Liu XiaoBo – Unerasable

While Chinese censors are anxiously scrubbing away at social media content, the world continues to mourn for Liu Xiabo. At 61, Xiabo died due to late-stage cancer in his liver. The Chinese government that had imprisoned him for two decades released news of his sickness only days before his death. During the G20 summit, world leaders such as Chancellor Merkel offered repeatedly to hospitalize and attempt to treat Liu. Their offers were coldly turned down. Professor Liu passed away on Thursday, July 13th, 2017.

An emphatic dissident, political prisoner, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Liu died a martyr’s death: an ending most governments would hope to abate for its enemies. After all, allowing your opponents to die for what they believe in not only makes them appear stronger and justified, but makes the leadership appear cruel and unjust. History has shown this to be true, through the cases of William Wallace, Joan of Arc, Socrates, and others alike. If anything, these examples have proved that martyrdom does not silence a cause, but instead, propels it forward. It strikes a match within those who have not been moved to take a stand and burns even heavier in the hearts of those who have. Leaders from all around the world, from as early as King Henry of France and Queen Mary of Scotland, have learned to prevent their enemies from becoming martyrs. So why did the Chinese government allow Professor Liu to die a hero – a martyr? To answer this question, we must trace back centuries into the roots of Chinese history.

The “People’s Republic Of” China, as we know it, was not always a Communist regime. For dynasties, (Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing) it was a tyrannical one, ruled by emperors and kings who would pass their titles down to their progeny until leadership grew weak and rulers were overthrown or conquered. Strong, vicious rulers like Shi Huangdi maintained order and obedience in their realms by imposing fear in the hearts of their subjects. Shi burned thousands of earlier books he deemed politically dangerous. By the way, ‘politically dangerous’ usually meant the texts featured benevolent and gracious rulers, who the emperor didn’t want citizens to compare him to. It is also known that he buried hundreds of Confucian scholars alive because he viewed their “rulers have a responsibility towards citizens” philosophy as a threat as well. The damage ensued by this destruction of intellect and knowledge is inestimable. It may as well have erased thousands of years of culture and academia.

What does Shi Huangdi have to do with Liu Xiabo? Not much, some might think. But as the first true Chinese emperor (as many consider him to be), Shi Huangdi set a precedent that many following him would emulate, for centuries to come.

Many Westerners find it hard to understand just how powerful ancient Chinese rulers were. That is because they compare such reigns to those of Western figures. For example, in European courts, kings (and unmarried queens) were heads of their states, however, they did not possess true ultimate power. Many looked to Rome for religious influence and aid, especially before the Protestantism spread. Others were often limited by the beliefs and stances of their nobles, as seen in French courts. Nearly if not all of them were required to follow some sort of legal process of the justice system before condemning enemies to any type of punishment. One way or another, these leaders were beholden to their citizenry. Even in a court so corrupt as King Henry VIII of England’s, trials were held against political prisoners, even if evidence and testimony had to be falsified to condemn them. This was not at all the case in ancient China. Whereas western rulers were accepted to be appointed and blessed by God himself, Chinese rulers were thought to be God in human form. They did not have to provide reason for killing their subjects, much less providing lesser punishment. They were not beholden to the same rules, regulations, and laws of their realms.

And thus, a political culture of utmost obedience of the people to the government was born. Those in charge felt they could subject the commons to whatever they saw fit, without question. And so, when the communist party took control of China in 1949, its leadership assumed total control. Chairman Mao Zedong famously said something along the lines of “Shi Huangdi only killed 460 scholars. We killed 4,600.” Yeah, fun. The Communist Party also proceeded to rid its realm of ‘rightists’ and right-wing content of any sort. Such political philosophies were considered treasonous. Even after Mao’s death and the slight opening-up of China to the rest of the world, human rights are still out of the question. False propaganda imbue the daily lives of the Chinese citizenry. Those who marched in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Demonstration were massacred, mowed down by government tanks. Peaceful proponents of a a fair judicial system, free market, and uncensored media, such as Liu Xiaobo were attacked and imprisoned, labeled traitors. The firewall went up and continues to erase and block content from the lives of almost 1.4 billion people every day, just as Shi and Mao destroyed texts in their respective eras.

