Day 30: Final word- Your “thank you's," “good-byes”, and final reflection
Man, I’ve been having this conversation with my friends for months. It usually starts with…
And I guess “wow” really encompasses how everything feels. There isn’t really a concrete emotion to describe it. It’s not wholly sadness or happiness, it’s way more complicated.
It has been very difficult during these past few weeks to come to terms with leaving. Since I returned from Hawaii, I’ve said more than two goodbyes per day, and there are more to come. It’s been pretty emotional at times, probably because I am sad that we will never live in the same “high school world” again. That phase in our lives is permanently over, and it’s time to move on. That’s hard to grasp because I love Arcadia so much… it is just difficult to know that I’m leaving almost everything behind.
That said, I’m excited to go to college and be in a new environment. I know I’ll learn and grow as both a student and a person. I know I’ll meet awesome people, and find my own niche at Princeton. I will be happy, which really is the most important thing.
I guess it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. As September 1 looms nearer and nearer, the sinking feeling of “goodbyes” numbs, and I am starting to realize that it never has to be an actual goodbye. And that makes me feel a better. I’ll definitely miss everything about high school and Arcadia, but I think I’m now ready for college.
Anyway, onto my thank yous…
Thank you to my friends for always being there for me. I couldn’t ask for better friends in my life- not only are you all a bedrock of support, but you each inspire me and push me to be a better person each day. And I can act as weird as I want around you guys and you’ll all act just as weird back :)
Thank you to my teachers for guiding me along the way in high school and getting me back on the right path when I veered in the wrong direction.
Thank you to my parents for the unconditional love and support. I obviously couldn’t achieve anything without you.
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe how fast we have grown up. I can’t believe I’m leaving for college this week…
Oh, be proud of me for FINALLY finishing the Senior Year Tumblr Challenge :P
Three more days until I fly east! I’m anxious, but excited… as always :)
Last year, I posted "TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL JUNIOR YEAR" (and it was reblogged and liked quite a few times in the past week by excited juniors), so I thought it would be fun to write a “sequel” post for seniors!
Start your applications as early as possible. Sorry, I know you probably hear this too much, but it’s only because it’s really good advice! College essays are way more important than you think (for lib art schools, they are on par with grades), so you need to put time and thought into them. You might be a good writer for school essays, but the thought process for college essays is very different. I probably wrote hundreds of drafts (and I counted… in the end, I had 30 essays and short answers), and completely scrapped dozens of half-written essays (that were beautiful ideas in my mind). This is a long process! Start early.
Focus on yourself. College admissions is a really scary process, and half of it is hearing everybody talk about it every moment of every day. You’ll hear that this person has that internship and that person has this score… and soon the pressure grows exponentially. But it’s very easy to escape from the pressure cooker environment if you just don’t worry about it. I have never had an internship, and I have never taken the SAT. Who cares about those people? They aren’t you, and you are special. Figure out what is special about you, and channel that in your applications. Plus, people who brag are just annoying so don’t become one of them.
You don’t need a college counselor. I never hired a college counselor and I think it’s a complete waste of money. Your job when applying to college is to show the college who you are. How can a stranger (who is trying to make money off of you) tell you who you are better than you yourself can?! That’s ridiculous. I’ve had many friends with horrific experiences with college counselors who lie to scare the parents into buying their service. And once the money is pocketed, they offer terrible feedback on essays, etc… it’s not worth your money. Go buy yourself a car instead (it’s funny because you actually could with the money you save).
Find reliable teachers who know you well for your recs. An admissions officer at Princeton told me that the two most important admission factors are grades and recs (recs are how they discern between all the students with good grades and scores). It’s important to find a teacher who likes you, but it’s probably more important to find a teacher who knows you inside the classroom. The teacher needs to be able to describe what kind of a student you were, how you interacted in the classroom, what kind of person you are, and they often give specific examples of things you said/did that exemplify your ability to succeed in college. Admission officers are looking for teacher recs that glow with stories and praise, which gives them a sense of peace that you aren’t just another mindless and opinion-less test taker.
Be organized. This is always a good trait, but for college apps, it has a whole new meaning. During college apps, you need to be on top of multiple due dates, multiple essays, multiple interviews, multiple test scores, and more… on top of your schoolwork and extracurriculars. And that is not mentioning things like the student data packet, supplemental things you might send to colleges, and preparing those horrid envelopes for the counselors. You’re going to be visiting college websites so often to find information so write things down, file important papers, and keep track of everything. There are so many factors, and if one thing goes wrong, then all your hard work goes to waste.
