My Overall Summary of City Tech’s 40th Annual Literary Arts Festival: An Evening of Community & Reflection 2021

Welcome to City Tech’s 40th Annual Literary Arts Festival: An Evening of Community & Reflection! This New York City College of Technology tradition celebrates the talents of our students and provides a rich cultural experience for all. It was a special year, where it was the first time ever that CUNY Chancellor Dr. Felix V. Matos Rodriguez of the largest urban public system in the United States, attended the event in its 40 years history. The event started off with thanking the faculty, professors, and students, along with special guests who came together and contributed to make this event a very memorable and informative one. Most thanks to Professor Caroline Hellman, the event director and a City Tech English Professor and an author. After Professor Hellman’s introduction, a video was played of how great life was at City Tech before the pandemic, the beginning of the pandemic, to months later, which then turned to a whole year. Oh, how I miss entering the college buildings, walking down the halls to classes, chilling in the library with friends, and many more.

Then two students, Jeremiah Clemente and Frankie Lachapelle introduced themselves as senators in City Tech’s Student Government and Association, and as the event’s hosts. They then announced the goal and purpose for the event. Throughout the event, polls were presented for participants to engage in. The first poll was, “The best borough of NYC? Staten Island, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan or Brooklyn?” Staten Island 2%, Queens 11%, Bronx 6%, Manhattan 10%, and Brooklyn 70%. I totally chose Brooklyn, where I was born and raised for some time, when I was not in Trinidad. The second poll was, “What Zoom Style Are You or Which Zoom Person Are You? Checked-in (Camera on, Ready to go, Fully awake, Casual attire on) or Clocked-out (Camera off, Just woke up, Bedhead, Pajamas on)” Check-in 66% and Clocked-out 34%. I totally disagreed with that because I am totally a clocked-out person.

The event also consisted of students from City Tech. The first student speaker was Henry Mei, whose major is Career and Technical Education. He talked about being a student teacher, where he then presented a short documentary film. The second speaker was Christopher Maglorie, who graduated with a nursing degree and is a currently registered nurse. He talked about going to school and working full time, along with his experience as a frontline worker at a Brooklyn hospital during the pandemic. I totally admire his work and it is a gift that he was still here to share his story. The third student speaker was Damitreze Poe, who shared his written story about his experience with police harassment. The fourth student speaker was Jesus Rojas, whose major is Advertising and Marketing. He shared his one year later experience from pre-pandemic to present day reality.

The fifth student speaker was Dannielle Sweat who is a 30-year-old mother, part time college student and full-time hospital employee, along with majoring in Human Services. She shared her writing piece that consisted of the daily life of her job and at home from beginning of the pandemic to present day. The sixth student speaker was James Burton, whose major is Computer Systems and IT Operations. He shared his experience of his neighborhood throughout the pandemic. The seventh student speaker was Farouk Fares who majors in Architecture. He talked about his paintings that helped him to deal with his feelings of quarantine. The eighth student speaker was supposed to be Britney Bajnath but she could not make it to the event. Instead, a video of was shown of the photographs she took during the pandemic. The ninth student speaker was supposed to be Kari Singletary, but she also could not make it to the event. A video was shown where she shared her story on how she became a graduated and registered nurse, along with her experience working in the hospital during the pandemic.

There were 4 student panelists at the event. The first one was Nim Tse, who shared his story of school experience, work positions and the pandemic. The second one was Rami Saeed, who shared his story of quarantine and books. The third one was Abigail Thomas, who is a Student Government officer, a board director for the campus chapter, and the executive vice chair and member of the community collation for students with disabilities. She shared her story of being a transgender woman, non-binary woman, sexual lesbian, hear disabled, learning disabled and a victim of domestic violence. The fourth one was Mamadou Diallo, who majors in Business and Technology of Fashion. She shared his story being raised by his grandmother.

A woman named, “Mijori Goodwin” performed a song named, “Still.” I truly enjoyed her voice and the lyrics. Then the Student Government and Association president, Ngozi Okonkwo introduced herself and announced the special guest speaker, “Staceyann Chin.” She is a poet, actor, performing artist, etc. She talked about a lot of things that consisted of social media, discrimination of race and workplace, along with many more areas that was very educational. During the event, anyone was encouraged to post comments in the chat, along with asking questions at the event.

Mindfulness: Self-Help Critiques

In this reading response #8 blog, we were asked to read three articles. Firstly, I would like to say that I found these three articles to be very interesting and intriguing. They all talked about one’s mind, which relates to the meditation assignment that we are currently working on for two weeks. When I look at the word mindfulness, I think it means to focus on your mind being balance with the right amount of everything that is going on in your life. I also think that mindfulness is having complete control with your own mind to where no one or thing can dispute or destroy your process.

The first article I read was called, “The Mindful Revolution,” by Kate Pickert. It was posted on The TIME magazine official website on January 23rd, 2014 at 4:13pm EST. This article talked about different exercises that companies did to get the prefect mindfulness. As stated by Pickert, “Mindfulness says we can do better. At one level, the techniques associated with the philosophy are intended to help practitioners quiet a busy mind, becoming more aware of the present moment and less caught up in what happened earlier or what is to come. Many cognitive therapists commend it to patients as a way to help cope with anxiety and depression. More broadly, it’s seen as a means to deal with stress.” This defines the article’s definition of mindfulness. She also stated, “Though meditation is considered an essential means to achieving mindfulness, the ultimate goal is simply to give your attention fully to what you’re doing. One can work mindfully, parent mindfully and learn mindfully. One can exercise and even eat mindfully.” As I stated in my first paragraph, mindfulness is connected to meditation. The article also mentioned the meditation app call Headspace, that I am using for my meditation assignment.

The second article I read was called, “The mindfulness conspiracy,” by Ronald Purser. It was posted on The Guardian magazine official website on Friday 14th of June 2019 at 1:00pm EDT. This article mentions parts of the first article, “The Mindful Revolution,” by Kate Pickert. Purser states, “So, what exactly is this magic panacea? In 2014, Time magazine put a youthful blonde woman on its cover, blissing out above the words: “The Mindful Revolution.” The accompanying feature described a signature scene from the standardized course teaching MBSR: eating a raisin very slowly. “The ability to focus for a few minutes on a single raisin isn’t silly if the skills it requires are the keys to surviving and succeeding in the 21st century,” the author explained.” This shows that he was critiquing the article. Purser also states, “Mindfulness is nothing more than basic concentration training. Although derived from Buddhism, it has been stripped of the teachings on ethics that accompanied it, as well as the liberating aim of dissolving attachment to a false sense of self while enacting compassion for all other beings.” I some what disagree with him because I think he was displaying it in more of a negative way.

The third article I read was called, “The problem of mindfulness,” by Sahanika Ratnayake. It was posted on the Aeon website on 25th of July 2019. As stated by Ratnayake, “Mindfulness promotes itself as value-neutral, but it is loaded with (troubling) assumptions about the self and the cosmos.” Sahanika Ratnayake is a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Her PhD project concerns the history and philosophy of contemporary psychotherapy. What I admire from this article was how she was able to gain a wonderful experience from said university she attended, along with changing things in her life due to difficulties. “At the end of the Cambridge study, I found myself to be calmer, more relaxed and better able to step away from any overwhelming feelings. My experience was mirrored in the research findings, which concluded that regular mindfulness meditation reduces stress levels and builds resilience.”

Class Notes (04/08)

After taking attendance at the beginning of the class, professor noted the agenda for the day’s class. Then we moved on to a daily meditation as a class from the app call Calm. After doing the about 10-minute meditation, we were asked to do a 5-minute freewriting prompt, “How do you hold space for difficult or strong emotions?” But we defined and explained the freewriting prompt first before we individually did it.

