Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What College Taught Me

Another day gone by far too quickly. By the time I finished work and got home from the store, I knew I wouldn't have time for strength and cardio as originally planned. Instead, I completed three rounds of Courtney's Timed Stability Ball Circuit. Honestly, when I first saw Courtney's post with this workout, I knew I wanted to try it but also thought it looked pretty low-key. I only have a set of 8-lb. weights, so I assumed the 50-second rounds would feel easy.

Wrong! Done properly and with a timer, this workout has impressed me both times I've completed it. Today I did three rounds and was already sweaty after the first one. The third round was really a struggle! That Courtney, deceptively difficult! I also took about 20 minutes to really stretch after the workout, because I've been feeling quite tight in my neck, shoulders, and legs. A little stretching goes a long way!

I should mention that this happened today:


It was glorious. It tastes exactly like pumpkin pie filling, but frozen and creamy.

Tonight Terry and I attended another UCLA event at the beautiful campus, and we had been excited about it for several weeks. The event gathered nine Disney Imagineers, who all work on a variety of projects and all attended UCLA.

The panel, moderated by a 53-year Disney veteran, showed the depth and diversity that exists among Imagineers. From a lighting designer (the guy who designed all of the lighting for the new Cars Land in California Adventure) to project managers (the folks responsible for all creative direction for Tokyo Disney Sea and Disneyland Paris, for example), we met an impressive sampling of the talent that Disney has working on their staff.



One of the questions the moderator asked really got me thinking: What stands out to you from your time at UCLA as a particularly meaningful experience that has helped you to this day?

Two panelists' responses particularly intrigued me. One said that his time at UCLA taught him his craft. He is a set designer (and designed Pooh's Honey Hunt in Tokyo Disney), and his college years taught him carpentry and other crucial skills for his career. Another panelist discussed an anecdote in which his engineering professor asked the class to prove that the collision of two pool balls is not a perfect elastic collision. The problem stumped the students because their textbooks has used the pool ball example as a perfectly elastic one; the energy from one ball is transferred entirely to the other ball upon collision. But the professor finally revealed that since sound is released, not all of the energy is transferred. The lesson taught our panelist how to think outside the box--er, textbook, as it were.

Of course, I couldn't help but think about my time at UCLA and tried to come up with a particularly meaningful experience or lesson. Having given it only an hour of thought, I think my response must be that, while in college, I learned how to read.

Obviously I knew how to read from a young age, and I devoured books as a kid. I feel that my high school was fantastic and taught me a lot of skills, and obviously I managed to squeak my way into UCLA. But I wasn't really reading; I was glazing over the words and calling it literary. It wasn't until my second year at UCLA that I figured out how to actually read any text, analyze its contents, uncover the many layers of meaning, or connect it to its historical context.

I learned countless other life skills during college--how to get along with people, how to manage finances, how to write a five-page paper in two hours at four in the morning...hmm, I see another letter to me in my future--but learning how to read really stood out to me today as I reflected on my collegiate experience. Now I can confidently approach any text, from research papers to novels to instructional documents, and thoroughly understand its meaning. I know I will value this skill for the rest of my life, and it's one reason I have chosen to help teach high school students how to read.

That's my little tidbit for today. Sorry, Mom, I'll be back to the health-focused stuff tomorrow. (Though reading is an excellent way to keep the mind sharp!)

What stands out to you from your education as a particularly meaningful experience that has helped you to this day?

8 comments:

  1. I saw that workout on courtneys page. Props to you for finishing it 3x through :)

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    1. Thanks! It was tougher than I thought and I'm a little sore this morning!

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  2. you and terry always do the most fun and interesting stuff! i'm super jealous. when tex and i end this long distance thing we have going, i can't wait to drag him along on dates like yours!

    i love what you said about learning to read - i definitely didn't learn until college how to really read a book, though i've always loved reading.

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    1. :-) Midweek dates aren't too shabby!

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  3. I accidentally made some pumpkin ice cream last week and it was AMAZING!! I've got to figure out how that happened so I can recreate and share :)

    Learning to truly read and appreciate lit is a great gift - no other escape quite like it!

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    1. Accidentally? Ha! That would be a happy mistake in my book! :-)

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  4. gosh that looks good. what an interesting perspective about learning to read. I love that

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    1. Thanks! That pumpkin ice cream was delicious...

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