Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Lessons: A Project in Connection

I'm considering starting a project.

I'm going to make myself a little kit. It will have envelopes, paper, pens, stamps... and every week, I'll write a letter to someone. Maybe it will be a friend, if I can get enough of them to send me their up-to-date contact info. Maybe it will be family. Maybe it will be a politician, or a celebrity, or someone I know of who's incarcerated. Maybe it will be someone I remember from long ago.

But I'll write a letter a week.

Connect with people in a personal, if archaic, way.

I hate when people knock on technology and decry our use of it as being too wired, too impersonal... Humans are social creatures, and much of our use of technology is simply extending that even further. I even read a great article which refers to the proprioception that arises from the use of social media.

But that being said, sometimes being a sprinkler gets tiring.

All that whirling, making sure every blade of grass gets watered. Sometimes you have to get out the spray bottle and give specific plants a little TLC. A lot of our relationships are like grass; make sure they get enough water and you don't really run a risk of them shriveling up and dying away. They may not thrive into towering trees or flowering shrubs; but it's grass, that's not what it's for. Not every relationship in your life can, or should, be monumental. Heck, the human brain is only cognitively capable of maintaining 150 true friendships.

But some plants you baby and pamper. You tend them carefully. Not because they're more important than the grass; but because they're the ones you want to see thrive.

I guess I just want to make a point of doing that in my life.

My family never was very good with plants.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer Lessons: Why Buying an iPad Was The Best Decision for Me

I know I've let it fall by the wayside so far, but I'm really hoping that I'll be able to post at least once or twice a week over the summer… I do have a ridiculously overwhelming schedule, but I'm finding that writing, period, is becoming a big priority for me. I find that even if I'm not writing about something emotional, it's still emotionally impactful for me. I suppose it's just the fact that writing organizes my thoughts in a way nothing else does. But that's tangential to the topic of today's post.

Before I get to that though, for those who are interested, my overwhelming schedule is as follows: work from 9am-3pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-4pm on Friday. Practicum from 4-7pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Plus trivia at 8 on Mondays and potentially a weekly movie night at my place on Fridays.

The FiancĂ©'s in the process of moving up here, and I think he's going to be a little disappointed with how much time we're actually going to have together… But anyways, on to the main show!

As per the title of this post, my iPad was definitely one of the best purchasing decisions I have made. It has allowed me to take all my class notes, study efficiently with all the class lectures in one easy to read place, schedule my time more effectively since it turns out I'm much more likely to use a digital agenda than a paper one, research concepts, record lectures... all without dropping the huge chunk of change needed to replace my old dying laptop with a new, useable one. And yes, even have some fun; though I haven't yet found a way to play World of Warcraft on it!

And yet despite its usefulness, I feel like I'm constantly confronted about it. When I had a laptop, that was fine; students need laptops. But an iPad? What do you need that for? What luxury! What extravagance! How dare you!

My name is Veronica and I am a poor, starving student deeply in debt and I have an iPad.

For my undergrad as a film production student, and as a graduation present from my parents, I got a big MacBook Pro in part because I really wanted a Mac, but mostly because my entire department was Mac, I was going to need to use Final Cut Pro. And yes, using Mac did suck me in. Apple took care of any and all problems I had with the hardware, and the software was accessible enough that I could do everything I wanted and configure it to my own specifications without sinking a lot of time into it.

But after my extended warrantee ran out, and at 4 years old, my beautiful Mac was showing its age. With plastic bits falling to pieces, it was more of a desktop than a laptop… if I wanted to keep using it, I had to stop moving it. At all. But I still had two years of University level education on the horizon at that point, as I was starting my Masters in the fall. I know from previous experience that hand-taking notes does not work for me. Typing my notes, having the ability to record lectures and the ability to look up concepts I didn't fully understand right off the bat (or that I found interesting and wanted to know about in more depth) were all vitally important to me and my learning process. And yet, I didn't have the money to replace my old computer.

So I toyed with the idea of getting myself a little netbook for my purposes. That would mean a return to Windows, which I wasn't looking forward to; but it was looking like that was what I would have to do.

But then my dad pointed out that I could get one of the least featured iPads for the same price as the netbooks I was considering, so why didn't I just do that?

And that's what I did.

And that was a fantastic decision.