Archive for November, 2007

If there is one thing that I have begun to hate as almost a singular and irritating source of frustration it is perfectionism. Specifically perfectionism related to college assignments. The strive to have no errors in school related coursework is not only unrealistic when taking into account the complexity of most college level work, but it is a significant inefficiency when learning material.

A recent writeup from lifehack.org explains this idea better than anywhere I’ve found when stating,

By optimizing instead of attempting perfection, I’ve managed to maintain a grade hovering between an A and A+.

How Optimizing Works

The traditional studying approach is to learn everything perfectly and with equal force. I believe this approach will only lead to a nervous breakdown.

An optimizing approach says that learning everything perfectly is impossible. However, by investing more time on critical details and less time on unimportant ones you can get a better grade with less time invested.

And this strategy holds true for me as well. I end up studying less than my classmates but usually maintain the same grade level as the upper 10-20% of the class. By identifying the important information by outlining what will be on the test and then drilling down and learning that material, not just memorizing, is sufficient for about 95% of most courses and most exams. And 95% is a solid A.

Perfectionism has some serious psychological effects as well according to the Creative Type,

 Perfectionism is often seen as a good thing in our culture, and it’s important to note that it is not inherently bad. Perfectionists work hard and are generally high achievers. However, there is a fine line between being a high achiever and an overachiever.

Dr. Modupe Akin-Deko, senior psychologist at Buffalo State College’s counseling center, distinguished between two different types of perfectionists – adaptive and maladaptive. She said that while adaptive perfectionists take pleasure in their successes, the maladaptive perfectionists set themselves up for failure by setting impossible standards for themselves, thus lowering their self esteem when they never reach their goals.
In a recent study, the National Mental Health Association reported that 10 percent of college students and 13 percent of college women have been diagnosed with depression. A University of California at Los Angeles survey found that more than 30 percent of college freshmen report feeling overwhelmed a great deal of the time, and that 38 percent of college women report feeling frequently overwhelmed.

While many contributing factors are involved in depression among college students, perfectionism, a set of self-defeating thought and behavior patterns focused on unrealistic, unattainable goals, plays a strong part.

“The perfectionist constantly strives for the unattainable, and experiences feelings of failure, despair and even depression as a result,” said Dr. Brooke Lewis, assistant director of Counseling Services at Niagara University.

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On Saturday my mom and dad came to Charlotte for not only a visit, but to go see the pre-release screening of The Kite Runner on campus in UNC Charlotte’s McKnight Hall. After being told to turn our cell phones off when we entered the room, the entire crowd was told to ensure that we should provide no reason to suspect our taping of the movie or we would be thrown out. Understandably, the restrictions were reasonable, but I had not thought about the process in which movie screeners get leaked on bittorrent and this cleared up that picture a lot.

I had no idea what the story was about, all I knew about the movie was from an NPR Talk of the Nation interview a few weeks back with the book’s author talking about how the movie release was delayed to protect the Afghani boys because of a rape scene that the people of Afghanistan may think was real. Thus leading them to stone the boys or something to that matter. The studio wasn’t sure that something like that would happen, but they wanted to take every precaution.

I was surprisingly moved by the film. The story progressed from the viewpoint of the main character Amir jan and his boyhood as the son of a wealthy citizen in Kabul. The main focal point in the early part of the movie was the relationship that Amir jan shared with the son of his fathers servant, Hassan. They were best friends until Hassan met with the wrath of nationalistic and racist bullies that acted out the tensions expressed to them by their fathers’ hatred of the Hazara peoples in Afghanistan.

Amir jan eventually must flee to America due to the Russian invasion of Kabul where he grows up. After he matures, he must return to his battered and war torn country to make right his forsaken friendship.

Fully expecting emotional manipulation from the score and events of the movie, refreshingly the sentiments were genuine and touching. Free from the usual flaunting and over dramatization of characters in a movie like this. Where there were many opportunities to turn to political commentary on the history of Afghanistan and the current and past role of the United States, the film never became preachy and was as un-politicized as possible. The only thing close to political commentary was a line from one of the soldiers, “Afghanistan is never kind to invaders.” But, in context it fits. This movie is the opposite of what a political commentary would be.

A touching story of a boy and his trials growing up in a turbulent country. A great film and highly recommended.


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Friday evening after getting out of the Charlotte 49ers v High Point basketball game, I realized something terrible had occurred. My cell phone’s battery died. The first thing I did Saturday morning was to order a new battery. And it finally arrived on Tuesday evening. It just finished charging and now I’m in good shape.

Thanks to http://www.callwave.com/landing/mobileVisualVoicemail.asp the damage was minimized because all my voicemails were transcribed to text messages and emailed to me.

What did it feel like to not have a cell? Relaxing. Anxious. Jittery. Nice. All the possible antenomys rolled into one. I enjoyed the fact that I was free from communication while at the same time frustrated by the fact that I could not communicate. Given that the human race did not have a cell phone as an extension of the individual as little as 5 years ago, it is strange to be so dependant on a device for so many crucial human interactions.

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Super Manrio Kart

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What Would Jesus Buy?

If you are sick of rampant consumerism fueled by the economic engine of Christmas then this is a documentary for you. I am thinking that this Christmas season will be a big disappointment for retailers because as the dollar continues to tank, the tons of imported Chinese toys will only become more expensive.

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If you never have a chance to take an intro course in macro or micro economics, this video summarizes it all for you in style.

Microeconomics – A method to be wrong about specific things
Macroeconomics – A method to be wrong about general things

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Ron Paul Schools Bernake

Powered by ScribeFire.

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As of 9:43pm I’m calling it. The effort to repeal the Mecklenburg County 1/2 cent transit tax has failed in a landslide, with currently 71% or 57,000 voting against the repeal of the tax. Yeah!

It’s been a heated election season as those that oppose the transit tax who have labeled their effort as “no more trains, vote for repeal” constantly trying to ally themselves with a “moral” platform. The belief that this has been a moral battle has led to comments like the one I heard on WBT1110 driving back from the SGA executive cabinet meeting tonight where one of the Vote For Repeal campaign organizers talked about how the “Charlotte business community didn’t want to play fair and so they funded the Against Repeal campaign to stifle a proper debate on the issue”.

Maybe the citizens of Mecklenburg County just got educated on the topic and they decided to vote for the future? Charlotte is already the 20th largest city in the US and is growing fast. If we want to manage that growth properly, public transit is the best way to do that. Specifically through rail transit.

I’m prouder than ever to call myself a citizen of Charlotte after seeing the turnout to defeat the repeal effort. This community is headed in the right direction. I’ll be there on Nov. 24th to ride the grand opening of the first light-rail line in Charlotte and I’ll hope to see you there too!

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