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Reflections on the past year

I haven’t made a post yet about my reflections on freshmen year – this is mostly out of laziness and trying to think as little as possible. Also, the fact that I have to cover the entire year in ONE blog post. Anyway, here is my attempt, more than a full month after school has been let out, to make some sort of coherent statement about how I felt, how I changed, blah blah blah ha ha ha

Freshmen year was really cool in the sense that I got to experience and participate in things that I had never done before *cue random list below*

  • reading through all of Jane Austen’s works
    • for your information, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion are my favorite (in that order 😉
  • Learning how to use Indesign and Illustrator
  • Binding my first book in a bookbinding workshop
  • Learning how to weld metal
  • Get set up at a dance for the first time
  • Volunteer at my first Hackathon
  • Study in amazing places

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Aside from the cool experiences, I got to meet and become friends with so many incredible people at Yale – really awe-inspiring, crazy talented people. I made quite a few friends, but in this front, I am still dissatisfied. I feel that there are so many people that I have not yet meet and also a lot of people that I want to know better. I expected to be able to find that one person that I would hang out with the most , that would become my closest friend in college, but I have been unsuccessful in this front. Many of the friends that I have become friends with often have friends that they are closer to and it means lots of third-wheeling. I’ve been trying to improve myself and place myself into situations where I can really get to know more people … anyways, I am very excited for next year.

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This excitement carries over for my extracurriculars! I’m happy with the extracurriculars that I did this year, although for most of it, I spent it thinking that I didn’t do enough. My suite mates and other friends were typically involved in extremely time-consuming activities – sports, dance, improv, etc. but I had a bunch of small things. AIESEC, consulting, VITA. Looking back, I think I actually did do quite a lot and am happy with the friendships that I have made through it. I’m hoping next year that I can dive more deeply into these activities and also get into research, more volunteering, and maybe another job or something.

In terms of my spiritual life, I also struggled. The fellowships at Yale are small and not super strong. I also got somewhat caught between two fellowships, YFA and YSC, and making the change from one to another proved to be harder than I thought as I grew attached to the people that I met. Hopefully, I have made the right decision, but being able to have people like Julie and Hong to keep me accountable through weekly dinners is still very nice. I have been making attempts to learn more and understand more of Christianity and while intimidating and at times unsuccessful, I am continuing this process over the summer.

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Some lessons that I have learned and some things I would like to improve on

  1. Be independent, know what you want and don’t be afraid to say no or yes to things – don’t fall to peer pressure!
  2. try out more things, say yes to hanging out with people
  3. create events yourself
  4. always think of others, small gestures of kindness are so important
  5. stick to a routine – exercise regularly – read Bible regularly – eat regularly
  6. love more than you hate
  7. work as hard as possible and look for opportunities
  8. don’t forget to call mother 🙂 and drink lots of water!

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Heh these are just a couple of things that have been floating through my mind lately in the last month or so as I reflect. It’s not all encompassing and definitely doesn’t capture the amazingness of Yale, but I think it does capture most of the thoughts that I have had and the major points, lowered expectations but high hopes! I am looking quite forward to all the exciting things that will happen in the years to come and will try my best to make it the best years of my life 🙂 I will probably update this and add to it if anything else comes up in my mind, but for those of you that read this far… thanks so much for making it all the way haha ❤

 

Yale Architecture

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– Sterling Memorial Library 2nd floor – one of the first places that I explored at Yale, Sterling has so many strange and unique places to visit even simply just its dimly lit hallways in perfect synchrony

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– Yale Forestry School – I went to visit this place just recently because I heard it was lovely … and yes, it is incredibly beautiful! And everything was so filled with light and wood, it just fit the exact presence of a forestry school.

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– Battell Chapel – This is obviously not the best picture of Battell Chapel, but I thought it was interesting that the icy branches seemed to fit the patterns of the spires on the top of the building. I often take this one for granted as I live right next to it.

