edu(VA)cation pls

Filling the Void

“Sometimes you get tired of riding in taxicabs the same way you get tired of riding in elevators. All of a sudden, you have to walk, no matter how far or high up. When I was a kid, I used to to walk all the way up to our apartment very frequently. Twelve stories.”


The idea of being tired of riding in a taxicab is quite ironic. Most people ride taxis because I don’t want to walk because they’re too tired. In Holden’s case, he prefers doing the latter and walk instead of taking a taxicab which is more convenient and less tiring. But I understand him. Taking a taxi is quite uncomfortable because you’re in a small space enclosed by four doors with a stranger. It’s usually silent, leaving you with the loud thoughts that could be running around in your mind. Being alone with your thoughts is frightening and it forces you to face them and think about it.

On the other hand, walking induces action- walking. Walking helps distract you with your thoughts. When you’re walking, you’re surrounded by sounds and it helps blur out the annoying and pestering thoughts in your mind. You’re distracted by the busy-ness of your surrounding from the busyness in your mind. Holden says that he used to walk up twelve stories to his apartment. This could indicate that his mind was probably filled with undesirable thing and he didn’t want to take care of it.

I honestly feel the same way too. I’m not a confrontational person. I enjoy putting things off until it really affects me. Especially before finals, I’m the most stressed and I start walking my dog more frequently, and for longer walks. I mean I love my dog and all, but it’s usually my dad’s job to walk my dog and I’m at home lounging around or sleeping. When I’m home alone, I usually blast some music, loud enough to be heard around the house, but (hopefully) not too loud for the neighbors to hear what I’m listening to.

I realize now that I don’t enjoy silences, whether it’s comfortable or not, I don’t like it. Growing up the only child, I crave for noise sometimes. I grew up with cousins around my age. But as we grow older, we don’t visit the family house where our grandma lives and takes care of us. We all have school to worry about and exams to study for. We were all very rowdy and it was nice at times. As I grow older, I crave for noise and so to fill the emptiness, I put on music. It honestly could be anything- from podcasts to the news channel to just plain white noise. As long as it help fill the empty void- it was okay. Everything felt like it was gonna be okay.



“I felt so lonesome, all of a sudden. I almost wished I was dead.”

I remember being the prime age of 5, a youngster, with my cousin who’s only a year younger. We spent a lot of time together, and being mischievious kids, we often got in trouble with our aunts.

At some point, my cousin got a hold of my aunt’s night cream for anti-wrinkles and we geniuses thought it was a toy and we scooped a huge amount from the container and dropped it on ourselves and lathered it. My aunt, realizing that the house was too quiet and without the two little rascals in sight, suspected that we were doing something we weren’t supposed to do.

She eventually found us sitting on the restroom counter covered in yellow cream.

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swap the pb with night cream and that was my little cousin

After our grandma and aunt cleaned us up and gave us a lecture, we went on about and I distinctly remember chanting in my mind, “Oh my God, she’s gonna tell mom when she comes to pick me up” And that was exactly what she did.

When I was in the car with my mom and my cousin, it was absolutely silent with the exception of the quiet humming of the engine.

“What were you thinking??” she asked me in chinese

In that moment, I felt like Holden when he was asked about the fight. I felt so alone, even though my cousin was also responsible for it. Because I was the older one and that she asked me, I had to come up with some valid excuse.

I looked out the car window and stared mindlessly outside as if the most interesting thing in the world was right in front of my face.

I didn’t give her an answer.

good break

There are many instances of being disappointed due to the hype that leads up to it. For example, over spring break, I was planning to go out minimally and actually get some stuff done. I was planning to study for exams and catch up on some assignments for school. In the end however, I went out way too much (somewhere in between I sprained my knee) and I slept half of the day off. I stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning and then I would wake up at 12 or 11. I was truly living the good life over my spring break.

Not only did I have expectations, but so did those around me. My friends, family and especially my parents. My friends definitely expected me to go out considering that I was in a drought without any social activities other than club events. My family thought I would study for exams because my parents- being the asian parents they are- love to brag about their only child and how studious she is (hilarious) so they assumed that I would crack open those AP prep books and ACT/SAT prep books and study until my eyes bleed or something extreme like that.


Although I did go out a lot, but I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would because my mind was flooded with my mom’s nagging, which was a foreshadow, and how I should’ve stayed home and studied. My mind goes through an argument with itself. But then I realize, there are some people who are actually studying at home and not living a bit. The whole point was to get out there and go on a break. Not a studying binge. I believe that spring break is what you make it to be. It really depends on your perspective.

Like for my parents, in their perspective, they would want their only child and daughter to study in order to get into a good school and live a good life.



