Introversion in the Classroom

how-to-piss-off-introvertsI have a confession to make. I am an introvert. 

Gasps, anyone? Maybe throw me a look of surprise? No? Well, I mean, I am on the internet. I do have a blog. I don’t talk about my crazy party life/post crazy party pictures.

But I party. I’m loud. The phrase I hear the most is “Shhh! We’re in a restaurant!” Although that may mean I’m constantly in restaurants—while that would not be a wrong assumption—it’s more the “shh” part we should focus on. When I tell people that I’m actually introverted or that I used to be a shy person (there’s a difference between introversion and being shy), the people I know in real life are actually surprised.

No, I will not post a crazy party picture for y’all. You should thank me because I tend to make huge ugly faces instead of the usual I’m-a-hot-bitch pictures.

Anyways, I’ve conquered being shy in most situations except for one. The classroom. Call me Asian, but that’s one place that I’m scared to offer my intellectual opinion, mostly because of my need to seem intellectual. And my teachers and professors always accepted it; I also accepted the slight dip in my grades due to low participation, call it my little retaliation on our extroverted society. It never bothered me.

Until last semester.

I see this incident as both the most negative and most positive defining moment of my life.

One of my English professors accused me, to my face, of plagiarism because my work was too high-leveled (graduate student quality, she said) for the “persona I cultivated in the classroom.” Basically, she didn’t believe that I wrote the response without help because I never participated in class. Uh, hello? Has she ever had an Asian student? That’s basically all we do, bro. We’re selfish, we don’t like sharing our intelligence.

It was a sucky experience because I couldn’t even bask in the backhanded compliment she was giving me! Graduate-level work? Well, color me flattered. It was also sucky because I was exposed to another world of my prestigious institution—the snobby professors.

But this semester, I really started learning my lesson. And for those of you who also have trouble participating in class discussions, I’ll give you some encouragement to try. Yes, although the first few times were mortifying and I still blush doing it, the reward far surpasses the price.

First of all, you’re more invested in the class. I don’t know if it’s the topics or if it’s my active participation this semester, but I love all my classes. I can’t wait to attend class, I can’t wait to discuss the readings with other people. It really rounds out your classes and gives it another dimension of enjoyment.

Of course, you’ll have to be extremely prepared for class every time you go. For introverts, or maybe just me, it’s hard to think of exactly what to say on the spot unless I know the reading inside and out—I know the arguments and have formed a semi-strong opinion about them.

The first few times, you’re going to say embarrassing things. For example, in my essay writing class, the professor was trying to remember some hilarious “some ecards” examples and I thought she was just talking about some e-cards. So I raised my hand and excitedly provided an example of how they have those holiday greeting cards now where you can slap your friends’ faces on them. A brief 30-minute pause followed what I said and I’m pretty sure most of the people thought I lived under the biggest rock. But, five minutes later, my hand was back up. Mostly because I wanted to redeem myself.

Yes, it will take more out of you and it will leave you drained by the end of the day, but it is so worth it.

So just give it a try!

Did you ever have trouble participating in class? What got you over it? 


Update on My Life!

I know many of you don’t care, but to make myself feel better, I’ll pretend you care. Or I’ll pretend I’m talking to my mom or something because she out of anyone… should… care…. right?

Baby Animal Baby Mountain Lion

I am happy to report that as of last Thursday, I have lost 4.5 pounds! Let’s not all get too carried away in our celebration, though, because I have a nagging suspicion that this is water weight. I swear I spend 95% of my life bloated.

Running-wise, I’ve been able to run 2 miles consistently now—excluding the first time I ran after deciding I would now work out in the mornings. The night before, I overindulged in the collegiate way of drinking and felt like I was a contestant on The Biggest Loser. My mind, however, is not so good as Jillian. I’m trying to build up to 2.5 this week. Let’s all cross our knees. A phrase that I coined in honor of my injured knee in attempts of humor, but as all my jokes go, I ended up sounding like a member of the clergy.

I’ve been proud of my attempts in the kitchen lately. My roommates are about to punch me in the face because I can’t resist showing them my delectable dishes and never offering to share any with them. I successfully made fried rice for the first time! Even though I’m Asian, I’m so bad at connecting with my culture that I had to google how to open the bottle of Kikkoman Soy Sauce. Don’t mock. You ever try that before, bro? There’s a secret to it.

Unfortunately, the rice got a little too excited, much like me, so my roommates and I walked around with sticky feet/socks for the rest of the week.

I also made Buffalo Chicken Tacos! Which are delicious and made me briefly consider opening my own restaurant. My dreams were dashed by reality when I realized that no one would ever frequent a restaurant that only had one item on the menu. I guess I could always call it a specialty. I made these from the leftovers of my whole rotisserie chicken and the brown remains of my guacamole. I told myself that this semester, I’ll spend more time cooking. And so far, it’s been working. I actually enjoy it so much more than I thought I would.

Academically, I spent MLK weekend catching up, but by this time in the week, I’m probably behind again. I can see the looming deadlines of three closely-spaced essays and I’m not happy. I’m conquering my debilitating fear of participating in class with my Prison Creative Arts program here. Did I tell you about that?

