handedness and language learning

It’s been a while since I did a language-related post, and if I’m being honest this may be one of my last! I’ll be finished my degree in May, which means no more languages pour moi (no pun intended). I can’t say I’m upset…

For my final year dissertation, I did research on the link between handedness and language learning. I effectively forced people to be (somewhat) ambidextrous for two weeks, and then explored whether or not this had an impact on their ability to require new, foreign vocabulary.

Thus far, the link between handedness and language learning hasn’t been broadly researched; this is a bit of a double-edged sword as it meant that I had a unique topic to investigate, but that finding previous studies upon which I could base my research was challenging.

In spite of this – and in spite of my small sample size – there was a definite link between ambidexterity and more successful language learning. The small sample size is obviously something to be wary of, but all in all the results of the study were promising!

So, next time you’re trying to learn a language, try doing something with your non-dominant hand for five minutes each day for a period of time; it could be something as simple as brushing your teeth or writing your name. The idea is that the ‘forced ambidexterity’ will result in higher levels of interhemispherical activity in the brain, thus bringing about more successful language learning. Sounds a bit wishy-washy, but the theory seems to hold up.

Do you have any unusual language-learning methods? Have you ever had to learn a language in a hurry? Do leave a comment down below!

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

missing in action…

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t posted on The Electric Oracle for two weeks. Two weeks! I think that’s my longest break thus far. I’m very very sorry, but I’ve been incredibly busy with college / uni, mainly to do with my dissertation. I’ve also been doing other bits and pieces on the side; I’ve been helping out on an Irish language and culture-based podcast called ‘Motherfoclóir’, and I’ve been preparing for Christmas.

Realistically, I won’t be posting as much on The Electric Oracle between now and Christmas, much and all as I would love to. But I deplore the idea of churning out posts for the sake of a posting schedule; if something isn’t up to par, I won’t put it out.

In the meantime, you can watch my latest video for The Electric Oracle here, you can find Motherfoclóir wherever podcasts can be found (iTunes, that little podcast button on your iPhone, and this link right here), and you can pray that I make progress with this dissertation!

Thank you for bearing with me.

Love and luck,

Clodagh x

learning to construct

Something I’ve hit upon of late is the benefit of construction. Of making a point to construct rather than destruct. It can be easier said than done, but bear with me.

We all go through destructive periods in life. Times where we almost want something to be torn apart for the sake of it. Personally, I have found myself almost wanting to fail my degree just so I can feel something again. Indifference is hell.

When you start to feel like this, it is essential to make a conscious effort to construct. If you feel like destroying, put your mind elsewhere and create something. It can be as simple as tidying your room, or baking a cake. Really.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I find that when I’m making an effort – albeit unintentional – to keep my life in check, I am sending a message to my brain that now is a time to construct rather than destruct. So my brain stops hitting the big red button that sends everything to pieces.

Slowly but surely things will come together again. Your autopilot will put things in order and keep you safe rather than forcing you down the horrible path of self sabotage.

This advice isn’t as simple as ‘bake a cake the next time you feel your life is falling apart’; if only it were that simple! No. Baking a cake is a baby step, perhaps even a symptom of a constructive mindset, one that can be cultivated over time should you make a point of doing so.

Lots of love and luck, and apologies for the lack of writing last week!

Clodagh X

I am 22 | getting older

This week – on the 26th September, to be precise – I turned 22. In all honesty, I had a lovely birthday surrounded by the people I love, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

What made me a feel just a little bit melancholy was the realisation that I am getting older. This was my first real birthday as an adult; the years between 18 and 21 are still youthful, in my opinion. 22 sounds like an age where you should have everything together. Realistically I know that very few people in their early twenties actually know what they’re doing, but it can definitely seem as though they do. I’ve yet to hit that sweet spot of wisdom and selflessness. My best self.

I get glimpses of it occasionally. Feeling confidence in the way my jacket sits on my shoulders. Not overthinking every smile and gesture that comes both from me and towards me.

Anyway. This is definitely something I’ll write more about, but for now I’ll leave you with a song that encompasses the above. Coincidentally, it’s one of my favourite songs of all time, something you’ll know if you watched my 50 Facts About Me video (shameless plug number 47472…).  

Love and luck (and apologies for the late post!),

Clodagh X

five hundred of you | something different

I’ve gone through about 14 clichés trying to come up with an introduction to this post. THANK YOU FOR 500! As always, I never ever expected to gain any kind of following when I started The Electric Oracle, so to see it grow like this is wonderful.

To celebrate this milestone (of sorts), I’ve put together something a little bit different…

I thought it would be nice to ~expand my horizons~, so there you have it! I won’t necessarily be making videos on a regular basis, but I enjoyed putting this one together + I hope you enjoy watching it just as much. I mean, it’s shoddily edited and very very cringeworthy, but hey. Life is too short to care, “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” etc etc etc. If you make it to the end of the video, I applaud you.

