In-Depth 4.0

At this time in my mentoring relationship, I am at the end of the negotiating stage with my mentor according to Zachary’s model of mentorship. The reason that negotiation took a very long time was because meeting and actually discussing the details of our expectations and goals turned out to be hard. Due to our shifting schedules, we often had to make amendments to our agreements. I had troubles at the beginning regarding the role of my mentor in this project, specifically how he can support me and what he should teach me. This unclearness leads to a lack of goals and criteria for success. While I got more into gears as I gained knowledge about my topic, I have a better idea of how exactly my mentor can support me in the process of this project.

Our mentor meetings now are actually quite productive now. I would have some questions that he can answer, and he would then talk about specific things that he wants me to think about or just life experiences that shows something about the stock markets. The first part would take around 30 minutes, and depending on how much my mentor wants to talk about, we could be together for up to 2 hours. The meetings are turning out to be great.

The only thing that I would like to happen would be to establish a closer relationship with my mentor. Right now, we are in a kind of teacher-student relationship. I sometimes feel that I am troubling my mentor everytime I needed him for something. To build friendship, I need to gain mutual respect in the first place. This respect is not one of being polite, but more of respect for other’s abilities and ideas. What I will have to do will be to make the meetings not just a learning experience for me, but my mentor as well through teaching a mind without pre-assumptions. The simplest thing to do right now is to get ready for each meeting, to make sure that I am prepared with questions and to be attentive and focused during my meetings.

For a progress update, I am currently still watching Khan Academy videos. I will finish in around 2-3 weeks.

In-Depth 3.0 – Finding the Context

This week’s focus for our mentor meeting is context, and to me, it means asking the questions: what is the context of my meetings, why is there this context, how is it significant, and how does it impact the mentoring relationship. These are hard series of questions to find out, as I noticed how beyond the initial context of the place and time, there is the mindset of my mentor or me, which are also contexts in our conversation, in addition to what we are doing.

Zachary (2000) points out that to overcome the influences of the multiple contextual layers that affect an individual simultaneously, it is wise to set ground rules and processes which work in specific context. To answer the questions above, I made sure that both my mentor and I know the “terms and conditions” of our time together. We made sure we know how we will communicate with one another first, which is through email, and then an in-person meeting. The usual meeting location will either be at my house, his house or the library, which I will detail in my emails. We would meet at least twice a month, and by the end of our time together we would have accomplished the goals of this project. This section of our meeting went very well, and we were able to set clear goals for the next few meetings.

One different thing about this year’s In-Depth that I’ve noticed is that I have much better communication with my mentor. We could communicate well with each other in our meetings because we respected each other and knew each other well.  This enabled us to listen, think and respond in an effective fashion. We had a good relationship, which means that we are at ease with each other when sitting together, and we can experiment with ideas without fear. All of this helped us communicate clearly and pleasantly.

There are still some things that can be improved in the mentoring sessions. It could be nice if we could:

  1. have time to talk a little bit more about ourselves so we can understand each other better.
  2. have smaller informal discussions during the week to exchange information.
  3. eliminate distractions and focus for the hour on the most important things.

To accomplish these goals, I plan to set up an extra meeting (depending on my mentor’s availability) this week sometime to do a casual cafe talk about our life experiences and goals. If he is not available, an online chat would also be great. I am going to try to revive my WeChat account, the main social media messaging account that my mentor uses. It is hard because WeChat is not on the computer, and I don’t have a phone accessible at many times. I will just set a routine of writing down some casual questions and getting my phone to ask once in a while. I realized since last year that an agenda, or just simply a list of questions/goals for the meeting works very well to keep me and my mentor on track since we are aware of the content and time to go.

As for my progress this week, I am still doing backgrounders, watching Khan Academy videos on stock and bonds and reading elementary Investopedia articles, which are extremely detailed and helpful (they are actually meant for university finance students and adults). I didn’t take many notes, which I guess I should do. I may just go over the videos and copy the key term though.

Introduction to Mentorship (In-depth Post 2, Week 3)

As the In-depth project progress, we are now starting to meet with our mentors and receive guidance from them regarding our goals and procedures. Ms. Mulder has asked us to comment on the following questions for this post:

  1. How did your mentor gain their experience/ expertise?
  2. What were those experiences like for your mentor?
  3. What wisdom have you gained from your mentor so far?
  4. What have you learned so far, in terms of facilitation strategies, that might contribute to your own development as a mentor?

