🍁 Autumn is here in earnest! 🍁

I was trying to come up with a witty “theme” for this month.

And…well…

You will see below  (In the next post since this is turning into a 2 parter)… XP it is a bit… Punny?

Anyways. so how did last month’s “Month of Future Career Growth”  go?

  • Create my personal website as a hub to everything I do 
    •  [Started, but not finished] So I’ve got the general outline set up, just working on typing in all of the content – especially under the portfolio section. I haven’t released it to the public yet, but it is almost done, will expect it to be out by November at the latest (don’t hold me to that though!). Sneak Preview!Capture
  • Continue tutoring English (both through the university’s CAES Peer tutor program, and my own IB merchant of Venice ) 
    • {COMPLETED} and continuing! 😀
  • Update CV – my CV is hopelessly out of date
    • {COMPLETED, See last goal page} As seen last time, I’ve finished this already before the month even really started
    • Create and maintain a LinkedIn profile/ digital resume
      • ~ Haven’t Started!~ I was thinking of holding this off until I’ve got my personal website set up, since that way there is something more professional to link to other than my personal blog here.
  • Figure out exchange plans – like actually write out a pro con list, intended transfer courses, get CGPA up (around 3.6), create an estimated cost plan etc
    • [Started, but not finished] This is going to be an ongoing goal thing, as
  • Sign up for internships, scholarships, classes, mentorships,etc
    • ~Haven’t Started!~ No really excuse for this really… need to look into this sometime soon before they are all gone

Not adding an arbitrary score since that was a bit lame XP

So…What about the extras?

  • [Extra] Improve my typing speed to 70wpm. It is ~65wpm right now.
    • I haven’t been doing this, rather I have changed it slightly to speed reading (Schulte table, apps etc) since it seems like a more useful goal
  • [Extra] Perhaps update this blog more than once a month ish, if I have the time. Maybe an update on how Carousell is going, or some how to college type post for the freshmen?
    • Nope didn’t happen, then again I’m heading into mid terms, sooo….. yeah

Anyways, splitting this up so I can stop procrastinating on revision and revisit this next week when things cool off a bit and become less crazy. So yeah!

Happy (late) Mid-autumn festival and look forward to finishing these midterms!

-Rebecca

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Daring to Disobey

I’ve been thinking a lot about The Rules lately.

Specifically the societal rules we surround ourselves with every day that go by unchallenged – sometimes for good reasons, othertimes not so much..

I guess this is a long winded, overly pedantic way of me trying to rationalise and explain why I feel so bad for dropping a class, when by all objective measures it would be the best course of action for me to take.

I don’t NEED to max out my course load and take 6 classes (18 credits) in one semester, in fact, I KNOW I would burn myself out a few weeks later when taking into consideration my commitment as a peer tutor (in both English and Science), my role as a student blogger, my non-credit German classes, my new role as an Equal Opportunity Student Ambassador, hall activities etc…

The list keeps building, yet there are only a finite number of hours in a day.

And as Malthus pointed out (paraphrasing to make an contrived metaphor):

As populations (workload) increase exponentially, while resources (time) grows linearly if at all, eventually you will reach competition and eventually, collapse.

Yet it feels a bit… wrong to do so.

Like I have just given up when this is pretty much exactly what add-drop period is made for.

I’m not sure where this feeling comes from really.

I could go with the classic “Asian Parent” excuse, but that is just that, an excuse not a reason.

I guess it is the fear of being left behind. 

Everyday, you are surrounded by messages of supposed encouragement:

  • “Push Yourself!”
  • “Don’t let dreams just be dreams”
  • “Shoot for the stars!”
  • “XYZ famous person made it while living in a college dorm at [so and so] famous university, why can’t you?”

It all creates an atmosphere of “Is that all you CAN do?”, when the more pertinent question is “SHOULD I do more?”.

And, although it sounds much less inspirational…

Sometimes the answer is NO.

Sometimes the correct solution isn’t to keep on going with reckless abandon til you crash, it is to slow down a bit, perfect what you have, then SLOWLY ramp up the speed.

Right now my gut is telling me slow the F- down.

So I am daring to disobey what society often expects of university students, and taking the time I would spend in an extra class + tutorial + homework to sharpen my skills as a whole.

To look for opportunities outside of the classroom such as volunteer work

And above all, to just prove to myself that I am in control of my own destiny and which path I decide to take is mine, and mine alone, to make.

Because sometimes it is okay to buck the trend and do your own thing.

In the words of Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken (emphasis mine):

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And besides, great scores in 5 classes > okay scores in 6, GPA wise. 😛

Thanks for reading!