Don’t underestimate your schoolwork. One of the biggest misconceptions about senior year is that it is easy. Sure, junior year was hard! But senior year is pretty hard too (and in some ways, it can be harder). Sorry if that bursts your bubble, but it’s the truth. Go to school, take notes, pay attention, and study. The current Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Johns Hopkins University told me that first semester senior year grades are more important than any other semester’s grades (including junior year!). So study hard :P
Go all-out on your extracurriculars. This is your last year in high school, and the last time you will experience the activities you have fallen in love with over the past few years. I will never compete in Speech & Debate again, nor will I swim competitively in the future. Make time to put as much passion as possible into the activities that mean so much to you because you’ll regret it if you don’t. Plus, who remembers the Chapter 4 AP Stats test? But I remember every moment of our final round of Mock Trial :P so put your heart into it so you can go out with a bang!
Be there for your friends and classmates. This is a really stressful time (arguably the most stressful because of college apps), and everybody is feeling it. I’ve seen students (and even parents) break down emotionally from stress, and it can be very painful. But when you’re frustrated and feeling hopeless, support from your friends works like magic. Be there for your friends, and they will be there for you. It’s a quid pro quo… just make sure you are a part of the supportive community. Nobody deserves to be left alone in this process.
Know that everything will be okay. Come April, very few people will have gotten into their “dream school.” That sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. But it’s so funny how everybody’s attitude changes so fast from initial disappointment to utter excitement and happiness within a few months. Regardless of how you feel in April, you’ll be excited for your new adventure faster than you think. You’ll realize that the college you end up matriculating to will be the college where you belong, and you will be so glad that things happened the way they did. Everything happens for a reason!
Have fun :) Senior year really is the best year. I can’t stress how important it is to spend time with friends and make the most of your last year in high school. You never know- you might be flying east 3,000 miles away from home, and you’re really going to miss everything. Make time to make memories. Be spontaneous. Spend quality time with the quality people in your life. The friends you stay close to this year will become friends you stay in touch with through college and beyond. And the memories you make in this year will surely stay with you for a lifetime.
As everything in life goes, senior year is what you make of it! Sure, college apps are stressful, but everybody goes through it. And yes, it is random, stressful, and unfair at times… but ultimately, admission decisions are out of your control, so there’s not much you can do about it other than start early, try your best, and cross your fingers.
Take advantage of every opportunity to have fun and spend time with friends. There will never be another time in your life when all your high school friends are together in one place at one time. High school is such a unique experience so seize every moment of every day.
Have faith! In the end, you’ll have fun and you’ll be happy… and that’s all that matters :)
I’m blessed to have parents who learned early on that the best parents are the ones who encourage their children to explore rather than force them down a path. They respected my interests and passions, and not only let me pursue them but pushed me to be the best I could be.
An ideal parent provides unconditional love and support, and my parents exude those traits and much more. Looking back, I’m amazed they put up with my 5 AM swim practices, traveling speech tournaments, stubborn attitude, and more… and for that I am forever grateful.
Lastly, my parents are endless inspirations to me. Their modesty, intellectual curiosity, and passionate drive are all characteristics that I can only hope to embody in the future.
Clark is leaving for college tomorrow morning at 4:30 AM. We just spent two hours reminiscing on our last 18 years in Arcadia. We drove to the Rose Bowl (our second home) and walked along the pool recalling memories about the sport that brought us together. We walked around the upper Arroyo, a place we explored frequently in our early teenage years. We went to Highland Oaks, the school where we first met and caused mischief at on a daily basis. And finally, we drove to our first grade teacher’s house (we still remember where it is located from trick or treating) where we heard stories about how we could never shut up in class.
Goodbyes may become more frequent, but the memories are always constant.
“We are momentum creators. What momentum we create is up to us, but it won’t be stolen by death. That momentum will be shaped by the next conversation we have or the next decision we make. The word momentum is related to the word moment, and those moments for humility, curiosity, and veracity present themselves every day, in every meeting, with every person. Those moments aren’t meant to weigh us down with pressure of perfection; rather they give us the opportunity to live and lead a little better today than we did yesterday.”—David Marcum & Steven Smith (egonomics)
USC moves in this morning, UC Berkeley moves in this Saturday, WashU St. Louis moves in next Wednesday, UPenn the following Monday, and suddenly it’ll be my turn…
This summer whizzed by faster than I can even recall. I still remember talking to Winnie in the first week of summer about how endlessly fun this summer would be, but we said our goodbyes more than two weeks ago. In fact, I’ve already had my “last hangout” with several people, and there will only be more to come in these next two weeks.