So with all this in mind, it’s understandable why a Communist China does not fear Liu Xiabo’s martyrdom. With the tools in hand to essentially blind their citizenry to any potential threat and the unwavering support of the supposedly greatest proponent of democracy in the world, China has little to fear. The United States government, while lamenting the undeserving death of Professor Liu, has not severed any ties with the realm. In fact, in the wake of Liu’s death, President Trump has proudly announced that the ban on American beef has been lifted in China, furthering US-China trade. Many have also spoken out against former President Obama for his promise to veto Senator Ted Cruz’s measure, which proposed naming the street in front of the Chinese Embassy after Professor Liu, in an effort to take a stance against Communist China’s denial of human rights to its citizenry. In other words, the USA has given China it’s A-OK to proceed.

That’s why the Chinese government allowed Liu Xiaobo to become a martyr. That’s why they ignore the #FreeLiuXia protestors, keeping Liu Xiaobo’s wife under house arrest for no other crime than being his loving wife. They think they have no reason to be afraid. They think they can hide the dissent and opposition and are likely erasing this article from millions of servers in this moment. They think they can silence us.

Are they correct?

You decide.


5 Books You Need to Read Before You Graduate High School

As you might have gathered, I’m a sucker for good writing. An avid reader, I think good literature is key to understanding the world and the people in it. I’ve read a fair number of books throughout high school, some of which have resonated with me more than others have. With just under 2 months left of high school, I’ve decided to compile a list of 5 books that I would recommend every highschooler read before they graduate.

Oh and as for any book, I would definitely recommend reading from a tangible text, but in case that is not an option, I’ve included links to pdfs for all of the books.

5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This book was probably one of the first I had read about Afghanistan, so it definitely enlightened me about the culture, especially the religious and political turmoil there. The book is fiction, but many aspects of the book are derived from Hosseini’s actual experiences, as someone who fled Soviet-imbued Afghanistan. The stark imagery and chilling details contribute to a reverberating story. The symbolism in this novel is also heavy, which is always a penchant for me. Personally, I love symbolism and when it is utilized well in literature, I automatically am more captivated by the text. The book does break hearts, but leaves readers emotional yet inspired, as it ends on an extremely hopeful note. Please read.

4. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Although the book is as dismal as its title insinuates, I was compelled by the Capote’s take on the plot. Instead of simply reporting on the murder and its repercussions, Capote takes a controversial stance. He digs into the pasts of the murderer, analyzing what led him to kill, ultimately revealing a soft side of him. Influencing an audience to understand and even sympathize with a murderer is neither easy nor universally condoned but Capote accomplishes it. This unconventional approach to such a story was fascinating and it inspired me to also stray from the orthodox in my own writing in the hopes of shedding light on important yet often ignored ideas. Most importantly it showed me that sometimes, the most interesting and worthwhile stories are hidden in the obscurity of the atypical. Oh and by the way, In Cold Blood is a true story. Happy reading!

3. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

I read this book during the summer before my sophomore year, a period during which I was quite aware of my insecurities and lack of confidence. A book about a young 2nd generation immigrant boy’s struggle to discover and make peace with his identity, The Namesake really struck a chord with me. I could completely relate to Gogol – feeling lost, unbelonging, and ashamed. Seeing his journey of self-acceptance over the span of decades really inspired and guided me to forge my own similar path. Overall, this novel is beautiful, intricate, and highly symbolic (again, I’m a sucker for that stuff). Jhumpa Lahiri is my favorite author of all time and I would actually recommend all of her works to anyone in search of a good read.

2. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

I’m pretty sure everyone knows who Malala Yousafzai is but just in case you don’t, she is a young girl from the Swat Valley who was shot by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school. Her autobiography details her culture, upbringing, and heroism. It not only tells her story, but that of her country and the injustice and violence that has swept the Middle East. Inspiring and eye-opening, I am Malala will make you feel guilty for everything you have ever taken for granted, especially the right to education.

1.  Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Throughout the novel, Gladwell discusses the concept of success and some of the arbitrary and often unrecognized factors which allow some people to rise to high success, becoming outliers in their fields. The depth reached in this book is achieved through examining the roots and elements of different scenarios and the research and analysis presented in this book is unlike that of anything I’d ever read. In searching beneath the surfaces of facts that most people just accept, Gladwell analyzes the unsuspecting components and criteria that can determine and explain success.

Tomi Silenced – MY final thoughts

If you’re on the Internet, you probably know Tomi Lahren, outspoken conservative talk show host of “Tomi” on The Blaze. She is best known for the Final Thoughts segment on her show, which can be viewed on or her public Facebook page.

Tomi has grown to become an Internet sensation, branding herself as someone who is not afraid to speak her truth, despite how unpopular it may be. She has continually dissented against Colin Kaepernick, Hollywood, Black Lives Matter, liberals in general, and #NeverTrump Republicans. She has proudly declared herself a conservative (although she also has said she’s a millenial who doesn’t like labels but that is beside the point for this article) and many see her as the face of young Republicans.

Basically, Tomi and her opinions were strongly embraced by the right end of the political spectrum for a long time…until this week. During a  guest session on The View, Tomi explained her reasoning for being pro-choice, saying that as a constitutionalist and a supporter of limited government, she felt it wasn’t appropriate for the government to tell women what they could or could not do to their bodies. According to Tomi, taking any other stance would make her a hypocrite.

Apparently, The Blaze’s executives didn’t appreciate Tomi’s honest opinion because they silenced her from the show and according to Internet discussion (which can be less than reliable) are considering cutting her segment altogether.

To be honest, I laughed. Because for a network whose executives, hosts, guests, and viewers so ferociously launch tirades against liberal ‘snowflakes’ who apparently antagonize and exclude those who do not share their beliefs, that’s a pretty hypocritical move. When your speakers are preaching day and night about the 1st Amendment and how we might not agree with what someone has to say but we should respect their right to say it and then you move to silence someone who expressed a belief unpopular among conservatives, that is hypocrisy at its finest. Ironically, it’s why Tomi said she was pro-choice at all – because she didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

So yes, I never thought I’d say this but I stand with Tomi Lahren. I might not agree with her political philosophy and beliefs (in fact, I strongly disagree on those premises), but I agree with her right to express them, using whatever platform she wants. I support and respect her choosing to speak and defend her truth as well as maintain her consistency. The best part is, I’m not the only one who feels this way. People from all over the political spectrum (especially the left!) have been supporting Tomi Lahren during her forced TV silence. The Daily Show host Trevor Noah defended her in one of his broadcasts this week and Twitter users have been expressing their support in her replies.

Tomi recognized this in a recent tweet.


Yes, Tomi. It does feel good to know that women, like I, who may disagree with you on almost everything, can put those differences aside to support you when we know you are right. It’s almost like we can be understanding. Tolerant. Reasonable. Respectful.



Where I’m From

A poem about identity

I am from voices chanting in the street

Songs of revolution, cries of despair.

I am from political protest and peril

Footsteps in sync, signs thrusting in the air

I’m from an unlikely couple

Who discovered true love in a period of unrest

Fleeing a communist China, seeking refuge in the West

I am from they who started at the bottom, yet have climbed to the top

Through whose sweat, blood, and tears gave me all they never got

I’m from a three bedroom home in suburban LA

From a never-ending drought and cars zooming by all day

I’m from a school of two thousand

Most of whom look like me

Whose parents also ventured from afar

To the land of the free

I am joined with others in Him, through Sundays in the pews

My quadralingual story known only by few

I am from the Goddess of Democracy who instilled in me

An innermost passion for justice and liberty

I am from books whose fiction triggered creativity

Inspiring me to jot down my whimsical stories

I’m from notebook paper stamped with Hello Kitty detailing

Which morphed into Word documents saved on my desktop PC

I am from picture books and chapter books

From Aesop’s Fables to Fitzgerald

And later, scribbling away on my own

I am from preschool piano, bubbling with excitement at age four.