-Rebecca


This post was based off of the Daily post prompt: Disobey (September 12)

Day 24 – Elemental Reflections (on a whole bunch of stuff)

Like the types of benders in Avatar the Last Airbender – aka the-greatest-TV-show-ever-no-joke-binge-watch-it-now-if-you-haven’t-seen-it-yet(minus energy bending) or the Classical Greek Elements (without aether), this reflection comes to you in 4 distinct parts related to Air, Water, Earth and Fire!


Air – Element of Freedom. Foreseeing implications, valuing diversity. peace and clarity. 

This section is more about my blog and the “creative freedoms” I’m giving it. 

So I really should have spilt up the snacks post into more than one like the cubing one… oh well, part of this type a day thing is learning more about making posts and blogging.

I’ll be leaving that one incomplete for now and finishing it up later when I get the time too.

Basically, anytime there aren’t finished tags on a post, I’ll get back to it later.

Since the arbitrary rules I wrote at the start technically didn’t say I had to finish a post, or couldn’t edit it later, just that I had to write something every day 😉 Again, my blogs, my rules. 

Also, the more I write these things, the more I realise there are different types of posts. Some that require more time than the few hours (sometimes minutes) at the end of the day that I have.

I feel as though the act of starting to write stuff (possibly not finishing) and editing it later is more closely inline with what I was envisioning when starting this project, rather than just 200 words of copy and paste, so I will give myself a bit of leeway when it comes to “post a day”


Water – Element of change. Going with the flow, being flexible and adaptable.

This is going to be about my changing views on Carousell. If you have no interest in it, skip to the next one. I should also point out that they aren’t paying me or anything like that, just my thoughts.

So earlier in this writing everyday thing, I made a post about how difficult it was to get rid of my textbooks in HK (see the post here ). and I mentioned how I was flogging it on a random app I downloaded but getting no bites.

Well, in the two weeks between me posting that and now, out of my listing of a dozen items just to test it out, I have managed to sell off 1 textbook and have deals in the works to exchange 3 more… Yeah. 

Not sure if it is the fact that school is out, so people are thinking more about buying books, I’m getting lucky with my post times (seems like more people like for things I post in the afternoon) or there are just more people being on the app now (I’ve been seeing the app’s advertisements on mini buses now, though it could just be the 

Or it might just be me, since some of my friends are having trouble selling the same books, even though they are priced lower in some cases.

Perhaps that experience selling books on amazon as a kid paid off? Since some of the really basic stuff (like ISBN numbers so people can double check it is the book they need) or how to describe the condition of a book are missing in some of the other listings I’ve seen. 

For now, I’ll continue trying to keep an open mind toward it and see how it goes! 

(By the way, if you are in HK and want to buy second hand English books, I’m Beckysbooks on Carousell)


Earth – Element of substance. Strong, persistent and enduring, facing challenges head on.

A random pondering of where I stand right now

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far with writing. 

Seriously.

I have never done a writing project this consistently before and it continues to amaze me that this silly idea I had about a month ago to kill summer boredom has turned into an epic saga with over 24+ chapters of a uni student’s thoughts on everything from growing up and trying to find her place in the world to more random post like geeking out over cubing and being overly metaphoric about random words thrown at be by a daily post blog. 

Then again, it occurs to me that most writing projects start off with a person having comparably silly random idea (a boy becoming a wizard and going to boring school, a fantasy story involving different houses competing to sit on an uncomfortable chair, a girl in a dystopian world who gets thrown into a fight to the death etc) and going:

“Ehhh… why not? This thing isn’t going to write itself.”

Then persisting through everything to the end where the thing if finally published, often several YEARS later.

Kudos authors out there! I’ve tried doing it several days in a row, and even I started to lose hope around day 12. Which reminds me…

There was a guest post linked to a post of mine that was written by Michelle Jayne on Kasmin’s blog titled ” The Writer and the Tortise” (link here) which really resonated with me, that deals with a similar thought of perseverance and writing habits. You should check it out! 😛 


Fire – Element of power. Having the desire and drive for growth to achieve all that is possible within their ability.

This bit goes out to all of the May 2017 IBers out there, who are in a few hours about to recieve their scores and see if they got into university (including my younger brother).

Some of you will be elated about your scores, some will shrug it off, and some of you will be crushed.

This open letter of sorts is for the latter guys in particular, but applicable to all IBers and people entering university

“Where there is a will, there is a way” is a saying my former math teacher used to say.

Of course at the time it was to counter any of the (admittedly kinda pathetic) excuses we would all come up with for why our assignments were late. 

But, like most wise advise given to me, its true meaning doesn’t present itself until later.

