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In a TED Talk titled “Nurturing Creativity,” Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, explores the creative process. She also explores the word genius. We usually associate that word with a rare person who is somehow marginalized from society and set under a profound light. However, Gilbert argues that instead of being a genius, we all have a genius that inspires us.
This genius is a type of muse, which was commonly referred to among ancient Greeks. A muse can be a spirit, a goddess, or even a real person. A muse is a source of knowledge or insight. Gilbert mentions that Socrates, the great philosopher, had a “daemon” that occasionally popped by to lend some inspiration.
American poet and author Ruth Stone uses a beautiful metaphor to describe the creative process. An idea is like a storm, rolling over the hills and heading toward the first writer it sees. If the writer can get to a pen and paper fast enough, the storm will run right through her and spill onto the paper. If the writer doesn’t get there fast enough, the storm will swell through the writer and search for the next one.
That storm is the muse. From time to time, the muse enters us suddenly. We have to use these moments to our advantage and let the muse conduct the writing. This inspiration is precious and unseen. It sneaks up on you and it is your job to be ready to use it. When the muse decides to take a leave of absence, or even hibernate, the writer still has a duty to show up for work. (This “genius” is known for being flaky).
This should ease some writers’ doubt and anxiety. A common fear among writers is that their work is not as good as former work, or that it is not original. Now you have an excuse. Just tell yourself that the muse was absent a lot. The muse is there to praise but also to blame. So just keep writing. You will produce some “bad” writing and then you will have surges of great writing, and you have to appreciate those moments. You have to filter out the bad to get the good. If you lose inspiration, just remember the muse will come around. Just be patient.
At the beginning of the year, six players from the UNC-Chapel Hill men’s soccer team were awarded the opportunity to play for Major League Soccer, the United States’ professional soccer league.
“It’s a tremendous reward for our players. They deserve it,” assistant coach Carlos Somoano says.
Four players were selected in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore, Md. in January. Senior defender Jalil Anibaba was taken ninth overall by the Chicago Fire. “I was very excited because the draft is a very stressful time,” Anibaba says. “It’s a dream come true, and it’s a moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life.”
Anibaba, who will join a team captained by former Tar Heel Logan Pause, was named MVP of the 2011 pre-draft PlayerCombine. “It was an honor to be seen as the MVP when you’re participating in an event with such great players,” he says. “It’s humbling.”
Eddie Ababio, a senior outside defender, was selected 18th overall by the Colorado Rapids, the defending MLS Cup champions. Anibaba and Ababio are the eighth and ninth Tar Heels ever picked in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft.
Michael Farfan was taken 24th overall, by the Philadelphia Union. The back-to-back All-American midfielder will join former Tar Heel Sheanon Williams with the Union.
Stephen McCarthy, also a midfielder, was selected immediately after Farfan by the New England Revolution. Despite being one of the four Tar Heels selected in the draft, McCarthy did not enjoy the draft experience. “It was terrible,” he says. “For guys that go top 10, it was probably a great experience. For me, it was a pretty nerve-wracking experience.”
However, McCarthy isn’t intimidated by being the first Tar Heel drafted by the Revolution and has not felt any extra pressure. “I just try to do the best I can,” he says.
In order to perform at his best, McCarthy has had to make adjustments to the higher standard of professional play. “It’s been pretty nuts,” McCarthy says. “It’s a whole new level of intensity. After practice, all I want to do is sleep.”
Somano says the Carolina program is known for creating great players. “We have a tradition here of pushing our guys to be great. When you create an environment like (Carolina), players will become great,” Somoano says.
Two other Tar Heels were added to MLS rosters following the SuperDraft. Senior midfielder Dustin McCarthy was selected by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft, a secondary draft held after the SuperDraft. A day later, Alex Dixon, a junior midfielder, signed a contract with the Houston Dynamo.
Carolina is now tied for the fourth-most players drafted in MLS history, with McCarthy as the 33rd Tar Heel ever selected in the MLS SuperDraft. “There’s a tradition (at Carolina) consistent in winning and producing professional soccer players,” assistant coach Jeff Negalha says.
So, what’s next for these Tar Heels?
