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Monday, July 28, 2014
How to Have Fun in College
How to Have Fun in College

Although college is definitely a time to work hard and study for a brighter future, it is also the time to try new things, learn about yourself, and have a lot of fun.  Here are a few things you can do to make the most of your free time while in college.

1) Attend as many events as you can.  
These include all the fun events you can possibly attend while in college.  These events either provide you with a chance for you to meet people or bond with people you already know.  These include dorm gatherings, football games, school theater productions, concerts, parties, etc.

2) Step outside of your comfort zone.  
You should always try new things because stepping outside your comfort zone is what makes life adventurous and exciting.  Of course, this does not mean you should do things that can cause serious consequences, but rather, it means that you should maybe you should stay out late in the night once in a while, ask out a boy/girl whether or not you're shy, or audition for a show.

3) Join clubs you are interested in.  
Join a club you know you will love being a part of.  Not only will you have the opportunity to spend your free time doing what you enjoy, but you will also meet many people who share the same passions as you.

4) Meet as many people as you can.  
Never be afraid to introduce yourself to the person next to you, whether you're in class or even standing in line for something.  You never know if you might have something in common with that person that you'll bond over.

5) Explore your college town.  
Most cities are notable for certain landmarks or attractions.  Try to find out what is unique about your college town, and definitely take advantage of that.

6) Pick up new hobbies.  College is a time of self-discovery, so try new hobbies.  Maybe take a dance class, martial arts, etc.  There is almost no doubt you'll find something you'll enjoy, and you'll be more than glad you tried it.


Posted Monday, July 28, 2014 5:05 AM    0 comments



Friday, July 25, 2014
Why Wasting Your Own Time is Amoral
Why Wasting Your Own Time is Amoral

If you’re parents and teachers aren’t enough to get you to stop wasting your own time, maybe the moral theories of three separate philosophical schools of thought might.

The Aristotelian Approach

The first one I will discuss is the Aristotelian approach, created by Aristotle. One if its foundations is the concept of a telos. While there isn’t a perfect English translation, it roughly means end, goal, perfection, or purpose. For example, a pen’s telos would be to write. If it achieves its telos, it’s a “good” pen. If it doesn’t, it’s a “bad” pen. Aristotle said when you achieve your telos, you’re “flourishing.” He also said it’s wrong to prevent others from flourishing as well (that’s a contradiction in some situations, but I won’t get into that here) But a telos can also be rather controversial when applied to living organisms because only a human can create and apply a telos. So, what’s stopping someone from saying a cow’s telos is only to become milk and beef for consumption (we already have). Or, even worse, decide that their own telos is to control or abuse other people. When used reasonably, however, a self-applied telos can be extremely helpful.

Now, ask yourself: “What’s my own telos.” I’m sure most of you are high-aiming individuals, as you should be. So, for example, your telos (your goal, essentially) might be to get into a prestigious university or to become a doctor (I know, very generic examples). Then, whatever your telos may be, ask yourself: “Am I doing what I need to in order to achieve my telos, and flourish?” Also ask yourself: “Are my actions preventing others from achieving their telos?” If you answered yes to both (and please don’t cheat by saying your telos is to be happy, and watching television 12 hours a day makes me happy), you’re doing fine.  If not, maybe it’s time to change your habits to help yourself, and others. Laziness could prevent your parents’ from achieving their telos of creating a successful and happy family. It could also help prevent society from achieving its own telos of functioning properly. So, according to Aristotle, wasting your own time is a detriment to yourself and those surrounding you.

The Kantian Approach

German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, said that a “good” action come from its good will, not its consequence. From this only, you could very easily justify laziness. But, of course, there is much more to the Kantian approach. Kant also said that you must respect the rationality of others and he laid out four rules that, if followed, ensure that you will, but in this case we need only two.  The first, called the Formula of Humanity, says that we have a moral obligation to treat “rational agents [all humans, including yourself] as ends in themselves and never as mere means.” In other words, we can’t take advantage or abuse other people (ex: slavery is wrong). We also can’t waste the rationality within ourselves. So, according to Kant and his Formula of Humanity, suicide and laziness are both wrong. In both cases we are eliminating any chance of helping society, and ourselves.

