parades. When someone succeeds, then publicly recognize them. Give others credit for group success.

GK also installed leadership with mixed backgrounds. Competing tribes, civilizations, cultures, and religions sat on the same boards to administer the governance of a territory.

If you want to be class president, find people who are talented and different from you that can get on board with your agenda.

Khan made the rules simple with high stakes treatment. Submit tribute and be part of an extended family that accords you rights and protection. Break the law and bring death to not just yourself but your family as well.

So this one’s a little much, no killing here!

If you want to be class president, make sure your core team wins together. Get little things for them like snacks and timely help. Serve their needs first, and don’t tolerate negative gossip. At all.

GK recognized that loyalty was a character trait. In taking over a newly conquered territory, he would accept the followers of his enemies as long as they hadn’t worked against the reputation of their former leader.

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In this scene from Mongol (2007), the servants of Genghis Khan’s enemy betrayed their former leader. They were promptly executed.

If you want to be class president, find out how the people that want to work with you treat others. They will do the same to you.

GK abhorred blood and violence, but valued winning above all. Death and loss were considered cultural taboos and unfit for discussion. However, GK valued his soldiers and used tactics ideally suited to ensure that he would not have to lose anyone on the battlefield.

If you want to be class president, brush off the losses and setbacks that will come. Take the blame for failure if necessary, and never throw people under the bus.

GK succeeded because he was constantly curious to learn from the people he conquered. This made him a great judge of character. If you weren’t competent, you didn’t get the job. Didn’t matter if you were family or not.

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This GK portrait comes from the Yuan dynasty and was completed at least 50 years after he died.

In fact, there is a story from Genghis Khan’s reign where the shaman Teb Tengeri earned a position administering the estate of GK’s mom. Unfortunately, Tengeri also beat up Khan’s brother Khasar. After Khasar begged for help, Khan immediately sided with the shaman until he realized he was being manipulated by the shaman. Family loyalty could not surpass the ability to do the job.

If you want to be class president, don’t pick your friends for jobs just because they’re your friends. Pick them because they’re the best at what they do.

Weaknesses

Now, that’s a lot of advice. And I’m convinced Genghis Khan set an example as one of the greatest leaders in world history. The best part is that we can all learn from him!

But you should know his greatest weaknesses too. In a letter sent to a Taoist monk in China at the end of his life, GK wrote:

I have not myself distinguished qualities. I wear the same clothing and eat the same food as the cowherds and horse-herders. We make the same sacrifices, and we share the same riches. I hate luxury. I exercise moderation. But as my calling is high, the obligations incumbent on me are also heavy.

The key word here is obligations.

With so many obligations, GK’s greatest task of finding a successor was crippled by his inability to trust his family. GK killed his older half-brother when he was but a teenager because he threatened Khan’s influence in the family.

And after acquiring great power, he failed to mentor his sons. Sure, they knew how to win wars. They were the best in the world.

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Painting of Genghis Khan riding to invade the lands of Southeast Asia (1277). #fakehistory

But seriously, GK spent so much time leading conquests that he didn’t have time to teach them the nuances of taking care of his own people.

GK’s lack of mentoring for his immediate family resulted in family fighting that eventually tore apart the Mongol regime. His sons and grandsons did not agree on political leadership and cooperated only by mutually existing economic interests.

If you want to be class president, create incentives for people to work together. And be willing to mentor others to do your job after you graduate.

The second weakness of the Mongol Empire was their failure to recognize their greatest strength as their greatest liability.

When the Mongols were struck by the plague like the rest of the world in the 14th century, their empire began to disintegrate. They failed to identify the root cause of their problems, which had started with fleas spreading the plague.

Now, the Mongols did communication at a world-class level. They had to as rulers over such a large territory. So they set up post stations for soldiers and merchants traveling across Asia. The Mongols planted trees along the paths, provided shelter for travelers at the post stations, and ensured there was enough pasture for the horses by removing any surrounding farmland.

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This is a paiza, which functioned as a passport for travel between post stations. This particular one is now at the MET in New York City.

But the greatest strength of the Mongols for creating networks of commerce between cultures turned into their greatest weakness as the Bubonic plague traveled along those very same paths.

That killed at least 75 million people worldwide from South China all the way to London.

If you want to be class president, consider your strengths as your greatest areas for growth. Try to become world-class at 1 thing or very good at 2-3 things.

You will find people smarter than you and dumber than you at school. You will meet people with conflicting interests. Students will know all the clever tricks to beating the academic system. GK lived among people just like that, but he never wavered in his commitment to building systems that were fair to all. He understood that people need to feel protected and have a stake in the success of their society.

And now you know how to get elected class president. Whether you win or not, we can all learn to understand others before taking action.

For more on the history of Genghis Khan, see Jack Weatherford’s Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.

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How to Make Good Choices in School: Genghis Khan and the Tale of the Three Rivers

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When Genghis Khan was a young man, he lived a difficult life. Now, you might be thinking, “What does Genghis Khan have to do with how to make good choices in school?” And you would be right. After all, Genghis Khan was not well-educated. He was certainly not a scientist! He did not invent new technologies either.

How to make good choices in school studygate
This is Genghis Khan’s Twitter profile pic. But no one knows what he actually looked like because he wouldn’t let people make paintings of him when he was alive.

Instead, he grew up eating small mammals like rats. He also would eat birds, fish, and roots in the ground. Genghis Khan lost his father when he was young because someone poisoned him. The Tayichiud tribe he was with abandoned him, his mother, and his brothers.

In spite of this difficult childhood, Genghis Khan was a leader of people. He deeply respected himself, and he showed that through action.

A kidnapping

Once upon a time, Genghis Khan came upon a huge choice that would define him for the rest of his life. But first I will share a little background about this great leader. In spite of being a teenager, Genghis Khan married young. He was only 9 years old when he met Borte, and they got married later when he was 16.

Borte must have been a special person because she was kidnapped by the Merkid tribe. Now, you might think being kidnapped is a big deal in Mongolia. That isn’t really true. Actually, kidnapping women was pretty common back in the 12th century. In fact, it was how Genghis Khan’s mother came to meet his father since she was kidnapped from her first husband too. Violence was a part of life back then. I didn’t say that life was easy!

So if kidnapping Borte was not what made her special, what was it? Lots of people said that she “had fire in her face and light in her eyes.” If you read about Borte on Wikipedia, this means she is smart.

But not even her brains made her that special! No, what made her special was what Genghis Khan did after Borte was kidnapped by the Merkid.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “what does this story have to do with school?” Well, a lot actually! Knowing how to make good choices in school is a lot like making good choices in life. It is not always easy. Actually, knowing how to make good choices ANYWHERE is pretty hard!