"Last hangout" sounds so ominous. I know it really isn’t the last hangout, but the finality of us leaving our real home to travel to an unknown place that we will soon also call "home" is all too real.
To my friends moving in these next few weeks-
In Hawaii, when they bid people farewell, they say a hui hou, which translates to until we meet again.
So, a hui hou :D
I can’t wait to talk to you all again soon, whether online, over the phone, or on Skype. And come Christmas break, we’ll see each other and catch up on each other’s lives :P
As you begin your college experience, I thought I’d leave you with the things that, in retrospect, I think are important as you navigate the next four years. I hope that some of them are helpful.
Your friends will change a lot over the next four years. Let them.
Call someone you love back home a few times a week, even if just for a few minutes.
In college more than ever before, songs will attach themselves to memories. Every month or two, make a mix cd, mp3 folder, whatever - just make sure you keep copies of these songs. Ten years out, they’ll be as effective as a journal in taking you back to your favorite moments.
Take naps in the middle of the afternoon with reckless abandon.
Adjust your schedule around when you are most productive and creative. If you’re nocturnal and do your best work late at night, embrace that. It may be the only time in your life when you can.
If you write your best papers the night before they are due, don’t let people tell you that you “should be more organized” or that you “should plan better.” Different things work for different people. Personally, I worked best under pressure - so I always procrastinated… and always kicked ass (which annoyed my friends to no end). ;-) Use the freedom that comes with not having grades first semester to experiment and see what works best for you.
At least a few times in your college career, do something fun and irresponsible when you should be studying. The night before my freshman year psych final, my roommate somehow scored front row seats to the Indigo Girls at a venue 2 hours away. I didn’t do so well on the final, but I haven’t thought about psych since 1993. I’ve thought about the experience of going to that show (with the guy who is now my son’s godfather) at least once a month ever since.
Become friends with your favorite professors. Recognize that they can learn from you too - in fact, that’s part of the reason they chose to be professors.
Carve out an hour every single day to be alone. (Sleeping doesn’t count.)
Go on dates. Don’t feel like every date has to turn into a relationship.
Don’t date someone your roommate has been in a relationship with.
When your friends’ parents visit, include them. You’ll get free food, etc., and you’ll help them to feel like they’re cool, hangin’ with the hip college kids.
In the first month of college, send a hand-written letter to someone who made college possible for you and describe your adventures thus far. It will mean a lot to him/her now, and it will mean a lot to you in ten years when he/she shows it to you.
Embrace the differences between you and your classmates. Always be asking yourself, “what can I learn from this person?” More of your education will come from this than from any classroom.
All-nighters are entirely overrated.
For those of you who have come to college in a long-distance relationship with someone from high school: despite what many will tell you, it can work. The key is to not let your relationship interfere with your college experience. If you don’t want to date anyone else, that’s totally fine! What’s not fine, however, is missing out on a lot of defining experiences because you’re on the phone with your boyfriend/girlfriend for three hours every day.
Working things out between friends is best done in person, not over email. (IM does not count as “in person.”) Often someone’s facial expressions will tell you more than his/her words.
Don’t be afraid of (or excited by) the co-ed bathrooms. The thrill is over in about 2 seconds.
Wednesday is the middle of the week; therefore on wednesday night the week is more than half over. You should celebrate accordingly. (It makes thursday and friday a lot more fun.)
Welcome failure into your lives. It’s how we grow. What matters is not that you failed, but that you recovered.
Take some classes that have nothing to do with your major(s), purely for the fun of it.
It’s important to think about the future, but it’s more important to be present in the now. You won’t get the most out of college if you think of it as a stepping stone.
When you’re living on a college campus with 400 things going on every second of every day, watching TV is pretty much a waste of your time and a waste of your parents’ money. If you’re going to watch, watch with friends so at least you can call it a “valuable social experience.”
Don’t be afraid to fall in love. When it happens, don’t take it for granted. Celebrate it, but don’t let it define your college experience.
Much of the time you once had for pleasure reading is going to disappear. Keep a list of the books you would have read had you had the time, so that you can start reading them when you graduate.
