Getting the Words Out

I don’t know if I’d consider myself an introvert and so I was initially turned off by the title of this article. But once I read the article, I came to accept that maybe I do have more introverted qualities than I thought (I know, people, this shouldn’t be something I have to “come to accept,” but alas, I haven’t quite shed myself of the negative connotations associated with introversion I learned at some point down the road). A lot of the article was very relatable, especially when it comes to finding difficulty getting the right words out in class/in a conversation with someone. At Williams, so much quality content comes my way in class and in conversation that it takes me some time to process it to give it a reply that does it justice. But it seems like everyone else’s brains work a lot faster (a special shoutout to my PolySci lawyers-in-the-making friends) and I’m often left struggling to inject some coherent fragments into the five second space allotted me.

I want to become a faster thinker and processor, but also don’t want to compromise the thoughtfulness of my responses. I love late-night conversations the best because they tend to be slightly slower and more drawn out, giving me more time to formulate my replies, yet just as (if not more) rich.

Interactive Learning on the Internet

It’s always fun to find a satisfying time-waster or quick game on the internet. It’s also always fun to stumble upon a website that explains complex topics or theories in an easily-understood or creative manner. Recently, I found both of these on Nicky Case’s website, which is chock full of cute, fun, fascinating, interactive learning animations! I’d definitely recommend using some procrastination time to check out The Evolution of Trust, the lesson that originally brought me to the site. I’ve since checked out a few of the others, and they’ve all been super interesting. Start out here for a nice, quick one, but tread carefully with this one, I got a little scarred…. Anyway, check out this website and do some positive procrastination!

How Should We Navigate a World Where Physical Attractiveness Plays Such a Role?

Someone who’s a “looker,” “head turner,” or “easy on the eyes” might illicit a “double take” from an onlooker. A second chance. A do-over. Attention.

How is it fair that people who won the “genetic lottery” (something they have no control over) should get any more chances in this world than anyone else? But they do: in school, jobs, and partners. And they’re often more confident and outgoing (attractive personality characteristics) since they’ve had social success.

Williams is not immune to this phenomena, as any fly on the wall of a Hoxsey house could see: hotter people attract more attention more of the time. Perhaps it’s because a party environment diminishes the importance of other traits (maybe besides dance moves, fashion sense, and pong skillz). Base evolutionary instincts/desires rule. But outside of the party context, do Williams students (a smarter average population) value physical appearance less than the general population?

The articles below go more into depth about the perks of being pretty and what we can do to decrease the divide.

Emily Ratajkowski. Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Yes, Beautiful People Have a Totally Different Experience of Life

Being Dishonest About Ugliness

Wandering Mind? Not to Worry!

Growing up, teachers could always discern the difference between my academically thoughtful face and my “off somewhere wandering” face. Their natural, disciplinarian response was telling me to “focus!”

With that sort of precedent in my life, each time my mind drifts to thoughts of people, places, or events either experienced or imagined while in the midst of a late night Sawyer crunch, I reflexively feel guilty. That is, until I read this article in The Week magazine:

Here are some intriguing takeaways:

  • We spend up to 8 minutes of every hour daydreaming
  • The wandering mind might actually be off searching for ways to cope with the stresses of everyday life
  • Daydreaming involves the same brain regions that are active when people are solving insight puzzles
  • People whose minds wander a lot are more creative and better problem solvers because their brains have them working on the task at hand but simultaneously processing other information and making connections
  • Having multiple hobbies allows your brain to subconsciously compare and contrast problems and solutions just as reading multiple books at the same time vs serially lets your brain juxtapose new ideas and make connections (seems applicable to a liberal arts education!)
  • The downside is that people spend roughly 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy

The upshot of the article, according to author Eric Barker, is to “spend most of your time focused but have rituals that allow your mind to wander on cue.” Daily rituals help people unconsciously access information that they might not otherwise perceive if they’re focusing intensely on a specific task instead.

So who knows–making Mission waffles, scrolling through your phone in the morning, or taking study breaks to walk around Sawyer could very well lead to your best idea yet.

The Opposite of Loneliness

This article is about Yale but could be about any college where so much community is found from living in such tight proximity to like-minded, similar-aged, passionate, hopeful people. I can see why so many people go to grad school (besides the other reasons)— to not lose this “opposite of loneliness” that Marina Keegan so beautifully writes about.

The moments leading up to the finals’ week scream

Flying Home

Are people in the emergency exit row of a plane more likely to talk to each other since they are forced to open their mouths to give the flight attendant verbal affirmation that they will comply with federal regulations in the event of an emergency landing? 

I’ve had the most amazing conversations with strangers on planes, so I frequently think about what can make it easier to get strangers to talk. Because that’s always the hardest part…getting your foot in the door. I overthink it completely, but it always surprises me how willing people are to talk (if they aren’t trying to finish a final or work project…and even if they are:) once you can get out of your own head.

From Zurich to San Francisco: I couldn’t stand the idea of sitting in such close proximity to someone for a whole 12 hours without at least attempting conversation so I asked a benign question to break the ice, “Do you have enough room with my bag here?” To my delight, he answered “yes” and then stuck out his hand to introduce himself, opening the floodgates. We talked about his job working at Google, the future of tech and its impact on kids, Dubai, fact-checking, and how celebrities should refrain from making political statements. When we’d had enough of talking for the time being, he watched Get Out and I watched Moonlight and we debriefed them with each other afterwards. He had an intelligent opinion on pretty much any topic, but also was curious about my opinions. Saying goodbye at the baggage claim was sad because I knew I’d probably never see him again in this world of 7.6 billion. But I know I’ll always remember our conversation.

Some conversations on planes can and do extend beyond the plane. Here is a story about that:

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