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How ‘Attack on Titan’ revolves around the compromise of freedom and revolution

‘Attack on Titan’ is not your typical zombie apocalyptic genre. It’s an experience, and it has changed.

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Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

‘Attack on Titan’ is not your typical zombie apocalyptic genre. It’s an experience, and it has changed. 

Through one of my major classes, I grasped the role of diplomacy and foreign relations as I slowly began to outgrow prejudices I’ve had with my own country and other countries. When we see our coexistence with the world, we see how we’re not different from the rest. How catastrophic would that be if we chose to resist openness and turn a blind eye to see both the good and ugly realities of the world?

Questioning morality and freedom is perfectly contextualized in the immaculate storytelling of Isayama Hajime’s ‘Attack on Titan’. First released in 2009, the highly-acclaimed fantasy-action shounen manga and anime has drawn many fans on an international scale, living to its hype and success through its consistency in fusing elements of action, fantasy, horror, and thrill. The plot circulates over Eren Yeager, who vowed to save humanity by killing all the Titans, the gigantic humanoid antagonists that have devoured humans, and his mother. However, as the story progresses, its archetypal shounen narrative of simply defeating the Titans shifts towards significant themes of politics, war, philosophy, and history intertwined. 

It tactfully combines emotionally-driven arcs paired with music that enforces ferocity, nationalism, tragedy, and despair. Each frame and panel is gracefully animated with precision, reflecting the artistry and dedication of the creators in cultivating the series’ magnificent world-building. The abundance of subtexts and relevant themes is portrayed through allegories, symbolism, and critiques of humanity’s adverse upbringing. Fair warning: anime spoilers ahead!

*Trigger warning: Mention of violence, human experimentation, and trauma

Historical Revisionism, Racism, and Fascism: The Tragedy of Reiner Braun 

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

As we perceived the world through the universe of Paradis, we’ve rooted for the Eldian protagonists left to save the last of humanity within their walls. We were introduced to the Marleyans, who presented themselves as a larger enemy than the Titans. Unbeknownst to the Eldian protagonists, the entire world ostracized them as the “devils of the Earth” after their ancestor, Ymir Fritz, gained the power of the Titan through a deal with the Devil and propagated the grim Titan war. Oppressing nations through the Titans’ blood lineage and ethnic cleansing for decades, the Eldian upheaval was successful when the Marleyans finally conquered the world by obtaining 7 out of 9 Titan shifters the ability to transform into a Titan and a human. 

Due to indoctrination and Marley imperialism, relentless hate and discrimination were spewed primarily against the Eldians within the walls of Paradis. Weaponizing the Titans for world domination, human experimentation, and slavery was a pervasive punishment for the Eldian refugees to atone for their ancestors’ sins. 

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

Reiner Braun was an Eldian Titan child soldier that was a victim of the Marleyan propagandistic mission that sent off candidates to infiltrate the Eldians of Paradis (they deemed as the Evil Eldians) to obtain the Founding Titan, the supreme ability to take control over the Titans. In a horrifying betrayal, it was revealed that Reiner and Bertholdt Hoover were the traitorous Titan shifters that nearly annihilated humanity years ago when they breached Wall Maria. Being disguised as a Survey Corps comrade has resulted in Reiner’s split personality, causing him to be torn with guilt between his soldier and warrior persona. After realizing that the Eldians are just normal as them who faced the same human conflict, and not the ‘devils’ the Marleyans made them be, he struggled with being a double-agent. He was just another victim of the fascist propaganda that brainwashed children to bring victory to their nation. Regardless, you want someone to be held accountable after they have slaughtered bloodshed and exterminated irreplaceable lives. If the Eldians would have won the war, would they have made themselves the heroes that have slain the evil as well? If so, which historical narrative is right? Who do we side with? 

As it highlights the damage of the glorification of military and fascism, ‘Attack on Titan’ performs a penetrating and coherent approach in alluding to the complexity of prejudice and war, the importance of history, and understanding different perspectives through Reiner’s narrative. 

