Monthly Archives: May 2017

30 Day Challenge

I was searching for some material today for our freshman experience course when I came across this Ted Talk by Matt Cutts:

Try Something New for 30 Days

There are all sorts of 30-Day Challenges out there. You can improve your abs, your thighs, your chest, your arms, etc. You can write a poem, take a photo, clean some part of your house, even perform a random act of kindness each day.

There are various reasons for the popularity of these challenges:

  • They are short enough to actually complete. The end is always in sight.
  • They are long enough to establish a pattern.
  • Maybe most important of all, to commitmentphobes like me, they don’t carry the same kind of emotional weight as a goal or a resolution.

So tomorrow I’m going to start a 30-day challenge. I haven’t quite made up my mind yet about what it’s going to be. (Stay tuned!)

Why don’t you join me by taking up a challenge of your own?


Summer Term

A student stopped me in the parking lot this afternoon and asked, “Is summer always like this?” She pointed at the few cars in our parking lot.

I nodded and said that summers are certainly slower than the other semesters.

She shrugged and said, “Well, it’s boring.”

I was tempted to yell after her, “You should have been here last week.” But that didn’t seem very professional.


Monday Motivator: Graduation Advice from the Jolly Librarian

Here, in no particular order, are some guidelines for graduates from the Jolly Librarian:

  1.  Celebrate your accomplishment. It’s a big deal to earn a degree. Even if other people don’t recognize your accomplishment, don’t let that stop you from celebrating. Buy yourself a present. Eat a big piece of cake. Do something that makes you happy.
  2. Don’t celebrate forever. It’s easy after graduation to think that you need a break. But that break should have a definite endpoint. Then it’s time to start to think about your next step: a job, another degree, volunteer work, etc.
  3. Always be kind. In an age of social media, we have more than enough people who want to disparage ideas, ridicule people, and destroy others’ egos. We need more folks who take the high road.
  4. Check your sources. And not just on your research papers. People send out a lot of fake news, half-baked information, and twisted propaganda. If you don’t have time to check the accuracy of something, don’t resend, retweet, or share.
  5. Have fun. No, I’m not going to give you that old “Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in  your life” speech. I don’t believe it. All jobs, all vocations, all choices require some work. I’m sure there are days that The Rolling Stones think they will fall over dead if they have to play “Brown Sugar” one more time. All jobs have tedious, hard moments. But jobs, no matter what they are, also provide moments for happiness and fun. Find those moments.
  6. Give back. No accomplishment is a singular achievement. When I wrote my dissertation, I was alone in a room, but I had help: the ILL librarians who managed to find books and documents from far way, the colleagues who gave me encouragement and support, even the guy at the car place in Pennsylvania who gave me a fair deal on a Honda when I totaled my Sentra the first week of my Ph,D. program.  When I think about all the help I’ve been given, I can’t help but want to help others. I hope you will too.

Happy day, all you graduates out there!

Monday Motivator: Break a Bad Mood

A couple of days ago, I had a terrible day at work. Every decision I made was questioned, and by the end of the day, I had a headache and doubted my ability to get anything done. All I wanted was someone to be nice to me. (Or in lieu of that, a giant raspberry chocolate ice cream cone.)

As I was leaving the parking lot, I saw that a car with a student sticker had its lights on. (It had been a rainy day, and the student had probably forgotten to turn the lights off after parking.) I found one of our security guards,and he started the hunt to find the student.

As I was driving home, I realized I was feeling better. My headache had lessened, and I found myself singing along to my playlist. I had contributed in making someone else’s day better. A student would not come out after a long class to find that his battery had died. That made me happy.

And so I accidentally discovered the solution to a bad mood: It was not finding someone to feel sorry for me.

It was helping someone else.