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I’m really ashamed to say that my senioritis carried over from my ability to do schoolwork to my motivation to blog—it is not something to take lightly.  I remember being that 9th grader who looked down on all the seniors who slept in my film class.  Repeatedly not showing up to class was absolutely unacceptable.  Neglecting homework and test-prep was out of the question.

Now that most of my friends and I know where we’ll be going to college next year, though, I get all of that.  The urge to just use certain classes as a nap time is almost unbearable, the temptation of skipping boring classes to take a drive around our wonderful Los Angeles is almost irresistible, and the itch to just spend a day googling college life and watching netflix instead of doing homework is incredibly hard to ignore.

I’m not even kidding, it’s terrifying

This year has gone by so quickly, and while it’s sad to think that I’ll have to part with my closest friends in just a few months, I’m ready to move on.  Our minds are elsewhere, and we are—or at least I am—so done with high school.  

I think it’s time for me to reflect on my experience the college application process now that it’s all over and done with.  My first choice school when I first started applying to schools was Wellesley College, my mom’s and her two sisters’ alma mater.  It is a truly beautiful and almost idyllic women’s liberal arts college located about 40 minutes away from Boston.  I was really pretty excited to go there and experience the joys of not having to dress up for class to impress guys and forging strong relationships with other intelligent, ambitious young women.  

But alas, money is a thing and it would seem my fate is tied to Los Angeles, where I will be attending the University of Southern California as a presidential scholar.  USC is about as different a school from Wellesley as it can get: it’s a large (and very co-ed) research university in Los Angeles with a pretty big party/football culture.  I’m still getting used to that.  I was honestly pretty bummed out that I couldn’t go to Wellesley at first, but I’ve really warmed up to USC and am looking forward to attending in the fall.

Disclaimer: I still have no idea of which direction in which my career will be headed.

The downside is that 5 of my closest friends are headed out to Boston—4 are going to Tufts and 1 is going to Boston University.  Back when I’d first gotten into Wellesley, we all excitedly made plans to meet up with each other every week and chill in each others’ dorms.  It breaks my heart to think that I will no longer be joining them.

But the truth is that I’ll make new friends anyway.  High school is almost over and I will cherish the friends I made for a long, long time, but I’m pumped to get out there and make new ones.

tl;dr—for all of you high school juniors out there:

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and for everyone else:

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lol my dad’s going to hate this (he thinks the Trojan family is cultish…and it kind of is)

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Now that I’m almost two months into my second semester of senior year, I have to wonder where on earth the time went.  Even though the college application process seemed to drag out for ages, I feel like senior year has gone by so quickly.  Suddenly, it feels like I have to get really serious about my future.

A lot of my classmates know what they want to study—my friends on the robotics team all seem to want to go into engineering, whereas I have other friends who want to pursue acting and plenty who want to become doctors.  For me, it seems a little too early to be making major life choices like that, but I guess that’s what our college applications asked of us.  I felt hesitant about checking “undecided” when asked about my major of choice, probably because there’s no way I can narrow down my options to just one field of study at this point in time.

When I was really little, I wanted to be a novelist.  It seems kind of like a dream right now, though; I’ll bet it’s hard to make money as a wannabe writer.  My dad’s encouraged me to look into screenwriting because it’s a hell of a lot more lucrative than novel writing, but I’m not sure right now.  Writing is always something I’ll be able to keep up with as a hobby, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to throw all of my energy into making a career out of it.

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Image courtesy of http://themaladjustedlife.blogspot.com/

My short experience on the school robotics team has really pushed me to look into engineering and the sciences—so far, computer science seems like something I’d enjoy doing (once I get past all of the math prerequisites that come with pursuing a degree in compsci).  Game design seems like a pretty lucrative practice, though I’m not sure what steps to take in order to get there.

And then there’s always the possibility of going into the medical field.  For someone like me, having the option of majoring in something like English and still be able to go to medical school seems like a good deal…it’s really just a matter of how much I can see myself becoming a doctor of any sort in the future.

Basically, my life can go in any direction right now.  Someone once called me a “Jill of all trades”, but I’m definitely feeling that “master of none” part more than anything right now.  While I like the idea of being able to explore all kinds of different fields, being around people who seem so sure of what they want to do makes me feel anxious.  I almost feel like I have to know what I want to do with my life right now, even if only to catch up to my peers.

