Category Archives: School

Self-Explanatory. Stuff relating to school and/or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in general.

This Semester…

Well.  The past semester has been interesting.  Who am I kidding, my entire college experience has been interesting.  Just like my post from the end of last semester, this post will be insanely self-reflective.  This post is really more for me than it is for anyone else who might happen across it.  First thing’s first, I’ll just say off the bat that in the post from the end of last semester I briefly mentioned Myers-Briggs and my type – I’m still super into Myers-Briggs (I’m even getting certified in it in a week), but the more I learn about it, the less certain I am about my type.  But I don’t really use it for type purposes now, but rather as a vocabulary for describing individual elements and associated functions.  Enough about that because it’ll get too technical, but it has been a part of this entire thought process.  But I digress.  On to the important parts of this post.  So last time I mentioned a little bit of soul-searching; I’ll actually get to it this time.

So my main problem has been not being able to define myself.  You know, nothing super major, just an identity crisis.  One that I’ve been having now for a long time.  I keep looking back at myself and how I’ve changed over the last year and half, even just the last semester, and I honestly only barely recognize myself.  And it’s crazy, because to some extent it doesn’t even seem like I had a personality back then.  I mean I guess I did, but I feel like I wasn’t really my own person?  Even if I did, it was a very weak personality if that makes sense.

I’ve always been someone who very much sticks to the rules and what is proper and not causing a big raucous or ruffle any feathers.  That’s just my natural way.  I was curious, but quietly curious.  I would get excited about things I was interested in, and felt that the best way to get to know me was through the things I was passionate about, like Lord of the Rings and Narnia and Doctor Who and the like.  For a long time, this was true.  I was a mix of the things I had come to love.  I’d enjoy watching people have fun rather than participate.  I enjoy order and structure.  I’ve always enjoyed order and structure, if no one else stepped up, I would normally be the one to organize a group project.  At the same time, if someone else did step up, I’d happily let them take the reigns.  I respect authority, but don’t really take it much, for fear of messing up or what others may think or ruffling feathers.  I don’t like to be in the spotlight or in the center of attention.  I am a very passive person.  Not in a go with the flow way, but a “I’ll adjust to whatever works for you” way.  Lastly, I have always felt my emotions very strongly, and have always been very expressive of my emotions.  When I would get excited about something I’m passionate about, it was slightly unnerving for some of my friends.

I’m still a very emotional person.  In fact, it’s to the point where when I am feeling apathetic and don’t have access to my emotions, because it is such a rare occurrence, I am so out of it and not myself that I can’t really function.  I still am very expressive of my emotions, not so much in a I’m just going to wear my heart on my sleeve way, but in a intentional, I’m not going to hide my emotions because I don’t want to be disingenuous.  Similarly, I don’t want to be disingenuous with my interactions with people in any way,  and am now far more blunt.  I’m not afraid to let my opinion known if it’s what I know to be best for someone.  There are still plenty of times when I don’t say things, if they aren’t super important to me or would massively affect the group in a way I don’t want to deal with, but I’m more assertive than I used to be.

I went from being a person who wanted to help people work through and be able to navigate existing systems to one who wants to organize everything and even run my own new system.  The crazy thing is, this change in some ways has seemed to happen almost overnight.  People who have met me this year interact with me very differently than people who knew me from before college, before England.  They see me differently, and that’s kind of terrifying.  They don’t come to me for emotional advice, or for comfort, something people have always come to me for in the past.  That’s something that’s been hard for me to come to terms with.  In fact, someone said “I feel like people come to you when they want to be kicked in the face with the truth.”  She meant it as a compliment, but this kinda killed me a little bit on the inside..  Again, I am still quite emotional, and I feel most fulfilled when I’m helping people.  I don’t want people to feel like they can’t come to me for fear of my bluntness; that isn’t all of who I am.

