Tag Archives: practice

Return to Practice

By Eileen Kim

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

When I was younger, I understood the concept of practice in the context of the Merriam Webster Dictionary definition: “to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient”. As a child who participated in many sports and played multiple musical instruments, practice referred to the events I worked on to improve my technical skills. At practice, I would learn how to do better through acts of repetition and intentional change. 

Eventually, I chose to centralize my practice towards my passion for dance. With my goal of becoming a professional ballet dancer, practice took on a whole new layer of meaning. I worked daily and repeatedly at a set of physical movements in ballet to improve and refine my technique. This repetition led to growth and mastery within ballet and my practice became understood as a necessary means that would result in self-improvement.

Photo by Nihal Demirci on Unsplash

As I got older, my conception of practice began to evolve. My practice became grounded in the habitual sense of coming back to something. There was still a level of mastery that I was after, but it was more so realized as a continuous and infinite pattern that I felt compelled to return to. Year after year and almost every day, I would start again at the ballet barre where I would repeat the same series of physical movements. But the sameness of this repetition never bored me, because everyday was different and I was different everyday. Every day brought its own joys and challenges, and everyday I came back with 24 more hours of lived experience. Everything surrounding me was in a constant state of change and the stability of my daily practice became like a refuge for me, one that I could always return to and find comfort in.

As I reflect on how I approach my practice in the present, I have found that in many ways, practice is similar to a routine. The habitual nature of both concepts are the same, but practice puts an intentionality to the repetition and implies a sense of growth. The contents of our daily routines can be the same as our daily practices, but approaching our daily routines as daily practices can drastically reframe how we approach our lives. For me, practice no longer only refers to the physical practice I put into my dancing body. My daily practices encompass how I approach my life, what I eat, what time I go to sleep, how I take care of my body, and how I take care of my mind.

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The Board Game Makes a Comeback, and College Students Rejoice!

By Jennifer Sung

In the 21st century, there are different forms of entertainment for college students. Whether it be deep late night conversations at 3am on a school night or binge watching a Netflix tv show, the majority of college students spend most of their time bumping up their social life. Once greatly underrated, playing board games became popular recently as another form of entertainment amongst college students. Amongst the many, there are three board games that have been placed at the top of most recommendation lists: Codenames, Settlers of Catan, and Avalon. All of these board games aim to stimulate teamwork, cognition, decision making, logical reasoning, and the ability to work in social contexts.

Photo by MeoplesMagazine on Flickr

Codenames is a word associated game that encourages cleverness and creativity. Codenames was labeled as the 2016 Game of the Year. Everyone is split into 2 teams, and is given a handful of words to describe to the other team. The “spymasters” for each team need to give one word clues that group up meanings or hint at one or more words that the rest of the team need to decode. This game tests the closeness, the teamwork, and the communication skills of the group. There are two versions of this game (uncensored vs censored). The uncensored version utilizes more adult-appropriate words that seem to be more popular amongst college students. The censored version is a more family-orientated game.

Photo by Cheryl Marland on Flickr

Settlers of Catan is a game that gambles luck, strategy, and decision making. The board is different depending on the initial roll, placement of the boards, and the actions of the other players. Fairly different from other games, this game has everyone involved on every turn. Anyone is eligible to receive a resource each time the dice are rolled, no matter who rolls. Additionally, everyone is allowed to trade with the current player rolling the die. This game is about trading sheep, wood, bricks, and wheat to build roads, houses, buildings, and cities. The goal is to monopolize the resources and other players to win the game. This amount of time spent on this game varies from 30 minutes to even 2 hours. This game is all about player interaction, replayability, and a beautiful mix of luck and strategy.

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Supplementing Language Learning

By Caroline Donat

When young children learn languages, they are also learning about how the world around them functions. Everything is new and exciting so learning is fun. When learning a language as an adult however, we often experience more frustrations with the learning process. We know what we want to say but struggle to express it properly. Though we can use the social and occupational skills we have gained in adulthood, bringing back the fresh newness we experience as children can help us with our language acquisition.

International students at USC already face daily immersion into American life. Since this immersion can be shocking, it is hard to resist an opportunity for the comfort of speaking to another international student in your first language. This is okay and perhaps necessary to stay motivated to conduct the majority of the day in English. These small comforts do not need to be sacrificed in order to improve one’s fluency.

If we want to accelerate our language-learning however, we need to take our learning beyond the classroom and literally translate aspects of our daily life. This means carrying out our normal behavior in another language with the openness we had as children, by reading the foreign text on our breakfast food packaging or watching a late-night soap opera (perhaps with the help of subtitles). I say “we” because, even though I am a native English speaker, I am currently looking for ways to obtain fluency in Arabic and Spanish. There is always more that we can do to promote our learning. While we will never find the time to do everything, there are some tricks that we can work into our schedules without rearranging other commitments and priorities.

Newspapers are a great way to not only improve your English (or other language) skills, but to keep up with the local culture. Depending on your free time and interests, you can choose to browse sections about fashion and upcoming performances, or dip into today’s politics. Either way, you will have something to talk about with other English speakers. The best part is that you can fit this reading into your schedule by inserting it during meals, while riding the bus, or waiting for class to start. You can sign up for LA Times to be delivered to your home, download a news app, or pick up a free local newspaper from the boxes on the sidewalk.

Also, listening to music in your new language is an easy way to enhance your learning. iTunes, Apple Music, and YouTube are all popular, but most students prefer Spotify because of all of the songs you can listen to for free. Sign in with your USC email to gain access to your free account! On Spotify, you can view the top songs in the U.S. (and many other countries) or find new music similar to songs that you already like. If you like listening to acoustic indie music, try some Ed Sheeran songs. If you would like to try out RnB, search for music by Miguel. You do not need to pay attention to the lyrics, simply surrounding yourself with the words of your new language can help your comprehension and pronunciation.

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