Sunday, January 30, 2011

Motivation Held up at Gun Point

Heyy, this will be a short blog; however, I just wanted to share with you that I have a hard time with motivation. Now is not the time to have no motivation either!! I have 3 of my hardest exams coming up this week and I still yet to have an internal drive to sit down with my Tea and open a book or lecture notes. This is not a cultural thing, its the "I'm at the end of the semester and I do not want these classes to go on ANY LONGER!"

So the reason I am writing this is:
1) So YOU, comment on how you become motivated when motivation ceases to exist.
2) Share my desires to become internally driven
3) Share my deep-hearted discomfort for finals and the end of a semester!

P.S. When doing a spell check on this entry, it comes up with every word being misspelled HAHAHA ... how useful, Right?! time to check some settings and prolong studying even further! :P

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Ship is Sailing to Turkey (Past)

Here is a journal entry that I had to write before coming to Turkey for my school. I had to collaborate my ideas and write about my thoughts, worry's, and hope while studying abroad.

After hearing the country name, Turkey, what is it that you are thinking? In the process of talking about travelling abroad with family, friends, and strangers, I have had many answers: beaches, oriental, sheep, music, dirt roads, turban-covered women, Muslims, conservatives, no electric, packed cities and so many more guesses. I do not blame individuals; when first hearing of Turkey from my Turkish friend, I thought, desert filled land with conservatives drinking tea.

How the times have changed in my eyes as well as the many individuals I have explained Turkey’s culture and lifestyles. Last
year, college was a constant, eye-opening adventure. I was faced with new friendships, many of which were with the international students. I have gained knowledge – knowledge of customs, policies, culture, and life outside the American borders, to name a few. Last year I decided to embark on an adventure, an adventure I would submerge myself into a completely different culture and a language completely foreign to me. I travelled to Turkey for two months; I stayed with a close friend and began to pick up and formalize the language, the lifestyle, the warm hospitality that the Turkish people are well known for having.

Since then I have made it my goal to go back for a longer time frame. Studying abroad is my chance to do so in a semi-structured manner. I plan on studying at Yasar University, which is surrounded by Aegean-Mediterranean Sea in the city of Izmir Turkey.

In the midst of travelling I have so many plans. Firstly I would like to gain further cultural awareness, that from which I will grow and spread to individuals in America; especially my hometown which contains many untraveled, racist and conservative-minded individuals. I feel it is partly my duty to show that there are many opportunities outside of America, chances for growth and well-rounded education, both socially and intellectually. Furthermore, I will use this knowledge to spread to individuals so that many others like I will be moved, inspired, and have a different type of appreciation for abroad issues. My passion for international relations does not stop there. While abroad last year and the more recent months I have been studying the language, using Turkish-American friends, as well as Turkish language books listed at the end. My skill and appreciation for the Turkish language, and language barriers in general, makes this difficult language easy to learn and grasp. I see myself utilizing the language to bridge gaps later in my career, either through medicine, business salesmanship, or in an everyday grocery store.
The history dates back to thousands of years before Christ. Turkey is known as the bridge between two worlds, where the East and West connect. With a rich culture building through the Byzantine, Pontus, Ottomans, and the current Republic of Turkey, fighting and intermixing Persians, Arabs, Mongolians, Armenians, and Balkans; one can see the history and the many steps and processes it had to go through to get to present day Turkey. To fully understand the history and full cultural aspects I have been reading two novels: The Turks Today and Crescent and Star.
Through the times things such as the language, cuisine, extracurricular activities, and transportation have changed, but still held true to their roots. While there I expect to learn the style of cooking that the native Turks use, participate in the café scene, take walks along the bayside and practicing Turkish with friends. The café scene alone will be a prime spot for friend-making, culture observing, and language forming. This daily activity will be chiseled into me and will become like a second home I feel.
A few apprehensions that I have is being gone during the holidays. Being family oriented through the holidays, I must learn to cope while abroad. I am also fearful of my return; I have actually warned friends of the possible things that will be going through my mind while back: depression, apathy, dreadfulness, a sense of fulfillment that others will not have or understand, and a number of other things I could feel or do while back.
I am also fearful of not having enough money. I have been working non-stop since the age of 14, therefore always being independent and structured. Not that my life will not be structured or such, I am just fearful that I will be stressed and concerned constantly about money situations. Given that I work and save money all the time, money will not be an issue, and I must learn to get over this factor. I am just a “tight-wad” when I see that I am not working. I am also fearful of my return and how my financial situation will affect my psychology. It seems like such a simple thing that I should get over; however, being so independent this makes me more concerned on a student lifestyle and student salary, in a foreign country.
With the many apprehensions and hopes, I still look forward to a very good, safe, relaxing, eye-opening adventure. I look forward to look back on my journals, conversations, and my own thoughts/expectations, and seeing how far and how much I mature and develop into a more educated and compassionate individual.

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you cannot do" ~Eleanor Roosevelt 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Soul's Venture

Here is a poem that I decided to write. Just my feelings put into words. Read, Enjoy, and comment. =)

Soul's Venture
By: Dustin Sherman

Stand up in praise
for Nineteen hundred hours.
Sanity found and captured from the heavens,
brought down to a new world.

Some have rescued,
few found;
Taken is what one wants,
to a beginning that shall too perish.

Endings of a single platform,
to a grand theatre.
Filling the emptiness,
with lights that one has been longing for.

Wants wanted,
Wishes ungranted,
Promises unkept,
Desires unfulfilled.

Bam! It has
A grain of diamond found,
a sweet release.

Societies grasp is slipping,
They are breaking.
Yesterday soon to be
tomorrow, no longer false and deficient.

You shall know the truth,
of course, the sanity was found.
Want to know?

New worlds and philosophies
explored and adopted.
Ill cover my eyes,
Boo! Surprise!

Never lost and only found.
Irresistible devotion,
unsure life
promise my future.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Come Prepared with Pencils and Erasers!

Today I had my first final exam, and I have to say, the Turkish examination system is much different than that of the American style. For example, an exam in America is typically 50 - 100 questions, majority being multiple choice, and some short answer responses. In Turkey, speaking for myself at least, I feel like the exams are like quizzes. I mean that, an exam for me was 2 extended response questions; and before for my midterm it was 15 multiple choice and one short answer response. I can see pros and cons in this method. Firstly, I noticed that it took me about 1/4 of the time to finish a final exam, where in America it could take forever. So there is not much to worry about time constraints, which is quite relieving. However, if you miss 4 questions you are up for debate on your grade, which can be risky. Even though this is the case, the majority of professors tend to curve your grade, or raise the majority of the class’s average above passing. But a word of advice: unlike in America where you can negotiate a curve, do not try it with Turkish professors. If you mention it, that option will completely go out the door. So keep your mouth closed and roll with the punches. ;)

I also noticed that in America, on a short answer response question, we are taught, at least in my business school, to be clear precise and to the point; meaning write 3-4 very strong convincing sentences to answer the question. They teach us this way so that you learn how to be concise in business speeches or “elevator speeches”(a proposal, pitch, or status update to a manager in an elevator). HOWEVER, in Turkey, I tried this same technique, but I got marked off for having such a short answer. I have since then learned that they expect at least over half a page of explanation, whether it is wordy or not.

Overall, for it being my first final, I feel very confident that I passed my first class in Turkey, which is always a good and relieving feeling. My goal is to press onward; I now have a few more days to finish my take-home final for Business finance, and then the rest of the week to study for my last 3 exams. Exams, for at least Yasar, last 2 weeks, and then we have a 3 week break. The one and only thing pressing me forward through exams is a break. Given that I’m used to the quarter system of ten weeks, my mind kind of shut off after week ten in this semester; however, I think I am slowly learning and fully prepared to start another semester at Yasar. Time can go as slow as possible though, I want to continue enjoying the Izmir life outside of school, and leave the books on the bookshelf. ;)
"Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity." ~Aristotle

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Livin' It Up in a Turkish Snow Globe!

Have you ever wondered if worrying and planning are in your nature? Have you ever thought that your life was too planned? Well before I came to turkey, I felt like life was clock work. Here I have learned to slow down, take in my surroundings, and with whatever comes to me, I learn to “roll with it.” One thing that is important in the Turkish culture is a coffee break; in the house, a café, at work, in school. With this, it is not uncommon to have long conversation that can even last up to 2-3 hours given the circumstance. Well the most recent coffee break landed me in another city, Uludag.
My friend, Burak, and his family, the one in which I’m living with during my study abroad, were sitting around having the typical Turkish coffee. We then noticed, all of us had at least a one week break, so we said, why not go somewhere. They discussed a few different places, and then came to the conclusion, Uludag, which is a ski resort town where they have gone every year for the past 10 years. Then, so it was, we were leaving that night at 1:00am. We found a huge deal at the hotel, Alkoclar, where the price was half the normal, and everything was included: food, sauna, liquor, tea and coffee, which cut a major cost of travelling.

We rushed around the house, cleaning, finding clothes to wear; I even went out to buy a new winter coat, which I waited so long to buy. We had fun trying on all their ski clothing, finding the ones that would fit the others and me. Our bags were packed and we sat down for another coffee for our long journey ahead. As sitting there, it struck me; I have a project to turn in on Friday, the night that we were going to be coming back. Then my family calmly reassured me not to worry and that everything would fall into place. After looking back, they were more than correct. Again I ask, why stress over things that are little and that wont effect you as much as you think?

We arrived in Bursa at about 8:00am and then took a taxi, bus and then a shuttle to arrive in Uludag by about 9:30am. Burak, Ceyda, and I were starving, so we had breakfast at the hotel. Then to kick off the day with 2-3 hours of sleep we decided to ski. Now keep in mind, I have never skied in my life, so I was a beginner. I was originally going to pay 100 Turkish lira for lessons, but after giving the money, I decided no I will learn on my own. Burak taught me how to climb a hill, as well start and stop. The rest was too hard to explain so I learned as I went. By the end of the day I fell only 2 times and managed to go fast and make good turns.

We went to bed early for an early morning the next day. After breakfast and a Turkish coffee we put on our ski clothes and went for the hills again. We got pictures from the many camera men and went down different hills. I was able to go pretty fast this day, and the family said I was a really quick learner. We ended our skiing at about 5:00pm and proceeded to our rooms to rest and then prepare for dinner. After dinner, I had the obligation of finishing my marketing project. I got half of the work done and saved the rest for the next day.

The next couple days I continued working on my project,
and on the last day of skiing I was
faced with a challenge. Burak took me to the steepest hill there called, Hell. We got to the top, and as I looked down, I started shaking. I said no, no, no, absolutely NOT! Burak encouraged me, I went down about 20 meters and with my nervousness, I fell. I stood up and Burak said “Dustin, ski normal like you do.” He went down the hill, then I closed my eyes, breathed in deep and went for it. Can I just say, RUSH. There was so much adrenaline going through my veins I’m sure my heart could barely handle it. However, I made it all the way down without falling, and it was so much fun! We then climbed the hill again and had a Nescafe to relax while taking some pictures, given the perfect view. We then went down again, a different way and ended the day with a nice dinner and relaxing.

Our last day in Uludag, we all slept in and had a late breakfast. We packed up and checked out of the rooms. We then sat in the lobby a couple hours, I got on the internet a little bit, also drank green tea and sipped on more Turkish coffee. We took a shuttle down the mountain and had the best doner kebab I have ever eaten in my life. We then took the bus back to Izmir at 7:00pm, leaving us there at about 1:00am.

Such a great experience all decided over a Turkish coffee. The Turkish culture for me is relaxed, they know how to not worry, they know how to take life slow, they know that being late somewhere is not a crime, and they know that work will get done one way or another. One thing that I plan on taking back to America is the coffee culture, the relaxing culture, the “let’s not worry about every little thing” culture. Because these aspects in life are what make you relaxed, live longer, and take you to different places in the world.