Wednesday 28 December 2016

Assignment #10

Among the many classes offered in the website edx, I chose the one that interested me the most, a class called American Icons by the Smithsonian museum in the USA. The class talks about items, people, and symbols that define America.I recommend this class to those who are interested in history, especially American history.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Assignment #9

I watched a TED talk from Angela Lee Duckworth today about grit. At first, I thought it was just another motivational talk about how perseverance leads to success. I was not completely right. Her talk had a slightly different dimension to it. I noticed 2 different things about her talk.
The first one. She mentioned about how grit is a long-term perseverance. It isn't something that one has for a week or a month, grit is persevering through obstacles and pressures for many years. I never really heard about a talk about having years worth of determination, and this talk reminded me that success isn't something achieved in weeks or months.
The second one. She researched different people, but in the same situation: they were in a difficult setting. Cadets in a military academy, children in the national spelling bee competition, rookie teachers working in tough neighborhoods. Their definition of success wasn't money or fame, it was survival. Getting through that difficult phase they were in was their so-called success. Other talks about fervor didn't depict success specifically, maybe it was left to the audience to decide what it means, because to be fair it is different to everyone. Not in this talk. I couldn't help but relate to the variables researched here, because i am currently studying abroad, still struggling to understand the language spoken by the people here. Like them, my current goal is to survive, to not drop out.
All in all, this talk reminded (because I have heard it a lot of times) that the key to success is not just perseverance, it is grit. And I am definitely going to need grit to succeed.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Assignment #6

Today, a group  of classmates presented a Steve Jobs's Stanford University Commencement Address. The speech video was taken from youtube. This is the link:

5 words/sentences I learned from the speech:
1. Sign: To write one's name on a letter/document for purposes of identificatio or authorization. Example: He signed the adoption papers in the end.
2. Naively: In a way that shows a lack of experience, wisdom or judgement. Example: He naively chose the pretty yet unreliable car over the long-lasting one.
3. Calligraphy: decorative handwriting or handwritten lettering. Example: A Chinese calligraphy portrait.
4. Creative: relating to or involving the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. Example: The creative industry is growing bigger each year.
5. Diagnosis: the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms. Example: The final diagnosis of his illness is lung cancer.

I like the 3 life stories Steve Jobs told us in the commencement address. They are simple, yet very interesting. They are also told to us by Steve Jobs, one of the most successful people in the world in his time. It suggests that if we follow the loose manual that is the three stories, we will be successful too, though according to our own definition. So far, I cannot relate to his experiences, since I am more reluctant to take risks in my life, and I was born in a family with perhaps better financial condition than the Jobs had back then. Nevertheless, the talk does inspire me to be more daring to follow my dreams and be more decisive.  I am young, but I will not be for forever. Therefore, I must take advantage of my youth while I can.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Assignment #5

My favorite song always changes overtime. No matter how good a song is, I will be bored of it at one point. For the time being, however, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' song "Growing Up"featuring Ed Sheeran is a considerable favorite.

Link to the audio:
Link to the lyrics:

This is  a rap song filled with advises from a father to his newborn child. It also mentions about his insecurities about being a new parent, an especially busy and famous one, as this song was written based on Macklemore's own experience in being a new parent. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is a musical duo based in Seattle, Washington, and the song features the English vocalist Ed Sheeran. Both of them have enjoyed a successful career, as the song is only one of a lot of hit songs they released.

3 new words I learned from the song:
1. Dogma: a principle laid down by authorities and seen as indisputably true. Example: The dogma of religion is often used for ill purposes.
2. Jaywalk: illegally walking on public roads made for cars. Example: He was fined for jaywalking yesterday.
3. Sledge: a vehicle that slides on snow and ice. Example: They played sledge on the hills yesterday.

Rap doesn't have the best of reputations as a song genre. Its lyrics are often not deep, sometimes even offensive, not deemed as "serious" music, and definitely doesn't have "class". This song breaks through all those stereotypes. "Growing Up" is inspiring, filled with emotions, and is packed with the best advises you can get from a parent. The melody is not crude, even subtler than a lot of songs that I've heard before. Also, it promotes gender equality in its lyrics. The link to it is up above, check it out. It is truly beautiful. Then it puts you into two possible points of view when listening to it, either the parent who gives the advises, trying to show his/her love to the child, or the child, receiving the advises, processing it. I can't completely relate to Macklemore in being a parent, obviously because I am not one, and am not going to be for a long time, at least. However, I do feel like this song gave me a loose guideline as to how to lead a life, the guideline being from Macklemore here, taking the role of my parents. I actually learned a few things from this song, and felt like the lessons were delivered in one of the best ways possible, from a catchy yet meaningful song. Nothing negative, just true advises depicting the perfect love.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Assignment #4

For today's assignment, I was told to listen to one of the 6 minute english podcasts by BBC Learning English and to make a summary of it. 1 title caught my attention: "Is Loneliness in Our Genes?", so I decided to listen to it. Here's my summary:

Humans naturally crave companionship of others. It has helped us get a lot of things done. Perhaps, that is why we feel negative when being alone. There are a few statistics regarding loneliness. It turns out that some people feel lonely more easily than others. It is in their genes. One explanation to it is that it helps them to tolerate being lonely for a longer time. Also, studies have shown that people nowadays are not significantly lonelier than people from 10-20 years ago, before social media was invented. It shows that social media does not bring people further away from each other, causing loneliness. Another fact is that Sweden is technically the country with the loneliest people, with about half of their households being single. It is not uncommon, since single-occupancy apartments are quite affordable there, and the Swedes usually move out of their parent's house once they graduate high-school. It is also possible to get loneliness from other people. It is possible to "catch" loneliness from interaction with negative people.

I have never been good with closing statements, But this is my view on loneliness; in this ever more-efficient world, interaction with other people does not equal NOT feeling lonely. It is the quality of the interaction that prevents us from it.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Assignment #3

Today, we further discussed learning English, especially listening, through the internet. We were especially introduced to podcasts by the teacher, what it is, how it is useful, and the best websites out there that contain the podcasts that fit us best. I have heard about podcasts before, but it hasn't been much of an interest for me so far, at least until today. I never thought about listening to people talking in my MP3 player during my commute, but now I think I should give it a try, as listening to podcasts may be much more useful to my learning English than listening to mere music.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Assignment #2

Today, in computer assisted language learning class, we were taught how to utilize the internet to learn English, the listening aspect to be particular. I recall learning about different listening methods for different purposes, such as acquiring the main idea of a speech, obtaining specific information, and basically sinking in a whole speech.

I also have looked up 5 words in English that I didn't understand before, I am posting it with the definition and an example sentence for each word:
1. Epiphany: a moment of sudden great realization/revelation. Example: Henry decided to develop a new, cutting edge toilet paper after having an epiphany about public sanitation.
2. Bailiwick: a person's area of skill, knowledge, authority or work. Example: Keep your know-it-all style to your own bailiwick, Jon.
3. Abrupt: sudden or unexpected. Example: Hermione came to an abrupt halt when she bumped into something invisible.
4. Mephitic: foul-smelling. Example: Methane is one mephitic substance to smell.
5. Quidnunc: an inquisitive and gossipy person. Example: Fleur talks ill about everybody. About half of them coming from her own judgement, we can safely assume that she is a quidnunc.

I hope I am not making life too difficult for individuals required to read all these posts