“As a rookie, you have to be open to anything, including playing new positions. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team,” Anibaba says.
Left to right: Jalil Anibaba, Defender; Eddie Ababio, Defender/Forward; Michael Farfan, Midfielder; Stephen McCarthy, Midfielder
Photo Source: tarheelblue.com
Most people say “ew” to soy before they even try it. They think soy meat is gross tasting and weird, but I would say that factory farmed meat is gross and weird. I try to convince people that veggie burgers taste just like meat, but they don’t believe me. I recently just started buying Quorn meatless, soyless chicken products and trust me when I say this—it tastes like chicken! But Quorn isn’t even made out of soy; it is made from mycoprotein, the main ingredient in all Quorn products. Made from the same family that mushrooms and truffles come from, mycoprotein is high in dietary fiber and has essential amino acids and no trans fat whatsoever. Plus, you get all the protein of real meat without the fat, cholesterol, and other unknown products that can find its way into the meat during factory production. In addition, since it has no soy in it, you don’t have to worry about stomach problems, which can happen if you aren’t used to eating soy.
Quorn tastes like the good old chicken nuggets you had as a kid. And since most of us worry about our weight and nutrition more than we did as kids, it’s a good thing that Quorn is a lot healthier than regular chicken nuggets. Four Quorn chicken nuggets has 180 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol. On the other hand, Tyson chicken nuggets’ serving size of five has 270 calories, 17 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat and 40 mg of cholesterol.
For some extra protein in my lunch, I usually top my salads with Quorn chicken nuggets. Instead of defrosting them, I just place the frozen chicken nuggets in a container, and by the time I eat lunch (about two to three hours later) they are fully thawed and ready to put on top of my salad. Because they are meatless, I don’t have to worry about the meat getting all funky if it sits out in tupperware for a few hours. It is nice to have that same chicken taste on my salad without worrying about health scares.
I dare you to try these chicken nuggets out, along with all other Quorn products: meatless meatballs, chicken patties, garlic and herb chicken cutlets, turkey burgers, chicken tenders, turkey roast and cranberry and goat cheese chicken cutlets. All meatless, soyless, low calorie and low fat. I even served my friends these chicken nuggets and didn’t tell them they were meatless. They thought they were real chicken nuggets and loved them. When I told them what they were, they said they were definitely buying those from now on instead of the Tyson nuggets. Hopefully this will convince others out there to try this great chicken nugget alternative!
Die Besucherin is a great example of how you can modify prefixes and suffixes in German words to create nouns or verbs. With the stem of Besuch, which means simply “visit,” you can create the verb by adding an -en at the end of the stem or -er at the end to describe a person, so Besucher means “visitor.” However, German makes you reference the gender of the person most of the time when you talk about him or her and, in this case, adding -in to the end of the word. Besucher specifies that the person who visited me was female.
My friend since 10th grade, Carmen, decided to take some time off of school and travel this semester, which included the mandatory Eurotrip. What better starting point than at my place in Berlin?
So, after not seeing each other for more than six months, I got several calls from pay phones on my cell phone after work on Monday. Mind you, Carmen had to rebook her flight because of visa complications, so she wasn’t really sure when she was going to get into Berlin and she didn’t have a stable Internet connection. I ran to the Hauptbahnhof, the main train station (and, by “ran,” I mean I got into a train and impatiently pushed the green button to open the door when we arrived at my station), which is four stories of trains. Carmen had told me to meet her at the Dunkin’ Donuts she was at, not realizing that there are, like, six of them in the station.
After working up a nice sweat in my business clothes, I finally found her at the Dunkin’ Donuts. Being the awesome person she is, she presented me with a rose her boyfriend had bought from a bum that weekend and a bottle of Kahlua she found at Duty-Free (it was Valentine’s Day when I picked her up). We trudged to my apartment and she unloaded her stuff before we met with some other female interns for delicious drinks made with Polish vodka. Needless to say, we were tired and went to bed relatively early on Monday. Unfortunately, I still had to work every morning, so Carmen was forced to entertain herself during the day. I think she Skyped and slept a lot, and on Wednesday I invited some interns over to eat chicken cacciatore for dinner, which Carmen had spent all day cooking.