Feet dangling from the bench, barely reaching the pedal

I am from local studio recitals at my nearby church

To concerts in Prague’s castles, before an international crowd.

I am from years of sore fingers tapping both sorts of keyboards

Separate mediums for catharsis of all sorts.

I am from a salad bowl of culture

Of roots stemming back centuries.

I’m from historical tragedies larger than anything I’ve ever seen.

From an immigrant couple achieving the American Dream

Who waited until they prospered to then beget me.

But I’m also from choices I’ve made for myself.

From mistakes that I’ve made and the cards that I’ve dealt.

I’m from hobbies and interests unique to just me.

I’m from the place I was born, but also all the other places I’ve been.

From Europe and Asia, the sky and the sea

Where I go and what I see inspires whom I want to be.

Summer Sixteen


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Alas, September is here. And that means summer is officially over. Over. Well at least in California it is. I hear on the East Coast, they don’t start until after Labor Day. Am I jealous? Maybe just a little.

This summer was beyond extraordinary. Yes, I’ve been saying that every summer since 2014, but in my defense, each one just keeps getting better. I had the amazing opportunity to attend Stanford University’s High School Summer college this summer and I could not have asked for a better 8 weeks. Before I left, many wrinkled their noses at me and asked why I chose to take more school during my no-school period. Well, yes I did go to school, but that’s really not at all just it.

First of all, I got to live on the most beautiful campus. From the moment I stepped onto the Farm, I was entranced, but as I was able to explore more and more parts of Stanford, I fell in love. It wasn’t just the weather, which by the way, is so beautifully unreal. It wasn’t just the gorgeous palm trees, cool breeze, or intricate buildings. I fell in love with the vibe, the culture, the people, and the way of life.

I was lucky enough to be stuck with a group of amazingly talented and interesting people, with diverse backgrounds and bright minds. We quickly became a family and formed friendships stronger than most I have held for years.

I was lucky enough to choose from a wide selection of courses and take classes that I would not otherwise have been able to. Who knew I was into etymology and classics? Not me, until I enrolled in Greek and Latin Roots of English. I thought I knew what fiction was. Apparently not because I was introduced to a whole new way of writing, reading, and thinking when I took a Fiction Writing workshop class. Both classes were taught and taken by charismatic, intelligent, and creative people. I learned much from my professors, but also from my classmates. Never had I been so excited to attend class or participate in discussions. Never had I been so intellectually stimulated. Never had I found a space where I was so interested and comfortable in academics. Were the classes difficult? At times, yes, but the challenges were all part of the thrill and I learned to appreciate them.

Most importantly, I was lucky enough to be a part of a community culture that respected diversity and tolerance. Where people from all around the globe could gather and learn from and with one another, some (like me) for the summer, and others, for years. Where learning didn’t just happen inside the classroom, but outside of it. Where I learned that many of my beliefs and views were not inclusive of the whole picture. Where listening to other people’s experiences and thoughts fed my own and helped me to understand things just a little bit more from their perspectives.

And in the end, I concede, it was very difficult to say goodbye to the new family we had just formed, but the sweetness counter-weighed the bitterness. August 13th and 14th marked the weekend I cried for almost 48 consecutive hours saying my goodbyes. As my car pulled away from the curb for the last time, I honestly thought I felt my heart break. As I boarded my flight, I felt a sinking in my stomach and had my eyes not already been swollen and puffy (seriously, my mom thought I had pinkeye when I got home) I would’ve let it all pour out again.

I’m a crier. It’s not something I’ve been able to control because when I get emotionally attached, I can rarely hold back the stream so it’s what I’ve just accepted. But I’m also a lover and I can say from the bottom of my heart that this summer has been finding new ways, things, ideas, and people to love. More than I expected and more than I signed up for.

So thanks, summer sixteen. For the ride, the lessons, and the memories. It was wonderful.

Brock, Kaepernick, and Joseph Presley – what I’ve got to say

Summer is officially over, but white privilege is not.

