Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Updates, Or Random Thoughts

Apparently, I still have a tendency to be lazy from time to time and not take full advantage of things I need to do or get done, one of which includes updating myself on how I've been or what I'm doing. It's true that we all need a break from time to time from our studies, or jobs, and so forth, but to do it too much crosses the line is some ways.

Off topic to something else, I guess a lot of people have been sick, thanks possibly to the season, changes in weather, conditions, etc. This past Friday, I started coughing at night, then on Monday, my nose started running (especially in my right nostril). For the last two nights, I used a technique my stepdad taught me: gargling salt water and inhaling it through the nostrils. (Make sure you spit it out, though.) I've been told it helps reduce the pressure/congestion in the forehead and in the nose for people who have said sickness or conditions. Right now, though, I'm back to coughing - thorough coughing if you will, plus headaches. The nose-dripping has reduced though, so there's an advantage.

Please pray that I'll get better soon, and that others would receive the same.

Other than that, I'm holding up alright in my classes. The one class I've been stressing about a few weeks ago has been better. I've met with my instructor occassionally, which has been helpful. The next step this coming weekend and next week will involve critical thinking skills and attention to detail and such, and not just doing something for the sake of doing it or getting it done (as I've stessed many, many times before). The glass is half full can be a good analogy, even though it's cliche. But it's helpful.

Final thoughts for today: Get rest. Get well. Press on.

Sincerely yours,
B.E. Kerian

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

I would like to take spend this moment in memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 - nine years ago today. I will never forget where I was that day. It was my freshman year of high school, and only the second week of classes. I was sitting in my English class when one of the teachers down the hall came in and said, "Did you hear about those planes that hit?" My English teacher turned on the T.V. right away and my whole class and I saw one of the Twin Towers in smoke. My response was not one of total shock or surprise, but one of worry and confusion, especially as the day went by. The whole school was let out early that afternoon. When my mom picked me and my siblings up from school, I montioned how I thought this was an accident or something. She responding, seriously, that it was not an accident, but an attack.

As the week went by, and a few weeks after that, there was uncertainty in many places around the country, such as how to make people laugh, or where we were gonna go next.

A couple years ago, there was a situation on campus that some people didn't want to have a memorial for 9/11, which concerned one of my professors. (I don't recall the situation exactly.) This kind of neglect feels sad, especially for the families, relatives, and friends of the victims of that tragic day. It's been nine years going on ten next year. This is something that has affected our country immensely, yet it is something we will and must never forget. We must remember the people who gave their lives, who risked what they had for the sake of others, including ourselves. I encourage you all to have a moment of silence in memory of the events, the victims, the families, and the heroes.

Never forget.

God Bless,
B.E. Kerian

If you would like, please share what you remember doing that morning and how it has affected your life since then. (My experience has been mentioned already.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

First of Previous Many / The Advantage of Learning

Last night was the first of many nights I have been through in the last five to six years. I was up until 2:30 this morning and woke up at 7:30, scrambling to get things done - especially toward the hour of 2pm. My work schedule yesterday consisted of a 4-9 evening shift, which meant I had to try to make time between 1-2 and 3-4, as well as past 9, to work on two long readings, an exercise (magazine) lead, a response paper, and three reading assignments (as well as a recap of a previous one).

I've told myself at times, "You're gonna have those rough days," which is exactly what this day was. This morning, it was trying to get so many things done at once in a short amount of time while trying not to stress about it - which is very hard stuff, believe me. At the same time, though, I had to break through the frustration and tell myself to roll with whatever comes out of this day. I had to act my best with where I am in my present character. And I can honestly tell you that the last hour has, in many ways, been relieving. With only three class periods thus far, said class has been really good in terms of class discussion, communication, observation, critiquing and so forth. I still have my worries, primarily in my process as a poetry writer. But again, it's only been the first couple weeks, so I still have more to learn which I can learn.

Some of you may be taking classes that may not be viable to your future endeavors, whateve they may be. But that should not be an excuse to not learn from those classes. You can still get something out of them nonetheless. For me, taking my general education classes my first two to three years of college gave me an idea of what I could alternatively consider pursuing after I graduate.

