And I’m still reeling, still amazed, and still yearning for more.
Thanking people always seemed a bit disingenuous to me, they are just words-and they can be such lies (as a writer, I know). But I truly do mean this when I say thank you so much for everything that I have learned and, more importantly, showing me that I am not alone in my ideals and hopes.
It is easy to think with the Internet that it would be easy to connect to people of the same ilk as you and to a certain extent that is true-but nothing can compare to seeing the sparkle in the eyes of someone in front of you when the conversation truly interests them. Nothing is the same as when you sit at a table with strangers you’ve just met and your heart grows because they have seeded themselves in you, and you never want to say goodbye.
I suffered a moment of anxiety when I first received the email that I would be sent to L.A. It wasn’t that I thought it was a scam, that it would be a waste of my time, or that I would be sold into some kind of slavery that would ultimately lead to my young death (though I did think about all these things). I was nervous that I wouldn’t connect with the people, the message, the mission. With organizations like Students of the World, where the ultimate goal is to do good, I often find that people are blinded by hope and good intentions. While that inspires me I often find myself drained of energy because the cynical side of me (believe or not, it exists) just wants to laugh in their face and tell them, “But how is this going to happen? How are you going to convince others? How is this going to keep you alive?” etc. This absolutely tears me up inside, because I desperately want the world to work in a way where everyone is sure in their decisions and their hope and dreams can just power all systems-but it doesn’t.
You would think that in L.A., a city described to suck souls out of hopeful artists leaving only dried husks of people flailing on poles, would only exacerbate my feelings. And while I admit the city as its own entity was not quite as awe inspiring as places like New York City, Toronto, and my home town of Hong Kong, the people I got to meet blew my mind. Not just out of my skull leaving me just incapable of having quality conversation (*cough*David Simon *cough*) but with so much awesome that some of it actually stayed in my brain and continues to inspire me everyday.
Thank you for all of the wonderful information and stories that made my brain keep turning and turning in hopes that I could figure out a way to create a time machine so that I could keep learning more. Thank you for reinforcing the idea that failure is real, normal, and something that you should embrace. Thank you for believing that my and future generations can do good and trusting us enough to ask for our opinions (sorry about trashing your new TV show, but we just want to help). Thank you for giving us connections and a network with some of the most amazing people I have ever met (so amazing that I don’t feel worthy to mentioned in the same breath as them). Thank you for giving me something real to strive for and work hard towards.
P.S. I regret my attempt to use “greatest gratitudes” in lieu of “thank you.” I regret that a lot, forgive me.
I wrote my first YouTube comment today.
Not a quick blurb to get a chance to enter something, not some garbage that just so happen to accidentally get in there. I looked over the comments already placed to see if anyone had posted a similar thought to me, found none, and posted a comment.
I know this is weird and you are probably thinking to yourself, “What do you mean Internet participation? Aren’t you participating right now? You’ve blogged before (and some pretty personal stuff too), you have Twitter, Facebook, etc.
My personal history of Internet use also paints me as an avid user of the Internet. I had dial-up, my first email was an AOL account, I had a pretty busy Xanga site (and by busy I mean a lot of colors and glitter,) I even was an avid user of Habbo hotel for about 8 months. But beyond basic communication with close friends and family I’ve been tentative with my Internet use. Tentative in the sense that sometimes it’s not really me on the Internet (not tentative in the sense of the amount of time I’ve spent on the Internet…so many hours.) At least, it’s not 100% of me-I never really immersed myself into the Internet, unlike, many of my peers.
I didn’t Instagram myself, Facebook my every thought, even my obsession with Twitter is mostly voyeuristic-in fact most of my Internet usage is observational.
Why? Self-consciousness, confidence issues, over-saturation, and paranoia.
All of these thoughts have (and will continue to) go through my head. Which is why I’ve been in this strange participatory but not, not quite entirely observational space.
