Discover more from The Journey of Emily Fan
Selected Thoughts From High School
A lot of things didn’t make sense to me in high school, and oftentimes I would pose questions and put my thoughts on Facebook.
Is it possible that people are neither good or bad, but that they only have a perception of what they deem important?
For instance, greedy people may put a disproportionately large importance on material possessions. Cheaters may put a disproportionately large importance on success. In contrast, selfless people may prioritize helping others and people of integrity may prioritize moral values over success.
What does this mean to us? What should our priorities be?
Let me just accept myself for who I am and acknowledge that even though I accept myself, I can be much better than I am right now.
We judge ourselves based on our past achievements and failures. My past achievements and past failures are in the past. That, I cannot change however much I wish I could. I shall simply work in the present for the future.
I'm used to a system where I rely on an authority's opinion. In school, how the teacher grades us is "how well we do in the class." At home, we need parental consent for many activities whether it is signing a field trip permission slip or money to buy stuff.
But life will not always be this way. (And even now, I shouldn't simply rely on the opinions of authorities.) When I get out of school and move out of the house, these people will be farther from my reach.
Screw those "you can't vote yet so you aren't mature enough to do [insert something I want to do]" or "a good kid is one that listens to parents (100% of the time)"
On the surface, I don't believe the above statements but it seems as if I act upon them.
Who said that I have to mold myself into someone who blindly listens to others? Who said that because I have less life experience that I must be wrong? Who said that because everyone else says I'm wrong then I'm actually wrong?
When UBER started out, everyone was skeptical. No one imagined that people would be comfortable riding cars driven by strangers. When they asked money from investors (the "authority" people here), they were rejected repeatedly [some astronomical stat]. Look at who they are now.
Who am I if I don't believe in myself? Who are you if you don't believe in yourself?
People say to be yourself. What does being yourself mean?
I mean, I can be pretty crazily silly and pretty crazily serious. For a school project, I serious considered putting Spanglish and drinking water as my talents until the teacher disapproved. Yet sometimes I can just be super duper focused on my work and try to avoid as many distractions as possible.
What if the seemingly meanest person you ever met becomes the nicest person ever once you start to know that person? What if the seemingly most confident person has many insecurities hidden behind this mask?
What if everyone is just super dynamic and all we see when we meet them is just the tip of an iceberg? What if everyone is just everything, but they just haven’t developed the other side of themselves?
What does being yourself mean? Pt 2.
Is it having a set of core characteristics or habits--good or bad--that end up defining who you are that when combined together, they become something unique due to probability (as in say 1/8 of the world likes pizza, and then 1/2 are honest, 1/20 like math, and you are all of the above + more, meaning that the probability of a person with those characteristics are so low that it becomes "unique")?
Isn't it possible that people can become someone completely different even if a core characteristic or habit has been a part of them their entire life?
How many times have you heard of the quote “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”? Yet I bet that you probably have missed important shots simply because you haven’t tried.
I talked to someone today and the conversation brought new ideas.
What is the purpose of doing if we are perfect? Doesn’t it take away the exhilaration of success?
But why do I fall prey to the fear of failure? This is something that I hope to change today.
Let’s say that I’m sad. Then I might think I ought not be sad. But then I still would be sad. Right?
A day (or two or more or less) later…
Somehow happiness happens.
I guess being sad made me happy cuz like that’s how life works.
Maybe I should feel happy the next time I feel sad because what is life if I’m never sad? What would happiness be anyway? Well, if it’s possible to feel both at the same time. XD
Part 1: The world has an ugly truth. You do not know about it.
Part 2: You learn about the ugly truth.
Part 3: The world still has the ugly truth much the same. Would you change? Why?
In the past week, I listened to a podcast about a person who died from terminal cancer, finished a book about someone who died from terminal cancer, heard about someone my dad knew who also happened to die from cancer… (they were all <60 died="" old="" p="" they="" too="" when="" yrs="">:( )
I used to think it was really easy to die. It’s still not hard.
My parents would tell me that I could get run over by a car. Kidnapped. Shot. Maybe I’d get sick and die…
It’s funny how when I was younger, I wondered if I would live past ten. Yet I’ve lived so much longer. Somehow I don’t feel grateful enough.
It’s almost been eight years after I turned 10, and the average life expectancy is about almost 80 in the US. If I were average (and I strive to be more than average), my life still has a long way to go.
My parents told me that every moment I spent crying was a moment that I could be happy. Is that so?
Being alive is a miracle, but what does it mean to be alive?
Jealousy is powerful, yet jealousy is a curse.
Are we jealous because we see that we have the ability to be more and to be better, and in some instance see someone as an exemplary of who we can be but fail to be even though we try too be better (and fail) throughout our lives?
And what does it feel like to hear the anti-jealousy stories of people being mean (and perhaps murdering each other) due to jealousy while feeling jealousy? Is it perhaps shameful?
In our lives, there are indeed amazing people (and of course not amazing people). What does it feel to lump yourself into the category "less amazing" while feeling jealous? To what extent does jealous encourage us to be better rather than put ourselves down?