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Eating obscene amounts of food and surfing Tumblr is the answer.  Drawing from mystiquecomies.deviantart.com

How did you all decide what you wanted to do?

In the midst of all this school-related frenzy, I’ve been allotting more and more of my time to doing things not school-related.  We all need to de-stress, right?

First and foremost, the things that have been stressing me out lately: school’s started again, the robotics season started, and the college application process isn’t over yet.  The winter break was nice, but I was so focused on finishing up my apps that I didn’t have nearly as much time to relax as I would have liked.  Now that I’m back in school, the work is piling up again, and robotics means a 17-hour-per-week time commitment.  Crazy stuff.

It’s not like I don’t have time, though.  I have enough time between getting home and going to sleep that I’ve been spending a good portion of it drawing.  I don’t think I’ve drawn anything seriously in years, but it’s been wonderful to get back into it again.  I’m really rusty, but that’s alright; what matters is that I’m rediscovering what a great outlet art is.

I’ve also been spending obscene amounts of time teaching myself how to play the ukulele!  I’m a total noob righ now, but I think I’ll continue to improve if I keep practicing.  The uke is so different from, say, a cello (which I also play) in that it’s tiny and pretty easy to learn.  Being able to play and sing like an idiot is honestly one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done.

Lastly, I’ve been working on a visual novel with my little sister (boffinart.tumblr.com).  For those who don’t know what a visual novel is, it’s basically a cross between a choose-your-own-adventure book (do those still exist?) and a video game: it tells a story in a format similar to that of a novel, and the players get to make decisions that influence the direction and ending of the story.  To get an idea of what they’re like, try out the demo for Dragon Essence or Area-X by Zeiva Inc., or play the free visual novel, RE: Alistair ++, by Sakevisual.  These examples are mostly for girls, but google “visual novel” and you’re bound to find options to suit everyone.

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Here’s a screenshot from one of my favorite Visual Novels, Area-X.

I should probably get back to doing homework now! 😀

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who followed my blog since the last time I posted!  Leaving Xanga was probably a good choice on my part; everyone here is so nice!

And now to the meat of the post: women’s colleges.

Ever since I was old enough to understand, my mom has repeatedly told me how much she wants me to go to Wellesley College, her alma mater—and even then, I didn’t fully understand what it meant to go to a women’s college.  I’d always listened to all the good things she had to say about the school and nodded absently, thinking that there was no way I’d ever be interested in going to an all girls’ school.  And a school my mother went to.  Gross.

But over the summer, I visited Wellesley and two other women’s colleges in Massachusetts: Smith and Mount Holyoke.  It turns out that I really like them all, in large part because there’s a certain sense of community that women’s colleges seem to share.  As something of a reticent student (but an outgoing girl outside the classroom), I have some difficulty expressing my thoughts in class.  In most of my classes, guys get the most attention because they put themselves out there and like to be competitive—I’d even argue that they get attention because they goof off and behave obnoxiously in class.  Meanwhile, self-conscious girls like myself tend to keep quiet until called upon, for fear of saying something wrong.  This is a problem for me, but it’s also something that I’ve been trying to overcome.  I’ve started to understand the appeal of being in an environment where girls can talk amongst girls and work together.  Studies show that boys and girls learn differently, after all: read about the differences here.

Of course, when I tell people I’m thinking about applying to a women’s college, some of them stare at me with an expression somewhere between horror and pity.  “But girls are so catty!” and “Watch out—you might turn into a lesbian,” and “That’s like living in a convent!” are some of the responses I get.  Obviously, women’s colleges aren’t for everyone.

In any case, I can talk all I want about Wellesley and women’s colleges in general, but I’ve yet to actually be accepted into any of them.  There’s also the issue of the weather.  Honestly, I think it’s “too cold” as soon as the temperature drops below 70 degrees.

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This might be a problem.

Hi everyone!  For over four years now, I was a blogger by the same name on Xanga.  If you haven’t heard already, Xanga was suffering financial issues and was going to shut down last month—that is, until it held a fundraiser to start up Xanga 2.0.  Unfortunately, being able to blog on the new Xanga means paying a fee of $48 a year, and that’s simply not possible for an unemployed high school student like me.

So as I was transferring all of my old Xanga posts over to WordPress, I had the opportunity to look over them again—and boy, are some of them cringeworthy.  I was really tempted to just straight-up delete them  didn’t quite have the heart, so if you’d like to read over some hilariously embarrassing posts from the dark days that I call “my middle school years”, you may.  Although seriously, they’re embarrassing.

