It’s a Trip. Someday, It’ll Be Worth It.

It’s almost done.  My high school years are almost over.

Seeing the faces of all the friends who have been with me as long as seven years (that’s almost half my life…),  all the teachers I’ve grown to love and respect, the acquaintances I’ve worked with, and the family that has supported me, it’s kind of hard to think: I might soon leave.  Move to someplace previously unknown to me.  Somewhere without familiar faces.  I’m definitely going to miss everyone.  Heck, to be perfectly honest, I’ve been with the same friend group, the Nerd Herd, since the fourth or the fifth grade.

To think, sometime next year, I’ll be completely new.

Daunted? Scared? Nervous? Yes, I am.

Yet, it’s a challenge, isn’t it?  So many things in life are just hurdles, hills or even mountains on the path of life.  But you know what?  Once you get over it, climb to the top of the obstacle that once blocked your path, the view you see could be a field of brilliant gold.  Life is not just means to one end.  It’s a never-ending marathon with ups and downs.  Dark and light.  All we can do is to keep running, climbing.  Cherish those moments you experience from clearing one hurdle, keep the memory alive, but keep pushing on.  Who knows?  The obstacles ahead might be much more daunting, but who says the journey must always be terrible?  Maybe, just maybe… No, keep your head up because as long as you keep going.  Pushing.  Persevering.  Hoping.  You will see: The stars will shine, illuminating a beautiful night path.  The day will break the sun-less night.  There will be new, wonderful people to meet.  You will live new adventures.

You write your own unique tale.  Make it a memorable one.


The Tragedy of Perspective


I took this picture somewhere in Canada on a hiking trail… What do you think of it?  I loved it because it has a special place in my heart– first time in Canada, went hiking with family, and I felt free seeing all the greenery.  Yet, is my love for this trail the same as that of my mom’s who dislikes most things to do with nature?

Some food for thought: “Love doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.”

Think about that for a second.

That one line has been tugging at my mind.  It’s beautifully tragic, isn’t it?  One person’s love doesn’t quite equate to that of another.  Both people in a relationship could say “I love you” and be truthful about it.  And yet, their love is not equal.  It’s just not the same.  One partner in a relationship, or even just a friendship, could care about the other person so much more.  The one that cares more could see the other person as the center of their life; yet, the other person could be caught up in their own ambitions in life and would hardly notice the caring one’s absence.  But somehow, at the end of the day, they both love each other.  Just… not with the same magnitude.

Another relevant example: if I befriended someone, made them my first friend ever, but they already had ten or twenty other friends before me, that one person would mean so much more to me than I probably would to them.  And sadly, both scenarios happen very often.  Tragic, no?

Just thought I’d share a little bit of what’s been going on in my head!  College applications, tennis season, and other things have made me forget to post for the longest time.  But I have a few pieces written up that should be posted soon!

The Plight of Innocence and of Growing Up

This 1951 copy of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is one of 88 books on display as part of the Library of Congress'

This 1951 copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is one of 88 books on display as part of the Library of Congress’ “Books That Shaped America” exhibit.

**Warning: contains spoilers and analysis of Catcher in the Rye, Gatsby, Grapes of Wrath, and Scarlet Letter.

Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, is often seen by teenagers as brooding and whiny.  But are Holden’s views really wrong?  He speaks about things that people see, or should see but don’t want to acknowledge or analyze in further depth– the sad truths of our society.  Although he doesn’t analyze his sadness in detail, he speaks of sadness when he has Sunny, a stripper, in his room.  He sees her green dress, green usually the color of youth and innocence, and Sunny herself, who Holden states does not seem much older than himself.  Another incident is when he recounts the story of Dick Slagle, a former student of Elkton Hills, obsessed and blinded by material wealth.  Slagle wants to appear wealthy and puts Holden’s suitcases on the rack when people are over to insinuate that he has wealth.  In truth, Slagle is ashamed by his own possessions that are “lesser” when compared to Holden’s.  Slagle is an example of a character who doesn’t mean what he says; he is clearly in envy of Holden’s belongings as shown by his actions and motives, yet brushes it off as “bourgeois” to appear nonchalant about the topic.  Seeing this contradiction, Holden laments the behavior and sites it as something that made him sad and a bit frustrated– the shallowness and addiction people have with status (which unfortunately very much applies today).