However, it is a time for change (honestly, when is there not a time for change?) and in an effort to step out of my head and (a bit) more into the “real” world I’ve decide to “publish” a bit more blindly. Take more security measures but not let the fear of thievery stall me. Not care what other people think of me (though this bit is a little terrifying, because I’d like to have a job). More importantly, not view “publishing” as sending out a finished product for the Internet to gnaw on, but instead take it as one more step towards finalizing projects. Furthermore, I may be one more repetitive post/video/graphic/etc. on the Internet, but I did it, and I like to think I’m a little bit different than everyone else.
So here I go…Hope some of you join this ride, no matter how far or how long it goes.
I’ll preface this by saying that I’m grateful. Grateful for the life that I have lived, my family, my friends, the opportunities that I’ve had and will (hopefully) continue to have.
Hopefully, if you are reading this you’ve heard about George Zimmerman being found not guilty of a multitude of charges stemming from the February 26th killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin (and if you have not, or are not up-to-date on the details there are a multitude of sites that contain more information, please read up on it). My thoughts echo a lot of those being sent through social media, and my thoughts go out to the Martin family.
The handling of this trial along with all of the news of the past couple months has only made me firmer in my belief that there is something fundamentally wrong with the American justice, political and media systems. If the news of PRISM, of the Moral Monday riots in NC, the anti-abortion bills throughout the country, and the media handling of all of this (don’t even get me started on the false, racist names that were broadcasted on national television after the Asiana flight accident) hasn’t made you question our systems of government and beyond-I’m not sure that you are living in the same world that I am.
The lack of transparency and communication is alarming to me and it scares me beyond belief-so what do I, do we do next?
I’m not sure, and there are much better and smarter people who may have some of these answers. I hope that they begin to speak up.
Because that is what I plan to do.
It can be so easy to hide, to hold your tongue, and I’ve done that. When I first heard about PRISM I was angry but more strongly, I was scared. I immediately dove into movies, television, books, any where I could live somewhere else and some other time. However, each film, each episode, each book only gave me more thoughts on what is exactly wrong and what could be done, every piece of media gave me another perspective, another view, and more importantly, hope.
It is now that I realize this is why I want to work in media. To make a difference, to make things more transparent, so that we can communicate better. Media that will help us understand perspectives and ideas, give us hope or slap us to attention, inform us towards action, teach us so we can to the best of our ability-this is what I strive for.
I hope today’s decision, as well as everything that has happened so far, can help you find something you can do to make this world a little less awful.
Learn more, listen more, see more, do more.
I am currently sitting in bed. Having done nothing the entire day except avoid all of my responsibilities. My brain desperately worries about the script I have to rewrite, the footage I have to edit, the material that I need to study for, my future in general.
Before I go any further, I also want to apologize for the lack of posts on this site (I am fully aware that I do this all the time.) The past couple of weeks have been insane (both in a good way, and in a more “I just realized that the Insane Clown Posse is an actual, popular thing.) But throughout it all I kept thinking-this would be something cool to write about, oh I’d like to think this through with some typing, could this make me internet famous?
So instead of rewriting my script, I’m going to write a quick Cliffnotes/Sparknotes (both are very useful-love, awful stupid student) of some of the thoughts that have gone through my head since my last post. Both for you (imaginary readers, that according to analytics are not that imaginary) and me so that I can remember to write more about these things.
GERONIMO (Just watched Doctor Who, they are definitely trying to get Matt Smith to use the 11th Doctor’s catchphrase more-we may reach Tennant levels if the current trend keeps up.)
1. I was lucky enough to be chosen as the student playwright for Activated Art at the Ackland this year. I got to work with some amazing professionals, go through a very similar process that many working playwrights go through (8 drafts and counting,) meet inspiring people, and get to see my play performed in front of me. The entire process was amazing, unimaginable and strange. I will definitely go into much more detail as to how everything went but the biggest thing that I got out of this experience is this. Creativity is scary.
