A+B=?

It’s that time of year again. Sleepless nights, brain overloads and the skyrocketing of Red Bull campaigns all over North America.

You guessed it, finals.

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As I’ve been sitting for hours on end hoping to complete the mountains of work that I have ahead of me, I can’t help but think about what the learning process looks like within the context of University. We are exposed to incredibly useful academic resources, we are able to learn from educated professors in a chosen field and are able to gain valuable practice experience that allow for us to be prepared for professionalism (this is not always the case, but in general this has been my experience).

Yes, there are many pros to learning in a University (or College) setting, however, I have a problem with it being an extremely performance focused environment.

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

-Socrates

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”

-Michel Legrand

[…]

I remember having my first meltdown in University. I was studying like crazy and felt the burn out on a daily basis. My brain felt like a cup that was constantly on the edge of overflowing with information. I was getting straight A’s at the time and felt very proud of myself.

Then I got a B+ in one of my history classes. (Cue freak out)

To some (if not everyone) this would be encouraging news. As someone who’s whole identity rested in the fact that my GPA was above 4.0 (amen for repentance), this is no way was “congratulations!” worthy. I remember crying on the phone with my sister and feeling the unavoidable sighs and lack of empathy on the other end. “It’s really not a big deal, you need to be grateful” is a loose paraphrase of what she repeatedly told me in the midst of my the-entire-world-is-ending spiel.

After I picked up what was left of my pride on the sidewalk that I stood as I vented to Jess, I remember trying so hard to see how there was more to life than grades. There MUST be.

[…]

Fast forward to a year later when I transferred to the Social Work Program. My idea of what learning is experienced a drastic paradigm shift.

(Disclaimer: at this point, the lowest grade I had ever gotten on an assignment in University was a D but I ended up getting a A in the class because of my overall performance. Other than the B+ I received in the class that I mentioned, I generally finished with A’s.)

In one of my classes, I failed to look at the syllabus for the assignment requirements and ended up doing my own thing. I honestly thought that I was on the right track and absolutely loved writing an essay about my privilege and how unaware I was of the oppression around me. I submitted my essay feeling proud of how much I had learned throughout this course that led me to a place where I felt free to write about it.

Long story short, I got an F.

No need to cue the freak out. I saw my grade, shed a single tear and, after realizing I did not at all meet the requirements of the assignment (ALWAYS REFER BACK TO THE SYLLABUS, FOR GOODNESS SAKE), I realized something valuable: what you learn isn’t always reflected in the outcome of your grade. Sure, it can be a reflection of how hard you are/aren’t working, but not always.

In a society that is highly influenced by classical liberalist ideologies, it is so easy to have an a+b=c mindset. If I study “a” amount and work “b” amount than  I inevitably get “c” result.

This, however, is not true.

Sometimes, you will pour your heart into something and still not get the grade you want. Sometimes, you’ll work so hard in school and still not land the dream job. Sometimes, you’ll invest your heart into a relationship and still not have your feelings reciprocated.

That is life. It doesn’t make you any less or devalues the work you’ve done. I think we need to be much more critical about what we’re taught regarding the process of learning. The ideologies embedded in our society are ever present and can totally enslave our thinking if we aren’t careful.

Why can’t we just enjoy learning for the sake of learning? Why must a letter grade, validation from others or outcomes be the source of our successful?

I’m choosing to have the mindset of a+b=?. I have no idea what the outcome will be but, as Miley once said, “it’s the climb.”

Feminism isn’t a bad word

In light of it being International Women’s day, I’d like to talk about something very near and dear to my heart: the dreaded “F” word.

You guessed it, Feminism.

This topic isn’t a popular one to bring up at dinner parties because it tends to drive all male specimen out of the room (kudos to those who are active participants), can quickly generate major eye-rollage and will generally make you out to be that friend that always kills the social buzz (sorry, all future invites to social gatherings have been thrown out the window).

Feminism isn’t the basis of a man hating, narrow viewed perspective that aims to be an ideological Godzilla and wreak total havoc on the world. This is an issue that affects ALL genders and, frankly, should be embraced as a potential for positive change.

I always feared the idea of identifying myself as being a Feminist due to the overarching stigma associated with this movement. However, my thinking has experienced a major shift over the years as I have learned about the levels of oppression that women everywhere face on a daily basis.

