Category Archives: Endurance


Wolf-A-Mania By GL

February 20, 2013, by

Over summer I went on a two and a half week trip to Colorado with a program called The Road Less Traveled. On this trip I got the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to white-water-raft in the Arkansas River, rock climb 2 different courses deep in the forest, participate in a hiking trip to a waterfall then to the peaks of granite sand-dunes which rose to be 700 feet tall.

The most challenging task of this whole trip was hiking a 14,000ft mountain. The most rewarding was the service work I did in Colorado. I worked at The Mission: Wolf Refuge. Mission Wolf is an non-profit educational wolf sanctuary that’s located near a small town called Westcliff in Colorado. They not only provide the chance to see wolves up close, but demonstrate a sustainable way of life and educate people through hands-on experiences with the wolves that live there. They operate on solar power energy; eat food which we helped grow from their green houses; and use only items that were donated or recycled.

As a volunteer, our job was to assist the staff in the daily care of the wolves and other jobs they needed to get done around the reserve — such as building and repairing old fences for the rehabilitation farm they have for horses. We worked inside the habitats to create a fire bunker for the wolves in case of a forest fire, as well as to provide them with more of a spacious and safe environment. We even got the chance to contribute extra hands to help feed the 47 wolves. Feeding the wolves was a very long process…

My favorite part of the trip was being able to observe and learn about the wolves’ behavior. I’m proud to say I got the chance to be in these wolves’ lives, and they got to be in mine. In the end, I walked away with a better understanding not only of conservation, sustainability and the environment, but great lessons I can carry throughout my lifetime and an experience that I will never forget.

Please check out my SlideRocket below and visit Mission Wolf website!

Me, Myself, and Isadora Duncan

September 20, 2012, by

The purpose of this Endurance project was to connect ourselves and our missions to a character we felt drawn to. I choose to connect to Isadora Duncan because of her spirit, motivation, inspiration, and her drive. I am proud of the poem I wrote and the new style I used incorporating different punctuation techniques.

Here is my poem:

How do you inspire people who have no hope left?
How can passion and motivation help create self-empowerment?
How do you use real life experiences to inspire and improve others’ lives?
How do you show women the light, when they are so use to darkness?
How do you give a wake up call to women who don’t know they are asleep?
How are you inspired to triumph, when everyone has proclaimed your failure?
How do you find the hope and energy to continually inspire and motivate others?
How are you inspired to succeed, when so many profess your failure and turn you away?
How can I inspire girls to increase their self-esteem, love themselves, and not let fears hold them back?[1]

“Dance is the unity from which all diversities of movements are born.”
“If people ask me where I was born, I tell them by the sea, under the star of Aphrodite.”
My moves “are like most free spirited women, I move freely.” [2]

My whole life I have been a talker: loud and outspoken. My teachers use to turn to me and tell me not to speak out of turn but I would turn to them in return and tell them I’ll speak when I please because these words out my mouth could never be ceased until there’s no breath left in me…….and then I breath.
Breathe in experience breathe out poetry.

Isadora = Italics
DC = bold
Isadora & DC = italics & bold
Dance like mother nature moves through you;
Speak like God blesses your tongue
Whatever you do,
Do it, like you and your higher power are one.
Every breath, you take, takes breaths:
Every move, you make, takes steps;
Whatever, you do, you do the best:
this is what separates you from the rest
A dancer does not dance to the music they dance with it; A speaker does not speak to the audience they speak for it. A dancer does not have a hard time finding the beat because a dancer dances to the beat of its own heart, the same way a Speaker is never at a lost for words for they speak the truth and nothing more is necessary. A dancer can some up a metaphor in one movement; the same way a speaker can some up a revolution in a phrase.

[3]I am the voice of my time;
a strong woman of some kind,
I write on paper what women think in their mind.
Courage is what I help them find.
I give them that push that someone gave me,
offer support and try to help them see,
show them courage and help them believe,
that they too can be free.
[4]Settling is not for me:
Mediocrity will never be good enough.
Limitations will never stop me.
I am a free bird,
and your expectations will never cage me.
I was born to lead,
I was born to roam the world freely,
not be bound by the stereotypes of my community.
I refuse to be invisible,
when I have the potential…
and essentials to be invincible.
To push through when all the odds are pushed against you; to keep going even when you don’t know where you’re going. Having the faith to walk the road, even when you don’t know where it leads to. Believe, when you have no one left  to believe in you: Imagine when your imagination is empty; Hope, especially, when you have nothing, left, to hope for. And the impossible will become possible.

Salander Dialogue

August 3, 2012, by

Lisbeth Salander

This is a fictional adaption of Salander’s detective work. I combined Salander’s fictional, yet amazing detective work with my favorite mystery: the Kira case from Death Note. The purpose of this piece is to portray endurance and an exciting story. This was my first mystery piece, and I have always thought that the hardest part of a mystery is to not leave any open ties, and I am proud that I did not. I learned a lot about grammar in the process, especially how to use colons and semi-colons.
Me, Myself and Lisbeth Salander
Lisbeth Salander is a woman who is reluctant to trust, even the most trovärdig (trustworthy.) I, chief investigator of the NPA, J.D.T, was assigned to research Salander’s involvement with the Kira case… simply a mystery of supernatural motives, involving murders of criminals. The hardest piece of the puzzle is the question: how does Kira kill? Criminals drop dead of heart attacks, when Kira is nowhere near the victims. However, the victims have not only been wrongdoers…

Salander was recruited for the investigation, by recommendation from the recently found dead; Mikael Blomkvist. We quickly came to know Salander as a brilliant detective: fearless, unemotional, and logical.  Her first order of business was to find out what Kira needed to kill. She discovered that all of Kira’s victim’s names and faces were public on the internet. This information led Salander to suspect that Kira needed a name and face to kill. Determined to verify this theory, she hacked on to the New York Times and created a fictional crime. The crime was horrific, even compared to the crimes that Kira’s victims had committed. The key to testing her theory: she never released the face of the fictional culprit, just the name. Afterwards, we waited and waited, and our guinea pig remained unharmed. However, when Salander then displayed unwillingness to catch Kira, we began to suspect Salander of involvement with Kira.  After a raid of her apartment, we discovered that she had hacked into Kira’s computer, and was tracking his moves. Making assumptions is part of any investigation, if we’re wrong all it’ll cost is an apology *1.  Sadly, this was only the beginning of our misstro (suspicion.) This suspicion would become my greatest failure, and would haunt me even after my death.

Later, we searched her apartment, and discovered a notebook. The notebook would later be known as the “notebook of death.” Normally such an item would be discarded, and marked as a irrelevant. But all of us on the task force were very ready to discover supernatural abilities in the murders committed. We weren’t expecting to find a notebook with the ability to kill the names written in it, and control the victim’s actions leading up to their death. We noticed all of the names written were in similar handwriting. However, the last name written: Light Yagami, was written with a different ink and handwriting. Deep down in my heart, I already knew the notebook would produce supernatural skicklighet (abilities). I wrote down the name of a single criminal.

One day later, the criminal was dead.  I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew at that point that my life was in grave danger. We decided to arrest Salander. We stormed her apartment with intentions of confining her, but found her dead upon our arrival. Then, I made the biggest mistake of my life. I burned the notebook of death, but as it burned, I dissolved into nothingness, my mortal life ceased to be, and I descended into afterlife. In my afterlife I looked over the human world, left with the burden of time, to ponder my mistakes. I knew that by destroying the notebook, I had destroyed myself. At the time I considered myself a martyr, sacrificing myself and leaving the mystery förklarad (solved). However, 10 days later, criminals started dying again; I watched my mourning subordinates, knowing they would never solve the case. Knowing they would be killed. The world’s only two chances of solving the case, had recently been killed by the notebook. 10 years later, the mystery remained unsolved.

The lost diary of Lisbeth Salander
I found Kira. His name: Light Yagami. Three days before my death I realized that Kira had to be somebody with access to the information that the FBI possessed. I decided that investigating the FBI as a whole would be outhärdlig (impossible). So I hacked my way to the digital barrier of classified information, to discover another IP address browsing through its information, copying and pasting names. Later, I discovered that these names would soon cease to survive, and I knew that I had found Kira.  I tracked the IP address to find an address of the Yagami household, in the Kanto region of Japan.

I arrived at the Yagami household, only to find one person home: Light Yagami. When I opened the door, I found him writing names into a notebook. Yagami was clearly startled and worried at seeing an unannounced visitor. I knew that all of my moves had to be subtle and precise. I had arrived disguised as a plumber, with the fake name of Violet Fraum. In actuality Violet Fraum was my guinea pig. Isn’t it funny how the fight against evil can stretch a person’s moral boundaries. Isn’t it strange how a person changes, in the face of life or death? After Yagami rejected my plumbing, he asked for my name, and I gave him my alias.

Upon leaving, the only thing I could do was visit Fraum. I told her everything, and both she, and I knew that her death was a ticking clock. While I was eager to learn, she was pondering her inevitable doom. And finally, all of the verification I needed was in front of me, as I watched Violet Fraum shrivel away into intighet (nothingness). Only then did I know, that Light Yagami was Kira.

Upon this conclusion I knew what everybody in the world wanted to know. But I was frightened. I was scared of dying, scared even more that I would die in gagnlös (vain). It was more fear than I had ever encountered. But at that moment, I knew there was only one thing I could do. I had to bring this lunatic to justice, before anyone else could be killed.

When I got to the Yagami household, Light’s father answered the door. I was prepared to find Light, and murder the murderer. But to my relief, Light was not home. I lied to his father, told him I had left my notebook with him. After welcoming me into his home, I took the notebook from his room, and made way for the door. To my horror, as I opened the door I found Light opening the door. As he saw me, he was rygga tillbaka (horrified). However, I knew that he had discovered my alias. He saw the notebook in my hand, and I know he knew it was over at this point.

“Ryuk. Give me the Ögon (eyes).” Light’s eyes glowed red, and he whispered the words: “Lisbeth… Salander.” This was the most petrified I had been the whole time. Knowing that Light had to have a piece of the notebook torn and stowed away, I fled his house and wrote my name down, before he could have the chance. I wrote the details of my death (in reading the rules of the notebook, I found that after writing a name, the owner has 40 seconds to write the details of the death, or the victim will simply die of a heart attack):

  • Lisbeth Salander— dies peacefully in her sleep, 3 days from today.
  • Light Yagami— dies before he can förstöra (kill) again.

I met Lisbeth one more time after our deaths, and I finally had the chance to ask her the questions I needed to.

Q: What is the most important thing you learned in your life?

A. There are many types of monsters in this world, monsters who will not show themselves and who cause trouble. Monsters who abduct children, monsters who devour dreams, monsters who suck blood, and, monsters who always tell lies. Lying monsters are a real nuisance, they are much more cunning than other monsters. They pose as humans, even though they have no understanding of the human heart. They eat, even though they’ve never experienced hunger. They study even though they have no interest in academics. They seek friendship even though they do not know how to love. If I were to encounter such a monster, I would likely be eaten by it, because in truth, I am that monster.

-Tsugumi Ohba (L)

Q. What did you learn about friendship in your lifetime?

A. Friendship- my definition- is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, the friendship will crumble.

-Stieg Larson (Mikael Blomkvist)

*1 Making assumptions is part of any investigation, if we’re wrong all it’ll cost is an apology

-Tsugumi Ohba (Nate River)

  • (1997)
  • Death Note (2003) Weekly Shonen Jump, Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, (2005) Norstedts Forlag, Stieg Larson
  • JDT

Endurance: 12 hour Immersion

June 5, 2012, by

photo source:

The purpose of this Endurance challenge was to push my boundaries and comfort levels and spend 12 hours working on a mission that I created.  I decided to make my mission: “Build a Cultural Community Center in New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward”.  The hardest part was definitely around the seventh hour, when all I wanted to do was sleep, and it was extremely hard to stay motivated. If I knew these challenges would have arose beforehand, I would have set smaller hourly goals when writing my intentions, and bought more coffee! I am proud of my progress that I made over this 12 hour push, my mission is something that I’m very passionate about.

Me, Myself and Chris McCandless

June 4, 2012, by

The purpose of this Endurance paper was to connect to a character we read about in one of our books. Not only were we supposed to connect with a character and write a story about them, or a story including them in it, but to also include a sense of direct dialog with them.

I chose to connect to Chris McCandless because while I was reading Into The Wild I realized a lot of the feelings that Chris was feeling were things that I have felt before. He was very easy to relate to and I was constantly hoping that the story’s ending would change, but his life wasn’t a fairy tail and I knew that. 

I am proud of reading the book all the way through because for a while at the beginning I wanted to throw it at the wall. I hated the fact that I knew his fate from the start. I was kind of having a “whats the point?” mentality towards it, but yet I still pushed through and it turned out to be a very well written novel and one of my favorites.

I learned that when writing a paper you have to consider many things and it is somewhat of an endurance challenge on its own. I had to go back and re-write a lot of things, cut a lot sentences, and edit many grammatical errors. 

As I turn the pages in the novel written about some dead guy I’ve never heard of before, I don’t really feel much. This is for school, this is just another book I am being forced to read. Do I want to read this book already knowing the awful fate that awaits the man I’m about to spend hours getting to know, would you? No, you wouldn’t. Unless you’re one of those people who like morbid things and death. I like happy endings so I read books that me and my friends like to call “trashy teen novels.” I don’t know why I never strayed from these types of books. I knew that they sucked but yet there was something about them that made me feel safe and content.

I get this eerie feeling like I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, but yet so is Chris, and I don’t feel so alone. Chris McCandless isn’t your normal human being: he’s adventurous, wild and mysterious. He can’t sit in one place for too long, because it makes him restless and crazy. For most of his life Chris put up this cover that everything in his life would be perfect; he would go to the perfect school, get the perfect grades, and start the perfect family.# Would you be able to hold on to this persona? Masking who you truly are to make someone else proud is not an easy task. I’m sure that all of us at some point in life must have put on a mask, pretending that we are happy for a whole day and then returning to our rooms where it is only you; then you are truly alone with your thoughts and the mask comes off. Chris has forced himself to forget, to go into this zone of complete meditation and block out the world he has grown up in. Now the book has got my attention, I know why this information was documented, why Jon Krakauer# went through all that trouble to retrace the mystery that is Chris McCandless.

I’m feeling worried for the main character in the story, for I have grown quite fond of him. The worse part: I know Chris’s fate is death. I’m having a hard time accepting that. The author is explaining how he has received letters from people about how Chris was insane and that one shouldn’t have bothered writing about such a lunatic. Jon Krakauer is getting off topic, but I’m starting to know why. He talks about others before Chris who have wandered the Earth searching for answers to questions that are so very hard to be solved or understood by “normal” people. All these men have one thing in common; it’s death. Gene Rosellini, John Waterman, and Carl McCunn all died on their journeys to discover themselves. Soon I knew Jon was trying to tell me something, or maybe I just picked it up on my own. This theory– that I’m sure others have thought before me– is Chris knew, way before he started this journey; that he would die. Maybe it was what he had planned all along… What if he really did have no intentions of ever coming back?

The sun is setting and the moon is shining more brightly every minute. My eyelids are getting heavy, and I know that if I don’t close the book now I will never go to sleep.  Lowering the book and turning off the light I drift to sleep, Chris’s adventures still looming in the back of my mind, and a quote that I can’t seem to shake.

“ All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality…. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”#

The woods are quiet, snow sticks to the ground like it has no plans on leaving anytime soon. A gust of wind blows and I shiver; I am not dressed correctly for the weather. I smell the cool crisp air; it reminds me of a certain rainy day at my aunt’s cabin when I was searching aimlessly for dry wood that our campfire lacked. Everything is damp and the smell of fire is there, but distant. I see a figure run past my line of vision. He is carrying what looks to be a pistol. I’m drawn to the shadows he casts on the trees and the footprints he leaves in the snow; I follow him deeper and deeper into the wild.

Me, Myself & Chris McCandless

June 4, 2012, by


I leaned that in life you are always going to have endure certain things whether you chose to or not. I chose to endure this intense hockey camp and in the end, I wouldn’t trade my experience there for anything in the world. I am so proud of myself for getting through that, and I wish I could convince more people to take a chance like I did.

I am proud that I got very in touch with myself. This class all together has taught me that I am stronger then I thought I was, and that endurance is not exactly a bad thing.

Final Draft:

I laced up my skates with my hands shaking. I looked around the empty locker room and felt an uncomfortable breeze. I was attending Hamilton hockey camp, and I was about to endure the hardest two weeks of my whole life. I stepped onto the ice and saw three hockey coaches standing center ice with a bag of pucks to the left of them. They looked serious, and I must have looked terrified. They told me, and the three other Canadian girls in my group, to skate five laps. I thought, “not that bad” in my head. It wasn’t until I was in the locker room after a three hour ice session, dry-heaving into a trashcan, that I knew this place was going to be a living hell.

Chris McCandless set fire to his money and his social security card. No car, no money…nothing. He was on his way to changing his lifestyle for what he believed, was for the better. Each day in the beginning was a struggle and as more days past the realization of what he was doing, finally started to kick in. However, he managed to channel his inner motivation and say: “The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.” Personally, I don’t think Chris would have been able to say something like this so carefree until he had seen things that no other man has seen. He was beginning to think and act outside the box and was beating the odds of freedom.

My soccer coach Mick Hild once told me “nothing ever make you want to move slower then somebody telling you to move faster.” This quote ran through my head the entire time I was at Hamilton. “FASTER, SKATE HARD, HEAD UP” were just about the only words those coaches said to me when we were on the ice. When they would say that all I wanted to do was sit down and pass out. I wasn’t going to though, I was going to complete this. I had to self motivate myself to do everything they were telling me and shut off everything around me in order to gain the concentration I needed to proceed. On his journey, Chris didn’t have anyone telling him to go forward…in fact he had more people telling him to stop. Throughout his whole journey he made the concept of hope a lifestyle. When you are put into a situation you feel is impossible, you have to have faith that something good is going to come out of it. Even though Chris didn’t make it out of his journey alive, through his journal we are all able to learn and envy everything he discovered. In comparison, I can say that there are so many girls on my hockey team that wish they could go back in time and do that hockey camp, simply because of how much better it made me.

I will agree that Chris and my stories are very, very different; however, they do embody some of life’s main principles. We both can live by his quote “When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it” easily on a day-to-day basis. I’ve always believed that good things happen to those who work and that everyone has to make their own luck in this world. Yes, it might be a harsh truth, but it opens up an enlightening reality. If I could talk to Chris right now I would ask him about how he made faith and hope a lifestyle. I would also just try and have a conversation with him so I could compare his views and opinions on life to my own. In my experience at Hamilton Hockey Camp, I was forced to create a mentality that if I work hard, the game will soon become fun. Hockey is not a sport that just anyone can play. It takes an incredible amount of patience, strength, and passion but most of all, playing a game like that has to make you feel free. Hockey acts like an escape and like Chris said, “The freedom and simple beauty is too good to pass up…” Unlike me, Chris actually physically took himself out of society…and I envy him for that. I could never abandon my family and life like he did, but I can try to have a taste of his freedom through my escape sport called hockey.

Me, Myself & Warshawski

June 4, 2012, by

The purpose of this Endurance paper was: to “meet” one of the characters that we read about and “talk” to them.

I chose to connect to V.I Warshawski, because she is an detective and I want to be an homicide detective, so I though that was pretty cool.

I am proud of the way that I used her in my story/dialog.

I learned that there is a challenge when you are trying to be someone else — and trying to see what they would see.

Here is an excerpt of my paper:

Friend: New New girl did you just hear that?
New New: Heard what?
Friend: Them gunshots.
New New: Naw. But who got shot?
Friends: I don’t know.Let me go on the porch in see?
New New: Alright.
Friend: New New. You won’t believe it man, but that’s yo uncle
New New: Naw man you playing, don’t say nothin like that.
Friend: I’m being serious. Go look outside in see I’m telling you the truth.

That’s life growing up and Cabrini Green projects, where the sounds of gunshots are the same as school bells when it’s time for the kids to get out of school. As I walked up to him and seen his body and the parking lot inside of my head “he ain’t dead”, he just sleeping peacefully, cause I don’t see any blood on his body, but they told me that he was bleeding internally. Then I finally realize that it’s reality when I heard somebody on the phone talking to the police saying:

The man on the phone: “we need an ambulance we have a man shot dead in the parking lot”
The officer: Okay sir can you tell me what’s your location?
The man on the phone: 1230 N. Burling parking lot.
The Officer: Okay I will send somebody over right away.
The man on the phone: Thank you.

Me, Myself & Ishmael Beah

June 4, 2012, by

The purpose of this Endurance paper was to meet the character (Ishmael Beah) from the book I read: A Long Way Gone . Also, to become another person, to become empty and to define who you are.

I chose to connect with Ishmael Beah because we have similar life experiences, the way how we got to USA, the way we go through our lives and how we are separated from our families.

I am proud of that today I am living in Chicago, USA with my whole family. I am proud that I can live everyday happily and never heard anymore a gun shooting and voices of people suffering. I am proud that I can go to school when a lot of children cannot go to school. I am also proud of being who I am everyday.

I learned “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi.

Here is my A Long Way Poem

One night I walked into the book A  Long Way Gone
I met Ishmael Beah in the dark forest.
We talked about our similar experiences, where we come from.

I live in four worlds: truth, hatred, peace and experience.
How about everyone not lying and not hating each other?
How would our world be like?

Ishmael Beah,
What is your world like now?

“These days I live in three worlds:
my dreams, and the experiences of my new life,
which trigger memories from the past.” –Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone

You (Ishmael Beah) and I learn our lives from the travel path.
Our experiences are not like others’
Because our experiences come from our own pain.

“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything:
every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” –Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone

What do we always carry when people hate us?
What do they hate about us or Why do they hate us?
We can fix what they hate about us,
But we cannot fix why they hate us.

“Some nights the sky wept stars
that quickly floated and disappeared into the darkness
before our wishes could meet them. ” –Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone

“I had my gun now, and as the corporal always said,
‘This gun is your source of power in these times.
It will protect you and provide you all you need,
if you know how to use it well’.” –Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone

You need to use your weapon with your heart
Only your heart  knows how to use the weapon,
Because your heart is your weapon.

The bullets from the gun don’t know
Love and hate,
Bad and good,
Happiness and sorrow,
Children and adults,
Families and enemies…

A weapon depends on a person who uses it.
If you don’t know how to use it,
It will be used against you.

“Weapons are an important factor in war,
but not the decisive one;
it is man and not materials that counts”
(Mao Tse-Tung)

In your story, the music becomes your savior and your security.
It becomes your friends, beyond it is what you are passionate about.
It makes you smile when you hear the beats.
It makes you brave and makes you forget your pain.
It shows who you are in front of your enemies.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey

When I do what I am passionate about
I never get hungry and tired,
Because the more we do it, the more we learn it.
The more we learn it,
The more we know how to enjoy it.

Ishmael, I would like to share with you
The most inspiring quote in my life,
Whenever I am going to do something
that makes me think twice.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
― Mae West

Smart and good thinkers don’t say words a lot
But when they say
The world opens eyes,
If the Sun rises, it never sets again.
If the Moon and Stars appear in the night
The night becomes the brightest night.

Just like you say in your story book,
When you run in the night
The moon and the stars lead you where to go.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

You and me can live as this quote says from now on
We are who we are by what we do today
we believe we will be still alive
by what we have learned today
we dream with how far our possibilities lead us

Me, Myself, and Chris McCandless

June 4, 2012, by

The purpose of this Endurance paper was to connect ourselves and our missions to a character/person we felt closest to that we read about. I chose to connect to Chris McCandless because of how he deals with challenges. I am proud of the connections I made and the vocabulary challenge that I took on.

Here is my paper :

How do you face a daunting challenge?

Me and him isolate ourselves and prepare our minds, more than our bodies. It’s more important to “feel strong, than to be strong”.

Chris McCandless and I are shockingly similar in some aspects of life, which to some people might be a bad thing.

Chris, otherwise known as Alexander Supertramp, was as free of a spirit as you could find, looking for freedom, happiness, and adventure throughout his short but eventful life. “The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.” basically sums up his whole life.  Chris McCandless is a man who i have never met, but I feel like I know him in a way. His anonymity is vaguely inspiring, and intriguing. Yet what I know about him is enough to know that I could learn a lot just from spending an hour with him. Our journeys and purposes are different, but the way we had to go about our missions is very similar.

Mentally, I think Chris and I could relate in a few ways. The first is the way in which we connect is how we grew up, not feeling comfortable with how much money we had and thinking others deserve it more. Also, we challenged traditional methods of schooling which didn’t necessarily benefit us, and learning in different ways.

The process in which we went about our individual missions however, is the place in where we are the most alike. My challenge was to attempt to improve my focusing ability, and apply it to basketball. His mission was about surviving in the wilderness purely off of the land. Both of these take incredible physical endurance, but the bigger challenge is the mental endurance that it takes. Most barriers in our world are perceived, we have just been told we can’t overcome them even though they are tangibly achievable. A famous saying in the music world is that you can only play as fast as you could imagine yourself playing. The reason why guitarists like John Butler can play so quickly is because they can visualize themselves playing that quickly. In basketball, if one could put themselves in the mindset that they will always dominate, they would actually be much more capable of playing well as opposed to the better player with less confidence.

Chris’ journey wasn’t very much like mine, his was to release himself from society and live off the land as naturally as he could. Chris believed careers were a 20th century invention” and he didn’t want any part of that. “The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.” Another way in which Chris seemed to differ was his interaction with other people. If I had an opportunity to speak with him one of the first questions I’d ask, other than “how are you alive?” would be if he desired human interaction at the time of his death. I really believe he would have replied with a yes, because one of Chris’ last recorded quotes was “happiness is only real when shared”. This would also lead me to ask another simpler question. I would’ve asked if there was a “finish line” of his journey, or some sort of reward that would let him know he had accomplished what he set out to do. I think he would’ve replied with a “no” because I think he was out to discover himself more than anything else.

My goal (which I am still far from achieving consistently) is to improve my ability to focus, and let go. Basically I want to train my mind to serve me better. The way in which I could utilize this the best outside of the classroom is on the basketball court. I tend to overthink things too much instead of being confident and focused, clearing my mind. The moments when I get in that zone I am an exponentially better player but it’s hard to find myself in this zone without doing something like trash talking. Admittedly, this is frowned upon, especially after the ‘90s, but a few players still use this method. It puts me in a state of mind that if I’m talking, I have to back it up by playing well. I play my best when in the zone of having to prove someone wrong, yet it’s difficult to get to that zone without trash talking.

I doubt Chris was much of a trash talker, but I do believe we are very similar in many aspects, mostly how we go about obtaining our goals. Both of us endure what are perceived as physical challenges, but really they require much more mental endurance. Spending time alone thinking is what builds up the brain, and we both think best when we are moving.

BR Endurance Time-Lapse Video

June 4, 2012, by

The purpose of this Endurance challenge was to spend twelve to twenty four hours focused on only our missions. Each hour we were supposed to do some kind of activity that goes along with the lesson we taught to the endurance class. Every hour we had to film about 10 seconds of what it felt to do one activity for a long amount of time.
I decided to research different forms of meditation since my lesson was on a breathing exercise. I am always very curious to see how meditation can release stress and tension from ones life. I wanted to figure out which form worked best for me so I tried a bunch.
The hardest part was actually filming how I felt afterwards because I would start to rant about all the different emotions I was feeling. My teacher and I had to end up cutting a lot of the footage and making my about eight minute long video into two four minute videos.
If I knew it beforehand, I would have wrote out a script of exactly what to say so I wouldn’t talk too much.
I am proud of my video overall because it took a lot of time and I actually enjoyed doing it. The form of meditation I found most helpful was sound meditation because I felt refreshed afterwards. My head felt clear and my body felt more rested.

BR END Time-Lapse Part #2 from GCE on Vimeo.