Today I Connected To…

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Me trying to learn my smartphone camera. It’s a work in progress.

Today, I was a busy bee. I didn’t make time for any fun math problems (oxymoron?) or any crazy, to-do list items that needed to be tackled (like cleaning the ceiling fans, behind the fridge, or the toilet…yuck) because I was applying for jobs left and right. Though it was only 6 jobs, they took a huge chunk out of my day. I’m definitely not complaining. Even though I grew tired with the monotonous, same questions popping up and filling in my employment history again and again, even when I had uploaded my resume, it’s nice to be putting my feelers out there and doing it hardcore.

In addition to job hunting, I’ve spent ample time on my school assignments, while taking a few breaks here and there for my beloved Cracked.com (hey, you have to do something while you eat; what are you, a barbarian?) and looking up random questions on poverty and cognitive function (see my previous post).

After this busy day of, well, sitting on my butt and doing a bunch of reading and writing (anything sounds dumb when you whittle it down to its core elements), I went out for pizza with my family, who was meeting up with another family that my dad has met before. The family has 3 special needs children. They were very nice and sweet, and they thought I was hilarious, which is always a plus, but I was definitely ready to go. There’s something taxing and hectic about being at a table full of people, 5 of them in total being kids.

So I’m back home, taking a last hurrah (and my last Starbucks bottled Frap) of the day before plunging back into work for the night.

I bid thee farewell for now. If you’d like to share any interesting/funny stories from your day or life, I’m always glad to listen!

How Poverty Affects the Brain

How Poverty Affects the Brain

 

Just a random thought I had floating around in my head after reading an article yesterday. What does being poor do to you mentally?

When you grow up with financial struggles that the middle class does not have, how does it affect you intellectually?

The linked article is not new; in fact, I think I saw someone share it on Facebook last year, but it’s very interesting. It’s not saying poor people aren’t smart, just that they are just so mentally and emotionally exhausted that they don’t have the capacity for other things. My dad has said similar things now that he and his wife have started making more money. With less stress for finances, they have more room to think and grow in other areas.

The same author did a follow up article, which I find equally fascinating. It’s about how the effects of poverty can even continue in Adulthood. Interesting reads.

Just some things I was pondering and decided to look up today. More to come later today. 🙂

Today’s Re-Plug

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My living room is clean and organized! This looming to-do list item kept getting pushed off with the excuse that my child would just destroy it again roughly 2 minutes later. It makes me feel good though to de-clutter the place–and I hauled off a few things he no longer plays with in the process.

Throughout the day, I’ve stayed focused on school work and writing, devoting my mental capacity strictly to what I was doing at the moment. No opening Tumblr up every few minutes (literally), no stopping to watch 3 youtube videos when I’ve only been working for a solid 8 minutes. It’s nice to keep the momentum and focus for awhile before taking a break. I seem to be more productive and less scatter-brained.

I hit the Subjunctive mood hard today in Spanish, and I’m about to dive further into the sexy reading of Al Gore’s book The Future, per my Applied Writing class assignment. Then, I will be working with renewed energy and focus on an article for a writing client of mine that I’ve been struggling to write for lately.

I feel a bit tired today, though I got in some unexpected and unintentional exercise. I proudly bought some vegetables today for the first time in a few months. That was a nice, small step to make.

What I Re-plugged into Today

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This is a picture of Khan Academy. It helped me a lot in Biology I and II. Dr. Khan makes really helpful videos about numerous science concepts. This is the math portion. When you sign up for an account, they treat it like a game. You get points for watching videos, and you “unlock” achievements. Those blue blocks on the right fill in and become darker as you practice or master a specific skill or lesson within Math.

I wanted to learn more science stuff, but when I signed up, I got sucked into doing Math, instead. Something I never thought I’d say.

After getting my math on at Khan Academy, I turned on some nature sounds (PARTY!!!) and got to work on a school assignment. Way before I would normally work on it. Because procrastination is for losers. I took a break to clean the kitchen.

It felt nice and productive.

My day ended with four hours of (lousy) football and playing with my child, so I didn’t get so much done on my school assignment. But that’s okay! You can’t work/stay focused forever. And honestly, that’s not what the Unplug Initiative is about. It’s just about bettering yourself and encouraging you to take a break from social media and smartphones.

I didn’t climb Mt. Everest or win any Olympic medals, but the dishes are no longer dirty and I know how to find the prime factor of a number again, so I feel great.

 

How the Unplug Initiative Started

I just got a smartphone a few days ago. It quickly became my arch-nemesis. Now, I’m not one of those anti-technology people. I don’t tout myself as a non-conformist, or some other similar title that I have outgrown along with my teen years, but I felt a little sickened, a little threatened by what lay at my fingertips. It was, in short, the whole world.

Not just communication via phone, text, and email, but app upon app that would make my social media presence easier, too. There’s also games–lots of games–music, and other stuff that I honestly don’t know about because I’m already overwhelmed typing this much about it. I feel like a foreigner in a strange land. I’m afraid of what it’s doing to our culture and society, but you don’t even need to be obsessed with your phone to know that. I don’t want to ban smartphones, or other mobile technology, nor do I want to shut down all the inane forms of entertainment that keep growing as we advance as a nation.

I’m just fed up. So I’m going to do something about it. I haven’t traded in my smartphone (yet), and I still have all my social media profiles up. But I’m making a point to reconnect and focus on other things instead. It’s one thing to pop in on Facebook or Tumblr to catch up on things and even enjoy some luxury time. But for far too many of us it has become an addiction. Not only does it suck up time while we procrastinate, but it’s precious time I could be spent learning something I’m interested in or honing a skill I have or visiting the farmer’s market I keep saying I’m gonna go to or, literally anything else.

It’s about time I do something. Thus was born The Unplug Initiative.

Here it goes: the things I learn, discover, do, and find out. Join me and share, if you want.