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Duke University ’23 🏫 Writer ⛵️ worldschooling/unschooling ✏️ 9 countries, 3 continents, 2 boarding schools, 10 languages 🏫

“Hmph”, the old man with the well-tailored beard grumbled for what seemed like the fiftieth time that afternoon. His position was precarious. He had not worked his whole career with the religious fervor of a first-rate molla, only to be so reduced by an obstinate boy. Yet he was also at the prime station of his career — the duty to teach a son of the sultan was a great honor. He knew also, however, as all the others did, of the many who had come before him in quick succession and were humiliated with dismissal.

Look at him. He…

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

This is the first post in a new series that I am beginning on my Medium blog, in which I will explore the different approaches to education with you, learning and reflecting as I go. Whether you are a young student — in a traditional school, an experimental program, or out in the world — or a parent, or any adult who wishes to keep learning — as all of us should — I believe that these topics can be truly enlightening.

I am a huge proponent of learning in an organic and mostly unstructured way, but also of learning…

I am seeking modern beauty —
Something shining in ephemeral grandeur.
Zeitgeist, as it were.
21st century wonder.
Improvement on the beauty of past generations.
What is the flavor of the day?
If I just grasp the train
In its perpetual motion
As it marches on
Its monotonous tracks,
My foothold would be enough for a quick climb
To the place up top.
From there, the view
Is grand, horizon
Further out.
And the next brave soul will find me
Splayed in the place up top
(Displayed only for fresher eyes,
Face burnt by the relentless Sun,
Starved to Death)

And know that I am.

Things are not as they should be.
Draperies are hung low, crooked-like,
Melting more, the more I look.
Immobilized ornaments float though materials,
Atom by atom, twisting into twins of themselves.
Gray flickers into dirty white, and out again,
Into a cleaner blandness.
The sprawling arrangements of flowers in the vase
Dance too close, no room for Jesus.
What will we do?
The petals are tarnished and perfect.
Their awkward dance is a rehearsal of life
For its actual act,
Not yet begun. One day soon. No one knows when.
Where is the stagehand?
Where is the theatre crew?
Or perhaps I have it wrong, so then
Where is the Director of Photography
Who messed up the framing,


I don’t look back — Not yet! Not yet!
Regret resides in Retrospect.
Foul ogre, shunning all creation,
Hides in the deep in anticipation
Of sustenance thrown in the pits
For him by even lesser men
Who have not flesh enough to rot —

They are all bones!
Not even bones,
Which cannot help but turn to dust!

They are the never-living ones,
Who in their hollow visage laugh
At the workings of Decay —
The one I favor, for her touch
Favors only breathing things,
And leaves alone perpetual death,
To feed on ever sweeter Change.

If there…

They call it a town
Where the girls would rather smell of the sea,
And the winding streets behind the crooked bricks
Would birth saltwater in their cracks —

The girl walks, aimless, towards a distant past,
Homer’s home, the ancient ruins, collapsed
Around the sailors’ nets and fishing calls…
The waves that wax and wane, they claim

Their once and future host, the port
And beacon call to artistic hope,
Smyrna —

Where the girls would rather smell of seaweed
In the hair of mermaids on far-flung rocks
As they dream their far-flung dreams
And listen as the seagulls soar —

Where the girls would rather smell of the winds
That pick up at the Aegean coast
And while they murmur to the seashells,
Feel the better for it all.

I recently watched Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb, a Netflix documentary film about the team of Egyptian archaeologists that discovered a tomb dating back to the 25th century BCE. That number is not easy to comprehend. By comparison, blind poet Homer’s Iliad, considered the oldest existing piece of European literature, is thought to have been written in the 8th century BCE. There are 1700 years of history between these two creations of humanity. To put it further into perspective, we could go back 1700 years from our own 21st century, which would take us to the life of St. Augustine…

After reading Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport last month, I went back to all of the apps and accounts that I own on all sorts of platforms. Some of them, I had not touched in years. In fact, some of the apps on the home screen of my phone hadn’t been used since the beginning of the pandemic. This was a situation that required some spring cleaning, to be sure.

However, there were other apps that I used often — almost every day. In keeping with the spirit of digital minimalism, I…

Photo courtesy of Aurélie Cenno, who is a supporter of Needlestacks

The Craving

I have recently been introduced to a concept that I knew I needed in my life, but did not have the right words to describe — or perhaps I had too many words, which is much the same thing. I would say something like: I need people I admire to list out everything that they love best about the internet, all of the weird and wonderful websites that keep them going back online, those little sites that one discovers with a bittersweet emotion… On the one hand, you are grateful that all the conditions were met for you to come…

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Some students are currently working hard to get through their final exams before they can enjoy the warmer months, while others have finished up the school year but are looking to stay productive during the summer break. Adults are also always looking for study motivation, whether to get ahead in their careers through investing in new skills, or to keep their minds and curiosity sharp with lifelong learning. The reasons behind studying are as diverse as the fields of study that exist in the world.

The YouTubers that are listed below have particularly captivating perspectives on education. They have approaches…

Damla Ozdemir

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