Monday, May 12, 2014

Chapter 14, Thinking Positively about the Future, May 12-18



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Over the years of my working with students, one of the lifetime goals most mentioned is "happiness." I worry about happiness goals because I'm not sure if we know what happiness is or when we have accomplished this goal. I just read a book on the topic, Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman. He is a psychologist who actually teaches college courses on this topic. The following are some excerpts from his text. Please read these excerpts, think about them and add your comments. 

Excerpts from Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman:

Real happiness comes from identifying, cultivating and using your personal strengths in work, love, play and parenting. Seligman contrasts happiness with hedonism. He says that a hedonist "wants as many good moments and as few bad moments as possible in life." He states that hedonism is a shortcut to happiness that leaves us feeling empty. For example, we often assume that more material possessions will make us happy. However, the more material possessions we have, the greater the expectations and we no longer appreciate what we have. 

Seligman suggests some ideas to increase happiness. 1. Realize that the past does not determine your future. The future is open to possibilities. 2. Be grateful for the good events of the past and place less emphasis on the bad events. 3. Build positive emotions through forgiving and forgetting. 4. Work on increasing optimism and hope for the future. 5. Find out what activities make you happy and engage in them. Spread these activities out over time so that you will not get tired of them. 6. Take the time to savor the happy times. 7. Take time to enjoy the present moment. 8. Build more flow into your life. Flow is the state of gratification we feel when totally absorbed in an activity that matches our strengths. 

Write your comments on these ideas. What does happiness mean to you?

Share some of your intention statements for the future. You can make two posts of 100 words each or one post of 200 words. 

Your postings have been inspiring and awesome. Best wishes for the future! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chapter 13, Appreciating Diversity, May 5-11

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One of the most exciting scientific accomplishments of this century is Human Genome Project which is the cataloging of human genes. This will lead to great understanding of the human body and advance medical science. One of the most important findings is that while human beings differ in outward appearance, the genetic structure of all human beings is 99.9% identical. These researchers agree that there is only one race, the human race. 

However we continue to struggle with the concept of appreciating diversity, and discrimination and prejudice still exist in many forms. For example, you may have been discriminated against because of your ethnic group, religion, height, weight, gender, disability, or even academic skills. For this discussion, give an example of a circumstance where you have experienced or witnessed discrimination. Any ideas on how to reduce discrimination? 

I will share an example of discrimination that I experienced. I started my doctoral program at USC when I was 8 months pregnant. After the first class the professor took me aside and suggested that I drop out of the program because of my family situation. I was really angry and decided to show him that I would finish. I am happy to report that I was one of the first three students to finish the program.

At Cuyamaca College, we have many Chaldean students who are Christians who have emigrated from Iraq to avoid religious persecution. Since the attacks of 9-11, this group has faced discrimination at our college. Whenever there is anything about terrorism in the news, many students who are from the Middle East suffer discrimination even though they have nothing to do with terrorism. Any comments on this? 

This week you can make one post of 200 words (instead of 2 of 100 words each) if you want since the topic of appreciating diversity or describing incidents of discrimination might need more words.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Chapter 12, Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle, April 28-May 4

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Chapter 12 contains health information for college students in the areas of nutrition, avoiding addictions, protection from disease, getting enough sleep and dealing with stress. It is based on the premise that we will be living longer in the 21st Century. Also a college education is a big investment and it is important to enjoy the benefits over a long lifetime. Here are some ideas for discussion. You can also add any topic related to health or college and career success. You can make one comment of 200 words or two comments of 100 words each.

These facts are well known: 

•         Smoking causes lung cancer.
•         One out of three Americans is overweight or obese.
•         Illegal drug use is addictive and limits success.
•         Not getting enough sleep is harmful to health and learning.
•         Not practicing monogamous or safe sex can lead to STD’s including AIDS.

Knowing this information, why do people continue to smoke, overeat, take illegal drugs, miss out on sleep or practice unsafe sex?


Assume that you are writing magazine article, "The Five Most Important Steps to Maintaining Your Good Health." What ideas would you include in this article?


Share some of your intention statements for maintaining your good health. 


Watch any of these videos and make a comment about one of them:

Know the Dangers of Not Getting Enough Sleep

I wish all of you good health! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chapter 11, Thinking Critically and Creatively, April 21-27

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For this week, make two comments. For the first comment, give an example of a fallacy in reasoning. See my examples below. For the second comment, give your answers to the creative thinking questions below. Have fun with the creative thinking. 