And it was no different for Genghis Khan.

When he lost Borte, Genghis Khan was mad and sad. So he did what any man would do when he felt lost. He prayed to God. His god was the Eternal Blue Sky and the Golden Light of the Sun, and they lived around Burkhan Khaldun, which means “God Mountain.” This was a special place because the Mongols believed that the soul of the earth flowed through the water, especially rivers. Genghis Khan believed this, and some people still do.

As Genghis Khan prayed, he saw three rivers flowing down from the mountain. And that’s when he knew he had a choice to make. Which river would he decide to follow?

Kherlen River

To the southeast, there lay the Kherlen River leading to the steppe. A steppe is a large area of flat grassland with no forests. It was a place with the opportunity to raise crops and have livestock, but it was also an area vulnerable to attack since there weren’t many trees. As a herder, no matter how many animals and no matter big his family got, Genghis Khan could expect to be challenged. The Merkid who just took Borte would be back. The Tayichiud tribe were no longer his friends either.

The land was too rich and there was not enough space to live in peace no matter how rich he got.

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This is the Kherlen River. Today, people love to go fishing here and catch the mighty Taimen fish, which is a lot like a salmon.

Onon River

To the northeast, the Onon River gave safety to the people that lived around it. Since it is much colder in that direction, there wouldn’t be as many people either. It had a lot of twists and turns that could provide shelter to the people who did live there, but there wasn’t any place to store animals. This was where he grew up in poverty after the Tayichiud tribe abandoned his family. It would be familiar and comforting, but it wouldn’t be very nice and he would probably have to eat rats again.

He could live there in peace and take another wife, but there would be no reward here.

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This is the Onon River. It has over 170 Google reviews and is one of the world’s longest rivers stretching from central Asia to the Pacific Ocean!

Tuul River

To the southwest, Genghis Khan saw the Tuul River. This river was not better than the Kherlen and Onon rivers. In fact, the Tuul River was the hardest choice of all. It would lead him down the path of conflict, but it would also lead him to people that would want to help him get Borte back. Some of Genghis Khan’s friends did not like the Merkid.

Of course, he might fail to win against the Merkid too. But the Tuul River was his only chance.

How to make good choices in school studygate
This is the Tuul River. Its clean and pleasant waters flow all the way to the capital city of Mongolia, which is Ulaanbaatar.

The big choice

Genghis Khan chose the Tuul river and fought against the Merkid. And do you know what happened? He rescued Borte! Then he built an army and took over the world. His empire went from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. There were not many people like Genghis Khan.

And it started with this big choice. Would he live without Borte or would he fight for her? No one would have blamed him for giving up. Kidnapping was normal back then, and he could always find someone else. But Genghis Khan acknowledged that he was in pain from losing his wife. He was angry. He wanted to do something about his loss. So he took action.

No one else could have done it for him.

The meaning of each river

Sometimes it is hard to make good choices in school. There are many people that will want to influence you. Maybe your friends want to play Fortnite all the time and don’t care about studying. Or maybe they are smoking Juul and want you to as well. Maybe your parents want you to become a scientist and you want to be a musician instead.

Whatever your challenge, it probably won’t be like that of Genghis Khan. Most of us didn’t have to grow up eating rats! Maybe something very painful happened in your life, but maybe not.

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Pick a cherry, any cherry!

Either way, we all have choices like Genghis Khan did. The Kherlen River represents the wide path. Many people will take it and it has nice advantages, but you do not get to control your future. You might get rich and have many things, but someone else could take away everything you have at any moment.

The Onon River represents the safe path. It is a harder life, but people will leave you alone. You will have enough to live on without having to rely on the help of others. If you don’t care about being famous, this can be a nice way to live. It is hard to develop yourself on the Onon River.

But the Tuul River is a wild card. Nobody knows where it will lead, but you will have to fight to move forward. If you think things through when you take action, you can have an incredible life. It would be better than any life the Kherlen and Onon river could ever offer. But there is danger too. If you are foolish with your planning and do not consider the needs of others, you will fail and your life will be painful.

How to make the best choices in school

If you are in high school getting ready for college or in college getting ready for a career, you have the chance to choose your river. There will be a career or maybe a SO to choose as well. You will go to your Burkhan Khaldun mountain or maybe the mountain will come to you! The truth is that some people think about their choice and others don’t, but everyone chooses a river.

Once you get older, it is very hard to change rivers. Not because you’re not smart or not clever enough, no. It’s just hard to change once we set ourselves on the path of life. Our habits when we are young define us when we are old. And habits are a very hard thing to change.

Please don’t get me wrong. The best river is not the Tuul River. It is not even the Kherlen or the Onon rivers. Instead, the best river is the one that you think through and choose for yourself.

Genghis Khan chose the Tuul River because he loved Borte more than anything else. Like him, we can follow his example and listen to our hearts.

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Sweet and Sour Summers

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Sweet and sour summers can make a huge long-term impact on how your son or daughter live once they enter college and adult life.

But we aren’t talking about strawberry lemonade tea here. What does this term mean exactly?

The mission of the sweet and sour summer is to expose teenagers to the realities of life. For some people, life is caviar and Kobe steak filled with summer tans and chiseled physique. For others, life consists of surviving under a bridge and constantly struggling to get a good night of sleep.

Both possibilities are very real in this giant world. The sweet and sour summer is 3 months of work designed to prove just that.

Sweet summer

A sweet summer starts with an internship shadowing a very cool job. Your job is to make a connection with your child to the coolest job your personal network of friends and family can offer. Here are some ideas (but the sky is the limit):

  • Lobbyist
  • Surgeon
  • Professional athlete
  • Video game designer
  • Stockbroker
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Life as a surgeon isn’t as easy as a fist bump, but it’s still pretty cool

Your teenager can shadow your friend for 4-6 weeks and have a very nice time. More importantly, they will get to observe professional standards of communication and see how the world works.

Sour summer

A sour summer consists of finding the toughest and most grimy job you possibly can within your network of contacts, then sending your teenager to work on it. Here are some job ideas, but they are not comprehensive:

  • Roofer
  • Trashman
  • Farm worker
  • Dishwasher
  • Construction worker
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Construction consists of lifting heavy things, long hours, and unbearable heat

Besides making the connection, your role in the sour summer is to make sure that your teenager works harder and longer than anyone else on that team. This takes some trust in your connection, but the result will leave your child open to hard work when they get home at the very least!

Why bother?

As the developing and developed world come closer together, it’s important for young people to understand that life can be whatever they want it to. The Western world is still a place of possibility where hard work smartly applied can make for huge results. The possibilities are endless, but many of them depend on the choices we make.