I want to close with a quote that was put in my High School Graduation scrapbook over five years ago. (Yes, I'm that old.) And with the above in mind, I hope that it can become meaningful and encouraging to you as it has become for me recently.

"Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve." (my emphasis)
- Mary Kay Ash

Carpe diem,
B.E. Kerian

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Stress Is In Again . . . However . . .

Aparently, I'm back in that state again where the stress of schoolwork is kicking in again. Particularly, it's from the one class that generally - out of any other class in a semester - weighs on you the most. I won't mention the name of that class, but stress and worry over it has consumed me this evening.

Yet, I need to remember that I can't let it do so. "Think positive" is a short encouragement we hear a lot, but it is a nice little piece of encouragement that breaks the ice of said stress and lightens the load of it, even if for a while.

The last few days have been a challenge as I've been trying to take things one day at a time and not worry about the whole semester. In addition, I've had thoughts in how my relationships with friends and classmates may go. Will my semester end as one where I studied a lot, or will there be changes or such that have occured? Will there be relationships that continue, that develop? I can't forget my friends, nor those I care about. I hope I can encourage you by saying not to take the small things for granted. Remember those you love and who love you just as much. Remember the moments you share with others, no matter how brief or large they are. And as important as an education is, don't let it consume you 24-7.

Have to get back to studying now, and make sure I get sleep in tonight. Take care, everybody.

Warm regards,
B.E. Kerian

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day Two: Unexpected Pressure . . . but also . . . (Or, Week 1: First Impressions)

I guess out of all the classes I've had so far (Magazine Writing and Editing, Modern American Drama, Poetry Writing), Poetry may be the most intense and challenging for me this semester. It's also not my stongest suit, compared to the other types of writing I can do. I've taken two Creative Writing classes last year, and my experience in both classes, especially last Spring, was kind of mediocre (I felt). It had to do with how I participated in class, how I was prepared for each class, comments I gave, etc. (That last one was an asset I generally lacked.) And I feel a greater pressure this fall as I believe the course/experience will not so much be what I write or what I turn in, but more of how I participate, how I interact and pay attention in class, in group discussions, workshops, and so forth. In addition, I'm asking my self,

How can I do better than I did before?

Not can I do better, but How can I do better? For instance, my syllabus indicates that participation and assignments (to name a few) will be taken seriously. That, to me, means not just showing up to class for the sake of showing up, but actually being prepared to talk, to work, to disect, to engage in conversation, etc. It will be intense, as I feel it will. Yet, I wrote a note to myself, saying, Use it. Use what you can do and learn to be disciplined and to break out of your comfort shell. At the same time, I fear this may mess with my conscience and turn me away from others.

But I can't fear; at least already. It's only the first week of classes, and I need to take it one to two weeks at a time. (I'm kind of back-and-forth with this challenge, but it's a good reminder for me.) As I wrote in one of my last posts, I've been through this several times in my life, as I'm sure we all have. It's just a new stepping stone, a new challenge, a new level in growing and in saying, "I can do better." It's just a question of How.

My advice: If you have a study method that works really well for you, go with it. And, if necessary, grow in it. Experiment, see what works, what doesn't, and see where you can go from there. In that sense, one has hope and anticipation. In closing, here's a passage that is extremely significant in this area of life. I hope it will give you some encouragement as well:

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
~ Hebrews 12:11

Carpe diem,
B.E. Kerian

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day One: Last Time for Now (or, "So Far, So Good")

Okay, I know the above alternative title is cliche, but it's fitting.