Things that seem like the end of the world really do become funny with a little time and distance. Knowing this, forget the embarassment and skip to the good part.
Every once in awhile, there will come an especially powerful moment when you can actually feel that an experience has changed who you are. Embrace these, even if they are painful.
No matter what your political or religious beliefs, be open-minded. You’re going to be challenged over the next four years in ways you can’t imagine, across all fronts. You can’t learn if you’re closed off.
If you need to get a job, find something that you actually enjoy. Just because it’s work doesn’t mean it has to suck.
Don’t always lead. It’s good to follow sometimes.
Take a lot of pictures. One of my major regrets in life is that I didn’t take more pictures in college. My excuse was the cost of film and processing. Digital cameras are cheap and you have plenty of hard drive space, so you have no excuse.
Your health and safety are more important than anything.
Ask for help. Often.
Half of you will be in the bottom half of your class at any given moment. Way more than half of you will be in the bottom half of your class at some point in the next four years. Get used to it.
In ten years very few of you will look as good as you do right now, so secretly revel in how hot you are before it’s too late.
In the long run, where you go to college doesn’t matter as much as what you do with the opportunities you’re given there. The MIT name on your resume won’t mean much if that’s the only thing on your resume. As a student here, you will have access to a variety of unique opportunities that no one else will ever have - don’t waste them.
On the flip side, don’t try to do everything. Balance = well-being.
Make perspective a priority. If you’re too close to something to have good perspective, rely on your friends to help you.
Eat badly sometimes. It’s the last time in your life when you can do this without feeling guilty about it.
Make a complete ass of yourself at least once, preferably more. It builds character.
Wash your sheets more than once a year. Trust me on this one.
If you are in a relationship and none of your friends want to hang out with you and your significant other, pay attention. They usually know better than you do.
Don’t be afraid of the weird pizza topping combinations that your new friend from across the country loves. Some of the truly awful ones actually taste pretty good. Expand your horizons.
Explore the campus thoroughly. Don’t get caught.
Life is too short to stick with a course of study that you’re no longer excited about. Switch, even if it complicates things.
Tattoos are permanent. Be very certain.
Don’t make fun of prefrosh. That was you like 2 hours ago.
Enjoy every second of the next four years. It is impossible to describe how quickly they pass.
This is the only time in your lives when your only real responsibility is to learn. Try to remember how lucky you are every day.
Be yourself. Create. Inspire, and be inspired. Grow. Laugh. Learn. Love. Welcome to some of the best years of your lives.
One thing I noticed about China is that parents here pay a huge amount of attention to kids. Maybe it’s partly a social consequence in response to the One-Child Policy, but I realized that parents here put tremendous pressure on the child to succeed by providing him/her with as many resources as they can afford.
I was at this mall in Shenyang and on the first floor there was an entire wing of the mall devoted to an “education center” specifically for 0-3 year olds. I was intrigued, Google’d the company, and found how early kids start “education” particularly interesting.
I minded my own business, and went to the second floor. In that same wing, I found the same “education center,” but this time it was specifically for 4-6 year olds…
On the third floor, there was more… and not only the same education center, but a many more tutoring centers for kids from age 6 to 18. Ahhh… now we know where the tutoring culture comes from.
But it’s worse here. People spend thousands of dollars on tutoring before children even enter Kindergarten…
What the hell do you even learn before Kindergarten??
We complain a lot about the pressure-cooker environment we face in Arcadia, but I really can’t imagine what it is like here. In China, going to college (which has a more solid bearing on one’s future than in America) lies in one nationwide test given once a year (that you take once). You got sick? Man, that sucks. Didn’t get a good night’s rest? Ahh…sorry. Stuck in traffic? Should have left earlier!
Do you appreciate the flexibility of the SAT a little more now?
I went to a bookstore, and there was an entire floor dedicated to test prep books. They had test prep books for kids as young as third grade (to prepare for the test to middle school). And from third grade to twelfth grade, there was a sea of books for every subject: Chemistry, Literature, Biology, Physics, English, History, etc.
Past the Chinese test prep books, I found an entire bookshelf of Chinese versions of the Princeton Review and Barron’s prep books for the SAT and ACT.
I even found Barron’s books for AP classes (including AP Stats LOL).
Yeah sure, there are tutoring babies in Arcadia, but every student in China is a tutoring baby. It’s so deeply ingrained in the culture that if you don’t get tutored, you’ll be behind.
