Wednesday, June 24, 2015


It has been a month since the semester ended. Now when I look back to something during the semester that was special, the discussion group would come up as an important one for sure. 
At the beginning of the discussion, topics seemed to be a little blurry and novel for me. The idea of “being in flow”, or the word “puttering” didn’t make sense when I first heard of them. Being exposed to those new ideas, I kept feeling surprised during the process. The more I realized that I was ignorant, the more excited I was for the discussion. 

One thing that I became more comfortable with from the discussion is writing. To be honest, before taking Professor Arvan’s class, I was bothered by writing essays. Writing my ideas out in my second language does make me struggle for some time. However, when writing the blog post became a routine for the whole semester, plus it lasted for another semester during the discussion group, I found myself be more comfortable because I don’t need to translate my ideas from Chinese to English. Instead the ideas came out more fluently just in English. It is also a great way to clear my mind and capture some flickering fun ideas.

But more importantly, the discussion group affects the way I look at things and my understanding of college life. In my freshman year, I had this dream to become a student get good grades and perform excellently in all courses, which was the traditional standard for “a good student” back in China. Grades somehow could prove that I learned something instead of wasting my time. Also I was ambitious in taking courses. When I started getting interested in Psychology, I enrolled for it as second major and took many higher-level courses in my sophomore year. After joining the discussion group, I started to ask myself what really matters during college life. Whether I make learning process fun, or whether I was seeking for creativity in any field? These questions haunt me and give me motivation to make reflections to myself from time to time. 

During this summer, as a rising junior, I’ve been wondering what I really learned from two-year college life. What conforms with idea in the group discussion is that there is no relationship between grades and how much I learned from that course. It might be frustrating for not getting a good grade. But it doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn anything from that. It is much more self-fulfilling when I learn a new skill, listen to new ideas, or complete a goal with a team. Because of the discussion group, now I have the ability to step outside of me and have higher self-awareness in why I do things and make certain choices. It becomes more natural for me to have a habit to search for a new way in doing things such as keeping calendar, the way I work out, and also in my job. It is still difficult but fun when I achieve one goal in a different way. Self-reflection, creativity in life, and a wider mind of ideas are crucial things that I could carry on with the rest of my study and working life.


  1. Nicole - thanks for that reflection. I hope it is useful to you in the future. The writing may be an example of a more general issue that you should consider. This is whether to devote practice on things that you struggle with or if instead to concentrate you time on things that you can readily master. Some new skills don't come quickly at all. And sometimes you might try things that require background that you don't yet have. The result can be failure and disappointment. If you haven't experienced much of that it can be tough the first time you go through it. You might think that college would be a good time for that sort of experience as well, to learn how you react to it.

    At some point you mentioned the reading list I had created (for a different purpose than our discussion group). Let me mention one book on it, Marion Milner's On Not Being Able to Paint. Milner was a professional psychologist and an amateur painter. You might be in a good place now to appreciate reading it and it might help you consider your own motivation over the next to years. So if you can find the time for it, I'd encourage that. I believe the Library has a copy,

    1. Thank you for your suggestions. When I think of the times that I was struggling and failed, I actually learned a lot in those unpleasant experience. And sometimes these experience could lead to more curiosity.
      It's a great time that you recommend the book. I'll probably get one copy. When I finish maybe I could share my ideas with you.