Guys I am in the middle of packing for my trip to China, but I am still worried about how you will spend your summer vacations. I know it is hard to find the motivation to study or to do much of anything during summer vacation. The philosopher John Stuart Mill compared normal happinesses to those of pigs, like eating lots of foods, sleeping too much, getting drunk, or being lustful or lazy with your time.
He then went on to say that those things are not true happiness. And if you think about how you feel after laying in your bed for hours and looking at your smartphone, do you really feel a sense of completeness and happiness? I am going to guess not. And we all know how over the summer it is very easy to fall into a pattern of laying in bed and watching TV all day. That is ok some days because we need it as a way to regenerate, but that cannot be everyday of your life or you will always feel a little empty inside. As Mill said, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question”(Mill cited on Good Reads, 2015).
So please find something worthwhile to fill your summer with, look for true happiness, instead of the happiness of pigs, (although pig happiness is ok sometimes, it should not be the main point of our lives, so be pigs, but be pigs with the happiness of Socrates). In order to help you do this, I have chosen a number of coursera.org courses, that I think you should consider taking.
Learning how to learn
This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. We’ll learn about the how the brain uses two very different learning modes and how it encapsulates (“chunks”) information. We’ll also cover illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects.
Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity
You will be able to gain and apply your knowledge and understanding of personal and professional awareness, organization and commitment, and use the tools, methods and techniques that you have learned in goal setting, prioritization, scheduling, and delegation to overcome time management challenges and enhance productivity.
Subtitles available in English, Vietnamese
4-8 hours of videos, readings, and quizzes
Applying for US Universities
This course will help international students (non-U.S. citizens) and non-native English speakers navigate the U.S. university admission process by offering practical information about the documents and pieces that make up a U.S. university application. More importantly, admission officers will discuss how they use those pieces to decide who is accepted and who is denied, so that you can understand the process beyond the pieces. By the end of this course, you will understand application basics that include researching schools, creating a school list, and establishing an application plan. This course will not answer all of your application questions, but it will teach you to ask the right questions of yourself and the universities. Ultimately, you will have all the information you need to start your process the right way, putting you on the path to acceptance.
There are many more courses I would love to share with you but I better hurry up or I WILL be late for my flight (We ALL know it is easily possibly for me to be late for something!) but I want to share this last link with you. All of the courses in this section are “On-Demand” courses which means you can take them いつでも (and you should take them!). Look for classes that make you feel interested, I know a lot of you enjoyed the philosophical elements of Mr Sander’s course as well as those in my Literature course, and almost everyone seemed super interested in psychology so now it is time to dig deeper. Treat your summer like a long visit to the おんせん , relax, read, and detox. Experiences are more important than things, so even if you are staying home all summer, you can still have the experience of learning something new.