Ted Talks to Keep Your Spirits High Through Finals Season


It’s push season, and we know you’ve been hard at work studying for your finals, writing your application supplements, and doing what you can to finish this semester strong. If you need a quick break, check out the Ted Talks below for an extra dose of motivation.

Daniel Levitin | How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed

We all know that under stress, our brains perform differently, and in ways that are not always ideal. In this Ted Talk, Daniel introduces the idea of “prospective hindsight.” He recalls an exchange with Danny Kahneman wherein Kahneman explained the idea of pre-mortem: “now, you all know what the post-mortem is – whenever there’s a disaster, a team of experts come in and they try to figure out what went wrong, right? Well, in the pre-mortem, you look ahead and you try to figure out all of the things that could go wrong, and then you try to figure out what you can to do prevent those things from happening or to minimize the damage.” This idea of preparing by anticipating and preparing for the worst outcomes might help you when it comes to rehearsing for a presentation, preparing for a video interview, and so much more!

Gen Kelsang Nyema | Happiness is all in your mind

In this presentation, Gen begins by asking the audience three simple questions: “Are you having a good day or a bad day?”; “Why are you having a good day or a bad day?”; and “Tomorrow, would you prefer to have a good day or a bad day?” By delivering that third and final question, Gen gives each individual the power to decide whether their next day will be a positive one or a negative one. She explains that “as long as our reasons for why we had a good or bad day are a list of external conditions, we will not have the stable happiness that we all want. Because we cannot control people and circumstances, our happiness will always be at the hands of others.” This serves as a gentle reminder that happiness is a product of our own mind, and although sometimes easier said than done, we are always capable of having a good day.

Mariana Atencio | What makes you special?

Mariana’s Ted Talk provides a refreshing take on how each individual’s unique abilities and backgrounds contribute to a beautiful, diverse society. As an immigrant from Venezuela, Mariana discusses how she too tried to fit in with the status quo and hide her differences, as if they somehow lessened her worth. She explains that “We all want what everyone wants: to dream and to achieve. But, sometimes society tells us (and we tell ourselves) that we don’t fit the mold.” However, over the years Mariana has come to understand that those differences that set her apart are what allowed her to stand out and be successful. Nobody has a claim on the word “normal,” and we deserve to celebrate our differences. Mariana’s presentation should serve as a reminder that

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