1 Tezshura

Stop The Hate Essay Deadline To File

A few years ago another academic and I were walking with a student (“Kiki”) who said that she always handed in essay assignments two weeks after they are due — the last day before she would receive a 0. Each time she lost 20% of the total possible points due to an automatic penalty of 2% per work day late. Over the long run she was ruining her chances of going on to postgraduate study. The other academic walking with us started to tell Kiki that the university had now extended the penalty period to three weeks with a maximum penalty of 30%, but I elbowed him right away and shook my head. I knew that if Kiki heard this news she would change to submitting three weeks late and suffer an extra 10% penalty. I knew that because I understand phobias, and Kiki had one — essay-writing phobia.

This phobia involves fear and avoidance of writing an assigned essay and/or submitting the essay. In addition to lateness penalties, the avoidance can lead to last-minute writing with its attendant stress, poor quality, and low marks. This phobia is more common than you might think.

What causes essay-writing phobia? The causes are similar for all types of phobias. The main factors likely to contribute here are genetic, biological predispositions to feel anxious, perfectionism in general, setting an unrealistically high goal for the essay, low self-efficacy for writing in general or for the specific essay, and low levels of self-control. Two other possible factors: Avoidance helps the person feel much better in the short run by reducing anxiety, and avoidance with frantic last-minute writing gives the person an ego-protecting excuse for earning a low mark.

So what is the way out of essay-writing phobia? I’ll suggest 10 strategies in order of value for most individuals:

1. Change your goal to something realistic and valuable, like doing your best under the circumstances or submitting on time or ending your avoidance. Put aside goals of being perfect and impressing the heck out of someone.

2. Gradually expose yourself to what you fear. Write the easiest part of the essay first — start with your name or the title. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Then write the next easiest part and so on, all the way to submitting. Praise yourself for courage at each step. Use my favorite definition of courage: Doing the right thing even tho scared. There is a great deal of research evidence that gradual exposure helps eliminate phobias.

3. Discuss your fears with someone who cares about your welfare or write in a journal about your fears. Bringing them out in the open will help you deal with them.

4. Calm yourself thru deep breathing, meditation, or some other means.

5. Focus on the task at hand — tell yourself what to do next on the assignment. Think that you are writing a draft that you will improve later, if necessary. Positive thoughts often lead to positive behavior.

6. Challenge self-defeating thoughts such as “Ï can’t do this” by thinking clearly about what “this” is and by looking for evidence from the past about whether you can do it.

7. Think of times you have written good essays and submitted on time.

8. Think of how you overcame some fear before in your life.

9. Think of individuals you admire who acted bravely.

10. Write while naked. This change of procedure might give you a new perspective, along with a anxiety-reducing chuckle.

Those are my thoughts. For a case study describing treatment of essay-writing phobia, see http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0005796786900422.

What helps you reduce essay writing fear and avoidance?

John Malouff, PhD,
Associate Professor of Psychology

There's a contest starting up and the total prizes for the winners total $100,000.

That's $100,000 in scholarships, awards and grants for students, so don't all of you adults start getting excited -- unless your a parent who can use the money to send your young one off to college. If you are a parent, start getting for children thinking.

Yes, it's the time of year once again for Beachwood's Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage's "Stop the Hate -- Youth Speak Out" essay contest in which $100,000 will be awarded to several winners.

This year's eighth annual contest encourages students to take inspiration from the words of professor, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who recently passed away.

In 1992, Wiesel wrote, "No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them."

The assignment for northeast Ohio 6th to 12th graders, should they choose to accept it, is this: "In 500 words or less, share an incident when you or someone you know was treated unfairly, or you treated someone unfairly based on race, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, etc. Why was this judgment wrong? How did the experience affect you? What have you done and what will you do to help end intolerance and create a more inclusive community."

If you can do all that in 500 words or less, you're a better writer than me. But, someone will, and will share in the prize money.

Maybe that's what I need as incentive to be that concise -- prize money.

Anyway, entries are due for students from grades 6-10 on Jan. 6, and for grades 11-12, Jan. 20.

Twenty-five finalists will appear at the final judging and public awards ceremony at 6 p.m. April 25 at the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at University Circle. The grand prize is a $40,000 college scholarship

But, we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, students must do some deep thought and then start writing.

"The world is filled with inequities and injustices that trouble many of us," said Maltz Museum Education Director Jeffery Allen. "but having the courage and motivation to combat those forces is what sets upstanders apart. This competition reinforces the responsibility of the individual to effect positive change and celebrates young leaders who are ready to put their vision into action."

For contest rules and to see samples of past winning essays, visit maltzmuseum.org/stop-the-hate.

Far out, man: It sounds far out, but you can actually, according to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library, take a "Cycle Through Time" at 1 p.m. Oct. 2.

And all you need to get you there, they say, is . . . a bicycle. That's rigth, a bicycle.

The Library has teamed up with the Heights Bicycle Coalition for a lecture and bicycle tour of the Coventry, Noble and Lee Road branches to help mark the Library's centennial year. You'll see and hear about things thave made up the CH-UH Library as you know it today. It all get under way at the Coventry Branch, 1925 Coventry Road.

