School

Why I’m Not Going Back To School

I feel like I’ve done everything I wanted to achieve in school. I just need to graduate university in 2019, which I’m on track to do.

I’ve already declared my intent to graduate, and that fact is finally starting to sink in.

After I graduate next year, I plan to work. I will work hard.

I have all these ideas and plans, dreams and goals. I can’t wait to make them happen.

I love telling stories, so I hope I never stop.

I know my career is just getting started, so I have plenty of time. Still, I want to do everything right now.

Looking back, I’ve come a long way. Once upon a time, I entered the public school system not knowing a word of English. Then I went on to win an English award at my elementary school graduation. I even won writing scholarships in university as well.

I’ve accomplished a lot in academia, and I’m proud of my achievements. But I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life.

School

How To Do Well On English Exams

Here’s how to do well on English exams from someone who learned the hard way.

Be specific.

Avoid making grand sweeping generalizations about all of humanity since the beginning of time. Narrow your scope and focus on the topic. Look at how the little details paint a bigger picture.

Be careful.

Read the questions carefully. Make sure you actually answer the prompt. Reread your own work. Sometimes your hand writes the opposite of what your head wants.

Be concise.

Don’t beat around the bush. Get to the point. Make a clear argument. Support your thesis with evidence. Be clear. Don’t be confusing or convoluted. If you can’t comprehend what you’re saying, how will anyone else?

Be yourself.

It is not the time to try to write like someone else. You have your own voice. You’ve been developing it for years. Give yourself some credit. You’re better than you believe, so prove that.

Be forgiving.

Your word choice won’t be flawless. Your sentence structure won’t be impeccable. That’s not the point. This exam is in a test of your ability to write perfectly.

Best of luck!

Reading

Why I Love Reading Books

I think it's no surprise that I love books. More than a lot of things and many people in fact. But why exactly do I love papers with ink on them so much?

As a kid, I've always liked reading even before I realized I did. I buried my nose into all kinds of books.

Mainly because I enjoyed learning, and I still do. I'm all for gaining as much knowledge as I can. I especially want to know more about subjects that fascinate me.

Being able to escape from the real world was always welcome for me. Sometimes we just need to get away, be distracted for a little while.

At some point, I wanted to write my own books. As much as I love reading other people's stories, there's nothing quite like telling your own.

Of course, I love words. That's why I'm a writer. Reading books ignited my passion for writing stories.

In elementary school, I had a much smaller vocabulary. Younger me wasn't as confident with the English language as I am now, even more so when it came to writing in it.

I can still recall a memory of myself in class. I always asked this much smarter student how to spell certain words I didn't know at the time.

Interestingly enough, my first language isn't English. I grew up in a Cantonese speaking household. Back then, my parents didn't speak much English. So for several years during my childhood, I felt more comfortable with Cantonese, my mother tongue. After all, it was what I spoke at home.

Only after reading a bunch of English books did my communication skills improve. Over the course of my elementary schooling, I saw my grades in Reading, Writing, and Oral Communication increase little by little.

Nowadays, I still crave exposure to new ideas and beliefs. I may not agree with everything, but at the very least, I get a chance to see the perspectives of others. More importantly, I try to understand.

I owe writers and authors a lot. They keep inspiring me to speak, to share.

Frankly, I have little desire to spend my money on anything that is not a good book.

Writing

My Writing Journey

I don’t remember the day I learned to pick up a pencil and put it to paper. Oh, how I wish I did. Being able to write changed my life.

I’m beyond grateful for getting an education. Because of it, I can read and write not just my name but also anything I want.

Before I fell for languages, English especially, I enjoyed and even excelled in mathematics. Mainly because it was so simple, straightforward. It was black and white. You were wrong or right.

Early on, I did better in math than in reading, writing, or oral communication. But throughout elementary, I must have read a boat load of books in my free time. Somewhere along the way my love for reading manifested into something more.

I went back to visit my elementary school teachers, and one of them still remembers how I used to write stories all the time. Although I don’t remember writing a lot as a kid, I recall reading anything in sight. 

In grade 8, I took on a full-length novel. Granted it took me about 2 years to finish the first draft because I took extended breaks along the way. But one of my proudest accomplishments to date is finishing that novel. It come out to 70,000+ words.

I started taking writing more seriously when I was in high school. Especially after I entered my first writing contest when I was in grade 9. I must have been about 13 years old, going on 14. 

I never thought twice about the contest until I heard back from them. Actually my English teacher got the news first because I put her name down and the high school I attended. So she pulled me aside during my math class. I thought I got in trouble. Little did I know my world was about to be rocked. 

She showed me the congratulatory letter with my name on it. I almost didn’t believe her. I never told my teacher that I had entered the contest. Come to think of it, I didn’t tell anyone.

Not only did I get the short piece published, I placed in the top ten of my age division, which happened to be the highest honour for that particular competition.

Later, I applied for my high school yearbook committee, specifically the journalism department. I got rejected. 

I think I owe that yearbook team a big thank you. Had it not been for them, I think I wouldn’t have started blogging, at least not as early as I did anyway.

Out of boredom, I created a blog in April 2013 at 15 years old. I guess I thought blogging would be the logical next step. 

I made it a habit to write every day in early 2015. Took me long enough.

I also got into journaling that same year on my birthday (August 22). I love having a place to write down my thoughts and feelings, worries and concerns. I know no one will read it. And so I can be brutally honest. 

I’m not sure when exactly I decided I wanted to be a writer. But I continue to hope I’ll be able to write for a living. I’d want nothing more.

In the past and even now, but more so back then, writing was my escape. I loved being able to get away from the real world that sucked at the best of times, and go somewhere else for a while.

At some point I loved stories so much I wanted to tell my own. I wanted to share my story. Which is why I write and blog and do what I do every day.

I think I love the freedom that comes with creating something from nothing. Writing is the one thing I have complete control over. I control what happens and when. I write on my own terms, not anyone else’s. 

In many ways, words changed my life for the better. I don’t know where I’d be or who I would’ve become had it not been for writing. 

Regardless of whether or not I become a published writer, I hope I never stop writing. On my own terms. To please myself. For my sake. Above all, I hope I write for the rest of my life because it makes me happy, happier than anything else in the world.

Writing

Why I Love English Classes

  • I’m encouraged, more like expected to read.
  • I pick up books I wouldn’t normally even glance at.
  • I get to write about fictional worlds.
  • I have my own opinions, but more importantly, I can share them.
  • I am reading and writing a lot more than I would on my own.
Writing

Lost In Translation 

I tip my cap to translators.

Translating from one language to another hurts my brain. 

Especially since some languages don’t translate easily. And often times the meaning can get lost in translation. 

I think I’m better off writing and speaking English. 

Writing

You Can’t Judge A Writer Based On…

Their physical appearance.

Writers are beautiful inside and out.

Their grade in English.

A number can never compare to words.

Their past. 

Let’s not.

Writing

The World Is Ridiculous

Why aren’t all writers making a fortune? If they can master a language, a few numbers to manage is nothing.

Why aren’t writers controlling every inch of the Earth? After all, they are capable of writing stories about other worlds.

Writers can craft imaginary experiences and create fictional characters. Surely they can do everything.

Don’t you love my thinking on a Saturday night?