Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How I Stay Organized: Trial and Error

Any of you who follow me on Instagram can attest that I am in fact, obsessed with my planner. By the way if you don't follow me, my username is ahavahlovely. I thought I would share with you how I stay organized in general. If you want a more detailed post about my planner specifically (I use the Passion Planner), I'd be happy to do that.

1. Monthly and Long Term Planning
Before each semester starts (or right after the first day of classes), I sit down with each of my syllabi and put every assignment on my calendar on the monthly view of my planner. At this time, I will also go through the school calendar and put in any days off or changes in schedule. I will also put weekends away or big events that I have dates for in advance on the monthly view. At the beginning of every month, I will go over this view, and I will fill out the projects section in my planner. Basically, I pick three or four big projects or essays that I will be working on during the month, and I divide them out into manageable action steps. I then assign deadlines to them. This keeps me from being overwhelmed by looming due dates.

2. Weekly Planning
Every Sunday, I set aside approximately an hour to fill out my planner for the week. First, I look at the monthly view and input any events or assignments that I need to be aware of for that week. I will also go through FB events for the week and see what I need to input on my calendar. At this point I will also put in any recurring meetings. Additionally, under Friday, I will put any big tests or assignments that are happening the next week. Second, I pick a decorative theme for my planner--doing this helps with my anxiety and I find it fun.  The planner is totally functional without the decoration, but I enjoy it. Next, I make my chart for steps and exercise in the bottom of my planner and add reminders and a quote next to it. On the bottom of my planner, I will put any to-dos that can be done throughout the week. I will also often set up to-do lists either in pen or with stickers on each day.

3. Daily Planning
Every night before I go to bed, I try to create a to-do list for the next day. Additionally, throughout my classes, I will add things to my to-do list in their appropriate color. I am now experimenting with having my to-do list outside of my planner, but the most important thing for my sanity is that I have a to-do list. If I write it down, it won't stress me out. I don't really do anything specific to manage my time although I will occasionally reward myself with YouTube videos if I have worked for a long time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Now: It's Good to be a Jew

Tonight I had the great pleasure of hearing Rabbi Joseph Telushkin speak at a local temple. Rabbi Telushkin has written a number of books on everything from Jewish Humor to the Rebbe. This particular presentation was about the Rebbe(Read the linked page if you have no idea who I'm talking about), and I think he highlighted three things that are really crucial to Jewish life even outside of Chabad.

Firstly, the first part of the title of this post: Anything worth doing is worth doing now. Every day, we have a different excuse for why we can't make that phone call or send that email or write that paper; you get the point. But then days go by, and then weeks, and then months, and eventually, it's all about "just getting through this week" because next week will be easier when in reality the same things that were stressing you out last week will stress you out next week. Until we accept this fact, we will continue to be waiting for tomorrow instead of making the best of today.

Second, and I think more importantly, Rabbi Telushkin told a story about a few Chabad men who went to a small town in Alaska, and they met a girl who was most likely never going to meet another rabbi in her life, and then asked the rabbi to tell her one thing about Judaism that she needed to know rabbi said something about women lighting Shabbat candles, but something different popped into my head. Two words: we survived. Over and over again, the world has tried to defeat the Jewish people, but still, today, we persist. We may be small in numbers, but we are still very much alive. This is both something to be proud of and something to be grateful for. We are still here. And it's good to be a jew.

Lastly, Rabbi Telushkin discussed the Rebbe's philosophy of unconditional love among Jews. I would go as far to extend this to all people. The focus on the individual that the Rebbe discussed is very important for us to keep in mind today. Especially in the presidential election season, we tend to throw around broad terms like "liberals" or "conservatives," and we lose sight of the fact that actual individual human beings make up these vague terms that we are using to describe people. Ultimately, the truth resists simplicity, no matter how many campaign ads or angry Facebook posts you make.

As a disclaimer, I must say this: I don't agree with Chabad on a whole lot of things. I think a lot of their practices are anti-feminist, but as I just said, Chabad is not just one thing; it contains multitudes, and ignoring that complexity is ignoring a large amount of spiritual teachings that could be helpful to me.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Mythological Misconceptions: What Disney Got Wrong

Let me start by saying this: I love anything that brings Greek Mythology from the nerdy corner of the Classics department to the Main Stage, however, I watched Hercules this morning(the Disney one), and I couldn't help but notice some inaccuracies (from the actual myth).