But why does it matter so much to dwell upon how to be "better"? Is "best" like approaching an asymptotes on a graph, impossible, yet such a clear "landmark" that we aspire to land on, that the function tries so hard to reach?
Is happiness more important or getting as close to "best" more important? Is happiness included in "best"?
I am both curious and not curious.
I feel like when I am at some place, with someone whether it's at the doctor's place or in a chemistry class or what not, I ask questions, I wonder why, I want answers.
But when I go home, I rarely do something. Maybe I have this implicit fear that it'd take too long, take too much energy, waste materials. I don't know but I end up feeling like I do nothing at home.
Today, I did something different. Someone told me that rubber dissolves in oil and I said that I wanted to try it out a two weeks ago, but I didn't until today. I got some oil and put a rubber band in it.
It only took a few minutes, yet it took me more than a week to try it.
Is this just procrastination without a deadline?
I was ignorant about a lot of things.
For many things, I was not too interested, so I didn't follow them.
But people talked about things I didn't follow. Pop culture. Celebrities. Fortnite. And sex :/ . And I would sit quietly wondering if I should know these things.
But there is a difference between not being interested and not knowing.
I try to learn now, so I can understand the world. Maybe what people are interested in are truly interests me. I don't know.
I checked my ACT score last night and was very pleasantly surprised. I thought I bombed it because I didn't finish on time and guessed on a bunch.
But I can't rely on these kind of external factors to keep me happy and going through life. Had I guessed a couple more of the answers wrong, the results would be completely different. That i cannot control and if that happened, I cannot drift into a state of misery (well I can but it would do no good).
So what is the similarity between the two situations? How can I find happiness no matter the results?
Well, I woke up on a Saturday morning and sat through a three hour+ test. Sure, it's something pretty much all high schoolers do, but that can be considered an accomplishment. How many Saturday mornings have I woken up that early? Before the test, I studied. Sure, maybe not as much as I could've but I still did. I don't imagine that feeling great about finishing the Saturday morning could hurt. And if I did fail, I only build up my resistance to failure. I'm not even an adult yet and there's way more to life than just a college entrance test score.
Another thing people say is to keep expectations low. This statement has been quite conflicting to me for quite a while because if I set my expectations low maybe I won't try as hard. While preparing though, I did set quite high goals and arguably high expectations. (As for AP tests, a similar statement can be made.) After taking the test though, my expectations dropped significantly. (For AP's, I'm not going to expect all 5s although I really wanted all 5's and did work towards that.) it seems a little paradoxical to have high expectations beforehand, but low expectations after the test. :/
High expectations did hit me quite hard many times. Many times, I thought I wrote a great essay, but the teacher thought otherwise and I couldn't get over it for a couple of days. Sure, however great I thought I did, I cannot rely on my own judgement. How dangerous can perception be.
Funny. If I don't trust my own judgment then where does my self-confidence go? Perhaps that is a question I need to think about...
As I see the graduating seniors go to some wonderful colleges, I sometimes can't help but feel the dread of college applications even though I just read the post attached below.
Yet how shall I manage to relieve the stress? People say it doesn't matter. People say to not stress about colleges. When we did this activity in a class where people stand in different sides of the room depending on whether they agree/disagree according to some prompt most of the people went to side that disagreed that the prestige of the college mattered.
Perhaps the stress is implicit because at the same time, people talk about the people who get into those top schools as if they are gods. People talk about the people who get straight A's and take the hardest courses as if they are gods.
What if people talk about the people who get the most sleep as gods? The people with the most free time? The most enjoyable life? These aspects of life are as valuable if not more valuable than straight A's or colleges. Wait. Oh no, those people aren't exerting themselves in high school and will fail life of course. Or will they?
People seem to say that it is good to be optimistic. What is optimism really?
Is it thinking that the future will be bright? If so, then how reliable is it? How many times have I had great dreams for the future or had such excitement for the future but it just didn’t go that way? Pessimists can say that this way of thinking is unrealistic and in many ways it is.
So is being optimistic thinking something good comes out of every event no matter how it goes?
Some people want recognition. I fall victim to such a desire.
Yet the thing is when I do get recognition… I sort of reject it. Compliments from other people, what others say about me. It can help get me a little dopamine, but recognition is never certain and always sort of empty...
It’s almost like a drug and it can be quite dangerous. Just thinking about the way people ruthless fight to get recognition by this college, the way people express themselves on social media, the way people wonder how others will think about them makes it seem like so.
I think part of the problem I have is that I’ve gotten my identity from others. Some people say I’m hardworking, others say that I’m lazy… gosh I don’t know who I am!
Recently someone reminded me of this quote “Never forget who you are. The world will not. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
Maybe I need to know how I am in order to not forget who I am and take pride in it. Because how others view me is not something I have in control. Because how others will describe me is not who I am but what they think I am.
Generally speaking, I care about going to a nice college and care about grades. Sometimes it gets to the point that it becomes toxic. (Luckily it is better this year.) Sure, the top ranked colleges might have more resources and stuff, but it’s not like I’m going to fail life and get doomed for the rest of my life if I don’t get in.
So what is it all about… the competition to get the flawless report card, get accepted into the best colleges?
Now I think about it some of it might be attributed to bragging rights/feeling good about oneself. Winning a rally or some frisbee game doesn’t matter much, yet people can try sooo hard sometimes to the point it’s unnecessary and when they win… you’ve seen it.
So how much do grades matter? How much does college matter beyond this competition to be the best and or “win"?
College and winning rallies, are they just for bragging rights?
If the health of our planet earth is more important than my grades, then why do I spend more time studying?
Well there are other if statements to be made...
If health (mental and physical) is more important than grades then why do I stress and sacrifice sleep?
I know this feeling can change and it will... I know that I'm probably not the only one who feels like this.
Sorry for this rant. :P
I am inclined to feel bad when others say that some test is easy or some class is easy when it really isn’t for me (ex: Core).
Easy is subjective. Easy is an opinion.
We can't stop others from saying something is easy as much as those words can hurt. (It can be argued that it’s their right of free speech.)
But what I can do is to acknowledge that yes, those are the opinions of others and it’s ok that some things come easier to them and it to me. And perhaps realize that although they may not have to work as hard, those that do have to work know what it’s like to be resilient so they are prepared in times of hardship.
So don’t feel bad when someone says something is easy and it isn’t for you because they are missing out on a chance to become stronger and more hardworking. (^applies to me too)
PS: Some things come easier to me than to others too so it evens out. XD
At many points in my life I've wondered: why am I doing ____? what is the purpose of ____?
When I don't have the answer to that question, I kind of stop caring about that ____ whether ____ is math, school, sports, etc and I kind of give up and stop doing ____.
And sometimes when I question the practicality of things, I feel like I waste my time when I could be getting myself to do more "useful" things like getting better at ____. But the questioning is something that persists in my mind and so is the feeling that something that I may be doing is "useless."
How shall I deal with that feeling?
I think I have to understand that perhaps what I gain from doing ___ may not be the ___ itself but the experiences as a result of doing ___.
I think I have to understand that the "usefulness" of ___ can be discovered by going deeper and exploring the ___. Just as I shouldn't judge people too quickly, I shouldn't judge ___ too quickly.
Or maybe... just enjoy doing ___ without thinking about why I'm doing it.
Any thoughts or feelings?
PS: so why am I using ___? XD
I am not where I want to be right now. But perhaps where I am now is where I need to be now.
Why is it so easy to judge people before understanding who they truly are? It is something I've done too many times.
I like (edit: live) in an illusion and that illusion is my mindset. Who I am is determined by my mindset.
I look at myself, and I see how I mindlessly pursue that letter grade on that report card without giving much thought as to what it may lead to. I know that there are better ways to spend my time on studying something that I may forget a year later, maybe even a month later, maybe even a minute later. I know that there is something better to do than busy work (aka homework).
Even though I believe that there is something better to do, a lot of times I end up wasting time (Facebook >:() instead of doing something better. It sounds depressing, I shall learn how to change this…
We are all human. It is ok for me to make mistakes; it is ok to make a fool of myself. These are things I do every single day. Multiple times. Actually I mean multiple + multiple times. Jk multiple * multiple times. No, multiple ^multiple times. (I’m being real extra here.) Anyway, the point is I’ve done too many stupid things in my life (and so have others).
And sometimes, when I look at some people, they seem like gods to me. The logical solution is to acknowledge that they aren’t, but I often fail to see their imperfections. Another solution is to look at them as a god and cry about how much less of a god I am, but that doesn’t do me any good. Right now, I trying to look at them as a sort of inspiration because what they’ve achieved is what's possible.
Me: Tells other ppl to not stress
Me: Stress a lot
Why is it that ppl don't like to follow their own advice?
Here is my belief:
People are not lazy. "Lazy" peeople just don't care enough to work.
Emotions are irrational, but manipulative. What would it be like if we operated on logic rather than an strange mix of emotions and logic combating each other?
Excuses demonstrate why my worst enemy might just be myself.
What if people told you that the fact that you are alive on this planet means your life if worth living?
There is a difference between being selfish and taking care of yourself.
But like many pieces of advice, this one is easy to say, but not so easy to follow.
Junior year is the year to learn how to prioritize certain classes. At some point a 2/5 on an assignment doesn't matter anymore. Forget trying to get 100%s 100% of the time! It just doesn't matter...
When people believe that they are the only ones to suffer, they suffer more. When people realize that other people are suffering with them, they bond.
is this true?
I don't understand how people can survive being on instagram every single day. Edit: I think I'm being silly saying the above, partly because I manage to use Facebook everyday and partly because I know that stalking people can be very entertaining.
I reinstalled instagram then deleted it today. I was tired of seeing the ridiculous number of followers everyone had; if I were more honest I would say that I was tired of feeling jealous. The act of deleting instagram may be an act of weakness or an act of defiance. Time will reveal the results of the decision.
it would be interesting to hear your opinions if possible.
ok I think I made this sound way too formal than it needed to be.
Something for me to think about: Don't dread over the things you can't do, for doing so will cause you to overlook possibilities you have now.
Worrying does not good; it's doing what matters. Yet I always fall into the trap of worrying. That "always" must change.
SAVAGELY AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN:
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. –John Lennon