Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making the world worse: sharing passwords

The Associated Press and at least one other periodical have reported that some employers are asking for Facebook credentials – usernames and passwords – in job interviews. The ACLU has commented on it, calling it a gross violation of privacy.

Privacy aside (privacy is an important issue, but not my topic here), there's something that needs to be addressed here. I'll sum it up in a single sentence:

Never share a password with anyone – ever.

You may say I'm a dreamer

I think the valedictorian at my high school had a GPA of over 4.5. I remember that I had friends who would avoid taking a class because it wasn't honors or AP and would bring down their GPA, even if they got an A. My approach was to take the hardest (and therefore most beneficial) classes that taught things I wanted to learn. Needless to say, I did not have a 4.5.

But when I went to college, my GPA was too low to even apply for the scholarship I wanted. I worked hard to get good grades. Towards the end of my undergraduate education, I started to realize that I'd made a huge mistake: I was trying to get good grades instead of trying to learn. I began focusing on internalizing the material instead of just succeeding. I learned more, enjoyed it more, and my grades were at least as good as before.

I'm glad I learned that lesson as early as I did but wish I'd learned it earlier. Since then, I've learned a lot about how I learn and about how others learn. I've also learned about how our educational systems could improve. This post describes the problems as I see them and my suggestions for how to improve them.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I'll start a summer internship in a month and a half across the country from where I live. Since it will take me so far away from the people I love, I've been thinking a lot about friendship in general and my friends in particular. I've been thinking about the times that I have entered a new setting (by moving or starting a new job, for example) and about the joys and sorrows this has brought to me. In this post, I'll endeavor to describe what friendship means to me. I hope that my friends who read this will have a deeper understanding of their significance in my life – something I try to communicate daily but something that I fear is not generally understood.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Following a choir director (or how not to date)

I've been practicing with a choir for a few weeks in preparation for a big performance. The choir has a different director for each of the three songs we've been practicing and each of them has a unique style of directing. As is to be expected when styles differ, there are things that I like and that I don't like about their different conducting styles.

Since conducting music is essentially communicating, I realized that the things that I don't like about their styles typify some common problems in interpersonal communication. So I'll describe what I dislike about each one's style and why and then relate it to interpersonal communication, especially in dating.

I'd add again that I like these men. I appreciate what they've taught me and hope they won't take offense at this, particularly in light of the fact that each of them is a more qualified conductor than I.