In terms of Myers-Briggs (since I use it as a tool to explain/make sense of things now), I basically went from an INFJ to an ISTJ, and that’s a ridiculous amount of difference (though I float between depending on the situation).  I think a lot of this started with living in England, but has really flared up from all the stuff with my first year of college, when my experiences with my roommate and my first group of “friends” both made me hate having to hide myself and forced me to adapt how I coped with things.  I found solace in my bluntness and my organization, and now those are my main characteristics.  Instead of people liking my qualities of sweetness and being easy to talk to, people praise my diplomacy and the fact they know I mean it when I say something because I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t, I don’t sugar coat things, and sweetness and being easy to talk to are nowhere to be found.  However, the taking charge part of my personality that has been developing over the last semester alone has been an unexpected development.  I suppose it is the natural outcropping of organization and bluntness, but I wouldn’t have seen it coming from me.  But maybe it’s been there all along?

After having so much reflection over everything, I have finally started to apply something I’m really good at to the problem: making lists.  There’s a list on my phone now titled “WHO AM I” and on it I write the things that I find to be important elements of my personality, things that I find myself saying that I need in my life in order to be able to function.  I no longer define myself by the various obsessions I’ve collected over the years, or by how other people think of me, but by the things that I value.  So to close out this probably very confusing word-vomit here are the beginnings of my definition of myself, the things I value:
Honesty
Efficiency
Fairness
Consistency
Routines
Authenticity
Order/Structure/Plans
Security

Introverts. And Personalities. And a Little Bit of Soul-Searching.

So for my first post in FOUR MONTHS (that’s an entire third of a year, I’ve seen my long-distance boyfriend twice in that time) I decided to talk about college.  Again.

You see, the thing is, college is very hard for me right now.  Not in an academic sense; I have a cumulative GPA of 3.9, and I got an A in the Junior Seminar class I took last semester (which, incidentally was my second semester of my first year).  What’s hard is the social side and the even more, the discovery and changing of self-identity.

Basically, I had a rough Dec-early March.  It was horrendous, it sucked.  It wasn’t because I got in with the wrong crowd, it was just a crowd that didn’t understand me, and it put me in a very bad place.  Again, they weren’t bad people, they were just awful people for Me to be friends with.  Since then, I’ve been pulling back more and more into myself and become the epitome of Introverted.  Furthermore, I’m beginning to look into the wonderful world of typology, specifically, Myers Briggs and Jungian typology, and I’m discovering more and more than a lot of people really do not understand introverts.  Furthermore, a even more people don’t understand INFJs (the least common personality type), which is what I happen to be.  On the one hand, I love being an uncommon type, and I love being a unique individual.  But feeling misunderstood, alienated, trapped, and forced into trying to be something I’m not?  That was one of the worst experiences of my life (and Fe makes it 1000x worse).

So yeah, I had a horrible experience, and yes, it was the people that made it horrible.  They weren’t horrible people, they weren’t even particularly horrible to me.  They were just horrible for me.  This whole experience has made me realize just how important it really is to have good friends and friends that can understand you.  Failing that, at least someone or a couple of people who at least attempt to understand you or don’t let things that they don’t understand get in the way; accepting the things they don’t understand and moving on.

But anyway – my main point: please, if you or anyone you know is struggling with trying to fit in or not feeling like they can be themselves in front of others, please find something to help.  Look up things to better understand them, look up things to better understand yourself.  Be cognizant of who you are and who you want to be- but more importantly, be cognizant of why you want to be that person.  Is it because you want to change for your own, intrinsically motivated reasons, or is it only because other people want you to change, or you want to change to fit others’ expectations?

Don't change so people will like you

 

I’m happy to say I’ve found the right people, and let me tell you, it makes a world of difference.

 

I’m Alive!

Hello all, sorry for not posting at all during my first semester of college.  I’ll start posting musings on my college experience and my typical random things once I get back into the swing of things; for now, this is just a post FULL of updates on EVERYTHING.

College Fall 2014 – I did well in all my classes, had a 4.0 GPA for the semester, YAY!

College Spring 2015 – This coming semester I’ll be taking a class called “Composing a Digital Life,” so I have a new blog for that. Other classes include Early British Literature, American Literature, an Ancient Greece History class, and a Junior Sem on Orality and Literacy in Ancient Greece. It’ll be a challenging semester, but I’m excited to be kept busy with lit and ancient Greece classes.

In addition to my school stuff, I’m going to be trying to start/work on a couple new projects including:
A Cappella videos (more on this later)
Let it Go in Latin Music Video (more on this later)
and PODCAST! (see below)

In terms of the Podcast, I’m hoping to get together a group of students to discuss books with.  My realistic goal is to have the first episode recorded by mid February, posted by the end of February, and then do monthly or bi-weekly after that.

