Tag Archives: learning

A Job is Not a Person

Sometimes I idealize people. For example, as someone who cares about social justice and the arts, I often assume the best about organizers, writers, people who work in social justice-related nonprofits, etc. I tend to think that people whose careers involve fighting oppression or writing beautiful essays will possess corollary qualities, like deep self-awareness, a knowledge of how systemic oppression manifests in their interpersonal relationships, and a general compassion for those around them. My idealization reminds me of how some people I know idealize therapists as like, super emotionally intelligent, all-knowing seers of the human soul.

As a therapist who’s seen a few therapists for my own mental health, I’m here to tell you that some of us suck at our jobs. Continue reading



Filed under Personal, Society


I swallow cold air and bite frosty wind, leaping out of my dorm for a late night jog. Wearing a thin jacket and shorts, I let darkness envelop me and whisk me away from my essay due in two hours. As my feet pound the pavement, each thump in rhythm with some trashy pop song, an old friend assaults me, appearing from the shadowed buildings of colonial Williamsburg. He asks if I’m really making the most of my time at college, if I’m really doing all that I can, if –

A tree branch trips me and I hit the ground with a thud. Continue reading


Filed under Personal

Sweet City Lights

It’s 12:45 AM, and I feel my feet pound on the pavement.

Thirst took me here, outside of my Chicago hotel room, and onto the street with a friend. We tried to obtain water through room service, but they stated that they wouldn’t have any until 4 AM. When my friend and I asked where the nearest location we could buy some was, a helpful employee told us that there was a gas station five lights down.

So we left. Outside, the frigid air forced my arms to clutch across my chest, and the black skinny jeans and sweatshirt I wore were not enough to keep me warm. I wasn’t freezing, exactly, but the cold made me want to cover myself with a ton of thick blankets. My friend who accompanied me wore nothing but jeans and a white T-shirt, and he managed to muscle through without complaining.

As we walked, completely alone – aside from a few cars passing by – he began conversation and I followed. Continue reading


Filed under Personal


My family members tell me that when I was little, my mom refused to change my diaper. My dad did, sometimes, but usually my grandmother would. Even at a young age, my grandmother was stepping in to provide the support I needed, when my mom wouldn’t dare to do so.

My mom made me cry a lot when I was little. Almost every day. I remember all the little mistakes I made, the endless missteps of an inexperienced toddler, always met with a sharp hand or stinging words. I don’t think I would have survived if it hadn’t been for my grandmother, who has lived with my family since the day I was born.

Every time my mother abused me, I would run to my grandmother. Continue reading


Filed under Personal

Should Students Be Paid To Get Good Grades?

This topic – whether students should receive payment for obtaining good grades – came up in my Psychology class a few months ago, and it got me thinking.

I’m not the brightest guy on the block, but when it comes to academics, I admit that I do decently. So if someone were to propose to me a plan in which I would receive money for my straight A’s and cash for my SAT score, why not? In this economy, any amount could go a long way. As a high school junior, college is coming up for me in a couple of years, and it’s not like the cost of tuition is becoming cheaper. But while one may be saving for future expenses by receiving money for their academic achievements, they could be losing something far more important in the process – their intrinsic motivation. Continue reading


Filed under Society

My Pants and My Mom, Part 2 (the Happy Anti-Ending)

This takes place roughly two days after this incident. My mom and I are in the car; she is driving, and I am in the passenger seat.

“Did you see your AP Psychology grade?” she asks.

I shake my head.

“You have a 99%,” she says,” I bet you’re at the top of the class.”

“Teachers love students who work hard,” she goes on,” I’m sure it brings your teacher great happiness to have a student who works as hard as you do.”

I nod. Usually, when I’m with my mom, I don’t speak. Not because I’m afraid, though that is the case some times, but because that’s just how it is. She talks. I listen.

“I saw some people on the red carpet,” she says. I assume she is referring to the Hollywood stars.

“They wear black pants with white shirts like you wanted,” she says,” when I saw them, I thought, maybe you do have some fashion sense.”

The infamous black pants. Perhaps I will post a picture of me wearing them.

Continue reading


Filed under Personal

My One Resolution For 2012

“What’s your most impressive accomplishment?”

That’s the question one of my tennis coaches asked me a few days ago. Unsurprisingly, I stood there, speechless, unable to answer. What is my most impressive accomplishment? How am I supposed to know what is truly impressive? In fact, what can I even consider an accomplishment?

Was it my writing and maintaining a blog, like he suggested? Of course I love this blog, and I would say that it is one of my most impressive accomplishments, but I’m not sure if it’s the most impressive accomplishment. I don’t think my parents would be that proud of this blog. They would probably say the straight A’s I garnered sophomore year are my biggest feat – but aren’t they just grades? I worked hard to get them and yet, many people attain straight A’s, some without even trying.

Continue reading


Filed under Personal

Grades vs. Learning… and Lots of Self-Inflicted Insults

A few hours ago, I opened my email and immediately wanted to cry.

I love to learn. I know, I’m a nerd, but I do. The power to attain knowledge and the ability to use it are privileges I am eternally grateful for. So why, then, did I feel this pain upon seeing a B+ as my Physics grade? Why do I care about something as insignificant as a letter grade, something that is not even indicative of what I’ve actually learned in class?

I never was very good at art.

To put it simply, it’s because I want to get into a good college. Just like a plethora of my sleep-deprived, academically-obsessed friends, I want an A. Sure, I’ve been raised by my family to strive for great grades, yet there’s also an intrinsic motivation inside of me that makes me obsessed with earning the highest mark. It’s like getting a job – for some, the salary is all that matters. Yet now I’m beginning to realize that that’s not all there is to it.

So many of my peers are smart and intelligent. I know some of the brightest people – not because they’re going to go to Ivy League colleges, but because I can tell that they truly think about things. These people may not necessarily be those on the straight-A honor roll (though there are plenty that are), yet they are individuals I enjoy spending time with regardless.

There are others, though, that do get straight-A’s – and may or may not be intelligent. I know people who have cheated just to get that A, who have plagiarized or committed some other violation of the honor code that would cause their teachers to shake their heads in shame.

What I’m getting at is this: grades are grades. Just like how gays are gays. That’s all there is to it. I can complain, whine, moan and fail to take advantage of all the resources I have around me, or I can keep my head high and do my best to learn.

Of course I’m not going to start skipping school to or doing anything crazy, because in a way, grades do matter. The current education system is shaped in a way that getting good grades is essential to getting into a good college, and getting into a good college is necessary (for most of the time) for those who want to really learn and achieve success. I know that my goals in life require a college degree. But grades are, well, grades, and not the only factor in an college application or in life.

I know, what a wonderful way to start the weekend – ranting on the internet. If only I had friends. But hey, at least I’ve learned (ha, get it? the post is about learning? I wish I was funny…) something through this. In fact, my English teacher told us that some people write to learn. Maybe one of those people is me. But then again, that would imply that I’m special… which I’m not.

I think I'll use Paint images more often from now on. Hm.

All jokes aside, what do you guys think of grades vs. learning? I know there are some of you out there who are GPA obsessed-freaks worrywarts like me. Now that I think about it, grades can help motivate students to learn, though that’s not always the case. Opinions please!


Filed under Personal, Society