This morning consisted of waking up at 7:10; I have kind of a habit of snoozing my alarm clock once or twice. I can't remember if the shower or breakfast came first. Anyway, I had a quiet time for about a half-hour/fourty-five minutes. I then went to see a Student Services counselor to revise my VISA accomodations - alternative testing and extended time only. I then startd reading Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," which I'm hoping to get dome before this Saturday. (I'm going to see a production with some colleagues this weekend at APT.) I started work at the PSC again this morning. Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I work as a Room Supervisor, basically in the center and around the food court and Crossing. I have to leave fifteen minutes before noon, so as to be on time for men's choir. (Don't worry, I have approval. Just need to make sure I let my co-workers know.) The next hour was short, since it was kind of introductory as to what the semester will demand. I was able to do my Choral Placement hearing before I left, which went well. Lunch this afternoon consisted of scrambled eggs and a balogna sandwich, plus water. (I'll have to get the milk later.) I haven't decided if I want to get groceries tonight or if I should get them tomorrow. Anyway, my only class (other then men's choir) today was Modern American Drama. We were already given two reading assignments for next Tuesday, but there short plays. Other than that, I'm not worrying too much.

Other than that, I'm planning to audition for my friend Lizzie's cabaret next week, and for "The Importance of Being Earnest" the following. (Gotta get my British dialect ready!)

My consideration for this semester is focusing on one or two weeks at a time. I can't promise that things will go well, but I do have hopes that I can make it through this. I've been in this situation many, many times, but I'm still standing. And so can you.

To my fellow students and classmates, I hope the first week goes well for you all. Keep looking up. Press on. Have a good time. Take care.

B.E. Kerian

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Career Searching, Determining, Reviewing, etc.

Last night, I was diligently reviewing and listing various career titles in the fields of Theatre, Communications, Film Studies, Creative Writing, and English (in that order), to consider which area(s) I feel I have the capacity and stamina to work in. (I currently have about three pages of possibilities.) I believe I am thus far just as passionate about writing as I am about acting.

Personally (and currently), I don't see acting/performing as a full-time job, though I will still audition certainly. In the meantime, though, I feel writing is the most technical thing I am almost fully capable of doing with my life. (Part of it goes back to the classes I've taken at UW-P in my five years as a student.) In addition, it can be seen as a way to be active and self-disciplined - speaking, again, from said college experience.

In addition, I began making a list of skills I feel I need to develop in said areas. I was unsure at the time whether some or all of these were strengths or weaknesses, but again felt I needed to consider them. I'll be taking three Creative Writing courses this fall to finish off my minor, so considering the following skills will (I hope) benefit in my future endeavors afterwards.

- Knowing view points
- Critical thinking
- Self-analysis
- Attention to detail
- Observation
- Editing
- Self-discipline and -motivation
- Proofreading
- Clarifying ideas
- Oral presentation
- Flexibility (e.g., time-wise, schedule-wise)
- Open to criticism
- Researching
- Problem solving

I was talking to a friend last night who recently sent in an application to go back to college, hopefully in the spring. Yet, she wasn't sure what she was interested in pursuing. I explained to her that part of it (as far as I've learned) depends on what your strengths and weaknesses are, as my theatre professors expalined to me earlier last week, and as I've looked into yesterday. In addition (and I quote my professors), some or many people may not get their dream job right away. A music colleague whom I ran into this past weekend said it kind of like this: Jobn searching/applying is a full-time thing. I'm new to the experience obviously, but I'm beginning to get a sense of what my colleague said.

Life Illustrations: Food Items

I was working the other day and it occured to me: If you're gonna practice what you preach, wouldn't it be interesting if one practiced such things by doing parallel things, like at a job or around the house or what have you.

A few months ago, I started working on a screenplay (which is kind of in limbo currently) involving a grocery store clerk who stocks and organizes food items as part of his job. Actually, it's the part of his job that he finds the most rewarding. Anyway, I have a philosophy that food items in a grocery store should be close to each other when customers see them or look for them. When I organize them - or "face," as we call it - I want to keep the cans close together so that none feel left out.

This may sound ridiculous or giberish to some of you, but, to me, it's an interesting concept of keeping things together. It can also illustrate support or teamwork. It can be just one of many illustrations that helps us understand and value life.

Knowing People

If you focus too much or solely on your own interests or the interests of others, you are blocking what you could really learn about a person. In other words, when you get to know a person, don't focus primarily on what you like or don't like, such as movies, music, games, etc. But get to really know the person. I'm not always perfect at that, as I let me own interests get in the way at times. Yet I feel one should listen to the person in order to understand him/her.

Let me know what you think.