Military Censorship, Class Struggle, and Corruption: Levi Ackerman and Erwin Smith’s Enigma

Screengrab from Attack on Titan

As the Marleyans thrived in power, domination, and technological advancement, our protagonists faced boundless struggles of gloom and melancholy due to endless casualties and issues within Paradis. The three walls, Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina, divided the lower class, upper class, and royalty. While the Survey Corps zealously dedicated their life to saving humanity and protecting the royalty, the Royal Government put a premium on protecting their positions in the class hierarchy while being apathetic towards the lower class and refugees. Here, corruption was rampant as they were gatekeepers of true information on the outside world and resources. Their misuse of funding has resulted in class struggles and the impoverished seeking refuge in the Underground City, a crime-ridden district where Levi Ackerman was initially from. After his mother passed away, his uncle Kenny raised and taught him the essential defense and knife skills. Though he was groomed as a notorious heist member, his skills were put to good use when Commander Erwin Smith recruited him in the Scout Regiment. Levi and Erwin helped overthrow the corrupt regime through a coup d’état and emancipated progressive change with recrowned Queen Historia Reiss when they created an orphanage for the Underground citizens with proper allocation of the Royal Family’s budget. 

Despite their quintessential role as revolutionary soldiers and leaders, the series never fails to humanize their characters, representing their emotional state in the face of powerlessness and helplessness. In Levi’s troubled background, his misdemeanor has transformed into one of the most significant developments of someone who replaces apathy with care and respect by defending the collective masses, pulling the destitute from the rear end of the class hierarchy, and placing his comrades before himself. Even on the brink of death, Erwin zealously places his life on the line in upholding utmost leadership, eradicating military censorship, and practicing dignity in fighting for humanity relentlessly. 

Morality and Freedom: Eren Yeager and the Axiom for Freedom

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

“If we kill our enemies on the other side, will we finally be free?” He asks, aimlessly staring at the ocean. 

The one-dimensional persona of Eren Yeager as the main character was continually challenged from his linear ideals of attaining freedom and revenge to learning the complexity of the world on the other side of the walls. From tormenting events of betrayal, trauma, and dehumanization, his aphorisms of vowing to kill the Titans to save humanity and using the Titans for his extremist ultimatums of freedom have displayed his development as the protagonist and antagonist of the story. His moral ambiguity allows him to accept that he is only special and significant because he has Titan powers. Disappointed by the existence of other humans and civilizations beyond, all he could think about was the enemies on the other side as he reached the ocean he once longed for. The innocent look of a simple boy that gleamed with a hunger for discovery and justice is now a cyclical, manipulative, and mass-murdering enemy, with all the hatred the world has thrown upon him. 

I find it dramatically complex and beautiful when the disruption of loyalties and ideologies are placed on a threshold when former enemies and friends turned their back on him to save the world, while he turned his back on the world to save them. 

Either way, it risks someone’s life and ends in pain, which can be similarly contextualized with the philosophical dilemma of the Trolley problem. Will you push the lever, saving the five and killing the one? Or will you simply watch the train continue on its path, hence killing the five?

Illustration by Jesse Prinz on subcortex.com

Before it surfaced as a meme, Philippa Foot sparked this influential question in 1976 and was commonly raised in moral ethics and psychology. While the majority chose the “greater good”, professors made each prompt more personal and emotion-driven by exemplifying someone we were close to on the tracks. In this sense, Eren chooses to save who he is closest to, in order to be truly free and end the curse of endless chaos, rendering the death of millions. But can we blame him after the whole world celebrated while the Paradis Eldians endured monsters and hell inside the walls and were denounced as the enemies? 