By experiencing the sweet and sour summer, you can help your child see the wide range of possibilities that exist in this big and beautiful world.

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How tutors use Uber for learning to make $1,000+ monthly working online

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by Jacob Hallman

After running tutoring sites for the last 5 years, I have seen tutors make anywhere from $50-$50,000 annually using Uber for learning platforms. Most tutors I have seen make well under $5,000 annually however. Of course, there are definitely other ways to make money online and I realize these numbers won’t pay the rent, but online tutoring is an awesome job if you like to learn (yes, tutoring is a great way to teach yourself) and convenience matters a lot to you.

By the end of this post, you should have a game plan for earning more cash tutoring online.

Platforms: benefits and drawbacks

I have seen some Redditors knock tutoring platforms as leeches, but the reality is more nuanced. If you have great people skills and know how to market yourself, yes, you should be able to find work on your own. The advantage of finding a tutor platform, however, is credibility boost. If you are an XYZ tutor, that means you stand for quality. Students trust XYZ, so they can easily trust you too.

The biggest truth that most people miss about tutoring online is that they focus on the commission rate as the sole indicator of the platform value. Tutors should measure the ability of a platform to drive traffic to their account. If traffic volume is high, tutors can afford to distinguish themselves and charge higher prices through the value provided by the site brand.

International college students and the parents of HS students are willing to pay more for good help, and the lowest price doesn’t always win as society continues to place a higher value on education.

For the best platform: Measure customer acquisition time

When considering tutoring platforms as an earnings resource, measure how much time you actually spend looking for work before you get it, online or otherwise. For example, Uber won’t pay a driver until the ride begins no matter how far they are away from the passenger, but this is still time spent for the driver. This global calculation can help you measure total hours of work. How much time would you otherwise spend looking for work on your own?

A nice perk many platforms offer is to charge you a lower rate when you accumulate successful transactions and reviews. A notable exception to this is Wyzant, which is shifting in 2019 to a flat 25% rate for all tutors. This is remarkable because they are the only company offering a flat commission rate regardless of site experience and they are actually raising rates for their most experienced tutors. Still, this and other online commission rates are well under the 60%-70% rate many brick-and-mortar tutor companies take.

In general, I think that office hours are generally too intimidating for college students and that learning should be more efficient. This makes education Uber-for-learning system where tutors offer blazingly fast support and students can pay as they go. This is the future of learning as more teachers realize their students can already google everything anyway.

Online tutoring: The 4 best strategies

Even if you tutor exclusively through Reddit, the most successful tutors I have met do the following things:

  1. They clearly define a specific skill set. This makes it easy for students to know what is offered. For example: Complete solution to programming, maths, statistics and science problems at one location is delivered here!!
  2. They brag about themselves in a way that is constructive. You don’t have to be a rock star, but you should be specific. For example: I am a mechanical engineer currently working for a Fortune 500 chemical manufacturing company. I volunteer with local middle and high schools as a STEM mentor and tutor. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.96 while majoring in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Business Administration.
  3. They care about their profile picture if they have one. It communicates friendliness and confidence, but it isn’t snobby. Great tutors come across as teammates.
  4. They message in a way that is casual and helpful when asking followup questions. Less important than the grammar is the enthusiasm, especially since standards of writing online are changing so rapidly. Messaging a student is actually a lot like using Reddit. Don’t message 5 times if the other person isn’t responding. Don’t write in caps unless you are yelling. Be helpful and engaging.

TL;DR

In the world of tutoring, care, speed, and competence = $$$ Just read the last 4 points only.

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How long will you live?

How long will you live? 10,000 years ago, the average human life lasted just over 30 years, and then a hundred years ago that number was up to 50. If you were born in the last few decades in the developed world, then your life expectancy is 80 years. But that is of course assuming that no major breakthroughs happen during your lifetime that can slow the process of aging.

That may be a very bad assumption.

According to Dr. Fiona Ginty, aging is not always recognized as a disease. There are plenty of diseases we do acknowledge like diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. At their core, aging may be responsible for all of them.

And yet aging seems natural because it’s something that we do from birth and for a while it makes us better. Bigger, stronger, faster, more intelligent. But then at some point in your life it reverses and aging makes our bodies decay and degrade.

Why do we have to age?

Scientists are now realizing there is a fundamental cellular mechanism at the heart of aging. Do we age at the macroscopic level because our cells are aging at the microscopic level? To a great extent, yes. There’s only a finite number of times a cell will divide.

The key discovery was made by a biologist named Hayflick. He was studying normal human cells. He found that they can only divide a finite number of times, usually about 50. Beyond that, the cell becomes senescent, which means it’s an aged cell. It can divide no longer. It lives for a little while but it’s the accumulation of these senescent cells in our bodies that leads to aging on the macroscopic scale.

So it’s as though cells have this little timer inside them that tells them when to stop dividing. But how do they know, and what is that timer?

Telomeres

According to Dr. Ginty, “telomeres are like how your shoelaces have a little bit of plastic at the end to stop them from fraying.” So when your telomeres wear out, the chromosomes stop multiplying. When they work, they keep the chromosome together and stop them from sticking to other chromosomes. Dr. Ginty explains that every time a cell divides, it loses about 200 base pairs of telomere due to the mechanics of the action. “There’s only so much space when DNA polymerase does its job of replicating when it’s copying.”

So the telomere getting shorter is like your molecular clock. The cellular clock inside each cell that tells it how many times it has divided. Would you want to have your telomeres measured?

Well, we can at least lengthen our telomeres!

There have been associations made with lifestyle and exercise showing that longer telomeres are associated with a more active lifestyle.

If we could stop the telomeres from shortening, maybe the cells would live forever. There’s another enzyme involved called telomerase, and it keeps rebuilding.

Telomase

Telomase rebuilds the telomere, and there is one animal that doesn’t seem to age—the lobster. It just gets bigger over time. It doesn’t get weaker and its chromosomes don’t change. It has long telomeres that do not shorten, so it only dies when it gets eaten by something else like a human. So how can we be more like a lobster?

how long will you live? studygate

Well, that answer is a little complicated.

Unfortunately, cancer is a perfect example of telomerase being hyperactive. In the end, it becomes an unregulated growth situation. —This is the double-edged sword of telomeres and telomerase. Cancer cells have really long telomeres, and they can divide indefinitely, and that is the problem with cancer. Cancer is dividing cells that won’t stop and they won’t die. So, in a way, cancer is the immortal cell living within us.

