Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekend Blog Post? Check.

Sweats on? Check. I am unable to focus on homework when I am wearing jeans in the comfort of my own house. You will rarely see me in jeans while I am at home, there's no need to wear them. No one is gonna see me, so I might as well dress as comfy as I want to. Who cares if I look like crap? On go the sweatpants and sweatshirt.

Coffee in the mug with black polka dots on it? Check. It always takes me forever to write something, and I like to have coffee to keep me awake in case I end up working late into the night. I drink regular coffee with some skim milk. It's bitter, and not my favorite, but I figure it's better than loading it with pounds of half and half all the time. Drinking coffee at night may not be the healthiest choice. But...oh well.

Phone on silent? Check. I already get distracted very easily; I hate this about myself. Almost every night I get mad at myself for not using my time wisely. I could gain many more hours of sleep if I were able to focus. It's a bad habit. There are just way too many distractions, and I'm unable to tune them out. I really need to learn how to get over this and get more sleep.

Heated blanket? Check. I get cold very easily, and I like to feel cozy when I'm writing. I don't have a preferred spot to write, just as long as it is not at a desk. I will do my homework anywhere except at a desk or table.  Frequently, you can find me in my bed typing away on the keyboard of the laptop. If I'm cold, my fingers are cold, and then I won't want to type because I will be looking for something to warm my hands.

Relaxing music on softly in the background? Check. This might be one of the habits that leads me to get distracted easily, it's hard not to sing along. But I just don't like sitting in complete silence. It's eerie. So usually I will be listening to my  "de-stress me" playlist, or whatever other song I am obsessed with at the moment. These things aren't necessities, and they may not even be benefitting me, but they make me feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We need the perfect balance

*The post below may have some contradicting thoughts. I have multiple different feelings towards this topic, and I didn't know how to express them all.

The day has come. You're sitting in class, waiting for your test to be passed back when you hear "Crap. What the heck? Oh my god! He's just such a bad teacher! This is all his fault. He never teaches us anything. Gahhh! I hate my life." I'll even admit that I've said stuff similar to that before. But really...think about it. Is it honestly the teacher's fault?'s ours.

There are people who walk into school Monday and are like "Holy crap I still have so much homework. I just did not have time to do it over the weekend." And then you hear that they were having sleepovers and hanging out with their friends. Like REALLY? Just stay home over the weekend and catch up. It's not going to kill you. You brought this upon yourself. I don't find it annoying when people have legitimate reasons (such as family emergencies, extracurriculars, stuff like that) but if they are just going out and having fun, then I truly do not care if they are swamped with homework.

I'm not saying that everyone is like that though. In the documentary Two Million Minutes, they portray American students as complete slackers. Yes, there are people like the ones that I described in the paragraphs above. But in reality, the majority of us aren't. Most of us know how to balance our social life and academic life. Our lives aren't focused around school 24/7, but that doesn't mean that we don't care. Also, unlike the students in India and China, we do stuff like volunteering to help our community. This will prepare us for life in the real world, and help others in the process. When they said that American's ranked highest in self confidence, I took that as a good sign--but not in a cocky way. If you feel good about yourself and believe that you can accomplish something, then that will bring you to push for what you want.

Furthermore, I don't think that it is sufficient to just be book smart. If you are socially inept, how are you supposed to go through an interview and get a job? You need a balance of intelligence and self confidence.

I'm not saying that we don't have room to improve though. We can still do much better, and use time wiser. At least I know that I could. I often get distracted while doing homework. And I can see students at Wayzata totally slacking off. If you are failing even the most basic classes, then I don't even know what to say. That takes skill. The students in China and India may not have had as much fun, but I mean let's face it. They have amazing work ethic. Do you wake up in the morning and do 3 hours of homework before breakfast and then multiple more hours of homework and studying  like that girl in India? on a SATURDAY? No? Didn't think so.

 But then again, why would you want to? You see, my opinions are rocking back and forth. I feel like this blog post is kind of wishy washy. I want to side with both sides. For one thing, I feel like the importance of school has been ignored more and more nowadays. It seems that the social scene has taken over in America as a whole.  Students need to buckle up and reconsider the choices they are making. But on the other hand, I don't like how they are bashing the students in America. I dislike how the focus of the documentary was that American students are complete lazy bums and are losing their competitive edge.

Lastly, I'd just like to point some stuff out. As a Chinese American, it bothers me when people laugh at the kids in China or talk bad. To be honest, at first I was embarrassed by watching it. Why did they have to portray China so negatively? Not everyone is a nerd who makes tests for fun. But then I thought about it more, and realized that I should be proud of them. They didn't do anything to me. They didn't do anything to you. They're working hard and what are you doing? Oh yeah. Laughing at them. Not cool. Yes, they could get a life, but oh well. It's just different cultures. And when you point out that they actually didn't get into the school they wanted to go to. Okay, let's think about this. There's almost five times as many people in only the best of the best of the best can go to the top schools that they were trying to get into. If the kids there don't study their butts off then they will have zero chance into getting into any prestigious college, or college at all, because some other kid WILL be studying their butt off, and their score for the college entrance exam will beat the score of the one who wasn't studying. And then they won't be able to go into whatever school. Because in China, colleges base their entire decision off of your college entrance exam score. In the movie, there was probably just some other kid who was smarter than them, so they couldn't get into the college they wanted to. The competition there is one hundred times worse than it is here. So stop making fun of them for doing what they do. They know that to be successful in their country, they need to study like crazy. I'm not saying that they are perfect or that students in America are stupid. But I just needed to let this out and clarify why these teens need to do this. I WISH that I was as smart as them. But I'm not. Not even close. 