The fallibility of identifying the true heroes and villains leaves the audience with an overwhelmed sense of uncertainty, as different perspectives and layers are presented.  But maybe, that is Isayama’s genius discernment — to make us think. The character’s different upbringings, environments, and ideologies show that there is neither a good nor bad guy. Every act is justifiably done for what they see as the common good in their eyes like two sides of the same coin with a different definition of justice. However, is it too late to change and find the midpoint? 

Although humorous yet unfortunate, the ongoing pandemic made several people compare the Titan serums to the contention of the elite getting the cream of the crop of the COVID-19 vaccines exclusively while the underprivileged get the short end of the stick. Even in the face of the most abhorring adversity, plague, or monsters unleashed from hell, it is the frailty and corruption of our human nature that turns us into our own enemies, winding in a repetitive cycle of chaos — to keep moving forward until our means meet the end. 

From the Game of Thrones to the Walking Dead, we hope that ‘Attack on Titan’ won’t fall into the same hole of critically-acclaimed series that eventually slump into a dissatisfying finale. As anime watchers howl in excitement for every action scene, manga readers anticipate for things to fall into place. Watch Eren’s Declaration of War against the Marleyans and the world in the ongoing season finale! Will he finally achieve freedom or be a slave to the pursuit of freedom?

See you, when this sublime and unmatched tale is engraved in history, 2000 years from now. Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro

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February 2021: Tales of nostalgia, heartbreak, and hope

Instead of butterflies, this year came fluttering with other unexpected things that added flavor to an otherwise bland month of love. 

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Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cellona/ABS-CBN News

It is finally time to bid goodbye to the season of excessive flower bouquets, stuffed toys, and floating hearts. While the pandemic may have barred us from seeing others for another month, a few of us still managed to pull strings and make the most of this season of love and giving. But instead of butterflies, this year came fluttering with other unexpected things that added flavor to an otherwise bland month of love. 

Here’s a look back at events that made headlines this February.

1. Mayor Isko Moreno approves UST’s bid for face-to-face classes

(Photo by Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb)

Without a vaccine rolled out to the public, the uncertainties towards conducting face-to-face classes only grew. But on February 3, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno gave the green light to the university to conduct limited face-to-face classes for its medical and health allied courses. He also stated that other universities are welcome to apply for the same grant. Along with UST, the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and Centro Escolar University (CEU) have also been allowed by the City of Manila to resume face-to-face classes. 

Earlier this month, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Commission on Higher (CHEd) Education also released a joint memorandum stating the guidelines that higher educational institutions must comply with when resuming face-to-face classes. This includes limiting face-to-face delivery for specialized laboratory courses and hospital-based clerkships and internships. Stringent measures such as proper hand hygiene and wearing face masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment must also be practiced by the students, faculty members, and school staff. 

2. Taylor Swift releases own version of Love Story

Image

Photo courtesy of Taylor Swift

Just when we thought that the back-to-back release of ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ saved us from the drought of good music, we were wrong. On February 11, Taylor Swift woke up and chose violence once again. 

After her deal ended with her long-time label, Swift revealed that she would be re-recording her old music as she now holds ownership for her masters. True to her words, the 31-year-old singer released a re-recorded version of her 2008 classic ‘Love Story’ that made her a household name. 

Swift’s modern version still held the same nostalgic feelings of experiencing love for the first time. ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’ was musically faithful to her original, proving just how immaculate Swift’s vocals are even after all these years. 

The re-recorded version of her second studio album ‘Fearless’ will be dropped on April 9. Swift announced that the upcoming version will include 26 songs, with 6 never before released tracks. And yes, get your tissues out because it includes a 10-minute recording of ‘All Too Well.’

3. Kris Aquino resurfaces on social media as a meme

Screengrab from ABS-CBN News

With everyone still grappling with the effects of the pandemic, netizens have yet again found another source of entertainment to fulfill their joys and express their frustration.

Earlier this month, a new meme featuring Kris Aquino saying ‘Because?’ made rounds on social media. The actress even joined in on the fun and asked her followers on Instagram to send her questions she can answer using the meme. 