So maybe we have telomeres that shorten for a very good reason; otherwise they could become cancerous. One of the theories there is that the cells divide that limited number of times because it stops them from accumulating damage that may be detrimental. Telomeres might stop cells from becoming cancerous.

Over the past hundred years, developments in medicine have increased human lifespan more than we could have imagined, and I can only expect that the next hundred years will bring similarly incredible results. I’m not sure where or how they will take place, but you can bet that your life expectancy today will not be the actual age at which you die.

Original content by Veritasium

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The Scientific Benefits of Boredom

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The scientific benefits of boredom might not be obvious. But they are very real. In a recent study participants were placed in a room for between 6 and 15 minutes. They were given nothing except a button that they knew would shock them if they pressed it. They were asked to entertain themselves with their thoughts, but they could self administer the shock if they so chose. So what happened? Well, 25% of women and 67% of men shocked themselves. This is despite the fact that they had previously told the experimenters that they would pay money to avoid the shock.

Apparently they’d rather experience physical pain than just be bored; to have nothing to keep them occupied but their thoughts.the scientific benefits of boredom studygate

But they are not alone. Around 95% of American adults report participating in some leisure activities over the past 24 hours. But only 17% say they spent any time at all just relaxing and thinking, because that apparently is boring, and being bored is unpleasant.

What is boredom?

Well contrary to popular belief, it’s not when you have absolutely nothing to do. It’s just when none of the options you have available appeal to you.

Boredom is characterized by a lack of concentration, restlessness, but also feeling lethargic. It’s really a state of being underwhelmed. And there are now more ways than ever to avoid boredom. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, not to mention my smartphone I have waiting in line, sitting in a coffee shop, stopped at a traffic light.

Many people reach for their phones to stave off boredom, and nowhere is sacred. Do you ever just let yourself be bored?

But are we losing anything by avoiding boredom? Well, scientific research says yes, and what we’re losing is important. When you’re bored your mind wanders. That’s only natural. The state of boredom is one where your attention is not focused on anything in particular.

Boredom studies show..

This mind wandering is useful for creativity. Researchers gave study participants the most boring process possible: reading the phone book. Then, they asked participants to be creative; generate as many ideas as they could for what you could do with a plastic cup. Those in the most boring read the phone book condition generated the most creative solutions compared to less bored controls.

A major reason many researchers suspect that we experience boredom is because it gives you an indicator of your current state. If you find yourself feeling bored, you know something about that situation isn’t working for you.

When you’re in class and you’re a bit bored do you ever just pull out your phone and have a look at stuff? Exactly.

So the paradox of boredom is that it makes you feel tired, sluggish and just disinterested. But it may actually spur you to action. It may get you to make changes that would be positive for your life.

In the absence of boredom, one would remain trapped in unfulfilling situations and miss out on many emotionally, cognitively, and socially rewarding experiences. Boredom is both a warning that we’re not doing what we want to be doing, and a push that motivates us to switch goals and projects.

Good things happened to those who are bored

Studies have also shown that boredom may make you more altruistic. Perhaps the acute sense of aimlessness you experience when you’re bored gets out of control, and makes you question what you’re doing with your life as a whole. But the silver lining is that it may trigger you to think about others and what you can do to help them. And that provides an immediate and concrete purpose to a life that might momentarily feel like it’s lacking one.

Studies designed to induce boredom have shown that more bored participants are more likely to donate to charity, or to give blood since they have free time on their hands. You know, just 2 hours or an hour and a half or so of boredom. So apparently the opportunity to do meaningful, even if unpleasant activities have more value if you’re bored than if you’re not.

the scientific benefits of boredom studygate

Similarly, this aimless state seems to cultivate thoughts about what you want to do with your life. To think of your life as a story and consider where you want it to go in the future. This is called autobiographical planning. When given tasks that only use a fraction of mental capacity, study participants frequently thought of the future and their plans for it. In this way being bored is essential for goal-setting. If your brain is always consumed with other stimuli, you’ll rarely ponder the bigger picture and set long-term goals for yourself and consider how to achieve them.

Does a phone get rid of your boredom? Yeah, actually, thinking about it, it does. So every time you’re waiting for something, you have a decision to make, which seems like a tiny one. Pull out your phone for a few seconds or minutes, or just be bored; experience only your thoughts.

But hey, boredom might not be a big deal! Right?

And if you don’t give it much thought the obvious action is to see what’s new on your app of choice. And in making that decision you are alleviating a moment of boredom. But you are also likely making yourself less creative, less altruistic, less likely to assess your current state and less likely to set goals for your future.

In short, you are the real world example of someone shocking themselves to avoid the unpleasantness of boredom. Except in your case, the pain goes much deeper to the very nature of who you are, and who you will become. So think carefully before pressing that button.

Turns out that being bored is apparently something our brains need to do.

Content courtesy of Veritasium

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10 Life Hacks Every College Student Should Know

life hacks studygate

Here are 10 life hacks every college student should know. Are you ready? Let’s check it out!

Problem 1: You do not have a coffee pot

All you’re gonna need is coffee, a coffee filter, and to boil some water. What we’re gonna do is get a spoon of coffee and we’ll make a tea bag of coffee. Put the ends together, spin, and fasten with a rubber band. Keep twisting until it’s tight. Then we’re gonna dip the coffee bag in the hot water and leave it there for about 5 minutes. Then the coffee will be dissolved in the cup.

life hacks studygate

Problem 2: Annoying to store beer in the refrigerator

Put a black metal paper clip on the metal wire to stack your beer bottles. You will get half of your refrigerator empty for other uses. With this trick you do not have to worry about the unstable beer like when you try and stand them all up straight on the wire shelf. That is too unbalanced. A paper clip is great, nothing will move it!

life hacks studygate

Problem 3: Cannot wake up with the alarm

Put the cell phone inside of a beer glass to increase the sound. And arrive on time to the first class 90% of the time, all the time! The same thing works for music. Don’t have any speakers? All you need is your cell phone to listen to the music inside of your beer glass, which will increase the sound.

life hacks studygate

Problem 4: Dirty hands with Cheetos

Everyone loves Cheetos. In college we eat a lot of junk food like this because we do not have time. It’s hard to get the Cheetos when the bag is lying down. You have to stick your hand in there and it gets the cheese dust on it. However, you can pull the bottom part out (not apart!) and then push the bottom of the bag inside out. Keep pushing until the Cheetos reach the top. Now you do not have to stick your hand into the and it’s easier for them to come out. Hot Cheetos work great for this too!life hacks studygate

Problem 5: Your beer is not cold enough

Do you want to cool a beer as fast as possible? Wet a paper towel in cold water and put the beer in the freezer. Then wrap the paper towel around the beer. The paper towel will freeze cold, and your beer will be cold much faster. BTW, frozen beer explodes. 15 minutes ought to do it with this technique.

