School

Education, Ego, Expectation

We’ve reached that point in the semester where professors start crushing my fragile ego.

What a time to be alive.

But I’ll manage somehow.

I still don’t know how I did so well in my first year. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t as jaded. I’m much more cynical now as well. Or maybe it’s because I actually read the assigned articles and books.

Second year was an inconsistent one. I was all over the place with my grades. I did better in some courses than others, which makes sense. But the negativity bias gets me every time. So I tend to focus on all the bad marks rather than the good ones.

I’m not sure how the rest of this year will play out, but if I’m failing miserably and drowning in school work, you’ll hear all about it.

As someone who prioritizes my passions among other things, I’m still content with where I stand right now. Although if you give me another month, I might change my mind. I’m human after all.

Let’s talk about opportunity cost, shall we? I’m aware the time I spend dancing every day could be spent studying. But I choose to dance. And that isn’t going to change even if I’m not getting a 4.0 GPA.

Many things matter more to me than my grades. My health. My happiness.

Because I have high expectations for myself, I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy with any mark. Oh, a 90? That’s not a 95, is it? An A-? Why not an A+?

Maybe I should never check my grades ever again. I’m fairly confident I won’t fail anything. I don’t have to worry about that. If I did, I’d be a complete wreck.

Ignorance is bliss. What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

Or perhaps I should check all my grades and have my ego destroyed every single time.

Either way, I don’t benefit. You just can’t win as a student, can you?

All this being said, I love learning. I’m grateful to be able to get an education. I hope I never take that for granted.

I’m fortunate. I’m lucky. I can’t imagine not being able to go to school. I can’t imagine not knowing how to read or write. And my heart breaks for everyone out there who aren’t in a position to learn.

I still think I’ll jump for joy and do cartwheels around my house when I graduate in 2019. I can’t wait. I’m excited to experience life after school.

There’s so much I want to do. And turning down full-time job offers because I’m a full-time student isn’t something I want to do my whole life.

For now, I’ll try to enjoy the good things about being a student and embrace the bad.

Editing

The Experience Of Giving And Receiving Feedback

My brain melted. I spent an evening reading two stories and trying to critique them, constructively of course.

I’ve forgotten how much work giving feedback is, especially to people you hardly know.

I keep going back and forth between I’m being too harsh or honest. Besides, I would want people to be truthful by providing useful suggestions, not tell me my piece is perfect, which everyone did in elementary and high school.

I like to think I have a good grasp of grammar, so I can’t help myself when I see a comma splice or a dangling modifier. But I also realize grammar isn’t always the main issue. Writers want and need feedback on style, flow, etc.

Editing is a lot of work. It’s one thing to edit your own story. It’s a whole other beast entirely when you have to critique someone else’s.

I try to give feedback I’d like to receive. So I do what I can to balance content suggestions with grammatical corrections.

Ideally, I could sit down with someone and talk to them face to face about their work. But when does that ever happen?

On the other side, getting feedback is great but still a challenge.

I hate my ego sometimes for getting in the way.

I don’t always apply every comment. At times, I am dismissive or defensive.

It helps to get an outside perspective on your writing. And I think having strangers critique your story has its advantages. They don’t know you like your family and friends do. Most of the time, they don’t have to go out of their way to protect your feelings.

But I’m careful with my comments. I include question marks following my suggestions. I say maybe and perhaps so many times, it’s not even funny. I tend to add a disclaimer at the beginning or end, saying something along the lines of take what works, toss what doesn’t. If anything is unclear, ask me to clarify.

I guess I’m well aware my ego is big but fragile, yet I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s because I’ve been on both sides of the proverbial coin.

Writing

Why I Have A Hard Time Sharing My Creative Writing

Sharing my creative writing with others is a challenge to say the least.

The other day I was trying to pick a story to send to two strangers for their feedback. I had the hardest time emailing a copy of my work to them.

There's something personal about openly sharing your stories with someone else. To an extent, some of my blog posts are personal, and I don't have a problem posting those for the world to see. With creative writing however, I feel as though I'm exposing more of myself.

As I've said, these two are strangers. I think I'd be more comfortable with sharing if I knew them longer, trusted them more. I'm sure they're wonderful human beings. It's still tough to open up and feel vulnerable in front of people you hardly know.