When your ideas are still in your head there is a certain amount of control. You can still manipulate the ether, shine your light into the unknown darkness, hide from the scary bits, and keep mulling it over.
But the moment you say it aloud, the moment that other people can hear, can see, can feel what you are thinking-any semblance of control is gone. And that is scary. Just as terrifying as those moments when you question personal loneliness, as exhilarating as when your fingers brush against your crushes, as encompassing as when you dive straight into the deep end. It was overpowering and there were days where I left rehearsal seriously considering my current path towards a creative career. Yet I am still here.
2. During those hazier moments I realized how powerful just simple gestures and emotions are. Because it boiled down to just seeing someone genuinely smile at me. It was a beacon in the darkness that I am ever grateful for. And it is addicting-I never really understood the strength of another person. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my crushes, my loves, my unrequited loves that create collapsing black holes in my heart. I just thought it was me, that my silly head created these feelings in the absence of anything really tangible (essentially angsty teen.)
But the emotions that washed over me when I saw that smile, when it was directed at me-because of me. I want that feeling, and I want it forever.
3. Forever is such a silly concept, especially when you connect all of the wibbly-wobbly timey wimey stuff to it. Time is such a strange concept-something that I want to keep exploring especially in context with the human lifespan, “milestone” moments, biological development, culture-essential “what are we meant to do, and when.”
4. This would be even more interesting when you add human relationships to it. Thing I also learned-human relationships-I know nothing, so I need to discover, explore, and investigate.
5. Discover, Explore, and Investigate.
Those three verbs are what I need to constantly keep doing. Learning is important and it is very hard to keep that in context when culture keeps pushing as to just do. How do we make learning a lifelong priority? How do we make it as flexible and adaptable as the human brain/evolution? Why does my current university learning experience make me question everything (and not in the good, whoa the world way.)
6. I suck.
The world is an amazing, glorious place. Filled with inspiration, joy and mysteries. I love that it exists, but I question my place in it. There is a part of me that just wants to blend in-become part of the ecosystem so well that people forget that I’m there. Another part of me wants to be extraordinary-be fascinating, be wanted. I’ve thought about this dichotomy a lot-how culture creates these ideas and expectations for me, but the most that I’ve concluded is-I suck.
I’m going to end on that cheery note because that has been my lingering thought lately, so may it linger in your thoughts a bit.
Perhaps I will elaborate on all these points in the near future, I’d like to. But remember I suck, so I might not.
Talk to you soon blank word document, you devil you.
I’ve been busy (really, I’m not trying to garner attention or sympathy.)
(Perhaps, a little) School, fencing, projects, personal relationships-everything that composes normal life for a student-athlete. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. Knowing that I am doing things that I love to do, and I am (was) good at it.
Even as close as two weeks ago, I was ahead on work-emails were replied to in seconds, things were done and I had some free time. However, now…Well now I’m not so ahead (not that I’m particularly behind.)
What has changed? I’m not entirely sure but I have a hunch.
I don’t really have time for hunches-I have a biology exam tomorrow, another draft of a play to write, sequence 5 of my feature, scheduling to do for my documentary project, scheduling to do for CAN, readings to do for my COMM class, and probably more (nevermind, my collegiate fencing duties, my relationships with people, my personal goals and my vanity.)
Perhaps I’ll talk more about my specific projects and duties. But I don’t really have time for that. I could be writing about a dystopian future right now, instead I am writing about how I am feeling (why I am feeling) in an attempt to right myself for the amount of work I need to do.
The thing is, my hunch at least, that I’m afraid (terrified, paralyzed by) success. Silly, ridiculous, and unfortunate, really.
It’s not that I’m satiated by it-the opposite. The mere taste, the slightest whiff of success makes my brain crave it, my mouth waters and want to grab it (whatever it is) and hold it close to me, squeezing (protecting) it.
