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Maker Education
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Field Study
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Healthy Risk?
Shaping Habits
Today, students and faculty will gather to review summer reading offered by faculty and staff. Selections run the gamut of genres, consistently reflecting teacher passions.

One of my summer reading books was the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and struck a chord in my life. I am creature of habit (as all humans are) and people close to me, just as I am sure people close to you, have been both the beneficiaries and victims of habits.

Duhigg’s narrative outlines not only the science behind habit formation (like the habit of walking out of assembly to the Wise!), but the steps necessary to change, or rewire habits. He notes, “Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed...They shape our lives far more than we realize - they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.” (25)

As we start the academic year, we all have an opportunity to assess what habits exist in our own lives and to shape our habits into ones that lead to a healthy lifestyle. Assembly, classes, dining hall, afternoon activities and dorm life are all areas where habits begin to form quickly for us, and consequently begin to shape our Proctor experience.

Habits exist as a result of a cue, followed by routine, and eventually reward. We know that habits will never go away, we must simply acknowledge the cue and desired reward we are craving, and insert healthy routines rather than unhealthy ones. With a deluge (or so it seems coming off of summer vacation!) of homework, projects, and quizzes coming by the end of the week, students (and faculty) must frequently assess their current study habits.

How am I dealing with the craving for distraction or a break during study hall? How have I managed my workload to date? Do I wait until the last minute to complete the assignment, or am I doing a good job planning ahead? Am I getting to sleep early enough in the evenings and allowing time for breakfast in the morning?

Habits are the foundation of our behavior and our behavior shapes our community, both our academic community and the overall Proctor community. Take time to think about what habits exist in your life and work intentionally to shape those habits so they enhance, not hinder your Proctor experience!

*Thank you, as always, to Chuck Will for sharing his photography on this blog!
For both new and returning students, the start of the academic year is a bit chaotic. New classes, new teachers, new dormitories...
Before long, however, habits start to form. Like this walk from assembly to the Wise Center each Monday, Thursday and Friday morning at 10:45 am.
Afternoon activities and athletics become part of our routine as well, just as academic classes and study hall do.
And yes, even learning to use an iPad will become habit!
As the year gets underway, we must be sure we shape our habits and resist the urge to allow bad habits to shape us!