Welcome to another great episode of the podcast!
Music by pond5.com
Our guest this week is Dr. Saby Labor, the founder & CEO of Resilient Campus as well as a director of an LGBTQ campus resource center. We speak about her journey and what is grabbing her attention right now. Check out everything we mention in this episode:
Bright City by DC Edwards
The Binti Series by Nnedi Okorafor
Online gaming is big, so big that for many it's no longer a hobby but an obsession, and for some even a career. Of course, to rise to the upper echelons, you need to get good, really good. Something that the post below can help you to achieve.
First off if your console or computer is lagging, it will prevent you from being the best that you can be when playing. With that in mind, you need to do everything in your power to minimize this issue. One action you can take is to ensure that you have the fastest and most powerful hardware, whether that is the latest console or a PC that you can upgrade internally.
Alternatively, why not try using wired controllers or mice, as this can also help speed up your play and prevent any subtleties of action or movement being missed.
Lastly, when it comes to latency, it could be that your system doesn't have enough memory to run your game in the fastest way possible. To that end be sure to minimize other game data stored on your device, and focus on the one you are currently most engaged in.
Treat it like a sport.
While some folks still argue that competitive online gaming isn't a ‘real’ sport this view is being drowned out by the commitment and dedication that many professional gamers are sowing to the discipline.
Of course, you can learn a lot from this, including practicing regularly so you can reach the level that you want to be at. Although, be wary of grinding until you lose your love and passion for the game because when this is gone your likelihood of becoming a champion will be significantly reduced.
Some gamers even going to far as to watch replays of the game to analyze where they went wrong and how they could better improve next time around.
Also, don't forget that just like any sport what you consume to provide you with energy and stamina is essential especially if you are playing for a long session or you have a lot riding on a particular match. To that end, try to keep hydrated and consume food that consistently releases energy to avoid slumps in performance. You can even use supplements like Kamikaze to help with this. A product that contains no sugar, but can still help you keep laser focused while playing, no matter how long the sessions.
Improve your communication skills.
While there may be a vast majority of gamers online that like to shout abuse at each other over their headsets, you can be sure that these aren't the ones that are doing the best in the league tables.
In fact, if you are playing a team or cooperative game knowing what to say to others, and how to say it to get the best results is a crucial skill. To that end, it can't hurt your game at all to brush up your communication skills, and occasionally on your anger management so you can stay cool in a crisis and direct your team to victory, over and over again.
As I come back to the world after winter break and a bit of hiatus with the podcast and the blog, I was reflecting on the clarity I feel like I had during this time. I didn’t have to do anything other than work and take care of the apartment, spend time with my wife and our friends, and hang out with our dog. It was great.
This down time was precipitated by my new job I got in August. It is a remote job and encourages working flexibly. We have team members and constituents all over the country, so it makes sense to sometimes plug in a little later if you’re on the East Coast to collaborate with West Coast folks. Also, we have to travel a bit for different things, so if you need to catch up on work at odd hours, it’s totally okay. There is also a unlimited PTO policy so as long as you’re not leaving everyone in the dark to cover for you, you can take any needed time for special occasions or just to unplug during the holidays for example. Lastly, I don’t have to commute any more, which is awesome just for the time saved but also the stress. Since the new job has a lot of moving pieces to learn and the flexibility I was looking for, I winded down some side projects so I could take a bit of a breather.
This is the context for the past few months for me. I feel ready to ease back in to some of these side projects I have now. It was funny that since I had more room in my life for other things, I was more thoughtful about what I filled it with. I had a lot of momentum filling my limited precious time with podcasting, writing, editing other people’s shows, etc. before I got this new job. But now that I was going to be able to be making more money and have more time on my hands, I figured I should step back to rethink my priorities.
There have been a lot of recent articles this past year examining burnout and self-care. They’ve made me think a lot about the things I should be focusing on and how I nurture my own energy. Something I say a lot is that you make time for what you want to make time for. This is how we subconsciously reflect our priorities in the choices we make and the actions we take. This can also be retooled as an intentional way of being. We must make time for the things that are important to us. Otherwise, we’re going to build up internal stress and pressure, and not be our best selves. This manifested for me when it came to playing games. I didn’t make it a priority and I was far more stressed most of time because of it. Now that my life has settled down and I have more space, I’m playing a little bit almost every day.