 

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A post shared by KRIS AQUINO (@krisaquino)

While the post that sparked the trend is yet to be found, the ‘Because?’ meme actually originated from the actress’s interview with Kim Chiu on her 2014 talk show, ‘Kris TV.’ When Chiu was asked to express her gratitude to her fans, she couldn’t help but tear up. Aquino then asked the actress to explain why she was emotional, giving birth to the iconic meme.

4. Moira dela Torre breaks more hearts with ‘Paubaya’

5. Screengrab from the ‘Paubaya’ official music videoDue to the pandemic, this year’s celebration Valentine’s day was different, with most of us spending it with our loved ones at home and with our friends online. However you may have chosen to spend it, one thing’s for sure: you found yourself having an existential crisis at 10 pm because of ‘Paubaya.’ 

As if things couldn’t get lonelier on February 14, singer-songwriter Moira dela Torre surprisingly dropped her latest single, ‘Paubaya,’ through a music video featuring real-life exes Joshua Garcia and Julia Barreto. Collectively known as JoshLia, the pair broke hearts all over the internet through a heartbreaking tale of two lovers who end up separating at the altar, with the bride (Julia) leaving the groom (Joshua). 

In true internet fashion, netizens did not pass up the opportunity to create memes from the dialogue between the couple, which helped us to somehow escape the hollow sadness and  heartbreak the MV brought. 

Since its release, the music video has garnered more than 21 million views.

Relieve the story of heartbreak, forgiveness, and acceptance in ‘Paubaya’ here.

5. NASA’s Perseverance rover finally lands on Mars

photo of the Mars Perseverance Rover descending from its skycrane

Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

After almost seven months and 292.5 million miles of journeying, NASA’s Perseverance rover safely landed on the surface of the red planet on February 18. Perseverance is the fifth Mars rover crafted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

The mission, which will take about one Mars year (around 687 Earth days), is mainly targeted to explore the past habitability of the planet. The Perseverance rover is built with various scientific instruments that will enable it to collect core samples or Martian rock and soil, which will be brought back to Earth by a future mission for further analysis. It is also expected to determine the planet’s geological characteristics, the chemistry of its terrain, and even its climate. The rover will also be rolled out to take panoramic images of the planet that more than 10 million Earthlings signed up a boarding pass for. 

But this won’t easily give a definitive answer to the debate whether life can be supported on the planet. It may give clues, but we’d have to wait a few more years and Mars missions. For now, we can let our mind roam free in the panoramic view of the rover’s landing site.

6. Shootout between PNP and PDEA leaves 4 dead

Photo courtesy of Mark Demayo/ABS-CBN News

On February 24, a misencounter between the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) near a mall in Quezon City left two police officers and two anti-drug agents dead in its trail. 

PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana stated that they will investigate the incident and asserted that what occurred will not affect the operational relationship and coordination between the PNP and PDEA against illegal drugs. 

At a press conference in Camp Crame, PDEA chief Wilkins Villanueva called the encounter “the saddest day in the history of drug law enforcement.” He then stated that they will cooperate in the joint investigation between PNP and PDEA to make sense of what transpired. PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas also clarified that both the agents and officers were on a legitimate anti-drugs operation. 

Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, stated that President Rodrigo Duterte will ask the Congress and the Senate to delay their investigations on the case to give way for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to impartially and properly probe on the matter.

7. The 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cellona/ABS-CBN News

This year marked the 35th anniversary of the historic revolution that ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and restored the country’s democracy. To commemorate the collective efforts of millions of Filipinos, several groups and organizations took part in protests and activities. Together, they emphasized the downsides of historical revisionism and the importance of freedom and democracy, especially in today’s day and age. 