  • Holding space is providing a space to allow whatever arises in your feelings to just be there and allowing it pass through you.

Then we were asked by professor to feel free to share our reflection in our freewriting, where the following students below shared, and they connected with it the “Power of Now:”

  • Maria – Having strong or difficult emotions is acknowledging them. Relates to “actionless activity” (Tolle 215)
  • Reem – There can not always be a balance of emotions or else everything will be dull. You really have to feel different emotions to know what way those emotions really mean to us, in if it is difficult or not. The way you hold space is realizing that it is part of a bigger process that makes us differentiate and accept them to pass.
  • Aryanna – You have to acknowledge your emotions and why you are feeling those emotions, on if it was an event or past memory that took place to cause you to feel those emotions. You are not the emotion, for it something that cause it for you to feel the way you do. Once you deal with that, then you deal with the emotion, where each time you will get better.

SAIN- Stop Acknowledge Investigate Non-Identification

We then went on to speak about the meditation assignment some more on the guidelines, instructions and how to submit it. Then we moved on to group discussions for about 20 minutes on the book, “The Power of Now.” We were placed in groups of three, with a total of 3 groups.

  • Group 1 consists of Aryanna, Reem and Robby.
  • Group 2 consists of Courtney, Niyomi and I.
  • Group 3 consists of Anil, Crystal and Maria.

After the group discussions, we came back together as a class and briefly spoke about the main ideas of “The Power of Now:”

  • observing the thinker, accepting current situation, non-judging, non-activity
  • Tolle pg. 228 (1)
  • Tolle pg. 22: addiction to thinking (compulsive thinking)
  • duality of everything
  • suffering / happiness
  • chapter 2: negative emotions feeding negative emotions.

NB: We will further discuss more of the main ideas in the next class.

For Next Week’s Class on Tuesday 04/13:

  1. Read – “The Mindfulness Revolution” (Kate Pickert), “The Mindfulness Conspiracy” (Ronald Purser), and “The Problem of Mindfulness” (Sahanika Ratnayake)
  2. Due – Reading Response #8: Mindfulness & Its Critiques (categorize as “self-help critiques”), Work on Meditation Assignment
  3. (Optional) Extra Credit Opportunity: Literary Arts Festival (attend event & blog by start of class on Th 4/15)
  4. Class Notes will be done by Anil.

Blog #7: Meditation

For this meditation assignment, I do not have any worries, hopes or fears. But what I do hope to get out of this is clarification, along with being calmer, relaxed and thinking more positive. I am also really curious to see the results of being committed to the daily mediations. I personally think that doing a meditation practice every day for at least 10 minutes for two weeks straight would really help me to realize some stress and tension that I have inside me. We were assigned by professor to pick any program of our choosing, but we each needed to explore at least three different apps and make an intentional choice. Therefore, I evaluated three meditation apps before making a choice to which one I will use for the two weeks.

The first mediation app that I chose to evaluate is call Calm. As stated in their official website, “Our mission is to make the world happier and healthier.” I frankly enjoyed when professor used this app in class for meditation. The Calm app consists of 6 features or elements. The first one is Meditate, where you learn the life-changing skill of meditation. The second one is Sleep, where you get more restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. The third one is Music, where you get exclusive music to help you focus, relax, and sleep. The fourth one is Body, where you get video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching. The fifth one is Masterclass, where you get audio programs taught by world-renowned mindfulness experts. The sixth one is Scenes, where you get nature scenes and sounds to enjoy while relaxing, sleeping, working, or studying.

The second mediation app that I chose to evaluate is call 10% Happier. As stated by their official website, 10% happier consists of features that focuses on the basics, stress, happiness, and sleep. As stated by The Basics, “New to meditation? Get fidgety just thinking about it? Our expert teachers will walk you through the basics, one breath at a time.” As stated by Stress, “Life can be stressful – but meditation is scientifically proven to lower your stress levels. We’ll help you stay balanced when chaos reigns.” As stated by Happiness, “It is possible to increase your capacity for joy, gratitude, and love, no magical thinking required. Our meditations will help you enjoy your life more.” As stated by Sleep, “Our sleep meditations will help you quiet your mind at the end of a long day, so you can get to sleep quickly and wake up refreshed.”

