Be Different

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Being a female in the physical sciences already sets me apart from the rest. However, I feel no different than any other woman. I wear dresses, paint my nails, obsess over the little things, and ride an emotional roller coaster daily. Why should I think I’m different? Why should I believe that others have different thought patterns? Because I am, and they do. 

I read into events and various things. I see the world through angles, electrons, waves, and numbers. I give reason to why my school is a wind tunnel. I find the most efficient pattern before I embark on any journey and run with it. I weigh the pros and cons of almost every situation: from giant life decisions to the path I’m going to take to the gym in the morning. I have strategic routines, and leave the same time almost every day. I like to schedule, plan, research, learn, and laugh. I like to laugh. I laugh at things that others don’t get (not the people). I bicker at movies where the science doesn’t add up. I question the things that don’t make sense. I’m different, and that’s okay. 

I don’t hide my intelligence, but I doubt it often. I know I’m smarter than I think, but society wants me to act otherwise. I know so many fun little facts that others might find not so fun. Pointless, even. Did you know that somewhere other than Earth – like a vacuum – that when an object falls, or is pushed off the table (or whatever), that there is an extremely small [like super dooper small] probability that that object can jump right back up to it’s initial position? When the object hits the floor, the kinetic energy is instantaneously converted into potential energy which is then also instantaneously converted back to kinetic energy thus making that object jump back onto the table (or whatever). ISN’T THAT COOL?! “Why would we care if it doesn’t happen on Earth? It’s not like we are ever going to see it.” WHO CARES IF YOU NEVER SEE IT. Just the fact that something like that could happen is so cool! Anyway, get my point? #nerd 

I’ve always known that people don’t see the world as I do. But I never faced it. I thought that people within the other physical sciences saw the same world. I stand corrected. I don’t know what they see, but I know it’s different. I can see things on a microscopic level, and why certain reactions occur because of these particles. Blame quantum mechanics, or just the way I think. I don’t particularly care; I find it rather interesting to be honest. I’m curious how they view the world – other scientists. I know other physicists tend to view the world in the same manner. (There are some conversations I know that “normal” couples don’t talk about…)

The take away here is that we’re all a rare breed & that’s okay. A sociologist thinks different than a historian, who thinks differently than an English teacher, who thinks differently than a psychologist. If we all were the same, and thought the same ideas, the world wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have made it this far. 

Embrace it.

Be different & be awesome. A Pep Talk From Me To You – well, actually, Kid President. 🙂

xo, LZE

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Titus/Service-Learning

This story is probably my favorite so far if I were to choose. Okay let me rephrase; I’ve only read 5 and a half different stories & Titus is the only one that actually relates to me ish.

I interpreted it as “do good, do service”. Of course people’s views are different; mine is more a nonsecular take in the fact that, yes, you should be good to people and you should do service. Service helps other people but it also helps you grow. My favorite type of service is service-learning. What’s the difference lady? Some people see service as getting in a specific set of hours, others see it as an every day thing. Service-learning, to me, is where you help others, learn about them, and in turn you learn more about yourself.

For example, planting trees. A common Earth Day service is planting trees around your community. In school, I did this and didn’t think much of it. Of course I love nature, and I was doing service, but I saw it as just planting a tree. That’s it. Now, when I went to Ghana, I also planted trees. Same concept and had similar ideas, but my perspective changed. Zebilla was my favorite place to stay; Of course it was the most robust, but it was still my favorite. Anyway, our primary project was tree planting. For the equivalent of $25 US dollars, we bought a tree seed/branch/whatever you call them, and about 30 cinder blocks to protect the trees from the animals. For us, this was nothing. We throw $25 away on a cheap meal at a fast food joint. For the people of Zebilla, this was amazing. We were told the average weekly pay a “street vendor” was 50 Cedi – $25. We bought trees for the price that they make in a week. Oh, it gets better. We met with a group of elders before we began planting at a school. They are the ones who really opened my eyes –

“Why are trees important?” 

Us: Shade, beauty.

Elders: Shade, beauty, tools, shelter, food, oxygen, homes for animals. Trees last longer than humans can live.

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I will never look at a tree the same way. This is why service-learning is important. You learn obviously, but you also get a chance to step back and change your perspective on things. I think that’s beyond important. Everyone should participate in service-learning. I’m a little biased, but it honestly would do everyone good. Even if you don’t want to do it, do it – if anything, you’ll learn that that specific project wasn’t for you & maybe a better one will come along in the future.

The most rewarding part of service-learning is knowing that you were able to help others. When we found out about this tweet, my heart melted. To know that I was part of making a difference.

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Make people know what they did/do matter. I took so much away from my trip to Ghana – I constantly thank my professors & the scholars at Teach On The Beach for the impact they made on me. Do good, but also appreciate.


 

The only thing I don’t like about this story is that (the way I took it) you should only be good to Christians – not everyone. “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group……..Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons. This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith” Wtf. No. You just said to be good to do good. How can you be good if you disregard a group of people like that? That’s not fair. Just be good to everyone regardless. Hatred is one of our biggest issues to face right now. If we all just be nice to people to BE NICE, I’m sure the world will soon be a better place.

 

Be nice, respectful, appreciative & good, but don’t take advantage.

 

xo, LZE

What Teachers Make

Because I feel this is necessary. Because I’m angry. Because “You went 9 hours away from here to teach?” Because “Why the hell do you just want to be a teacher? You studied physics! Do something better with your life.” Because this is MY life.

Thank you. Thank you for thinking that I can’t do it. Thank you for thinking that education is some low life thing. Thank you for pointing out that you will probably make more money than me. I hope you realize that I CAN DO IT & I’ll be great. I hope you realize that without education and your fabulous teachers, you wouldn’t be where you are today. I hope you realize that it’s not about the money, but about what makes you happy – sharing the passion for your subject & helping kids see why you love it. Hoping that one day, regardless if they left your classroom knowing nothing about your subject, that you touched their lives in a positive way.

Watch this: What Teachers Make – Taylor Mali

Any act of poetry is usually better in person, but if you prefer for me to spell it out;

What Teachers Make, or Objection Overruled, or If Things Don’t Work Out, You Can Always Go To Law School

                    by Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is,

What’s a kid going to learn from someone

who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?

He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true

what they say about teachers:

Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue – not his – 

and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests

that it’s also true what they saw about lawyers.

Because we’re eating, after all, and this is a polite conversation.

I mean, you’re a teacher Taylor.

Be honest. What do you make?

And I wish he hadn’t done that- 

asked me to be honest-

because, you see, I have a policy

about honesty and ass-kicking:

if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor

and an A- feel like a slap in the face.

How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best?

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall

in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.

No, you make not ask a question.

Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?

Because you’re bored.

And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:

Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,

I just wanted to talk to you about something your son said today.

To the biggest bully in the grade, he said, “Leave the kid alone.

I still cry sometimes, don’t you?”

And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are

And what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,

I make them question.

I make them criticize. 

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them write, write, write,

And then I make them read.

I make them spell

definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful

over and over and over again until they will never misspell

either one of those words again.

I make them show all their work in math,

And hide it on their final drafts in English.

I make them understand that if you got this

then you follow this,

and if someone ever tries to judge you

by what you make, you give them this.

Here, let me break it down for you,

so you know what I say is true:

I make a difference!

Now what about you?

Do what you’re afraid to do

Do what you’re afraid to do.

Takes more guts than you think but it’s an honest statement. You will learn more about yourself if you face your fears. I’m not saying if you are terrified of heights to jump out of a plane. I’m moderately afraid of heights but I walked across 7 bridges only suspended by rope on the top of a rainforest canopy. I had to really trust physics there.
No. I’m saying that if you don’t like something or if something makes you nervous or anxious or scared, do it.

Before May 2013, I never traveled out of the country. I went to Ghana on a service learning trip for a month because I loved the purpose of the trip. While this was a school event and people could go with their friends and such, I chose my first abroad trip to a developing country with 20 students and 3 faculty members. I knew one person – a faculty member. I knew this faculty member fairly well, as well as you can know your professor, but it’s quite different than knowing a student in this situation. I was a picky eater & I tend to be a bit socially awkward. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking but I’m sure as hell glad that I did this. I had the time of my life.  I made a ton of new friends. Tried things I was close minded about. I learned more about myself, which often you don’t think can happen, but it did.
Since that trip I’ve been much more open to trying things that pretty much terrify me. I don’t like large groups of people or being alone but I now go to things alone where I know large groups of people are going to be present. I approach people I don’t know and talk to them. I smile and say hi more often. I even decided to be a teacher.
I’m confident in my abilities and the knowledge I possess but there’s always something that says I’m not good enough. Which should really shut up because I’m tired of hearing it. I’m really nervous about being a teacher. So many young students looking to me for guidance and wisdom. Isn’t that what older people do? Do they see me as old? That’s weird. It’s super weird that I am going to be equals with my own teachers. To think that I’m going to be that person a student doesn’t think a teacher does – like watch tv. Granted I don’t really watch tv but idk what I thought my teachers did when I was growing up. I assumed they did grown up things; not the things that I usually did. SHOCKER they’re human too ya dummy. It’s a weird concept.
Back to my point, I’m nervous about being a good teacher and living up to these kids’ expectations. Which is good because I wouldn’t be nervous if I didn’t care and if I wasn’t excited about it. I believe you get nervous with something you’re passionate about because you care that much.

I also like to worry. But worrying too much is not good.

Long story short, do what you’re afraid to do but don’t worry too much about it. 🙂

 

xo, LZE

There’s Value in the Struggle

What do you think of this article?

Changes to the SAT

A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook asking for thoughts; so I figured I’d do the same but expand a little more on my own take. 

Thoughts: People have become too reliant on calculators. I am a fan of ‘no calculators’ because they force you think about how to solve the problem rather than just punching in numbers to a device and expecting that answer to be correct. I can see how they will not allow calculators on only part of the math section because in the parts they listed, a calculator is pointless. As for the math and vocab changes, I feel they are lowering the standards because the critical thinking skills of today’s child are moderately low. They have to accommodate for how the child thinks today. This whole SAT change thing really is just a result of the standardization movement, and now they are trying to pick up the pieces of something they’ve profited off of for so long. While I think the changes they are making are fair, I wish this didn’t happen – I wish the standardization movement didn’t happen. It put us much further back than people probably ever thought, and now we’re forced to do things like this so the kid doesn’t have to suffer more than they already have.

With the pace of society, everything is almost given to kids today. Don’t know a word? Go to the dictionary and look it up. Google it. Don’t know where this country is? Look at a map. Google it. Can’t spell? Rely on spell check – because it knows everything. Don’t want to call to order a pizza? FREAKING ORDER IT ONLINE. What the heck people? Have some person to person interaction. Everyone craves it, but no one does it.

Back to what I was trying to get at; We don’t force kids to think for themselves. We don’t hold high standards because we think they can’t think. Just like men thought that women were “too weak to handle the public sphere” we feel “kids can’t handle critical thinking”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tutored students and they just want me to give them the answer. Excuse me, no. I’ve already done this. As much as I love working with children and helping them learn, by no means will I ever give them the answer. They can think; they can do it. There’s value in the struggle.

There’s value in the struggle. A common phrase around the physics’ floor by a well known professor. I believe in this statement. While you cannot gain anything from simply doing everything the easy way, I see more in this statement. I see that you need to find your own way out to succeed. I see that you need to struggle first before you overcome any obstacle. If you aren’t struggling, you aren’t thinking hard enough or in the correct manner. While I use the term “struggle” loosely, I mean more of a challenge. You can almost always get yourself out of any situation by thinking. There’s value in the struggle – don’t give up. As long as you think you can do it, you can do it. You can’t do anything if you say you can’t.

Challenge. As a teacher, if you don’t challenge your students, what are you doing? Surely you are helping them learn…By challenging them you are preparing them to face the rest of the world because one day whether you like it or not they are going to be pushed from the nest forced to fly. They have to be prepared to take any shit that’s given. Be prepared to create new ways to do things. Be prepared to pick up the pieces. Be prepared to provide innovative technologies to a very technological world. Be prepared to solve the hardest problems the human race has to face. Be prepared to battle fights they may not even choose to be fighting. Be prepared to face social stigmas. Be prepared to battle their own beliefs. A lot rely on teachers. That’s why we are all teachers. Regardless if you are in the education field or not, we teach people every day how we be us. How we choose to live our lives. How we choose to stand up for our beliefs, where our passions lie, how we think. The choices we make affect not only us, but others. They see what we decided to do or what not to do. While they agree or not, it affected them – even if it was as little as “oh, he just competed in a dance competition. That’s nice. I hope he enjoyed it.” Social media does wonders.

I could go on and on about these subjects. Even though I veered a little off topic, challenge your kids.

Teachers, parents, peers; challenge them & never think they can’t ever achieve the status you have or excel past it. 

xo, LZE

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