I've recently started thinking about how my brain works. Not how the neurons and other brain matter works, because I have no idea about any of that. Rather, I've been thinking about how I think about things. Thinkception, you could say. I'm in an Educational Psychology class that has presented a few ways people think we develop and learn, and I find it quite fascinating. It got me to examine my actions and thoughts as I'm sitting in a classroom or elsewhere. And turns out, I'm a noisy learner.
Seriously, I just cannot sit still. I learn pretty well from lectures while taking notes, and I think my body is just letting everyone else know that my mind is absorbing away. Usually, this comes in the form of leg tapping, pencil spinning, etc. I get in some pretty weird poses, too, if I'm not sitting at an uncomfortable desk. This carries over to really any time I don't have anything to do with myself, i.e. standing at work or waiting for someone in my car.
This restlessness also applies to my mind when motivation is lacking. Specifically, when an assignment is first given, I just can't get myself to buckle down and do it. Instead, I wait until the night before it's due, literally, and do it then. When I'm motivated, I can go through most assignments pretty quickly, but I struggle to find the motivation. It rarely has staying power, too, especially when I have easy access to the internet, like when I'm typing a paper. So I find myself working in 5 to 10 minute chunks on papers. Which is not conducive to linear thinking or writing.
Speaking of linear thinking, I've found myself unable to fully focus on a topic for extended periods of time without some serious effort. Even in the middle of a conversation, I start thinking about something entirely unrelated and start talking about that, often forgetting to go back to the original topic. Or I forget the original topic after going on a tangent and can't pick up the conversation where I wandered off. So who's got some advice for staying on task or getting motivation early in an assignment?
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Why do I call myself a runner? I've always thought of myself as fairly athletic, but I never played a sport with an organized team, even though I'm always willing for a pickup game of anything. This past spring, however, I realized that maybe I wasn't as able as I thought I was. Every year my company has a basketball tournament among the locations in my city, and I was winded after just a few runs up and down the court. This inspired me to be more active.
I've flirted with running before, usually about the same time of the year, but it never stuck. I would run every day for maybe a week before deciding that it was too tiring. This year didn't start any differently. Around this time, my parents started exercising regularly, even going so far as to sign up for a 10k in September, 6 months away. I followed their lead, paid the fee, and started to run a few times a week. The shoes I used were used once a year, for a week or so, each time I got inspired to run. They cost about twenty bucks at a Wal-Mart. My parents got serious about it pretty quickly, going to the local running company and getting a gait analysis and shoes that fit their profile.
Then I found a cross-country 5k that Mum and I signed up for. This prompted me to make a trip to the running store and spend a little money for a better pair of shoes. Then I printed out a training schedule from their website and started following the schedule. The first race was...interesting. It was through fields and woods, after a good deal of rain, so it was pretty messy. There were probably around 130 runners, and half as many spectators. I didn't break any records or even place in the top 80, but I finished, and it whetted my appetite for more.
I ran 5 or 6 days a week through the summer, only interrupted by a road trip for conventions. Then the 10k was suddenly upon me. I followed the running store's schedule almost to the letter, so I felt ready. I got up at 5:20 am, and I was wired. I was bouncing (literally) until my race started at 9. I watched my parents and a family friend finish the four-mile event, and still had an hour of bouncing to go until I got to start.
The cannon blast to start the race was pretty cool. The starting corral was noisy, with lots of people and music, but as soon as I got a hundred feet away, I felt my nervous feeling dissipate. All I could hear was the pounding of feet on pavement and my breathing. This was why I was running, not for accolades or a finisher's medal. I fell into my rhythm, and I felt fantastic. I negative split each mile, and didn't feel fatigued at all as I booked it into the stadium finish line. The crowds were phenomenal, cheering on all the runners, and the atmosphere was charged every time I came upon a group of volunteers. I ended up 13th overall, quite an improvement over my first race performance.
All this, however, is not why I call myself a runner. It's just the story of how I discovered my love for running. I run because I feel good. It's my mind and willpower syncing with my body to push me to my limit. I run because it clears my mind, snaps me out of any funk. I run to leave homework and stress behind, to figure everything out. Might sound cheesy, but I run to have me time. Why do you do what you love?
