People You Meet at a (All-Ages) Concert

Imagine Dragons at House of Blues Chicago Monday night, I went to the House of Blues in Chicago to see Imagine Dragons on their Night Visions Tour. Brief review: They. Are. Amazing. This is one of those bands that puts their heart and soul into their … Continue reading

How to Talk to Anyone

Has anyone ever said to you: “Oh my god, we’re like the same person!”? That level of connection that happens on rare occasions and leave you SO happy? Well, currently, I’m the “same person” as about 10 people, all of whom are … Continue reading

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? 


Being Unique

Being unique is easy when you’re 5. There aren’t really a normal set of expectations for accomplishments at that age. As long as you can walk and somewhat articulate yourselves, the parents don’t worry. If you do something marginally impressive, like being able to stand on one foot instead of two, you get tagged with the word “unique.” In elementary school, I was unique because I loved to read and read at an advanced level; read: every other Asian ever.

“You’re so awesome, Michelle!” my grandmother cooed to me at consistent intervals when raising me. Even though you’d think she’s seen everything from being a teacher for 40 years, even grandmotherhood gives the harshest eye rose-colored glasses. But, by golly, I believed that woman, because to me, she was made out of the same stuff she prescribed. Before I’d even get out of bed around 10, she’d have finished mowing the lawn and playing with my cats. My grandma was the one who taught me how to somersault and do cartwheels not by instruction, but by demonstration.

Even through high school, I could pass off as unique, even though it was getting harder and harder to do so. Freshman year, I was The Freshman on Varsity. Junior year, I won 5th at state. I was still a member of a small niche and socially awkward hipster enough to not pass off as any other giggling mass of teenage girl. My stellar grades further distinguished me from others, despite the slight depression of social status. It was no Jake Adams though (name changed), who was my year and was already earning six-figures from his self-started programming business. But that was only one abnormality so my jealousy was kept at bay.

College, however, I ran into difficulties. In a pool of 40,000 other people my age, I suddenly fell to average or slightly above-average at most. During this group interview for a ‘roided-up version of Campus Tour Guide, my achievements fell silent to those of my peers. I heard about people who are already millionaires, people who have already started businesses.

How are we ever to compete?


A few years after freshman year, I drove myself crazy trying to find my “niche.” Even blogs are told to specialize in top “niches” so that you can distinguish yourself from all of them, so that you can capitalize on your uniqueness.

Well, I hate to be pessimistic, but I’m feeling more and more like it these days. I like to think of it as being realistic, but maybe that’s just my residual optimism…

The search for being unique and for individualism, one that many people pursue may be falsely guided. This mindset is wrong in that people believe they will find happiness in being unique. Some aren’t wrong, but many are. I believe more strongly about chasing what you love.

In fact, chasing what you love can be the one thing that makes you unique. Happiness gets so overlooked that it’s surprising to encounter people who love everything about what they do. They love their current place in life.

Many people believe that they don’t change; that their likes and dislikes will be the same ten years later as it is now. But really think about that. And then think about the flexibility of your life right now. If your goals have changed without you realizing, can you pick up and start again?

It takes courage, I will admit that. But it’s entirely necessary. You know that mid-life crisis that everyone seems to head towards? It’s because people never reevaluate their place in life and compare it to what they thought they’d be doing by now or what they would rather be doing. A man I know has always been adamant that he hates reading. Until he picked up a biography. Now he can’t get enough of those books! It takes a while to figure yourself out—good thing we have about 70-80 years to do so.

But getting that job at the end of college, no matter how it may feel like it, is not the end-goal of your life. It is not to go to work every day, 9-5, come home and party. How about developing yourself more? Picking up more hobbies? Maybe you’ll find that thing that defines you, makes your live worth living earlier than during your mid-life crisis. Keep discovering yourself, and make a promise to always change your circumstances to fit what would make you happy.