Top 9 Reasons Why College is Humbling

Recently I have been on a bit of a list mode. As my first semester at an American university is wrapping up with two weeks before finals, I figured I would share some of my experiences. College has been extremely humbling for me. I came into college, believing that I would have an easy time in (but not necessarily breeze through) college. Hate to break it, but I was dead wrong. I am sure that I can possibly attribute it to my major, chemical engineering, but at the same time there are a lot of factors that turn against you when your in college. Here’s nine points of truth about one of the most humbling experience you will ever have:

1. You know nothing. Trust me, the earlier you accept it the better off you will be in college. You pay to attend in order to gain knowledge (idealistically) and a degree (realistically), but it will be much easier to pursue the latter if you are wide open to attaining more of the first.

The-Less-You-Know

2. No one knows anything. Literally. There a ton of concept, science, and information out there that no one can know it all. Even the masters of their fields will have gaps. This is why academia is a huge collaboration.

nobody knows anything

3. Only the basics are computable. When computing your physics problem of a car rolling to a stop in your PHYS 200 class, remember that you are leaving out a ton of factors in order to have an example simple enough to calculate. It’s never as simple as a few lines of math. This same reasoning applies to more than just math and science. Take economics for example, a lot is analysis and guesswork with probability curves and simplified models. Just be aware that once you look beyond the basics, your mind will be blown.

basics

4. The process you were taught before was never correct. More often than not, you’ll enter a class with a good background only to find out that you have been doing it wrong the whole time. Turns out that it was oversimplified to make it teachable to high schoolers…

Process-Doc

5. Valedictorian in high school? Not anymore. If you breezed through high school, be ready for a wake up call. I had taken college classes in high school because I ran out of classes to take and I still find that actual university classes are harder. Lovely.

valedictorian1

6. In every class, something with always sound like a foreign language. Of course this is true if you actually are taking a foreign language, but it is also true no matter what subject. There is always some bit of information or important concept that you must wrap your head around that seems completely counter-intuitive.

Studying Japanese

7. You meet awesome people. The best part of college is the people you meet. You’ll make many lifelong friends and meet interesting characters. Simple advice: respect everyone. I guarantee you that you can learn something from every one.

awesome

8. Someone’s always better than you at something. That’s just outright life, but it becomes clearly evident when you begin to meet the thousands of people on campus. Don’t fret it though, just enjoy and strive to hone your skills.

Life-08

9. The world costs a ton. This is the killer. The big pain and worry that you now have to deal with. Turn this negative into a positive by playing the game. See how much you can save off of this or that item by shopping around. Never pass up free. Oh, and coupons are your best friend.

coupons

Nothing says “welcome to life” more than college. For those about to enter college – don’t despair! The challenges are easily overcome with decent awareness and diligence.

5 Tips for Cultural Traveling

Recently, it has been a trend to travel to countries to gain a taste of the culture. Whether vacationing for a couple of weeks or studying abroad for a few months, you want to make the most of everything that you can. These trips are usually once in a lifetime, so I have compiled a list of the five best pointers I follow whenever I travel. These can be applied both within the United States and in almost every country around the world (but I would recommend reading up on normal customs and etiquette of the destination before you depart).

CQ 5Tips 21. Talk the talk. Make an effort to talk to people, other than just ordering your drink. Especially if you have a grasp on the native language. Even if you aren’t fluent, the attempt above else will please them and break the ice. Chances are they are eager to share their ways and hear about yours in return. As an added bonus, you’ll gain brownie points and get better service than other fellow foreigners.

CQ 5Tips 1

2. Avoid touristy spots. I don’t mean just the tourist traps, but also the big tourist spots. Find that little beach or port city a couple miles down the coast from the main tourist attraction and you’ll be thanking yourself. Every time that I have done this, I have been glad. Right down the road is always a less busy and traveled area, which means less traffic and less mess. Usually that so-called “neglected” spot is more beautiful and much cleaner and still jammed packed of historical significance.

CQ 5Tips3. Bargain it. Particularly in areas that are well known shopping centers for travelers, the vendors build in wiggle room for bargaining. Almost all the shops are priced high, both as a gimmick for the naïve traveler and leeway for the more savvy.

CQ 5Tips 44. Don’t ignore the children. The best part about children is that they don’t care about language and cultural barriers. They simply want to play and enjoy friendship with the “white-girl-from-out-of-town.” You’ll learn much more about daily life and get a chance to piece together more of the culture. On top of that, you’ll capture the hearts of the parents and community members when the see you are safe to trust.

CQ 5Tips 35. Help out. If you can, do something to help out the local area where you are staying. Simple things like asking who to buy X service for to spending an hour picking up litter around town goes a long way to show that you are not there to be destructive. Plus, they might see you doing something that they never payed much thought to and join in. Lead by example.

I have experienced the benefits of these tips first hand, both on my most recent trip to Ecuador and before. You’ll not be disappointed and return with a fulfilling dose of the culture. Now get out there and travel on!

I’m Back! (Momentarily)

It has been quite a while since I have made an effort to do anything of significance on my website. After I returned from Ecuador, I found that many habits had shifted. My time emphasis moved around and many of my projects in progress were put to the wayside for further evaluation. I did not desire to work on the website at the time, partially because I had to figure out my schooling (I switched my major from one engineering discipline to another) and the other because I had to re-figure my priorities.

Ecuadorian Flag

The Ecuadorian flag flies high over the city of Guayaquil

Now that I seem to have a better grasp on what is whirling around (and the fact that I have been decently bored recently, having taken out “videos and other moving-visual media” out of my week for Lent). I had an extra few hours on my hands today, so I came back here to poke around and found that there is still so much that I can–that I want–to do on this blog. So as a little kick-starter to celebrate my re-entrance into the blogging world, I want to announce that all the Running Man links are fixed (yes, all 190 episodes…)! I will continue to maintain some of the video-entertainment side, but I am switching the emphasis here. I don’t particularly want this site to be known as the “site to find -Insert TV Show-” rather I want to build a community where there is more or less an exchange and presentation of new and different perspectives: an interactive community.

It shames me to see good ideas go uncontested. Why? Not just for the sake of argument, but because contesting a present point means that the reader isn’t silent. Too much of my generation has been pulled into the devastating cycle of absorb and consume without a thought to contribute a comment or opinion. On the other hand, trolling just to troll is not acceptable. I’m sure most can agree with that. But those well-thought-out arguments, the cases with evidence and reasoning, should be encouraged much more than it is. Don’t be a silent surfer, but don’t be brash. Speak up.

I have decided that I want to make this more of a blog community rather than an “official website” or anything of that nonsense. I want to get to know the CultureQuote community more and present the quirkiness I find around me everyday (feel free to point out any quirks you have noticed of your own). I know this is a lofty goal, all in all, but I also know that the international blog-o-sphere community is great. Please don’t be shy to proffer opinions for improvements or even simply drop a line for something cool you’d like to see. And thank you for all of your continued support.