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Friends, Patriarchy is REAL and is absolutely problematic.

I, personally, have no problem seeing men in positions of authority. In fact, I believe that God has blessed men with incredible abilities that permeate them lead. The idea of having men be the heads of households or societies is not what I am concerned about. When looking back to when society was divided according to the division of labour model, men and women occupied very distinct roles. Historically, both roles were mutually validated and were perceived as being equal contributors to society. Since then, the notion of gendered roles has evolved into a source of oppression amongst women globally.

We as a society are constantly establishing social hierarchies and, unfortunately, women now belong to the lower part of the food chain. This problematic level of discrimination remains invisible to most but is felt by many. It has led to unequal rights, gender based violence, growing wage gap along with many (MANY) other issues.

If you can’t see how women are facing oppression around you, you aren’t looking hard enough.

[…]

Women are not valuable because of what they do, but because of who they are. We need to start tossing our socially constructed lenses aside and see humans as humans. We are ALL worthy of dignity and respect. This isn’t something that should be earned but a right that we accord to one another freely.

Feminism isn’t just about fighting for issues facing women but aims to expose all levels of inequity. As a result, humans everywhere need to be involved in the ongoing discourse regarding this topic. As Emma Watson so eloquently put it “if men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.” Oppression doesn’t just face women but visibly impacts men as well. We don’t have to be opposing forces but can celebrate in our diversity.

Until we take time to reevaluate these socially constructed gender boxes that we’ve managed to lock ourselves in, change will not happen. Until we acknowledge the problem, we won’t find the solution.

[…]

Yeah, women are awesome.

LET’S STINKIN’ CELEBRATE (insert shameless dancing emoji)!!!!

xxx

Worthy of Praise

At this point in my walk with God, it is undeniable that I am desperately in need of His presence in my life.I’ve learned to fully immerse myself in His unconditional love throughout my day as I read His Word and come before Him in prayer. I feel free from the entanglements of my pride, my self-centerdness and all of the other junk in my heart when I start off my day fully surrendering those things to Him.

Frankly, as I continue to grow spiritually, it is evident that I am not who I want to be without God. He is my strength and the source of every good thing in my life. (Psalm 73; James 1:17) This idea of being nothing without God has, in some ways, driven my desire to want to follow Him and imitate the perfect example of my incredibly loving Father.

As a child depends on their parent, so I will forever depend on my God.

[…]

Is this why God is worthy of praise? Because He has given me everything that I could ever need and provides an inner fulfilment like no other?

Absolutely not. God, in no way, is a one trick pony (for a lack of a better expression). There are SO many reasons why God is worthy of praise. For starters, He is the author of Creation.

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I’d like to begin by telling you about one of my favourite places in the world: Peggy’s cove. It’s in a rural community in Nova Scotia that features one of the most breath taking views that I have ever seen. The combination of incomparable landscape and ocean view make it the epitome of awe inspiring.

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The beauty of this place is overwhelming. I generally have to take time to lay down, close my eyes and take in as much as I can. The smell, the sounds, ALL OF IT.

I struggle to be in a place where my mind and my heart are calm, but nothing quiets me like being near the water and being a witness to God’s masterpiece.

As I looked around me, I could’t help but be in total amazement. You know, the kind that makes your jaw drop and renders you speechless. As I approached the edges of the rocks and admired the ferocity of the waves, I couldn’t help but think about how powerful God is.

AND THEN IT HIT ME.

 God is not worthy of praise because of all that He does for me, but because of who He IS.

Whether I feel like I need God or not, the fact is that God has created the most amazing views that we as humans will ever witness. The stars in the universe, the trees, YES, even Peggy’s cove (not including light house, obviously). His creation is incomparable and is \

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Romans 1:20

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

-Psalm 145:3

God chose to make Himself known through His creation. All of His invisible quality have made themselves known through what He has made. I stood in amazement as I looked at the waters and at the rocks because I knew that I was standing in the presence of my God.

Visiting Peggy’s cove reminded me of how amazing God is. His creation and all of the beauty that takes my breath away is but a mere glimpse of God’s glory!

What a thought, eh?

Yes, God is MOST worthy of praise.

xxx