This kind of pressure can’t be healthy. It may be well intentioned, but it’s going to backfire.
Anybody willing to translate and write Chinese subtitles for Carpus and I’s documentary? haha kidding…
I read an article in the Economist two weeks ago about a politician from Guangzhou advocating a loosening of the One-Child Policy. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of social ramifications this policy has for China as the one-child generation enters the workforce in the next few years. But for now… tutoring it is!
So in China, the word for brown is 咖啡色 (pronunciation: kah-fay suh).
咖啡 (kah-fay) means coffee, and is obviously derived phonetically from the English word “coffee” (or the Ottoman Turkish kahve or Italian caffé according to Wikipedia, but that’s not the point).
Here’s where it gets interesting…
Also according to Wikipedia, the earliest historical recollection of coffee is from 1598 in Arabia, North Africa, and Turkey. It became popular in Europe starting in the late 1600’s and 1700’s. Coffee didn’t reach much of east Asia until the British conquered Sri Lanka in the 1800’s. And by the 1800’s, most of the world had became with coffee (although I cannot find an exact time period when it reached China… I honestly don’t believe coffee was received well by the Chinese until it became a symbol of Americanism and wealth in recent years).
So here’s my question…
What was the Chinese word for brown before the days of coffee?
Oh, but it gets better…
Coffee isn’t brown (It’s black until you add milk and cream, right?!).
Attention Seniors: ADMISSIONS DIRECTOR REVEALS COLLEGE ADMISSIONS INSIGHT!
Silke Sen is the former Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Washington University in St. Louis. She worked in admissions at WUSTL for ten years, and currently serves as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Advising at WUSTL’s Olin Business School.
Ms. Sen has visited Arcadia High several times as the official admissions liaison to California (meaning she read all the applications that came from California). She knows our community well, and knows exactly what attitudes Carpus and I are targeting in our documentary.
She wrote a statement exclusively for our documentary. I wanted to share it with all of you:
While much attention focuses around the college admissions process every year, less attention seems to be paid to actually being in college. I strongly believe that you can get an excellent education anywhere. The quality of your education will depend of how you engage within your new learning community, how you utilize the various resources available at the college of your choice. You may have been admitted to a universally-recognized, top-notch institution, but may end up squandering that opportunity for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, college is an academic place. Appropriate academic preparation is extremely important, yet each institution devises its own methodology for its evaluation. Admitting a student unable to succeed academically benefits neither that student nor the institution. For your benefit, you want to be as well-prepared for collegiate academics as possible. Rigor in the high school coursework is almost more important than grades. Grades matter, but long term, it is most important to build the strongest possible academic foundation within the choices available to you at your high school. Nearly every student I advise, no matter how many AP classes they took in high school, is amazed by the expectations and rigor of college courses. Taking difficult classes and really mastering the material is the best foundation for success in college. However, students also have to develop a strong work ethic. As an advisor, it seems to me that the easier high school is for students, the more they tend to struggle adjusting to the increased demands in college. As Bill Gates famously said, “success is a lousy teacher.” Along with your strong work ethic, it is crucial to develop resilience and perseverance: it’s hard to rise to a challenge if you give up when things get difficult.
Most selective colleges will not only look at your academic preparation but will also expect you to have made contributions outside of the classroom. Since it is almost impossible to predict which of these contributions will catch the eye of the admissions committee, my advice is to explore your options and develop interests that you truly enjoy.
When you apply to college, you have, for the first time in your life, no immediate control over the outcome. You may not be admitted for any number of reasons: your Calculus grade, budgetary considerations, a low SAT II score, not being from a certain geographic area, not playing the tuba, not swimming the 200m fly in less than 1:53 34, etc. Depending on the college, these same qualities may actually get you admitted. No applicant will ever be able to control the applicant pool in which your accomplishments will be seen: you may be the only student with a perfect SAT score; you may be one of thousands. Maybe your perfect score matters more than your personal qualities; maybe your personal qualities cancel out the desirability of that perfect score.
Getting into college is an important rite of passage, no doubt. Everyone is anxious, the stakes seem implausibly high. Tuning out all the anxious chatter about the “getting in” is easier said than done. For highly-selective colleges, the admissions process has become more competitive and less predictable. Your parents are anxious on your behalf. They will appreciate your patience. You can however, reassure them, that there are many more paths to success in the U.S. than there are in other places. Life does not end because you’re not attending the “top university.” In the U.S., you can and should learn because you’re curious, do things for your benefit/enjoyment, not for the college of your dreams. As you approach the application process, be sure to do your research and keep an open mind. You can get an excellent education in many places, not just in the top 10 on US News & World Report.