At the People Power Monument in EDSA, a flag raising and wreath laying ceremony was spearheaded by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte. A mass conducted by papal nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown then followed at the EDSA Shrine. Catholics were among the millions that flocked EDSA 35 years ago, led by former Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

Along with keeping justice and democracy alive, former President Fidel V. Ramos urged the Filipino people that “the revolution is not over and remains unfinished until every Filipino enjoys the freedoms and rights embodied in our Constitution.” He further called on the people to continue remembering the value of nationalism and the revolutionary spirit of the holiday we celebrate each year.

8. President Duterte signs COVID-19 vaccine indemnification law

Photo courtesy of Daily Tribune

It has been over a year since the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in the country. However, rather than feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, we may be looking at a ray of hope against the invisible enemy that turned our lives upside down. 

Among the current vaccine candidates, the Philippines is expected to receive 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca and 600,000 doses of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine. These are part of the targeted 44 million doses of COVAX that would potentially protect 20% of the Philippine population from the viral threat. 

Initially, 117,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine were expected to arrive mid-February. However, this was delayed due to the lack of an indemnity deal. On February 27, President Duterte signed the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021. This law allocates P500 million as an indemnity fund that would cover compensation for vaccine recipients that might suffer from adverse reactions following its inoculation. 

This week, WHO Country Representative Rabrindra Abeyasinghe confirmed that about 5.2 to 9.2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine have been approved for emergency medical use in the Philippines. 

The said vaccine was reported to have an efficacy rate of 63.09%, with new research showing that a delayed administration of the second shot may boost its efficacy.   

Within the 28 short days of February, we’ve gone through hell and back. But somehow, small victories and joys have made their way in between our collective sufferings and frustrations due to the current situation. In one way or another, these tales of nostalgia and hope help relieve our burdens and give us a reason to fight through another day in isolation. 

As we enter a year since the Luzon lockdown, may we look at tomorrow with a beam of hope and burning desire to call for change to materialize within our country. There is no obvious guarantee that this would happen overnight. So, we should take this time to reconnect with our surroundings and allow ourselves to think critically about societal issues that affect everyone’s lives. Otherwise, anomalies and misdirected leadership would no longer be the root causes of unsolved problems, but rather our social indifference. 

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8 apps and web extensions to boost your productivity

We’ve listed 8 apps that are perfect procrastination blockers and productivity boosters for this semester. 

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Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

The beginning of a new semester can be very daunting especially when you think about how much stress you’d have to manage for another four to five months. Along with the dreadful 7 am classes, perhaps the biggest enemy we have to deal with is procrastination. Motivation is great, but when you lack willpower and discipline, nothing will really come out of it.

Fear not for we’ve listed 8 apps that are perfect procrastination blockers and productivity boosters for this semester. 

1. Google Calendar

Photo from GCF Global

Juggling deadlines with other important dates in your life is quite the task. When we’re too committed and focused on finishing tasks, we tend to forget a friend’s birthday or important meetings because we lose track of time. Well, Google Calendar is here to help keep your student and personal life organized. This productivity tool works pretty much like a digital planner which you can easily access on your phone, laptop, and other gadgets. It boasts powerful features such as multiple calendars, shared schedules, and push notification reminders. 

Pros: Simple design and interface, easy to navigate, customizable, cross-platform integration

Cons: Only accessible with an internet connection

Available for free on IOS, Android, and PC (App & Site)

2. Forest

Photo from Mashable

Focusing on tasks can be difficult because of the temptation to check our phones every five to ten minutes. During study breaks, we also tend to get distracted and find ourselves scrolling through Twitter or Tiktok for hours instead of minutes. 

