Sounds of Concentration

“Don’t listen to music while studying, you’ll get distracted!”

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard this phrase – from teachers to parents to tutors, it seems that everybody believes that music and sounds make you counterproductive. However, I find this to be completely untrue. Though the method of concentration varies from person to person, I find listening to “elevator music” or “white noise” type sounds helps me study better.*

Below are a few links that I use:

Music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2WtUfOnDMY   (It says relaxing, but it just helps me calm down and work – no falling asleep here!)

Sounds:

http://coffitivity.com/

http://rainycafe.com/

*There are scientific articles debating for music and against music while studying which I won’t delve into since it honestly depends on the type of person.

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Internet Irony

Recently, I’ve been contemplating about the Internet and how it affects a person’s behavior in “real life”. It’s an extremely broad topic that has countless facts and opinions mixed in, so there is no definite “good” or “bad” answer that will define the Internet. Thus, we shouldn’t dedicate ourselves to searching for an answer and applying it to millions of different people. However, since it IS the Internet, I suppose I’m entitled to my own opinion so I’ll throw my own two cents in on the irony of the Internet, and what we should do to combat it.

“U mad bro?” I can’t count how many times I’ve seen that phrase. Be it forums, Facebook posts, chatroom messages, it’s everywhere. Stripping away the trollish identity of this meme, the underlying theme is “The internet is not to be taken seriously.” I’m sure most people know this fact – what is said on the Internet by some stranger cannot affect what your college application will look like nor will it prevent you from working hard to get your dream job (most of the time). However, we still feel offended when that stranger says something that “insults” us. Why is it that we can’t just brush it off and say nonchalantly “It’s the internet, it doesn’t matter”?

The scene that usually follows the insult is a nasty chain of logic vs. purposeful stupidity. Is it necessary for us to stoop so low to “get back” at these people? Not only that, but the rage on the net carries over into real life – why let something that doesn’t matter become something that matters? Why let the dark cloud of a stranger on the Internet hover over you? Sometimes, my sister will come to me in a fit of rage saying some person on the Internet (who she just met) insulted her and called her a nasty name. Would I let that fly in real life? Absolutely not. However, again, it’s the Internet. The best way to deal with these trolls is to ignore them. “Don’t feed the trolls.” Playing the white knight or defensively talking back will only serve for their entertainment while you make a fool of yourself. Especially don’t let their actions affect your actions in real life – becoming depressed over what they say is like allowing them a “victory” over you.

I have strong feelings towards this topic mostly because my sisters deal with it quite a bit. Thus, I hope that people will save themselves from losing their real self in real life to these trolls on the Internet.

Extra:

Originally, this post was supposed to be about relationships online – not sure how it turned into a post about trolling and the irony of our actions and words. So, if the article seems messy and deviates from the topic once in a while, THAT’S my reason why. Thanks for reading!!

The Case of Asian Parenting

Before I begin my narration of a rather unfortunate encounter with an Asian parent and my critical review of the Asian parenting system, I’d like to say that my thoughts and feelings don’t pertain to the whole of the Asian community. Please keep an open mind when reading, and for the Asian readers, don’t feel offended in any way – the post is from my perspective.

Asian parents have quite the bad reputation these days. Known as “Tiger Moms” and “Wolf Dads” these parents are infamous for pushing their kids to the top no matter what it takes. However, is this actually good for the child? Does the child actually benefit? Or do they just become reliant on their parents and end up being unable to continue college because they can’t take care of themselves? Though parents should support their children, they shouldn’t do things for the child – some things are meant to be experienced by the child alone.

I like to refer to these experiences as life lessons. There’s a big difference between personally learning these lessons and doing what the parent says. The constant bantering from parents about “lessons they should learn” and “how to do this and how to do that” becomes an irritating whine to kids (teens especially) instead of something useful. Though some teens will pay attention and learn, most don’t. The end result? An irate parent and a seriously pissed teenager – nobody is happy. I understand that parents don’t want their kids to experience the “harsh realities” of life and instead prefer to guide them away from those potholes, however parents can’t guide their children forever. At some point, these “kids” will have to leave off with the crutches and walk on their own.

Also,  the children (perhaps I shouldn’t  use the term children – these cases are more prolific in teens) are not self motivated; they’re motivated by their parents which means that when they leave their parents, there will be nobody forcing them to work. The massive amount of relief from the “parental stress” causes teens to just let loose and become unable to find motivation to work; after all, they don’t want to force themselves through the same hell that their parents forced them to go through.

Finally, the long awaited story time. My sister came home today from an academic competition event sullen and downcast and when I asked her what happened, I wasn’t surprised to hear that the issue lay within the “prize.” Now, as my sister put it, she wasn’t into the act of winning the prize (according to her description, it was a gigantic trophy), it was what happened when she obtained the prize. The event was organized so that everybody was in pairs, however, there was only one trophy for each pair – I’m sure you can guess where this is heading. When my sister was about to take the trophy with her, it was snatched from her hands by her partner’s Asian mother. And I quote….

This trophy belongs to my daughter. She worked hard for it and this is her last year doing it.”

Is that supposed to mean my sister didn’t work hard for it? I can understand the mother’s wish of seeing her daughter succeed, however to go to such lengths, is it really necessary? The “tiger” in her succeeded in earning her daughter a trophy, but it also succeeded in creating an awkward atmosphere between two friendly partners.  Was being so rude really worth it?