Failure has always been my companion (muse?) and when it side steps behind me, behind success, I feel different (anxious.) The drive is still there (stronger than ever.) But the focus disappears, it is as if victory (as fleeting as it is) taints me. Poisons me and I don’t want anymore doses…so I stop.
Success is a strange beast, it fills me with pleasure but it terrifies me. It is never alone, it has friends that torment me. But most importantly (potently,) it makes failure a stranger again. Who was once a friend becomes a stranger, who in the dark becomes an enemy. It is the fear of someone that I knew so well that tinges success, because I know that if I let success through the door failure would follow close behind and stab my in the back. So I open the door for success, linger on the glorious view and just stare.
It doesn’t make sense, it isn’t productive, it is extremely frustrating, and I want it to stop. The issue is how.
Perhaps this post is an attempt to fix my problem. By writing it out, trying to understand it, that I will find the solution. Maybe I will, hopefully I do.
The notion of writing, placing down symbols to represent a thought, an idea (regardless of its truth,) is a strange one-and one that differentiates humans from the many organisms that inhabit this planet. A key question that arises (at least for me) is who is writing for?
Is it for the author? A record of fleeting thoughts so that we can relive what our degenerating brains can no longer properly remember? An enjoyable moment to dump our brains, perhaps understand ourselves better.
Or is it for our peers? A physical manifestation of our thoughts so that we can share them others-but to what end? Communication is the obvious answer, but to communicate what exactly is less so. Is it to gloat? To show others that, yes indeed I have important and revelatory thoughts in this head of mine. Or perhaps to seem aloof, I do not need to complain nor talk to others, the only confidante I need is my pen.
I always had this fantasy that I would keep a diary with all of my deep inner thoughts and feelings, my cool and fantastical ideas that could revolutionize the world-like Da Vinci’s notes. It would be for my own personal use but more importantly (this is a fantasy) when I die (or something tragic befalls me) someone will find my notebooks and would realize that I was a much better person than they had previously thought. I imagine this is my way of being remembered when I’m gone, that I will be hailed as a genius of some sort posthumously (so I wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of fame apparently.)
This caused my earlier attempts at journalling to be pretentious, pompous and just embarrassing. Looking back at those entries do not remind of things to do, instead it just makes me despise how I write when I’m extremely emotionally charged.
Then the Internet became popular and fame was simply a few keyboard touches and a mouse click away. Theoretically your writing could be seen by more people than a book published in the 1880s would ever see. The conundrum grows more muddled with the Internet. Are you writing to sell yourself to an imaginary audience of thousands, or is it still for you? I ventured into this world tentatively writing under pseudonyms and avatars. I tried to cater to audiences while desperately trying to keep showing the digital realm that I am a diverse human being (a girl even!) that was innocently giving them peeks into my mind. I wrote like I wanted to be hired by Gawker Media (initially Gizmodo, then io9,) so I wrote reviews and topical thoughts in the same vein as what was trendy. But constantly second guessing myself because of the nagging thought that “individuality matters! Be an individual you numskull!” So plans of CES coverage, Apple Keynotes, etc. built up until I just didn’t want to do it because Stephen Totillo already it and Brian Lam already shit on Apple for me, who needs copycat posers in a sea of them?
With so many conflicting thoughts I quickly ended up doing nothing but daydreaming about that moment when I will write and immediately become successful and relevant forever.
So what has changed? Nothing. I still constantly worry about what I am writing and why I am doing it. For me or for them (whoever they are)? Does the judgement of the Internet and those that roam it matter? Does the future judgement of history matter? More importantly, does it matter more than your own personal judgement?
The only thing that has changed is that I’ve become more indifferent (some would say savvy, I really wouldn’t.) I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter, that the world continues turning regardless of what I type and what you read. That’s the beauty of the world-it is based on action and inaction, not from symbols on a page nor sounds emitted from vibrating vocal cords. So if the NCAA reads this (which I doubt, but Hi!) or a future employer does, so be it. What I’m writing is a close approximation of how I am thinking right now in time, it is built from the past and will constantly change in the future.