With the theme, “Stay focused, be present,” the Forest app helps improve your focus and self-control while doing important tasks by keeping you away from distractions caused by social media and gaming apps. Using Forest, you can set a timer for a specific task you want to accomplish. If you successfully accomplish it without exiting the app, a tree is planted in your digital forest. However, if you exit the app while the timer is still running, your tree will die and be included in your forest as a reminder. Once the timer is up, you can set another timer for a short study break. For this reason, Forest has been widely used for the Pomodoro studying technique

Pros: Easy to navigate, simple and creative design, stats and progress can be monitored, powerful affirmation method, can be used offline

Cons: Includes in-app purchases

Available for free on Android and PC (Google Chrome Extension) | IOS (₱99.00)

3. Notion

Photo from Notion

Staying organized is never easy, especially when you are suddenly bombarded with deadlines and personal matters left and right. With too much chaos going around you, everything gets overwhelming that you end up staring at your screen for hours. 

Notion helps keep your workplace organized in one place. Think of it as a journal and a notebook in one. With Notion, you can boost your personal productivity by managing your tasks into organized pages, databases, to-do lists, and kanban boards. It also serves as an efficient note taking app with powerful features such as toggle lists, callouts, code, and inline equations. Notion is also lauded for its feature that allows you to embed sub pages, files, videos, links, and many more into your notes. The emojis and icons it comes with give more appeal to your workspace. Its cloud storage system makes it easier to access your workflow from different devices as well as share it with others in your class or organization. 

Pros: Easy to navigate, simple and minimalist design, comes in light and dark mode, unlimited pages & blocks, lock page feature to prevent edits, pages can be exported as PDF, HTML or Markdown format

Cons: Can’t do annotations unless exported as PDF

Available for free on IOS, Android, and PC (App & Site)

4. Anki

Photo from Elite Medical Prep

At this point, we can all agree that online classes are very overwhelming. The amount of workload we need to get done combined with the truckload of information we have to take in within a short period of time causes nothing but stress. So, rather than actively retaining information, we only passively learn them. The answer: spaced repetition and active recall.

Anki is an open-source flashcard program that specializes in these techniques. There’s no doubt that encoding and highlighting your notes are aesthetically pleasing. However, research has shown that traditional studying techniques like rereading and highlighting aren’t really effective in retaining information. With Anki, you can earn, retain, and even memorize huge loads of information in the long term using customizable digital flashcards. It boasts powerful features like cloze deletion, image occlusion, and multiple choice that, when combined with spaced repetition and active recall, serve as the secret sauce in getting that uno in class. Like the previous apps, its cloud-based storage allows you to access your cards from different devices, share your decks, and even download other users’ decks when you’re too lazy to make one. 

Pros: Spaced repetition and active recall feature, can be used offline, easily customizable 

Cons: Difficult to navigate for beginners, complex interface

Available for free on Android and PC (Software) | IOS (₱1,250.00)

5. Quizlet

Photo from TechCrunch

If Anki’s interface is too complex for you, then you may try your luck with Quizlet. This app needs no introduction because I’m pretty sure everyone has stumbled upon it when they were desperate. 

Quizlet is like Anki’s distant cousin. Like the previous app, it also specializes in active recall as a studying technique through customizable digital flashcards. This online learning tool includes features that allow you to learn and memorize terms, definition, vocabulary, and even equations. You can either make your own study sets or use pre-made ones by other Quizlet users. It has seven study modes (Flashcards, Learn, Write, Spell, Test, Match, Gravity) that not only allow you to retain information better, but also help you test yourself by simulating what exams look and feel like. 

Pros: Easy to navigate, shared decks, simple and flexible design

Cons: Includes in-app purchases, spaced repetition feature requires paid upgrade 

Available for free on IOS, Android, and PC (Site)

6. Weava

Photo from Prototypr

A lot of the work we do as students requires a lot of research and reading. In doing so, we almost always end up with multiple tabs on our browser, making it difficult to remember which site or journal we got certain information from. 

Weava is a Chrome extension that allows you to highlight important information from sites, online PDFs, and research journals. Once highlighted, the extension saves the information along with the source in your personal dashboard, which makes it easier to revisit in the future. You can also add annotations on your highlights as well as organize them into categories using different colors. These simple features of Weava come in very handy for students and professors dealing with research and/or theses that require a lot of reading and collating information. 

