just one more exam

I am so glad to be done with my essay assignments. Just one more final remaining, Social Psychology, on Monday, which relatively speaking is going to be a piece of cake. Never mind that it’s cumulative…a few hours of studying and I’m confident that it’ll go well.

Got back to the house for the first time in a while, showered, eating. Have to fill out Teach For America application later tonight. Also want to get some work done on Verse|One montage tonight. Shouldn’t have to stay up all of tonight, like the last week has been, basically. It’s been fairly crazy.

all these essays

The part I like least about essay-writing is where you have to cite sources. I think that takes me the longest, trying to list where I found some information from.

The week has continued to be strange.

Nocturnes in R major

such is life?
such is life? is such life?


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. –Mark Twain

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. –Confucius

Four and one half years ago, I entered in the Garden State a University, conceived in 1776 on the banks of the Old Raritan, and dedicated to the proposition that I might emerge with a life direction. Somewhere in the years after that I might have gotten lost, to the extent that someone without a destination could get lost. Now, while nearing my ostensibly last weeks here at Rutgers, I wonder at how the years have flown and almost deposited me in my present position.

It was a week ago, during discussion in lecture for Gender and Political Theory, I was reminded of why I had been interested in the field of Political Science. The class had just watched Brand Upon the Brain!, a silent film directed by Guy Maddin that was a movie ripe for the pickings in terms of psychological analysis, and our teacher was talking about one of the plot points when my semi-realization struck. Before I mention my realization, one should know that studies of Political Science must have a historical background that examines the theories of all of those minds whose ideas formed the foundations of modern political science. Plato, Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, de Beauvoir, Mill, Huntington,

I remembered that what caught my attention about Political Science was the ways in which thinkers explained how we as humans could lead moral and fulfilling lives. So learning more about political science, I thought, would help me become a ‘better’ (more politically aware, more civically and socially engaged, more independent and autonomous, at least) person.

And indeed, after 4 years and many Political Science classes, I think I’ve only achieved part of that goal. I don’t doubt that I am more aware and much more knowledgeable than before, but what bothers me is the thought that I am not as aware and not as knowledgeable as I could be, or as maybe I should be, after these years of formal education in the college setting. I have found a slight measure of internal peace in the realization, or the remembrance, of the reason for my interest in political science. The greater question, I think, comes when trying to decide how I might apply the knowledge I’ve gained toward a profession, or even toward life in general.

The other major I had decided upon is that of Chinese. When I explain that I have been majoring in Chinese and Political Science, people tend towards either the expression of approval because they see possibilities or towards the expression of confusion, occasionally paired with disdain, because they see little use for non science degrees (or some similar argument). Whatever the private or not so private attitudes of people toward my chosen majors–which, I wish more people would realize, do not dictate the entirety of most people’s lives after college–I’ve always felt that I haven’t yet found direction or a sense of purpose. Is that, too, part of what people might find in college? Perhaps that’s a rhetorical question because I would think some people find their path before college, some in college, some after, and some perhaps never.

I don’t know where exactly I want my life to go. As of now, I’ve been considering applying to programs such as Teach For America, where I could work to better the world by teaching children in underprivileged areas as well as experience more of the world and see if I might find a greater purpose. I’ve also been considering how I might be able to get involved with the Asian-American community as a whole–more research remains to be done in that area.

Participating in several college organizations while at Rutgers has undoubtedly aided me in one area or another, though I might have a hard time pinpointing the exact gains from each experience. Taking part in Reach Out and Read as a volunteer (then as an officer) in an organization with the goal of increasing literacy among children in the New Brunswick Area was a good experience. Learning, playing, and later leading the Rutgers Badminton Club were great ways to get exercise and refine teaching methods. Volunteering for the Chinese Student Association and the Taiwanese American Student Association was a good way to familiarize myself with students who would become well-known among the Asian-American population at Rutgers. Teaching Chinese Lion Dance and learning with Rutgers Chinese Dance Troupe for a semester was fun.  And dancing with the Verse|One Dance Troupe during my final year and a half has been one of the best experiences I’ve had over these last few years (I’ll see if I can write a separate entry for this later). What skills have I learned, practiced, developed, and more importantly, how can and how should I be putting them to use?

Of the many professors that I have met, I can only say that I am grateful to the ones who perhaps went beyond the requirements of their positions and genuinely tried inspiring and teaching their students, whether to emphasize life skills in relation to some class subject at hand, or to remind us every so often of the importance of not just being passive audiences waiting for things to happen. I admire the teachers’ dedication to their craft, and hope that like the best professors I’ve encountered, I can similarly ignite a passion for knowledge and an internal drive towards excellence in those that I might teach.

The image that accompanies these thoughts, taken by Nancy during a trip to Wildwood this past summer, is one that really appeals to my sense of aesthetics. I think I like it because of the way in which the picture is framed (I’ve slightly cropped the original), because of the details that are captured by this particular camera angle, and also because of the untold story that I can almost feel jumping out from the photo. Where is he going? Maybe he isn’t yet sure either.

I recently saw a quotation, purportedly from JFK, that says “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” Leaving aside considerations or implications of gender inequality, I agree with the spirit of the quotation. I think that I, too, do not want an “easy” life, whatever that might be. But I think I wouldn’t so much pray as I would want to plan and especially just take action.

I guess I’ve been trying to figure out how to live, and I suppose too that it’s an ongoing process.

So..who’s with me?

armoring up

The last few days, I’ve felt like I’m gearing up for war whenever I’m about to venture outdoors for any extended periods. Leaving Richardson an hour ago, I had to put on an Under Armour turtleneck and a base layer of pants beneath my jeans before heading out, and I was still cold haha.