All in all though, I feel that this documentary doesn't tell the audience the entire story. It's based off of the situations of only six teenagers and they definitely do not represent every student in their countries. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Embracing my Asianness

In an effort to embrace my Asian heritage, I decided to do a blog post on my vacation in China. I went to China for the sixth time over the summer, and I visited some pretty interesting places while there. Some were touristy...most were not. I spend most of my time with family.

What I hate about China is that there are so many people everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Plus, the traffic was absolutely horrific. A trip that would usually take 10 minutes would end up taking like 30. Take a look.

This is the traffic that I ran into on a daily basis. 

But other than that, I had a pretty good time. I ventured outside of Beijing this time, and went to Shanghai and Suzhou. Let me just me just say, I LOVE SHANGHAI. It is such an awesome city; It's developed and modern and gorgeous. Look at this view. 

Tell me that isn't a spectacular view? Just look at it. Isn't it amazing? Yes it is. 

Hands down, that was the best part of my trip. Even though I only stayed there for like two days. If I ever had to live in China, I would choose Shanghai. While in Shanghai, I also got to go to the FINA World Championships, and watch synchronized swimming. These were NATIONAL teams. The people who would be going to the olympics. I was absolutely in awe. Their timing and rhythm and skill just made my jaw drop. The lifts were impeccable. Look at this. 

How is this even possible?

Also, a place that I went to on a daily basis was starbucks. Something you may not know about me is that I love coffee. If I could wake up early enough in the mornings, I would make coffee everyday. But in China, I was never really in a rush so I was able to get coffee a lot. There's a Starbucks in China. You probably really don't care about this as much, but it was a cool picture, because you can see Starbucks written in english and in chinese. Also, I can't find many of the other pictures I took. Stupid technology.

My favorite thing to do in China though, is to shop and bargain. It's difficult to find a place here where you can bargain, and bargaining can actually be really fun. The shop owners get angry when you set the price too low. And no offense to them or anything, it's really funny. Usually. It can get terrifying when they get angry at you and start yelling. I bargained something down from 160 yuan to 60 yuan. I was so proud. 

I just realized that this blog post went from wanting to talk about Chinese culture, to random bits about my time in China. But oh well. It still works. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Obama's Education Speech

Think about the future. Try hard. Live up to your potential. These are all things that President Obama is trying to get across to students. He uses pathos in the beginning to get us to think. He entire speech is also built around logos. Study hard and you will have a successful future. That's basically what he is saying throughout this speech."You’re this country’s future.  You’re young leaders." And this is true. We ARE this country's future. In a couple decades, some of us will be doctors, lawyers, teachers, and even president. But the only way we can reach that is to work hard.

He uses many different examples to inspire us to create a better future for ourselves, and our nation. For example, we used to be ranked number one in the world for college graduates. And now where are we? We are now ranked sixteenth. That isn't very good. We can do better. He also tells us that  more than 60 percent of jobs that will be available to us in the next decade will require more than a high school diploma. This statistic is used to motivate us to go beyond high school, and finish college.

One of the first things I noticed was that Obama uses words that the average person can understand. This is probably because his main audience is students. His diction is tweaked so that we can follow what he is saying, and really take it in. If he used big words instead of simple ones, much of his audience would not be able to understand, and they would probably just zone out.

Also, Obama connects to the audience by using examples from his own life. This is a type of ethos, and it also makes us, as teenagers, trust him more. He tells us about his own experiences as a teenager and admits that he was never perfect either. Another way he connects to us is by talking about things that relate to us, such as facebook, twitter, extracurricular activities, and so on. This shows that he knows we have a lot on our plate, but we need to learn to balance things.

The way he delivers his speech is also impecable. By being the president, he has already used much ethos. But by the professional way that he is dressed, and the way that he carries himself, makes him seem even more trustworthy and believable. He uses gestures by pointing at the audience, and making movements with his hands when emphasizing a point. His gestures are not over the top though, so they do not distract from his speech.

In addition, he talks about teachers and helps us realize how hard they are working. They aren't just people who talk in class, and then load us with homework. They are people who chose this profession because they obtain satisfaction from seeing us learn. They take pride when they see us work up to our potential, and learn new things. Teachers do a lot more than what we see on the surface.

He also uses repetition to emphasize his point. "You will be the will be the will be the ones...", "I mean..I mean....I mean..." He does this intentionally, to really get this idea implanted in our brains, and get us to do our best in school.

Obama then goes on to talk about how we are not only needed for the future, we are needed now as well. This is an example of pathos. His examples were Will Kim, Jake Bernstein, and Amy Chyao. He uses these examples to show, that we can start leaving our marks in the world right now. We don't have to wait until a decade later. We can start right now.

I know that after hearing this speech, I will try better in school. His speech was extremely motivational, and encourages all students to try hard and fulfill their dreams.