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Breaking Nerd

“There's nothing more dangerous in life than not living." ~ Walter White (Breaking Bad)

Month

November 2015

Give Thanks

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, it seems fit to write a post on what I’m thankful for. What is the one thing in life you cannot live without? That is a hard question to answer because I feel as if I cannot live without a combination of things instead of just one. It could be God, friends, family, or even food. But, what you cannot live without becomes what you appreciate most.

I cannot live without God and the community of believers that I interact with frequently, such as church members and schoolmates. They are part of my community and have shaped who I am. So, I am thankful for them.

I’m thankful for my family and friends, who have been there for me through everything. They love and support me everyday, which is something I cannot take for granted.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to get a good educational a good school. Homework is not my favorite activity, and Mondays should not exist, but I appreciate the chance to go to school.

I’m thankful for all the chances I have had to travel and see the world. Exposure to other cultures and societies has also shaped who I am and influenced my views on certain topics.

I’m thankful for having a home, a cozy place to lay my head at night, and food to eat. I realize that I take them for granted but I’m grateful to have them.

The list could go on and on but to conclude, I’m thankful for electricity and wifi. This may seem like a basic need but they are missed by many people all over the world. When the power goes, I notice how little you can possibly do, you can’t use the microwave or the fridge, the TV doesn’t work, and so much more. I almost don’t recognize how important electricity is until there is none of it. So, I think it is important to step back and take a moment to give thanks.

“Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else’s fairy tale.”
~ Wale Ayeni

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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was a profound and brilliantly written book. It was published nearly two hundred years ago, yet, it still manage to hold relevant truths. I learned one truth in particular from reading the book and it was that it is very important to forgive yourself.

Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale were two characters who embodied this message. They both struggled with the guilt of committing adultery and Dimmesdale even went to the extent of inflicting bodily harm upon himself. Dimmesdale almost destroyed himself because the guilt of his sin ate away at him both mentally and physically. His health seriously deteriorated and he struggled with the inner conflict of being a hypocrite.

Dimmesdale’s suffering taught me that it is important to forgive yourself and ask God for forgiveness too. Harboring guilt inside yourself can lead to a terrible life; one where you are constantly reminded of your sin and one where you become a hypocrite. “A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part,” was a quote that demonstrated how destructive guilt can be to an individual.

Towards the end of the book, Dimmesdale finally told the truth to his community and for the few moments afterwards, he was content. He ultimately accepted that he could have forgiveness from himself and God and that choice made all the difference. He was free and no longer had to continue living a destructive life.

The Scarlet Letter was filled with numerous morals and truths but this one stood out for me. Guilt is difficult to struggle with and learning to forgive yourself and accepting God’s forgiveness can make a big difference in your life. See you soon!

Trust No One? (Group Projects)

Remember that time you worked really hard on a group project and you still got a low grade. Or, that time when you did all the work and still had to put the names of your fellow group members on your assignments, as if they helped. Or, when you asked someone to take over a certain part of the group project and then you still had to come back and go over everything they did. Well, that’s how I remember most group projects. It’s a bit sad really.

I don’t mean to take such a negative tone but most of the group projects I have participated in have never turned out great. Group projects turn into such burdens because it becomes hard to agree on ideas. In addition, it becomes hard to rely on others and also for others to rely on you. I would much rather fail on my own than be dragged down by others or even drag others down with my failure. Even with people who are hardworking and intelligent, having synchronized ideas are difficult and getting people to see your perspective and agree with it is hard. Teachers believe that making us work together will improve our teamwork and leadership abilities. In some ways, teachers are right, group projects are quite beneficial in improving leadership skills and teamwork.

Recently, I did a group project with a few classmates discussing books that we read. We worked really well together, were able to share ideas, and communicated well. We all worked terribly hard on the project and I believed we would do well. Sadly, group projects never turn out as well as you’d expect them to so, we didn’t do as great as we hoped. Teachers intend for the projects to be helpful, and sometimes they are, but most of the time they result in bouts of stress and anxiety. The group project I did helped me learn to work better with others and take more of leading role. I was able to trust my classmates and even improve my confidence, but the final project was not as effective as it could have been simply because it was a group project and, group projects are hard.

