Learning hobbies and skills as adults:



I’m currently reading The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (along with about five other books, but I regress). I was struck last night while reading by the adult drive to master a craft. I think we all have a tendency to believe that creativity is something formed when we are young. We either had it nourished or we didn’t. It’s easy to believe that when we ask amazing artists when they started painting and they answer elementary school, or the novelist that answers high school.

Maybe it’s because kids don’t fear failing, maybe it’s because if you’re bad at art in elementary school nobody is going to ask why you still bother to draw. You have permission to enjoy something even if the output isn’t worthy. It’s one of  the most amazing things about being young. We have room to fail and with that we have room to grow.

We still do some of this as adults, we all take on tasks at our jobs that we don’t know how to do and flounder around with it until we figure it out, and we keep figuring it out until we master it. But when it comes to things that are vastly seen as hobbies, our drive to work on them seems to be stunted. It suddenly becomes a waste of time. It’s not making money and it’s not getting things done so it’s not worth it.

But we all know it’s not true, we all know what creative outlets do for the soul. We all know that you could in fact turn this into something that profits later on (or not, but it’s an option). You’re not wasting time because as you produce bad works over and over again you are improving, slowly, but steadily.

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On remembering to take our own advice:


Last night I was upset about something and my fiance Chris reminded me of what I had said a week earlier when he was upset about something similar. Let me tell you, my own advice was really good, but it was a weird way to be served it. It left me thinking about how often we don’t take our own advice to heart.

If you’re anything like me you give advice to friends on a fairly normal bases. We know the way we phrase it and how we deliver it is important, so our advice normally sounds much more profound than the rest of our speech, because we’re careful with it, we know it matters. Once we infuse that kind of speech with our true honest solutions we normally have something gold.

Our friends might take it to heart or they might not, but either way, we normally throw out our advice after the conversation. We don’t let it linger and we don’t give it a chance to be reused. But why? Why aren’t we taking our little nugget of gold and pondering on it, writing it down, and taking it to heart ourselves?

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Learning: You’re Not Done Yet


I hear “when I’m done” a lot as a college student. Everyone’s excited for classes to end, for papers to stop being due. But recently I’ve realized how many of these students surrounding me really mean that they won’t be picking up more skills other than the ones taught in their trade. They count on the same hobbies, the same amount of knowledge, for as long as they possibly can.

It’s been said that 42% of college graduates don’t pick up another book after they finish school. (x) That’s nearly half! And I know that books aren’t the only way to deliver knowledge, but this gives you a base idea. We as a culture say “when I’m done getting my education” as if there is ever a time we stop learning.

I don’t know about you, but there is so much I never got the chance to learn about. Am I going to read books on it? Yes. Am I going to take lessons to learn piano or pottery or something new and exciting just because I can? Of course.

If we stop learning we stop growing, we become less cultured and we become more biased. We can’t make correct choices and then we complain about the situation as if we didn’t help create it. The situation can be something political or it could be the fact that it’s a Saturday afternoon and you’re bored out of your mind and your old hobbies don’t interest you anymore.

Wise up world, you’ve still got a lot of learning to do.

How to Survive Finals:


Finals are hard for everyone in college, go ahead, just ask us. We thought mid-terms were bad in high school, but they just get worse, don’t they? Well, the week is going to be stressful, there is no way around that. It’s just how it works, but there are a few ways to make them a little more, well, survivable.

  • Know your sleep schedule: We all know you won’t be getting as much as you need, but still, it’s important to know when you’re at your best. Would it be better for you to stay up into the darkest hours of the night, or should you hit the hay early and wake up at 6am. It’s up to you, and at night, sleep normally seems like the best option, but if you know you hot snooze for three hours, just don’t do it.
  • Highlight your notes: I actually do this while I’m taking them, but it’s helpful. Once you’re given your study guide, go through your notes and high light everything that’s on it. This way you can be sure not to waste your time with anything that isn’t.
  • Flag your pages: Page flags, you know what I mean, those little sticky note tags. Tag everything that is relevant to your essays or exams. Read a quote that explains the topic perfectly. Page flag it and keep studying. You can no return to it without the struggle to quote the hell out of it.
  • Wake up fully: Don’t try to study while sleepy, tired, sure, but make sure there is no way for you to doze off. Get up, pump the music (in your headphones, be respectful kids) and dance your ass of for a couple of minutes, get going splash cold water on you face, then get to work.
  • Make flashcards: It seems like such a irreverent tip, everyone makes flashcards right? Well, its one of the few ways I can memorize things, and they are so nice in the fact that you can take them with you when you study. Want to work out to relieve stress? Flash cards on the bike machine. It sounds strange, but I’ve done it so many times.
  • Do find a stress release: I just said mine is working out, but I also need a little bit of time outside, even if it just means a walk around campus for ten minutes. Rewind, dance around, take a shower, but don’t: get on tumblr, pintrest, or other sites like that. Unless you have an hour or so break just don’t do it for a ten minute relaxer, you’ll get sucked in, for sure.
  • Make a to do list: I don’t care if it’s all in your planner. Make a to do list, make it detailed, check off item by item. Even if you already have the times meorized, it gives you a better idea of how much or how little you have to do, and lets face it, nothing is more rewarding than checking off those little boxes or bullets.