Let's face it, in the midst of the study insanity called midterms, we all take a second to dream. Maybe we go for a quick daydream in the midst of a lecture, or a bit of musing about plans for the weekends ahead (hello Halloween), or go for an adventure through Atlantis while deep in REM sleep.
But controlling our dreams?
Yes. We've all heard the pep talks, with hard work and determination you can achieve anything you dream of!
Except... what if you want to be a shape-shifter for a day? What if your dream is to be Beyoncé? What do you do when you want to live in a world entirely made out of candy?
Simple. You lucid dream.
I take it back. It's not that simple. But wow, it seems like the ultimate technique for relaxing, for adventure, or for anything your brain could possibly conjure up.
Cloud 9 = lucid dreaming in my life
So what did I do? I decided to try to accomplish it. Various tips for learning to lucid dream (amongst others) recommend writing your dreams down immediately upon waking, checking for wakefulness in everyday life, and planning out what you'd do in your first lucid dream.
Writing down dreams (check: turns out my subconscious really wanted UBC to be a gigantic playground, go figure)
Checking for wakefulness (check: hey you, behind me in the Starbucks line, don't you roll your eyes at me for pinching my arm after picking up my chai tea latte, I'm not hinting that this latte is too good to be true, this is an EXPERIMENT)
Planning it out (check: Candyland. Obviously. Sweet tooth central here.
Did it work? Not for me, yet. But I've come close. I unfortunately woke myself up a few moments after realizing I was dreaming, but we'll see what the future has in store..
Knowing that it can happen definitely helps my determination; research at Frankfurt University, conducted and articulated by Ursula Voss et al. in 'Lucid Dreaming; A State of Consciousness with Features of Both Waking and Non-Lucid Dreaming' (you can find this through the UBC library) has shown that through 'pre-sleep autosuggestion', which simplified is reminding yourself to think about lucid dreaming, initiated lucid dreaming in 3 of the participating subjects. The lucid state was indicated by a predetermined and subsequently measured eye signal from the subject asleep, and during lucid dreaming it was found that brain electrical activity resembled frequencies seen in both awake and non-lucid dreaming states. So basically, lucid dreaming is real, and a unique mental state!
If you've read this and have had a lucid dream (quite the low probability, I know), I'd absolutely love to hear from you! Write about your dream, or any tips you happen to have for me here in the comments for this blog and I'll definitely write you right back!
If you still want to know more, check out http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/
Rather worth a Saturday morning, this conference is run by SCI Team and SPAC (science peer academic coaches) who, along with some professors too, run workshops giving study tips tailored to individual subjects, including math, chemistry, physics, and bio. Here's a rundown on what you missed:
Intro: Even before the keynote speech began, the coaches were surprisingly approachable - in that they went around approaching you and asking about hey how are you, who are you, what are you doing here (all in friendly, non-aggressively interrogative tones - it was a conference, not a kidnapping). The point may have been to present a welcome environment so that our shells of quiet habit could be pried open easier but I think I ended up knowing one of the coaches more than they knew me (in retrospect, when somebody asks "what made you come here today?", asking "why are you a coach?" is a little cheeky- sorry!).
Chemistry: The professor presenting seemed very intent upon helping us study successfully and to avoid the mistakes she made; at some point, she emphasized, she was a student too, and it was very comforting to know somebody could empathize with what we were going through and it was possible to survive without undergoing grotesque evolutionary adaptations.
I attended Biology, Active Learning, and Exam Preparation so The major tips discussed and emphasized were:
1. Don't read, reread, re-re-read through everything. That doesn't suffice as studying anymore. Not recommended, unnecessary, ineffective in terms of the enormous amounts of time required and the little retention acquired that can actually be translated into points on the midterm/final exam/in case of the apocalypse.
2. Instead, the practice questions are where it's at. Online, in your ChIRP, the practice midterms. Practice and repeat. Even if your answer is correct when you check, pause for a moment and be honest: was that leprechaun luck or do you actually know what you’re doing? Also, try extrapolating as to what other similar questions could be asked, and visit your professor during office hours to check if they would really be tested.
3. Most importantly, LEARNING OBJECTIVES. Probably be the mantra chanted during their hallowed meetings in the halls of a musty, underground, wall-to-wall carpeted study sanctuary if SPAC were to be some sort of cult (which disclaimer: they aren't), this was the recurring theme of the subject workshops. Required by UBC mandate to be created for every course, professors did outline these with much thought and this is why these concepts you must understand are often the central ideas being tested. Designed to be not too vague to be confusing and not too definite to limit the teaching or the students from exploring the topic, being aware of them could help save time in prioritizing what you really need to know, which always boils down to what are the exam questions fishing for, what will earn you the most points, etc. This is starting to sound like a gameplan, which is probably the basic reasoning behind the study plan they explained we should make.
4. During the exam itself? Be Calm. Probably one of my favourite songs by fun. Aim and Ignite is the ultimate pop album and their 5th anniversary recently passed- was going to link you guys to where they were offering their digital album for free download but their deal ended so here's a listening link instead.
If Kelly's okay with it, I'd write a post raving about what I listen to, but my taste is so blatantly mainstream early 2000s it's embarrassing that I have zero shame.
5. In true buzzfeed quiz style, experiment to find and #haveityourway. Group vs independent, note styles to summarize and to review vs to connect and reinforce, this conference was excellent in that you could take away many techniques, supported by examples and personal advice and experience, to try out.
Sometimes, when things get abstract, you think "I know, I know, I need to manage my time effectively, that's so obvious, of course I need to stay focused and eat healthy and not procrastinate and excel and succeed, ain't nobody got time to listen to these fancy words for 'be a nerd', let's get STARTED already." And I'm sure you're the ultimate sassmaster and nobody can compare and you got this, but the most important part of knowing things you have to do is the follow through. And the follow through is the most difficult until you understand where to start for it to work.
RECOMMENDED READS: CATEGORIES "MENTOR SPOTLIGHTS" AND "ALUMNUS INTERVIEWS"
About Me: My major is Integrated Sciences; I'm integrating physiology and psychology, and completing a minor in kinesiology. The movie 'The Imitation Game' blew my mind, and every piece done by the artist Alex Cherry is spectacular. Also, if you look up the definition of a bookworm, you'll find me.
Integrating Physiology and Neuroscience!
I like hanging out at Tower Beach but you can usually find me studying at Ponderosa even though I don't live there.