On Being An Aspiring Polymath

On Being An Aspiring Polymath

Striving to become a master of many trades.
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From an early age I’ve always been quite interested in learning. It was perhaps my habit of reading copiously that instigated in me a drive to internalize words and knowledge. Frequently, I took upon myself the task of independently exploring a variety of subjects that my academic curriculum neglected. It was through such autonomous inquiries that I discovered in myself an ardent passion, an intrinsic motivation to seek mastery in numerous fields, rather than complying with the modern trend of academic specialization. Unfortunately, however, when making the transition from high school to university I was compelled to choose one particular area to focus on. Eventually, I chose to study Psychology, but, I also decided that I’d continue to explore other fields on my own. It was then that I commenced my journey to become a polymath, a term defined by the oxford dictionary as meaning “a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning”.

Acquiring expertise in a myriad of subjects is a task that initially appears to be unachievable. Yet, if one were to translate their long-term goals into tangible short-term achievements it would become clear that in fact the formidable dream of becoming a polymath is realistically feasible. Personally, I have set down my long-term aims to be the achievement of proficiency in the areas of History, Astronomy, Classic Literature, and Herbalism. I would also like to attain linguistic competency in four languages, including: Italian, German, Latin and Korean.

It will certainly take me years to reach the level of skillfulness that I wish to possess in each of these subjects, but, it is by accomplishing little things throughout the course of a week or a month that I will consequently move closer and closer to satiating my desperate desire for knowledge. Currently, I have gathered a plethora of resources that I use to assist my studies and I constantly nag my friends with incessant lectures concerning any novel information I’ve come to learn. I also follow a detailed daily schedule that enables me to cover a decent amount of information for whatever subject I’m focusing on during a specific week.

So far, I believe the process of language learning to be less demanding than the studies of the remaining subjects and that may be because two of the languages I am currently learning, Italian and Latin, are awfully similar to my native language, Portuguese. Hopefully, I will soon be able to conduct proper conversations in my target languages and perhaps I’ll even be able to translate my articles into the languages I am currently learning.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a massive “History of Britain” textbook to attend to. (I’ll probably write something about it in another article.) Arrivederci!

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?

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This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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