Stress and Coping Strategies

Being a college student tends to mean you are under stress almost 24/7. There is always some paper or test that you have to prepare for or there is some mix up with the paperwork. The point is there is almost always a reason for a college student like me to be stressed.

Keeping my stress levels in check is really essential for me because I have chronic migraines. It’s really easy for me to get a migraine and it doesn’t take much to set it off. I had to develop an effective system for coping to avoid these migraines. Now I’m not recommending these strategies for everyone but it works for me.

I’m a gamer so what I like to do is play video games for a few hours a day. Playing video games provides an adequate distraction and gives me time to calm down so I can come back to the problem with a clear head. Another strategy related to gaming is playing tabletop games likes Dungeon and Dragons (DnD). I have a great group of friends who I meet with once a week to play DnD. It gives me something to look forward to in the week and motivates me to get all my work done early so I can play.

one of the strategies I could try is reading. Reading would probably be a nice distraction that relaxes me but keeps my mind active. Meditation or breathing exercises could help me as well and maybe listening to a little music. This site had some fairly interesting ideas on stress management.

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Motivation

There are a few reasons why I decided to come to Austin college. My high school would often offer field trips to go around Texas visiting college campuses. Many students would just go for a chance to get out of class but some of us would go because we got to see campuses at the schools expense. On these field trips whenever we went to a big named college like UT Austin, Arlington, or Rice university I always had the same complaint. “The campus is way too big” Yeah I’m kind of lazy but I don’t have a car so being able to walk to all of my classes without being exhausted is important. I also wanted to go to a college that didn’t have too many students.

So when I came to Austin college i thought it was perfect. It satisfied all my criteria. Most of the criteria i described was from personal preference  but a huge extrinsic factor I didn’t mention was that Austin college was also near my home in Dallas only about an hour away which pleased my mother. Her approval of my choice really motivated me to stick with my decision.

If I was to plan a intervention for myself, I would probably try to force myself to look at the financial poverty that college expenses are forcing my family into. Don’t get me wrong I love Austin college but it always hurts when I go home and realize my family had to make sacrifices just so I can get an education. Whenever my motivation is low I try to  keep this in mind so I can do my best in school.

Introverts VS Extroverts

This TED talk was really interesting because I’ve never thought about this kind of thing before. That our society today is really geared towards forcing us to be extroverts. For instance if we look at how most schools design their classrooms they often try to encourage students to socialize with each other and get comfortable with the idea of working in groups.

I’m inclined to agree with the assertion that the US values Extroversion over introversion. I agree with this because If we look at american society and our education system one can see that it’s geared toward preparing  its children for leadership roles. Examples of these role are careers in politics and law. American society has a great need for future politicians and judges who can protect the interests of our society. There’s also business, institutions all around america are geared toward training our modern entrepreneurs. We are a country of business and we encourage our students to be charismatic leaders with great world changing ideas.

Despite all this I still think America’s bias towards introversion is bad. Yes their are inherent benefits for helping extroverts flourish but at what cost. Introverts who are not able to conform to this life style will be ostracized and will be less likely to contribute their ideas or views to society. We shouldn’t be content with a society that favors one group of people over the other. One of the core beliefs of american society is equal rights. Everyone should have the same opportunities open to them and shouldn’t be forced to change their behavior,

Marijuana Legalize it or Not?

Personally i don’t care too much for Marijuana  when people are smoking it they tend to do it in excess instead of in moderation. It smells foul and the smell tends to linger. That being said i don’t think marijuana should be this vilified. In this article the author argues that  Marijuana should be treated like alcohol and tobacco. I agree and think that we should make it that marijuana can only be lawfully purchased at the age of 18 or 21. People who are under its effects should not be allowed to drive or operate heavy machinery. The reason I think marijuana should be legalized is because a part of the reason why people smoke it in such excess is because they have to do so in moderate secrecy and as such can’t do it that often.

