In a Google Classroom, Insights on Self-Care
Photographs by Michael J. Leahy
To Google is usually an individual action, but late one afternoon this summer’s scholars all went Googling as a group. Joined by scholars who are upperclassmen at Dartmouth and Colgate, we went through a set of doors at Google’s massive — it occupies a complete city block in Chelsea — New York City headquarters, and into the two-floor complex of the Grow with Google Learning Center. The bright and airy facility, explained Jordyn Kessel, the Google brand ambassador who welcomed us, is envisioned as the company’s outreach to its neighbors, offering free classes throughout the day tailored for businesses, educators, entrepreneurs and students. Subjects cover everything from fundamentals of online coding to using digital tools, “Build a Compelling Presentation” and creating a resume.
After showing us around the extensive lounge areas, with stations for practicing coding and learning games, Jordyn took us upstairs to a large classroom, with two projection screens flanking the teacher’s podium, where we joined others at long tables, a Chromebook at every place. Also available from our solicitous hosts: bottled water and individual snacks.
The overall topic of our class was “Mastering time, optimizing performance.” With the aid of a self-diagnosing survey taken on the Chromebooks, as well as film clips and cheerfully illustrated slides projected on the screens, the teacher, Gisela Mojica, covered a range of topics and insights that were appropriate to workers — and students — of all ages: "Fight for your peace." "You have to separate yourself from energy vampires." “Find work that is meaningful to you.”
There was much to think about. Multitasking, she said, turns out to be inefficient: it will add about 25 percent to time necessary for completion of the main task. "Sitting for a long time is like smoking." "We have to learn to say ‘No’ — females especially."
Summing up, Ms. Mojica had some parting thoughts: "Experiment often." "Forgive quickly." And, "Perfection is not required."