This Culture

Today, I was washing the dishes when my mom’s phone rang—I yelled her name, and she came to pick it up. It was Mrs. Q. Aw, they haven’t talked for like a year—they’re catching up! I thought. My mom always takes calls through speaker phone, so as I returned to scrubbing a particularly stubborn spot on our wok, I heard the words “two honors programs at UT.” Uh oh. I should have known better. This wasn’t just any how-are-you-doing call. This was a Kid Call.

A Kid Call is characterized by a very, very brief greeting (in this case, less than 10 seconds)—perhaps a long, drawn out “Heyyyyy”—followed by a question about your kid—in this case, “Where did Isabella get into college?” Two honors programs at UT. I don’t really know what they are, haha. I haven’t really been keeping track of what she’s doing. “But where did she apply early action?” Harvard! She didn’t get in, haha. (It continues.) “Ohh. Where else is she applying?” “Who from Westlake got into Harvard?” “What about Stanford?” “Wow, Westlake’s gotten so much worse, they used to have so many more Harvard admits and Stanford admits.” (N.B. This dialogue is translated from Chinese.)

I remember now. The last time Mrs. Q called was in February 2017. She had seen my name on the list of the 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards winners and called my mom to ask how I did it—perhaps my parents had hired a writing coach, in which case could they please tell her the name and phone number of the coach? Or perhaps I took after-school lessons, which perhaps might suit her son as well? This was also a Kid Call.

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How To Enter Senior Year

(Disclaimer: I speak recognizing my place as an incredibly privileged, upper-middle-class student. More on that later.)

1. With trepidation.

Because we’re human. And we’ve been waiting for this. I know that for me, I often think, “I’m never going to be 30,” or “Yeah right, people get married, but that’s never going to be me.” Throughout middle school, I lived in an “I’m never going to be a high schooler: that’s crazy.” Throughout high school, I’ve convinced myself, “I’m never going to be a senior—never going to reach the college application stage and face those beasts. That’s crazy.”

Here I am.

Time works real weird when we quantify and personify it like that, and so here I am, much too quickly, near the end of my high school career. Tomorrow is going to be my last first day. This is going to be my last HS fall semester. It’s mind-blowing to think that I’m at the ’12’ in ‘K-12,’ and simultaneous with the thrill of being on top and in sight of the tunnel-end light… is some variation of fear.

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Thought on Race on the 4th of July

Imagine 3rd-grade me, little quiet skinny Asian girl, sitting cross-legged in the Music Room, feeling snarky.

Now, listen to the chorus of this song:

 

Now, imagine little me singing (quietly and self-satisfied-ly):

“Me, and me, and me and me and me and me and
Me, and me, and me and me and me!
I am part-American, part-American, part-American, me and me!
Part-American, part-American, part-American! Me and me!”

 

***

 

The second great wave of immigration from Europe was largely comprised of Irish and German immigrants. The Irish tended to settle in large cities on the eastern seaboard, looking for low-paying menial jobs in factories and such since they were generally very poor. The Germans, on the other hand, tended to settle more inland, since they came with a good amount of money. Low-income Americans, black and white, hated the new Irish because they were making the job market much more competitive. They were generally more ok with Germans, according to APUSH.

Today, do you know the difference between the Irish-Americans and the German-Americans (or whatever-percent Irish/German someone is)? Do you care?

Maybe I’m late to this realization, but here’s my thought. The same is going to happen to Chinese people in America. Continue reading

Diversity My Butt

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/24/us/politics/supreme-court-affirmative-action-university-of-texas.html?_r=0

Okay. My first problem is this—why on earth is a Caucasian girl complaining about being a victim of affirmative action? Isn’t affirmative action, at least at the top schools, all about keeping a diverse culture, i.e. preventing a yellow/brown takeover, i.e. keeping a white majority? According to dad, the people most hurt by affirmative action, in order: 1) Asian males, 2) white males, 3) Asian females, 4) white females… and then everyone else benefits. I’m just having a hard time believing that Fisher was rejected solely based on her race. I don’t know. Maybe she was.  Continue reading

Education Revelation

If you know me, you know I’m picky about my grades. If you really know me, you know I’m stressing out about sharpening my ends into something Harvard and the likes might notice (i.e, becoming world class at something or another. You want a really depressing article? Here’s one: http://blog.prepscholar.com/how-to-get-into-harvard-and-the-ivy-league-by-a-harvard-alum)

Actually, if you really, really know me, you know I easily get sad about small things, e.g reading about Ivy League colleges. But more on that another time.

I had a revelation about education the other day. Continue reading