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I am halfway through a four-year degree titled something along the lines of "mathematics, with a teaching certificate". To explain all that, I first need to explain my college. I go to IPFW, which stands for I Paid For What? Except it's really Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne. IU and PU are two major universities of Indiana, and it's a satellite campus for both of them. Purdue is giving me the mathematics part of my degree, and IU is providing the education courses. The idea is for me to be a math teacher for grades 6-12 by the end of my four years there.
I don't know if ya'll have noticed, but there is some...upheaval in the education realm these days. I view teaching as a career that focuses on, you know, teaching. However, most education is provided by public tax dollars, making teaching quite a bit more political. I understand that politics are a necessary evil, but it can be pretty frustrating sometimes. So a legitimate question would be why do I want to teach?
I took an interesting route to come to the decision that I want to teach. I left high school a semester early at the age of 17, and went straight to IPFW, thinking that I'd do well as a computer scientist. I've always had an interest in computers and how they work, so I thought this interest would sustain me through a degree and career. Three and a half semesters later, a culmination of a few things made me realize that computer science isn't for me.
As the courses got to the higher numbers, the information became more detailed and, in my mind, tedious. While I have a great respect for those who stick with it, this made me lose interest in the content being taught. Second, all but one of the computer science professors I had taught in some fairly difficult accents. I have nothing against foreign professors, especially if they are the best and the brightest, but I found it very difficult to learn the content when I had to spend so much attention deciphering what was being said. Third, I put myself in the shoes of future Sam the computer scientist, and didn't like what I saw. I did not want to be tied down behind a desk for the rest of my working years. Again, I have nothing against those who work desk jobs, it just isn't for me.
Alright, so computer science isn't for me. Why teaching then? Once again, it was a mixture of reasons. My sister, Blondie, is also an aspiring math teacher, and my uncle has been a math teacher for ten years now. They were, and still are, my inspirations. I also had the privilege of helping Blondie through calculus. I very much enjoyed watching the light go on when she understood something because I explained it. I figured that teaching would be a far more fulfilling career than any desk job. Besides, if a bunch of adolescents and young adults couldn't keep life interesting, who could?
As for the math, well, math just makes sense. There's no subjectivity, no English teacher to judge your writing based more or less on their opinion. And I always like math more than other subjects throughout my career as a student. So here I am, a math teacher-to-be from IPFW. I get to spend two mornings a week at my middle school, observing my former eighth grade teacher. And those are the two mornings I look forward to, even though it cuts into my sleep-in time. So I must be doing something right!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
So this blog thing is something I've tried a couple times before. First was back in the xanga days, when I wrote about my 12-year-old life and how my sisters were apparently my enemies. Now I'm 20 and I know my sisters are pretty awesome, so this blog should be mature, for the most part. Then I tried again about a year ago, but I ran out of time and inspiration. I'm hoping this time will stick.
Speaking of activities that I hope will stick, part of the reason I think this blogging thing will work out is because I've been running since mid March. I just ran my first big road race this past Saturday, so I feel like I can call myself a runner, so why not a blogger?
But I digress. I'm not very good at talking about myself and all that touchy feely stuff. This is my attempt to loosen up a bit in that regard. You'll notice the title of this blog is SRC IRL. The SRC are my initials, and the IRL stands for in real life. Clever, right? So this will be just a little bit of my opinion about things I've noticed or concerned about. I hope that any readers who agree or disagree will feel free to chime in. Civility and g-rated language is a requirement though.
I reckon I oughta say a little bit about how I define myself, so ya'll can understand where I'm coming from. I've moved around for most of my life, although I've been settled in my current location for 8 years now. I am a pre-service teacher at IPFW, shooting to be a math teacher by Fall of 2012. I work at a carwash, where I wear a shirt and tie and try to keep people happy by cleaning the outside of their car. Running is a highlight of every day that I do it. I also enjoy tennis. I'm the college-aged guy who lives in his parents' basement. My little brother, Squinky, is the comic relief of my home life, and my two older sisters, Blondie and Boston are the primary advice-givers for life and such, because they're older than me. I try to fill the same role for Squinky.
Whew. If you've made it this far, congrats! Any questions? Good. Join me next time while I discuss teaching.