So why do I write? Right here, right now on the Internet? Because I want to become a better writer and that requires practice. Because I want to express myself articulately to myself (and perhaps to you, Reader.) Because I want people to read this and understand one aspect of one person living in the same (maybe different, hello aliens!) world. Because maybe I’ll get famous and rich. Because it’s time for me to act and do something, to possibly alleviate some regret and enjoy myself.
I’ve begun writing this post (or at least a version of this post,) at least 25 times.
Well exams are here @ school and I’m starting to break out…Productivity is down, so hoping for some inspiration that will start up the engine again. In English one day, we were assigned to write an essay about exams (coincidently because a friend and I had made a presentation to the faculty about exams…) This is what I submitted sans any real editing. I’ll get to editing and the real juicing up in my free time (which might be in about 5 years…)
Bringing Education and Evaluation to the Future
Education is important. The importance of an education is so high, that they United States government spends 46.7 billion dollars on the Department of Education. Without it, we would not be the world that we are today; we wouldn’t know how to find the derivatives of numbers, or how to properly use the semi-colon. Without it, we wouldn’t know how to build a car, let alone drive one. The absolutely amazing fact is that we wouldn’t even be sent back to the Dark Ages because even in 450 AD they had schools. Education is important-but is testing necessary?
The very first standardized test was used in the Han Dynasty in China in 206 BC, to correctly evaluate the abilities of men attempting to enter the government. These imperial examinations covered music, archery and horsemanship, arithmetic, writing, and knowledge of public and private rituals and ceremonies. Further along, military strategies, civil law, revenue and taxation, agriculture and geography were added to the list of subjects. Participants of these set tests were expected to properly perform and know everything in front of proctors, as well as amid hundreds of their peers. Crowds would anxiously wait for their results, chatting nervously to each other, sweating as they wait to find out if they passed. This type of evaluation began to spread and eventually was adopted in many other countries, including the United Kingdom, big sister to the United States. This type of system has lasted for more than 1300 years.
In 1300 years, we have harnessed electricity, invented ways to fly through the sky, created pathways across the globe, and flown to the moon. Yet we are still testing in the same way as our Asiatic ancestors?
A system that has worked for more than 1300 years demonstrates that it works. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. And exams are necessary, without them we wouldn’t know what we need to work on, both as students and teachers. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to properly evaluate the entire education. Without them, we wouldn’t be properly preparing students, the future generations, for what is out in the real world; life is just a giant test and an A+ is thriving and surviving. But is life the same as it was 1300 years ago?
With a new world, there are new challenges that must be prepared for. A test based in the 540 BC doesn’t exactly prepare for 2010 (horseback riding and archery really are not that vital in the digital age.) We have adapted to new security threats, new information about the environment, and even the problem of properly sending human beings to space. Why not adapt testing too?
Currently testing often calls for some sort of extreme standardizing that was unheard of in the Han Dynasty. Each subject back in the Han Dynasty would take 24-48 hours to complete, allowing for proper evaluation of the participant. Now, three hours are given to comprehensively show the understanding of weeks of material. This causes undue stress that often results in “superficial” learning aka “cramming.” This does not properly evaluate the education received by the student, which is unfair both to the student as well as the teacher. However, it must be noted that these types of tests do lend to certain subjects, specifically depending on the purpose of the course. If the purpose of a history course is to know who does what and when, then a multiple choice scantron is absolutely acceptable.
What this new digital, globalized world now opens so many new doors of opportunities in not only learning and teaching, but also testing. Studies have shown that there is an increase in scores, when students are allowed some access to computers and computer-based instruction. Furthermore, other studies have shown that student’s attitudes towards learning and their own self-concept improved consistently when technology was involved. It isn’t just about technology but advances in teaching, for example the use of modeling, could be implemented and adapted towards better testing.
This school has always had a tradition of innovation and excellence, why not take the resources that we have and find a new and better way to soar into the future?