Love, luck & gratitude,

Clodagh X

reflections on college | university experience

Going to college was, surprisingly, not something I thought about too much when I was younger. I loved to imagine what job I would have in the future, where I would live, the people I would meet – but never what I would study at university. In retrospect, I believe this was an early sign that third level education would not be the formative experience it constitutes for so many. To say that it would have no impact on my life would be an understatement, but it was not to be a period of transformation.

As time went on I became more aware that change was imminent. Having said this, it wasn’t until I was about 15 that I had made (what I thought was) a firm decision regarding what I wanted to pursue in college. I was convinced that I wanted to study psychology, given my fascination with the human mind. My outlook shifted when I thought more pragmatically; i.e. what I excelled in at school versus what made me cry on a regular basis. The latter being anything maths and science related, I veered away from psychology and chose to do a bachelor of arts in languages. Fast forward through exams, results and college offers, I have a place on my course and I’m ready to go.

This is when things go downhill. Sort of. My experience in college has been odd in the sense that I haven’t hated it, but I definitely haven’t loved it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so indifferent towards something. Academically speaking it’s all been fine, but to this day I feel utterly unstimulated. This combination of indifference and lack of stimulation has not been a good experience. I cannot count the number of times I’ve mentally destroyed myself with regret, agonising over what could have been if I’d chosen a course I was genuinely interested in. Normally this doesn’t last any longer than a day, and I have ploughed on through the very worst of essays and assignments.

The social element of college has also been a mixed bag. I’ve met some wonderful friends over the years, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Many of the people I have crossed paths with in college have restored my faith in humanity, in stark contrast to my experience in secondary school. Having said all of this, the way in which I view socialising has changed quite a lot. If you read my previous post on what constitutes fun, you will know that I’m not really one for parties or going out. Much of the social scene in college revolves around parties, drinking, etc etc. As you can imagine this isn’t something that sits well with me, but it’s no big deal. You can navigate your way around it quite easily.

I would love to say that going to college has been a worthwhile experience, but I’m honestly unsure if I would stretch that far. What I will say is that I have a far healthier relationship with how I view educational institutions; secondary school was downright hellish at times, but I feel as though many of my wounds have healed and I am ready to move on. This wouldn’t have been possible without learning that I could be happy in a school-like setting – i.e. I would still feel terrible if I hadn’t chosen to go to college.

I’ve re-written the end of this piece about six times, but I can’t figure out what the most effective conclusion would be. I don’t even know if there is a conclusion to all of this. If I don’t stop writing here i’ll just end up rambling (because that isn’t what I’ve been doing for this entire piece), so here are a few things I’ve learned from my experience in university. Some ‘reflections’, if you will.

  • I hate working in groups; always have, probably always will. I tried to get involved with society work (we have clubs and societies in most Irish third level institutions), but… it’s a no from me.
  • You are your single biggest priority.
  • Education is important, but it comes in many many forms. Living in this world is an education in and of itself.
  • People can change, for better or for worse.
  • Facing fears is important, but you don’t have to like what it is you once feared. I don’t fear travelling for long periods of time anymore, but I still don’t like it.
  • Routine is essential; much and all as you may dream of days off and lie-ins on a week day while you’re at school, a lack of structure can create all sorts of practical and emotional problems.
  • Disillusionment is worse than hatred. It’s better to feel something than nothing at all. I would honestly say that my worst maths classes were better than some days I’ve spent in college feeling lifeless.
  • It may be true that quitters never win, but quitters also have a chance to move on and try news things. Giving up is not a sign of weakness. So, maybe quitters do win from time to time.
  • The whole ‘you’re only young once’ thing is true, but you can adapt it to your own wants and needs. I may not go out at night all that often, but that doesn’t mean I’m not experimenting with new things.

If you’ve reached the end of this and thought ‘why the f*ck did I read this whole thing when I could have just scrolled to that list at the end’ – you could have, but a lot of the above wouldn’t have made sense. I hope I set the scene appropriately, and that you don’t feel like I did in maths class all those years ago.

If you’re about to start college, or if you’re already wrist-deep into your degree, I wish you the very best of luck in the future. The present is not forever, realistically we’re all gonna be just fine. Or so we hope. It’s all to play for.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

four hundred of you | mini update

Today we hit 400 followers on The Electric Oracle – as always, THANK YOU for following! I appreciate it more than you could ever imagine.

I know that I was meant to post something a little longer + more substantial by the end of this week, but I promise it’ll be up by Wednesday of this coming week. It’s going to be related to my experience in college / university so far, should that tickle your fancy.

We’re also relatively close to hitting 5,000 views on here which is wild, by my standards. When we hit 10,000 views I might do a kind of ‘get to know me’ post, or possibly a Q & A. Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

I wish you all the very best of health and happiness for the coming week; thank you for being here. ❤

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

you cannot replace the present with the past | embrace the grey

Incomplete. Unfulfilled. Something is missing.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve experienced the above in my life so far. A sense that nothing is coming together as it should. It often seems to occur in the middle of something rather than at the start or end of a project or phase. You’re stuck in a grey hue of dissatisfaction, with seemingly no end in sight.