 

I think those are all my updates for now, I’ll keep you posted!

-Indil

Making Friends

One thing I haven’t really been emphasizing a whole lot thus far is the presence of other people in my life, at least, I feel haven’t really done that positively. I’ve been using this blog as a means of musing, reflecting mostly. Sometimes these musings pertain to things that involve other people, or I’ll give advice on how to live your life, but it’s always difficult, and really interesting, when you aren’t really a super social person and then have a sonder.

I mean being honest here, I typically don’t have a big group of friends, but I do still need a few good friends, a small group of people I’m close to (both emotionally and geographically) in each place I live. This was something I had issues with in certain places I lived, and something that would be a bit of a concern for me with starting college (university), had I not already made a few friends (the internet can be a wonderful thing sometimes, though not always), and have the exciting opportunity to meet some more – even just one more.

Today whilst perusing the wonderful world of facebook, I found that someone had shared a link to their own blog which is pretty similar to what I am trying to do with mine, albeit better done (Really Meg, it looks great, and I love your writing style!) and really inspiring. I think you’ll make an excellent public speaker, heavens knows you’ve already made a difference to me.

And now that I’ve shamelessly (grr I hate suffering from lethologica – Aha! I have the word now!) promoted your blog…. Do you want to be friends with me? 😛 🙂

The Next Step

Salutations all!

So today I officially registered for my first semester of college (Uni for the Brits)! I’ll be taking an English class, Calc, Intermediate Latin, and a class on metaphors which should prove interesting. Also hoping to add a Computer Science course to that once I can (I’m not allowed to have more than 4 classes at the moment), but we’ll see how that turns out.

I’ll be there in about a month, so the next post will probably be full of pre-orientation jitters!! (and the post following that will contain my reactions to college, which I’m far more interested in. Too bad you have to experience things to create an opinion about them, otherwise I’d love to just skip ahead to two ish months from now.)

Things are finally starting to settle down after the Big Move, but all the same it’s busy so this post is going to be cut short, and I’ll return to my Favorite Translation notes in a few months more than likely.

Anywho, Enjoy the remainder of your summer!

On the Brink of the Rest of My Life

So this is it.  The final stretch.  The last weeks, the culmination of my IB Experience.  In fact, in (exactly) a month I’ll be back Stateside! I guess I’ll have to change the subtitle on my blog (the picture could do with an update too) – any suggestions?

I think now is as good a time as ever to reflect on how IB and my time in England has impacted me.  So here goes:

This past year, I’ve been particularly proud of my ability to manage my time and succeed in life but I’ve been realizing over the last week that while I kept on top of things and even getting ahead on work, I haven’t been doing much more than what is expected, or what should be expected of every student. Granted, it’s more than what slackers would do and students who just scrape by, so comparatively I was thinking that I’ve been doing really well as a student. But I shouldn’t be competing against the other students; I should be competing against myself, pushing myself to be a better student than just what’s expected. I should be excelling. Of course I realized this by comparing myself to other students again, and realizing that I’d underestimated a lot of my classmates. As we’ve gotten closer to exams, the extra revision they’ve done has really shown, and I probably won’t be getting the top marks in my class because while I’ve done some revision, I haven’t been consistent about doing it throughout the last two years, and I certainly haven’t been doing crazy amounts of extra revision.

Well, now that’s a disappointing thought! However, my life isn’t over with these IB exams. When it comes to it, everything in life is a learning experience. My time in VA taught me to be more organized, and in England I was more organized; I stayed on top of things so that I wouldn’t get overly-stressed in my last year of IB. My time in England has given me a drive to excel, and in college I intend to do just that.

Now there’s a positive outlook! Speaking of, I am very excited for this summer and for college next year!

Also other updates: I will not have the next episode of the podcast up until after (most) of my exams are finished. Sorry 😦 Generally speaking though, once exams are over, I should have an episode every month ideally, or at the very least one every two months. Hey though, if I get one out mid-end of this month, I can keep with having one every month even with exams. Here’s hoping!

