Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Last Lesson in 2011

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I've always pushed myself academically, physically, psychologically, intellectually, and professionally; not because I've felt pressure from others to do so, but simply because I know that I am capable of doing more and doing better.  It's only right, I feel.  My thinking is that if I've been given the ability to do something, then I should give it my best effort. Giving it anything less would be ungrateful.

Operating under such a theory can get you pretty far, but there comes a point when you realize you're just doing too much - or at least too much to be effective in any one pursuit.  And toward the end of 2011, this is the point I reached. My schedule had me spread too thin to do much of anything very well, and I was no longer able to put as much effort as I wanted into any one task because there was always a list of thirty more behind it, all needing to be completed by sundown.  The self-inflicted pressure has started to wear on me, to say the least, and I've realized during the past few weeks that I need to stop feeling guilty about taking a little time to relax.  In fact, I've found that some time off during the past few days has rejuvenated me and boosted my motivation and productivity during work time.

One evening in mid-December it hit me that I only have about a month to get my grad school applications together, and that's on top of starting my last semester and finishing my thesis, as well as preparing for job interviews (in case I don't get into either graduate program).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Welcome to the New, Flat World

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Thomas Friedman, political journalist--turned 21st century philosopher, brings us his thought-provoking thesis on globalization in this video from MIT. 
I've read several chapters of his revolutionary book, The World is Flat, as well as most of another, The Lexus and the Olive Tree.


 
In an Information Systems for Business course I took last semester, I was challenged to think about the following questions while listening to Friedman's lecture. These are themes I'd been periodically mulling over for a while, so I welcomed this opportunity to draw a few conclusions and support them with anecdotes from my own experience.

What does a flattened world mean for you as a student looking for employment in the near future? 
A flattened world puts each of us as individuals in direct competition with the rest of the world for jobs. As Thomas Friedman mentioned, everything can be (and is being) outsourced.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jackie Evancho

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Everyone knows I have a soft spot for child prodigies.  The raw talent of these individuals blows my mind on a regular basis.  This little girl simply takes my breathe away!

Miniature opera sensation Jackie Evancho was discovered on America's Got Talent a few years ago. Here's her latest performance - at the Wall Street Journal's Christmas Party. Here's the catch: She's 11 years old!


Want to see more?  Google "Jackie Evancho" - and prepare to be amazed :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

2011: Where We've Been

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After work one Friday, a few weeks ago, I literally collapsed.  I sat down on my living room couch around 6pm - for what seemed like the first time in ages - and within minutes had fallen asleep. At 9am the next day I finally awoke, figured out where I was, and was astonished to realize how tired I had become.

I started to piece two and two together when thinking about the past year in review, as I always tend to do when December 1st comes around.  I've covered so many thousands of miles this year, and I'm so thankful for all for your notes of encouragement and support through all the journeys.  Let's see where we've been!

  1. Belgium...I was here with my beloved Belgian host family the entire, wonderful month of January. What an incredible time to rekindle old friendships and reminisce on the life-changing experiences I shared with them in 2006-2007.
  2. Spain...Meeting up with old friends from my exchange year in Belgium was one of the highlights of my travels in western Europe this year.  Victoria, from Britain, was studying abroad in Zaragoza, Spain this spring and invited me to visit!
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