It is so easy at this point to look back on your life so far and pinpoint things that made you happy. Things that brought a sense of fulfillment and energy into your being. You may then attempt to re-introduce whatever it was that once completed you back into the present day, hoping that you will feel as alive as you know you are capable of feeling.

This is where we encounter an issue; what once completed you cannot possibly complete you again, as you are already complete in this regard. The action has served its purpose. To try and re-instate it will only bring you back to what is familiar, thus inhibiting growth of any kind.

This in and of itself may seem depressing, but it really isn’t. The fact that you feel a sense of distance from what once made you happy simply means that you are already growing, whether you realise it or not. Eventually you will grow into a new phase, one where you will feel as though you are living again. Embrace the grey hue, be aware of it, and take steps to flourish. It can seem like an impossible task when you are so deeply unsure of what life has in store for you, but you will ultimately look back on the grey parts of your life wishing you had moved forwards rather than backwards into familiar.

———

I realise this post was a bit haphazard, but I’m still readjusting after my week away! I hope you’re all as healthy and happy as can be. I’ll have a longer post up later in the week.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

‘you’re no fun’ | what is fun?

I am an introvert through and through. I much prefer quiet, secluded settings to raucous parties, and being around large groups of people can be very taxing on my energy reserves. This in and of itself isn’t a bad thing; we all have our own individual personalities, and there is nothing wrong with leaning more towards the quiet side.

It is when we consider the world as a whole that an issue comes about. Our society is undoubtedly extrovert by nature. Think about it. What springs to mind when you think of the word ‘fun’? Parties, sunshine and beaming faces? I would almost bet money that you didn’t imagine a night in, curled up on the couch with a hot drink and fluffy socks. Even as a true introvert, I associate the word ‘fun’  more with what is considered fun than with my idea of fun. I have to fastforward through bright colours and people a-plenty to reach my ‘fun’ place. My happy place. A place where I am – surprise surprise – curled up on the couch with maybe three or four close friends, chatting about life and feeling all the happy feels.

This whole idea of reflecting on the concept of fun occurred to me quite recently, when I realised how much societal standards had impacted upon my own perceptions. Why do I associate parties with ‘fun’, when in reality I borderline hate parties? Why do I imagine hoards of people when I’d so much rather be with close friends and family? It’s almost as though we are indoctrinated from a young age as to what ‘fun’ should be. This makes it so easy to lose touch with yourself and your own needs for the sake of pleasing those around you. It also means that you are automatically ‘boring’ if you don’t go out a lot, or don’t always say a whole lot. For an introvert, this can be hellish. Cruel, even.

I think if I write anymore I’ll just be ranting, so let’s end it here. What I really want to get across with this piece is how subjective ‘fun’ is. It is ok to let off steam at home rather than at parties. It’s even more ok to be aware of how you actually feel, and to make this clear to others. You are not ‘dry’* for not wanting to go out. You’re just you. Be happy about that and let others deal with it.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

* dry = a colloquial term used in Ireland to depict someone who’s no fun (oh, the irony) / won’t go out and drink / won’t go out to have a good time etc etc.

moulding emotion | look at a feeling, let it pass

It starts in your gut. You feel your stomach churn, and soon your mind starts spinning. These cogs turn together, forcing your mouth into action so that, before you know it, you’ve said something you’ll live to regret. All because of a feeling that spun out of control.

This is an all-too-familiar experience for the majority of the human race. Someone says something, we take it personally and bam! the insecurities tumble out at record speed. It is phenomenal how any issue we have with the person facing us can be compressed into a little package of hate within seconds of a misinterpreted remark.

The same thing can happen when we are faced with unpleasant circumstances. Combine this with a lack of control over said circumstances and you have enough fuel to keep the cogs whirring until you’re engulfed in nothing but feeling. All rationality goes out the window, leaving you at the mercy of your primal instincts.

While you can’t necessarily stop a feeling from emerging, you can stop it from developing. All you have to do is acknowledge its presence, and let it pass. Don’t act on it. If that means staying silent for a second, or pausing for breath, don’t hesitate to do so. Just be aware that you’re feeling angry or hurt, even unloved, and allow this awareness to give you a heightened level of understanding. It is with this understanding that we can grow both internally and externally; our relationships with ourselves and others improve, and we ultimately live better lives.

This is something I’ve had to learn the hard way as I’ve grown up (I use the term ‘grow up’ pretty loosely as I still have an awful lot of growing up to do!). So many arguments and bad feelings could have been prevented if I’d just held myself back for a moment. When I did eventually figure all of this out – roughly when I was about 18 –  it was as if I’d been given a new power. I sincerely hope I’ve passed on this power by writing this post!

The next time an unwanted feeling starts growing inside of you, be aware that you do not have to give in to it. Look at it, and let it pass.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X