It’s all about values and how we value our own time. We can work all day and every weekend, but what do we have to show for it? Certainly not much in the short term. Often we’re salaried and not getting overtime. We’re setting unhealthy expectations about our availability that we have to work to undo. We also always have the opportunity cost of not being able to do anything else we could be doing with that time. The relationships with the people around us and our other obligations will suffer. And yes, this includes making time for the gym, going to the doctor, and getting other errands done.
I hope these thoughts on time and space are helpful to you. I wanted to write again and this felt the most salient as both a general update on what I’ve been up to and also what I’ve been thinking a lot about.
Who would have thought a decade ago that becoming a professional gamer could be a viable career? Those who “make it” in streaming are still a small portion of everyone who tries, but whether you’re looking to turn your passion into a living or you simply want to share your hobby (and your personality) with the world, it’s no longer just a pipe dream. So, here’s everything you really need to become a Twitch streamer.
Streaming from consoles
Now that it’s a very common hobby, as well as a career, for gamers, it should be no surprise that even console manufacturers are making it easier to stream. You can stream directly from the Xbox One and the PS4, both of which have Twitch and Youtube streaming software built into them. However, your ability to set up your studio and to add effects in editing is diminished by this rather bare bones software. If you want to create a professional quality stream on either platform, or you want to stream on Switch, then you’re going to want a PC streaming setup, as well as a capture card to provide a live feed to the PC.
Streaming from PC
If your PC or laptop is barely chugging along, it might not be the best machine for streaming. Though streaming software isn’t too intensive by itself, when it’s running alongside video games, it can be demanding. You want at least 8GBs of ram, as well as a processor that’s as good as or better than the Intel Core i5 series. For streaming the latest games, you need a top-of-the-line graphics cards like an Nvidia RTX 2080. A headphone and a webcam can help you complete the professional streamer setup.
Unless you’re streaming directly from the Twitch app in PS4 and Xbox One, you’re going to need the right software. While there are free options, Xsplit is the most popular tool amongst established Twitch streamers. Some streamers will even use two systems, one to focus its resources on playing the games, and a second system to run their streaming software and focus on uploading to Twitch.
Building your account
Setting up an account on Twitch’s website is relatively easy, but if you want to take streaming seriously, it’s wise to go even further than that. Having a social media account that can help you engage viewers and share stream news can help you work on building that viewership. While you should play games you’re passionate about, there’s nothing wrong with playing some games with viewing experience as a priority, whether it’s popular online games like Fortnite or Overwatch, or even asking viewers for recommendations for the next playthrough. Keep an eye on what games are trending on Twitch’s front page if you’re looking for ideas.
These are the basics of what it takes to become a Twitch streamer. Finding success, or even keeping a small community of viewers, isn’t easy, but if your passion for the games you play is strong enough and you put real effort into engaging your viewers, you have a real chance.
Today, the wide variety of online learning platforms is creating a much more competitive market for education than any other time in history. Indeed, just a decade ago, universities and colleges felt secure in their ability to dominate the market when it came to education - with just a few vocational and professional training organisations being in the shadows of these towering institutions - yet, today, there’s a remote learning revolution which universities are having to catch up with!
Many students simply can’t afford higher education today, in a traditional university or college environment… and even more are questioning the value of a traditional three year degree in terms of the return on investment the course will deliver.
There are, of course, many benefits to attending university as a regular student - but most of these fall into two categories; social and facilities.
In terms of the actual education itself, online learning seems to be a much more attractive way to go about getting a formal education with such an array of courses on offer, today, people are even able to do a masters in early childhood education online at a decent university.
Online learning tends to offer a much more affordable and flexible way to learn. Indeed, the cost saving benefits of studying online are vast, as not only are there lower fees because the academic institution has much lower costs than a traditional campus based facility, but also, you are potentially saving money on accommodation, transport, and also the ability to work full-time and study around their commitments.
Online learning is much better for parents too, as this way you can fit your studying around your life rather than having to fit your life around your study. Indeed, so many parents are having to juggle multiple aspects including work, family, study and their social life that they simply could not access a traditional course.
Today, the opportunity to study more flexibly at home where there’s no need to commute to a lecture theatre - for as long as you have a decent internet connection you can practically study (or work) anywhere in the world… whether that’s in the comfort of your own home, on a luxury beach paradise, or a budget backpacker shack in a pristine mountain paradise.
In fact the freedom of the remote working lifestyle and the remote studying lifestyle means, quite literally, the world is your oyster. Many people want to learn new skills are are looking at ways of doing this that can fit into an already busy lifestyle, which is why online learning is starting to supercede traditional campus based university courses.
In summary, students today crave a lot more freedom, flexibility, and relevancy in terms of their education - often opting for much cheaper vocational courses focused on a specific aspect of a broader topic that they can study anywhere in the world with an internet connection. However, several mainstream universities are responding to this trend to the point you can do advanced masters courses online.
Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in demand for Microsoft training. This is relevant for all programs; encompassing everything from Publish and OneNote to Outlook and Visio. It is also relevant for all types of training; from online to in-house. Let’s discover why this is the case…
All businesses are IT orientated nowadays
One of the main reasons why there has been a huge increase in training is because all businesses are very Information Technology orientated at present and students need to be prepared. You will struggle to find a company who does not use IT for a good proportion of their business on-goings. It doesn’t matter what industry you operate in. After all, every business needs to keep a track on accounts, profit, expenditure and alike. Every company needs to send emails. Every business needs to give a presentation at some point. The world has become dominated by technology recently and thus it is of little surprise that Microsoft training is soaring. People needed to adapt to this new way of carrying out their company’s duties.
Microsoft programs enhance productivity
Another reason why Microsoft training is on the rise is because knowing how to use the programs properly can lead to productivity improving dramatically. Competition is fierce in the modern day and you need to use all tools at your disposal to ensure you stay ahead of the pack. Productivity is imperative because the more productive your staff are, the quicker tasks can be done, the more efficiently customers can be handled, and the more profit that can be made. There are lots of great tricks, tips and shortcuts that can be found within all of the Microsoft programs. A company who has had their staff take Microsoft training can complete tasks at a much more rapid pace. Students know this, and so they are preparing for the job market by taking Microsoft training alongside their degrees. With online courses, like an online MBA from JCU, this is easy. Plus, it is likely that such degrees will require you to use Microsoft programs in any case.
Securing a job is almost impossible without Microsoft training
Nowadays you need to be competent in most Microsoft programs if you want to secure a job. The competition is fierce because of the recent recession and the lack of employment opportunities available as a result. You would have once been competing against ten people for a position, now you will be competing against 100. If you don’t know how to use Microsoft properly then you will be at a massive disadvantage. If your CV says that you have embarked on Microsoft training then your potential employer will be extremely impressed – especially as it means he or she won’t have to sort out training for you to get you up to speed with all of the current employees.
When you consider the three points that have been mentioned in this article it is quite easy to see why Microsoft Training is in much higher demand nowadays.
Picture by Austin Chan
Although you might enjoy a good geek-out hitting the books, feeling accomplished to learn something new and retell it to anyone else who’ll listen, there are other things to do once in a while that are just as important, living! To satisfy the appetite of those still not convinced to draw themselves away from their books, dabbling in other areas of life could have a positive effect on your studying and assignments. It’s called stimuli my friend, we all need it to feel alive, which is why once in a while you should shut the books and seek other pleasantries and rewards beyond burying your head in a textbook.
Simple yet effective, rather than plan bit by bit go with the flow and say yes to EVERYTHING. Seriously, you’re a student most likely with little to no attachments or commitments to anything, you have more time than you will have in later years so sap it up and say yes to stuff. Say yes to things that make you feel uncomfortable, say yes to going on a date, say yes to playing a game and winning money on www.critiquesdecasino.com, say yes to a request to join a sports team and say yes to going on a ski trip to France. You get the picture, saying yes to opportunities will set you up to do things you would never have dreamed of doing. If there's one way to live it’s to start saying yes to things you never would have dreamed of doing, stretch your mundane routine, shock your nervous system, switch it up and start living.
What we mean by this is to complete a task, an application, or begin building something that will eventually, potentially reap the rewards and add a little excitement to one's life in the short/long term future, increasing opportunities for you to give you the ability to live a better, fulfilling, rewarding life. In doing so, you will encourage yourself regularly to aim for things you would never have usually attempted. Also by planting multiple seeds and eventually seeing the steady rewards come in, you’ll make it a habit, one that which adds a little success and happiness to your life. Combine it with the stage above as these two go hand in hand so whether it’s a study abroad program for the summer you’ve been thinking about but haven't taken the plunge, or a college funded business startup bursary you could apply for, or perhaps you want to put an advert out to start a band and see what comes back, there's plenty you can do to start sowing seeds.
‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’
Studying independently can be quite a self-absorbed task, especially when working your way up to completing a piece of coursework or approaching an exam, a lot of attention is on ‘I’ rather than others. To a degree this is understandable. However, it could benefit you if you shift your focus to helping others with as much intent as you do yourself. Not that all helping others should come with your own agenda for a feel-good factor, but it also gives you the opportunity to take a step out of your own little box once in a while and step over into someone else's (the box being a metaphor for the world). Shifting your focus to another can help you gain perspective on life, and help you to destress and revisit your studies with purpose. For example, if someone's struggling financially, you may remember your initial mission to decrease poverty by working for the local council thus studying hard for your politics degree.
Picture by John Baker
Once in a while, you’ve got to take a risk or expect to live a life of calculated averageness now and forever. There are SO many risky opportunities waiting in line, big and small, ready for you to choose. Which one will you go for to get the adrenalin pumping, make a memory, tell your kids “I did this!”. It can be anything, here are few for your perusal;
You take a risk to ask someone out you’ve been crushing over for a while
Take a risk being your true self in front of other people
You might dare to start a YouTube channel
Invest your savings into starting a business
Risk speaking up in class to voice an idea or challenge a concept
Risks are present everywhere, some have just been consistently dulled down by the echo of your mind regurgitating your learned responses of, “it’s not safe, it won’t work, do it another day.” Be exciting, take risks, and you will be living on purpose not just merely existing.
“The trouble is you think you have time” - Jack Kornfield.
This statement whichever way you wish to interpret it explains the importance of how our time on earth is limited. However, many of us live as though we’re immortal and we shall infinitely exist, thus putting off the things we actually want to do and wasting the time we have right now.
If your study materials online, you can study anywhere, Japan, Fiji, Italy so why not do it. Why restrict yourself to your same old town with the same old people when there’s over 7 billion people in the world and 195 countries, yet you’re confined to one. No wonder you’re probably feeling a little bored, unchallenged and underwhelmed by your studies, and your studies are all you have to look forward to. Be spontaneous book a flight and travel somewhere, anywhere.
This is a non-exhaustive nudge, no, push in the direction of living. It’s scary, risky and everything your nightmares are made of, but do it and it’ll make your studies more worthy of your time, give your life more meaning and purpose and direction and excitement, help you find yourself and make you feel alive, not just a hermit reading and typing away for the duration of your college and university years. And don’t wait to start living; otherwise, it might never happen.
College, the time in your life when you have a little more independence, a little more money but a whole lot more work.
While for the most part you’ll sail through your college years, studying the subjects you love and creating new, long lasting friendships, there will be pressure points and times when the sheer volume of work and study pressure will feel overwhelming. It’s at those times when you need something more than your books to help you through.
We explore some antidotes to the stresses and strains of college life and how you can come out the other side calmer and ready to face anything life throws at you.
Image courtesy of Pexels
Learn some top techniques
Mindfulness might be just a buzzword but this technique is a tried and tested way to help you cope with stress points in your life. If you’re someone who feels anxious or finds it hard to cope with pressure, then learning a few mindfulness techniques can really help.
Just hop online to find about guided breathing exercises, mindful meditation and how to stay in the present, keeping your mind focussed on calming thoughts and feelings.
These techniques can come in especially handy when you’re facing a tough paper in an exam hall and begin to feel anxiety building up inside your body. It does take practice though, so try out several techniques before settling on one or two that really work for you.
It’s also really helpful at getting you to sleep when you’re worried about what the coming day will bring. When you need to sleep and you’re stressed out, try a few breathing and thought exercises and you’ll be drifting off before you know it.
Like a good scout, get organised. Education bloggers will tell you the worst thing you can do is to add to your stress load so even if your files are all over the place or your notes make no sense, now is the time to carefully and meticulously go through everything. You are guaranteed to feel a whole lot better knowing where everything is and being up to date with your schedule.
If having too much paper is a real problem, spend an hour converting everything to digital and have it all stored electronically instead. Books can be transferred to an e-reader on Setapp, for example or any app that allows you to make notes in the margin, just like the paper version. Only this time, you’re less likely to lose it.
College life can be among the best years of your life but they can also be the toughest. Learning to balance study with all the activities that take place outside of class is hard but with a little organization, it doesn’t have to be impossible.
Fight stress and anxiety with breathing, mindfulness and meditation and start getting organised for a college experience that will rank as one of the best. The techniques you put into practice now will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.
Your home can sometimes be the best place to study, but it might also be the only place you have. Whether you choose to study at home or you just have to make the best of it because you have nowhere else to go, there are a few things that you can do to set up the perfect study environment. Everyone has different preferences for their ideal place to study, but there are some things that most people will want to have to make their study experience better. You don't have to have a whole office or study of your own, but being able to carve out a small space for yourself is helpful.
Get Comfortable - But Not Too Comfortable
When you're studying, you don't want to be so uncomfortable that you can't stay sitting down. However, you also don't want to be so comfortable that it's easy for you to get distracted. When you're setting up your study space, make sure you have a supportive chair to sit in. Rather than lounging on the sofa, at least consider sitting up in an armchair so that you're not at risk of accidentally taking a nap. If you're going to be typing a lot during your studies, you should have a desk or other surface and consider having a support for your wrists.
There are so many distractions that can stop you studying, especially when you're at home. It's so easy to wander off and grab a snack, start watching TV or even start cleaning the house when you don't feel like studying. If you want to create the perfect study space, you need somewhere that has as few distractions as possible. That's why it's useful to create at least a small area of a room, if not a whole room, where you can remove distractions as much as possible. Try to get rid of anything that you might be tempted to fiddle with or even look at.
Store Some Snacks
Some people like to get snacks while they're on their breaks so that they have something to get up for. But if you study better when you have snacks next to you, you should have somewhere to keep them. Use a cupboard or cabinet to store a few snacks so you can easily reach for something to give you energy when you need it. You could even have a mini fridge for cold drinks if you don't want to go too far to get one.
Ensure a Strong Connection
It would be great if you could turn off your internet connection to study for maximum concentration. Unfortunately, you often need to be connected to the internet to study. At least if you can't prevent the internet distracting you, you can at least avoid being slowed down by an unreliable connection. One of the benefits of getting high speed internet is that you won't have to deal with dropping out and slowness when you're trying to be productive. A fast connection can help you to get your studying done quicker and easier so that you can get on with other things.
Get the Lighting Right
The lighting in your study space can make a big difference to how well you can work. To begin with, you don't want to have any glare on your computer because it could be very distracting. You don't want it to be too dark or you might just feel like falling asleep, but too much artificial light could cause eyestrain. Try to maximize natural light when you can and use a warm but bright light when there's no sunshine to rely on.
Create a Comfortable Temperature
Temperature can also affect how well you are able to study. If it's too warm, you can feel hot, sticky and frustrated, or perhaps like you want to take a nap. Too cold, and you might be using up all your energy trying to stay warm, so there's none left for your brain. Set the temperature in your study space at a comfortable level so that you don't have to think about it while you're trying to study. If you're trying to save money, put on an extra layer when it's cold instead of turning up the temperature.
Choose Between Silence or Music
Some studies might show one way or another whether silence or music is best for being productive. But it often just comes down to personal taste when you're studying. Total silence can be hard to get at home anyway, so you might prefer to create a setup for listening to music instead. For a balance between the two, try ambient sounds or instrumental music. If you do decide that you would prefer quiet, you could create a study space that helps to block out and absorb sound. Soft furnishings help to prevent echoing noises, but closing your window and door will keep sounds out.
Bring in Some Nature
Having plants in your study space can be a great way to make it more calming. House plants can help to improve the quality of the air indoors too, so it could even help to make your study space healthier. A couple of plants can give you something to look at when you want to rest your eyes and remind you to take a breather now and then.
Use a Clock
Studies have shown that working in short bursts can be a good way to be productive. A 20 minutes study period, when you concentrate the whole time, followed by a short break of a few minutes can help you work in short but intense chunks of time. Hanging a clock on the wall or having one on your desk can be a good remind of the time, instead of just having a computer clock which you might block out. It's also a good idea to have an alarm that you can set.
Create the perfect study space by setting up somewhere comfortable and free of too many distractions.