If I had a penny for every times I've said I wanted to get better, I'd be one wealthy woman. Even though I do hope to improve, I'm not the best at asking for feedback. Ditto for applying any feedback I receive.

I'm stubborn. Worse, I have a gigantic ego that loves to get in the way. On a good day, I'm able to shove it aside for the sake of my art.

Every time I've put my art first before my ego, the former benefits greatly.

I say the following not to brag, but to make it clear that I had a different, unusual path when I started out as a writer and blogger. I found success early on in both endeavours. In some ways, I was even more successful a few years ago than I have been recently.

So, for many reasons, my ego was inflated in high school. A part of me thought I always knew what was best, what was right.

Of course, that's not always the case.

Over time, my ego has taken a good beating.

I'm at a point now where I feel confident, not cocky in my abilities. After all, I've come a long way, but I still have plenty of room for improvement.

I can identify strengths and weaknesses in my own work. But having an outside perspective point out certain problems can make all the difference.

What I want to say ultimately boils down to these points:

Sharing your writing with strangers isn't easy. It can be a vulnerable experience. That's okay, though. So long as you don't let your ego stop you from improving your art in every way possible. And sometimes the best thing you can do is to put your ego aside and listen to others.

I think I've reaffirmed what I knew all along. Egos suck.

Writing

A Writer’s Ego

Just a friendly reminder:

Tell your ego to shut up.

Then get to work.

After you’re done, let your ego say whatever it wants. Actually don’t.

Mine has been getting in my way as of late.

But I’m going to leave it at the door right now and start writing.

School

What I Would Tell My Freshman Self

I somehow survived my first year of university and will go into my second very soon. 

But there are some things I wish I could’ve told the girl I was a year ago. 

  1. You’re a human.
  2. Don’t expect perfection, just work on execution. 
  3. You’re a human being.
  4. Don’t let your ego get bigger than your eye.
  5. You’re a flawed human being.
Writing

What Motivates This Writer

My ego.

It’s fragile.

My modesty.

It’s not nearly as fragile.

That self-critical voice.

More critical than my worst enemy.

That self-loving voice.

More loving than my best friend.

People who overestimate me.

I can’t let them down.

People who underestimate me.

I can’t disappoint them either.

Personal Reflection

August 2015: What I Love Birthday Edition

So I finally get to explain why my “What I Love” posts are on the 22nd of every month.

Cue drumroll please.

No? Okay.

My birthday is August 22, 1997.

I figured it’s fitting to devote a monthly post in honour of something or someone I love. At the very least, it’ll make me more appreciative of all that I have.

Because I’m turning 18 today and I’ll already be a year older by the time this post is up, I’m making a list of 22 concepts/people/things I love. In no particular order, of course.

  1. Speaking of lists, I love them.
  2. The number 22 for obvious reasons.
  3. August. I’m lucky I don’t have to go to school on my birthday.
  4. Simple Plan. I need to see them play live.
  5. School supplies and stationery. I’m cheating, I know.
  6. Shopping. Um, uh…let’s move on.
  7. Good food. I adore eating.
  8. Great music. How does anyone hate it?
  9. Red. It’s my favourite colour.
  10. Challenges. Bring them on.
  11. Teachers and mentors. I am indebted to them.
  12. My family for supporting me and stroking my ego.
  13. My friends for making me cry tears of laughter and joy.
  14. My enemies for telling me lies that I will never allow to be true.
  15. Pens for composing my stories.
  16. Notebooks for carrying my words.
  17. Dancing. And all things associated with it like dancers or dance shoes.
  18. Blogging. Again, anything related to blogging as well. Other blogs. Beautiful bloggers.
  19. Writing. Creating characters gives me life.
  20. Reading. Books were my first love.
  21. Myself. Because self-love is important.
  22. You! I don’t say this enough though I ought to; I love you.
Personal Reflection

When I Want To Give Up

When I want to give up, I think about all the people I need to prove wrong. All the people who know nothing about me aside from my name. And even then some individuals mispronounce or misspell it. But I persist and I persevere because my ego is too large to let haters get the last laugh.

Don’t give up. Rise above. Always get the last word. Be the last one standing.