The third mediation app that I chose to evaluated is call Headspace. As stated by their official website, “Headspace was officially launched in 2010 as an events company, but attendees wanted to take what they learned home with them. Andy, Rich, and a small team decided to make Andy’s techniques available online so more people could experience the benefits of meditation anytime, anywhere. And that blossomed into the Headspace you see today: guided meditations, animations, articles, and videos, all in the distinct Headspace style.” The website also goes on to say, “Headspace has one mission: to improve the health and happiness of the world. And with millions of users in more than 190 countries, we are well on our way. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, we also have offices in San Francisco and London. You can try Headspace for yourself and learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness with our free Basics course. If you enjoy it, then it is time to subscribe. Once you do, you will have bite-sized minis for when you are short on time, exercises to add extra mindfulness to your day, and hundreds of meditations on everything from stress to sleep.”

The meditation app that consists of guided meditation that I chose to use is Headspace. This app allows you to start a 14-day free trail before paying $5.83 per month, but the app will instead be billed annually for a total of $69.99. I also found that after reading their official website, their story was very moving and touching from the other mediation apps that I evaluated. Therefore, I decided to use this one for the assignment, where I will do one mediation every day for the two weeks and then cancel the subscription right after before it charges my card. I will try a different mediation for at least 10 minutes or more each day, where I will then keep a log of my meditation sessions and reflect the before and after by journaling. When it comes to my schedule for the daily mediations, I cannot say fully because besides doing school full time online, I work full time on the evenings. I hope to do them in the mornings before I get ready to leave for work, although I am not a morning person, or do some during my break at work. I say this because work is somewhat stressful as it is when I work 8 hours a day for 5 days out of the week, along with how I have recently started working double shifts one or two times a week.

The Power of Now By Eckhart Tolle

Firstly, I had trouble in getting the book from Amazon as quickly as possible, so I was not able to read the entire book. But from as much as I was able to read, I can say that it was very highly prepared and motivational. It reminded me of The Secret by Rhonda Bynes, but this book was more of a spiritual guidance like the Bible. When I was a little girl, I use to go to church almost every week on Sundays with my mother in Brooklyn, New York. When I had move to Trinidad to go to school, from my years of pre-teen and early teenager, I would go to church almost every week on Sundays with my great grandmother or on Saturdays with great aunt. I say this because since I was little, I have always been trying to build a connection with God and allow him to come into my life by going to church and reading spiritual things. But to be very honest, I have never succeeded or really gave it a good fighting chance. I believe that this is also because of the family and friends around me, for very few of them pray and give thanks.

The book consists of the introduction, ten chapters, notes, acknowledgements, and about the author. “Chapter 1: You Are Not Your Mind, Chapter 2: Consciousness – They Way Out of Pain, Chapter 3: Moving Deeply into the Now, Chapter 4: Mind Strategies for Avoiding the Now, Chapter 5: The State of Presence, Chapter 6: The Inner Body, Chapter 7: Portals into the Unmanifested, Chapter 8: Enlightened Relationships, Chapter 9: Beyond Happiness and Unhappiness There Is Peace, Chapter 10: The Meaning of Surrender.” By the title of these 10 chapters, I found them to be very diverse.

As I read through the introduction, it gave me a very detailed, informative, and pulling motivation on what I was going to read and feel in each chapter. “The Truth That Is Within You.” (Tolle 6) As I saw that quote, it made me wonder on if I was really about to find out the whole truth inside me. The introduction also states, “The pause symbol .S’ after certain passages is a suggestion that you may want to stop reading for a moment, become still, and feel and experience the truth of what has just been said. There may be other places in the text where you will do this naturally and spontaneously.” (Tolle 8) This showed that the book was definitely working for the ones that read it to get a true feel from what he was implementing. I also found myself, while going through the table of contents to see what each chapter was highlighting, I was really intrigued on how the book would make me feel at the end.