 

My mentor gained his experience in the investment field through personal interest, jobs, and education. He received teaching in university that helped him find a job as a broker, initially. He told me that after switching a few jobs and having many mentors in between, he is now an investment counsellor and can finally start helping others on the journey that he went through. He is a firm believer of the “guide and relate” model of mentoring relationships when I mentioned it to him, and he commented that the best teachers he had didn’t just pour out information to him, but created an environment where he can learn on his own, supporting him and guiding him to implement his actions. Teaching did provide him with a lot of professional knowledge, but the most important ones came from teachers, who like mentors, took the time to learn about him and personally encourage and support him. The conversations between us are almost just an exemplary model of how having a mentor one on one can help me digest information. I had read Ms. Mulder’s blog post about mentorship, but it is through this conversation that I am able to develop my own interpretations of it and have someone experienced confirm or reject it. My mentor is far from perfect, but I learned to be understanding of other people’s ideas, especially those who have no previous experience and is not restricted by the standardized conventions. Truly, mentoring is not about how we influence others, but how we help them on their journey to find their own version of the truth they are seeking.

In-Depth Intro: Investing

It is finally time for another In-Depth project! The project is one of my favorite TALONS events, and I have thought long and hard about what I want to learn about. After some comparisons and evaluations, I got down to investing in securities, funds, etc. indepth

The reason that I decided to learn about investing is partially due to the eminent person project I completed earlier in the year. Even when I was younger, still in elementary school, my parents exposed me to some books that humorously talks about the importance of growing money. The vivid metaphors intrigued me and planted a seed inside. All of that helped me make my decision for this year’s project.

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One of the Chinese books I read (I can’t find the English name, but it is written by a German author)

There are two possible mentors that can support me in my learning. One has already agreed orally and is experienced doing trading (he worked at a stock exchange). The other person manages my family’s stocks and is very professional, with many years of outstanding record. I might be able to Skype her since she is in China, but if not she can give me some pointers if I email her.

 

“In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.”              – Robert Arnott

Romeo and Juliet Not “Children”?

Before I start, I would like to clarify that I am looking and writing with a modern perspective. At the time in Italy, things may have been different, and so one may arrive at a conclusion different from my own.


 

It has become a subject of debate whether Romeo and Juliet’s love in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is shallow puppy love carried out by teenage children. I have been reading the play in English and in my understanding, the two’s love is a bit more than short passion, but not much more. It cannot be denied that both Romeo and Juliet love from a physical point. That can be seen in Romeo’s change from his description of Rosaline that “beauty starved with her severity cuts beauty off from all posterity. She is too fair…” to his exclamation that “I have forgot [Rosaline]… my heart’s dear love is set on the fair daughter of rich Capulet” (25, 103). Romeo solely focuses his love, or desires, on appearance, so when someone fairer than the one he loves shows herself, Romeo ditches his old love immediately. We can see from here that Romeo have a rather immature view on love, and he “love by rote, that could not spell” (105). Juliet, on the other hand, is much less impulsive and naive, but in modern standards, she loves too fast and without deeper thought. This can be seen in how she is shaken when the news of Romeo killing Tybalt comes, wondering how can “[a] book containing such vile matter [ever be] so fairly bound” (163). The fact that Juliet just comes to realize what kind of person her husband is after the wedding is quite alarming, likely leading to an unhappy marriage after the physical attractions fade away with age. The reason I don’t classify this affair as simple puppy love is because the two aren’t just loving for fun, like so many teenage kids; they are prepared to live their entire lives together, united in marriage. The intense passion made them oblivious to the other’s shortcomings, classifying the relationship as one that is not well thought out, but the extent of their love goes a long ways beyond physical lust and attraction.

When considering whether Romeo and Juliet are children or not regarding the conventions then, we can assume that they are viewed as adults. Romeo and Juliet was written between 1591 and 1595, originating from The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet written in 1562. The story likely took place during or slightly before that period. In medieval England, children at the age of twelve will often find themselves given the responsibilities of adults with adult-like consequences (academia.edu). Jobs like rock scarers (restaurant dishwashers) or shepherds in Montaillo, France are given to young boys at the age of twelve. The fact that both Romeo and Juliet are in noble households mean that they don’t have to work, but they are both of age to marry as to the customs. It is not often that children under the age of fourteen are married in medieval England, but around 8 % of the children documented are married at that age. The conditions should be similar in Verona, Italy, so the two lovers are both adults in their society. I wasn’t able to find whether “for most of the history of mankind, at 14 years of age human beings were considered to be adults” as claimed by Kulich in her article, but her central idea that Romeo and Juliet are adults is right.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romeo_and_Juliet

http://www.academia.edu/322247/Coming_of_Age_and_the_Family_In_Medieval_England

Zip DOC 4(?)

