This project wasn't the easiest one I've had so far. In fact, it might've been the most frustrating. Throughout the whole duration of the survey period, I received many responses that almost made me lose faith in the entire school population. I've received responses that varied from "Why does this matter?" to "I don't care" and it made me think about how much students care about school or if they even have empathy. This project made me realize not only how much school can affect stress levels but how it affects a student's response to things. Is it because of school that students lack empathy? Do students not take school as serious as they should because of fear of failure or is it just because of apathy?
Results weren't as clear as expected.... BUT from the information I did receive, I was able to find some interesting results.
After LOTS of graphing and a whole bunch of math, the data showed that the scores were pretty evenly distributed. Meaning that school didn't seem to have a very large impact on their home, school, and "work" life. That's not to say that school doesn't affect of any those, but the level of stress each student has just depends on how they're able to handle it.
A vast majority whot took the survery were either in at least ONE honors class or ONE AP class, so that could have possibly skewed the data right. In simpler terms, since those students are in more rigorous courses, their scores have a higher probability of being higher than a student who doesn't.
Overall, this survery wasn't a major success due to many outliers like student responses, but those who did provide a appropiate answer showed just how much school affects their stress levels.
*please note that this isn't a direct correlation, this only shows that school could possibly have an affect
With the beginning of a new school year, I was assigned yet another project by Mr. Shreffler (thanks, Mr. Shreffler).This time I decided to go a bit different from the average school project. I wanted to see how school affects students' stress levels. Obviously school isn't the only factor to a student's stress, there will be other factors such as home life, social life, etc. But with this project, I wanted to see how much school adds on to that stress.
The school year is finally over and now I have three more years of high school to look forward to. Freshman year is supposed to be the year where you "discover" yourself, make new friends, find out who you are. And in a sense, I think I did find out who I really am and I found what I'm passionate about.
I started this year fully prepared to just get it over with. I hated everyone in my classes and was always easily agitated (you can ask Mr. Shreffler this). I never spoke out in class and usually kept to myself. But as the year progressed, I slowly came out of my shell, I ventured out more, I made new friends, and I had this newfound confidence in myself.
But the turning point in the year was when this project was given to us. This project made me think about who I am, it drove me to introspection, and it made me realize what really mattered to me. I can't thank Mr. Shreffler enough for assigning us this project because without it, I wouldn't be a changed person. I'd still be that same girl who didn't care about the things surrounding her. This project is by far the most exciting thing I've done in all my years of being in school and I'm incredibly glad that I took it and became excited about it.
To anyone who reads this,
Be excited for what lies ahead of you and grab life by the reins and be excited for whatever's ahead for you; you are in control of your life, no one else can dictate it, so live it to the fullest.
And lastly, I know it's not teacher appreciation week anymore (but let's be honest, you should always appreciate your teachers), I want to thank Mr. Shreffler for doing everything he does. He always says that he doesn't care, but I know somewhere deep inside his tiny heart that he cares about each of his students and although he'll joke around about disliking us, he truly cares. Thank you, Mr. Shreffler, for doing what you do, for assigning us this project, for making me want to succeed, and for allowing me to discover what I'm truly passionate about.
Below is my presentation in case any of you were wondering how it turned out.
For my reflection this week, I did it on Brené Brown's Talk "The Power of Vulnerability." She dives into the world of human emotion and explains how vulnerability affects us.
Brown started off as a social worker, and during that time, she realized that connection is the reason why we're all here. It gives us purpose and meaning to our loves. And so, she goes on and conducts a research study to understand this connection we have. But she ran into a problem that completely unraveled this connection we had. It was shame. It's easily understood as the the fear of disconnection, and as you can see, it's kind of problem for her research now.
Shame is a powerful emotion that we've all felt at some point. It's the feeling of "I'm not good enough." It's "I'm not blank enough," or "I'm not rich enough, smart enough, thin enough, beautiful enough, strong enough." It is everything we aren't enough of and the thing that causes all this vulnerability. And while Brown was still conducting her research she realized that the people who had a connection, who had courage and bravery, they all had something in common. They all fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful and they believed vulnerability was necessary. And Brown finally realized that we numb vulnerability; we live in a vulnerable world and one of the ways we deal with it is by numbing vulnerability. Humans don't selectively numb feelings. So when you're given shame, guilt, anger, sadness, and disappointment, you can numb it by eating your life away, or drinking your life away. But you can't numb those feelings, those emotions without numbing all the other emotions you have. We end up numbing joy, happiness, gratitude, and then we become miserable human beings with just a shell and we try to find a purpose or meaning of life and we become vulnerable.