Critical Thinking:

Give an example of a fallacy in reasoning. Here are some examples: 1. When my children were very young, I would tell them to brush their teeth in the evening. I told them that if they did not brush their teeth, the sugar bugs would eat their teeth all night and eventually their teeth would turn green and fall out. By predicting dire consequences, we try to influence behavior. This is an example of using slippery slope. Maybe some of you child development majors would have a better way of getting children to brush their teeth, but this worked for me. 2. Here is another example: When my daughter was in middle school, she died her blond hair black. I asked her why she did it and she said that she was tired of blond jokes. She was the victim of the stereotype that all blondes are dumb. 3. You will also find many examples of fallacies in reasoning in commercials and political speeches. Can you provide other examples of fallacies in reasoning?

Creative Thinking:


For the creative thinking part, read about creativity and brainstorming and have a little fun with this exercise. Provide at least 3 answers to these questions: 1. How is a peanut like you? Here are my answers. 1. A peanut is wrinkled, like me. 2. A peanut is curvy like me. 2. I have a hard outer shell and a soft inner shell. How is a peanut like going to college? In every classroom there are at least 2 nuts, the instructor and at least one student. The squares on the peanut remind me of rows of chairs in the classroom. 3. There is usually something good on the inside.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chapter 10, Communication and Relationships, April 7-13

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Chapter 10, Communication and Relationships

The chapter on communication provided some ideas for improving communication. Are any of these ideas helpful to you? For the blog this week, make 1 post of 200 words or 2 of 100 words each. You can also comment or expand on another student's posting.

You can describe how you plan to apply some of the ideas in this chapter to improving communication with your children, boss, friends or parents or anyone who is important in your life.

You can also read the scenarios below and use your knowledge of personality type to suggest ways to improve the communication. For a quick review of personality type, click on Do What You Are on the front page of your portfolio on CollegeScope.  You can comment on one or more of the scenarios.  Remember to think about personality type and how it influences communication as you write your comments.  

Scenario 1 (E and I):

Mary and Carol are roommates and are discussing paying bills for the apartment that they share. Mary is upset because Carol paid the phone bill late. The more that Mary talks, the quieter Carol becomes. This causes Mary to become even more upset. Mary starts talking in a loud voice and Carol leaves the room. How can they improve communication?

Scenario 2 (S and N):

A sensing type and an intuitive type are on a first date. What is each likely to talk about?

Scenario 3 (T and F):

Rachel and Jim have been married about a year. Rachel complains to Jim that he never says, "I love you" anymore. Jim replies that he would not have married Rachel if he didn't love her. How can they improve communication?

Scenario 4 (J and P):


Students in a business class are assigned as a group project to design a business plan. This is an evening class and has mostly adults who have busy schedules with work, family and school. Mike is a highly motivated student who wants to get the group organized and complete the project quickly. Mike is getting irritated at John because he cannot decide on a topic and get going. John keeps coming up with different creative ideas for the business plan. John is getting irritated at Mike because he thinks that Mike is trying to control the group. How can this group work together to complete a successful project?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Chapter 9, Test Taking, March 31-April 6

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Chapter 9, Test Taking

Please read the chapter on test taking and make comments on two of these questions:

1. Students often say, “I am not a good test taker.” What ideas in this chapter would be helpful to this student?

2. Look at this YouTube video, “Test Stress Reduction the Navy Seals Way.”  This 3 minute video shows some ways to be successful “when the world is on fire.”  Share your comments on the video.  Can the Navy Seals techniques be used in college and in life in general? (Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S9YsqERT34).  

3. What are some suggestions for dealing with text anxiety?

3. How do you study for a math test?

4. What is the ideal way to review for a test?

5. What are some disadvantages of cramming for a test and how can you avoid cramming?

6. What is your best idea for studying for exams?

7. Comment on another student's post. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Chapter 8, Taking Notes, Writing and Speaking, March 24-30



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This week read the chapter on taking notes, writing and speaking and then make two comments on any of these topics: 


Psychologist and philosopher William James said, “The essence of genius is knowing what to overlook.” How can you take steps toward being a genius by being selective at school, at work or in your personal life? 

Many students have difficulties with writing assignments because of writer’s block. Read the section on writer’s block in the text and comment on some ideas that you can use to overcome it. 

Write some intention statements about what you will do to become a better writer or note taker.

Do you have any ideas about how to relax while speaking in public?

Ask a question or discuss any aspect of college success that is relevant to your college experience at this point.     

Make a comment on another student's post.