AP Exams and Stress

With AP tests coming up, it’s hard not to be constantly worried. With how stressful and long the tests are, how can any student not be bogged down studying and stressing? Well, I for one am not actually too worried. Why, you might ask? There are a multitude of reasons, but when it comes down to it, there’s no point in me worrying about tests I already plan to study for. There’s no reason to stress over a test that I’ve already set aside time to study for. This brings me to my next topic: stress and planning.

Photo ©2011 by Eamon Curry [CC BY 2.0]

Photo ©2011 by Eamon Curry [CC BY 2.0]

As I’m sure all of us can agree, going in blind into any situation isn’t the easiest thing to do. Just as going into the wilderness without a map can be scary and dangerous, so can going into a school week without a plan. If I know I have a difficult math test coming up or anything I am nervous for, I start writing out a schedule. Not only does it give me a sort of road-map to follow that is custom-made for my schedule, but it also allows me to relax. Once I’ve realized that I have time to study and that “everything’s gonna be alright,” I can be more proactive with what I should be doing in the moment. Time and time again, it has been shown that one of the greatest fears humans have is the fear of the unknown. This is where most of our natural stress comes from. When we don’t know what we’re facing, it’s all we can think about until that moment of uncertainty passes.
Throughout my life, I’ve personally struggled to not worry so much about what the future may hold. Nowadays, though, I just think to myself the same thoughts: “I’ve been worried before, and it’s always worked out alright in the end. Just focus, plan ahead, and get the job done.” Although I still retain a little bit of that worried attitude, these thoughts do help me to focus on the now rather than the future, which is most important.

– Bryan Clements

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Resourcefulness

It has become natural for me to use what I have and go for it. Jumping in and taking chances has become part of my everyday life.

Photo @2014 by Blake Patterson [CC BY 2.0]

Photo @2014 by Blake Patterson [CC BY 2.0]

When I was thirteen, I wanted my own computer. Having no money, I asked myself, “What do I have right now that can make this happen?” I then remembered that my dad had several broken computers. Having worked on computers with him before, I thought, “What if I put the working parts together in the right way to make one functional computer?” My mind raced with anticipation. With great tenacity I began working. Methodically, I put the necessary parts together and soon enough, it was up and running.

Happy with what I had created, I thought about the question I asked myself and the resourcefulness involved. The question, “What do I have right now that can make it happen?” started me thinking. What if I applied this question along with those same characteristics of tenacity and confidence to any endeavor I undertook? I made it a point to have this mindset and apply it daily. When things seemed impossible, I thought of what I had, intellectually or materially, to start things off. As a result, I began reaching more goals. As my accomplishments grew, so did my dreams. Before I knew it, I began picturing myself starting my own company based on a new technology I have yet to develop.

Today, I may not necessarily have the same dreams and aspirations that I once did about possibly starting my own company and what not, but the ideas of taking risks and resourcefulness remain true. In fact, I’d like to think that those traits have helped me a lot in school, usually with projects and critical thinking skills. For example, when I had a few english projects in tenth grade, I not only thought about the task at hand in a critical step-by-step method, but I also thought of the deeper meaning behind the task. Why are we doing this project? When will the skills this is providing me with come in handy? By asking myself these questions, I’ve come a long way in understanding why teachers assign me the things they do.

But out of all the skills required for success, resourcefulness and hard work, the crucial steps between inspiration and success, are what matter most.

 

-Bryan Clements

Family Influence

I’d like to share with you a bit about the person in my life who has impacted my life in so many ways. As cliché as it obviously is, my father has had a great influence on me in several ways. One characteristic he seems to have instilled in me is that of remaining calm in the face of adversity or calamity. Many were the times he would admonish me, though not in these exact words, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. His outwardly calm demeanor, as we dealt together with some of life’s minor “tragedies”, stands out quite significantly in my memory.

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Photo @ 2008 by DeusXFlorida [CC by 2.0]

One such occasion comes to mind as I recall a summer camping trip to a local lake. As was usually the case, shortly after arriving at said lake, I quickly went about the task of collecting some of the local amphibious fauna: juvenile toads to be precise. Also as usual, my father relented and allowed me to bring them back home. It soon became apparent that feeding the little creatures would be a daily chore which we both took on. What also soon became apparent was that despite our best efforts, they were dying.  One by one, they were all succumbing to a mysterious stiffening of their bodies, a gradual rigor mortis if you will. Of course, I was heartbroken and of course my father was there with his reassuring manner, convincing me that they were all better off, having gone to toad heaven.

After having spent so much time with him as a kid, it’s easy to approach him today and talk to him about anything that’s troubling me, whether it’s the struggles of school or just personal thoughts. In fact, just the other day, I asked him after school one day whether or not school was as difficult in the 60’s as it is today. He answered in a brief explanation, saying that things were different at the time, and even though the academic course load was much less rigorous, there were different challenges of the times. I thought this might have just been one of those run-around answers, but I came to realize it was more or less true.

– Bryan Clements

Is College Worth the Effort?

On my last blog, I vented quite a bit about the competitiveness of college admissions for the University of California system. This week, I would like to take the subject of college in a bit of a different direction. The question, “Is a college education really worth the time, money and effort?”

All of my life I have been told that I need to study hard to get into a good college so that I can have a career that I can support myself with. It has been hammered into my head so long and I never questioned it. Year after year I toil, AP and Honors classes since I was a freshman. I even got a head start on Spanish and math in middle school, taking high school geometry and Spanish I. Now I am taking college classes in high school to get ahead in college.

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Photo @ 2010 by Sean MacEntee [CC by 2.0]

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This Too Shall Pass

This post will piggyback on one of my previous posts – You Do You. I felt rushed and I was unable to articulate my thoughts accurately at the time, so this post will be a clearer, more elaborate post. My inspiration this time around was actually from a picture I found on Flickr, with a very profound quote which I felt I could analyze and view from my own life’s point of view.

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Photo ©2003 by Adam Bramwell [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]

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Parents May Never Show It But…

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Photo ©2013 by Clement Soh [CC-BY-2.0]

As I went to mass for Ash Wednesday. I sat down and noticed something that really brought to a pensive mood. It was these parents sitting in front of me giving care to there little kids Usually this would be something we’d consider ordinary, but as the priest mentioned during the homilee, “I know some of you younger kids don’t realize it. You’re parents have been through a lot for you to be standing here in mass today.”, Now growing up many of us tend to have arguments with our parents over things we have disagreement in, but often times we forget how they do try their best to give you everything they can offer.  Continue reading

You Do You

Today was a different kind of day, which I cannot put into better words than “insightful.” Life has its ups and downs, but you are unable to know the great days without having the terrible ones. Today was one of those fortuitous days where everything could not have gone better, no matter how you sow the quilt.

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Photo ©2010 by CutenessAreej [CC BY-ND 2.0]

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