One of the most interesting points I think Brown makes is that, we try to perfect our children. Every child is hardwired for struggle when they are brought into this world, But when you raise a child, you try to erase that from them, you want them to be perfect. Your job is not to say, "Look at them, they're perfect. My job is to keep them perfect, so that means they have to make the team, they have to make straight A's, they have to be accepted into an Ivy League school by the time middle school has ended." Your job is to show them that they're imperfect beings, but they're worthy of being loved and accepted. Brown ends her Talk with this, "Let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee."
This was one of the most interesting Talks I've watched, it really made me think about how I think about myself and others. From this talk, I learned to stop thinking about all the consequences involved with feeling whatever emotion I'm feeling. Because when I finally stop and say to myself, "I'm grateful for feeling this way," I feel vulnerable and alive and it's perfectly okay to feel that way. The day we start telling ourselves that we are enough instead of we aren't enough, is the day that we will stop belittling and screaming at ourselves and finally listen to ourselves. Not only will we be kinder and gentler to the people around us, but we'll be kinder and gentler to ourselves.
Brené Brown's Talk is truly inspirational and I'd recommend it to anyone. This is one of the few things that when you watch it, it'll change your life.
This week, I decided to do my reflection once again on religion. Religion is always a controversial topic, but it's fascinating to see how different people (believers and non-believers) act especially on this Talk.
You're typically stuck between being A: a believer or B: a non-believer/atheist/agnostic. Lots of atheists, in fact many of them would argue that believing in God is like believing in fairies or the supernatural, and essentially, the whole thing is rather childish. Believers would argue that you need religion for a sense of morality, to have salvation, to do good. Boton says it's too easy for non-believers to dismiss religion like that, so instead, he introduces a new version of atheism, Atheism 2.0. The very basic premise of this "new" atheism is that of course there's no God. And of course there aren't any deities or supernatural beings. But that's only the very beginning, you're barely scratching the surface.
But before he goes any further, he explores the thought behind the "people who are attracted to the ritualistic, the moralistic, communal side of religion, but can't bear the doctrine." And he says that until now, those people have faced the choice of accepting the doctrine and having the "nice stuff" or rejecting the doctrine and living in a "spiritual wasteland." And it's a tough choice that many non-believers and believers alike don't like to make, but Boton says we don't have to make that choice. He continues on and says that there's nothing wrong with picking, mixing, and taking out the best sides of religion, and for him, that's what Atheism 2.0 is about. The secular (non-religious) world isn't perfect, there are many holes and faults in it. And by having a thorough study on religion(s), it could provide us insight on the areas of life that aren't going too well; it could fill in the holes and gaps in our secular world.
One of the points that Boton brought up that I thought was interesting was the difference between a sermon and lecture. A sermon was (and still is) the non-secular/religious way of delivering information, and the lecture is of course, our own secular version. And Boton says the only difference between the two is that a sermon wants to change your life and a lecture wants to give you a bit of information. So Boton goes on and tells the audience how religion can affect different aspects or fields of life like education, art, business, and even how we speak.
So finally, Boton ends with this, "There is something to learn from the example of religion. Even if you don't believe in it." Religion is not something that we can just dissect a layer of and learn everything about it. It's been built upon layers and layers of different cultures and views and it's far more complicated than it seems. This makes me think about what aspects of the "atheist world" should believers adopt and vice versa. And like Boton says, "Religions are so subtle, so complicated, so intelligent in many ways that they're not fit to be abandoned to the religious alone; they're for all of us."
This Talk is by far one of the best ones I watched so far and ties with "The Power of Introverts" for the best Talk. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's interested in learning about the different aspects of religion and what people believe in.
In Appiah's talk, he gives us the claim that the debates about whether or not religion is good or bad are preposterous because "there is no such thing as religion." He continues with, "There isn't a thing called religion, so it can't be good or bad. It can't even be indifferent."
He starts us off with a "natural" definition of what religion means; "involves belief in gods or spiritual beings." It's a pretty common definition, you'll find it dictionaries, and almost everyone you ask will probably say something along the lines of that. Religion to me is such a controversial topic, but there are so many different views on it. I myself am agnostic, so I don't have much input on it. But with this talk, Appiah offered such an interesting view. He begins with a story from the novel by Paul Beatty called "Tuff." It has a man who speaks to rabbi, but that rabbi says he doesn't believe in God. And you, like many others are probably wondering how can a man be a rabbi if he doesn't believe in God. When the rabbi is asked that question, he says, "It's what's so great about being Jewish. You don't have to believe in a God per se, just in being Jewish." Appiah then starts with another story about one of his friends who happens to be Hindu. His friend as a child wanted to talk to his grandfather about religion. But he was told he was too young and to come back when he’s older. Now a teenager, he asks again, but this time he says he doesn't believe in the gods. So his grandfather says, “Oh, so you belong to the atheist branch of the Hindu tradition.” And finally, he talks about Dalai Lama, who says that he’s one of the world’s leading atheists. Which is true by Appiah’s words because Lama’s religion doesn't involve belief in God.
