Archives for posts with tag: class

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

Advertisements

I’m back from Chinese school, everyone!  After surviving a month of hardly any English and a ton of suffering, I have returned!

Actually, I’ll be honest here: I miss it a lot.  The schedule was always packed (we had something like 45 minutes of free time a day) and we were all required to sign a “language pledge”, which stated that we were not allowed to speak English unless the RAs or teachers allowed it.  It was a tough promise to keep — the temptation to speak English was always there and all-consuming — but for those of us who didn’t break it, the pledge was extremely beneficial to our learning experience.  I’m certain that, had I not been required to speak Chinese at all times, I wouldn’t.  I wouldn’t have even bothered to speak Chinese because of my undying fear of pronouncing things incorrectly or messing up grammar.  However, being in an environment where everyone was in the same boat and everyone was a little bit nervous about messing up, speaking the target language became a bit easier.  I found myself having an easier time than a good lot of my classmates.

Of course, I’ll miss my camp friends and classmates, too.  If it wasn’t for them, I’d have probably gone insane by the end of the first week.  Because I was placed in the level 4 group (4 out of 5, that is, and 4 and 5 was a split-level class), everyone in the class was learning, speaking, and writing at around the same level as I.  And since communicating with the lower-level students was challenging (it required a lot of effort to explain things to them without using English), I was always hanging around my fellow level 4 and 5 students.  I found that being around higher-level students was extremely beneficial to my language learning. My closest friends at camp were all in my class, and I found that we were able to communicate with each other much better as the weeks went by (maybe not so much because our Chinese was getting better and more that we were just getting better at figuring out gestures). 

  

One of the greatest things about the program is how diverse the student population is.  Most of my friends live on the east coast (New York, New Jersey, Florida), and a few of the students in my class are from Hong Kong.  They all showed so much enthusiasm in learning Chinese, whatever their ethnic background, and motivated me to try my best to learn. I’ve been keeping in touch with some of them over Skype, and I’m definitely thinking about going back next year. 

  

All in all, I had a great experience at MMLA.  My Chinese has improved tremendously — I can now speak some with my parents and grandparents. I’ll be sure to keep in touch with all of the great people I met!

Part of what makes me so “whitewashed” is that I don’t speak Chinese. I had a private tutor to teach me Chinese for a few years when I was younger because I was too self-conscious to learn in a classroom setting. I dropped the language altogether when I entered middle school.

Boy, do I regret it.

It kind of sucks for me to not be able to communicate with my grandparents. Actually, I guess it’s not that I can’t communicate with them — they do speak decent English — but it goes without saying that their first language is Chinese, and it’s hard to have really comprehensive conversations with people when they don’t speak your language fluently and you sure as hell don’t speak theirs fluently. It’s a language barrier, and it complicates things.

Anyways, for 4 years I went without formally learning Chinese at all. At the beginning of these 4 years, I was mighty happy about that; Chinese lessons sucked because I had to do homework. Ew. So I went along, happily speaking my English and not letting the fact that I couldn’t speak Chinese bother me. I took a real pride in being able to speak and understand English well, and I thought that was enough.

But there came a time — about a year and a half ago or so — when I realized that the fact that I couldn’t speak a second language was lame. I learned Japanese at school for two years because my school didn’t offer Chinese, but I never got fluent. Heck, I’ll be lucky if I can remember how to say “hello”. And then I had all of my Chinese-American friends since elementary school speaking Chinese to each other. You know what was mortifying? When they’d try to include me in their Chinese conversations and I would just stand there and pray to God that they wouldn’t find out that I hadn’t the slightest clue what they were talking about.

So here I was, a few years of Chinese and a couple of years of Japanese under my belt, feeling sucky that despite having studied 2 foreign languages, the only language I was comfortable with was English.

I only started learning Chinese again over this past summer. I took a course designed for “heritage speakers” (which I wasn’t and am not, but my mom insisted I take the class anyways), and I did my best to keep up with all of the real heritage speakers. Of course, there were a couple of kids there who knew even less than I did — wow — but it was still pretty awkward to be hearing the teacher talking and not understanding. It was a lot of trial and error. But I actually got a lot out of it.

I’m taking Chinese at my school right now. Am I fluent? Nah. Can native speakers even understand me? Probs not. But it’s a step. I’m going to be fluent one day. I promise.

LURV,
BTAS.

P.S: Yes, the “listening” thing is a joke. Kind of. I really am listening to it now.

Before I continue, I just want to say that no, I have not drawn anything since yesterday. I figured typing the words “art” and “update” in the title box wasn’t really worth it. Moving on.

I am currently in the process of completing my psych homework.

That’s right, I said psychology.

I may have mentioned that I’m taking classes this summer, and today I’ve decided to specify. I’m taking an introductory psychology course, just to clear those cobwebs outta my brain and keep me up and running for at least part of the summer. I also really just enjoy learning about the functions of the human brain, so the class is actually a lot of fun. The only problem I have with it is the staggering amount of homework.

Speaking of work, my school gave us a summer reading list, which I have yet to start on. I feel bad because most of my friends are talking about all the books they’ve read so far, and I can’t tell ’em I’ve read anything. Because I haven’t. Yet here I am, updating my blog.

Short blog today. I like these.

Post up questions, comments, or random stuff!
~hedgehog