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Month: November, 2012

Finally…Finals!

OMG! It is nearing the end of the semester and finals are creeping up! I have two major research papers to write and a test in Sociology. The holidays are right around the corner, and I have to plan and execute Rachel’s 18th birthday party in Cleveland. But I have a scathingly brilliant idea to use Skype for one on one tutoring! Will catch up after December 10th!!!!

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So Much To Do, So Little Time

The toughest assignments are always due at the busiest time of year. It must be the rule of thumb for college. I have guests for Thanksgiving dinner in a few days, Ethan’s 3D scale model of a backyard covering my kitchen table, Eric’s pants to alter, and I am headed to a rock concert with Rachel right after school today. In the midst of all the confusion, my Shakespeare research paper deadline is looming ahead like a thunder cloud on the horizon. I am overwhelmed.

Shakespeare fits nicely in waiting rooms. In the midst of the chaos that is my life this week, Rachel came home from school with hives. The hives, covering her hand, put a screeching halt to everything, while we made a quick trip to the doctor’s office. But the time was not wasted. During the wait, I read an entire academic study of the connections between love and war as it relates to the play, Troilus and Cressida! Complete with notes and citations from the reading! With six out of eight articles needed for my research paper, I am ahead of schedule. And it was a relief to hear that the hives were nothing to worry about, and Rachel can play at the House of Blues tonight.

Combining tasks, sometimes referred to as multi-tasking, is the best way to accomplish many goals at once. I did the holiday baking while helping Ethan glue stones to his model. Eric’s pants were re-sized between endless loads of laundry. And I somehow managed to organize three areas on the stove with everything I will need for the concert, my presentation at the high school, and my classes today. Because I worked on the projects simultaneously, I got more finished. I am sure I forgot something.

As the schedule gets crazier, I am reminded of how old I really am. The effects of age cannot be ignored when my fingers ache from arthritis, or I need a nap at 3:00pm. And it does not help that my 58th birthday is December 22, the day after the world is supposed to end….again. However, as much as my physical being lets me know I am not young anymore, my mind has never felt so alive. I mean, Shakespeare, Thanksgiving, scale models and a rock show, all in one week? Who would not feel excited?

High School Students Scare Me!

Fear is an emotion that transcends age groups.  I was given permission to speak to a group of high school students this week about my ideas on using social media to organize and streamline study.  Their perspective on using social media in high school is critical, in order to understand if my theories can be adapted to their education, and if it would be as successful as it has been in college.  Imagine a group of high school students who are organized and enthusiastic about their studies!  A gathering of young people who discard apathy for excitement over good grades and knowledge.  But I am not going to lie, high school students scare me, for so many reasons.

 
High school students are smarter than me.  They can absorb and recall large amounts of information at the drop of a hat.  The post-secondary students that I know are adept at using technology for a multitude of tasks, and actually know how the computer performs each action.  And despite all the drama that encompasses interpersonal relationships in high school, these kids learn complex concepts in the snap of a finger.  They are young, energetic, and anxious to take on the world.  So what can I possibly bring to them?  I can (and will) share the benefits of my life experiences.  The very same experiences that led me to discover ways that social media can make education less stressful.  Hopefully, they will understand that, age aside, we can help each other.

The younger the student, the more brutal the honesty.  This group is not going to say nice things about my ideas because I am a great person, or they like me.  They do not attend my classes or hang out with me.  When I ask for their feedback, their responses will be honest–whether I want to hear it or not.  I hope I can take what they say to heart.  Their opinions will help me analyze my theories and see where they need improvement.

Appearances are everything.  High school has always been a visual entity.  How you look is often more important than how you act.  I have decided to forgo my usual business suit and French twist, for skinny jeans and a ponytail.  I do not want them to see yet another old person standing in the front of the room, lecturing them on what they should be doing.  I hope that by dressing down, they will see a college student, not so different from themselves, with information they can use to their benefit.

Facing a group of high school students can be daunting, but it is like a glimpse of our future.  Soon this group of young people will be in charge.  Of everything!  I believe they are more than capable to take over the world, and will most probably do a better job of managing it than my generation did.  When I look at them, I am convinced, that if they can grow and learn more efficiently in high school, they will excel in college.

But first, I have to give my presentation, answer questions, and get out alive…..