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– Tunnel underneath Hillhouse Ave –  I also recently discovered this one when my TA led me to her office from one building to this one, traveling under a total of THREE buildings. I love the creepy industrial secretive feel of this tunnel and also how beneficial it will be the next time it rains 🙂 

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– Alley on Church St – Someone pointed this out to me at the very beginning of this year. It’s really crazy how if you didn’t stop to really take a look, you would probably miss it. Still unsure who did it or whether it was the work of some really amazing street graffiti artist that all three of these buildings decided to keep 

Back from Hiatus? … Hopefully?

Goodness… it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. Yikes.  BUT I’M BACK. And I’m going to try to be better. Better about keeping this blog updated and better in general regards towards the quality of this blog. I’ve actually been a little bit more active on Tumblr, so if you want to step over there to take a look at the things that I’ve been up to in great detail, go for it! In the three months that I’ve been gone though, a lot has happened! Tons and tons of stuff. Here is some of that stuff.

  1. I got into Yale! Not sure if this is already acknowledged, but YES, I am going off to college in a couple days actually. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog about things that I have learned and maybe share some insights, tips, happenings, and interests that occur. Boola boola!

    College Decision Day

    College Decision Day

  2. I went to China! And Vancouver! And Hong Kong! These will probably be in a separate post, but some snapshots from those vacations…                                                                                                                              Statues LycheeStreets Islands
  3. My mother and my neighbor started a garden! I helped! (somewhat) Anyway, we grew tons of Chinese green beans, Chinese furry melon, grape tomatoes, empty heart vegetable, ahhhhh so good. It was such a successful run. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the actual garden … accidentally deleted all those, but here is some ornamental peppers that are in someone else’s garden!                                                                  Ornamental Pepper
  4. I got an iPhone! This means 1) lots and lots of pictures for the blog and 2) an Instagram! (It means some other useful things to me, but are probably irrelevant for you.) Anyways, I have an Instagram – a preview of some things on my Insta down below – and my username is meibinios if you want to follow me! I am private, though, so I don’t think I can show it on the side of my blog or anything, because of my own security reasons.  Insta
  5. I went to Project Brother Love for the second time! Project Brother Love is a religious service organization that centers at Chinese Gospel Church in Chinatown Philly. It is focused on serving many of the nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia such as Manna and cleaning of churches to improve their outreach programs such as C4. PBL!

Ten advice points from a recent college applicant

Straight from the depths of hell itself – college applications – I have clawed myself out.

Some cynical advice that I will probably look back on later in order to give when people ask for my help next year.

1) Your activities count … like crazy. Once you reach a certain level, you need to do a TON OF STUFF. Otherwise, perfect grades, perfect SAT scores won’t be a secret to success. At the top level, everybody performs well and does a bunch of other stuff.

2) Pour your heart into your essays, but enough is enough. College essays only count for so much. Some people have a fantastic way of spinning their extracurriculars into something much more amazing than it actually is – so obviously good writing helps – but other than that, we only have so much to offer. One of my friends got into Harvard and to be honest, her essay was pretty sucky. But she herself did some crazy awesome stuff – captain of sports teams, perfect GPA, yada yada. So yeah, make it the best you can, but don’t die if it’s not perfect.

3) PRESENTATION IS KEY. Another one of my friends had done stuff, but she made sure she had a beautiful essay with a beautiful goal in mind and perfect listings for everything. She made sure that there wasn’t a silly mistake in any of her stuff and she made all of her top-notch friends to read her stuff to make sure it was as perfect as can be. So know your colleges and know your presentation.

4) Going along with that… have some good friends at some top-notch universities. Ask them for help. You’ll be amazed about the different opinions that will come through into your essay. You might have thought it was gold, but it might have actually been pretty terrible. Having friends who can give you advice is incredibly nice and awesome and fantastic… and I’m thankful for all the people who have helped me along the way.

