Monday, September 9, 2013

Brain Business

My boyfriend and I had a conversation the other day about physics, chemistry, and math.  It wasn't even particularly detailed- we didn't talk about specific concepts or formulas or anything, just generally about the topics- but for some reason, it woke my brain up.  It felt SOOOOO good to have an conversation about something even remotely academic.  I kind of felt like crying.  My brain is just so...hungry for stimulation.  Academic stimulation, that is.  It was wonderful and terrible at the same time.

At the beginning of the summer, I was all, "Haha, I have 4 WHOLE MONTHS OF SUMMER!!" By the time I was halfway through it, I was desperate for school to start again.  I really love school.  The learning part, at least.  Hopefully in college I will enjoy the social part more..

So I've been on a quest (today) to start feeding my brain and retraining it for school.  As much as I love Pinterest and playing Plants vs. Zombies 2 and laughing at people's drama on Facebook and reading other people's blogs and alltheotherinternetstuffIdoallday, it's not stimulating or challenging.  And that is seriously starting to irritate me.

........................I voluntarily did calculus problems today....................

That was my confession of the day.  These are the things I'm doing to keep my brain happy until school FINALLY starts (3 weeks from today is my first day of classes!):

*Watch TED talks
Some of them are truly fascinating.  And there are so many topics to choose from.  And so many inspiring speakers.  Just watch a couple.

This is one that I watched today, about education and the need to basically scrap the systems we have.  It's metaphorical and funny and true and just plain GOOD.  It's this British guy, which is cool:

Also, this one.  It's bizarre and entertaining and pretty mindblowing.  And I dig his hair.

*Khan Academy
If you haven't used this incredible resource yet, please just do it.  He's basically a genius, but he explains everything in a way that makes more sense than most teachers know how.  Plus, the videos are only 10 minutes long each, so it's completely manageable.  And the topics range from Math to Science to Business and Economics to the new sections in History.  Math and Science are the biggest ones, with videos covering everything from basic algebra to trig and calculus, etc.  And all sorts of science.  It's wonderful.  Plus, he color codes everything.

TIP: They recently redid the website to have a Math pretest and this whole learning dashboard thing, which I think is crap.  My advice is to switch it back to the "Classic Homepage" and just find the videos you actually need.

Here's one of the math videos:

*Lumosity. I have the little free app on my iPod, which only has 3 exercises a day vs. 5, and limits the variety of exercises, but the full version is like $80 a year, so NO.  But it's good for general brain health and supposedly helps you maintain good memory and quick-thinking skills.

*Acceleread.  Another iPod app I have (again, the free version.  Full is $5.99 I believe??), that trains you to speed read!  I haven't done it in a while, but it's pretty cool.  And it actually works if you do it a few times a week.  I also really like that it comes with several books already, so you don't run out of reading material.  It has several different training modes and pretests you to place you in a "course."  It's cool.

*Yoga.  I need to get back to it.  It's been far too long.  And it's amazing.  Great for your body, obviously, but also great for your mind!  For me, the two main mind benefits are stress reduction and greatly increased focus.  It's too bad I can't do this:

*More calculus review problems! I'm not taking math until winter term, which means I have an entire term to review and get myself back up to speed with calculus.  It's been a year and a half since I've taken math, so I'm a bit rusty.
*Learn Italian!  I found this free app called Duolingo, which has Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese on it.  It takes you from the basic basics to conversational skills to more sophisticated grammar and sentence structure concepts.  One downside is that it repeats itself a bit, and sometimes it tells you you're wrong when it just told you you were right with the same answer, but it is nice that it has both writing, reading, and listening activities.  And I've always wanted to learn Italian.  I started about 2 months ago, but I left off when I went to Thailand.
On another note, I started watching Game of Thrones.  So that's cool.
~From Lily With Love~

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