My Pandemic Processing

When it comes to my life right now, there is not too many differences from before the global pandemic of the coronavirus existed. But I definitely wish that I could go back in time and do things differently. To compare living in New York and in Trinidad, I would say that the people who I miss the most are my family and friends in Trinidad because they are going through it badly when it comes to the economy and government, when they have not experienced the thousands of cases and deaths like we have. These people include my grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as friends because I have spent most of my life there with them.

I would say that I think the pandemic has not have much positive impacts on your mental health because it has me thinking to really change my life for the better. Therefore, the negative impacts on my health would be stressing over school, work, and my home responsibilities. It has also had me thinking negatively about my life in trying to figure out if it is going to get back to normal and be successful in the future. Before the pandemic, things that I never realized I was grateful for was being able to go to school and going out to have fun without masks and sanitizing frequently. My grandparents and mother use to say that outside is not running away and there is plenty of time to party and travel when you finish school. But now we all wonder if things are ever going to get back to normal again.

I would say that after the pandemic, hopefully that is very soon, my behavior would not change too much, but I can definitely say that my mindset will. Due to the pandemic, I would say that what I learnt about myself is to really watch certain situations differently when it comes to money, emotions, relationships with others, etc. My greatest fears and anxieties at the moment would be to not get bite in the back for things I have done to help others and try new things to better myself. Recently, I have been going through a lot that seems to have been going that way. But I really hope that it does not get to the point where I would want to give up on life. Some ways that I think would help me to manage my anxiety can be to do some mediations like what we did in class, as well as talk to my family and friends. When it comes to social media, I think I have been using it a lot more lately since the start of the pandemic because we were all mostly insolating ourselves from the world outside. I could not help but look at it each day for a few hours wondering who, what, where, when, why and how things were going for my family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers.

I have tried to start some self-care techniques when it comes to facial products, my daily diet and exercising routines, but unfortunately, I have not been doing so well. When it comes to the pandemic, I have understood some things about it when I watch news, reading up on articles and scroll down my social media accounts. There is this specific game that I recently played for an assignment for one of my current classes, known as ARTH 2101ID Healing the Body: The Visual Culture of Medicine Interdisciplinary. For this assignment, the game I played is call “Plague.” I found it be very intriguing in the way the game was designed. I found it be fun in creating and spreading a bacterium all over the world. Plus, I also found it to be very creepy and distributing like a horror movie because I heard laughter and singing of little children. I would definitely play it again some time, as well as recommend it others as an educational and entertaining game to test one’s mind.

In my personal opinion and not to get too political, I think the government has not handled Covid-19 well, especially the previous president of the United States of America. I say this because when it was first introduced as something major and possibly happening in China, he should have taken some guidelines into placed to avoid the thousands of cases and deaths that happened over the last year. When it comes to my family and friends back in Trinidad, I would say that one of my female friends from high school have struggled the most during this time. I can not say exactly what went on in her life here because it is confidential, and I have been helping her to the point where I feel like it has taken a big toll on me. I think Covid-19 will affect my life going forward in a mutually good and bad way from the decisions that I made in the past, but I can definitely say that I will be continuing to stay positive and release all the negative energy coming my way.

Ajah’s Self-Care

What is self-care? As stated by Wikipedia, “In health care, self-care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. Self-care is seen as a partial solution to the global rise in health care costs placed on governments. Self-care is considered to be a fundamental pillar of health and social care and is an essential component of a modern health care systems governed by regulations and statutes. Self-care is considered a primary form of care for patients with self-managed chronic illness. Self-care is a continuous learning process. In philosophy, self-care refers to the care and cultivation of self in a comprehensive sense, focusing in particular on the soul and the knowledge of self.”

