Every semester, there is always at least one class I am interested in taking. This semester, I was lucky enough to enjoy all of my classes. When I was picking out classes for this semester, Motivation caught my eye. We do things every day, and sometimes we wonder why we do them. We wonder what motivates us and what keeps us going through even the toughest times.
Professor Mark Berg found a great way to make this course interesting every class and to make it different from other lecture classes. The class covers a lot of interesting topics such as evolution, addictions, behavior, stress, goals, and economics to name a few. Throughout the course, the class also reads a book called Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. When reading this book, a person can see the concept of motivation put into action, and they can see just how strong a person’s motivation can be. People might be turned down by the thought of reading an extra book along with book chapters, but Endurance is definitely not a boring book. Professor Berg also found a way to make group work not so bad; you pick a section of the book you want to present on, you’re put into that group, and you do your own short chapter from the section you chose. This way, everyone does a part and it is not left to only one or two people to put together.
It is hard for me to pick a favorite part of this class, because I found every lecture day to be interesting. I liked coming into class knowing there would be an interesting power point. The power points were always full of information and fun facts to remember. What made these power points stand out from other classes is that there were always unique YouTube clips in them. No matter what we learned that day, there were at least one or two crazy videos on that section.
I also really enjoyed our class discussions. It was always interesting to hear people’s stories about how they were motivated by food, thirst, goals and money. One day, we did a virtual in class survey on what men and women most looked for in relationships. It was cool to text your answer in and watch the polls go up and down in what men and women looked for in relationships. Endurance discussions were interesting too. We talked about how some would have given up already and which characters we thought we related to.
If I had to pick a favorite chapter it would be when we learned about why we eat certain foods and why it’s so hard to stop eating the “wrong” ones. My mom is a dietitian, so I hear all the time about what foods you should and shouldn’t eat. It was interesting to relate that knowledge to the class discussion. I also know how hard it is to stay motivated in keeping up with your diet. She is a leader at Weight Watchers, so I always hear her ideas on trying to get people to stick with things, especially around the holidays. We passed around a book one day in class titled “Mindless Eating.” It seemed like an interesting book to read, and a week or two later it was sitting on my counter because my mom had gone to a dietitian convention and gotten a copy.
There is a show called “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” It is a show that tells the stories of people that survived experiences that they should not have survived. It goes into how they got into the situation, what it was like for them to be in that situation, and their moment of truth in what kept them motivated to stay alive. If Endurance happened in today’s world, their journey would definitely be on this show. This is a clip of two teenage boys who are swept out to sea by a riptide when they are going fishing. They are hungry, dehydrated, have bad sunburn and are freezing at night. They have no way to get in contact with the world and are pretty much stuck in the middle of the ocean with no means of survival.
Now that it is getting colder outside, I am relating my life to the lives of the men in Endurance. Sometimes, I think to myself, “This is the coldest/ hungriest/ sleepiest” I’ve ever been; especially now that it is December, I don’t have money for food until I get paid, and it is finals week. However, I would choose my life and current situation over the men in Endurance’s situation any day. I am still amazed that they survived all of that, when sometimes I don’t think I can survive the day. You don’t really think you can be motivated to do something until you are pushed to the limit; that is when you can truly see all you are capable of doing. Whether it is getting an education, losing weight, or even cleaning the house, people can be motivated to do so; they just have to believe they can and accomplish their goals.
I think New Jersey is really motivated right now. After Hurricane Sandy wiped out our beaches, we created “Restore Our Shore,” which has already helped many people that lost everything. Every day, people are donating food, clothes, and time to help fix our beaches. I think this is really good and shows that people can come together to fix a problem. I hope New Jersey never loses its motivation to help others.