Archive | May 2014

if you can spare the time

What is time?  It’s an easy concept to understand but how do you actually describe it?  Time is a man-made idea.  But it cannot be manufactured.  It’s a mythical unit of measurement that controls every aspect of our lives, whether we know it or not.  Imagine how much you’ve missed out on in life because of the most annoying excuse “I don’t have time.”  Time dictates when we eat, when we sleep, when we do just about anything.

Time is currency.

It’s the most valuable currency we have and it’s non-transferable.  If you had all the time in the world, you could do just about anything.  Time allows you to accomplish your goals, heal from your wounds (both physical and mental), and create relationships.  The thing is, even if you lived until 147, you still wouldn’t have enough time for everything you wanted to do.  But how? 147 years is a long time and most people would probably look back and think they did pretty well.  Unfortunately, it’s not always about the length of time you have that determines how well you spent your time.

On any given day just try to list everything you would need to do and want to do.  Obviously you aren’t going to be able to do all of those things, no matter how badly you want to.  You just don’t have enough time.  Anything you want to do, limits you from doing something else you want to do.  You see, time is a day-by-day currency.  Every day you are allotted 24 hours to satisfy your needs and fulfill your wants.  Nothing will ever change that number.  No human invention will increase the length of a day.  One might increase the human lifespan to 147 years but what you wanted to do at age 24 might be difficult to accomplish at age 129.

All I’m trying to say is your time is limited, no matter how hard you attempt to believe otherwise.  Spend it wisely, on things that matter to you.  Spend less time laying down, scrolling through Vine and spend more creating memories that you wish you had at age 147.  And to whoever has spent their time reading this post, I hope it wasn’t a waste.

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what i learned in school (not calculus-based)

We made it.

Today was the last day of school for me; senior year has finally come to an end.  I learned so much in the past four years.  I’ll rarely use many of these things such as finding the volume of a shape revolved around the x-axis or determining the force acting upon a high speed electron in a magnetic field.  But I did learn an incredible amount of things that I will use for the rest of my life, and almost none regard academics.

Don’t do what makes others happy, do what makes you happy. Unless of course what makes you happy, also makes others happy.  But that is often not the case.  People are difficult, and some are extremely manipulative.  They want you to do whatever is going to benefit them the most.  For a lot of decisions in life you are going to want feedback from others, but there are some decisions that just require you to actually listen to your gut.  Sometimes it’s the only thing that knows what’s best for you.

Let others have their moment, even when you wish it was yours.  My biggest pet peeve throughout school was when somebody lost some kind of competition, and refused to be happy for the person that won simply because they were bitter that they had lost.  It’s okay to be a little disappointed, but celebrate for someone else.  A simple “congratulations” or “great job” really does mean a lot to someone, and shows incredible integrity and character.

Not all friendships last.  As we grow up, we make an incredible number of relationships with all sorts of people.  We also forget about many of these, or they simple fade away and that person becomes a stranger again.  It’s up to you to determine how strong and long-lasting you want a friendship to be.  Don’t expect it to just always be there.

Enjoy the little things.  Cliché? Absolutely.  But hey, this is one of the greatest habits to have.  You get to appreciate life so much more if appreciate all the small things that happen.  These things include: when Pandora is on point, favors by a friend, a beautiful day after a stormy one, finding money you didn’t know you had, or just by making somebody genuinely laugh or be happy.

Life is all about perspective.  When you are having a horrible day, find a reason to smile.  When you feel like you don’t know anything, focus on what you do know.  You can either dwell on the situation you’re in, or you can accept it and move on and be happy.  Either way, you’ll still be in that situation.

These are things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  They help me maintain my optimistic lifestyle, and allow me to be a source of positive energy for others.  To the educational system that guided me to these things, thank you.

the collegiate transition: bitter or sweet?

The only thing that people have been talking about during the entire month of May is college.  People want to know where you’re going.  People want to know what you’re majoring in.  People want to know when your graduation party is so they can visit and tell you how much they’ll miss you.  You eventually develop an automated answer to all of these questions, and display no emotion whatsoever while reciting them.  But deep down, this is an emotional time.  After high school, you may not see any of the countless idiots from your class ever again.  You’ll never be forced to set foot in that wretched place they call a school ever again.  You get to move on, start fresh.  OR, you may lose touch with the people you were closest with.  You may never walk through the halls of the building that you had so much pride for.  You have to leave everything behind, start over.  It’s a matter of perspective.  Some people are dying to leave and some are wishing time hadn’t gone by so fast.  But how are you supposed to feel?