Please spread the word about Ms. Sen’s message, and our documentary :)
My dad needed to be in Shanghai by Sunday morning for his meeting, so we had booked the earliest flight out of Shenyang to Shanghai on Sunday morning.
But Saturday evening, we found out that the biggest typhoon China had seen in years (Typhoon Meihua) was headed towards Shanghai. As a result, the airport was closed.
In a last minute, last ditch attempt to make it to Shanghai on time, we packed our bags in minutes Saturday night and headed to the nearest train station. The airport may be closed, but we were hoping to take the next train to Beijing, and then take a bullet train to Shanghai. Surely there would be tickets still available, right?
Wrong. The overnight train to Beijing was sold out.
But luckily (or unluckily), there is a huge black market for train tickets in Shenyang. I’m not exaggerating when I say that people sell train tickets like drugs on the street. My aunt started talking to the ticket scalpers, but my dad’s friend noticed unusual things among the scalpers. They kept exchanging either cash or papers with the police officers patrolling the area. From what it seemed, the scalpers were working in cohorts with the police to scam all the passengers.
CHINA IS SKETCH.
But not all hope was lost. One of my dad’s friends works in the railroad industry. Somehow through his career, he became friends with the local chief of police. So my dad calls his friend who calls the chief of police who calls his son. The chief of police’s son sells tickets at the railroad station. A few phone calls and moments later, my dad receives one instruction: “go to window #16.”
And what do you know, window #16 procures two tickets on the overnight train.
I’m standing and observing all this in amazement. I want to pull out my FlipCam so badly, but there are so many sketch people at the train station… not only did I not want to be robbed at the station, but I didn’t want to be robbed on the train when I was sleeping.
I say that because the overnight train is pretty sketch too. Triple layers of bunk beds line the walls of the train. There are no doors, no curtains, and nowhere to safely store your luggage. My dad and I ended up putting our valuables in our backpacks, and then barricaded our backpacks with our two large suitcases under a small table. That’s a Princeton PhD for ya.
We arrived in Beijing at 8 AM, bought the next bullet train ticket for Shanghai that left 15 minutes later, and cruised to Shanghai at 310 km/hr.
When we got to Shanghai early this afternoon, it was sunny. Umm… excuse me, typhoon? Where are you?!
It turns out Chinese meteorologists misjudged the typhoon’s trajectory. By a lot. It missed Shanghai so it has been sunny and beautiful all day. My dad is meeting with them Wednesday morning to help them better predict severe weather systems in the future LOLOL
I was so dank by the time we arrived at the Marriott because I hadn’t showered or brushed my teeth in over 24 hours. Gross… but now I’m clean and on the 23rd floor eating sushi and h’ors deurves :D
What an adventure…
Lesson learned? Definitely. Don’t trust Chinese ticket scalpers or meteorologists.
Be yourself. You’re never going to be successful if you waste your time trying to be somebody else. You’re best at being you.
That said, don’t let other people’ perceptions of you influence who you are. You are who you are. If people don’t like that, so be it. It’s impossible to please everybody.
Find a passion and stick to it…it’ll give you a reason to wake up in the morning.
Find your real friends. These people will help push you, pick you up when you’re down, and make every day worth it.
Finally, have fun. Your third math test isn’t memorable. Your grade on the fifth English essay isn’t memorable. Friends are memorable. Hangouts are memorable. Fun is memorable. Have fun in high school so high school will be memorable.
But really the best advice I can give will be summed up in a documentary that Carpus and I will release later this month. Stay tuned!
I went to my first midnight movie premiere! Harry Potter 7 Part 2 lived up to the hype, and it was the first HP movie I’ve seen that I walked out of the theater feeling completely satisfied. I commented on this in a previous post, but I really think that this Harry Potter adventure holds special meaning to us as the “Harry Potter generation.”
Some friends and I visited the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena for the first time… it is free for students! It’s funny that we’ve all lived in LA for over a decade, but never really ventured out to explore all the arts and culture that this city has to offer.
I actually don’t even know how we made all these interviews work… and this is only the first three days of filming…
Carpus and I have spent an immeasurable amount of time in the past few weeks running around town, meeting people, and hearing their stories for our documentary. Like I posted before, it’s been an amazing learning experience to listen to so many different inspirational people share their experiences. With over twelve hours of raw footage logged, we have a lot of work to do in these next few weeks. But hopefully by bringing this message to our community, we’ll spark discussion (and maybe some change), and it’ll all be worth it.
