Category Archives: Personal Development

Franconia Ridge, NH

Hey there,

Some pics from my trip to Franconia Ridge, New Hampshire with the Applied Linguistics Program @ BU (Oct. 20, 2007). This is definitely a trip worth taking, even if you are the biggest, and baddest city rat around.

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Fashion and how it can boost your confidence

I hail from a city known for its sparkling fashion, its unique trends and personal styles. A quick survey of the supermodels-in-disguise on any bustling NYC street and you’ll notice how they emit an air of individualism, of flair, of rooted authenticity. As Chuck Klosterman writes in, “The Ethics of Paradox”, in this month’s issue of Esquire:

“[New Yorkers] usually think their personal opinions are more interesting than any movie ever made.”

We know we’re full of ourselves and darn proud of it. That said, our sense of fashion is no different.

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Make your writing sparkle.

DailyWritingTips has an interesting (interactive even) post on editing. Granted there are fancy spellcheckers out there, manual proofreading catches more than just misspelled words; you may find an inferior word that doesn’t really capture what meaning you want to convey, wrongly used punctuation marks, and most importantly, you polish your writing so it’s easily digestable.

Here’s a great tip left by a fellow commentor:

Here’s a tip I used in graduate school and one I pass along to my students: Read aloud to yourself.

When you proofread silently, you really tend to skim and possibly miss mistakes. But, if you read aloud, there is absolutely no way your mouth can keep up with your brain. Therefore, you have to slow down and you can “hear” your mistakes more easily.

People may give you funny looks, but not when grades come out and you are on top.

And don’t just edit words, edit content. Take out gratuitious, unnecessary thoughts and ramblings that are meaningless. Make your literary product concise. Copyblogger has a great post on how to tighten up your writing. Your blog is in constant competition not only against other blogs but against broadcast news websites, commercial retailers, IM conversations, emails and so on. By the time readers enter your store, the last thing they want to read is dense literature.

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Not all habits are evil.

Breaking habits

For many of us, when we think of “habits”, we immediately think of those that deserve breaking (such as the one above). However, seldomly do we construct and nurture good habits, those that allow us to climb to the top, to succeed, to become whatever we aspire.

The blog at Productivity501 created a list to help us maintain the habits we do want to harbor.

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Rock your next presentation with these simple steps

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I once listened in on a presentation about modern language ideologies, a very thought-provoking and captivating topic. Instead of tickling my interests (which is what I hoping), the presentation delivered broke down in front of me like a creaky Geo Metro: the speech was delivered verbatim to the text sources, there were massive gaps of silence that left an awkward tension in the atmosphere, “ers” and “ums” were littered all over the place, and random points were introduced anachronistically, losing the audience and our attention.

The next presentation was a bit better, more lax….or perhaps too lax: the speakers lounged in their chairs, hands clasped casually on their stomachs, talking about what they thought and how it related to their personal experiences. I felt like I was in therapy session.

These hazards are culprits of every presentation gone wrong. Yeah, public speaking is nerve wracking but most people fail to see the ultimate point: that you’re presenting and not giving a court testimony. You’re relaying insightful information, not being subjected to scrutiny.

In addition to attaining nirvana before the big day, here’s my prescription to cure poor presentations:

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Be a star athlete – in the car

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Take a good, hard look at this picture. Sear this image into your retinas. Now step back and picture yourself pressing the rewind button, back before this awful catastrophe happened. What do you see the driver doing? Where did the driver go wrong? What could’ve been averted?

Worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year and as many as 50 million are injured. My driving instructor once told a younger and more naive version of me that driving is like a sport. He also failed to mention that driving is also more lethal. That said, just as how there are those better at the game of basketball or tennis, it’s easier to accept the idea that there are simply good and bad drivers out there, whether you attribute it to talent, skill, focus, or whatever.

However, just like with any sport, there are fundamental and intuitive rules players must abide by. Within the vast arenas of highways, parking lots, and intersections, these rules aren’t vainly enforced by authorities; instead they avoid potential injuries, confrontation and just bad sportsmanship (aka road rage).

I’m not claiming to be a trophy-sporting, ex-NASCAR race car driver but I’d like to think that there’s more in me than just pure luck that have so far prevented any sort of auto accident whatsoever (*knocks on wood*). My list of top driving tips:

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4 Ways to Leave an Impressive First Impression

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Ah – the excitement and anticipation of your first job interview. Stepped out of school for the summer and stepping into the ominous work force for the first time. You ask your friends, family, and those who have mastered the process for tips on how to land that job, what to do and what not to do (“What do you mean I can’t wear my Metallica t-shirt?”). Do give them a firm handshake, do appear approachable and sociable, do smile a lot, do act interested in the position and the company. Don’t act reserved and quiet, don’t turn the conversation into a monologue, and most importantly of all, don’t be late.

In addition to improving your body language, these tips and countless others can all be found under the four main rules of leaving a good first impression. And it’s not just for job success either; you can use them when you’re meeting business partners and clients, meeting your in-laws (yikes!), going on that first date, and anything that demands good social networking skills. The basic idea is setting the bar high at the onset of the relationship; just like how it’s much easier to maintain a high G.P.A with a good start than to struggle up to the top with a low grade, a sour relationship is hard to cure because the effects of a bad start is a constant reminder to both of you.

So what are the four basic commandments of a good job interview?

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