Pros: Easy to navigate, simple design 

Cons: Some PDFs cannot be highlighted 

Available for free on Google Chrome

7. Cluster

Photo from Cluster

This next one on the list is also the holy grail to your multiple tabs problem. Cluster is a window and tab manager Chrome extension that basically, as the name suggests, clusters all your tabs into one window. Let’s say you’re dealing with three different research works and having multiple tabs open irks you, but you can’t really exit on some tabs since it contains important information. With Cluster, you can save and organize these tabs into one window, which you can later access on your dashboard when you need it. It also comes with tools that help you manage, sort, and navigate your saved tabs in your dashboard. Restored windows will appear in a suspended state to reduce the time when loading multiple tabs at once. 

Pros: User-friendly, simple design, easy to navigate, suspend functionality

Cons: None

Available for free on Google Chrome

8. Cold Turkey

Photo from Cold Turkey

Distractions are no stranger when dealing with online classes. Maintaining discipline when finishing school tasks can also be tough because of the temptation to explore other apps and websites. Five hours later, you find yourself checking out items from your cart rather than turning in your work before 11:59 pm. 

Cold Turkey, as it claims, is the toughest website blocker on the internet. This web extension allows you to block websites, apps, and even your entire computer. You can lock these blocks using a password within a specified time window, schedule, or after typing a customizable amount of random text. Like Forest, Cold Turkey also features pomodoro-style breaks that help reduce distractions. As the creators suggest, Cold Turkey will be there for you when your willpower won’t. 

Pros: Simple design, easy to navigate 

Cons: Pro features require paid upgrade

Available for free on Google Chrome

Being productive isn’t just about downloading all these apps and extensions then posting about it how aesthetic it is on your Instagram stories. Give each one a fair try and select the ones that will work to your advantage. Integrate them to your daily life and learn how each one can maximize your time and increase your output. In doing so, you’d hopefully be able to create and commit to an effective routine that will turn your student life for the better and help you get through this semester stress-free. 

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Why new year’s resolutions don’t always work out

If your resolutions made it to this week, congrats. If not, here are some reasons why you chose to ditch them. 

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Whenever ancient Babylonians crowned or asserted their loyalty to their king, they promised to the gods that they would pay their debts or return things they borrowed. If they keep their end of the bargain, favor would be bestowed upon them. This pagan ritual is said to be the precedent of our annual New Year’s resolutions.

A new year calls for new beginnings. With everything we’ve gone through last year, it’s no strange fact that we all badly want to turn over a new leaf. At this point, our social media feeds are most likely filled with ‘New Year, New Me’ posts along with dozens of resolutions that claim to be effective and easy. But no matter how realistic we set them to be, we still end up bouncing back on old habits. 

If your resolutions made it to this week, congrats. If not, here are some reasons why you chose to ditch them. 

1. Your goals overwhelm you

We all want to be the best versions of ourselves this year. Not only do we set the bar too high, but we also set too much for ourselves. By the time we attempt to begin some resolutions, we tend to give up after a few tries because we have too much on our plate. We have so many things we want to accomplish, yet we have so little time, which can be stressful rather than rewarding.

Your goals don’t have to be as many as that of a grocery list. Prioritize setting resolutions that are sustainable despite how few it may seem. These can include waking up early, cleaning your room once a week, or having a 20-minute study break. Also, instead of carrying out your resolutions all at once, try to divide them into weekly or monthly goals. Just because you wrote them on the first day of the year, it doesn’t mean you have to start them right away. Working at your own pace would greatly help in escaping the stress of having to do so much in one day to the point that it feels like a chore. Remember, quality over quantity. 

2. Your resolutions are too restrictive

Whether it’s trying out a fad diet or limiting your shopping expenses, they are both goals that bar you from things that satisfy your inner psyche. Sure, you may end up sticking to it for a few days or weeks. But once you begin to feel that void of serotonin, the next thing you know, you’re checking out items from your cart in Shopee or Lazada’s monthly sale. 