life hacks studygate

Problem 6: Your bananas go ripe too fast

Keep the bananas fresh by wrapping the top of them with plastic wrap and keeping them away from other fruits. This will prevent them from getting bad. But once you take a banana, you have to tie it up again. Bananas ripen with ethylene, but wrapping the stems reduces their flow of oxygen to get ethylene.

life hacks studygate

Problem 7: Cook a hot dog without a microwave

Start with a coffee pot. Make sure your coffee pot is clean, then put the hot dogs in the coffee pot. Run a cycle and leave the hot dogs in hot water until you see they’re cooked. The bottom of the coffee maker will finish the job of cooking the hot dogs.

life hacks studygate

Problem 8: Have no laptop bag to take computer

Make a laptop bag with your hoodie. Lay your hoodie on a table chest up and place your laptop horizontally in the chest area with the long parts facing the arms. Make sure your hoodie has the strings on the outside, then bring the bottom part up and fold it over the hoodie itself. Tuck the extra fabric under the hoodie itself. Next, put the hood over the top of the laptop and pull it around the device so that it wraps like an envelope. Flip the laptop over and tie the drawstrings together. Finally, tie the arms here together so that you can carry it on your shoulder. Guys, this might look like a purse. You’ve been warned!

life hacks studygate

Problem 9: Your pens keep wearing out

You will need some G2 pens. You can usually buy 4 of them for $5. Next, purchase the Mont Blanc brand of two ballpoint pen refills, which usually cost $12 to fill up a $200 pen. Get the cheap pen and take out the ink refill. Remove the top of the cheap refill and place it on the top of the Mont Blanc refill. When you put your Mont Blanc refill with the G2 top into the G2 pen, you’ll see that you just got a very expensive pen that cost only 12 dollars.

life hacks studygate

Problem 10: Not enough space in your closet

Use soda pop tabs to organize your closet. All we need to do is put one hook in one hole of the soda pop tab and the other hook in the other hole. This takes up way less space because it lets the shirts hang down instead of all having to fit side by side.

life hacks studygate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for life hacks in college! Thanks to Crazy Russian Hacker for this great original post. Click here for life hacks on how to study as well.

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Study with me: 11 study tubers to inspire your next A

The study with me genre is going global. Expect to find videos filled with students doing just one thing: studying. Get ready for lots of silence (music optional) as smart people get to work and invite you to join them.

Why study with me?

There are some great reasons to watch these videos:

  1. Friendship with tons of comments from likeminded students
  2. Community of people committed to learning with you to the next A
  3. Single screen to focus on instead of distracted browsing everywhere

The following are some of the hippest students on the planet, presented in no particular order. Each offer their own flavor and personality to compliment your study session.

Study with me Studytubers

1. TheStrive Studies

 

STUDY WITH ME–let’s study together! | TheStrive Studies! (no music)

Jamie is a medical student with a polished video style based in NYC. Studying with her honestly feels like entertainment AND working in the presence of a guru because she shares so much about her life as a successful medical student. The perfect balance between genius and fashionista, she shows off her space with just enough with multiple camera angles to inspire without distracting. The result is more views than any other video on this list.

2. Study To Success

STUDY WITH ME: 3 Hour Live/Real Time Study Session (Pomodoro)

Estella’s channel packs a flamboyant attitude, proving once and for all that such a thing can exist in AP Statistics. She is focused and tends to show some rough around the edges to keep it real (this video was made before an all nighter). Overall, expect carefully organized highlighters on this channel along with stationary and assortments of neon objects decorating her Instagram profile. She is one of the few Studytubers I found using Google Meet sessions, but there is the added bonus of her phone to track Pomodoro on a 3-hour video. 

3. UnJaded Jade

Real Time Study With Me *with break* 💪 2 Hours of Productivity & Motivation
Real Time Study With Me *with break* 💪 2 Hours of Productivity & Motivation

Birmingham (England, not Alabama)-based Jade kicks ass with a high energy channel that keeps it real. She is not a fashionista, at least not a self-conscious one. While many YouTubers use sophisticated editing techniques to produce their work, Jade films with her phone. Without a doubt one of the most popular studytubers on YouTube, she constantly comes across as a really authentic person, which is actually pretty impressive since she is studying biology.

4. Study Vibes

Study with me | 2 hours
Study with me | 2 hours

The Belgium-based Study Vibes channel consists almost exclusively of study with me videos. That’s unique in a studytuber culture that often mixes fashion or life hacks into its content uploads. One of the more introverted channels I have found, Heleen interacts with a small but highly engaged group of users with enabled live chats during Google Meet sessions. Not only is this the longest tenured channel I found during my research (since 2014), but it represents the only channel treating its viewers like true study partners and not just another view to entertain. 

5. Thomas Frank

Study With Me - A 25-Minute Pomodoro Session
Study With Me – A 25-Minute Pomodoro Session

Thomas Frank might be the king of the studytuber genre, but that isn’t really fair since he is one among very few guys to post in it. Considered slightly old compared to most other study with me creators, Frank admits to finding these videos cheesy and wouldn’t dare go to the trouble of making a whole subcategory of videos like this. For efficiency, he treats this video like a single-view pomodoro session. As Frank would say, “let’s get to work.”

6. 사랑Sarang

STUDY WITH ME | 같이 공부해요
STUDY WITH ME | 같이 공부해요

By far one of the more inspiring channels I found, dental student Sarang shows off an artistic side that constantly comes out in her videos. We find it in the flowers on the intro segments and slightly unfocused camera angles of her videos. Sarang is lucky to be in dental school after taking a long and winding path from Korea to study in the US. Maybe that’s what makes her focus and fancy hair so inspiring. And her study with me music ROCKS with selections by Eventide. To keep it real, expect to hear Sarang highly focused and talking to herself in between tracks.

7. Cracker ASMR

📚 No talking ASMR | Let's study together! Studying ASMR, writing , page turning, white noise
📚 No talking ASMR | Let’s study together! Studying ASMR, writing , page turning, white noise

Another Korean channel, Cracker ASMR contains by far the best sense of aesthetic on this list without overwhelming or distracting. The creator keeps it real by making videos where the sound of what you’re hearing represents the perfect experience to compliment the visuals. Best experienced with headphones, this YouTuber will tickle your ears with paintbrushes and Q-tips (no kidding) on other videos, but no talking. Ever. All you hear are the scratches her pencil makes on the paper she is taking notes on.