The rain date is 1 p.m. Oct. 9.

Sounds heavy, man.

In addition, Mary Dunbar, president of the Heights Bicycle Coalition, reminds everyone that Oct. 5 is Walk or Bike to School Day. The CH-UH Schools have, for years, had a Walk or Bike to School Day, one in the spring, and one in the fall.

"The goal is to make parents and students aware of the health and academic benefits of 'active modes of transportation,'" Dunbar stated in an email.

Kids need 60 minutes of exercise per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and walking or peddling to and from school is a good way to get that exercise.

And, not only on Oct. 5, but every school day.

Remembering: Holocaust survivors, their families and supporters from throughout the area are invited Oct. 9 to the Kol Israel Foundation's Annual Memorial Service to be held at Zion Memorial Park in Bedford Heights.

The 55th Annual Fall Memorial Service, held with the support of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, begins at 2 p.m.

The solemn day is dedicated to honoring the memory of loved ones -- innocent men, women and children -- who perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.

The event will take place at the sacred Kol Israel Monument, which was dedicated in 1961. Ashes from victims of concentration camps are buried beneath the monument.

The keynote address will be given by Rabbi Matthew J. Eisenberg of Temple Israel Ner Tamid. Candles will be lit in memory of the six million killed. Lighting those candles will be survivors, second and third generation family members, and supporters.

Taking their turns lighting the candles will be survivor and U.S. veteran Stanley Bernath, survivor Alex Zelcer, Lee Rosenberg, survivor Art Gelbart, Cindy Feuer, Anne Lukas and Deborah Allyson Jacob.

Zion Memorial Park is located at 5461 Northfield Road.

First responders meet Menorah Park's Al Gray Sept. 9Menorah Park

First responders: On Sept. 9, Menorah Park in Beachwood held a barbecue luncheon honoring Beachwood police and firefighters, as well as Menorah Park staff that serve as emergency responders in their own home communities.

About 20 first responders attended the event, held in advance of 9-11, as did Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden.

"Many residents stopped in throughout the course of the afternoon to personally thank every one of (the first responders) individually," said Noah Budin, assistant director of activities at Menorah Park's Stone Gardens. "Many hands were shaken, stories were told, and gratitude was shared all the way around.

"The Beachwood officers enjoyed the food very much, but were really quite moved by our residents' kind and thoughtful gesture."

Difference makers: The Cleveland Jewish News has announced its second class of 18 Difference Makers who will be recognized at 6 p.m. Nov. 2 at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights.

Honorees were selected from a variety of professions based on the values of tikkun olam, a tenant of Judaism that means "repairing the world."

In addition to the Difference Makers, The CJN will honor Solon's David Gilbert in recognition for his leadership roles as president and CEO of Destination Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.

This year, The CJN will also honor an area family with the Generation Award for instilling the values of tikkun olam across generations. The first recipient of this award will be the Berns family of Hunting Valley. The Berns include Dani and Josh Berns, co-founders of The Race, and Dr. Patti Beckman Berns, dentist and philanthropist.

The Difference Makers are: Tom Adler, senior advisor for Playhouse Square Real Estate Services; Mitchell Balk, president of Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation; Martin Belsky, law professor  at the University of Akron; Seth Briskin, partner at Myers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis; Rabbis Simcha Dessler and Eli Dessler, educational director and financial director, respectively, at Hebrew Academy of Cleveland; Steven Dettelbach, attorney at Baker, Hostetler; Dr, Howard Epstein, physician, Cleveland Clinic; and activist Brynna Fish.

Also, Michael Friedman, general manager at Ganley VW/Subaru/Fiat; Shelly Friedman, non-profit volunteer; Michael Haas, partner at Jones, Day; Sara Hurand, owner of Iris Design, LLC; Gary Isakov, office managing partner, BDO USA, LLP; Eva Kahana, distinguished university professor at Case Western Reserve University; Keith Libman, partner at Bober, Markey, Fedorovich; Kim Strausser, school psychologist, Hudson City School District; Michael Siegal, chairman and CEO, Olympic Steel; and community leader Jeanne Tobin.

Tickets for the dinner/awards event are $72 and can be purchased here. Kosher dietary laws will be observed.

For sponsorship and other opportunities concerning this event, contact Events Manager Gina Lloyd at 216-342-5196.

Great place to learn: University Heights' John Carroll University has earned an overall ranking of No. 7 in U.S. News & World Report's list of the Top 10 Universities in the Midwest, part of its Best College Guide. It's the 28th consecutive year that JCU has been included among the top 10 in the Midwest.

Also, JCU ranked No. 2 for a "Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching," and No. 7 among schools recognized in the "Best College for Veterans" category.

And, there's more. The school's John M. and Mary Jo Boler School of Business made the list of best undergraduate business programs.

If you would like to see an item included in Press Run, send me an email at jeff.piorkowski@att.net at least 12 days prior to an event.

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