Restrictive goals tend to be unsustainable because they alter our normal behavior, which is why we inevitably break them. Instead of imposing limits on your habits, try to make them more inclusive. Having trouble maintaining your weight? Take the healthy route and choose foods that are rich in nutrients and minerals. Losing weight doesn’t have to be quick and easy. Feeling guilty about your purchases? Splurge on items that will actually benefit your daily lifestyle such as space organizers and home essentials, not those decors that will only end up gathering dust in your room. Believe me, you don’t need a mini statue of an astronaut cat. 

3. You do it alone

Most resolutions tend to fail because we lack motivation or commitment in achieving them. It can also be difficult when you try to change habits on your own and the people around you have lifestyles that work against it. One way to prevent your goals from going down the drain is having someone to share those goals with. As they say, two are better than one. 

Changing for the better with others promotes a mutualistic relationship where both parties equally benefit from each other. Together, you can keep track of your goals and make sure that you don’t end up cheating your way out of it. Having that boost of encouragement from others would definitely increase your chances of success and make activities even more fun. So if you’re still crafting your resolutions for this year, reach out to a friend or two. If not, try joining support groups on Facebook. Who knows? You might find people who share the same goals as you do. 

4. You are not the problem, your resolutions are

When writing down our resolutions for this year, we tend to focus on goals that would help enhance our physique such as exercising everyday or sticking to a strict diet. These will surely appease all the fitness gods, but in reality, we still find ourselves eating junk food while watching Netflix or cooking pancit canton at three in the morning. 

More often than not, we find ourselves setting goals that focus on what we should be doing rather than what we want to do. We tend to set our resolutions based on other people’s expectations like getting that post-quarantine body or having that aesthetic lifestyle for the sake of bragging about it on Instagram and TikTok. So, instead of being better versions of ourselves, we only end up creating another manufactured persona for everyone’s liking on social media. Talk about real-life ‘Nosedive’, huh? 

If you know exercising at the crack of dawn is not your cup of tea and you’d rather want to spend those hours bundled up in your bed, then go ahead and don’t do it. The only thing stopping you is your own urge to conform to other people’s standards. 

5. You only focus on one side of the coin

Typical resolutions focusing on finance and fitness are materialistic. Some may argue that having tangible goals is better because seeing it unfold before their eyes leads to greater satisfaction. However, they merely encapsulate our attempts to pursue happiness indirectly. 

Cliché as it may sound, gaining happiness directly through simple actions outweighs all the taxing and tedious goals we try to set up. 

Start by being more grateful. Remind yourself to say thank you for the simple things and to the people you meet. To the security guard who opened the door for you, say thank you. To your friends who made an effort to reply to your messages, say thank you. Better yet, take time out from your busy schedule everyday to write a few things you are grateful for. It can indeed be difficult to stay optimistic considering the situation we are in right now, but a simple gesture goes a long way in benefiting your mental health for the better.

Resolve your worries by forgiving. In the past year, we’ve all had things or people that really tested our limits as a person. Carrying that grudge throughout this year would not only be burdensome, but would also take a great toll on your well-being. It may seem difficult to do but it can go two ways: forgiveness towards those who wronged you and forgiveness towards yourself. While working out enhances your physique, forgiving improves your self-esteem and relationship with yourself and others. We’ve already had our fair share of toxicity last year and the last thing we want is for it to persist and make us feel worse than we already are. 

We all have high hopes for the new year and our resolutions are a reflection of that. As we gather in prayer circles, we manifest that 2021 would finally free us from the desolation and anxiety that the past year held us with. With that said, I think that one of the best resolutions we can write for ourselves is to get through this year safely and healthily. May this, along with all the resolutions we wrote or are about to write, allow us to step out as improved individuals for the better. 

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