5) Make sure you really look into schools you want to go to… don’t apply to a school just because you think it looks nice or it sounds pretty – why do you want to go there???? For real?!?!? College might be for having a grand old social experience, but it’s also a time to grow up and mature and see what you are going to do in your life. Plus all those college supplements kill and seeing all your hard work go to waste is straight up annoying – especially when you can look at someone and think that you’ve been so called “better” than them in everything, they might still go to a school you wanted to go to but didn’t get into simply because they are a better fit or they put more effort into the school. Finally, your parents put a whole lotta money into the process, you better go there if you get in.

6) But make sure you have safeties. I have a friend who got rejected from his so-called safeties – Duke, Northwestern, yada yada, and then got into MIT. THIS IS NOT A GUARANTEE THAT THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU. Be careful and apply to safeties. They never hurt. It’s better to know you got into college than risk it just for wanting to go a little crazy at the high level.

7) Be a good person. A college can tell. They can tell if you’re mean or selfish – through your recs or even your essays themselves – so just be a good person and someone will want you.

8) It’s a surprise and you’ll never know where you end up. Over the course of a week, my friend got rejected, deferred, and accepted to three different schools with very similar acceptance rates. That’s crazy. She’s the same applicant. So don’t put everything into one college. Don’t put all your hopes and dreams into one school. You might get in and have the best time of your life, or you might not and just drown in the tears of sadness. Better just not get too worked up about any one college. It’s a mystery! Let it be one.

9) Some honest feedback: wherever you go for college doesn’t define you. It does not define you. Don’t let it define you. Coming straight from that hell, I’ve seen people get into schools that others have not. I have seen a lot of hatred and teasing and condescension. Don’t be that way. It’s going to suck, I know, and that feeling of apprehension is something that everyone will face, at least for a little bit. But you’ll get through it! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Be happy and confident wherever you go.

10) (sidenote: whewwww I am getting quite worked up… ) There is no guarantee. No guarantee at all. Unless you’ve managed to start your own nonprofit organization, you are the son of the president of the university, you participated in the Olympics idk, you have no guarantee of getting into the college of your dreams. My friend was hoping she would get deferred or accepted to a college… she got straight up rejected. (I have a lot of friends huh we bond over college experiences) You have no guarantee. It’s a crapshoot. You just gotta ride the waves and go with the flow. Make yourself the craziest competitor that you can be, the best person that you can be – but understand that once you’re at the college application process, you’re at the final step, the final goodbye, whatever. You’ve done what you’ve done and that’s all you can do but make yourself presentable. That’s it. Accept it. Move on. Put it in God’s hands. Know that you’ll be happy wherever you go, understand?!?!? If not, you can always transfer.

Take it, leave it, I rest my case. Or whatever this rant/advice column or whatever this is is.

Lots of love, a fellow college applicant.

College Decisions Part 2

So… I find out tomorrow about my top choice school. A lot of my friends find out today.

Although I’m dreading it, I have been overwhelmed by so much positivity and optimism and encouragement from my friends, who have emailed and messaged me, talked to me and just told me how college does not define me and that they were rooting for me.

I’m amazed. I feel so loved and it is such a good feeling.

If things don’t turn out how I want them to in the end, I know that God has another plan for me.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9

strange

but I find a peculiar enjoyment in starting a new college application and ending an old one

there’s just that beautiful satisfaction of all the possibilities that you can write about and a content relief when you finish as you try to tell as much as possible about yourself and the person that you are

except BU… their apps are like research papers

thinking about writing a long blog post

haha feels like 30 days of thanks was eons ago… and it was only maybe two weeks ago

man the times fly by so fast

right now, i’m sitting by myself in a room, all wrapped up in fuzzy blankets and pillows, chilling with a nice cup of orange juice

promptly writing/trying to write approximately 50 bazillion college applications all at once

college apps make you think a lot about life to be honest and the type of person you are and the type of person you want to be

it is a constant struggle of prediction and chaos and self esteem and confidence

what does the college think of you?

what does the college want from you?

am i good enough to beat this person?

are their stats as good as mine?

is it worth it to put my heart to one college?

omg five thousand applications due tomorrow what do i do?

haha these are some of the questions going through my own head right now, as much as i hate to admit

prayers and trust in jesus ❤ all will be well