The Mentality of a PICAn

Living in PICA is great! Isn’t it? So much to do here! We get to: garden, cook, eat, live in an awesome community, and enjoy life to its very fullest! So much fun! It’s just so great and ridiculously awesome. And apart of living here in PICA is to foster a positive attitude that will encourage not only yourself, but everyone around you! You’re an inspiration! Be proud!  As the famous Jordan Partida once said, “PICA is a season where everyone is pleasin’.” PICA is just great; you’re great; we’re all great!  And as we head towards the end of the quarter, let us go into holidays with one of the best tools ever: a great attitude! If you can dream it, you can do it! So without further ado, here is a list of lessons that I’ve found to be positives in my life, and hopefully, you will as well.


Cob Oven Workshop

1.     Appreciate the great people and things you have in your life. We have so much awesomeness surrounding our lives. We live on campus that you can view the entire Monterey Bay, while still being in a vast redwood forest. We get to share meals together as community. We get to have all these opportunities to grasp life at its finest and ride at full throttle. We are truly lucky! Be grateful!

2.     Ignore other peoples’ negativity. What good does negativity breed? None. You shouldn’t have any of it because you are the maker of your own feelings—you can’t let others get you down. People have no right to judge or label you. You are you, and that’s so cool! So other peoples’ negativity shouldn’t get you down but make you even more determined to ascend to levels of more awesome!

3.     Be who you really are. You are special. I know it’s cliché but its valid. Don’t change because you’re unique, and that’s a gift nobody can take from you. If people scoff at you for being different, then laugh at them for being the same. You’re your own person; embrace the uniqueness that life gave you!

4.     Leave the past behind.  Living in the past is about as useful as a broken rock. There’s absolutely no point to continue to grasp on past gripes and feelings because they’re only something that drags you down. The past shouldn’t steal the present and future you. You are here reading this, at this very second, and you will be no younger than that second that just passed. It may sound grim, but really it’s optimistic; you have an infinite amount of possibilities to do what you want now. Take advantage of the beauty of all the life there is to be lived ahead of you. Go out and do it!


Jarid leading the Wild Edible Plant Identification Workshop

5.     Love yourself. With today’s unattainable standards of perfection portrayed throughout the media, people look only look at their so-called “flaws.” But that does nothing good for us! Ask the question: If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will.

6.     The time is now. Stop procrastinating. Stop putting it off for tomorrow. Stop making excuses. The time to do what you want to do is now! Life in most cases will not give you what you want. If you have goal, go out and achieve it! You can do it! The hardest part is starting. It may take a day, a week, or even 4 years but it will make you a happier, and more accomplished you.


Wild Plant Identification Workshop

7.     Change your routine. We as humans are cyclical; we have 24-hour days, specific meal times, times to sleep, times to be awake, and times to go to school and do homework. It seems that we get trapped in this vicious cyclical beast that makes everyday mundane with the same pattern over and over. We merely let the days past rather than live them. But when we change our routine, we become more awakened and aware of the where we are, what were doing, and the feeling we’re experiencing. It’s fresh, new, and oh so fun! Why is the first day of school so fun compared to the middle? Because it’s different, a new change to the system that revitalizes you to become aware of the present. And that’s so cool! You know why? Because we can do this on a micro-daily scale that will make everyday a little different and special. Try and do something new for 30 days and I bet you that will remember that month better than any month of the year because of all the fun, new experiences.

DSCN02888.     Reciprocate. To give mutually is so important. Especially in a community setting like PICA. We live in a place where people cook for us, and we cook for them. They feed us, and we feed them. It’s a vicious cycle of giving to one another, and it breeds absolute excellence. It not only shows others that you care for them, but it makes you feel good because you did something for someone else. And this altruism helps kinder a tightly bound community of love because knowing that everyone has your back is a great feeling! This reciprocity is the essence of PICA—we garden, cook, eat, share, laugh and live with one another and that’s what will keep this community thriving.

9.     To fail is to succeed. “”You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretsky”. You’re going to fail at some point in your life. Not at school necessarily but you will fail at some aspect of your life. However, it’s up to you how you interpret that failure; you can wallow about it and let it consume you or you can learn from it. Ask yourself: Is it better to try and fail or to never do what you wanted to do? Hopefully the answer is clear. You may not get the outcome you hoped for but you learn from it and that’s what matters. Should I have tried to compost multitudes of plastic? Of course not! But now I’ve learned to not do that because it doesn’t break down (and has a horrendous smell). This is your life and failing is going to make you a more successful you. Take the shot you get and you won’t regret it.

10. Don’t take life so seriously. I saved this one for last because it’s something I cannot emphasize more. Your time here on earth is temporary—there will be highs, there will be lows. But you have to make the best out of the wonderful gift of being alive. The opportunity of life is so wonderful, and people these days take things so seriously that they forget about all the awesome things surrounding them. You’re not an old grouch; you’re a special individual with limitless options that can do whatever they want to do with their life. You don’t have study here in college just to get a paying job, you can learn. What you study now isn’t going to define who you are 5, 10, or 15 years from now! And you for sure don’t have to listen to what I’m writing; you can read this and say, “Wow, Matt’s crazy in the head. That guy has issues.” Perhaps I do (most likely the case) but I want you to enjoy yourself, PICA, and life. Your time here is limited and sometimes being too critical of yourself and others around you, will leave you clouded with pessimism. But when you: appreciate (1), block out the negativity (2), be you (3), let go (4), love yourself (5), don’t procrastinate (6), mix things up (7), give back (8), and fail (9), you realize that all of things tie in with not taking life so seriously. So be you, and go out conquer what’s to be your dream. Carpe Diem is what they say but have a little fun on the way.

About the Author- Matthew Sanford

MATT2I am Junior, ENVS/Economics major, and I’m the Compost Liaison in PICA. My hobbies include: gardening, running, reading, playing uke and guitar, brewing, snowboarding, yoga-ing, drinking coffee and tea, cooking, eating apples, wrestling alligators, and having fun. I am from Oakland, CA where I was lucky enough to grow up with: compost, gardens, delicious food, and lots of activities to do. Oh, and I also like long walks on the beach.


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Filed under Fall 2012

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