I have quite a big list of struggles during ZIP, even though I am not good at assembling lists. Here are a few:

In the past weeks, I have found that it is very hard for me to brainstorm a big list of items. I was trying to do a prereading list of the benefits of text vs. visual presentation in terms their ability to present characters. I got to around 5 for each, but can’t get any further no matter how hard I tried. Later on, in a similar exercise, I could concentrate for the first 10 minutes or so, but I lost my focus soon after. Even then, since it is on my mind, during the day I will sometimes get an idea that I will forget before I can write it down. A few cycle of that drives me crazy. So I began carrying a notepad at home, which helped a lot.

I also found that it is very hard to analyze too many works, so I will just focus on one piece. I have watched the movie and read the book both twice, and I will create an infographic later.

That said, I realized that infographics are very hard to create on a slow computer. My usual browser, Opera, is incompatible with canva, the design website I am using, and on top of that, using Firebox often crashes my computer for whatever reason. Even with Chrome, I have to slowly carry out any operation or else the browser freezes and doesn’t respond. So I will still try to create as many as I need, but I may replace some of them with mind maps or other things.

ZIP 3

I am going to talk about our in-class focus block for the past week. On Monday, I spent that entire block watching and finishing the Ender’s Game movie. I didn’t take notes because I will probably watch it again, and also because I just want to get an overall impression without missing anything while taking notes. On my second work block on Friday, I brainstormed what the second piece of literature I am going to analyze is, as well as made some notes on the movie. I used just my memory of the movie to write down the “big idea” of the movie; the key differences between the movie and the book. This is focused on the movie, so I won’t present much in terms of solid compare and contrast. I also did a bit of organizing for my binder, since the rings opened in my backpack and the pages all fell out. It was another productive block…

Here is an interesting quote that I found while researching:

“I cried when I saw [the movie]. I said, ‘Oh, God, what have they done?'”

– P.L.Travers (Mary Poppins)

Reflection for John Maxwell’s Leadership Lessons

THE INFLUENCE CHALLENGE

You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.

John Knox

Many people believe in their abilities to work efficiently and lead, knowing that it would benefit the team and its goals, but they do not often get others to follow. The simple reason is that people don’t have to listen! Leadership is all about influence. As we are trying to take on the responsibilities of a leader and trying to gain supporters, we need to keep in mind that we need to have either position or influence to lead. Also, since we can hardly be bestowed a superior status (if we have any in TALONS) without first proving our abilities to manage, we should change our mindset of “I want a position that will make people follow me” to “I want to become a person whom others would want to follow”. The only solution to this challenge is to become someone others would trust to lead.

*In the second semester, we have one of the most significant projects that TALONS’ students will undertake: the adventure trips. I will also have my cultural event planning and maybe in-depth. It will undoubtedly be beneficial to keep in mind the ways that Maxwell suggested to overcome the Influence Challenge:

  • Care. Get to know others.

This means that I should be familiar with all of my team members, and they should be with me. I want to help them get to know what they are doing and do it better with tips from someone who has a bit more experience.

  • Build trust and be dependable.

I will need to do what I promised to do, whether it is bringing a brochure to the meeting or actually attending the meeting. To develop and exhibit the character I want, I can look at the attributes that leaders I admire possess, and try to change myself starting from now on.

  • Do my job well. 

Mainly, I need to hand in my share of work early enough so others would have time to critique it. I need to make sure that I put in all my efforts into my product, which will not just benefit myself, but the overall goal of the whole team.

  • Be consistently approachable.

I always need to be willing to talk to others, whether I am in a gloomy mood or not. It is like a hat that I need to put on, gloominess is not something that would benefit the team, and I shouldn’t let that interfere.

  • Be wholeheartedly committed to the goal myself.

Poor leaders demand respect. Competent leaders command respect.

John C. Maxwell

*for clarity purposes, I separated the sections (I personally hate long paragraphs because I can’t understand them). It is still under the word limit.

ZIP Post 2

At this point in my project, I have realized that my initial plan is way too ambitious. I could still complete it, but it would require a lot of effort during the break, which I prefer to spend relaxing. I made a new calendar, attached in image below.zip

Changes: I am going to scratch the compare and contrast essay for a couple of mind maps/infographics. There should be one pre-reading guess, two after reading comparisons, and one master comparison. I could do compare and contrast notes still, but no specific notes for each one. I am also going to change the second novel vs. film comparison to maybe a short story vs. short film comparison (I still need to find it, recommendations accepted).