We had a slow week at work though, so I took Thursday off to show her around the city. We walked from my apartment all the way to Charlottenburg, the expensive Southern district of Berlin. It’s always interesting to walk around Berlin with non-Germans, because I’ve stopped noticing the weird little habits German have that I picked up. For instance, drinking in public is legal, and many people will walk around the train stations with an open beer in their hand. So I thought nothing about cracking open a beer after we went grocery shopping and drinking it on the train with Carmen, who may have been a little shocked. I also put my empty beer bottle down on the sidewalk after I finished drinking it, which kind of weirded her out. In Germany, you get money back when you return bottles. Beer bottles will get you eight cents and so it’s not uncommon to see people digging through public trash cans for the bottles to bring back for money and it makes setting beer bottles down in public acceptable.
Carmen was also introduced to the junk food of Germany, which is the Turkish Doener. I realize I write about that a lot, but I absolutely love Turkish food here. Moving on, we decided to check out my district and walk around for her last night before we went back to my place and fell asleep. Sadly, Carmen was going to Switzerland over the weekend, so she left me early on Friday morning. We parted at the train station on my way to work and she somehow made it to the main train station in fifteen minutes, which is quite a feat. Luckily she’ll be coming again in March and so until then I have to say “Bis bald!”
I remember studying for finals last semester and freaking out over my Biology exam. Turning to the help of a few of my smartest buddies, I went to their studying location and was shocked to find that my mastermind friends were high on various substances, including weed, caffeine pills, unprescribed ADD/ADHD medication and cigarettes. Some other kids came in, looking to buy, and another student talked about his future intention to make charts and graphs to determine the cost effectiveness of selling drugs (ADD/ADHD medicine and marijuana) versus getting a legal job. Most of these students are seriously considering becoming professionals in the healthcare industry. Needless to say, my confidence dropped in these future doctors’ ability to propagate physical and emotional well-being to others if they aren’t exemplifying healthful behavior on their own. These particular students posses near genius intelligence on paper (top GPAs in high school, A.P. credits, award winners), yet they deliberately choose to harm their bodies and brains, especially since coming to college.
I remember sitting at the desk, wondering is substance abuse the secret to success in college: using ADHD medicine to concentrate, inhaling pot to dull my anxieties, taking caffeine pills to stay alert and awake, smoking cigarettes to take the edge off. I struggle in the sciences, and just a few weeks before, I experienced a sudden attack of panic because I had spent 13 hours working on a biology lab report and still received a devastating and unacceptable D. Seeing the smartest of my friends on a myriad of drugs made me feel even more inadequate. Sober, I struggle to make an A, so I can’t imagine how appalling the effect would be on my scholastic performance if I started taking drugs, not to mention how drastically drugs would negatively alter the status of my health! Carolina isn’t known as a “party school” and students at Carolina aren’t known to be the biggest party animals; on the contrary, we uphold an image of sophistication and brilliance. Under the pressure to live up to the expectation of collegiate success, some students turn to legal/illegal substances to make it through. They turn to drugs to relax, to concentrate, to remain awake, or to turn off their churning brains.
Let’s explore some healthier and legal options, such as working out (provides a natural high, providing both energy and relaxation) or meditating (provides relaxation and relieves stress). Eating a piece of chocolate or drinking ONE glass of red wine are both good for the heart and provides relaxation. Hanging out with friends, listening to music, practicing a hobby like a sport or crafting… these all provide outlets to release stress. As far as staying awake, vitamin B is a natural supplement that some find energizing. Make healthful choices when eating, and stay hydrated with water for natural alertness. Caffeine is addictive, and yellow stains on teeth are unattractive, so try to nix soda and coffee in favor of vitamin B supplements and fruits and veggies. Also, if you are really stressed out there’s NO shame in talking to a health and wellness counselor. Having someone listen to all of my problems without judgment or interruption and help me make and follow life goals is a productive and healthy alternative to self-medication through substance abuse. Throughout the week, we study relentlessly for exams, listen to our professors lecture us for hours on end, and write long, eloquent papers, so by Friday we are ready to let loose.
Though Carolina isn’t a “party school,” we still like to have fun and party with a “work hard, play hard” attitude. Most first-years aren’t 21, and most sophomores aren’t 21. Yet, the most popular activity to do on the weekends is socialize with alcoholic beverages. I’m not here to preach to you about the legal age. All I want to convey is being safe and smart about drinking. Obviously, don’t leave your cup unattended because date rape drugs may be slipped into them. Don’t drink to the point of blacking out because you may be more likely to engage in unwanted sexual relations, or get used by some jerk and feel horrible in the morning that you can’t remember what happened. Try to make sure to check up on your buddy and leave with the SAME buddy you came with. If you meet someone and want to hook up, know that drinking can influence your decision to hook up with someone you may not ordinarily hook up with while sober, and make sure your buddy is okay with you leaving without her. Make sure she has a safe way home. Use condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Have the number to Safe Ride plugged into your phone. Also, AT&T has a program that allows its GPS to find you if you are in an unsafe situation. Just remember that excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, and no one feels like spending the night in the hospital having his or her stomach pumped and dealing with the academic penalization of underage drinking when caught. Be smart about your alcohol consumption.
A variety of safe and healthful options exist that provide the same high that can be obtained by substances. If you want to compete in cuteness and energy with the energizer bunny, grab your iPod and take a jog or don a one-piece swimsuit and swim laps in a pool. While your new hot bod will ensure head turns and stares from everyone on campus, you’ll be striding around with boundless energy. If you want to feel as relaxed as if in the sand with an umbrella drink (virgin strawberry daiquiri!) in hand, or concentrate with the fervor of a monk sitting in meditation, take a yoga class on Franklin. Holding the body in long poses and concentrating on one spot on the wall will stop your mind from spinning, and teach you to concentrate on one subject at a time (i.e. spot on wall). You will not only be relaxed after a session, but you’ll also have a natural way to learn how to concentrate, instead of pills. I hope these tips help for you because I too struggle with needing energy and also feel stressed all the time, but I’ve been able to cope with my stressors by following some of my own suggestions! Try it!
My future still remains unwritten. However, as I take a step back and reflect upon the life that I have written so far for myself, I have realized that, like writing, discovering my truest self is a continuous process of editing and revising as each story unfolds with its own unique cast of characters and plot lines. This collection of stories that I have compiled over the course of my Carolina journey contains a plot for each that usually involves some challenge. These challenges provide an opportunity for me to confront deeply-held perceptions about myself as well as empower myself to take ownership over my thoughts and feelings to overcome adversity. Moreover, it was in my stories of challenge that provided moments for immense personal growth. These moments of personal growth served as a catalyst for an opportunity to reinvent myself towards evolving to a better, more true version of myself. More than anything, I have learned that my relentless drive to seek the fullest expression of who I am as a human being can only occur through challenging myself towards achieving nothing less than my full potential.
For example, I love the challenge behind articulating the right words to express myself which serves as a way to find my voice-the essence of the many selves that make up my identity as a way of grounding me against the crushing and sometimes overwhelming waves of everyday life; this trail of words becomes a map for how I discovered my truest self. On a more personal level, writing empowers me to accept no one’s definition of my life and to define myself until my words ring true. Furthermore, I am constantly seeking the fullest expression of myself as a human being capable of sharing myself as a whole and authentic being with the world. While much of my future remains unwritten, word by word, I slowly become a little bit closer towards discovering and shaping the person that I desire to become. As I continue to embark on the many adventures that Carolina has to offer, I believe that these words I write will illuminate the path and guide me towards dreams and goals that I have yet to explore. As I continue to change and reshape the words of my story-past, present, and future, I hang on to my blossoming sense of self as a beacon of light leading me toward my truest self.
More than anything, I have discovered that every moment in life is an occasion to rise to the challenge. Rising to the occasion of your own life story requires you to raise the standards of what you expect from yourself. Upon critical reflection of the times that I truly effected change in my life, it was the moments that I strove for standards higher than I expected for myself in times of adversity and challenge. By believing in something greater than yourself-raising your goals and expectations, you empower yourself to become a better and truer you. Our lives are an occasion, let’s make them extraordinary. After all, the rest is still unwritten.