I totally agree with this statement and how important it is to do self-care. I personally have been trying to do more self-care on a daily, but I have been struggling. Life is hard as it is with responsibilities of school, work, and home. Sometimes I feel like I do not have enough time in the day or night to do self-care. But as each day goes by, I try my best to do little by little and stay positive. Self-care consists of many things, and I want to state some things of what I have been personally trying my best to do on a daily basis.

At my job, I am constantly washing and sanitizing my hands, because I work at JFK international airport with passengers from international and domestic flights coming in. When I reach home at nights, I try to do some assignments for school before getting some sleep for the next day of class and work. Recently, every morning and night while I take a shower, I use a face wash called Clearasil to help cleanse and fight my acne. I hope using this face wash can help or prevent them from coming out. After washing my face, I use witch hazel and an all-natural glow facial serum. It fights against acne, dark spots, promotes wound healing, combats signs of skin aging, and treats dry skin including eczema. It consists of sweet almond oil, rosehip seed oil, neem oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, and organic rose buds. I also have a 64 oz water bottle that I carry around the house and to work, to help stay motivated in drinking more water each day. Then there is my membership with planet fitness, and I watch a little tv or movies sometimes to take my mind off of reality.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

As I started to read the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey, I found it to be very interesting. The book starts off with quotes in the first 17 pages. The book then goes on to the acknowledgements and table of contents. The book consists of four parts. Part 1 is call, “Paradigms and Principles” that contains the book inside-out and the 7 habits overview. Part 2 is call, “Private Victory” that contains Habit 1: Be Proactive, Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind, and Habit 3: Put First Things First. Part 3 is call, “Public Victory” and Paradigms of Interdependence, that contains Habit 4: Think Win/Win, Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood, and Habit 6: Synergize. Part 4 is call, “Renewal” that contains Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw, along with inside-out again.

I found this book to be a little more different from The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and Self-Help by Samuel Smiles, where this book contains more quotes and stories than the others. One quote that I found to be similar to the law of attraction in The Secret was, “We began to realize that if we wanted to change the situation, we first had to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.” (Covey P.18) I say this relates to law of the attraction because what you think, is what you will get. So, if we want our situation within ourselves to be positive, then we have to change by doing positive things when it comes to our personality and attitude. This quote also relates, especially with the one we are all familiar with today, “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” (Covey P.46)

When it comes to this quote, I totally agree, “Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.” (Covey P.70-71) I believe it states that what you and who we are is how we are totally in control of our own decisions. This quote follows the previous one, “But until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’” (Covey P.72)

Class Notes (02/25)

After taking attendance at the beginning of the class, professor announced the winners of the People’s Choice #2: Self-Help (Samuel Smiles). Congratulations to Crystal for her 2nd time in a row as the 1st place winner, who tied with Courtney. Then we went on to presenting our group discussion of the Self-Help Book by Samuel Smiles.

  • Group 1 consisted of Maria, Crystal and Reem, who presented the section called, “Preface, Information and Table of Contents.”
  • Group 2 consisted of Courtney, Niyomi and I, who presented the section called, “Chapter 1: National and Individual.”
  • Group 3 consisted of Robby, Anil, and Aryanna, who presented the section called, “Chapter IV: Application and Perseverance.”

After each group presented, we all made reflections on what each group did well and should improve on. We then came together as a class with professor and shared our notes that we jotted down, which consists of things some of us learned in a previous class we took called, “Public Speaking.” This includes:

  • Do not have lengthy wording on your PowerPoint because this has the audience focus on reading it than listening to the speaker.
  • Keep the slides simple and short with main points but have more information on flashcards or paper that emphasize your main points more.
  • Try to avoid using words like ‘umm’ and ‘like’ when you are speaking because it is not proper language, and it creates your speech run longer than expected.
  • Establish the right order when giving the information and presenting, for example, start with giving out the main points of what you are trying to get across, then give examples, and lastly finalize or summarize your presentation.

We went on to speaking about vocabulary words, phrases, authors, books, quotes, and narrative devices. We just discussed briefly, and will get into more details later on in the semester:

En media res or In medias res – A narrative work beginning in medias res opens in the midst of the plot. Often, exposition is bypassed and filled in gradually, through dialogue, flashbacks, or description of past events.

Individual over institution – The ideology of the Individual versus the Institution is defined by an individual unable to make their own choices due to a society or institutions in which they are making the individual conform.

Focus on success rather failure.

Upward mobility – moving to a higher social class; acquiring wealth and status.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

Rugged individualism, derived from individualism, is a term that indicates the ideal whereby an individual is totally self-reliant and independent from outside, usually state or government, assistance.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He wrote the essay called, “Self-Reliance” in 1841.

Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s and 1830s in the eastern United States. Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the most famous and influential transcendentalists.

The New Age movement is a religious or spiritual movement that developed in Western nations during the 1970s.

Positive thinking

Non-conformity is failure or refusal to conform to a prevailing rule or practice.

Chapter 1, “Self-Help’s Portable Wisdom” (from Beth Blum, The Self-Help Compulsion: Searching for Advice in Modern Literature).

  • “genre’s manic citation practice” (Blum 41)
  • “Contemporary readers may be incredulous that a book so popular could contain so many dry and lengthy catalogs. But Smiles’ readers found these inventories anything but dull; their sheer quantity intensified, and substantiated Self-Help’s thrilling promises of upward mobility. [. . .]. From Franklin’s list of virtues to Smiles’ inventories to Reddit’s listicles, the list has become a staple of self-help discourse” (Blum 45-46)
  • “Unlike most contemporary self-help handbooks, Smiles advocated prosaic labor above magical solutions and extolled hard work in the name of civic progress rather than material gain” (Blum 47).

For Next Week’s Class on Tuesday 03/02:

  1. Read – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (Stephen R. Covey) [excerpts]
  2. Due – Annotations of Covey text & Reading Response #3: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  3. Class Notes will be done by Anil

Self-Help by Samuel Smiles: Industry and the Peerage

In chapter 1, the quote “HEAVEN helps those who help themselves” is described as a well-tried maxim, embodying in a small compass the results of vast human experience. This quote stands out to me as I often use it to motivate myself to get things done. I ask God to help me as I have helped myself and it is known in the Bible that God helps those who help themselves. This contributes to the ambition, determination, and drive of a person. One is more willing to complete tasks and do things independently if they know that they would receive blessings and favorable outcomes from God. This also gives persons a sense of inner satisfaction and pride within themselves if they get tasks done on their own.

In chapter 4, the quote, “Allez en avant, et la foi vous viendra!” by D’Alembert, when translated means “Go forward, and faith will come to you!” This means that if one masters the art of everyday duties and consistency, they will achieve success in their other endeavors. The simple things and tasks of everyday life contribute to one’s self- improvement. If a person is used to doing something regularly, they would use their knowledge and apply it to all aspects of their life. Ordinary and common qualities are just as important and needed as skill related qualities.

I chose chapter 7, which is called, “Industry and the Peerage.” Peerage can be defined as the title or peer or peeress. Many persons have risen from poverty or being less fortunate to holding top positions and having power in society. With the force of application and industry, an ordinary person can achieve rank and success, if they acquire the qualities of common traits and hard work. They start from nothing with nothing and achieve everything later on in life.

“He either fears his fate too much,

Or his deserts are small,

That dares not put it to the touch,

To gain or lose it all.”—Marquis of Montrose

In order for one to achieve everything great that they want in life, they need to apply themselves both physically and mentally, with and without the help of others, practicing common qualities and consistency. The journey to success is long and hard but when one achieves it, they would receive satisfaction and rank.