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Actually, never mind, guys.  Please don’t read my old posts.

Anyway, I like the interface of WordPress so far!  I could never really give a reason as to why I chose to start blogging on Xanga, but it was the first blogging community that I came across so I just rolled with it even when I knew there were better platforms out there.

I’m looking forward to writing more and discovering other neat things about WP!

~BTAS

Here’s a lesser-known Asian parenting stereotype: Asian mothers will call their daughters “chubby” or “fat” and tell them to lose weight.

The funny part is that it’s kind of true, and I’ve experienced it first-hand!  My little sister has always been pretty active because she played basketball up until very recently, so she’s thin as a stick.  I, on the other hand, could benefit from a little exercise.  …Unfortunately for my health, I enjoy food and I like my couch.  And I don’t really like exercise.

Now that my own mother has started exercising regularly, she’s been seriously pressuring me to eat better and get fit.  Now, I’ll admit it’s a little bit tempting to listen to her just to get her to stop insinuating that I’m unhealthy—now I feel like an underachieving blob and below MORE Asian standards—but I simply cannot bring myself to get my lazy butt off the couch and go for a jog around the block.  I’d be out of breath in seconds.

I am in no way advocating an unhealthy lifestyle…that’s just something I’ve become very used to.  I plan to be a little healthier in the future and watch what I eat. …Right after I have this pizza.

Wooo!

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m currently taking a writing class.  To be more specific, this writing class is sponsored by CalArts as part of the Community Arts Partnership Summer Arts program (CAPSA), which is an intensive arts program for high school students like myself.  It’s a three-week program that goes from 10 to 5, four days a week.  Aside from creative writing, the program offers workshops in animation, dance, music, photography, theater, and visual arts.  Because it’s tuition-free, the program is selective and applicants have to submit samples of their work in the discipline they’re applying to.

Honestly, I’ve never really looked forward to attending any of my past summer classes—sometimes, I even dreaded going.  But CAPSA has been different: as intimidating as it may seem to write for 6 hours a day, it’s actually a lot of fun to get my imagination running.  I absolutely love my classmates and my teachers.  Perhaps there’s just something about being writers that makes us such a close-knit group.

Maybe the whole idea of summer “school” isn’t appealing, but to give you an idea of what we do in class: today, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown Los Angeles to eavesdrop on people’s conversations.  The reason?  Our assignment was to write a poem based entirely on observations and snippets of conversations we overheard.  We all had a great time gathering information and writing the poems.

After class today, a bunch of my classmates and I went out for a lovely ramen dinner in Little Tokyo.  Naturally, as I was one of the only two Asians in the group, they relied on me to give them food recommendations and to show them around Little Tokyo (which I don’t even know that well, but it was pretty fun pretending I did.  At least I can pretend to meet some Asian standards, right?).  I brought my ukulele and one of my classmates brought his guitar, so we all kind of sang and had fun and probably annoyed the heck out of the people around us.  It’s funny to think that I didn’t even know these people before last week; I already know i’m going to miss them so much after the class ends.  

Here’s a photo of the restaurant we ate at.  I nabbed it from the internet because I forgot to take a picture 😦

If anyone has any questions about the program, feel free to ask!

Hey guys!  It’s been a little while…. D:

Quick update on what’s been going on: I was invited as a panelist at V3 Digital Media Conference this year to speak about internet safety.  It was a lot of fun getting to meet other bloggers and Asian-Americans in digital media.  If you get the chance, check out the website and register for next year!  I hope to attend it again, so let me know if you’re interested in going!

Apart from that one Saturday at V3 Con, I’ve also been volunteering at Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) as a cello instructor.  More details on that in the next post, which will definitely be up in the next couple of days.

Finally, I just started a creative writing class today.  I had to submit a piece of writing when I applied, so when I actually got into the program, I thought I must be a superfantastic writer for the program to have selected me.  So I walked into the class thinking I was hot stuff.  I was really looking forward to showing off some of mah skillz.  My classmates are friendly and funny, so the class was pretty easy to get used to.  But then the teacher told us that he’s a poet, and I knew I was screwed.  He had us write poetry—and read it aloud.  I’d been thinking I was a good writer, but apparently I’m not so good at all.  Not…compared with some of my new classmates.  As a matter of fact, I feel a little bit inadequate.