Connecting back to previous literary work we have analyzed in AP English Language and Composition, Holden is like the narrator of The Grapes of Wrath, insightful and saddened by society.  Similar to the universality of Grapes of Wrath, Holden stereotypes a majority of the people he meets into the categories: people who are corrupt, shallow, and apathetic and the innocent children.  In the Grapes of Wrath, the narrator’s obvious bias and tone (slightly discussed in a few posts of the past, Click, Click. Are we Machine or Are We Human? and We are President Snow), pit the audience against the “machine.”  The “intangible idea” that runs society.  A system created by humans, that is now out of man’s control.  Similarly, Holden depicts a world generally apathetic to a teenager struggling to accept the real world and its realities.  Practically nobody [insert Odyssey joke here *cue Polyphemus’ rage*] listens to the things Holden wants, bordering needs, the answers to.  Children shun him because he is too “old” to play with them, while adults disregard him because they don’t share his curiosity and are fixated with society, the blind and busy population solely focused on finances.  Ironically, Holden is obsessed with the concept of preserving the innocence of children; being the “catcher in the rye,” the force pulling kids away from the edge as they are oblivious to the drop below– the drop into cold, harsh reality.  And like how Gatsby is obsessed with turning back time five years.  Although it is worth noting that Holden is able to ratify his views at the end, whereas Gatsby, unable to change and accept, is led to his watery death.  It is as though Holden, still much like a child, has a second chance at life.  Gatsby, a full-fledged adult, does not get this opportunity. Continue reading

No Time for Tears

螢幕快照 2015-05-31 下午11.25.01螢幕快照 2015-05-31 下午11.25.18These two pictures are from Shokugeki no Soma Chapter 117, page 17.  If you are interested in manga, I highly suggest you check this one out.  I admit that some parts might be a little more slow, but around chapter 110-120, it gets really inspirational.  All credits go to the writer, author, and publishing company.

Hey everyone struggling with testing and those who are just struggling with life,

Fun time of year isn’t it?  For students, summer is just around the corner, a breath of freedom and fresh air from school work and tests.  You’re almost there you guys, don’t give up.  Keep pushing on!

I have to admit, going through junior year of high school and challenging myself has taught me a lot.  Not only about my limits and myself as a person, but also about life choices and management of time.  A quote from Legend of Korra philosophically claims, “When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change.”  Additionally J.K. Rowling famously asserts, “Rock bottom became the foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”  Now I realize comparing stress from work and school to poverty, danger, and life-threatening situations may see trivial and very first-world problems-y, but when you strip away the social situation and economic standpoint, stress isn’t something trivial at all.  Stress in an base emotion that all humans experience (hopefully) that can be both a blessing and a curse, often times it serves as both simultaneously.  It pushes you to get things done, yet it may slowly wear you down.  But at this point and always in your life, keep an open mind, know that no matter what, you can get up.  Once you hit that low point and overcome it, you will be invincible.  You have survived.
The question now (my dear Watson), is how do you overcome the struggle?  Well for starters, don’t let yourself get down.  Come back with a vengeance.  Time won’t slow.  People hardly stop for you.  Find a resolve.  Find a purpose.  See those with happiness from their accomplishments.  Those who transcend their time to achieve great things.  Remind yourself that if they can do it, you can; one step at a time.  Use a pen, write yourself a symbol reminding you to stay positive and learn.  Keep learning.  Always.  Like Yukihara says in the manga above, there’s no time to be depressed.  Only time to learn and improve.  Things may look dim, but hopefully, we’re all on a roller coaster that only goes up (Yes that was a TFIOS reference).

Remember, don’t waste your time. Don’t let yourself get down.

Find your faults and improve.  Don’t beat yourself for them.

Strive to achieve a dream.  Walk with a goal in mind.  Find your purpose.

If you can’t live for your own goals, live for the purpose of help another.

Volunteer to seek a light in the dark.

Believe. Hope. Act.


A/N: This post was inspired by the manga Shokugeki no Soma, final weeks, SAT subject tests, ACT, friends studying for MCAT’s, surviving junior year of high school, and Kelly Clarkson’s song Invincible.

A Lesson in Ethos: Vicki

Come check out my new blogging project: High School/College Advice!

Niche Of A Nerd

Dear reader,

This blog post has serves to establish credibility and introduce myself as a writer. So if you’re here simply for advice, I acknowledge that this is entirely skippable.

My name is Victoria (Vicki) Lee and I am currently a junior at Fountain Valley High School.  My current life goal is to attend UCLA, UCI, or UCSD. At UCI and UCSD, I aspire studying biomedical engineering, or BME.  At UCLA, I aim to enter their biochemistry program.  As of now, I am in the top 2% of my graduating class (not going to disclose which exact rank I am…).

The reasons behind the creation of this blog are simple: to guide students based on my personal experience and to give others advice I wish I had.  I know how difficult it is for some people find where to even start.  So, I hope that this blog will give you…

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Exam Crunch Time. Just Breathe. You Can Do It.

You can do it! I believe in you!

Come Down The Rabbit Hole


Dear all stressing about things like AP exams, MCAT’s, the future, extracurricular, or some other real-world difficulties,

You can do it.  I may not know you.  But, believe you can if you set your mind to it.  But first and foremost, take care of your own body and mind.  Testing beings soon, don’t crash and don’t give up; the finish line is just a few bounds away– hang on a bit more.  Don’t let the negative thoughts overcome your mind; once frustration sets in, the negative thoughts will affect your performance and make everything harder.  Take a break, breathe, meditate, or try distracting yourself by setting a timer for 5-10 minutes and reading part of your favorite book, poem, or just something you find interesting.  For music-oriented people, pick up your instrument and play something you love until the timer signals the end of the break.  Or for those…

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Can we go back?