Your score may feel like the end of the line, as measure of all the hard work you have done over the last two years. To that I say… its not.

Unlike pretty much all other exams in the world, IB is not a sprint, a few hour multiple choice quiz that is over in a flash. It is a pentathlon of suck that you are thrown into without any prior training… while sleep deprived… with CAS and TOK and a 4000 word research paper etc.

You have, over the past two years done everything from analyse translated literature, read passages in a second language, design your experiment, write a mathematical investigations, explore humanities subjects etc. And that is just the IAs. 

I speak from experience when I say that you have a leg up compared to your peers, and the first year of uni is nothing compared to IB. Everything from learning how to write a paper with proper citations, to volunteering in actives as a global citizen, to overcoming (or at least coping) with sleep deprivation etc are all skills that IB has left you with that a simple score isn’t going to show, but universities know about and consider. 

(well, except for USA unis who care more about AP and SAT. Then again you have already gotten in, so your IB grade doesn’t really matter at this point. so you don’t understand the terror of waiting til d-day)

In the end, your score doesn’t define you. 

Whether you sit down and give up, or brush yourself off and get up, does. 

I have a friend who thought their life was over when they got a 23 (later a 24 after remarking), but who still got into university to study film due to his hard work ethic, leadership skill and portfolio of work that the IB left them with.

It can be done! 

So no mater what score you get, Celebrate!

You now join our global community as an IB Alumni, and more importantly, an IB survivor 😛 ! Prepare yourself for all the lingering IB-isms, the “You know nothings” to the Pre-IB/ the Year 1’s,  silent “You poor unfortunate soul” nods you will give to the Year 2’s and the instant connections you get with other people who went through IB like you.

Good luck to all, with all your future endeavours!

 


On that note, I’ll catch you later!

Rebecca

Day 19- Writing Self Critique and Camp Nanowrimo

So I’m reading through yesterday’s 30 minute story and….

Wow. It is stunningly bad…

Part of me wants to throw it in a black hole where it will never see the light of day or drastically change it so it doesn’t look that bad, but hey I didn’t use the delete key in the original writing of it, so the roughness of the story is understandable.

Still, I am definitely getting rid of that rule the next time I do another story challenge, since there are a lot of repeated words and sloppy mistakes that just look unprofessional.

In this critique -esque post, rather than going through and editing it word by word, I’m just going to list off some of the weird things that just don’t work in the story:

  • Too much description, not enough characterisation – Blue hair was a nice touch of weirdness but why should anyone care? It feels like I am just listing descriptive words for the sake of it, rather than any character or narrative driven reason. Show don’t tell and all that.
  • Where is the character located right now? – its funny that I didn’t notice this while writing it, but I never really say where or when she is. Theoretically, I could have written an excuse it (like she doesn’t want to record it for safety reasons or whatever) but by not mentioning how long ago it was since the kidnapping, there is like zero tension whatsoever
  • Lots of my own “isms” have snuck in – This tends to pop up in my acting (well, what little acting I’ve done at school), where I have little traits (messing with glasses, moving my hands around a lot) that pop up when I am trying to keep it together but failing. In my case, it’s the excessive use of ellipsis and commas, combined with run on sentences that just seem to never end. Oh and the use of “Yup.” since that certainly is something that has stuck around in this semi dystopian world the story takes place in… /s
  • The grammar…. – ‘Nuff said about that train wreck.
  • Where is the plot? – There is a lot of ideas present, but nothing even resembling a coherent narrative. I mean the diary thing at the end was slightly interesting, but there isn’t any reason to care about it. I seem to think throwing things out there without explaining is “mysterious” or something, when in actuality it feels like a game of madlibs with giant “Insert plot here” sections that were semi-filled without care

So basically, what I’ve learned from this trial in improv story telling is that it is pretty freaking hard to do it. Kudos to those who can by the way, though I suspect the reason the works of so many authors seems leaps and bounds ahead of mine, other than their inherent talent and loads of practice, is the editing behind it.

But since it was pretty fun while it lasted, I’ve decided to join Camp Nanowrimo for July.

Normal Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) takes place in November (which I did try it in 2016, but stopped after a few thousand words due to exams), but they are both based off of the same principle. Quantity not quality, just write and put things down on paper.

Which is a bit like what I am doing now, if you think about it.

In the regular one, the goal is to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, but since it is the Camp and I get to set my own goals, I’m going with a half Nano with 25,000 words in 30 days, toward a story idea I’ve had rattling around in my brain for a while.

So from this point forward, the post quality may go down slightly as I shift focus over, but hey, this blog was never a shining example of good writing, just a way for me to fill up the summer months doing something more productive than binge watching youtube 😛

That’s all from me now! Catch you later.

