The Student Success Triangle (Ok, It’s More Like The Life Success Triangle…)

How many students do you know that only focus on their grades?

When you’re spending years of your life and taking on debt to invest in your success, this is a terrible practice. When I interviewed Wine Library TV/VaynerMedia founder and all-around brilliant guy Gary Vaynerchuk, he had the same opinion:

“I’m completely baffled as to why people think amassing debt to get a piece of paper that everyone else has and doing nothing else to set themselves up for success is a good idea.”

As I’ve thought more and more about this, I’ve come to the solid conclusion that students who do this are massively limiting their potential. In fact, they can only reach 1/3 of it by sticking only to the books. That’s because they’re neglecting two other areas of equal importance. Read More…

How To Avoid Black And White Thinking: A Marriage Of Heuristics And Precision

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize again and again that black-and-white thinking is one of the most unproductive and misleading ways of looking at the world.

“Political Party X is wrong. College is always a good investment. Notes must be taken on notebook paper. You’ve got to take a stance on this issue. Decide now!

One of the many problems with this approach is the issue of precision. When asked for an opinion on a certain issue, how can you make that judgement without knowing the issue’s details?

Many issues are deceptively simple when presented in the form that humans understand intuitively; that is, when they’re presented in language. Read More…

Progression Does Not End At Graduation

I walk really fast. I mean, there might be cultures in the world where the average walking speed is faster than mine, but at least in the U.S. and Japan, you could say I set my pace with posthaste.

It doesn’t help that I’m a broad-shouldered, 200-pound dude – but at least my years of DDR addiction have enabled me to somewhat gracefully dance through crowds without much shoulder jostling.

However, my walking speed today isn’t nearly what it was during my first couple years of college. During my academic years, the only apt description for my style of walking was “booking it” – pun intended.

Why? Well, you see, I had this irrational idea that I had to achieve ALL THE THINGS.

do all the things

I’m a pretty goal-oriented person, as you might know, and during my first couple years of college I thought I basically had to achieve everything before I graduated.

In my mind, once I crossed the stage, framed my degree, and got a job, that was it. The buck stopped there.

Of course, I didn’t truly believe that – I knew there was ample opportunity to advance, get promoted, keep learning, etc. I mean, that’s obvious, right? College isn’t the only place to learn and grow… right? Read More…

How I’m Using Twitter To Learn Japanese

Without thinking too hard about it, let your intuitive brain try to convert the following sentence from text into imagined sound:


Unless you’re Japanese, or one of the few people who have learned it as a second tongue, you probably imagined, well… gibberish.

And you’d be completely justified in doing that. Foreign languages aren’t exactly easy to understand, especially when they’re written using symbols that you don’t know how to pronounce.

On my most recent trip to Japan (this past May), gibberish was mainly what I was still hearing. My Japanese studies in between my first trip and this one had been lackluster, to say the least; I had finally learned all of hiragana, but my grammar and ability to put together sentences was still severely lacking.

As a result, most things people said to me made no sense.

Well, no longer. Ever since returning from my second trip, my resolve to learn Japanese has been incredibly strong. I’ve managed to make time for studying almost every day for the past few months, and since returning I’ve shoved over 130 kanji and over 220 vocabulary words into my brain. My grasp of Japanese grammar is steadily improving as well.

One of the more recent methods of learning I’ve come up with is using Twitter. 

I’ve set up a completely new Twitter account specifically for learning Japanese, and after about a week of using it, I can safely say it’s a very effective tactic for learning any language. Read More…

My Quest To Build An iPhone App (Or, How To Get Out Of A Required Class)

The red and white-dominated screen stared right back at me, daring me to second-guess its sobering proclamation. 2,073,600 pixels all banded together to thrust a singular message down my optic nerves and right into my occipital lobe:

“A night class. A. Night. Class.”

That was my option? My only option? After almost four years of careful planning, multiple trips to the advisor’s office, meticulous scrutinization of the course catalog and major requirements, and no small amount of Excel gymnastics – this is what it had come to?

It seemed so. To complete my MIS major, the project I had dedicated almost 1/5th of my life to, I would have to take a night class. No other option presented itself on the course scheduler.

In a dance of alignment that merited astrological likening, the school, professors, schedules, FORTRAN-based computer systems, and – not least – the very quarks in my little corner of the universe had all colluded to force me into this decidedly disagreeable class arrangement.

This could not be allowed. Something had to be done. And so a plan was hatched. Read More…

Greatest Professor Of All Time: Richard Feynman

I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there. 

This quote marks the start of James Gleick’s Geniusa 438-page biography and tribute to one of humanity’s greatest scientists – Richard Feynman.

Richard Feynman is a legend.

Ranked as one of the 10 greatest physicists of all time, Feynman contributed a staggering amount to our understanding of the universe.

Feynman taught himself trigonometry, analytic geometry, calculus, and a host of other advanced math topics at the age of 15. After high school, he attended MIT and afterward become the first person in history to attain a perfect score on the math and physics portions of the Princeton entrence exam.

In the 1940’s, he joined the Manhattan project at Los Alamos and helped the Allies to develop the atomic bomb before Nazi Germany could do it. Read More…

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