We all know that Brock Turner’s little slap-on-the-wrist punishment was less than fair, but what’s even more unsettling is that this sort of stuff happens all the time.

Joseph Presley, a 23 year-old babysitter charged for molesting a nine year-old boy on two accounts, was given a 30 day sentence and let off on 5 year probation. The reason being? He’s just a boy and a harsher sentence might be traumatizing to him. Hmmm, sounds familiar. It must be nice being male and white. The justice system is on your side!

My opinion is clear. Both men are just that. Men. Adults. Over 18 years of age. Legally responsible for their own actions. They should be held accountable for their crimes, not excused. And especially not because of their race and gender. Let’s draw a comparison here. Corey Bates, 19 year-old Vanderbilt football player, gets 15 years for raping an unconscious victim. Brock Turner, 19-year old Stanford swimmer, gets 6 months (let out in 3). Both are athletes. Both represent top-notch universities. Both are 19. Both have assaulted unconscious women while intoxicated. Both have been found guilty. So why the monstrous difference in sentence?

Bates is African American. Turner is white.

I’m not saying Bates should’ve gotten a lighter sentence. No. Rape should be taken seriously and it was in his case. Props to the judge. But that standard should not be lowered or flexed for other people. That’s not how equality works. Make Brock serve the time he deserves. It’s only fair.

And while we’re at it, let’s talk about gender inequality. Brock takes advantage of a girl, gets off easy, and when people complain, the girl he digitally penetrated gets the blame.

Don’t like getting raped? Don’t get drunk. Don’t party. Don’t pass out. Don’t be rape-able.

Should girls be careful not to drink too much? Yes. Should girls be cautious about their surroundings, especially in unfamiliar environments? Yes. Does that excuse rape? No.

Saying that rape is a victim’s fault excuses the predator. Blaming her by calling her a slut dismisses the problem at hand altogether. Yes, she should’ve been more careful, but in no way was being raped her fault. As the defendant reinstated many times, she was drunk and he was drunk and they were all drunk. Well, when someone is not sober, they cannot give consent. When someone is not conscious, they most definitely cannot give consent. Drunk sex is not consensual sex and drunk sex performed by one conscious person unto another unconscious person is even more so not consensual sex.

A woman’s body is not a toy readily available to satisfy your carnal desires. Can we start teaching that to young men, please? When a woman is so drunk that she passes out, you don’t have a quickie with her. You don’t touch her. You don’t take advantage of her. You don’t assume she’d be okay with it. You don’t rape her. You don’t turn around and blame alcohol and party culture for your actions. Until people start to learn to respect women, sexual assault will not end. I can’t stress it enough.

But we haven’t even gotten to the gist of it yet: instead of talking about Brock and Joseph and the broken justice system that sympathizes with white men, everyone is buzzing about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem.

Whether or not I agree with Kaepernick’s decision has nothing to do with the fact that he’s not what we should be concerned with, as a society. Personally, I think sitting during the national anthem was unnecessary, but definitely not worth the buzz and coverage it’s garnered. I’m glad he’s recently clarified he’s not un-American or anti-military and that he’s donating $1 million to underprivileged African Americans to try and get a grip on the whole fiasco, but can I just say that that is not the issue here? Even if a football player is mad about societal inequity, it’s not that big of a deal compared to other current events, especially ones involving elements of injustice that have been going on for years.

We can blame the media for covering the less significant, but talk is also generated by people. We’re the ones who are debating about whether or not he is patriotic. Policemen are threatening to boycott 49er games until some punishment is inflicted upon Kaepernick. Hello? You’re willing to let a stadium full of innocent people go unguarded because of one man’s (completely legal) action, or rather lack of action. You’re fueling more talk, more controversy, and more contention over Kaepernick’s sitting when it really just isn’t that important.

Let’s talk about the real issues. Let’s debate the real problems. Because I don’t want to identify with a justice system that sympathizes with sex offenders, but I also don’t want to be identify with a society that ignores it for lesser matters.


If you want to read more about some of the topics I mentioned in this short article, here are a few links. I suggest you also look at other sources, just to get a more rounded view.

