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Minerva Week 12: Daybreakers and Serendipity – Luck and Wisdom

November 24, 2014

My week was about those shocking, lovely moments of serendipity. I found myself repeatedly at the right place at the right time, experiencing something that I knew would never happen again. Every day is like that, if you think about it – no day will ever happen again – but there are times where you’re made aware of how precious the moments are while you are still experiencing them. It was one of those weeks.

It really began on Tuesday, with a 7:30 am danceparty that looked like this (can you find me?):

It was a truly San Francisco cultural experience. There were glasses of raw coconut water and tea, as well as yogurt and granola, available to keep our bodies strong as we danced to loud music in louder costumes (I’ll really have to up my dressing game if I go there another time).

I catapulted through the rest of the day and the rest of the week. I started reading Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (a required book for my Multimodal Communications course) and was captured by the opening scene. A bored mother, stymied student and wife is climbing a forested hill to start a tryst. Reaching the top, she is distracted by what she thinks is an unearthly fire in the forest. Only later does she find out that the orange glow was due to thousands and thousands of Monarch Butterflies.

Courtesy of Rick Sammon

On Friday, I was at the Minerva offices for the second of Dean Kosslyn’s sessions with the Founding Class. We were learning about the Learning Principles that underlie how Minerva teaches. I was inspired to create a visual and may even create a video to convey the principles! They are simple and often can be immediately helpful. For example, skimming something that needs to be read to get a sense of the entire structure rather than just plodding through can help you read faster and more effectively. I first heard that from my mother! (As you can tell, I have intelligent parents!). That idea is represented with the drawing on the top left – with a skeleton first and then adding flesh and clothes later.


I took time to go to a community art gallery I have had my eye on for a while. It is also a homeless shelter that engages people from the community through arts. I found this fantastic piece of art that spoke directly to me. I have Jo Jackson to thank for the beautiful painting below.


The next day, my room mate and I decided, serendipitously, to go to a free storytelling and chamber orchestra performance that married folk music with a folk tale. A wise young man was trying to get a smart princess to talk to him. He presented her with an intriguing problem (in the form of another folk tale!) and she could not help but try to solve it. She spoke! Unfortunately, the guard who was supposed to be listening for her voice had fallen asleep. This guard woke from his nap, assumed that the young man had failed just like so many others, and hauled him away to face his punishment – beheading. Luckily, a bird flew into the princess’s window just as the ax was raising in the air to deliver the death blow, causing her to look into the courtyard, see the scene and scream out to stop. The moral? You need to be wise AND lucky to succeed in life. Wisdom is under your control, but luck is often not, so it’s better to work to be wise and wish to be lucky.


Goodwill was having a $2 sale, so I bought a whole host of beautiful clothes that will always remind me of this city. Brighten and I found ourselves in Japantown and decided to have sushi. It was my fist time in a conveyor belt-type restaurant. Quite fun! Brighten told me that salad and avocados aren’t really served with sushi in Japan – they are additions to please an American audience. Interesting.


We walked back to the residence, arms laden with discounted clothing and takeout packages, but I felt light.

I spent almost all of Sunday figuring out how to create “whiteboard style” animated videos using my tablet. It was an adventure, and yet I didn’t leave my chair for hours. I traversed the Internet, solving my problems, finding new ones, making prototypes. I even made my own iPad stylus.

Mine looks just like this – but this picture is from WonderHowTo.

At the end, I had a sore back (note to self, need a better chair!), but I felt like I had just fought a bear – and won! Hopefully you’ll see some of my work soon!

Take care,

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