Before Asian parents begin enacting their inner tiger/wolf, perhaps they should evaluate the effects of their actions – is it truly good for their child? Also, what will others think of their actions? i understand Asian parents have high standards for their children, but maybe, just maybe, they should tone down their actions at times.

Food: Pie and Pi Day

It is March the fourteenth or more popularly known as Pi Day. For non-math lovers, this is probably the only day that they will actually appreciate math; after all, Pi Day means pie. Although this “tradition” of eating pie on Pi Day begins to wane as people grow older, I still find it nice to indulge myself in the decadent taste of pie – if not the “decadent” sights of math. Below is a link to several pie recipes for Pi Day pie:

From Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/14/pi-day-recipes_n_4942810.html

An amazing Pi Day pie – I do not own the picture nor the pie (unfortunately).

Let us revel in the taste of pie and take a day off from berating math (unless you enjoy math, then revel in both!).

A nibble of pi:

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286 208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481

No More “Bad Memories”

In the 21st century, science is blooming in a variety of ways. From creating new medical technology, to saving people’s lives with medicine, humans are finding ways to make the “impossible” possible. However, is this influx of discoveries necessarily good? Yes, many lives can be saved from a new drug developed to battle possible epidemics, but have people thought about the other side of scientific discoveries?

I recently read an article that said scientists have found a way to erase bad memories (I’m not sure exactly how valid this article/study is since I found it on a random website, but I thought it would be worth thinking about). At first thought, it seems like an ingenious idea; soldiers afflicted with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can now be cured instead of having to go through hours of therapy. However, like all drugs good and bad, they are abused and used for the wrong things in the wrong hands.

Treating soldiers with this pill would mean that the military would have access to it. Not to be prejudiced towards the military, but they would probably  abuse this drug. In the worst case scenario, soldiers would be sent to battles, come back, have their mind erased with the pill, then sent back again – yes the soldiers won’t be afflicted with PTSD, but they’ll be turned into almost-mindless killing machines. Of course, this may not be the case and perhaps I’m merely imagining a dystopian world in the depths of literature, however no one can say that this is not a possibility.

Another drawback of the pill would be the affect it has on teenagers. Do  we not have enough drug abuse already? It wasn’t long ago that I was a teenager and from what I have heard and experienced, I’m sure that plenty (if not all) of my friends would have used the pill at least twice. Two times isn’t that bad, but once teens find the “opiate” (for lack of better term) of the pill, they will begin to use it more.

Finally, this pill would be the perfect escape way for terrorists and similar organizations. This does seem rather far off from reality, but from the recent occurrences with “gun terrorism”, it doesn’t appear to be that distant. If this pill were to fall in their hands, how would we find out why they did it and what group they belonged to? Torture obviously won’t work because they don’t remember. 

Now, for all my pessimistic views about the drug, I do think it’s a good discovery; a good idea. I don’t believe though, that it is a good idea to actually use this drug. Not only will adults be placed in danger, but so will children. Scientists discover ingenious things and expand the possibilities of humans to extremes, however the next time they decide to take another step forward, perhaps they should think about the consequences the discovery might hold.

Note: I can add citations if necessary. 🙂

Dear piano

My dear piano.

Our tuneful melody will play on,

I thought

To myself,

It can continue,

Our relationship,

It can be salvaged.

Six long years,

A journey of ups and downs,

 In my life.

Your importance,

 I never realized,

It pains me to know

That I am the cause of our parting,

This will be the last time.

I touch the ebony black and ivory white,

Memories embedded into the wood,

Tunes played everyday,

Until now.

I’ve seen a lot of bottom to top and top to bottom poems lately (I’m not sure what to call them), so I decided to write my own. It’s in need of a lot of work, but since I was going to write something about my last chance of performing with my piano, I decided to choose this “format.” I’m happy to say that I will be continuing to play piano (the whole quitting incident is over with now) and exploring the depths of Gershwin and Bach!

Discussion: Are Standardized Tests Worth Taking?

Whether or not students should take standardized tests has always been a large controversy in schools. Some argue that the tests are a waste of time and don’t even accurately depict what a student is like, while others will say that the tests are useful in pressuring schools to teach students. Below, I have listed a few bullet points (and perhaps a few paragraphs) on the pros and cons of this topic. Of course, there are many more points than these however I feel like the ones below, are the points that stand out to me the most. 
Please Note: Some information in the following points were taken from articles online. The information belongs to their respective authors. 

Pro:

  • Standardized tests help pressure schools into teaching students all the curriculum.
  • Tests such as the SAT and ACT act as a “standard” to measure different students of different abilities.
  • The tests do not discriminate between students (unlike other methods of college application which is another long story).
  • State standardized tests are good at finding out which schools are behind and what curriculum they need to improve upon.

Con:

  • SAT and ACT tests are a waste of time for high school seniors. Predicting how well a student will do in college by using their grades in high school is more accurate than using their scores on the SAT and ACT.
  • Test anxiety proves a large problem for students and they usually “blank out” on the test, leaving them with a score that isn’t accurate.
  • Motivation to cheat. Yes, cheating is bad and academic integrity should be upheld at all times, however when a test that will determine your future (e.g. ACT/SAT) appears, it’s hard not to give into the nasty urge to peek.
  • “Teaching to the test” – a popular phrase coined for schools that teach only what is on a test, and nothing more. Students are not getting the total amount of knowledge they can get.

What are your thoughts on standardized tests?