Archives for posts with tag: high school

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:

Image

 

and for everyone else:

Image

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

Advertisements

I know I’m not the only high school senior feeling the pressure right now.  Over the past few months, I have seen several of my classmates break down in tears over the stress of having ridiculous numbers of college applications to complete on top of the responsibilities that come with school.  I’ve accidentally walked in on girls crying to their teachers, begging for extensions on assignments.  It’s not pretty.

It’s hard to stay sane during this process, especially when all of my classmates are constantly telling me about how stressed they are and how much work they have.  A part of me wants to comfort my friends and wrap them up in cuddles and shield them from the horrors of the college application process.  The other part of me wants them to calm down and keep their feelings to themselves.  I think we all feel a smidgeon of resentment towards each other when it comes to college apps.

And I realize now how scary it is that we feel this way: these are the friends we’ve known and loved for years, and yet the pressure to attend good colleges and get good jobs is so crushing that it turns us against each other.  Even though we’re not supposed to think of the process as a gigantic competition, we can’t help but feel like our closest friends are also our greatest enemies.  Ideally, it’d be nice to get into the same schools, but what if we don’t?  What if my friends are accepted to a school I want to attend and I get rejected?

Welcome to the mind of the high school senior.

The application deadline for merit scholarship consideration at 3 of the schools on my list was December 1st—the last day of my Thanksgiving break.  My parents took me and my sister up to the mountains to stay in a cozy lodge for the break, and stay in the cozy lodge I did.  I stepped out of the lodge only for food (so much comfort food—I’m talking pounds here—was consumed) and water; the rest of my time was spent working on my college essays.  Thankfully, I managed to get all of those applications in on time without suffering too much emotional trauma.

Still, I’ve definitely had my fair share of emotional meltdowns within the past few weeks.  My college list is way too long right now.  A lot of that has to do with the fact that I put a bunch of schools on my list that I have no intentions of attending even if I do get in.  That’s what our college counselors tell us to put on our lists: a number of safety schools.

That said, our college counselors tell us to include match schools and reach schools on our lists as well, and while I like most of the schools that fall into these categories, I’m not sure how practical it is for me to apply to all of them (colleges charge us a pretty penny for giving us the pleasure of filling out and submitting applications.  Isn’t that lovely?).  I know the whole point of applying to reach schools is to get an idea of what kinds of schools I can get into.  Maybe some top institution will, by some off chance, make a miraculous mistake and accept me; who knows?  The truth of the matter is, there are some schools to which I am applying that are ridiculous reach schools.  They are way over my head.  I’m 5’2″; say a regular reach school is 6’0″.  These schools are 9’0″.  That far over my head.  The sad part is that I want to attend them—I wouldn’t be applying if I didn’t—but as I write the supplemental essays required for these schools, my mind does a time skip and I can see myself coming home one afternoon in April to multiple letters of rejection.

Throwback to some of my earlier days as a blogger, back when I was still on Xanga: I was not the best student.  My parents had high hopes for me.  Society had high expectations of me.  I had high expectations of my self—high and irrational.  When I started my blog in 8th grade, I thought that my grades would define who I was.  I wanted to be the superstar student so many of my Asian-American classmates were, but my lack of organization skills and emotional turmoil prevented that from happening.  I genuinely believed that my failure to conform to the stereotype of Asians as being high-achieving students, math geniuses, and piano prodigies was an indication that I would be a failure later on in life.  Fortunately, I had a enough of a sense of humor (self-deprecating as it may have been) to laugh about it: thus, Below the Asian Standards was born.

Over the years, through writing my blog and just stumbling through high school, I’ve learned that I don’t need to be the embodiment of a stereotype in order to be comfortable with myself.  But trust me, now that I’m filling out college apps, I sure do wish I had that “Asian”-level GPA.

Image

I was tempted to try this.  Image from Sparknotes.

To address the question I posed at the beginning of this post: what if my friends get into schools that reject me?  I would be happy for my friends, of course.  We’re all going to end up going somewhere or doing something.  The vagueness isn’t exactly reassuring, but I think it’s important for us to remember how we’re all going to find our way eventually.  This too shall pass.

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.

Image

 

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.

Image

 

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

is finally over!

It’s actually extremely terrifying how quickly time goes by these days.  I still remember being 12 years old, thinking I had 6 years until college.  Now I have 2.

Now that I’m done with sophomore year, the pressure is starting to build.  I have to worry about the PSAT, the SAT, the SAT IIs, the AP exams, community service, and all that good stuff.  I started my blog when I was in 8th grade.  Though I was overwhelmed by everything at the time, things are so much more difficult now.  Scary.

I can’t wait until I’m done with junior year.  Senioritis sounds like a good kind of disease.

