Archives for posts with tag: school

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?

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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! 😀

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.

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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.

This past week, while I’ve been stressing out over the rapidly approaching early action and early decision college application deadlines, my mom’s been in France with her parents and her sisters (they’re traveling just like they used to decades ago!).  I think it’s the cutest thing ever, and it sure sounds like they’re having a lot of fun.

The thing is, with my mother not around to yell at me to do homework, I’ve been feeling the strong urge to slack off.  I’ve always recognized my tendency to procrastinate—”Hmm, I’ve done 5 minutes of homework; I think I deserve a snack”—but I know now that my mom’s not going to be around to crack the whip when I’m in college.  So for the past week, I’ve been working really hard to get my work done.  I even went so far as to organize my binder, just like my mom asked me to do.

So while I was organizing my binder and all of the loose-leaf notes I’d shoved into my backpack, I came across a bunch of old assignments, some from last year.  I remember writing most of them—specifically, I remember putting off writing them until the very last minute and then working furiously to turn them in by the due date.  I started working on at least one essay on the day it was due; obviously not a very good idea and not something I should continue to do.  It doesn’t help that I get decent grades on them, because then I feel even less motivated to start on them early.

My older readers know that I’m…not the most organized of students.  I get sidetracked so easily: the internet is a black hole of distractions, “hunger” is my most frequently used excuse to stop doing work, video games are addicting, and the constant craving to check my text messages keeps me from fully focusing on work.  There have even been days when I’ve neglected all of my homework assignments in favor of staring at the ceiling, which I apparently found much more interesting.

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Pretty much.

I don’t fail my classes because sure, I can get my act together when I really need to, but it’s not like I’m acing all of my classes, either.  It’s a struggle.

I’m sure other people experience this, too—I can’t be the only one, can I?

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

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

Every weekday at 7a.m., I – very grouchily – get dressed and munch on cereal, when I’d really rather be sleeping.  Why, you might ask?  I have to go to school!  At noon, rather than enjoy a delicious lunch with my friends, I hole up in the library, studying…for school.  When I get back home, I spend hours working on my homework that’s due the next day.  Sometimes, I stay awake until the early hours of the morning, frantically trying to study for that darned test that I forgot about or finish that essay.  

Even when I’m not at school, I’m surrounded by it: with all of my tests, assignments, and projects, I’m constantly swimming in a pool of school.  Almost constantly.  But when I’m not physically working on something school-related, I’m definitely thinking about something school-related.  This is junior year!  I have no time to be thinking about a social life!

…Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true.  I do have a lot of work, but it’s really important to find a balance between spending time with friends and doing work.  I think I would go completely insane if all I did was work, work, work.  But with my junior year coming to a close, I’m actually really worried about college.  My grades aren’t anything to be proud of, I don’t play a sport, and I’m really not involved in any clubs……

At this point, I think my parents have almost given up on me.  When your Asian mother starts telling you, “You can always go to community college!” – there’s something seriously wrong.   She might be okay with that, but I’m not.  I’m not!  Never!

And that’s the most pathetic part: I’ve set some really high standards for myself, and now that I’m struggling to meet them, I get very easily discouraged.  I guess “below the Asian standards” goes without saying at this point (I’ve been below the Asian standards for as long as I can remember now); the real issue now is that I’m below my own standards.  I have to work super hard!

On the up side of things, spring break is approaching, which means I’ll have plenty of time to……study.  

Joy…

#BTAS

Guess what?! I recently hit a milestone: I got my learner’s permit! 

…Funny how must of my peers are in love with driving. I guess I can see the appeal of getting a license.  It means more freedom to go places on weekends and whatnot, and that always sounds good to me.  I’m one of the very few who are actually pretty indifferent towards learning to drive.  Maybe it has to do with the ol’ stereotype that Asians can’t drive – I don’t know.  Or maybe it’s got more to do with the fact that my school is a good 10-minute walk from my house and I have close to zero need to drive anywhere.  To me, learning to drive seems just like…school.  

Either way, my parents and I agreed that it might be a good idea to start learning over the summer – junior year is going to make it tough for me to fit in any extra activities outside of schoolwork.  When I told my friends I’d already received my permit, half of them joked, “Oh no!  It’s an Asian girl with ADHD!  Watch out!”  

Frankly, I sure hope I don’t end up meeting the Asian standard of bad driving.