The Prison Creative Arts Portfolio that I’m participating in this semester is where 14 students pair off and go to different penitentiaries to facilitate a creative portfolio with an incarcerated youth. This is another thing I’ll probably be writing about later on throughout the semester. So far, I’ve heard phenomenal reviews of the course, but I dislike viewing it as just a course; just a one-sided beneficial relationship. The people of our class are supposed to be the altruistic, self-reflective, progressive types that congregate on this campus, but it’s hard to distance yourself from your selfishness sometimes. Are we doing it to put on a resumé? If you’ve done it, why not put it on a resume; but does that mean you’re using it?

See, I’m already wrestling with these concepts and I haven’t even been placed yet.

So, if there’s anything that interests you and you’d like to hear more about, I’d love to appease :)

And now… time for Monday Madness! I’ve been all over with these lately, since I’m trying to expand the kinds of blogs that I read!

And that’s about it. I’m not gonna be too ambitious for now! Have a great day!


Buying and Cooking for One


Eggs are a staple for college students. I once ate scrambled eggs for dinner and no, it wasn’t part of a weight-loss strategy although it was a pleasant side effect. In fact, as meals go for college students, that’s considered putting effort into a meal. I mean, I had to light the stovetop and everything!

After coming back from the foodtopia that was winter break and my mom’s cooking, I was used to the unlimited variety of food that magically spring up on the dinner table. I’m onto you, mom. At the end of last semester, my first semester of living off-campus, I felt wholly capable of putting something together quickly that people would loosely refer to as food. Call it an effect of my New Year Resolutions, but I wasn’t satisfied with the 5 meals I rotated throughout the semester.

Just a glimpse of my kitchen prowess:

  • Mac n’ Cheese (a comfort food staple in our household. During finals week, our house was making this every day of the week)
  • Salad
  • Grilled cheese (are we seeing a theme yet?)
  • Canned soup
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Spaghetti

Maybe I lied about 5 meals. I had 6! And here I was thinking I was completely incapable.

As you can expect, I got pretty bored of my meals by the end of last semester. So what did I do? Not the healthy thing, that’s for sure. You can always bet that my likelihood of choosing a bad decision is indirectly related to how healthy the alternative is. Instead of looking up new recipes to try for myself, I basically ordered delivery three times a week, which they make so easy here by compiling all restaurants on one website for ordering online.

Not only was that cost-ineffective, I gained mad weight (see New Year Resolutions). So I decided to cook one new recipe every single week.

But how could I satisfy my taste for variety, my budget, and my weight loss goals? Not to mention, the fact that I’m still a full-time student.

The key to all these is versatility

Yes, if you start from scratch (that means no stealing from your parents’ ingredient supply), it can seem financially daunting for frequently used spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and garlic salt. Secondly, if you have too much variety—I call this overambitious—you’ll drain all your money buying all different kinds of ingredients for the 50 recipes you’re tackling that week.

Remember, as it is with weight loss, you must start small to be able to change and stay on top of things.

So, versatility. If one of your big new recipes you decide to try that week calls for chicken breast, make sure you have other uses for the chicken breast! For example, this week, I’m going to try this Orange Chicken recipe and halving everything because although sometimes I do feel like I have 4 mouths to feed (my appetite), I don’t. Usually, it’s cheaper to buy things in larger sizes, but when cooking for yourself, you may find yourself wasting the rest of your food if you don’t know how else to use it. So, with the leftover chicken breast, I would put them on top of salads or make some chicken stir-fry.

Once, I had a hardcore craving for the pre-cooked Rotisserie Chicken that Meijer sells, so I went ahead and bought it because I knew there were so many other uses for the chicken! The legs and thighs I ate normally because that dark meat is just that good. But the breast I used for the Buffalo Chicken tacos!

Don’t let your cart look like this!

This goes with bread and fresh produce items as well. Sure, those pita pocket things look great, but can you use them for more than one thing? Use something more versatile, like tortillas or wraps. Those, you can make with tacos, quesadillas, sandwich wraps, breakfast burritos… you get my gist. And the salad packs of mixed greens? Sure, if you like eating salad 24/7. Most people don’t. And the people who do are weight-conscious and either have no time or have no clue how else to eat healthily. Romaine, on the other hand, can be chopped thinly for tacos, or broken in halves for sandwich lettuce!

Having multiple uses for one item also scales down that number at the bottom of your receipt. You are welcome ;)


Another thing is, don’t waste your time! That doesn’t mean to only look for meals that take 10 minutes or less, but to make the most meal out of your time cooking it. If you’re going to cook, it may as well last for a few meals. So, instead of cooking in single portions, go ahead and make the recipe that serves 2-3. Tupperware those for later in the week. This will spice up the variety and, if you’re in one of those EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT moods, this will help restrain you from diving for the delivery guy’s number. And not because he’s hot.

When you’re just starting out, make sure you have some staples to throw together when you realize that you don’t have as much time as you thought. My staples include a salad, sandwich, soup, or leftovers. See? Easy items for when you just can’t bother.

As for the ingredients that you just don’t have lying around in your pantry, don’t worry about breaking bank (which sounds like a name-parody of Breaking Bad for a cooking/finance show). Buy them one at a time. A few here, a few there, all while staying within your budget. This totally corresponds to your slow start into the cooking world. Tackle easier recipes first, ones that call for less ingredients than the fancier ones. In no time, you’ll find that you have all the spices you need!

“Cooking for one” can be such a downer term, but it’s actually really fun. I found that I could have restaurant-esque food at my fingertips and have more satisfaction in the cooking process! It’s easier to watch what you eat as well if you eat out less and you have more control of your portions and the amount of fat you put into your diet.