Buying three iPads at the Apple store nbd… (plus the Apple store employee in the back!)
Leslie, Justine, Carpus, and I had lunch with Mrs. Cordero one afternoon. I think one of the best pieces of advice I can give underclassmen is to get to know your teachers well because they are valuable mentors both in and out of the classroom. And it’s fun to reminisce and then you can confess to them without punishment that you hated Wuthering Heights or never read Jane Eyre :P (oh whoops… I never told her that last part…)
So I went to the Border’s going out of business sale… let’s just say that the line was way too long, and I have enough books to last me a very, very long time.
Last year, Julia and I got “married” at Kabuki when we applied for the member’s rewards card. I put Julia down as my “spouse,” complete with an anniversary and our respective birthdays, and now we get gift certificates three times a year :P
Happy 19th Birthday Julia! :) (I can’t believe we ate four rolls)
Michelle came home from Europe, and we battled rush hour traffic to try Tranquil Tea Lounge in Fullerton (4.5 stars on Yelp and on SoCalBucketList Tumblr!). They have an endless assortment of different teas, pastries, and simple eats. It was so good… definitely deserves the hype it gets.
Those of us who were in town went for one final lunch before half of us ventured to Asia. We were planning on going to Boiling Crab, but turns out Boiling Crab isn’t even open for lunch on weekdays. Vietnam Kitchen was an adequate substitute until cajun lemon sauce squirted into my eye… LOL Carpus took that picture and it’s hilarious.
Before I left for China, Michelle and I went “college clothes shopping” at the Grove. Shopping at PacSun might not adequately prepare me to brave east coast weather, but… whatever :P and I got a new jacket for my birthday hehe thanks :)
Last time Michelle and I ate at Maggiano’s, the manager told us that if we came back, he’d treat us to a free dessert. Free food? How can we resist?
As a child, I remember going to Griffith quite frequently, but I totally forgot what it was like. I never realized that there was a sweeping panoramic view of LA… the city lights are beautiful!
The day before I left for China, Carpus and I filmed the one part of our documentary that requires some acting (thanks to my friend Virginia who is a BFA Theater major at USC). She gave us some really good footage for our bloopers…
Hey! Princeton Road!
Carpus, Celeste, and I had Din Tai Fung the day before Celeste and I left for Asia. Yummm xiaolongbao<3! I’m still set that Din Tai Fung will be my last meal in Arcadia before I fly east. That with some In ‘N Out and boba :D
Winnie and I had our “last boba run” the night before I left for Asia. By the time I am back in town, Winnie will have moved into USC already. That day, I said “bye” to like four different people. It was a pretty blunt reminder that summer is limited, and college is just around the corner.
Right now, I’m in China and will post more about that soon :)
Me, as my stereotypically arrogant (and ignorant) self, rose from my economy airplane seat only to be shoved to the side by hoards of Chinese people. It reminded me of my trip three years ago to Beijing, when 14-year-old Ray Chao was constantly pushed out of line or out of subway seats.
But then it gets really confusing.
Over the past few days, I’ve noticed something amazing in China: unwavering attention and unconditional love towards family. I know that family is an important value to pretty much every culture, but there is something special about Chinese culture in this respect.
And that’s what’s really confusing to me. Why is it okay to push somebody out of line to save time, but turn around and drop an entire month’s salary in a hongbao to a grand nephew they just met for the first time? How is it that the same person who nearly runs over a pedestrian will, in the same day, close down their factory for two days and send home dozens of workers just so he can entertain family guests. And it just doesn’t make sense that a culture will tolerate a man who refuses to give up his train seat for an elderly woman in the same setting as a man who can barely afford a ricecooker, but is willing to pay for family guests to stay in a five-star hotel.
I came back to China this summer primarily to visit family before I leave for college, and along the way I’ve met over a dozen relatives for the first time. And if there’s one lesson I’ve learned from the past few days I’ve spent here, it’s that blood holds a unique and special bond. People in this culture hold family to the highest regard, and protect that with their lives.
It’s a delicate contradiction. Maybe I’m just too sensitive and judgmental. Who cares about that person who pushed me on the plane? I think that maybe there’s something deeper and more important to people here. You just have to see it and appreciate it.