My holiday wishes are now mostly centered around getting better cold-resistant gear, because if I’m wearing five layers and still feeling cold, I think some of the gear’s not doing its job.

not enough layers
not wearing the right layers
  • American Eagle Hoodie: not meant for any cold weather. I’d be wearing a different one but most of the others need washing.
  • Earmuff things: they do a pretty good job.
  • Beanie: decent, could be better.
  • Scarf: solid.
  • Jacket: not water-proof, somewhat wind-resistant. Needs to be upgraded, I think.

Conclusion:  want a better jacket, as I’ve been saying, preferably Under Armour, but since I can’t see the inside of them on the Under Armour website, I don’t know how it measures up in terms of pockets and storage space.

I’m looking at the Scramjet jacket ($249.99), the Laminar 3-in-1 ($274.99) and a few others, but I’m upset that I can’t see the details of the jacket interiors–seeing the pockets and compartmental layouts would be a huge plus, as they already have those images on the websites of competitors like Columbia and North Face. The North Face Men’s Devereaux jacket ($449.00) looks awesome haha, and judging from the pictures, it would have enough features to satisfy me, but at its current price it’s out of the budget that I’d have for winter jackets. Also, though the white color is nice, I’d be worried about it getting too dirty.

Currently looking at Columbia’s Whirlibird Parka ($200.00), which has a design that appeals to me. The price is also fairly reasonable, if the product performs as the description says.  This one is looking like a strong contender if Under Armour doesn’t respond soon…but that doesn’t change how I want an Under Armour jacket haha.

Armoring up with Under Armour…that would be good.

edit: wrote an email to Under Armour customer service with some question or other, then filled out their site survey, and then remembered more info and sent a follow-up email. I’m hoping for an actual thoughtful response, and the feature actually being implemented, but I don’t think I should get my hopes up.

logic puzzle

While taking a study break, we noticed flyers lying around with the following puzzle:

Hans is creating a display of exactly six items—a razor, a stereo, a television, a UV lamp, a video camera, and a watch—for the Traveler’s Emporium. He arranges the items first through sixth, from left to right, along a shelf. Each item in the display is either powered by an adaptor or by batteries, but not by both. The following conditions apply:

  • The UV lamp is either the leftmost or the rightmost item on the shelf.
  • No item powered by batteries is adjacent to any other item powered by batteries.
  • The watch is powered by batteries.
  • The fourth item on the shelf is not powered by an adaptor.
  • The razor, which is powered by batteries, is to the left of the watch, and to the right of the video camera and the stereo.

1. Which of the following could be true?
(a) The UV lamp is the sixth item on the shelf.
(b) The razor is the third item on the shelf.
(c) The fifth item on the shelf is powered by batteries.
(d) The stereo is powered by batteries.
(e) Both the UV lamp and the video camera are powered by batteries.

2. Which of the following must be true?
(a) The television is the fifth item on the shelf and it is powered by an adapter.
(b) The stereo is the third item on the shelf and it is powered by an adapter.
(c) The video camera is the third item on the shelf and it is powered by batteries.
(d) The video camera is the second item on the shelf and it is powered by an adapter.
(e) The UV lamp is the sixth item on the shelf and it is powered by batteries.

3. If the UV lamp is powered by batteries, each of the following must be true EXCEPT:
(a) The stereo is powered by an adapter.
(b) The video camera is powered by an adaptor.
(c) The first item on the shelf is powered by batteries.
(d) The second item on the shelf is powered by an adapter.
(e) The stereo is the third item on the shelf.

finals week

Very strange sleep schedules in the week before finals. Can’t wait to get some good sleep in after finishing essay due tomorrow, before studying for Thursday; and then getting some sleep after that before preparing for next week’s exams. This week’s the most annoying, I think, so can’t wait for the exam part to be over.

wrist watch browsing

I’ve been without a watch for a while, since the battery on my watch died, and while I’m considering buying a battery for it (I have to see if I can install it myself without specialized tools), I’m also vaguely interested in getting a fancier/more stylish watch.

The problem thus far has been finding a watch with a design I like that also has features I want, and is also within a certain price range haha. I guess I haven’t entirely decided on exact specifications, but I’ve been leaning toward a somewhat cleaner design and a slimmer shape, as opposed to the bulkier, feature-loaded watches that I used to prefer.

The Invicta Men’s 2876 II Collection multi-function watch has a pretty nice design, and is kind of within a reasonable price range, if paying $80 for a watch can be considered reasonable haha–the problem I have is with the band, because I’d rather the band be a bit simpler; Armitron has two diamond accented dress watches with eye-catching simplicity (the problem I have with those is just that the watch face is a bit too cluttered…if only they had fewer lines of text haha); and Fossil’s Three Hand Gunmetal Dial watch looks fairly appealing as well. Also, the Citizen Men’s AR3015-53E Eco-Drive Stiletto Black Ion-Plated Watch has a certain appeal to it, though I’d be worried about being able to read the watch in any low light conditions, not to mention its price tag.

Fossil Three Hand Gunmetal Dial watch
Fossil Three Hand Gunmetal Dial watch
Citizen Men's AR3015-53E Eco Drive
Invicta 2876 II Collection
Invicta Men's 2876 II Collection Multi-Function watch

If I had more of an unlimited budget, I’d actually consider Movado watches like ones in the Serio series (the one pictured below is actually one of the cheaper ones, weighing in at “only” $995):

Movado Serio
Movado Serio

Hmmm. My sister’s opinion is to go with the Fossil, because in her reasoning, the Invicta is too girly, the Armitron looks bad/plasticky, and the Citizen watch…she was curious how anyone could read the time hahaha, a point which I and the reviewers agree with. She also says the Citizen watch reminds her of Batman, which I pointed out is a point in its favor hahaha.

More research is warranted. Time to gather more opinions!