Wishing everyone the best this exam season,
Indil

College Pressure and Education

I got accepted to my number one college choice, so that’s exciting.  However, my sister has been having her own college application troubles- Firstly, our applications had a MILLION problems with them because of our situation being American military children going to a foreign school with faculty that were ill-equipped to handle the school paperwork side of our applications due to differences between US and UK schools.  Secondly, she’s going for difficult schools, and only has one safety school that she really wouldn’t mind going to, and that’s a difficult position to be in.

However, it was her reaction to some of the admission decisions that has prompted me to write this post.  She got wait-listed for her #1 choice, and her #2 is out the window.  She did get into the safety school, but isn’t happy about it.  On the Monday morning after receiving these decisions she said, “It just sucks because my entire future depended on someone who didn’t know what they were doing”.

From what I’ve heard from several of my adult friends, the idea that what college you go to determines the rest of your life simply isn’t the case.  Where you go to college is not nearly as important as just going to college.  But nowadays so much pressure is put on teens to go to college and go to a ‘good’ college that will separate you from others and give you the best jobs and what not; I don’t think it should be stressed as much as it is.  There are so many other things in education that need stressing- learning problem solving and creative skills over rote memorization for example, and these are the things that will make you stand out for jobs.  As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.  And we need to be looking at colleges that promote this idea as well- learning how to learn and how to have good time management skills, how to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with others, not just facts and figures.  We need to learn how to apply school to our lives.

Alright, short rant over.

How to Succeed in Life Without Really Trying

So, one thing I’m very proud of myself for this year is my organization and lack of procrastination.  One week until half term, and there was only one assignment that I was working on day-of and only a handful of assignments that I was working on the night before the day they were due.
Along with that, I’ve been keeping up with my blog, keeping up with the a cappella group that I started at my school last year, started a Sixth Form newsPDF (I’m the editor) which is on the school website (people have actually seen it!), am on track with my Extended Essay and College Apps, took up ballroom dancing with my daddy, and started a podcast (yeah, it is actually starting, just waiting on other people for that 😀  You can click the link at the top of my blog to get to my podcast, or you can find it on iTunes- Quettar Indilon.  All that’s up there right now however is a really annoying ‘Episode 0’, so you might want to wait to check that out until I’ve actually posted a first episode.  First episode will be on chapters 27-36 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).

And I still have time to play League, keep up with my favorite tv shows, and occasionally read a book for fun.
Now I will admit that I haven’t been writing much, haven’t been doing my photo-editing competition with my friend River, and haven’t done a whole lot with harp recently, but those things aside, I’ve been doing a lot and staying on top of….life.

So what’s my secret, you ask?  Easy.  Time management and list making.  You’d be surprised how much you can get done if you just make lists, make priorities, set goals, and just get to it.

Here are my tips for good time management:
Don’t spend your time complaining or worrying that you don’t have enough time to get all of your work done; buckle down and just do it.  Get stuff done, check it off, move on.
When you come across some ‘found time‘, use it to get another thing done.
Break up big tasks into a bunch of smaller tasks.  This will make it easier to see your own progress and use found time to knock out the smaller tasks instead of having to set aside a huge amount of time for a big task, which can be daunting (not to mention boring).
If you’ve been working hard, reward yourself with a short break– but remember that you have to earn these breaks!  Examples of good short breaks- listening to podcasts (short ones, not like 3 hour long radio shows.  I’d recommend TED talks if you like those.  They’re about 15 min long), reading a chapter or two in a book, listening to music, playing a card game or board game with your family, hanging out with your friends….  Just make sure that you’re keeping track of the time.  Obviously, the more stuff you can get done, the bigger a break you earn.

Now there are some things other people have done that I’ve incorporated into my organization that have helped me out:
My friend River earns the tv shows she watches- she doesn’t watch an episode until she’s earned it  (sorta goes with my point about earning breaks).
My Classics teacher recommended an app to me- CARROT.  CARROT is a to-do list with a pretty simple principle- do stuff, get rewarded; don’t do stuff, and CARROT gets upset, and you don’t want to make CARROT angry.  I’ve had fun with CARROT and would definitely recommend it to anyone, the only problem is when you just have a bunch of long term tasks to do, so I’ve ended up putting simple things (like ‘go to school’) just to keep CARROT happy.  On another note, if you have trouble getting up in the morning and don’t have an iPad, you can get the CARROT alarm as well.  If you have an iPad, there’s a different app that my Classics teacher recommended that is probably much better.  I don’t have an iPad, so I don’t remember what the name of it was, sorry.  It’s some sort of sleep monitor.
My film teacher recommended the Pomodoro Technique – I haven’t actually used it, but I like the concept behind it.  If you want to know more about it, here’s the website – http://pomodorotechnique.com/.