Novels about nature or books that are set in times before the industrial revolution make me yearn for days where life seemed much more… simple.  Taxes were trivial or nonexistent, school didn’t take up 10-12 years of a person’s life, and people just hung out.  If I had to pinpoint anytime in history as the time that changed human behaviors from meeting people in person to “hanging out” over virtual “reality,” I would say it’s the Industrial Revolution that has changed us.  The goals of faster output, more products and sales, uniformity, scheduling, and working throughout the night as though workers are easily expendable all seem to stem from that era.  When in human society can we just decide, “let’s go back.”  Back to living day to day and not having to worry about problems in the future, finances, taxes, and burdening major work stress.  For kids even, we put aside the childhood many before us experienced and focus on studies because we’re told, “be the best you can be in school… put everything aside… work now, fun later… get into good colleges… otherwise you’ll have no future.”


Our society is one that has evolved from outdoors and beautiful stars, to the confined, artificial, and removed indoors.  From playing physical sports and laughing together with friends to typing repeatedly on a keyboard, staring at machines, laughing at bright screens, and merely sitting and laying down.  What is to become of our society at the rate we are progressing?  What will be the point, the fun to our new reality?


A/N: These pictures are not mine, I found them somewhere on facebook with no links or credits to the original artists.

The Media and The Mind

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”

-Jim Morrison

8468788107_bb6c21b0e4_kThis awesome art is made by Flickr user mkhmarketing.

How true is this?  It’s one of the things I’ve been pondering: when does this apply in society?  When doesn’t it?

For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to distinguish media as a body controlled by a tight-knit group of television executives, news casters, and celebrities.  While society is a mush-pot of everyone else.

Also, before you read this, my mind has been whirling about with too many things, worries, and pressures lately.  So I apologize if this post doesn’t really make sense.

1. How society treats certain genders?

Movements like the HeForShe campaign and the AskHerMore movements championed by major figures in media including Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, and Reese Witherspoon have been making waves in media for those who see the reasoning behind these movements.  Before figures in media rose up and noted this inequality, few people spared a second thought about how women were treated in society and in media– as mere “eye candy” or viewed as “weak” and only adequate as mothers (who mind you are freaking awesome).

Here’s a compilation of female celebrities lashing out against sexist questions:

2. How society treats certain races?

It took a while for African Americans to gain a foothold in the equality spectrum in the United States.  Period or large movements fighting for equal rights, many people were afraid to stand up for the cause.  Mass-media let those people know what they are not alone and that there are more willing to fight for the same causes.

On the other hand, media is also the one causing stereotypes, especially on account of gender, race, and other minute factors.  For example, Asians are stereotyped as “nerdy” and typically strict; however, I definitely know that that’s not true for everyone.  Often times, these social norms built up by society becomes what defines a person, not their individual idiosyncrasies.

3. How society views people with certain preferences?  How society makes us think?  How tolerate and accept?

In some ways, media has mixed results when it comes to preferences.  From what I have been seeing, sometimes society tends to champion beliefs that are different from those of media.  But then again, in any group of people, there will always be at least one “rotten egg.” Although, this brings me to another point: which influences what more– society or media?

How much can individual people, not under the microscope of scrutiny change the “idols” and those who’s lives are broadcasted and discussed in detail?

With questions like these, it annoys me that all I can really conclude is that every situation is conditional.  Ever case and debate is unique.  It’s hard to come up with a generalization and answer these questions, just as it is not right for society to stereotype, problems can’t truly be clumped up and addressed similarly.

So, how much influence does mainstream media really have over us?  Well, to some extent, in too many ways.  And in other respects, however much we let it.

Click, Click. Are we Machine or Are we Human?

Some really deep thoughts of mine I’d appreciate if you check out. If you liked it, check out “We are President Snow” and pretty much ALL of my blogging partners’ posts! They’re amazing.

Come Down The Rabbit Hole

3249292348_5bb5cf7877_bI was planning on drawing again, but then I wandered upon this beauty by Flickr user Tobias Higbie.

Although I indirectly blogged about it last week, I didn’t make it quite clear.  Mr. John Steinbeck couldn’t have hit the nail on the head with the shocking claim that man created an intangible machine, an idea.  More or less, it’s the idea of a hierarchy and the concept that humans are replaceable; a mindset, I would like to point out, that may have been catalyzed by the Ford assembly line: faster, more efficient, one job, quicker, do it better, one task, another can easily take your place, work harder, better, “rinse, wash, and repeat.”  And what sprung forth from that idea was an unfeeling, uncaring, and selfish society.  I stated that “We are President Snow” referencing this machine, or rather one of the effects its had on us–…

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