In the long run, group projects are advantageous, they are necessary in developing life-long skills. I don’t like homework but I know that it is beneficial to the learning process of a student. In the same way, I don’t particularly enjoy group projects but I understand that they are a necessary part of school and life in general. Trusting other people and being able to work with others is very important because life demands that you can be part of a team. For that reason, I try to maintain a positive attitude during group projects because it is the best way to learn about how beneficial they can be. See you soon!

What I Think About Community

Community. Where do I begin. Humans are social beings and community comes as a result or our need to grow and mature. To me, community is my family, friends, school, teachers, and church. Being part of a community has been driven by my need to belong, and by my acceptance that I can’t get through the journey of life alone.

Belonging can be found on the third tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. All human beings feel the need to belong to something, that’s why people will kill to continue being part of a gang. I’ve always felt the need to be part of tightly knit group – not a gang of course – but, a community of people brought together by love for each other and common goals. So, community is very important to me. I love my friends, teachers, fellow believers and family.

However, my family is especially important; I come from a Kenyan family rooted in strong Christian values. My parents have taught me about our culture and about God, and these two elements have helped me in grounding my principals. But most importantly, my family has been there, throughout all the joys and sorrows, they have been there to encourage and advise me.

I want to say that I have many friends but, I don’t know if some of the people I consider my friends keep that view of me. Nonetheless, for the purpose of being honest, I will say that I have a good number of solid friends. Together with my family, church, and school, my friends are one of the biggest influences in my life. At times they have supported me and at times they have told my that I’m doing the wrong thing and need to change. I really appreciate this trait of honesty in my friends. My teachers have also played a large role in my life. They have pushed me to be the best I can possibly be, and to strive for success no matter what the haters think. I can’t say that I have ever had a teacher who has looked down on me so, I’m thankful that I have been blessed with wonderful teachers all my life.

My community has helped me grow by influencing how I behave and how I think. It has aIso taught me to believe that I can achieve my dreams and that I can rely on others too. In some ways my community has limited me, in that, I have not been exposed to diverse cultures all my life. I have had to break through some stereotypes my community has held about some other cultures. This is one thing that I can’t quite understand because it is not fair to hold presumptions about others when you do not even know them. Nevertheless, I have learned to appreciate other cultures and communities throughout life and I hope that I can become someone well grounded in my beliefs but at the same time, open to the help of others. See you soon friends!

Reading Enthusiast

I love reading books, but I would love to have more time to read them. To start with, here’s a fun fact, the Japanese word ‘tsundoku’ means ‘buying a load of books and then not getting round to reading them’. I didn’t even know a word like that existed, but sadly, it seems to explain my relationship with books. I try to read a lot of books, and I buy even more, however, I never quite get around to reading all of them. As a result, I am the type of reader who keeps lists of books I want to read but never gets the time to actually read most of them.

Nevertheless, whenever I get the chance to read, I read fiction. What makes fiction so great is that it allows your imagination run free. The fictional worlds are simply fun to read about and the characters add depth and meaning to the plots.

As a result of my love for books and reading, I have always thought it a crime to write in books. I view the pages as works of art making it difficult for me to write in them. Recently, I read an essay about marking up books and I couldn’t bring myself to accept that it could help me in my reading. I’m not the type of reader to take notes on the margins of these gifts. But instead, I’m the type of reader who enjoys the words on the page. I love reading just to have fun and enjoy the story being told.

Unfortunately, when I read I don’t think about the rhetorical devices used in the text, or how the author tries to send his message. I simply read for the fun of it; to discover new worlds and experience new characters.

Eventually, I hope to become the sort of reader who pays attention to the message and the rhetoric. To improve in critical reading and thinking, you have to pay attention and resist the urge to read for fun. I would like to be a reader who keeps a balance of both fun and seriousness in my reading. Furthermore, I would like to be the reader who finds time to read and explore the world of writing whenever possible. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” I hope to see you again my fellow readers!

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