This article argues that marijuana should not be legalized because it provide no actual health benefits but instead causes long term health problems. I disagree with t his article because like all things long term health problems occur due to substance abuse. There are serious health concerns with tobacco and Alcohol with long term use but apparently marijuana is “addictive”. First of all I don’t think this is a valid point for their argument. If we follow their line of logic then technically alcohol should be illegal. Alcohol is addictive and have very lethal effects if used in excess and is a major cause in automobile accidents.

Honestly though I understand why people are so set against it. We have treated it as a social vice for so long that its going to take a while before people are willing to openly trust it.

Learning Styles

So after following the instructions of the blog prompt and taking both the tests to indicate my learning style. I’m slightly Active and lean heavily towards global, visual, and Intuitive. I’ve taking a lot of personality and learning style tests before but I have to say these tests weren’t exactly extensive. I’m used to these types of test being really long so I’m left to wonder how effective these new tests may be. I could be wrong and there might be a cut off point were a test is too long and the participant starts rushing , which may be the case since the results from these tests seem to match the results i usually get.

I sometimes find it difficult to study with my preferred learning style because a lot of the course work  in my major are more oriented towards a heavy amount of text and readings (Political science Major). Being a global learner does help me when i’m trying to explain or remember how a country interacts with other countries or what overall goal they tend to pursue. I’m not sure if its just the courses i’m taking but generally my college does a good job of using a lot of visuals in their lectures which helps me focus. I know one of my non lab science courses uses a mixture of power point slides, videos rarely, and actually handing the class objects to pass around and touch. This making it really easy for me to follow along with the lecture. Again my personal experience may not have been the same for other students at my college.

What is so special about the human brain?

First before you read this post if the theory of evolution offends your personal or religious beliefs than please don’t read this post. I do not want to cause trouble. I’m writing this post because it is an academic necessity for me.

Suzana Herculano a Neuroscientist discusses what makes the human brain special and why is it that we have cognitive thought. I chose this ted talk because one of my professors talked about this subject briefly and I wanted to hear more about it from a fresh perspective. In the ted talk Suzana explains how for years scientists have studied animal brains trying to figure out why humans are at the top of the food chain and what sets us apart from them. Humans and are primates, and like primates we have a large amount of neurons. The difference between us and primates however is energy consumption. We can find and eat food rich in energy easily. While primates on average have to eat 8 hours a day.

The topic was presented clearly and in my opinion was easy to approach. Suzana  Herculano was well informed and from what I can tell her research was very credible. What she presented is supported by findings and the logic behind her presentation made sense.

What i think was interesting about this was how similar our brain structure is to primates like chimpanzees and Gorillas. I’m also curious what other factors contribute to our position in nature. Like what allowed us to even conceive the ideas of fire, tools, art, philosophy.

I really recommend checking this ted talk out.

Is Yawning Contagious? Mythbusters Minimyth

First i would like to say mythbusters is a great show and they usually approach there myths in scientific (often entertaining ways). This time I think they did a fairly decent job testing the myth of yawning being contagious. They stated that the myth was proven because they recorded that 29% of the subjects with stimulus yawned and 25% of the subjects without stimulus yawned as well. Mythbusters decided to confirm the myth due to a large sample size.

I think they kept the subjects exposed to stimulus too isolated. I think that the experiment would have yielded more tangible results if the subjects exposed to the stimulus were put into a room together and were all exposed to the stimulus simultaneously. If yawning was contagious then this would let us see a ripple effect in the room. You could then repeat this process with fresh participants as many times as you would like until you feel you have tested a large enough sample size.

The downside to using my method is that it doesn’t test a group without the stimulus. Also if someone were to try to to test a non stimulus group there is the off chance that someone could yawn in the room and invalidate the control group. So in that respect the mythbusters method to test their subjects one at a time is a more reliable and harder to be invalidated.

While this was an interesting experiment but we still don’t know why people seem to be effected by others yawning. I am curious to see if there is a scientific explanation to support that myth.