Weekly Journal #9

Thursday March 10, 2016–11:10pm-12:30pm Lecture

For this lecture class, we discussed in further details more of books 2–12 of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.

We started our class discussion with the topic of spiritual leader vs. political leader vs. religious leader. This then brought us into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial visit which we did — how he was portrayed through the image of the statue and the quotes on the walls of the monument. The quotes definitely portrayed him in more of a spiritual aspect as they were mostly morally relevant. However, the definition in the facial structure and his stance of the statue portrayed him as a political leader in my eyes. It was interesting to hear that people saw it religiously, as the rolled up paper in his hand could be a sermon instead of a speech.

Moving forward, we then talked about some of our favorite quotes from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. It’s always a pleasure to hear my fellow classmates’ perspectives and opinions therefore, hearing their favorite quotes and why they chose that specific one was enjoyable.

Monday March 21, 2016–8:00pm-11:30pm

From the lecture, Solitude and Leadership by William Deresiewicz, I did a lot of self-reflection in regards to my own education and life as a student, as well as where my college path is leading me. It was a fairly interesting read and I truly do understand William Deresiewicz’s views.

In the first half of the lecture, William Deresiewicz spoke about how society has developed us into in the unconscious habit of becoming “hoop jumpers” in order to achieve our goals in regards to getting into a good university and obtaining a decent job. Therefore, it kind of creates this hasty generalization in society where people are grouped by certain qualities and certain standards. You’re not set a part from the rest in your group because it’s as if you’re aiming to be on the same par.

Basically, Deresiewicz presents the idea that true leadership means being able to think for one’s self and to act on one’s conviction.

He painted this image of jumping through hoops by describing juniors in high school had to be joining several extracurricular activities, while partaking in extra classes and study sessions in order to do exceptionally well on standardized tests. He stated how these admission boards are seeking people who will succeed at anything they give them because that’s what they’re good at; they’re good at being great. It doesn’t have to mean they’re great leaders or they’re passionate about what they’re doing. Instead, it’s an instilled mentality that they must achieve everything and failure isn’t an option. I refer to it as “the look good on paper” qualities.

Even in some of these cases, majority of the people who engage in volunteering activities and multiple research cases, while excelling in each exam or test they take, aren’t the smartest people. But what they’re great at it is cramming and regurgitating what is required of them.

And I’ve been there myself many times. I feel as if I’m always being compared with my peers and it’s a competition — which it really is. Everyone wants to be great these days, and they want to make their friends and family proud. Just like me over here, I do what I have to do in order to get where I want to be. Especially in a career choice in Medicine, it is highly competitive. Some things are excessive but all aspects of the requirements prove your characteristics: patience level, determination, multitasking skill, time-management, etc.

It’s a concept of life which is found everywhere. From legal careers to even the not so standard legal job criteria. In regards, to a gunman or a thief or gang leader, their counterparts look to them to have certain kinds of qualities. They usually have a similar appearance and they definitely have to pull off a particular look in order to instill fear in those they prey on. Of course, sometimes we come across exceptions in all the case

For the second half of the lecture, Dereseiwicz states the comforting idea that it’s perfectly natural to have doubts, or to have questions, or even to just face difficulties. But overcoming theses situations can be done by solitary work.

This is true. As much as my schedule and life gets hectic and I love being around my friends, there’s always that moment where I feel weighed down by it all and I retreat mentally and sometimes physically. I need some clarity in my life and my closest friends realize when I do. I appreciate them dearly for that. Others may think I’m being moody but it’s just who I am. I need that moment of solitude — whether it may be a day or a week, however long. It really does help and I agree completely with Dereseiwicz.

The discussion on how Twitter and social media doesn’t allow one to think for one’s self is absolutely true. I’m not much of a tweeter but I’m a scroller, and I see it everyday with my own eyes where people feed off of others opinions. Yes, it’s possible that people can share similar opinions but it’s never the complete same down to the t. And that’s what Twitter does — it creates this mentality where you have to agree with the big bad popular wolf or you’ll get trolled and laughed at. It happens all the time and it irks me. It’s destroying people’s confidence and creating false leaders in our young society.

Therefore, solitude is very important in order for one to know one’s self and to know confidently what they stand for and believe in.

I enjoyed reading this lecture and I loved how he related it to the different aspects of today’s life where it’s troubling for the youths to branch out and find themselves for real.

Tuesday March 22,2016–11:10pm-12:30pm Lecture

Throughout this class lecture, we discussed Exam One. I have been anticipating seeing how I did on this exam and I must say that I am quite proud of myself for putting in the work that I did and overcoming the doubts, the confusion and the worries in order to successfully do what I had to do! Hooray!

For the essays that I did not gain full points on, I saw where I had went wrong — maybe wrong isn’t the word but more where I was lacking in points. It allowed me to grasp a clearer understanding of what Dr. Sandridge wanted me to express to bring across the answer well enough.

The results and the discussion gave me more hope towards taking the Second Exam so I am hoping I am just as successful in that as well. Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and sending up my prayers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016: 8:00pm-11:00pm Study Session

During this time, I dedicating my night to study for the Second Exam on Tuesday.

I began by reading through my precious notes and my blog entries that since the First Exam. I also went back to the syllabus just in case I missed a question that I needed to focus on and answer from a particular assignment

I began with Plato’s Apology and Xenophon’s Apology hand in hand in order to make the proper comparisons and differences that I needed to make. The reading of Socrates’ trial was my favorite thus far. I believe I grasped a clear understanding of these two readings and they might be my strong area on the exam, I strongly do hope so. The question of which representation of the Apology is one we focused on, as well as why is it that Socrates didn’t try to prove his innocence.

I followed up with Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I did not complete all the books or did a thorough enough reading of this. I plan to do more study of this particular reading on Saturday when I have more time. It was a good read nonetheless for some of the books. Others were lengthy and didn’t hold my attention completely. Or maybe I was just getting tired.

But I truly get why people look up to Marcus Aurelius. His character seemed so genuine and humble for one who is such a great leader. He came off as thankful and ever grateful. Gets me thinking that being a stoic is a fantastic way to live life.

He reminds me of one of my closest friends here at Howard, Jerome. His humility is amazing for someone who is so helpful and successful. I look up to him and I’m thankful for that friendship.

William Dereseiwicz “Leadership and Solitude” speech was the last and brief review for the night. I was hoping we would’ve reviewed it on Tuesday in class so that I could’ve known what is expected of me to fully grasp. Especially what the quiz would be on. Well, I guess we will see in class tomorrow. Until then.