Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Internal monologues and lost bikes

            I know this extract will cause a lot of students to roll their eyes, but I swear ever since I read this text for the first time I was struck by it: … ‘an efficient course of action would be to apply means that are consistent with attaining the desired goal or program of goals. Inefficiency arises when means are chosen that are inconsistent with the desired goals’. Forget about the meaning of the words ‘inefficiency’ and ‘efficient’ in an economic context. I think in this article by Roy E. Cordato we can find one of the secrets of life. Read it again. It’s all about being consistent, you cannot complain about things not going your way if you haven’t been consistent. Of course life is not a perfect equation where you can predict its outcome, sometimes there's an ‘X’ factor that alters everything. But I'm thinking about what we can ‘control’, such as identifying our goals and choosing the correct means, like sparing time to read, even though exams are next year, and going to the gym, even though summer seems to be ‘ in a galaxy far far away’.

           Last saturday I was in Den Haag, in an event called ‘N4Talents’ (I learned about it in the announcements of blackboard, and got a free ticket by applying), I took part of a seminar about how to ‘spice up your speech’ , and that got me thinking about the insecurities we face when we need to speak in public. In my view, giving an opinion does not represent such a challenge, as you are hardly afraid to be wrong or having a debate about your arguments. The problem arises when an academic question is released into the tense air of a classroom. And then silence takes over. Some students are not affected at all by this, and speak their views regularly. But the majority of the students (including myself) struggle with it. The good thing about Utrecht, is that, at least in our Master, active participation is highly valued (and also graded), I think it's a good first step in order to flood lectures with voices, although we need to work from home, preparing mentally and dealing with our insecurities. You and I are here to learn, nobody is going to kick you out for a ‘wrong answer’, so speak up!

           On a different train of thought I would like to use this space to express my happiness about living in Utrecht. The time I save on travelling is amazing. After a week I can proudly say I do not need to GPS my way home, although I have serious doubts about why I learned so fast. I think I'm just avoiding that spanish voice trying to pronounce dutch street names, and having response-less conversations in my bike saying what? What street did you try to say?, then going off and checking the map myself. Internally I fear I might sound just like her. I also love to dedicate 5-7 minutes to find my bike in the station’s parking, as it is slightly bigger that the one in Haarlem. Tip for finding bike: Take a picture, talking to the bike and say ‘please show yourself’ doesn't work, I tried.

          I cannot emphasize this enough: Please use scarf and gloves, even though the sun might appear in the horizon. I mean it. I had no idea I could actually have pain in the back of my neck for not having a scarf. I know it's not THAT cold, but still there's nothing worse than getting a cold or a flu when you have to attend to class or work. Reporting from Utrecht, looking the rain fall down, I salute you and wish you all a great week. 

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