If there’s anything I want you to take away from this massive blog post, it’s this:  use the time you have wisely.  Everyone has some time somewhere, so don’t spend it complaining or watching mind-numbing YouTube videos or being on facebook or skype 24/7; utilize it to organize yourself and be more efficient at getting work done, then spend your new-found gained time to complain (oh wait- you don’t have anything to complain about anymore!  Magic!), watch videos, surf the web, and what not.

Yeah sorry that got a bit rant-ish.  But really, time management is probably one of the most important life skills you can possibly have.

My Extended Essay and Metonymy

As I think I’ve said on a previous post, I’m writing my Extended Essay on The Belgariad series by David Eddings (and the associated works set in the same world: The Malloreon, Belgarath the Sorcerer, (by David and Leigh Eddings) and Polgara the Sorceress (also by David and Leigh Eddings)).
This morning I was looking over the IB Extended Essay rubric though, and realized that I might be missing something- something fairly important too. You see, my focus is on the use of stereotypes of some of the different races in The Belgariad, so it doesn’t lend itself to really close analysis of quotes and examples of specific literary techniques. At least that’s what I was thinking.
So I pondered my potentially catastrophic dilemma, and then remembered something from my Latin class two years ago- metonymy and synecdoche. Basically the use of a part of something to symbolize the whole (technically that’s a synecdoche, metonymy is using the name of an attribute or characteristic instead of what you actually mean). I lump them together, as many people do, because a lot of times, it can be both. For example, in the show White Collar, an FBI agent is referred to as ‘the Suit’, and in Doctor Who season 6, the Doctor introduces Amy and Rory as the Legs and the Nose respectively. These code names are an example of both metonymy and synecdoche.
Back to my extended essay- I was intending to use the example of Eddings using one character to be a symbol of an entire race, and was just going to leave it at basic symbolism, but stating it as a type of metonymy is more fitting (and probably more impressive as well).
So I started thinking over some other things I was already planning to use but hadn’t put a name to yet. The sound of names for one, something in which Tolkien was a firm believer, that names, and words in general, should sound like they mean. I need to ask my supervisor, but I’m pretty sure that ‘sound symbolism’, ‘phonetic symbolism’, or ‘phonestheme’ is the name for the idea I’d had since the beginning of my research.

It’s interesting how you can know exactly what you’re talking about, and it would be analytical, but has the potential to get poor marks if you just explain what you mean instead of using a term for the concept.

Monster’s University – And University Searching in America!

Been a while since my last post, but I’m keeping at least one post per month, so I’m happy about that! 🙂
Recently-ish I saw Monster’s University and just wanted to put forth a few comments on the movie here. Overall, I absolutely adored the movie. And, in contrast with my last post, I loved the ending. What was missing in epic, was undeniably present in Monster’s University: Consequences! I won’t say any more on that now because this is a spoiler-free post (ha sorta), but I will say, it was such a breath of fresh air for me. It was definitely a Children’s movie done right, in my opinion.

This leads to a nice little segue to what I’ve been doing with my summer.
College visits! So, being an American going to British Sixth Form, living in England and all, it’s a little difficult to visit colleges in America. However, my family decided to make a nice little whirlwind trip to the States for my sister and I to visit our prospective colleges. It’s been crazy, but interesting. My top two colleges are quite tied, at the top for entirely different reasons.

Now, you may be asking, ‘why aren’t you looking at British colleges? Why only American colleges?’ Well, the answer is simply atmosphere (and homesickness as well, but that’s a different thing). What I noticed about Cambridge and the other older colleges, well universities, in England is that the university is spread throughout the town. The various colleges are spread throughout the tourist attractions and other city shops and whatnot; everything is so close and pressed up against each other- there is no exclusive campus separate from the city and the tourist attractions. For me, that’s a good bit unnerving.
It would be interesting to hear a British person’s take on this thought; I’ll try to comment with the opinions of a British friend when I’m back in school and in England.