8. iMia

STUDY WITH ME : MED SCHOOL NEUROANATOMY #2
STUDY WITH ME : MED SCHOOL NEUROANATOMY #2

Study with me is taking over France too, and Marion aka iMia is one of its pioneers. Her videos profile the life of a medical student studying abroad in Italy. Often, she talks about her life studying medicine and has recently taken a plunge into the genre with a very dark back view of her multi-screened study space. The accompanying music is energetic and straight-forward, a great example of how this video genre is revolutionizing how people learn and evolves around the world.

9. MedBros

Study With Me (2 hours w/ music)
Study With Me (2 hours w/ music)

Don’t expect a Pomodoro session from MedBros. Honestly, how could you learn everything you need to get in 25 minutes after all? Much better to learn alongside someone for an extended period of time, and that’s exactly what is provided here with a nearly 2 hour session. Chill hip hop beats are included (or not, your choice). Thankfully, Shaman keeps it real with some minor humor. 🙂

10. Mariana’s Study Corner

STUDY WITH ME IN REAL TIME » 20 minutes of Spartan History
STUDY WITH ME IN REAL TIME » 20 minutes of Spartan History

This Portuguese channel is another one of the more artfully crafted study with me videos. There is the wood finish table, which is gorgeous. Then there is the trendy use of an iPad on Google Drive. Finally, Mariana uses clean pens and highlighters to work out of her notebook with her muted pink fingernails. Users can see her fantastic technique of reading and extracting relevant material from the PDF for later review. We only wish it could be longer!

11. Melissa Brady

study with me (cramming w coffee)
study with me (cramming w coffee)

This American Youtuber has three things going for her: excellent musical taste with saxophonist Dexter Gordon ❤️️❤️️❤️️, an old school iMovie filter, and a snarky personality to make any study session a joy to complete. In this video, her concept is to visit coffee shops around the town where she lives and take us along with her. With those giant glasses, she just might be the hippest study buddy on the list, fashion and video editing heavy.

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Don’t cheat but if you do know the one thing that really matters

Cheating hand

It might not seem obvious at first, but Mark Twain was a firm advocate of cheating. He suggested that “it is good to obey all the rules when you’re young, so you’ll have the strength to break them when you’re old.”

Mark Twain wouldn’t like the idea of cheating while you’re young, but he also lived in a world where the age of adulthood was 10 or 12. So maybe you’re already old enough to break the rules, at least by 19th century standards.

The difficulties humans cannot process or describe are projected onto future generations, rinse and repeat.

Having thrived in spite of his bad business chops, the wisdom of Twain still resonates today. Children still have to meet parent expectations. Teachers are still severe. Each generation passes the pain it experienced to the next one out of annoyance for the lack of love received, incessant “no you can’t do that” messages we heard as children, and desire to get ahead. The difficulties humans cannot process or describe are projected onto future generations, rinse and repeat.

No wonder a student would seek how to cheat to get ahead. All these adults berating and telling students to follow the rules — the process is exhausting. If you follow Twain’s advice, you simply conform as a teenager, but what if there are other options? Educational data analyst Zachary Goldman has documented the fact that students will often explore other options and break the rules to achieve a higher goal:

1. Get that diploma

2. Not embarrass your parents

3. Never deal with that professor again

These justifications sound like something inspired by Machiavelli. The 16th century Italian diplomat would judge actions by their ultimate outcomes instead of the questionable action itself, but YouTuber Thomas Frank posts that laziness is the biggest threat to making new habits—even getting beyond cheating. The reality is that discovering how to cheat allows us to get ahead in the short term with the option to focus on activities that are easy and feel good. Which makes cheating a pretty tempting option.

So if you know how to cheat already or are thinking about it, sit down and ask yourself, “What is the bigger yes I have to achieve by cheating on this course right now?” I’m here to suggest that “easy” and “feel good” are not good enough reasons to cheat. But if the grade is really the most important thing, don’t have illusions that you care about learning in school. Admit to yourself that you don’t care, define your bigger “yes” to follow and dig into that.

My desk of bigger yeses to achieve—Learn Mandarin and understand teaching

In a Google world built to make information “universally accessible and useful,” there are inevitable answer-finding tools in a 21st century knowledge economy. The pandora’s box of answer access is open, and teachers and parents should accept that there is no going back.

What is your biggest fear? Conformance to something you halfway believe in or the dangers associated with making your own path?

No age is too young to think for yourself. If we constantly jump through hoops to meet the expectations of our parents and teachers, we risk conforming to a system of herd morality. Friedrich Nietzsche hated this trend where people valued things that didn’t really matter instead of trying to become great at something. People were coming up with euphemisms to justify cowardly behavior like calling impotence “goodness of heart” and describing submission as “obedience.” Nobody wants to become a pawn in a system.

If you cheat, know the costs. Getting caught makes it hard to advance in school, hurts your reputation with educators, and might get you kicked out. But the cost of following school rules can be just as damaging. What if you conform and end up sucking at life in a part-time job running the rat race with a premium UltraHD Netflix subscription? Now is the time to ask yourself, “What is your biggest fear? Conformance to something you halfway believe in or the dangers associated with making your own path?”

So if you know how to cheat already, own it. If learning about World War II and trigonometry isn’t good enough for you, then find something better to learn. Cheat with the knowledge of the one thing that really matters. If you’re going to do the bare minimum, identify the place where you will give your maximum. Leverage your desire to get a good grade with a greater need to do something specific with your time. Just make Twain proud and know the rules before you start breaking them.

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Four Examples Of Great Educators And What We Can Learn From Them

When I think of all the teachers I’ve ever had, I am amazed at the many roles they have to play for their students’ success. In addition to being educators, they can be mentors, role models, knowledgeable experts, a sympathetic ear, even a fellow student! Whether you’re a tutor, a schoolteacher, or a university professor, you’ll find yourself playing these roles, and the very best educators play multiple roles seamlessly. Here are a few teachers I’ve had and the lessons that all educators can learn from them.

 

Mrs. Berens: 4th Grade

4th grade was arguably my greatest year of school, period. I’m not kidding. I had it all: good grades, popularity, an active social life, and so much more. I also developed a genuine love of learning, which I owe to the efforts of my teacher, Mrs. Berens.

Mrs. Berens seemed to know everything and was eager to share all that knowledge with you, ready or not. She was a real-life Ms. Frizzle! We covered a ton of subjects every day: Math, Science, History, English, and did a lot of group work in each of them. I remember when she gave us multiplication speed tests, and then instructed us to get with two to three other students to compare answers and correct our work. Everything was a collaborative process in her classroom, and I loved it. The classroom itself was FULL of resources we used during our free time. There was a huge bookshelf that I loved to pick from because she always had the best books that weren’t always available in the library. It was a space designed to maximize learning, but that wasn’t even the best part. Mrs. Berens not only encouraged excellence, she expected and demanded it.

