THE SPICE OF LIFE: I think the quarter system is superior to the semester system for a lot of reasons. One of the primary is that I have a short attention span, and I'd rather learn a subject in 10 weeks than in 18. For some things, like math, we cover the same amount of material in three quarters as is otherwise done in two semesters, so there's no real net gain. But for other subjects (such as when I had to take an "ethics in engineering" course) it's quite a relief to finish up as quickly as possible.

I like variety, I like change, I like doing new things -- as long as they're below a certain threshold. For example, I enjoy rearranging my furniture but I hate moving. Changing a room around can give it a whole new vibe and completely realign it mentally. You can wash out all the old memories of past experiences that took place there and end up with an entirely new place.

Moving, on the other hand, always makes me feel empty and alone. Even once I've got my phone and my internet connection hooked up I still feel isolated and distant in my new location. What if someone is trying to reach me, and they don't know where I am?! Geesh, I don't even know where I am! A couple of weeks later the new house starts to feel like home, and everything mentally falls into its proper niche. The secret to success is to will yourself into taking that first step.

Many people have told me about feeling trapped or stuck in places or experiences in life, such as jobs or relationships or what-have-you. That's not something I've ever really had trouble dealing with, myself. There have certainly been times when I've felt that I'm not making sufficient progress in the direction that I want to go, but I've never felt trapped anywhere with no escape. Most such "traps" are really just mental hills we have to climb, fears we have to overcome, and motivational thresholds we have to surpass. We need to take the first step, and the rest is easy (even if it's not always comfortable).

For myself, I try and recognize such situations in my own life early on, and then move quickly to escape before I invest too much time or energy in a losing proposition. I'd rather face unpleasant truths than live enveloped in comforting lies, and so when a job or relationship or circumstance goes sour I do my best to muster up the courage and energy to escape as soon as possible. It's important to consider the situation carefully, but once the truth is clear I never waste time making the hard decision that will inevitably be required.

He who hesitates is lost. Who dares, wins. Just do it.



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