First, a general point. In almost none of Greek mythology is Hades, or Pluto if you want to use the Roman name, an evil figure. Yes, he is the ruler of the Underworld, but that does not make him a villain. When the Gods defeated the Titans, the world was divided into three parts: sea, underworld, and everything else. Poseidon got the sea (I'm just going to stick with the Greek names for simplicity at the moment), Hades the Underworld, and Zeus everything else because he was the one who did the actual defeating of the Titans. Frankly, Hades probably has the most power because he has the most people in his kingdom and there's other myths about this, which I can get into at a later date.

Alright, back to Hercules specifically, or as he is mostly referred to in Greek text, Heracles. I'm going to breeze through this mistakes relatively quickly, if you want more info, there's a ton of stuff online, and I can answer questions in the comments. We are going in no particular order.

1. Hercules was NOT Hera's child. In the original myth, Hercules is the child of Zeus(Disney got that part right), and Alcmene, a mortal woman. Hera was incredibly jealous of all of the women that Zeus slept with, and she tried to kill Hercules with two snakes in his bed.

2. Hercules did not have to attack various monsters to beat Hades, because as was mentioned, only Hera was persecuting him, not Hades. These monsters, or most of them anyways, were tasks set out for him by Equrystheus.

3. This is small, but it bothered me. In the movie, Hercules encounters a Hydra that starts with only one head. The hydra is supposed to have nine heads, and Hercules does not kill the Hydra by dropping a mountain on it; he kills the Hydra by burning the necks after he cuts off the heads. There is also many of the more boring labors of Hercules that Disney glosses over for obvious reasons.

I'm sure that I'm missing some stuff, and there are many other things about Greek mythology that I could talk about, but we can do that later. Shabbat Shalom to all who celebrate.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Blessing and the Curse of Social Media: My Relationship Status with the Internet

I have a love-hate relationship with social media, and my feelings vary about different kind of social media. When I got a Facebook account in 2009, I was only intending to keep in touch with camp friends who didn't go to my school. Now, my relationship with Facebook is much more complicated. I find myself feeling immense relief when I turn off Facebook on my computer and phone every Friday afternoon, and I find myself feeling left out every time I see a picture of a party I wasn't invited to. I can hear my mom in the back of my head, going "I told you so." But, as usual, the truth resists simplicity and I love being able to keep in touch with all of the clergy that I've worked with over the years. I don't get to see them on a regular basis anymore. I like being able to have a group message with the people in my Intro to Christianity class so that we can share textbooks. I like seeing what's going on at home. If I'm being honest with myself, I'm never going to delete my Facebook. My desire to know what's going on and to connect with the Reform Jewish world outside of Brandeis is too strong. But I am thankful for Shabbat.

Twitter, for me, is very different from Facebook This is not because you can only post in bursts of 140 characters, although that is a difference between the two. Twitter, at least at the moment is my fandom heaven. Every Thursday night (When my television shows are not on hiatus) I look forward to going on twitter and live-tweeting with all of my friends from all around the world. We bond over cast pictures and fangirl over our favorite ships. It's a wonderful escape. my life on Twitter is a lot less carefully curated. I think this is why Twitter is much more relaxing for me.

On to Instagram. At the moment, I'm obsessed with planner stickers and the planner community, so i've been scrolling through those Instagram feeds, but in general, I put much more effort into what I post on Instagram. I really only post when I am happy with how I look and am wearing makeup. I generally take about ten pictures before I edit one and put it on Instagram. What I need to remind myself is that everyone else on Instagram goes through the same process that I do when they post on Instagram.

Youtube. I love Youtube. No, it is not only a place for cats on rumbas and Nyan Cat(am I the only one who remembers that?). It is where I have found the Nerdfighter community (watch this video if you're confused), and it is a place of care and open discussion. I can truly say that Nerdfighteria has changed my life for the better, and I have made IRL(In real life) friends because of Vlogbrothers. So many you tubers have become parts of my life. I look forward to their videos each week, and I talk with other fans in the comments.

All in all, social media isn't going anywhere, but I think we, as humans, need to be mindful of how we look at ourselves through the lens of social media because I know that it can definitely cause body image issues and cause us to be much harder on ourselves than we should be.

This post was inspired by a video by the amazing Rosianna Halse Rojas. You can watch it here