Don’t spend to much time worrying about what’s going to happen in three months.  No matter how much you fantasize how incredible college is going to be, time won’t move any faster.  And don’t be too upset that high school is over, either.  You probably made some unforgettable memories, and no matter how much time passes those memories will still be there for you to go back to.  My best advice for a recent graduate: Enjoy one of the last summers you could ever have with the people you love.

Seriously though, has it hit anyone yet that we don’t get summers off for the rest of our life?  I’m going to be an engineer and I am fully aware that this is my second-to-last summer ever.  I don’t care about college right now, and I’ll miss high school, but I’m done with it.  I’m going to spend this summer doing everything I haven’t had the chance to do yet in my life.  I’m going to hang out with as many people as I can, and I’m going to be with my closest friends as much as possible.  I’m going to ensure that when I’m 50 years old I can look back and say I did everything I could before my professional life started.  Nothing will be taken for granted.

This summer is about you.  It’s a giant goodbye and you get to dictate how sincere it is.  The countdown to adulthood is almost up and your time is more valuable than ever.  Cherish every second.

a digital plague: the world’s worst addiction

If you concluded from the title of this post and the picture above that the digital plague I am referring to is the latest Trojan virus created by some lunatic with nothing better to do, you would be wrong.  Today’s generation of kids has fallen into a dark void.  This “void” is the pixelated surface on the latest iPhone, or the brand new Galaxy, or any other smartphone.  Not many kids can willingly go an hour without checking their phone, and many adults are starting to develop this habit as well.  Do we want to be a society whose eyes are glued to a screen all the time?  Do we want to be a society that is so distracted that it can’t look up and relish reality?  Smartphones are incredible pieces of technology that prove over and over again to be useful in a million different ways; but the most widely used applications on these devices are the most mind-numbing.  Social media is the single best way to connect with people and share information, and it is also the most effective way to waste your life away.

The worst part is that people don’t even realize it’s happening.

The last thing most people do before they fall asleep is check Twitter.  It could be 3 in the morning and some people still frantically pull their screen down to refresh their feed.  Then finally, a tweet pops up and is either a complaint about how they are up so late at night or how the next day is going to be rough due to sleep deprivation, and naturally the reader automatically discards the information and continues to attempt to refresh the page.  Eventually the reader gets tired of waiting and goes to bed, or falls asleep trying.  The best part is that first thing in the morning, that person will start back right where they left off and try to catch up on all the “why am I up so late?” tweets.

If this is you don’t worry, you aren’t alone.  84% of smartphone users check their phone first thing in the morning, and 40% of those people choose a social media site over anything else.

Have you ever been with your best friends who you can talk to anything about and realized you are all sitting in complete silence, just monitoring your phone?  It is absolutely pathetic.  Social media was made to promote communication but instead is doing exactly the opposite.  It creates social barriers that hinder the development of key communication skills.  We all know someone who is a social butterfly online and has 1000’s of friends or followers but couldn’t complete one sentence to you in person if they had a week to develop one.

Speaking of followers: In the course of your life, will the number of followers you have on Twitter really ever benefit you? What about retweets or favorites?  These are the most coveted superlatives on the site and people actually feel a sense of accomplishment for getting high counts of them.  If kids spent half the time they spend tweeting doing something more productive, let’s say studying for a test or practicing their favorite sport, they could accomplish so much more.  But instead there are people bragging about some false sense of popularity created by interactions on Twitter.

I’d like to say that I’m not one of the affected.  But here I am, writing an entry all about bashing social media… hosted by a social media site… that I will advertise on my Twitter…  I’m not saying that Twitter is the devil (although the title of this post was almost that exactly).  Twitter is a great way to connect with friends and stay in the loop of the latest news that you care about.  But it’s a powerfully addictive tool, and needs to be budgeted.  So when you’re about to reach into your pocket to check your phone, don’t.  You probably didn’t miss much in the past five minutes.