By the way, I’ll be posting one or 2 blogs every week for the next couple of weeks, before I go to Chinese immersion camp.  Yay!

~BTAS

The past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with the drama that resulted from a breakup.  Not my breakup, of course; two of my close friends decided to date each other about a month and a half ago, and as I predicted it would be, their breakup was devastating.  I could literally see this great schism within my friend group happen right before my eyes.

Moral of the story: when you date someone in high school, odds are you’re going to break up by the time you graduate.  So when you date someone in your friend group, you’re going to break up.  And then when you break up, your entire friend group is going to start feuding and you’ll have some major drama on your hands and your friends will slowly begin to hate you for causing it.  So don’t date in high school.

I’m kind of kidding about that.  It’s high school, you’re going to deal with drama all the time.  Dating’s fine and dandy when it’s not happening between two people in your friend group.  This situation has happened to me twice already, the first time being last year.  It’s not that fun.  And by “not that fun” I mean absolutely terrible.

It’s a good thing summer is coming up in a week.  I think we could all do with a break from seeing each other 5 days a week.  It gets seriously exhausting.

Speaking of summer, I’ll be going to a Mandarin immersion sleep-away camp for 4 weeks.  I know it sounds kind of scary, but I really do want to learn Chinese (read more in my previous post) and this is probably one of the best ways to do it.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to speak Chinese every waking moment of the day for 4 straight weeks, but I guess it can’t hurt to try.

Also, my Chinese friend recently pointed out that I have very undefined eyebrows.  This is true.  He says it’s a Chinese thing.  This is probably also true–can’t be sure, but he most certainly lacks eyebrows, and so does my dad.  Has anyone else noticed this?

Toodleloodlydoodlyloodleloo! (not entirely sure what that was)

BTAS

One of the things I find interesting is intelligence. Today, I was sitting in a small room with a group of friends, when – I can’t quite remember the context – one of the guys announced proudly, “I’m the smartest person in this room!” I kindly asked, “And what makes you say that?” To which he responded, “My GPA is definitely higher than yours. It’s a 4.35.” And then he gloated about his decidedly ‘superior’ intellect.

The thing is, GPA doesn’t really mean much. Sure, GPA is mega important when applying to colleges (it makes life easier for admissions directors), but it’s far from being an accurate representation of one’s intelligence. Smart people don’t always get the highest grades, and a lot of the people who do get the highest grades probably aren’t as intelligent as some of their lesser-performing peers.

Here’s my point: the only thing GPA really measures is one’s ability to get a good GPA. So you have a 4.35 GPA. I applaud you for being good at getting teachers to like you and turning in homework and studying for tests and all the things that contribute to your ridiculously high GPA. Does it make you more intelligent than everyone else? Not necessarily. There is no way to describe a person’s intelligence with words, let alone numbers. Your GPA? It’s just a number. You may go to Harvard, and being able to tell people you got your college education at Harvard is pretty impressive – but what matters isn’t where you got your education. It’s what you do with it.

I plan on writing a little bit about the topic of diversity and some of the many different ways people perceive it, but I know it’s been a little while, so before I get into all that good stuff (oh yay, controversy!), I’ll quickly justify my Disappearance Off the Face of the Earth.

Now, normally I wouldn’t even bother to justify my Random Vanishings into Thin Air, but today is the exception as I actually have a decent excuse this time. As a matter of fact, I have multiple decent excuses, but only one in particular is worthy of my mentioning. Two words: spring break.

I already wasted about an hour of my life detailing the events of my break, so I naturally have absolutely no intention of wasting another hour of my life to do the exact same thing over again. Time is precious, folks, and I have procrastinating to do. But if you’re at all interested in reading about my awesome break, go right on ahead.

Onwards! Time is of the essence, my friends.

After returning from my trip to Italy (which — in case you haven’t yet done so — you can read about by clicking the link above), I had four days before I had to pack up again and head out on my school’s 10th grade retreat. This year’s retreat featured the complex matter of diversity, and let me tell you: when one throws a bunch of teenagers into the wilderness for a night and tells them to discuss the meaning of ‘diversity,’ there will be blood. Being myself one of said teenagers, I realize now that nothing good will come out of such discussion. The teenagers will not be diplomatic in expressing their opinions and thoughts–they will not even express opinions, for the ‘opinions’ quickly become ‘facts’. And no one person has the same ‘facts’ as another on a matter such as diversity.

I do not want to initiate a race war. I don’t like arguing with others about race and racism and the like. I am highly opinionated myself, and I do not like it when others tell me my opinions are incorrect. Opinions are opinions–let them remain as such.