It’s funny how kids from then would often play outside and be social. Elementary kids would spend so much more time outside playing jump rope or hopscotch. Nowadays, kids are stuck indoors learning about something they probably they won’t remember about in 2 years.

It affects these kids negatively by preventing them from developing their mindset and their social skills. According to a TEDx Talk, Peter Gray, research has concluded that five to eight times as many children today suffer from major depression or from a clinically significant anxiety disorder- and I think this is really interesting.

To spread awareness on the lack of playtime that kids these days get, Global School Play Day was estblished. Global School Play Day, or GSPD, is the day where unstructured play is allowed in school.

“Our children don’t need more school. They need less school. Maybe they need better school, but they don’t need more school.” – Peter Gray | TEDxNavesink

My english class participated in GSPD and several people in my class brought in toys and games. My english teacher, Mr. T, brought in several board games as well. I feel that not many students brought in games, but that number can increase if the teacher put a higher emphasis on Global School Play Day or possibly offer extra credit?

I, however, did not bring a game, but instead made waffles for the class. My friend and I coordinated what to bring to make the waffles and it was a fun experience. My friend and I decided to make waffles because we both as children enjoyed being indoors and liked to cook with our families at home. To reminince that, we decided to make waffles and distribute it among the class.

I wished that I could draw with chalk or something crafty, but I only have 2 hands and they were occupied with making waffles. However, I enjoyed seeing various people complimenting on the waffles, especially comments on how the class smelled “homey and cozy”


From this experience, I learned that a break from learning from a textbook or lecture is necessary and learning hands-on and being ale to develop social skills is just as important as learning the slope-intercept formula or the basic components of life. Other teachers should start practicing Global School Play Day and more teachers should realize the importance of a growing mind and molding children’s mind to be more social and creative while exploring the great and vast outdoors.

Knowledge is Power

Some (probably most) kids these days, including myself, absolutely dread about going to class everyday at 8AM in the morning and to go through 6 subjects of education consisting of english, math, science, history, language, and an elective. But what we don’t realize is that we are privileged to have education. Not to mention- Free education. According to various sources, education is essential to everything. If you want something done, you would know how to with education. That is the case with slavery. We know, or should know, that slavery in America in the 1800s was a dark time. Slaves barely managed to escape. But some who did, had the rare opportunity of gaining and education and used that knowledge to escape the wrath of slavery. With the power of knowledge, slaves were able to escape the inhumane treatment and live a life of freedom. A quote by a slaveowner retold by former slave Frederick Douglass perfectly shows this:

“Mrs. Auld to instruct me further, telling her, among other things, that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read. To use his own words, further, he said, “If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master—to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. Now,” said he, “if you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy.””

In this excerpt, Mr. Auld, a slaveowner, tells his wife that giving slaves an education is a harm to both the slave and the slaveowner. It harms the slaveowner because the slave could learn how to retaliate and rebel against the slaveowner. They could teach other slaves how to read and write and with that, they can start an uprising and rebel together. However, this is also a harm to the slave because he realizes that life doesn’t have to be this way. Life does not have to have constant pain and torture as a punishment. With education, they will realize that life can be so much better if they were free.

In fact, an act to prevent slaves from getting an education was passed in North Carolina in 1830:


Whereas the teaching of slaves to read and write, has a tendency to excite dis-satisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion, to the manifest injury of the citizens of this State:


Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That any free person, who shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any slave within the State to read or write, the use of figures excepted, or shall give or sell to such slave or slaves any books or pamphlets, shall be liable to indictment in any court of record in this State having jurisdiction thereof, and upon conviction, shall, at the discretion of the court, if a white man or woman, be fined not less than one hundred dollars, nor more than two hundred dollars, or imprisoned; and if a free person of color, shall be fined, imprisoned, or whipped, at the discretion of the court, not exceeding thirty nine lashes, nor less than twenty lashes.

  1. Be it further enacted, That if any slave shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any other slave to read or write, the use of figures excepted, he or she may be carried before any justice of the peace, and on conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to receive thirty nine lashes on his or her bare back.

III. Be it further enacted, That the judges of the Superior Courts and the justices of the County Courts shall give this act in charge to the grand juries of their respective counties. “

This shows that the majority of people back then were truly worried about slaves gaining an education. They knew the power of education and what it would benefit them in. Having an education means that they could respond back to the slave owner and could possibly know more than the slaveowner him/herself.


Some might mistaken knowledge as knowing how to write and read properly, but to be honest, that’s not the case. What is important is being able to communicate and share the experiences. Take this narrative of a slave for an example:

“Abraham Lincoln freed us by the help of the Lawd, by his help. Slavery was owin to who you were with. If you were with some one who wuz good and had some feelin’s for you it did tolerable well; yea, tollerable well. We left the planatation soon as de surrender. We lef’ right off.”

