All posts by Kaiwen

In-Depth Post 3

This is the 3rd blog post of my 2022 In-Depth project.

Answering some of the provided questions:
Some of the things that go well during my mentor meetings include the usage of time and constructing programs. During each meeting, we go through the example programs for the chapter, and I think this is where more learning happens that just reading the textbook. While the textbook gives an on-paper description of the new function or whatever I am learning, seeing it implemented and used in a program is really what helps me learn the function. For example, when I was trying to learn the map function, the book’s description didn’t really make sense. It said how it basically joined two objects together and I couldn’t understand how that was different from the join function. But then I looked at the code and saw how it was used, and it just clicked for me.

Relationship challenges are not really there. The meetings generally go smoothly and I think I have respect for my mentor while he ensures that I am learning well. We usually communicate effectively and ensure that both parties are aware of any important information. Sometimes, when I have not read a section of the textbook that I was supposed to, I notify my mentor to ensure that we do not waste time on material that I do not understand. My mentor regularly pauses and asks me for understanding to make sure I am on the same page.

One learning challenge I encountered was that it was difficult for my mentor to properly express certain information that he is trying to relay. Some subjects were a little deeper than the textbook covered, like how a program interacts with the computer, and it was difficult for my mentor to explain it to me and required the use of a visual diagram. This might be because of the difference in experience.

 

Currently I am on chapter 10 of the textbook which has a total of 16 chapters, and am going through chapters at a rate of around 2 weeks per chapter. The last few chapters are not as important because they are very advanced, so I should start working on a final project in the next few months. Currently I am learning about some exciting uses for classes.

In-Depth Blog Post 2

This is the second blog post for my In-Depth project of 2022. So far, I have had one meeting with my mentor and have learned some more about Python. I have learned about classes and dictionaries and how to use them in a program.

Question 1: How did your mentor gain their experience/expertise?

My mentor did some of his own learning in this field and also learned some from school. He is not extremely experienced, but understands it well.

Question 2: What were those experiences like for your mentor?

It was as expected from learning any programming language – frustrating, but not very challenging.

Question 3: What wisdom have you gained from your mentor so far?

I have learned a few things that were not in the textbook I am studying from. He very effectively visualized how a program runs and showed me that programming is less about the actual program and more about the plan.

Question 4: What have you learned so far, in terms of facilitation strategies, that might contribute to your own development as a mentor?

I have learned that it is important to ensure complete understanding of the student while teaching. He often asks questions to ensure I understand the concepts, and sometimes I think I do but I am thinking the wrong thing.

I am currently more than halfway through the textbook. With only 4 chapters left, I should have mastered the basics of Python in the next month, though the last few chapters are long so it might take longer. Currently I am just making sure I understand all the concepts by writing some programs to practice using Python.

In-Depth Post 2022

This is my first blog post for my In-Depth project in 2022. I am choosing to learn programming in the language Python. I was initially going to choose C as my language, but after persuasion from family and discovering that Python is generally better, I chose it instead. I chose programming because I thought it would be useful in an increasingly digital world. I wanted to learn how to program from a young age, but never started learning. Python, I thought, was better than C because it was more beginner friendly and provided more benefit. The reason I would have wanted to choose C was because it might have been better at making the computer do things, which I thought was the case because it was more complex. After learning that it provides no more benefit than Python, my choice was obvious. 

Currently I have ideas for mentors but have not accepted one because of a lack of the required paperwork. My mom has been asking friends, but the ones that do understand Python are quite inconvenienced by the paperwork due to being out of the province. This slows down progress a bit, but I have been doing some learning on my own to make up for the time. The learning has not been particularly challenging, and I have learned how to use simple commands such as print and loops, and some more advanced ones such as object classes and variable pickling. 

I am using the book “Begin to Code With Python” by Rob Miles to supplement the learning, and it has been very helpful so far. The author seems to be very knowledgeable about programming and the book goes into detail about how things like global variables function. 

At the rate I am progressing, I expect to have mastered the fundamentals of Python in around a month. 

John Maxwell Response

“Be better tomorrow than you are today” (Maxwell, 2006). This quote means that you should try to improve yourself from day to day. I chose it because it basically embodies many of my goals in life. I make a lot of mistakes, and my goal is to turn it from a negative into a positive and learn from them so that I can be better tomorrow because of them rather than in spite of them. When it comes to TALONS, this quote is often relevant because TALONS is an accelerated program, so schoolwork is often more challenging. In this kind of environment, it’s easy to feel like just because you can’t do something today means you’ll never be able to do it, but it is important to have a growth mindset and be better so that you can overcome the challenges of today. As a leader, you or your followers can start to give up if they feel like something is not possible at the moment. However, it is important to grow and learn from challenges instead of backing away so that you can eventually overcome them. To be a better leader, I could set a growth mindset for my team and guide them through difficult tasks so that we can all grow and learn. An inspirational speaker that I can’t remember stated that improving by a miniscule amount each day adds up to a large amount by the end of even a single year. Even the smallest change can be significant, so it is important to never stop growing and always be better tomorrow.

“See everyone as a ’10’.” (Maxwell, 2006). This quote conveys the idea that everyone is useful to the team in some way, but not always in the position that they are in. It notes that it is important to recognize that and put people into positions where they are likely to succeed rather than to set them up to fail. I chose this quote because I think it is very important to leadership as a whole. There are certain leaders that get rightfully frustrated when a team member fails to do their job multiple times. I personally have been on both sides of this; I have gotten frustrated at team members for failing their task, and have seen even good leaders lose confidence in an individual after failure. However, many fail to realize that this might just be because they are in a position that they cannot effectively fill. In TALONS, this does not appear to happen too often because groups are often small and leaders have much more opportunity to recognize and support team members’ strengths. The leaders also usually recognize that certain people are better in specific fields. So this concept is usually applied. As a leader, to more efficiently get things done and involve every group member, I will take it upon myself to observe each group member and see if they are struggling in their field. If they appear to be having trouble, rather than seeing them as worthless, I should find out what they can do well and give them a job that properly exemplifies those strengths rather than sticking them in a position where they are destined to fail.

“Know when to push and when to back off.” (Maxwell, 2006) This quote points out that it is important to let your leader know certain things, but not to ask them to baby you every time a problem arises. It is important to let your leader know about a problem when time is running out and your responsibilities are at risk. If you are simply requesting help so that only you can benefit, it is not a request you should make. While most people in a team will follow this quote, there are always a few who either can’t handle problems themselves or ask the leader for too much. I think it is important to remember that your leader will often put you in a position because they know you can do well in that position, so if you constantly need your leader to solve your problems, maybe the job is not right for you. In TALONS, much of the leadership and group work is done in a way that this isn’t usually a problem. The few problems that require leader attention are often quickly resolved. Personally, I as a leader definitely want my team to succeed, but don’t want to help people that make unreasonable or unnecessary requests. I will try to exemplify this principle by providing aid if a group member genuinely has trouble with a task, and listen when I need to know something important. However, at the same time, I want the team to understand that sometimes it is best to hold on to information if the leader does not need to know or you do not actually need help.

Learning Centre: Chester Bennington

Learning Centre for my Eminent Person, Chester Bennington. Presented through Artsteps, a museum-like program. All text and images are clickable and most information is in the interactive text.

Please use fullscreen mode.

Comments and questions should be posted on the blog rather than the museum chat.

Practice Interview Reflection

The interviews went fairly well. There was little practice involved before the interview, though this interview is meant to be the practice, as well as the less serious nature lessens the need for preparation. This did, however, impact my performance and could be improved in the future. 

I think the feedback I received accurately reflected what I thought were my strengths and weaknesses in the interview. One of my weaknesses was lack of confidence while asking questions. This showed through posture and tone. This can be only really remedied by practice and conditioning, since it is a mental aspect with no instant fix. This, of course, means I will practice more before the actual interview to get more comfortable. Another weakness was voice, specifically tone and volume. Volume can be remedied just by speaking louder, as usually I am not aware of my own volume and speak too quietly. Also, during the actual interview, if it is digital, I should be able to use a speech recording program or the like to visually represent my own volume on my screen and adjust accordingly. As for tone, again, only practice will really remedy that. The problem was that I was not emphasizing or applying pitch changes to my words, which lead to a more “flat voice”. Again, this likely stems from lack of confidence, which can be fixed with conditioning. 

Some of my strengths were maintained eye contact and attentive posture. Not much elaboration is required for these; it just shows attention and is not exceptionally hard to accomplish, though eye contact can be uncomfortable. Another strength was how I took notes but was still engaged. When taking my notes, instead of quoting or writing entire sentences, I wrote a few words or phrases that formed into the general concept of the topic. These small phrases “trigger” memory and instead of entirely recording the topics in the interview, just make it easier for me to remember them, since I am already paying enough attention to remember most of the interview. This allows for much quicker note-taking and forces me to pay attention, both of which are good things. 

In future interviews and in the “real” interview, I will practice more and get comfortable and confident so that my weaknesses are less of a problem. I will also generally try to be more confident during the interview by keeping these things in mind. I will continue to utilize my strengths to aim for a more successful interview. 

Blog Review Reflection

Reading the blog posts on others’ eminent persons gave me a greater insight into their choices of people and showed me some less commonly-known figures that still carry importance. I learned more about the people they chose and my classmates’ values. 

I think most of the people in my group are strong writers and have researched their eminent person to a sufficient level. The posts were very informative and well-written. The only real weaknesses were usually grammatical errors or omissions. 

Overall, it was quite informative to read about all these otherwise obscure figures and find out more. These people are usually buried in the mountain of other famous or notorious names, and don’t receive the attention they really deserve. 

Eminent Person – Chester Bennington

“Perhaps more than Linkin Park’s influential sound, Bennington’s real artistic legacy will be the message he put across – the reassurance he offered from the dark.” – Mikael Wood, LA Times.  

Chester Bennington was a man with a strong will and a kind heart. Throughout his tragically short life, he suffered extensively but still managed to give others a spark in their lives. As well as making significant changes to the art of rock music, he also made himself heard and gave reassurance to those in dark places. Chester was well known for helping out or just talking to fans who reached out to him struggling. His kindness was in spite of, or perhaps because of, the hardships he suffered as a child. He was abused and abused substances, and was unable to find refuge even in school, where he was bullied for his physical appearance. These challenges took a toll on Bennington, eventually leading to depression and substance abuse for a long period. However, he eventually overcame his addictions on his own, and got rid of his alcohol ties with help from his bandmates. 

His will to push through suffering, to break free of chains that easily hold so many, are traits that I think I myself reflect and hope to exemplify. His ability to craft his darkest feelings into songs that could easily turn from screams to whispers earned him quite a name and the adoration of many. Even though he is gone, his music continues to give people a light in the dark and guide many people through their own hard times, and will continue to for years to come. Music lasts a long time, and in decades, centuries, his achievements will be preserved and heard. 

Chester Bennington performing

I share few similarities with Bennington. The things he experienced, the way he felt and made others around him feel, are vastly different from my own. This is part of why I want to research him; to know more about someone so distanced from myself in many ways. Bennington represents less the person I am now and more the person I aim to be. As I progress through the TALONS program, I hope to exemplify the traits that made Bennington who he was and gave him such fame; perseverance, determination, kindness, and care for others in need. 

I think it is worth studying Chester because of what he had to go through to get to where he was, and continued onwards despite his challenges. He cared a great deal for all people, helping many who reached out to him through dark times. He would not pursue his father who had abused him because he found that he was a victim himself. The value of this man comes not necessarily from his greatest accomplishments, but who he was and the hardships he made it through. I have not been through the same challenges. I have absolutely had to stare down adversity, but not to the extent that Bennington and millions of others helped by him have. In my research, I hope to better understand and educate others on how these challenges affect people and find ways to overcome and leave them behind, and find out more about an individual who did. I think it is valuable to struggling individuals to know that someone else dealt with the same challenges they did, that there is hope. 

Chester Bennington is, to me, a reminder of the challenges of abuse and mental disease, where fame, money, adoration, friends, a passion, everything a person could ever want, couldn’t save one man from himself. However, he is also a reminder that despite the greatest struggles, excellence is within reach, and that perhaps the darkest pasts bring about the brightest sparks, no matter how brief they may be. 

Digital Footprint Assignment

1. How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.

If you posted a video of you doing something that might not be very respectful to a particular group, you can catch heat for it later. Example: Trudeau’s questionable makeup.
Saying something about a person who might be intertwined in your future opportunities such as the interviewer for your dream job can affect how they treat you later.

2. Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.

You can set social media accounts to the highest privacy settings available, you can THINK, and you can take a little moment to think; longer than it takes to hit the enter button – before posting anything.

3. If you could go back in time, is there anything that you would do differently online? Think of what advice you would pass on to your younger self or other students.

I think there is some personal information that I have posted which might not necessarily be harmful, but would be nice in retrospect to not have online. The advice I would give would be to try to see information through the lens of another person before posting it, to make sure it won’t be regretted later.