Rebecca

Day 16 – Quick Letter to a Younger Me

Dear Past Me,

Specifically 16 year old me, for several reasons:

  1. You have just finished IGCSE and are starting the crazy world of IB… I pity you, and want to reassure you that: Yes you do get through it and go to university.
  2. 2014 was a pretty dang eventful year (Ebola, Sochi games, MH370 & 17, Occupy Central etc), but 2017 is… well Trump is president of the  US, the UK is fixing to leave the EU and I still have acne. On the plus side, I’ve run 10km in the Standard Charter Marathon. I’ll give you a second to recover from the shock, no I am not messing with you here.
  3. 3 years ago seems just far enough back that I could give myself good advice without causing a paradox that destroys the universe via a butterfly effect
  4. I needed something to write for this post a day challenge I’m doing on day 16. No, it is not for homework and yes, you do make a blog and write stuff to fill your summers with.

Since you probably think this is a hoax:

You own a green diary that you switch over to a blue diary on the 31st of December. You wrote down “Walking on Sunshine” as your favorite song (really? REALLY? I mean I we never claimed to have good taste in music but man…. oh wait cus from that episode of Supernatural… still though) and felt the need to tell me that your favorite kitchen smell (the heck?) is and I quote: ” COOKIES! :P” . You are in that “soo random lols” phase of my life aren’t you…

Yes I do have that diary on my lap now and am not-so-subtly judging you.

Sorry ’bout that, but hey you did call me an old fart and did write one of your pages in glittery freaking orange pen, getting the herpes of craft supplies on me… “not having another nearby pen” is not an excuse for booby trapping a diary. Jerk.

Anyways, to inject some positivity into this…

This is where I put advice isn’t it… huh. Never was any good at this, though I’ll still try (cus that is what you do dang it! You go off an try your hardest at any dang thing that comes your way.. ehem.)

*spoilers ahead I guess *

  • I don’t have any betting advice for you – just putting that out there first. Just don’t get involved with it, even if there is time travel involved
  • No, you still don’t have my life “sorted out” yet. I’m doing both by doubling in History and Biology in Uni- no no not ivy. You didn’t get in and besides would have been absolutely miserable there if you had. You end up going to HKU and having a blast so far, though don’t want to jinx it!
  • Listen more than you talk. You tend to miss a lots of things you would have noticed had you paid more attention, or lose things easily because you are so absent minded. Try to kick the habit early, it would be very helpful.
  • Your instincts are right. there are some jerks in the higher ups at school, especially after 2015 when a lot of the awesome teachers leave your school. Keep calm and carry on. Don’t get confrontational cus it is just going to get you pissed beyond belief and they won’t care. You will end up fine in the end despite some people pulling you down.
  • Keep in contact with your close friends. Even though they may go abroad to study, they still will give you good advise and their whatsapp messages will brighten almost any down day you might have.
  • Get out there more and challenge yourself more! Lots of things you try turn out well (such as that first aid thing you have been thinking about forever and finally do in 2015) and if they don’t, well you have learned from the experience!
  • Don’t stress out so much about things beyond your control or push yourself too much. You don’t turn out to be a mega super famous star actor, writer, athlete, whatever by 19, and that is fine, great even! Gives you more of a chance to spread out and learn about things that interest you. Compare yourself to yourself, not to others.

I suspect I’ve lost your attention by now so I’ll wrap this up (its getting late here as well).

Forgot to mention that the family is doing great: happy and healthy, which is the most important thing!

But yeah, hope this advice was helpful and that I prepared you somewhat for the years to come. Perhaps I will write a letter to future me some day, though that is for another time.

Good luck and all the best!

The Future 19 year old Rebecca

Day 12 – And the Regret Sets In…

Short post today, both because the wifi issue (same restictions apply, though I’ve gotten the tag thing to work. Not sure how to get link thing to work without typing out the whole url, so will save that til wifi is fixed). Plus I spent all my energy typing out yesterday’s post and I want to take it easy for a day or two.

But yeah, sort of regretting this whole post a day idea now…

I mean don’t get me wrong, I have written a few posts that I feel are pretty good, the blossom one and the recap one come to mind.

But you know? It feels like the 30 day end is so far away and I’m slowly running out of random ideas and things to say. 

Like I had an idea about how people being controlled by light throught history, but that seems pretty lame and incoherent of an idea that I can’t think of a good ending to.

Most of my posts in this challenge are also pretty unpolished with next to no editing as well, so I’m not really sure why I am spending all this time typing out random thoughts on this blog that I had first planned on using as a more professional about me kind of page.

