Child Prodigies! Study Habits! And, of course, You

I must have meant to go from channel 3 to 5, the scrolling thing, to see if Futurama was on. Instead I accidentally pressed the down arrow, serendipitously finding TVO’s ‘Mysteries of the Mind Week’; various programs, documentaries and interviews on all the brilliant, scary, regulatory and/or strange things the brain can do. True salvation from Comedy Network and its’ frequent ‘I-Hate-My-Wife’ Stand-Up Extravaganzas. Most fascinating were the documentary on child prodigies, and the arising issue of brilliance; something I simultaneously used to be*, believe every human can be, and desperately miss being. My initial reaction to the cherubim toddler with the I.Q. of 170, the spunky 4-year-old mathematician, the 8-year-old published authors and 13-year-olds learning Anglo-Saxon, was jealousy. Following that was appreciation, then a happy sense of wonder, then… suspicion. All of the parents in the program were adamant to nurture their child’s intellect, what with letting them join Mensa and give lectures, among other things. Thus, a query was raised in my sleepy, should-not-be-up-at-2-A.M brain; how often do a child’s gifts go unnoticed, or un-nurtured, and wind up lost? What could they have become? Perhaps more interestingly (narcissistically)… what could I have become, had my parents drilled me MORE THAN THEY ALREADY DID**. (cough) Now, hold on, you say! Was I a child genius? Of course not! Preposterous. But, I mean… who’s… to say… I couldn’t have been one…? Who’s to say YOU couldn’t have been one? It suffices to say we all have things we are prominently good at; when those skills are drilled and perfected constantly from an early stage, as that of a child prodigy with a clearly unchild-like work schedule... abnormal results are possible, regardless of the level of intellect one is born with (AndyesminewasmostlikelyquitehighnotthatIhavecheckedthankyou). Does anyone else wish they hadn't complained about Kumon classes as much when a four year old on television is doing calculus? I enjoy putting ideas into your head. That being said, refrain from exhausting yourself and nearby children in the name of profound brainination. “So, what are you attempting to propose? The self-nurturing of natural genius, at a stage as late as poor, broke, sleepy college student?!” Yeah? (looks at post) omg. Okay! So, in order to do so, we start with the basics! Your own personal way of learning! Whee! You have most likely heard of the Counselling and Learning Skills Services our school offers; perhaps you have yet to make full use of them, and are scraping through your undergraduate years like a… hungry chicken without a beak. You can start here. Their online publications give a substantial amount of information, both in the realm of learning skills (e.g., reading, time management) and personal concerns (e.g., anxiety, depression, bereavement). To do more reading on your own, we apparently have an Academic Success Centre, with a resource library, and drop-in times for those wishing to speak to a counsellor and address their study habits directly. Lastly, CALSS holds workshops, lectures and discussion groups, for both personal counselling and learning strategies, during both semesters. Some require pre-registration, so sign-up as soon as possible if you are interested! It is easy to become stuck in one's ways if you have been using the same approaches to studying since the eighth grade. Well, those years were free; now is the time to do things efficiently. In the last five minutes of the interview I was watching while writing this, the interviewees were asked to give some small things people could do everyday to positively activate/mediate their brains. First Guy: Find the 'tetrises' in life.  Observing how the things around you can be fit together (physically, geometrically, I think) apparently is positive, active thinking. I would not recommend this for those suffering from OCD, though... Second and Third Guys: Active awareness of breathing. When you wake up, take five deep breaths before you move on to your next action, and see how you feel. Hmm. First Lady, no pun intended: Walk. Also, well-wishing towards yourself, as some people do not allow themselves to be happy. Examples, "May I be safe, may I be... etc." Also, check out this. 'E-Zine!' The self-improvement section is interesting and can be helpful, but keep your wits about you. Randoms submit the articles, but, as a U of T student you should be able to 'think critically', 'analyze what you read' and 'pick out the unethical quacks'. Finally, I promise; "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration!" Let clichés be your guide. - - - Someday I will end my tirade of beginning posts with unrelated banter.- And this! AND THIS! - Liesl - - - * from Mom’s stories, I was pretty cool at 3. O_O ** and I suppose I am glad they DIDN'T.

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  1. CALSS sounds useful. I agree with the First Lady that walking is great for thinking/ studying. When I was taking Latin I used to bring grammar cue cards with me wherever I went, and as I walked I’d memorize their content. It really helped cement the rules. I like to think of walking as a mental laxative.