And she rewarded excellence in the best ways: special field trips, lunches, computer privileges—once, when we achieved a reading goal she had set for us, she arranged for our class to attend a movie premiere in Hollywood! She had influence!

The Lesson: Passion

I loved Mrs. Berens because she played a strong leadership role in our learning journey. She set a high standard, expected us to achieve it, and allowed us to be curious and discover new things in the process. With her, learning was a true pleasure, and I understood that attending school was not my duty, it was my privilege.

 

 

Mrs. Rosemann: 6th Grade

As an unruly 10-year-old, I lacked the self-control to focus on my studies sometimes. Take an absentminded child, add a newfound access to video games, and you’ve got a kid who’s not always paying attention in the classroom. Mrs. Rosemann changed all that.

She seemed wonderfully odd to me when I first met her. She had fiery red hair that looked out of place paired with her usual dark blazers. As it turned out, her fashion sense was a perfect illustration of the kind of teacher she was. She struck a balance between stern and empathetic, serious and silly, kind and cold. When teaching math and science, she was all business. When we got to reading and art, however, she’d prance around the room, vibrant and animated. Mrs. Rosemann ran a structured classroom, and her expectations were clearly laid out from day one. She was a strict disciplinarian: if you were caught messing around, she would call you out in front of the whole class. But she was also a free spirit who encouraged creativity from all of us. In the middle of the year, our class wrote and performed our own Greek tragedy—we made our own costumes and everything!

The Lesson: Discipline

Mrs. Rosemann introduced structure at a pivotal time in our lives. At the start of our preteen years, other things were more important than school, and she taught us to remain studious, composed, and to take our own learning seriously. Most importantly, she held us accountable for our behavior, our assignments, and for understanding the lessons. Many of the best educators emphasize that learning is also YOUR responsibility.

 

 

Ms. Bullard: 9th Grade English

Following my middle school years—where I had been puffed up and praised for doing well with relatively easy work—Ms. Bullard shattered my idea of what good academic writing was and forced me to improve my skills—or suffer the consequences…

I’ll never forget that first day: We were a bunch of arrogant freshmen, straight out of junior high, sitting at our desks, waiting to receive a worksheet to fill out for 45 minutes. But it never came.

Instead, Ms. Bullard told us to write an essay about our summer reading. With a thesis, supporting evidence, specific details, a conclusion, and everything. Without the book. Using memory alone. It was a bloodbath.

After that, the real work began. She taught us two important things about academic writing and communication in general: how you say something is as important as what you’re saying, and if you’re going to take a position, you’d better be able to back it up. Her class was rigorous. It was frustrating. It felt impossible. If you managed to break into the “A” range, you felt like a champion because you fought for it.

The Lesson: Humility

With knowledge comes pride. The best teachers give you a good kick in the shins and make you forget everything you think you know so you can start learning from a new perceptive, which ultimately makes you smarter. Even though it was a freshman English class, Ms. Bullard treated us like seniors. She expected nothing but clear, excellent writing from us, and that’s what we had to deliver if we wanted to survive. She was a relentless, unforgiving coach—just what we needed.

 

 

Mrs. Haus: 9th, 10th, and 11th Grade Biology (AND Chemistry)

Science was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it’s all thanks to Mrs. Haus. A lot of students complained about her because she gave a lot of homework, although I later realized the reason why. Much of the learning process is repetition, and her classes were all repetition, all the time! In high school, test preparation slowly takes precedence over actual learning, but not in Mrs. Haus’ class. She taught for understanding.

In my freshman year, she gave us packets filled with a list of that week’s science terms for us to define, as well as a ton of short answer questions that we had to complete with thorough explanations. One week, we had to explain the process of Meiosis, and if we left out a single part, we could expect corrective red marks all over the page.

The devil was in the details.

Her pickiness followed me on to 10th grade, her 6 week summer Chemistry course (which was brutal), and ESPECIALLY to AP Biology, where I wrote, reviewed, and rewrote answers for her all year.

But here’s the thing: her obsession with detail was only half of her winning teaching style. She also focused on getting to know each student and our weaknesses so she could help us learn in our own ways. She knew that I’d skip over the smallest details, so she made me revise assignments again and again until I learned to be thorough.

And it worked! I scored high on the AP test!

The Lesson: Perseverance

Even though she was incredibly nit-picky, Mrs. Haus taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing correctly. Excellence is all about the small things that can make or break you, and my time with her was a testament to that fact.

 

 

The great educators in our lives have all played roles besides that of “teacher” in order to teach those core values that help us succeed. Good teachers stick to the material, amazing teachers go beyond it. The best thing about that is, every teacher has the opportunity to be a great educator if they’re willing to walk the extra mile.

For more stories like this one, study tips, homework help, and one-on-one live tutoring, check out StudyGate.com!

 

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Common Misconceptions Studying Abroad

First of all, misconceptions studying abroad happen too often. It’s easy to miss that Madrid has a slowly climbing hill on the west side of the city once you cross the ancient Puente de Segovia towards Puerta del Angel. There are cervecerías and lavaderías on the way up, places to drink beer and wash clothes. You can find locutorios too, dirty internet cafés that charge by the minute for a web connection. Walk another thirty minutes and you start seeing the remnants of an era where Francisco Franco ruled Spain. Drab buildings that all look the same tower over mullet haircuts and dog droppings littered along narrow sidewalks. Orange plastic walls next to rough stucco white buildings.

That’s where you’ll find the Conservatorio de Teresa Berganza next to the Lucero metro stop on line 6. Building seriously needs to be knocked down and rebuilt by American standards, so maybe it makes sense that I learned in that place that there is no such thing as a safe space.

I couldn’t get better without some discomfort.

My teacher’s name was Carlos G. Pérez de Aranda y Ramírez. Which is a mouthful even for a Spanish name. He was a music historian, bald with brightly colored green pants and a severe disposition and looked a little bit like Jean-Pierre Coffe, the very very French supermarket personality for Leader Price. I saw Aranda y Ramírez maybe three times the whole year. Which was fine since working with him was not the point of moving to Madrid, where I wound up dominating this music piece instead. But there I was with el Profesor as a saxophone player tasked with writing a paper comparing 19th century romantic composers. The things we do for a piece of paper. I had misconceptions studying abroad that this was important.