Now that I’m looking at it, I’ll probably have to edit out some of this stuff later or create a new professional page because some of this is just not the sort of stuff I would be proud showing people I know in real life or as an example of my quality of work. Shame too, I love the blog title, but the content man…

Again, its not bad, just a bit… rambling. 

Would be a bit weird to show people this and have them see it without context…

Perhaps I should include a link or something in each post that goes to the first one, or include a caution along the lines of:

Please excuse the lack of quality in the following post, it was thought up, typed out and submitted in the span of less than 24 hours and contain little to no editing. Do not consider this an accurate sample of quality work, rather think of it as a writing exercise challenge by teen who for some reason is trying to create daily content without any preparation in advance in the somewhat vain attempt to keep herself occupied and hard at work during her summer months. Your cooperation is appreciate. 😀

Ehhhhh… maybe not. Would stretch my already long post out to the point of basically being a long short story… actually maybe I should wri- nah… no point really.

Hopefully this is just one of those temporary stumbling blocks present in all long projects, and not a sign of future disaster to come…

Well, that’s all for now I guess.

Rebecca

Day 6 – Am I a Hobby-Hoarder?

And because I am a renegade blogger, spoilers: contrary to Betteridge’s law of headlines / Hinchliffe’s Rule which states:

Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no.” The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.[1]

The answer to the question is Yes.

But since I am also a history student, I can’t be so definitive with my answers, so the question should be re-framed as “To what extent is Rebecca of A Pondering Papaya a hobby-horder?” with the conclusion being ” To a large extent, though only for xyz period of time, with consideration to various external factors”.

Actually no, I wouldn’t be able to do that either, since its too recent for us to know the effects of what I am doing, thus not considered history until…

Sorry, I’m getting off track… where was I ?

Right, hobby hording. I got a major problem with it.

I mean it is one thing to try out things until you find one that sticks, but I seem to have a problem with starting activities and droping them off a few years later. My room is just a graveyard of past projects, littered with stuff from…

  • Sports:
    • Running – The phase I’m currently in. Besides running shoes, I’ve got my 10km bib from 2017 Standard charter marathon, the uni running team shirt and a few other things strewn around here (including my watch).
    • Swimming – Still have my swimming stuff, but haven’t gone to the pool in forever… probably should get back into in, since I made it to the level just before the swimming team and stopped…
    • Karate – Did this when I was still living in Texas, so most of the stuff is still back there. Have some photos and one of my puzzle cubes was from there and karate themed
  • Arts:
    • Music – I played flute and violin, so my room has my two flutes (one is from middle school and really beaten up, the other is the professional looking nice one) and a violin (which I share with my brother, who plays piano but has actually stuck to it for 10+ years, unlike me who keeps going off and on)
    • Book binding – A few summers ago,  I thought this would be a good use of my time. Sewed several text blocks but never got around to finishing them off with a cover and book cloths etc.
    • Crochet- Did this for IB CAS (see my CAS blog HERE for more about it). I still have the stuff and a lot of left over yarn + some stuffing , just haven’t gotten back into it for some reason.
    • Macrame / Chinese Knotting – Yes, these are technically different but they use a lot of the same techniques so I’m grouping them together. Luckily the stuff for this doesn’t take up much room (about one pencil case full) so its stuck around for a while, just that inspiration of stuff to make hasn’t struck me yet
  • Actually useful things:
    • Coding – I haven’t done this in a while, which I don’t really have an excuse for since you know, its all on the same computer I spend bing watching shows on… sigh
    • First Aid –  Need to get my certification renewed some time this year…not really a hobby though, so I’ll just leave it at that
    • Reading – So many freaking books in my room… I’ve been trying to cull some of my physical books, but like the hydra they keep bloody coming back. Perhaps a post for another day though!
    • Writing- The only hobby so far I haven’t dropped yet (fingers crossed!)
  • Everything else
    • Cubing – I’ve got five 3x3x3, one 4x4x4, one mirror cube, one megaminx. Still sticking with this hobby since its quite relaxing to just sit down and solve them. Now just need to learn OLL
    • Crosswords – Again, like the music stuff, this is a very off and on hobby, both making crosswords and solving them. Good thing is that its mostly confined to my phone and laptop, since otherwise.

So now that I am a self confessed hobby-holic, what now?

Well since this post is getting long….

I’m making this a two parter (not necessarily completing it tomorrow since I still need time to think, but sometime within the 30 days).

Also for the record, first time I have finished this post before dinner (4:10pm) whoop! Probably because it is raining for the 4th day in a row… HK weather wtf…

Rebecca