Friday, 27 June 2014

Don't Peak in High School

With another school year over, it can be a reflective time of year (especially if you’re graduating). You think back on all of the accomplishments, the letdowns, the highs and the lows.  It’s easy to feel a wide array of emotions as well – everything from relief to joy to pride, to sadness and disappointment and everything in between. It can be overwhelming.

What can make this transition time so difficult is the pressure – there are so many heightened expectations during the high school years to make the most of the supposedly best years of your life.

I think that this kind of pressurized, expectation-building thinking needs to stop. As someone who didn’t particularly enjoy high school, I remember leaving grade 12 wondering if I should have tried harder to have that indefinable “time of my life” that everyone always talked about.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have highs in secondary school, but there were lows, too.  High school was a memorable time in its own way, but it’s foolish to amp up that period of your life when you still have a lot of living ahead of you! Maybe I want my 30s, or my 40s, or even my 80s to be the best decades of my life – and they easily could be! Your happiness is not reserved for any single era of your life.

So…if you have finished another year of school or have graduated and are feeling confused or disappointed in any way – don’t let it get to you. Good things in life happen in every decade, not just when you’re young. The best times are yet to come!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Why You Might Want to Pick Up a Pen More Often...

As an experiment, I'm handwriting today's bog post in a notebook first instead of typing it up on my laptop.

A recent New York Times article presented the idea that writing by hand, rather than on a keyboard, may benefit learning in both children and adults.

In school, children acquire reading skills more quickly as writing skills are introduced. Additionally, they are able to remember things better through and become more creative through writing things down.

In another study, a psychologist demonstrated that printing, cursive writing, and keyboard typing were all linked with different parts and patterns in the brain. However, when children wrote out text by hand, they had larger vocabularies and were able to generate more ideas.

According to the article, the benefits of handwriting are seen in adults, too. We can commit new concepts and ideas to memory with greater ability when we write by hand. Furthermore, in real-world classroom studies, two psychologists showed that handwriting allows students to better process the learning content and then "reframe" it. This reframing allows for a reflective process that may be lost in keyboard typing.

Even a skeptic of the study still acknowledges the significance of writing: "With handwriting, the very act of putting it down forces you to focus on what's important. Maybe it helps you think better."

Do you prefer typing on a keyboard, or writing by hand? Experiment for yourself! It's never too late to start a journal or a new piece of writing - and you might even learn something!

You can read the full NY Times article here: