Saturday, October 29, 2011

As a driver, you should know how to use jumper cables!

Several months ago, on a Sunday morning, I found that my car wouldn’t start. I parked my car on a slight incline, so the car slid toward the road when I put the car in gear. I managed to stop my car on the shoulder of the road. When I asked the supervisor in my apartment complex to help me out, he brought jumper cables because he knew it was from lack of battery power. However, he asked me to charge the battery by using the jumper cables because he didn’t know how to use them. Therefore, I had to call the car mechanic and spent unncesary money to fix it in addition to replacing the batteries.

I am sure this informaiton about how to use jumper cables will be useful for the owners of automobiles. Many of you would drive in the United States except for those students living on campus because the public transportation in the United States provided is not so good as in your country.

It is recommended that you carry jumper cables in your car and know how to use them in a proper way.

Here is the link that you can refer to:  How to Use Jumper Cables

 Jumper cables are a pair of electrical cables used to start a vehicle when the battery is dead. This part is one of the most vital pieces of the auto emergency kit. Dead batteries can occur from leaving the car headlights on, cold weather or from loss of charge over time. Jumper cables consist of a pair of positive and negative electrode clamps.

Here is the video clip that you can learn more in detail:

The procedure can be summarized like the following:

Step 1: Connect red clamp to bad battery.
Step 2: Connect other red clamp to good battery.
Step 3: Connect black clamp to good battery.
Step 4: Connect other black clamp to a ground on the bad car.
Step 5: Start good car. Let charge for few minutes.
Step 6: Start bad car.

It is recommended that jumper cables should be stored in a dry bag away from sunlight. Large Ziploc bags work well for keeping jumper cables dry and protected. It is important to clean your jumper cables after use. A solution of baking soda and water can be used to wipe down the metal clamps to neutralize any traces of corrosive acid left behind after use. Once dry, the cables should be stored within the Ziploc plastic bag to keep them clean, dry and ready for next use. 

In order to decrease the chances of encountering a dead battery, it is recommended that your car battery be checked on a regular basis to ensure its charge is still good.

You should always keep in mind, “Safety and health is the number one priority!” Although your purpose of staying in the United States is to study, but there is nothing more important than your life.

Safe driving and be sure to check your car regularly!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do you want to get a job? Prepare for a Job Interview!

Do you want to get a good job after finishing your study? Are you thinking about having working experience in the United States before you go back to your country?

Here is a link that you can find some useful tips how to prepare for the job interview, which can be applied to any interview setting.

Top Ten Tips for Interview Success 

Eli Amdur is quite well known in the career coaching field. I had read his several articles, so I was already familiar with his ideas about interviewing strategies.  He is currently working as a senior coach and advisor at Amdur Coaching and Advisory group, LLC. He also writes articles in the several local news papers and organizations on a regular basis.

In this article he summarized 10 tips for the successful interview.

1.    Prepare.
2.    Look like the professional they want to hire!
3.    Research the company, the industry, the position, and the interviewer
4.    Be on time.
5.    Be enthusiastic.
6.     Ask questions. Then listen.
7.     Set goals and strategies.
8.     Anticipate types of questions.
9.     Talk about your accomplishments.
10.  Follow up

Actually, I highly recommend that you read his articles if you want to get a good job after finishing your study, because his articles are all about for the job seekers.
THE CAREER COACH  (Review Journal, Eli Amdur)

Based on the 10 tips for the interview, you should think three steps: “Before we go”(tip 1,2,3), “During the interview”(tip 4,5,6,7,8,9), “The hereafter”(tip 10).

The importance of preparation and practice before the interview cannot be overemphasized. Amdur said, “Not thinking ahead is not thinking at all.” Practicing a few questions or wearing a blue suit or arriving on time is not a strategy but just a tactic or action. Researching beforehand such as the company that we want to work for, the industry that the company belongs to, the person who is going to interview and position that we apply to is absolutely a rite of passage for the successful interview.

He accentuated the three P’s rule. It was “Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!” It was impressive that he also mentioned taking a rest before the interview as a good strategy because it will make you more confident and relaxed.

As a key point of “During the interview”, he introduced STAR as a story telling strategy, which is an acronym of Situation, Task, Action, and Result. He underlined that interviewers are more likely to hear the accomplishment story based on STAR. He added the two-layer strategy of short answers by giving the abstract first and preparing the full text when asked. Interview is not an interrogation so that a brisk, two-way conversation will bring out a positive outcome for both an interviewer and interviewee.
Amdur highlighted sending a thank you note the same day by using E-mail and a hard copy after the interview. He also emphasized that follow up and follow thorough such as writing samples, references, or other proof of performance should not be overlooked. Through self-evaluation process after coming out of the interview, we can build into our strategy ahead of time to determine appropriate follow up or adapt effectively for a next interview.
His tips for the effective interviewing strategies can be applied in a variety of way so, you should be confident to put them into practice in your real situation

Here is one more website that I want you to read for the successful job interview strategies.  How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Alison Green, the author of “Managing to Change the World” and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, emphasized four key points in her article: 1. Get to know the employer, 2. Learn the job description like it was your own. 3. Practice and then practice some more, 4. Come up with questions of your own.

Alison said if you follow these four steps, you’ll notice a significant improvement in how well you perform in job interviews.
Remind that “preparation and practice” are the essential points that you keep in mind no matter what until you finally get a good job. I hope these websites will be useful for making your own strategies. Good luck in your interview!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Actually, whenever I say that I came back to the United States for my daughter’s education, some American people say, “Wow…you Korean people are so obsessed with education.” Their response made me think about what is the difference between American and Korean perception of children’s education. This video clip instantly caught me because Tiger mom’s point of view about her own children’s education was very familiar to me. You can have a chance to consider your own view of educaiton based on cultural differences.

When I watched CNN about the story of the author, Amy Chua and her book, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, I was automatically interested in the issue that the book raised. Since I was brought up in the traditional Korean collectivistic culture, I am very familiar with a strict parenting style. Mostly, I agree with Chua’s way of raising children, even though the way she pushes her children for their excellence seems harsh. However, in the western culture emphasizing individual right and self-esteem, her training methods are absolutely bizarre and ferocious. Therefore, her book provokes controversy between western and eastern way of raising children.

This controversial issue reminds me that when Yuna Kim won a 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic gold medal and set a world record in women’s figure skating competition, her mother, Meehee Park published a book, “Give Wings to Your Child’s Dreams”. It was about how she supported Yuna, sacrificing Yuna’s sister’s dream, disregarding her husband’s birthdays, neglecting any other house chores, and ignoring any family functions only for Yuna’s successful performance. Most Korean people praised her unconditional devotion; regardless of Yuna’s great achievement, many western people criticized her reckless method after her interview with The New York Times. Unexpected negative responses from western audience made me think about cultural differences on parenting.Amy Chua has had many interviews in a variety of programs in order to respond to the heated debate issue about parenting that her book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” caused. In most of the interviews, Chua repeatedly stated that it is not a how to guide for raising child prodigies, but a memoir and made her position clear that the article from The Wall Street Journal is an excerpt from her book, but the content of the excerpt unfairly consists of inflammatory and anti-Western parenting portions. Besides, the headline, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” is absolutely provoking and against her intention.

This is the interview that Amy Chua had with Alison Stewart of the program, “Need to Know” on PBS.

Chua to spend enough time on defending her point of view and dealing with all the criticism in every detail. First of all, she was able to explain that she did not have any intention of offending Western mothers’ self-pride in terms of raising children. Second, both interviewers asked questions by quoting some controversial sentences and gave her a chance to dispute those arguments. Third, Chua seemed to succeed in drawing something positive from the audience by clarifying that the headline of The Wall Street Journal failed to adequately reflect the book as a whole, but she would be responsible for the article because the excerpt was from her book.     

Overall, Chua was considerably confident by using powerful language and making determined facial expressions while being interviewed. She knew how to focus on getting one main message across in the interview. For instance, she emphasized that the book was a memoir full of personal experience as a mother, and an excerpt in The Wall Street Journal just caused an international firestorm. However, she never forgot to mention her parenting philosophy, such as “Be firm!”, “Listen to your child!” and “Don’t assume your child is weak!” Besides, she always smiled during the interview even when she was asked some unpleasant questions. Although she spoke at a brisk pace, it was easy to understand because she enunciated with a clear voice.

Her interviews with TV shows seemed to be quite a success in terms of mitigating hostility toward her strict parenting and helping the audience not to react emotionally without concerning cultural differences. She also took advantage of her attractive appearance and maintained a humble attitude in order to draw out a positive reaction from the audience. She stimulated the audience’s sympathy, telling people that she was not a tiger mother, but a rabbit mother who cried out for help because she did not know how to deal with her kid’s sudden rebellion.

When it comes to raising children, there is no right or wrong method because nobody knows what works until it gets done and also it cannot be applied in general. Although Chua kept saying that the sensational excerpt of The Wall Street Journal induced people to misunderstand her, the book would not have made a big hit without the provocative title, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”.        

GIBBS, N. (2011). Roaring Tigers, Anxious Choppers. In , Time (p. 68). Time Inc. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Have you expereinced stage fright?

Have you experienced stage fright when you make public speaking? While studying in America, you have at least one presentation each class. No one should be surprised to hear that the fear of public speaking is the number-one fear for even business professional. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld said, “Remember the next time you’re at a funeral that most people would rather be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy.” It is said that picturing the audience in their underwear is a good strategy to get rid of unnecessary fear in public speaking.

As international students, speaking in front of people would be much harder than others due to your language proficiency. However, just remember you are not the only one who is fearful of speaking in public. Everybody is in the same boat on the stage to a greater or lesser extent. English native speaking students are also nervous when they don’t prepare enough for the presentation.

Keep in mind the importance of preparation and practice before the presentation. Career coach Eli Amdur accentuated the three P’s rule. It was “Prepare, Prepare, and Prepare!” Even if you are not a perfect English speaker, enough preparation and practice will make you feel relaxed and competent.

I also recommend you write a speech script for your entire presentation and read out looking yourself into the mirror until you get confident. If you have time to record your rehearsal, you can check your pronunciation, voice, pace, tone, physical gestures such as eye contact and hand movement. However, the most important thing is “Don’t worry too much. Everybody is not perfect on the stage. Believe you! Only practice will make you a great public speaker!”

Marcia Brady is talking about how to combat stage fright in this video clip.

I hope this video clip will be helpful for you to reduce your anxiety of presentation.
I want to add two points for overcoming your stage fright.

First, you should believe in your ability to deliver your performance. Don’t worry too much before the presentation.
Second, you should accept your audience’ response as it is. Don’t be frustrated even if you make a mistake this time. You can do better next time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How to avoid back and neck pain while working on the computer..

Since we are at the mid-point of the fall semester,, I am sure that all of you have a lot of assignments and are spending more time on working at a computer.  We can see many students who are complaining about back and neck pain due to spending long period of time in front of the computer. Keeping a proper posture especially when you are sitting at the computer is indispensable for health.  

One day, my friend, told me that she had to spend the entire summer vacation writing some research paper. Suddenly, her right arm was totally numb and even was not able to click the mouse with her right thumb and index finger without severe pain. Thus, she had to lie in bed for several days and take some strong pain killers. It was due to the wrong position of her arm when she used the mouse. So muscles became fatigued and ache.

Actually, I hadn’t taken her experience seriously until I got the same problem. Recently, my shoulders felt heavy and my back and neck got stiff because of too much work on the computer. My upper body felt numb. It was totally due to my improper posture while working on the computer.

I caught a terrible cold for the last two weeks, so I had to write my paper while spending two weeks in bed.  Even worse, I stopped going to the gym during that time. Finally, I went to the massage shop and had to get some special treatment in order to relax all the muscles in my body. Since then, I try to do stretch my body every 15 minutes while working at the computer and go to the gym at least three times a week.

Through my personal experience, I want to share some tips for avoiding unpleasant body pain due to the stress and improper posture associated with heavy computer work.

Although it is important to maintain the ideal distance between your eyes and the monitor, and keep the perfect angle for your elbows and knees, you also can incorporate simple exercise while sitting at computer to avoid serious body pain before it is too late.

Here are some tips to prevent back and neck pain while working on the computer.

    Take regular breaks! Taking the time to correct your posture, get the fresh air, go a walk, have a drink or just blink your eyes would prevent any possible pain on your body and muscles. It is a great way to improve your computer habits to take a rest away from your computers. Also, it will be beneficial for you physically as well as mentally.

  Prevent your back and neck from stiffening!  For instance, neck 'retraction' or the chin tuck is a good example of neck exercise to stretch. This is performed by looking straight ahead and pulling your head straight back in, like trying to give yourself a double chin. This stretches the muscles at the base and back of the neck and opens and lubricates the neck joints. This is a particularly good stretch to do throughout the day.  Also, stretching exercise for your shoulder muscles should be done intermittently throughout the day to help prevent those muscles from aching.


     Sit in a good adjustable chair that provides lumbar support!
Also, your desk should be large enough to allow your forearms to rest on it when using the keyboard. Check whether your keyboard and monitor are at a comfortable height, and avoid glare from the screen. Keep moving your chair until you are close enough to the computer in order not to do over reaching. Just sitting back in your chair properly can prevent your pelvis from tilting backwards. Adjust the height of a chair or use a foot rest in order for your feet to reach the floor comfortably.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do you live on or off campus?

International students should acknowledge campus living is a privilege for their growth and achievement in a new world…

The matter of living on campus and living off campus is based on personal priority. However, it is found that people with an experience living in the residence halls more likely to remember their college life as a happy moment than people with an experience living outside campus. Although some students oppose living on campus, there are significant advantages of campus life in terms of financial matters, safety, and academic achievement.

I think if you are in undergraduate program, I can highly recommend that you live on campus while you are adjusting yourself into a new environment. It is found the correlations between on-campus residence and school engagement significant in first year students. That is why many universities require international students to live on campus for their first school year in order to help them make successful transition to the American culture and learning environment.

I heard from one of international students that she stayed up all night for the final paper and the next morning, she forgot the USB drive after saving her paper on it. She was terrified, so she had to go back home to bring it. Finally, she was able to turn in the paper although she missed the whole class. It was her responsibility; however, it would not have happened if she had lived on campus. This is just one example of how living off campus results in some negative consequences.

Opponents of campus living also maintain that international students living on campus are less likely to savor American culture and deal with the matters of daily life on their own. However, such an argument completely ignores the fact that when they live off campus, they tend to choose roommates from the same cultural and linguistic background for their convenience sake. Students living outside school may lose the chance to integrate into a new culture; however, residence students may successfully assimilate to a new environment thanks to the campus atmosphere with diverse ethnic background and various cultural elements. Therefore, the residents are more likely to gain multi-cultural communication competence through campus living experience. Later, they would positively get involved in the main stream culture and deal with cultural differences with confidence.

The ultimate goal of international students is earning a degree and academic success. Regardless of their ethnic background, they face similar adjustment challenges while studying in the United States, such as language barrier, cultural misunderstanding, and acclimation to a new environment. However, English ability can make their daily life more smoothly as well as their study more successful. Therefore, campus living international students are more likely to gain English language proficiency and better chances to excel in accomplishing their academic goal because they are fully exposed to English speaking only environment.

As I discussed above, the benefits of living on campus for international students are most noticeable. Since international students are not familiar with a new environment and not fully confident in speaking English, you can take advantage of the period of living on campus to prepare for the real world. In the English only speaking surroundings, they can focus on studying for their academic success and easily assimilate themselves to all the school activities without any concern about transportation, weather, distance and other trifle matters. With respect to students’ engagement, residential expansion plays a key role.

Therefore, in my opinion, living on campus for the first school year should be a mandatory regulation. Furthermore, international students should acknowledge campus living is a privilege for their growth and achievement in a new world.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What is Success in our Life?

The balace of relationships and material success...

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – (Albert Schweitzer)
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”- (Peter Drucker)
“The secret of success is constancy to purpose.”  (Benjamin Disraeli)
How we define success has a significant impact on a myriad of choices in both our personal and professional lives. Our definition of success can affect on educational choices, choice of employer, work environment, career attainment, financial resources, relationships, family commitment, and life satisfaction. Personal success may be viewed differently from person to person. However, we assume people are successful on traditional yardsticks of success such as wealth, prestige, and power. 

 What is success in life? How do we define success? Is it in relationships or career? We should highlight the importance of balance between material success and  relationships.
 I think “Success means what in life I am working toward.” Overall, I believe that I will have achieved success when I reach the end of my life and I have no regrets in terms of ego integrity. I mean I will have done enough over my lifetime to be at peace with myself in the end. It's probably safe to say that all people work towards this sort of end.

 As the old saying goes, “Success breeds success.” I will cherish each success on each stage of my life whether it would be big or small and keep the balance between general success criteria and self-satisfaction.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One of Must-See Museums/ MoMa

MoMa (The Museum of Modern Art)

If you have a chance to come to Manhattan, I would like to recommend you to visit MoMa during your break time.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between fifth and six avenues. The museum’s collection offers modern and contemporary art, including works of architecture and design, drawings, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books and artist’s books, film, electronic media.

When I first went to MoMa with my daughter Holly, I thought a couple of hours would be enough to look around. However, I spent almost all day long, but still there were many things left, which we want to take a look at carefully next time.

Holly lost track of time when she visited "Talk to Me" gallery that was about Design and the communication between People and Object. This gallery is about "People and Object". We stopped by here after the live show and it caught Holly. It was all about the tools of the digital age. She wanted to stay there forever.I figured out that she is absolutely a digital age kid!

However, unlike the digital kid, I was extremely happy to appreciate the most renowned masterpieces in MoMa’s collection, including Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (1889), Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907) and also Claude Monet’”Reflections of Clouds on the Water Lily Pond” (circa 1920) at the galleries on the fifth floor. In personal, when I saw Monet’s paintings, I was speechless by the panoramic and contemplative atmosphere surrounding them.

If you visit MoMa on Fridays, you could enter MoMa for free from 4 pm to 8 pm. MoMa usually provides visitors with a relaxed atmosphere in which to view MoMA’s collection and special exhibitions. The best thing was that you can enjoy live music and refreshments in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in the afternoon on Thursdays. Live music presented in Sculpture Garden, weather permitting. The Sculpture Garden and seating are limited, so it is usually on a first-come, first-served basis.

A cash bar and the garden cart are open during the live show in the Sculpture Garden and they sell beer, wine, some cocktails and desserts including gelato and sorbet. Especially, autumn in New York is amazingly beautiful, so you can appreciate music and art in the wonderful season and scenery.

My favorite space in MoMa is the Sculpture Garden, which was designed by Philip Johnson in 1953. The outdoor gallery is installed with changing displays of outdoor sculpture, including works by Aristide Mailloi, Alexander calder, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Pichard Serra.

I don't know whether these sculptures (stone statures) represent certain religion symbols. However, it is fun to guess which statue tells what. You can find a black snake in front of standing statues on the ground.

We got a wonderful chance to listen to a passionate gallery guide’s explanation. She explained the historical background of each work of art exuberantly. It was fun to listen to her in a group. She seemed to really enjoy her job. To best understand the richness and complexity of MoMa’s collections, you can explore galleries devoted to changing installations of contemporary art, architecture and design, drawings, photography, prints, media , as well as the international film program in the museum’s Titus theaters.

The unique thing was that every gallery has its own catch phrase on the wall in the entryway, and this sentence just caught me.

I took this photo looking down into the galleries from the third level. The building structure was interesting from the top to the ground; there was a hole in the middle.

If you want to get more information about MoMa, here is the website: