It's the 12th Experiment Chronicle! The next one will be a 2016 wrap-up, which I'm really excited about.
Let's talk this month's theme. December is the most hectic month of the year. There are finals and traveling and exciting parties. At the same time, December is a great time for reflection. While I've never been one to wait until the next year to get started on a new goal, sometimes waiting is good. It gives you time to mull over your plans and what you really want to do next year.
It's all about reflection this month: We're talking failures, digital bans, and diaries about daily life. Let's get into it.
Work: Failure Resume
10 points to Gryffindor. Jeff Scardino wrote a failure resume while unemployed. It listed all of his failures, non-skills, and bad references. The brave (or insane) guy then sent it out to employers.
Failure resumes have similar sections to regular resumes. The breakdown: experience, education, missed honors, non-skills, and bad references.
Well. Here goes. I don't know if I'd send this around, but I'm putting it out there on the internet. No turning back.
- Experience: Turned down a lucrative blogging opportunity freshman year, left a yearlong job without any contacts because I didn't realize how important networking was yet, got an intensive job only for the on-campus convenience and ended up with few projects to put on my resume
- Education: Transferred to a lower ranked school and have to graduate a year late, majored in something that I won't be going into as a career field because I figured out what I really wanted to do too late, am 0.28 points away from my goal cumulative GPA with only a semester left (so dang close)
- Missed Honors: Didn't follow-up with anybody after an awards ceremony even after they expressed interest, lost in a huge publishing contest, didn't get a leadership position on an executive board
- Non-Skills: Like Jeff, I could also be more punctual. Swings between workaholism and procrastination, which is probably just another syndrome of procrastination tbh. Randomly nitpicks over things for hours then suddenly realize I wasted my time/lost an opportunity.
I'm not brave enough to list bad references. Plus, I don't list references on my actual resume.
Wow, that was strangely cathartic. I listed out my failures and realized, hey, some of these aren't going to matter in five years. The rest are learning experiences. I figured out what I really want, what I'm bad at, and now I can make plans.
Also, I feel pretty positive about my successes now. My achievements mostly eclipse my failures in terms of satisfaction. It's also a good reminder that future successes will come and take the sting out of any remaining failure regrets.
Play: Unorthodox Social Media Ban
I know, I know. Social media bans are pretty basic. However, I do have a twist. A lot of social media bans don't account for "what am I going to spend my recreation time doing instead of social media?"
I'm swapping all text-based social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, etc.) for fiction reading for a week. I used StayFocusd's nuclear setting for my laptop, then added text-based social media sites to the blocked sites list. The nuclear setting doesn't allow you to access any of those sites for a set amount of time (168 hours). I used Freedom to block those sites on my phone.
It worked pretty well. I didn't miss any of those text-based social media sites for a week. I think the condition that I had to spend that time reading instead helped me stick to the ban. After all, fiction reading is much more entertaining than mindless scrolling.
And did I miss out? Not really. I stayed updated on close friend's lives through texts and talking in person. I could still glance through news sites so I kept current on that front. Also, fiction reading felt like an actual break versus going on social media during finals week. Of course, I'm still likely to fall into a black hole of reading but at least it's more guilt-free.
I highly recommend you try it out if you want to read more, look less at your phone, or just want a digital detox.
Rest: Daily Diaries
I adored fictional diaries as a kid. I would straight-up devour them. I've sporadically journaled throughout my life. I did it for an entire year in middle school and I still remember 6th grade vividly. Social media allows for easy access to memories with Facebook timelines and Instagram feeds, which for a while replaced journaling in my life. However, these sites don't do a great job at capturing the nuances.
Sometimes I wish I could read what my daily life was like in high school. Or what went down my first day of college. How did I prepare for my first ever finals week? What on earth did I even do last week?? What was my thought process behind making that decision?
So, with that in mind, and knowing that I have a bunch of transitions coming up (graduation, full-time jobs, moving, etc.), I decided to start keeping a daily journal again.
I've been daily journaling for more than a month now and it's been fun. I've been sticking to it because I've kept three things consistent:
- Only using composition notebooks. It seems more "formal" and "must stay consistent" if I stick with one type of journal. Also, it makes for a gratifying stack to look at.
- I only have to write one page a day. I date seven pages at a time. If I run over one page any day, I just go to the end of that 7-page section and continue on there.
- I stick to paragraphs and skip a line whenever I transition topics. Each day has three topics and I do a quick bullet point summary at the top of the page so I can easily find things later on.
I journal for Future Me. That means detailed descriptions about the who, what, and when in daily life accounts because I'll probably forget who "Joe Smith" is in two years.
Journaling is a great thing to do before going to sleep. Mind dumping and getting all those thoughts out of your head. Not to mention, the ability to go back to failures! You're a lot more likely to cut yourself slack later on for a failure if you knew exactly what you were thinking at the time.
What are you experimenting with this month?
Would you ever write a failure resume? What do you think about a text-based social media ban? Have you ever kept a daily diary? For how long?