Transitioning from Spring to Summer Classes

It’s that time of year again where it’s the end of the semester and you finish all your finals and all you want is to go home and not have to worry about school for a while. For some people, they just get to relax and not have to worry about school for the next three months, but for others, they have to jump right back into it for summer classes. I, for instance, have to jump into summer classes only two weeks after my last final. That is barely any time to relax and “regain strength” for the next set of classes. It is not an easy thing to do, but I have learned after last year of the same experience what to do and what not to do throughout summer. Those things are:

  • In the two weeks that you are off, make time to simply enjoy yourself and do things that you were not able to do throughout the semesters. For instance, I never had time to go hiking, kayaking, and camping throughout the semesters, but through this next few weeks I have simply just gone out with my friends and did just that.
  • I have learned that you really need these two weeks to recoup and regain your mental strength as much as possible and working a bunch of hours will not let you do that. So, if you are able to with your job, request more days off than usual to just have days to yourself and do whatever you want.
  • I love spending time with my family and friends, so through the next two weeks, I am reintroducing myself to them. I have been so busy throughout this school year that I have not had a lot of time to spend with them, so I specifically set aside time to just hang out with them. They always know how to make me relax and be happy too, which is much needed after finals.

Overall, just relax and don’t stress over anything because trust me when I say, you will have plenty of time to do that throughout your summer course.

Music, The Brain, and Us

From an early age, music has always been a part of our lives. Listening to every crescendo and decrescendo, we were always in tune with the flowing sound. Eventually, some of us even pick up an instrument and began to learn how to play. At a young age, I began to learn how to play the piano. Though I am no Chopin or Mozart, I can understand and play the piano to a point. That’s not the important part of this, during the few year of piano lessons my teacher would always tell me that learning how to read and play music helped me academically. I would think to myself, how could something like this help me academically?

Researching a bit more into it, I found videos and websites that talked about it. One site, which will be linked at the bottom, had a few diagrams that really help visualize what was going on. When you pick up an instrument, say for example the violin, you must perform multiple tasks. Multiple areas of the brain are active at the same time. You must read, listen, move to play, and feel the music. You are using the motor cortex, premotor cortex (dorsal), premotor cortex (ventral), frontal cortex, and the superior temporal gyrus/auditory cortex. To anyone who doesn’t understand all the medical terminology, these portions of the brain help recognize and process types motor (movement), auditory (hearing), sensory (touch), visual, and emotional responses from the body.

Now, what does this all mean for helping me succeed in my studies? Having all these portions of the brain firing all at once helps you coordinate and function doing multiple things. For example, the article mentions that learning from an early age could help strengthen the hippocampus, the portion of the brain that helps with memory and learning. So, in math, you remember how to solve equations and different types of conversions because you decided to learn and instrument you have just helped increase your ability to learn and remember. A video found on YouTube helps explain a bit more about what is happening inside the brain.

So, there you have it, music really does help one academically. Through hard work, young musicians are shaping the way they learn. Though more research is being completed, it’s a good beginning of understanding how music affects the brain.

Links to the article and video

Spring Break Fever

Spring break, the week where you drop everything school related. It is meant to get your mind off the semester and lower your anxiety after midterms. Some people go on a trip, work more for that extra cash, or just simply sit at home and pig out on your favorite snacks. I personally went to the Bahamas, and let me tell you, it was relaxing. It was almost too relaxing because now I don’t want to go back to class and get my mind back into things. I was sitting in class the first time again and my mind was constantly thinking about something else, I didn’t want to be there, and I only did my work to the bare minimum and didn’t truly care about learning the material. I was walking through campus and overheard a professor say that all of the students must have “spring fever” because they are all “offbeat”. He couldn’t be more right about this. I just wanted spring break to last forever, but sadly that was not how that worked. I literally had to force myself to get my mind back into the “swing” of things. I had to keep reminding myself that the class I was sitting in was part of a bigger picture and that it would all pay off in the end. There is only 6 weeks left of the semester, you can do this, we can do this. We have to stay focused and pull through because these are our futures and lives we are messing with now. If we put in the hard work till the end, then it will all be worth it and we can call ourselves graduates. Don’t let “spring fever” get to you and put your all into these next few weeks and I promise it will all pay off in the end.

Review of “The Jungle Book”

I recently went with my family to go and see the “Jungle Book”. Now, I adored this movie as a kid. I remember watching it on VCR and singing along with the catchy tunes throughout the film. For that reason, I was so excited to see how they transitioned it from an old classic to the big screen. There also are some great actors in the film such as Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, and Bill Murray. This movie also got amazing ratings from Rotten Tomatoes; it got almost a perfect 100% which is almost unheard of. Even after hearing all of these wonderful things about the film, I was still a little nervous because I hoped that the producers made sure to keep along with the story that so many of us know and love. 

I have to say that I was very pleased at the end of the movie. The storyline was followed very well and the animations were incredible! It really felt like you were in the jungle with Mowgli, Bagheera, and Baloo. I do have to say that there were a few dark parts in the film; this seems to happen often when there are new renditions of classic Disney movies. I actually think those parts added to the overall experience and drama of the movie, though. The actors that were casted to voice the characters were phenomenal choices. It could not have been a better casted movie.

I absolutely recommend this to all families to go and enjoy a great movie together. Remember that Tuesdays are $5.25 movie days at Cinemark! Movie to watch out for : Finding Dory . This movie is going to be a continuation of Finding Nemo (my favorite animated movie!). 

Great Book I Recently Read and Recommend…

Recently, I finished a fantastic book about survival, resilience, and redemption called “Unbroken” that was written by Laura Hillenbrand. It follows the incredible story of Louie Zamperini and his experiences during WWII as an Air Force Pilot. Louie was a trouble maker when he was a child but actually turned out to be a record-breaking track runner. He even went on to the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936. Unfortunately, his track career got put on hold once he enlisted in the army air corps to become a bombardier. He had many complications and near death experiences throughout his time in the army air corps, but I do not want to go into those so as to not ruin those parts of the book for you. All I am going to say is that what happened to him next could be straight out of a fiction novel!

A movie was actually recently made from this book that was directed by Angelina Jolie. I read the book first and then watched the movie (which I think is the way you should always do it), and I was quite pleased with how the movie pretty accurately portrayed the events in the book. Now, it would be extremely hard to pack all of the information in the book into a two hour movie, but the main content was all there and was represented well.

I really recommend this book to you all. I am not usually a fan of war stories, but this particular novel really inspired me and affected me. Books that can do that to the reader are the best kind there are! I hope you will read the book (then watch the movie) and let me know what you think of it!