With those stories he told us, you can see that they go against the definition Appiah originally gave us, and you'd think that he should give us a new definition that fits in with atheistic Buddhism, atheistic Judaism, etc. But he disagrees with that because he doesn't think that's how our concept of religion works. He goes on and says he thinks our concept of religion works like this: we have a list of paradigm religions and their sub-parts. But then we start to question why we have this list and he answers with European travelers. European travels come from Christian culture. Christianity is an extremely "creedal religion" and the internal history of it is "largely the history of people killing each other because they believed the wrong thing." Now there were other things such as the Crusades (when Christians tried to reclaim Jerusalem, it didn't really work out). But then there were also wars against people who didn't believe in the same religion as they (Christians) did.
Appiah then spends a portion of his Talk speaking about the distinction between science and religion and whether it has happened or not. He says, "This great separation, in other words, between religion and science hasn't happened." I for one, believed it has happened because you can have let's say a scientist who's a creationist and a scientist who's an atheist, but they're working together. There's no difference between them other than the fact that the creationist will interpret information differently than the scientist who's an atheist.
And so finally, Appiah ends his talk with this: the next time someone makes a generalization about religion, consider the fact there maybe isn't such a thing as religion and because there's no such thing as religion, what they say cannot possibly be true.
This talk was by far one of the most confusing and least favorite Talk I've watched. It was complex because of all the things I had to think about and I thought the title was quite misleading because Appiah didn't seem to focus on the question at hand at all (in my opinion, anyway), it just made it more confusing for me. It was certainly "interesting" after I finally understood it, but that doesn't mean I necessarily agreed with Appiah. Me being agnostic, I just don't believe in God or a god. Agnostics in simpler terms claim that the existence of a divinity or a god is unknowable. That doesn't mean though that I will go as far as saying that your religious deity doesn't exist and therefore, erasing religion completely. Honestly, I didn't like how Appiah said that a religion doesn't exist just because there exists an atheist part of a religion. To me, it doesn't seem right to make a claim such as that based on the accounts of three people and disregarding everyone else who is religious. This isn't one of my favorite Talks and I wouldn't recommend it.
I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all the teachers out there (including mine), for working so hard throughout the entire year and constantly pushing us to do better. I know that without you guys, I wouldn't be the same person or student I am today. And I know that sometimes (all the time) we'll get on your nerves, but yet you still push us to do better because you care about our education. Thank you for instilling us with knowledge that I otherwise wouldn't learn anywhere else. But most of all, thank you for being such phenomenal teachers and getting us to where we are today.
In her talk, Susan Cain tells us about “the power of introverts.” She talks about how introverts commonly react to certain situations and why society as whole needs introverts for creativity.
Cain starts off by telling us that as a whole, society, our neighbors, our colleagues, and our communities are at a loss because we aren't allowing introverts to do what they do best. She mentions that when it comes to creativity and leadership, we need introverts to do what they do best. She furthers her point by saying that many places such as classrooms and/or workplaces are mostly designed for people who require a lot of stimulation (AKA extroverts). When you need stimulation, you need to see something or do something physically to fully comprehend a topic. The difference between an extrovert and an introvert is that extroverts are most energized around people; they crave attention. An introvert is quite the opposite. Introverts generally keep to themselves and shyness is often associated with them. Cain mentions that culturally, we need a balance between introverts and extroverts. She also says that it’s especially important when it comes to creativity and productivity. I think the most interesting thing she says is that social skills are important and that we shouldn't abolish teamwork. She continues on and says, “the more freedom we give introverts to be themselves, the more likely that they are to come up with their own unique solutions to these problems.”
However, I think the most important part of her talk was when she tells us the three calls for action for those who share her vision of change on the attitudes towards introversion. The three calls were one: Stop the madness for constant group work. Two: Go to the wilderness. Not in a sense of going off into the wild and never having human interaction again, but rather having your own revelations and to just get inside our own heads. Three: Take a good luck at what’s inside your own suitcase and why you put it there. Cain’s third call was somewhat confusing, but I took it in a metaphorical sense (but it could be taken literally, too.) Relating to her third call, she says to open up your suitcases for others to see because the world needs you and it needs the things you carry. What I took from that was that that we need to open ourselves (introverts) up more to people and let them see our potential and what we can offer to the world.
Susan Cain’s talk was really somewhat empowering to me in a way. It was like that little boost I needed to hear to know that we (introverts) do matter, and we have so much to offer. I agreed with every aspect of her talk from schools and workplaces being centered around extroverts to having a balance between introversion and extroversion. Did this talk influence my answer to the question “What Matters To Me?” I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m not exactly sure if it caused this giant revelation of what matters to me, but it has definitely made me more interested in societal problems and psychology.