Some day, in the years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now… Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process.

–Phillips Brooks

The Value of Conflict

Alice and George were very good at conflict. They saw it as thinking.

Margaret Heffernan presents the interesting case here on the value of conflict. Too often today is conflict seen as a bad thing. In her TED talk below, Heffernan illustrates what conflict can bring to the table (sometimes uniquely).

I agree that society needs to learn better how to handle, tolerate, and engage in arguments. Afterall, learning is simply the understanding of something that previously went against you.

Imagine Day

Recently, the Ubyssey published an article essentially questioning the value of UBC’s orientation activities. I’ve already partially had my say on this topic before, but I’m intrigued that it has come up again.

In my experience, participating in Imagine Day was neither particularly educational nor enjoyable. MUG groups were too large for us to explore campus in the detail that would have been useful for orienting our schedules. Games catered to the handful of students who have issues turning off enthusiasm. The pep rally was a slight exaggeration of how crowded UBC streets are between classes. Clubs never e-mailed new members back with meeting details. Lunch was simply mediocre. Essentially, I walked away from Imagine Day with two things: a headache (it was crazy loud), and an introduction to one person whom I still talk to occasionally.

As a MUG leader, my experience did not change greatly. It seems most of my group was decently versed about campus already, and the parts they weren’t well versed in we didn’t have time to explore in much depth. Lunch was again, mediocre. I think the only two times I recall my group smiling and feeling not awkward about how UBC had miraculously turned into a petting zoo for the day were when we stopped to play mafia for a while before the pep rally, and in the first few minutes of the pep rally when the Zerg hordes were still exciting and faculties were showing their spirit (or at least trying to; there were many laughs at failed attempts to show spirit).

For a better solution, perhaps it would be best to allow students the day to explore their schedules on their own. Have guides in recognizable outfits spread around campus to direct them where they need to go. Allowing students to experience their schedule as their own schedule would be worthwhile. I think it would make more sense for many students instead of “This building is over there. I know this is two classes later, but if you walk down that road over there and take a left, you’ll see that building on your right.”

With regards to getting students more comfortable on campus, perhaps we should leave it to the students to do what they do best. That is, perhaps a day where clubs had their regular club activities, allowing first years (and transfer students) to join them on a trial run and on a drop in basis would be worth it. This way, instead of “Hi, I’m Bob. I am a first year student. I swim in my spare time.”, “Hi Bob, I’m Joe. I’m a transfer student. I knit and do archery in my spare time.”, “Hi Joe, my name is Avril. I am a first year Arts student who enjoys snowboarding and playing mafia.”, students could go where they’re most comfortable and meet people there. After all, it is likely that those are the people they will be bonding most closely with. (For students who don’t know where to go, there are other clubs that could provide activities for them to meet new people, such as UBC Rec, the UBC Mafia Club, residence associations, SPAC, etc)

As for school spirit, why create it artificially via the pep rally? Why not foster a sense of comfort and community within the students and allow true school spirit to emerge from there?

These are just my thoughts and my experiences with Imagine Day (and the other orientations events) on campus. What are your thoughts on orientations?

On Positive Psychology

Thanks to Khanh for sharing this TED talk with me. An interesting talk on how positive psychology can affect your happiness, productivity, successes, etc. I think, perhaps, that two of the people I know who I have seen do this best are fellow bloggers Lillienne and Eastwood.

Here, Shawn Anchor claims that 21 days of repeating each of the following activities can help your brain adapt to positive psychology. I shall be giving this a try. We’ll see how it goes:

  • List three new things that you are grateful for
  • Journal a recent positive experience
  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Participate in random acts of kindness

Science: What Is It Up To?

This answered all my questions about what all those damn scientists are up to…

…I can’t believe I’ve been so easily influenced by them!

EDIT: This video was removed, by chance, right after I posted it. Too bad. If you can, check out “Daily Show: Republican Strategist telling us why science is bad”