My diploma from writing a paper in an unsafe space

If you can imagine a 100% caucasian gringo trying to wax Castilian academic from a family that didn’t go much beyond “hola,” “gracias,” and “enchilada,” then you have my Spanish background. There was the research, the editing, and the revision. I wrote that paper on a boxy PC in a suffocating apartment with the bonus feature of well-ventilated windows to bring in the dusty dry Madrileño air. My friends all laughed at that paper with it’s crazy spanglish grammar and awkward saxophone historian perspective, and that’s when I realized I would never be safe to express myself without exposing myself to criticism. Without getting some smirks. Without some WTFs along the way.

I couldn’t get better without some discomfort.

Safe Spaces Theory

In September 2015, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt released their groundbreaking essay “The Coddling of the American Mind.” The authors describe a safe space as a location where “young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable.”

Safe spaces. The evolution of this word still surprises me because it suggests that my comfort as a student is the most important.

Certainly, safes space is becoming a loaded and confusing term. In 2016, journalist Oliver Bateman described safe spaces as “an area where subject matter is studied with a full awareness of the students’ own subjectivity kept firmly in mind.” This requires critical student thought in the full spirit of unassuming inquiry. Tressie McMillan Cottom at Virginia Commonwealth University would agree. A “safe space” is all about being safely uncomfortable in classand challenged by new ideas that conflict with previously held assumptions. These descriptions sound nice, but they don’t paint the picture Lukianoff and Haidt describe.

That’s because safe spaces are also intended to shield people from bias, criticism, and situations that might be found threatening. According to some prominent sociologists who wrote a great book on the subject in 2018, safe spaces result in the creation of victimhood culture.

Safe Spaces Abroad

But I don’t see safe spaces happening in other parts of the world, at least not in Europe. Learning moves in the spirit of Quincy Jones, who demands that “You’re supposed to use everything from the past. If you know where you come from, it’s easier to get where you’re going.” That means confronting the tough subjects and acknowledging their impact on current society. Professors don’t care about your opinions. They value your ability to comprehend previously accepted ideas and critically apply them

I lived in Spain for 12 months, which is long enough to embrace many misconceptions studying abroad. Air conditioning will be a luxury and the shower will be cold. The guys will have inside jokes about sex and local futbol players that you won’t understand. The girls will act in unexpected quirky ways that you couldn’t guess. You might find a cockroach in your room and thieves on the metro. Or as Caitlyn Stone who studied abroad in Glasgow, Scotland would say, traveling isn’t glamorous!

“I literally took ten to twelve-hour bus rides to get to Oxford and London. I woke up a 4:30 a.m. to get glam and ready to walk a mile to the train station before 6 a.m. I’ve done my makeup in a bus station bathroom. I walked upwards of 7 miles every day in a new city…”

BONUS: And you’ll have the language ability of a 5-year-old.

Also, Coming from Kansas as a straight white male, I lived in Spain as a definite minority for the first time in my life. And so the world was not made safe for me. People laughed at my Spanish. Teachers didn’t coddle me. But that’s where some of the greatest beauty in my life came. The opportunity to discover lifelong relationship with others, make beautiful music, increase personal discipline, and develop a new worldview of my making.

Finally, none of it could have happened in a safe space. So if you’re headed abroad, here are some tips for integrating into your new adventure and embracing unsafe spaces:

1. Acknowledge everyone you meet. From the grocery cashier to your neighbors and classmates. You will need friends, and you will have only one chance to make a first impression. Make it positive by smiling and speaking their language even if you aren’t fluent yet. Failure doesn’t matter.

2. Be a chameleon. Chances are you will stick out like a sore thumb, so figure out how other people dress and adapt accordingly. Live like your surroundings and embrace the extraordinary exposure to the unsafe space that creates an alternate personality in you and astonishes friends back home.

3. Use learning services. Sites like StudyGate keep students grounded in the details of their learning no matter where they are located. You can easily find a tutor to learn with and stay accountable in your local commitments. Then double down by discussing the concept from your new perspective.

Makes learning constructive no matter what type of learning space

Most of all, only when we encounter pressure do we discover who we really are and avoid misconceptions studying abroad. So if you aren’t in a safe space and headed abroad, count yourself lucky. You’re in a position to grow.

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Four Ways To Stay Motivated And Finish The School Year Strong

Stay Motivated

It’s May! That means state testing, prom, research projects, just a bit more homework than you bargained for, and a whole bunch of other things that can really take a toll on your focus. It’s easy to start slacking right around this time of year. The end of the school year is in sight, summer’s on the way, the weather’s nicer, everything seems more upbeat and relaxed. But you’ve got to stay motivated!

Don’t fall for it!

There’s a lot you can do to sabotage yourself in this critical time in the academic year. It’s okay to stop and smell the roses every now and then, but you’ve also got to stand up straight, square your shoulders, and put in the work. Here are four ways to help you do that:

Organize and Prioritize

If there was ever a time to stay organized, this is it. With so much going on in school and at home, it’s important to keep every date, every obligation, every meeting straight in your head. If you don’t already, keep a planner handy to write down things that you know you need to take care of in the future. Then, rank those things from most to least important. Now,  you can direct your attention to the things that need it the most, and you’ll feel less stressed as a result!

Be Mindful

Speaking of stress, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that’s going on around you. In the midst of all the chaos, take time to slow down and understand what you’re working on. Group projects and research assignments pile up during this time of year, so it’s a good idea to be especially aware of your work habits and how you’re feeling. When choosing how to divide your time, be selective! Ask for help if you can’t meet a deadline, focus on delivering quality work, and above all, set aside some time to take care of your health.

Get Some Perspective

The tests you take during this important season can improve or hurt your chances of ending up with that A you’ve been working so hard for, or the high SAT or AP score that will take you to the college of your dreams. It’s a crucial moment! But that’s all it is. A single moment in the vast timeline that is your life. Don’t put any unnecessary stress on yourself. One test does not decide what your entire future will be. Chin up, shoulders back, do your very best, and your future will fall into place, you’ll see!

Remember Your Goals

There are so many contradictory things about May. It’s testing season, and you should study hard, but prom is coming up, and you want to party hard. Graduation is coming up, and you feel like you’re finished, but those last few assignments count—it’s not over yet! Take time to remember your goals. What did you set out to achieve? Make them more visible in your everyday life. Write them on post-it notes and stick it in your notebook, on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, EVERYWHERE. With summer around the corner, it’s very easy to get distracted with all the fun things going on, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to stop short of the finish line.

 

Students, this is time to remain focused and do all you can to finish the school year strong! Keep yourself accountable, check your urges to slack off, and accomplish what you set out to do! For more helpful tips, homework help, test preparation, and one-on-one tutoring, visit us at StudyGate.com!

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