But I digress; the discussion about diversity may not have been as productive as the school administrators might have hoped, but that isn’t to say the trip was ruined. I had a pretty decent time. As it turns out, there are people in my grade I didn’t even know existed up until yesterday, so it was nice to be able to meet some of them for the first time. I very much enjoyed bonding with my friends, although many of us certainly disagreed on the controversial issue of North Dakota University’s mascot, the Flying Sioux. In fact, I think we’re closer now than ever.

My school isn’t very diverse, and I’m not at all used to it. My previous school was very ethnically diverse, and I had become so accustomed to that environment that the sudden change threw me off a bit. It’s hard to tell what is considered offensive and what isn’t anymore, so I’m going to avoid getting too involved in diversity discussions from this point onwards. It’s not worth ruining friendships over.

Kay y’all, I’ll update again soon. Hopefully.

… 😀
~Hedgehog

Like every Asian out there. Because really, guys, everyone knows that giving an Asian a violin and a bow is like giving birth to the next Mozart.

I think that’s the funny thing about Asian stereotypes: some of them may not even be intended to come across as mean, but we Asians still don’t like them. We don’t like the “Asians are terrible drivers” or the “Ay-see-unsu kant speeku Engrish” stereotypes, and we don’t like the “Asians are musical geniuses” or “Asians are artistic geniuses” or “Asians are just geniuses in general” stereotypes, either. Why? Because they aren’t always true.

This may be pretty hard to believe, but we don’t like it when people think we’re amazing mathematicians, artists (and martial artists), or musicians simply because we’re Asian. When people make these assumptions, they’re really looking at the higher end of the spectrum (for reasons I fail to understand). It may be true that there are a lot of Asians out there who are good at these things, but don’t discount the majority of Asians who aren’t.

Take me, for example. If you’ve actually read any of my previous posts, you’d know that I’m not exactly what one would call a shining example of Stereotypical Extraordinary Asianness. Despite this, people tell me that I’m a stereotypically artistic Asian. Sure, I like to draw, but that doesn’t mean I’m good at it. As for math, well, I’m not doing so well in the class right now because I’m missing a few assignments. In fact, I should be studying for my test tomorrow. And don’t get me started on martial arts. Kung-fu? Kung-who now?

People in my band tell me I’m a musical prodigy all the time. I’ll admit; I like music. I like playing the cello. But I play the cello in a school band comprised mainly of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, guitars, and pianos (think: awkward), and I’m having some, er, issues living up to the ‘musical prodigy’ standard. [Hint: you have to be good to be a prodigy, and in order to be good, you have to actually spend the time to practice.] Heck, this particular Asian standard wasn’t even set by Asians, and I’m still struggling to meet it. Why do we Asians have to try to be everything other people perceive us to be in addition to everything our Asian parents expect from us? Good lord, give us a break!

Look at how much there was to say about the ‘good’ Asian stereotypes…Well, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about them, considering the ‘bad’ ones are probably much more offensive.

‘Till next time!
~Hedgehog

My mom told me about how shallow my last post made me seem, and I apologize. A lot of people don’t understand my sarcastic sense of humor, which is perfectly understandable because I tend to overdo it. Just to clarify, I am friends with all sorts of people. It really doesn’t matter how awesome or boring their lives are, so long as they’re not jerkfaces. The point of the post was really just for me to complain about how uneventful my life has felt the past few weeks.

Today, instead of dwelling on how boring my life is right now, I’m going to begin detailing the less depressing tidbits of my life, starting from the present and working backwards to middle school. I hope doing so will provide insight into the convoluted way in which my mind works.

I spent yesterday with my good friend Ali. I love spending time with her; because I don’t see her very often these days, I jump on every opportunity to bask in her genius rays. My mom thinks I idolize her a little bit too much–again, this is just her not understanding my sarcastic humor. I love all my friends and I will always speak of them very highly, but it’s not like I worship them or anything. I don’t build a shrine to each one of them and pray to them by candlelight every night. I promise.

One of the things that made my decision to leave my old school (which I had attended from 7th-9th grade) for my new school easier is that some of my best friends were leaving, too.  Ethan, the super-crazy-amazing-awesome-random-funny-weird-gross artistic genius, was ditching us for boarding school.  The rest of us who were not going to boarding school tried to make the most of the few months time we had left to spend with him, but we had all secretly demoted him to “boarding school snob” in our minds.

And Ali–brilliant, witty Ali–Ali was leaving, too.  But she was not going to boarding school.  She was going to college.  As a 10th grader, of course.

While I miss all of my old friends terribly, I don’t feel like I’m standing in the shadow of my brilliant friends anymore. With my 7th-9th grade friends, I looked like an idiot whenever I did anything that fell short of their expectations. Now it’s back to how it was before I met them: I just look like an idiot all the time.

I’m hoping to stop making my old friends the focus of my posts and start telling actual stories about how much of an idiot I can actually be, because trust me, I can be a total idiot.

Cheerio!
~hedgehog