culture, experience, immigration, learning, motivation, self help, survival, Uncategorized

How to survive in a new culture

Working with American teens made me think about useful tips I can share with new teachers.

The culture I found myself in is a mix of Latino and African-American youth with a minority of whites and Asians. Just for your information I came from Ukraine where the population is very homogeneous.

The school environment is not usually conducive to making friends with students but I keep trying anyway.

  1. Listen to their music. God only knows how much I hate rap but this is what they love. I make myself listen to the lyrics, it’s quite weird for strangers like me.
  2. Eat their food. Teens love junk food, it never looks or tastes great. But you should be brave enough to try it. I also go to cafeteria once in a while to experience the agony they have to endure every day.
  3. Don’t ignore the things that matter. Two of them are mentioned above but figuring out the rest can be tough. One thing that I noticed is you have to pronounce their name right.
  4. Ask questions showing genuine interest. When doing this you should be ready to deal with their answers which are not always easy. Reflect on them.
  5. Be a good student. Take notes to remember new words and concepts, learning new language / dialect is always fun. You will be tried and tested a lot.
  6. Mind your body language more than anything else. Respect yourself and the people around you.
  7. Stay positive and keep learning despite making mistakes.

This list is not all encompassing but gives you a general idea. Good luck!

depression, experience, inspiration, self help, Uncategorized

How to cope

Yesterday at one of my art classes somebody asked me how to cope with depression. I looked at them going How did you know? Back in the days of college, oh my… I was so excited they asked me, so happy to help and so glad I am not there any more.

Just in case you were wondering how to cope with depression

  1. Eat. Seriously eat something real, not just doughnuts and ice-cream.
  2. Go outside, get some vitamin D while the sun is still shining. No gadgets, please.
  3. Ask for help. Don’t just suffer in silence. It can be a friend or a stranger, up to you.
  4. Engage yourself in art of drawing, cooking, singing, dancing or knitting.
  5. Find a Meetup group for something you always wanted to do but never got a chance to actually try.
  6. Write a letter or card to somebody who deserves it, an old friend or relative.
  7. Go to public library or city park to people/dog watch. It can be real fun!

Happiness is inside us but we do need contact with others to be our better selves.

I wish you the best of luck in your daily battles!

experience, inspiration

Love it

What do you do if inspiration doesn’t come when you need it most? Go to Google images looking for a nice pic or browse through the galleries of Santa Fe… all this sounds boring… really. You somehow have to feel it to be able to create. You know what I mean? Sometimes people show up to my classes looking for an unusual experience and motivation which is totally cool except that all these wonderful things are inside every one of us. The hardest thing though is to discover them.

If you can stop thinking of what others will think about you and just do what you feel is right, you will find happiness and inspiration. Even if your idea is the strangest thing you have ever considered, at least it might become a great learning experience for you. You never know unless you try. Love it, embrace it, live it…

experience, job, learning, Uncategorized

Skills so much needed

When you start every day wondering what skill you will have to learn today it doesn’t sound like a dream job but maybe this is what it is. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is not a walk in the park and definitely not a piece of cake for all I know.  While the school is almost over and the freedom that summer brings is so near you keep asking yourself Am I ever going to graduate? School of life is a bit tricky, it makes you learn a new lesson when you feel that you are done, finished and ready to face the challenges.

So much to live, so much to learn. Isn’t it frustrating and inspiring at the same time? Ambiguity of this question brings us closer to philosophers and thinkers that devoted so much time to discover the truth trying answer all the Why – questions.

What skills do you have to survive or what skills do you think you have? Recently I learned that my arsenal is not big enough, it’s a steep learning curve for sure but the good news is it’s never too late to learn.