Even though there were a some spelling errors here and there, we can still understand and most importantly they can understand. They understand that they were finally freed. With some basic knowledge of reading and writing, they could not only understand what is going on with the current politics at the time, but also share their account by writing it and sharing the experience and teaching others about the event.

Many would think that slavery was abolished by the Emancipation Proclamation, however, there are many cases of slavery today. Modern slavery consists of inhumane treatment, human trafficking, and other otrocious crimes. I feel that the way to solve this, is not only give slaves a proper education, but also an education to people who are able to gain one. There should be a larger awareness of slavery that is happening all around the world today. Modern slavery exists from the countryside of Cambodia to our very own backyard, America. According to Forbes:

“Global human trafficking is the second largest and fastest-growing organized crime in the world. There are an estimated 21 million people enslaved today, 4.5 million of which are in the sex industry. Estimates for revenues in all forms of exploitation and slavery total upwards of $ 32 billion a year, and profits from sex slavery amount to nearly $ 10 billion.”

Looking back to the 1800s to today, slavery is a problem and is still a problem today. In my opinion, I think the only way to solve slavery is education. With education, anyone can use that knowledge to help people in need and spread awareness. Slaves can learn so that they can have a better life and be free. We can learn more about slavery so we can prevent that from happening in the future. With the knowledge that modern slavery exists, we can spread awareness that yes, it is a real thing and we need to do everything to stop it from happening and by everything, meaning to teach others.



Soft Skills

I have several cousins who are loved dearly by my aunts. They greet my relatives when they meet, are polite, answer when asked something, you know- the usual. But there are also some other cousins, who are also loved by my aunts, but not as much. They greet my relatives, when their parents tell them to. They do whatever they want to do, even if they’re not allowed to do so. They don’t respond and have that look on their face as if the relative was speaking in some kind of alien language.

I’m close to most of my cousins, and every time I talk to a particular cousin, it infuriates me. It’s not that I hate her or anything. She tells me constantly over and over again that I will never understand her. She tells me that everyone in the family hates her for no apparent reason. I think that’s false because it’s not that they hate her, how can they hate her? It’s her personality and how she’s so pessimistic about everything. I wish that she would stop talking about the negative things and start trying to find the good things.



Growing up as the only child, there has been many instances when I would wonder what it is like to have a sibling. Is it fun? Annoying? I don’t even know.

Then I become friends with people who have siblings. There are many mixed reviews apparently. Sometimes they annoy you, poke you, talk to you, “live”. It’s pretty interesting to observe people and how they treat their siblings, it’s almost like seeing them as a parent.

It’s quite endearing to watch someone take care of someone younger. It’s cute. The innocence and curiosity of the young one and how they ask the most mind-boggling questions ever.

I feel like having a younger sibling is like a step to having children of your own- whether it be a fur baby or an actual baby. If you’re an older sibling, there’s so much responsibility to it. You have to be a good role-model, be responsible for their actions (unintentionally) and be an at-home-best-friend.

“Someday I will have a best friend all my own. One I can tell my secrets to. One who will understand my jokes without my having to explain to them. Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor” (Cisneros 9)

They think that it’s a hassle to have siblings younger that them because they don’t understand things due to their age. To be honest, that’s false. Because they would be saying the same thing to their parent too. If one’s parents asked them to explain to them a new slang, a response would be “You wouldn’t understand” If one’s younger sibling asked them to explain a certain concept, a response would be “You wouldn’t understand”

To me, having a younger sibling sounds fun and profitable. Being an introvert, I don’t need to have someone listen to me because I’ll express it in some other way. I’m a good listener, so I wouldn’t mind listening to a younger sibling’s rant or answering a strange question. It’s nice to listen to someone else’s story from either a younger or older point of view.

As of now though, I have a dog.


Junior year of High School is probably the most nerve-racking year ever- and we’re only two months in. Taking standardized exams, maintaining grades, and thinking about what colleges you want to go to or what you want to major in are ideas that act like a nagging mother in your mind sometimes.

I think it’s necessary to take a break sometimes, whether it’s a nap or a short trip to LA to get your mind off stressful things. Lately, I’ve been thinking about taking a trip to North California or Palm Springs just to be in a car for a long time for resting and breathe a bit. Taking a trip seems nice and all, but to be honest, it’s unlikely for a high school student (not to mention a junior) to do that.

The only time I have to myself nowadays are Friday nights to Sunday mornings. In those 41 hours, I can only do so much. I could take a nap, watch a movie, go on a bubble tea run, shopping, or taking a drive down to San Diego taking mental photos of the nice scenery.


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