A few of the other students in the class feel the same way I do about poetry: cannot write well.  I thought I was really empathizing with this one guy, who was telling me all about how he was hoping to write short stories and couldn’t write poems to save his life.  But when we all read our poems and critiqued each others’ work, this guy was definitely the harshest critic in the room.  And don’t get me wrong, his poem was good, but he’d just been lamenting about being unable to write poems!  Suddenly it was like he’d become the King of Poetryland.  

It’s funny, because I’d always figured I would always have writing to fall back on if I failed to be a perfect Asian and math didn’t work out (and trust me, math has never really worked out for me).  And yet I realize now that, when I’m in a group of a bunch of students who are all cream-of-the-crop writers, I’m just “meh”.  Looks like everything requires effort on my part.  Must. Work. Harder.

 

More soon!

~BTAS

Hey everyone!  Last weekend was my school’s junior prom.  Someone actually asked me.  Crazy, right?

My mom took me to buy a dress the weekend before.  If you don’t know, I really don’t like shopping all too much—and even less when it’s for dresses of any kind, let alone prom dresses.  But I ended up finding a really nice, really simple floor-length tan dress (and on the cheap, shhhh).  I even went so far as to get my hair professionally done, which I’d never done before.  Now that cost more than the dress did.

One of my classmates hosted a pre prom event at his house, which basically involved finger foods and photos.  The moment I got there, my date’s mom came out like the paparazzi and took a million photos (no really, it was terrifying: she had her shutter mode set so that the camera took 8 photos per click).  My date won points with my parents by being 1) asian, 2) polite, and 3) nicely dressed.

Actual prom was held on a boat, which was pretty fun, and the food was so good.  Unfortunately, the guy who was serving me only gave me like, 3 tiny slices of steak, which was most certainly not enough.  So I forced my date to go back and get some more for me so that I wouldn’t look like a pig.  He was kind enough to actually do it.  Because I’m not all that into dancing, most of the rest of prom was spent hanging out and talking to my classmates and friends.  And that’s a lot more fun than it sounds, I promise.

After prom was…an experience.  This is my third post that involves the topic of alcohol, because there was so much alcohol at after prom.  Well, no, not at after prom.  In the limo on the way to after prom; kids were smart enough not to bring alcohol into the actual venue.  Unfortunately, this meant that many kids drank a lot in the extremely short amount of time it took to get to the venue, so people were drunk off there asses at after prom.  My date and I were playing it cool and kind of sitting back and laughing at all the drunk people.

Despite all of that, it was a fun night.  My date actually told me, “You know, I feel really accomplished now.  I never thought I’d make it this far in life.”  Funny guy.

Pics to come later!

~BTAS

Hey everyone!  The last couple of months have been all kinds of crazy—I went to visit colleges on the East Coast with my school (during the bombing incident), failed a math test (solid 56%), and got my driver’s license (after failing the test the first time).  Like I said, all kinds of crazy.

But the real crazy is all of the standardized tests that I’ve had to take.  The start of this month marked the beginning of testing season, and for those of us who are taking AP classes…testing season is tough.  I took the SAT this past Saturday, the AP Environmental Science exam on Monday, the AP Calculus exam on Wednesday, and the AP English Literature exam on Thursday.  It’s not even over yet!  I still have my AP U.S. History exam this coming Wednesday.  Joy.  

The worst part about taking APs is this: you never know how well you did on any one section of the test.  I know that AP scores are supposed to indicate how well you understand the material, but I’d like to know how much of the material I didn’t understand, too.  That’s one part of it, anyway.  The other part is that I would really like to see my scores on some of my essays because I actually think I did well on them.  I wrote a great essay for my AP Literature exam, and it’ll never get to see the light of day…That poor little masterpiece…

And unless you want to obtain college credits to skip a year, do the scores even really matter?  In some of my AP classes, I feel like I’ve been learning how to take the AP exam rather than learning the material.  

Now, don’t misunderstand me here—I’m pretty good at taking standardized tests, so I’m not complaining.  But when it all boils down to it, is getting a good score on the AP exam really worth taking the class at all?  It’s a lot of work!  Can getting a 5 on the AP exam fill the gaping hole that AP classes leaves in your social life?

Just something for y’all to think about.  

BTAS