i talked to James at some point about living an american life, think it was the day i returned from detroit.
it really hit me that day when we were driving to Connecticut lime rock park.
driving on a narrow route allowed us to bypass lots of houses, ponds, forests.
it led me to think about all the crazy things that people do (for me at least), skinny dipping in ponds under the moonlight, sex in forests, getting lost in the woods.
on the way back from detroit, everyone contributed and talked about their childhood stories.
nick, our powertrain lead, ran four football fields home when he was bleeding all over his mouth.
they all told stories which are funny looking backwards but required some kind of courage when they actually happened to you
the thing about the forests and the ponds that hits me is how much freedom you have.
the important point is not quite the actual liberty of having a lot of space to work with but it is the sort of things that happen to you.
as a young kid, you are bound to a bit more reckless and as a result break legs, get into some frightening experiences.
going through events like these trains a specific characteristic.
i wasn’t able to put it to words for a very long time but recently i’ve found a good word for it: grit.
grit relates to tenacity, survivability, willpower. it relates to how much of a beating you can take before you give up, but grit here applies to all settings whether from making a friend to finishing a thesis.
i think americans have more of it. they just have more life experience in getting into shit and getting themselves out of it.
we are more sheltered, our playgroups, our classes, everything is done to make something in the future less painful, less difficult.
grit is very different from an asian concept of academics.
this is where this whole conversation is leading, asian values.
i mean i’ve never thought in the past 18 years of my life that anything is worth unlearning. i’ve always believed that whatever you experience and learn in life, it’s part of you that is your identity.
but after reading this article from new york magazine http://nymag.com/news/features/asian-americans-2011-5/ about his opinion of asian-american, i’m starting to rethink my view.
i dun know. it’s just an interesting way to look at the whole issue
i guess that’s just like a final message that i felt after this whole year at brown
i’m just going to do a recap on my year at brown
I had major culture shock. That’s because I’m from hk and I’m super conservative. It took me a long time, until this past march before I finally felt comfortable. I took some pretty demanding classes both semesters, because I haven’t decided between cs and engineering yet. I did trombone private lessons and wind symphony first semester. I was conservative so I ended up closing into my tiny hole. Schools tough, everyones smart, professors are trying to challenge you. You have to learn how to balance all of this with competing priorities in ur life. I didn’t know how to do that and ended up going into a period of depression and overworking. Second semester I did 5 classes all for grades and I also joined this engineering car team which took up a lot of time. So it more like taking six classes. I started overworking which got worse up until spring break. Then I realized I should enjoying life more. So I worked less, grades suffered a bit, cut back on that engineering team and had some pretty awesome final weeks at brown. Its difficult but u will end up sorting out your priorities in freshman year. People are awesome here. U’ll make the most long-lasting friendships here in four years. Don’t just work all the time like me.
If u went to college knowing how to do everything already, university would be kinda pointless. Its all about failing and learning as you go.
if anything, i think i ended up making closer friends than i expected. i thought that i had fucked up and not done the right thing and it would be impossible to catch up and make friends again. and somehow my friends just really welcomed me. they commented on how my attitude changed but they’ve really been warm and welcome.
my last night at brown was pretty awesome. literally, last night at stanford was pretty epic. i miss my hallway already, everyone, each in their own uniqueness. being at stanford now also makes me realize that university is epic wherever you go.
i remember saying as a joke to cynthia when she asked me how my year was. i was like not good, cause i wasn’t 46k better of a person. i said it half jokingly but that number’s pretty real and realistic. it’s definitely hard to quantify what all this means. if anything, i think academics don’t matter much no more. what matters, as i said before, is grit. and if i’ve become 46K more valuable it’s cause i have 46k more grit than i had a year ago.