I failed my computer science exam last week. For a couple of hours after the exam, I was feeling hopeless. How am I going to major in computer science if I can’t even pass this exam? How am I going to get a job? I usually get A’s on my exams and I was kicking myself for not studying more.
The day before the exam, I didn’t study at all. Instead, I went to a Lindsey Stirling concert and then later went to celebrate Obama’s victory over Romney.
And you know what? After those few hours were over, I don’t regret it at all. I would still go to the concert and then go celebrate Obama’s victory. I don’t know if I’ll ever see Lindsey Stirling live again and she was amazing. I definitely won’t ever see Obama take office again.
I used to really oppose affirmative action. Whenever the topic would come up in conversation, I’d always strongly argue against it. It’s an unfair policy. Why should students be penalized or rewarded for having a certain ethnicity in college admissions? That’s out of our control. Last year, I even took a survey in which I voted that I was against affirmative action.
But after spending a year and a half in college, my stance has changed. I’d like to take that vote back. Berkeley doesn’t have an affirmative action policy, so I see first hand what it’s like to not have one. And what I see is this: the lack of diversity throughout the campus is detrimental to student learning. Continue reading
Going through schooling, we’re preached the importance of having good grades. We’re told that if we get good grades, then we’ll be set for life. We’ll get into college. We’ll get into grad school. We’ll get a good job, have a family, live a good life, and live happily ever after. So we follow this mindset. We sacrifice sleep, our health, our mental stability just to earn an A. It’s okay to suffer now in order to get good grades because we set ourselves up for success later.
But this way of thinking is backwards. We don’t need to suffer now. We can live happily, get good grades, and let our happiness lead us to finding success. And we don’t even need good grades. Just live happily and let our happiness lead us to finding success. Steve Jobs had a 2.65 GPA in high school and dropped out of college. Colin Powell barely graduated high school while Richard Branson didn’t even make it through high school. Malcolm Gladwell couldn’t get into graduate school because his undergrad grades were so poor. Continue reading
College admissions is hyped up as one of the most stressful times of your life. For most people, it’s the first big application that they’ve done. There are no guarantees. This isn’t applying for your high school honor society, this is something more. If you don’t get in to a school you want, you see yourself as a failure.
And that’s the way most people view the college admissions process: they view it in a negative light. People don’t think about how much they can accomplish if they get into MIT. They think about how much they’ve failed if they don’t. Too many people see college admission as “happiness on the other side”; if you get into the school you want, then you’ll be happy. People are motivated by failure.
Let’s change this way of thinking. Why not be motivated to have success — why not be happy first? We know that if you’re happier, then you’re more creative, you have more energy, you can think better. So shift your mode of thinking — don’t put happiness after being admitted. Be happy now and let it lead you to being admitted. And if you’re not happy, just forget about the negative thoughts. Think positively. If you want to be happy, then you can be happy. Continue reading
In english class, we’re taught to recognize motifs, literary devices, and analyze characters. But we’re not taught how to write. Schools believe that we’ll learn how to write by diffusion: read and write without instruction, and we’ll know how to write. But it doesn’t work. High schoolers suck at writing.
High schoolers suck at writing because our schools fail them. Starting from elementary school and through high school, english classes just aren’t providing the necessary teaching for kids to become good writers. Here are a couple things teachers can do in the classroom to improve writing: Continue reading
I’m taking a class called the Psychology of Creativity. I’ve only had four or five classes, so I don’t know how interesting the class will turn out to be. So far, it’s been okay. We’re learning more about the influence of the majority and conformity than creativity, but it’s been engaging.
Before going to recitation last week, we were supposed to read two articles on how the majority affected the minority — part of the reading cited the Asch study. I found the reading to be really interesting; why do people in the minority allow the majority to have so much influence on them? In the Asch studies, did the people who conformed to the confederates just not have any confidence? I was excited for recitation; I wanted to discuss these, and other, questions in more depth. Continue reading
Sometime between elementary school and college, many people lose their will to learn. Kids enter kindergarten having boundless energy. They’re enthusiastic, curious — there’s never a day when a kid doesn’t want to go to school. But as these kids grow older, and especially in high school, the enthusiasm fades, curiosity fades — they’d rather stay home than go to school.
Worst of all, kids start to lose sight of the value of learning. We’re all born with innate curiosity, but schools quash that curious nature from us. Instead of allowing us to explore, we’re told what to learn. Even when we find something that really grabs us, schools seem to try to do their best to destroy that passion. There’s no room for creativity; schools try to mold every kid the same way, try to make kids the output of an assembly line. The emphasis is on memorization instead of problem solving, following rules and orders instead of creative thinking. Continue reading