Kant’s other rule is called the Formula of Universal Law. Simply, it says that if everyone on Earth did exactly what you’re doing and it turns out to be unsustainable, whatever you’re doing is morally unjustified. For example, imagine what would happen if everyone lied, murdered, and stole? It would be unsustainable; everyone would be paranoid or dead and there would be nothing left to steal. Or if everyone committed suicide… (Obviously the opposite is true as well; being honest, helpful and kind are all very sustainable) Also ask yourself what would happen if everyone was lazy? Food and water will be scarce within weeks and society will collapse afterwards. Billions could die. So, according to the Kantian approach, laziness is extremely wrong.

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a rather basic concept, but it was developed into a philosophical theory by Jeremy Bentham. Its concept is that the best action is the action that makes the most people the most happy. It’s a nice idea, but Bentham tried to quantify it (he actually created a point system). We all know happiness and numbers don’t mix well. So I’d like to skip over Bentham and move on to John Stuart Mills. The primary reason I mentioned Bentham is because he, and John’s father, both raised John to be the “perfect philosopher.” Obviously Bentham had a huge influence on John, but fortunately John did away with the point system. He also expanded upon the original idea of Utilitarianism. He defined two types of pleasures, high and low. High pleasures (long-term) are feelings of satisfaction after you pass a test, complete a diet, or finishing an article for Learn By Cam. Low pleasures (short-term) are the feelings of satisfaction after eating candy, playing video games, or procrastinating on work. We need a balance of both to be happy, but Mills says that attaining higher pleasures will create much more happiness. It should be clear where I’m going with this, so I’ll keep it short. Just two points: One, doing meaningful and hard work will make you happier in the long run than being lazy. And two, being lazy is selfish as others need to bear the extra burden caused by your laziness; only you’re happy, but everyone else is not as happy as they could be, this is wrong in the Utilitarian approach.

So, it looks like laziness is wrong… Need I say anymore?

P.S. – Taken word for word, all three of these philosophical theories are completely impractical. Understanding and applying the best of each, however, can be extremely helpful. They also don’t take non-humans into account (or when they do it’s to justify their inferiority). Fortunately, many modern philosophers have found clever ways to reinterpret these theories to actually justify fair treatment of non-humans.

P.S.S. – I’d like to thank my professor Zack Knorr for teaching me pretty much all I know about philosophy.


Posted Friday, July 25, 2014 3:00 AM    0 comments



Thursday, July 24, 2014
Tips on Writing a Personal Statement
Tips on Writing a Personal Statement

Personal statements are basically essays that express who you are, as well as your goals and aspirations for the future.  Personal statements may be used for scholarship applications, grad school applications, college applications, and sometimes even for jobs.  Here's some tips on how to write a unique essay.

1) Write with engaging and emotional language.  Personal statements should not be written in a way that you would write an essay for your English class.  They should have very engaging, enthusiastic, and conversational tones that reflect the person you are.  Personal statements are meant to be read more like a novel that you would read for pleasure, as opposed to an informative text.

2) Discuss your passions.  Your passions strongly define the person you are, so discussing this is a must, in order for the reader to understand who you are.  Furthermore, your passions can quickly strengthen your essay, because these are things that you can talk the most about, while enjoying the writing.  Talk about passions in terms of your past experiences and future goals.

3) Use vivid examples.  Use very elaborately detailed examples that are pertinent to the topic of the essay.  For example, if the personal statement topic asks about future goals, you might want to give a few examples of specific events in which you discovered your purpose in life, or a time when you were working towards said goal.  Vividly describe the settings and occurrences.

4) Keep it concise.  Even if there is a word limit, you do not need to write up to that point.  Simply be sure that you can convey everything the topic asks for.  If it happens to be far under the word limit, but all the necessary details are present, you do not need to keep writing.

5) Discuss what makes you unique.  More than likely, you will be among a pool of many other applicants, and you will need to stand out in order to be accepted into the program you are applying to.  This may include hobbies or talents that you have, and conveying how they have influenced the person you are.

6) Discuss influential hardships and experiences.  
Discuss how obstacles and experiences have contributed to your growth as a person.  If you are applying to a school, this may also be the time to talk about why some of your grades aren't the greatest, if that is the case.  For example, if your grades dropped because you were going through an emotional time, you can talk about that, as well as how that experience made you a stronger person.  In addition to hardships, you can also talk about positive experiences' influence on you.  For example, you can talk about organizational and assertiveness abilities if you had a leadership position for an organization.

I hope this helps, and good luck on your future endeavors!


Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014 9:18 AM    0 comments