Child-Molester Gets 30 Day Jail Sentence, His Attorney’s Rationale Will Leave you Dumbfounded




Brock Turner – Rapist.


Brock Turner raped a girl, got away with it, and the Internet is exploding. These are my honest, uncensored thoughts.


I am honestly so infuriated with the way the media is covering the Brock Turner rape situation. He is a rapist. A white, privileged,20 year old Stanford rapist but a rapist nonetheless. Stop showing me his swim times at the end of the articles concerning him. I do not care how fast he can swim. He raped a girl and that rape is not cancelled out by the intensity of his extracurricular activities.  In fact, stop referring to him as “All-American Swimmer” and title him how he should be titled: ‘Brock Turner’, ‘Turner’, or ‘The defendant’. And stop posting his clean-cut Stanford yearbook photo alongside the articles. Use his mug shot. He is a criminal and this is a crime.

Also, to the father of the rapist, I am wholly disappointed that you continue to defend your son and with such absurd backings. If I were to take advantage of an intoxicated and innocent person, damaging his/her self-worth forever, for my sick sexual desires, my parents would be so disappointed in me. They would not try and alleviate the seriousness of my actions by saying that it was only “20 minutes of action” out of my “20 year” life. They would not in any way condone my actions. They would encourage me to make amends as best I could (although such a crime can not in any way be fully amended for) and accept the appropriate measures against me. Your son is a rapist. It does not matter how long it took him to perform rape on someone. He raped her. If you truly think that your son is the victim here because he lost his precious swim scholarship and steak-eating abilities, I am even more disappointed. The victim is the girl he so willingly stripped of respect and security. If this is how you parent, it is no wonder your son has committed this atrocious, unspeakable, animalistic, disrespectful crime.

Next, to Judge Persky, shame on you. Rape is rape. A crime is a crime, despite the characteristics of the perpetrator. To provide such a light sentence is a violation of the justice system altogether. A heavier sentence might scar the boy? What about the way he scarred that girl, when he dragged her outside, removed her clothing, bruised her, scathed her, and used her as a sex object for the pleasure of his erection? He is a legal adult and should be held accountable as one. 6 months is a light slap on the wrist for an enormous crime. Criminals are not defined by their attributes – they are defined by their crimes. A middle-aged, undocumented, uneducated, poverty-stricken rapist is just the same as a young, Caucasian, middle-class, private schooled, privileged rapist. If you have bought into the arguments that Brock Turner is undeserving of a real punishment because of his athletic record and age, you are not a judge. Someone like you should not hold the responsibility of providing fair sentences, as the laws of this land guarantee. I do not usually tap into cliches, but this one holds some worth. “With great power comes great responsibility” and you have proven that you cannot efficiently carry out that responsibility. I do not know how you can look yourself in the mirror, how you can face what you’ve done, and how you can sleep at night, but evidently, you have found a way and that just speaks in of itself for your character and lack of morality. You are an embarrassment upon the justice system. Shame on you, Judge Persky, shame on you.

And finally, to the criminal himself. You can drape your school’s title, your swimming abilities, and your drunken state all over your crime, but you cannot escape it. You are a rapist. You are a sex offender. The court system can go easy on you and you can evade serious punishment, but at the end of the day, you are a rapist and you know it. You have faced a decision: concede and atone or deny and run. You have chosen to deny and run, the way you ran away from the crime scene once you were discovered. And for that reason, you have thrown the worth of your education and your achievements away. And the worst part is, you are lying to yourself. You can try to tell yourself you were not at fault and you can blame it on the alcohol, but you and I both know that alcohol does not rape people. People rape people. “People”, meaning you. And the further you try to run from your crime, the harder you try to dodge the bullets, the harder it will be for you to forgive yourself and move on. I’d like to believe that the Stanford admissions board is quite particular in its decisions, which leads me to the conclusion that you are not stupid. You know what you did and you know you are at fault. But if you fail and you refuse to own up to it – to take responsibility, you will be forever hung up on this. You will forever be the person you were when you raped that girl. And so in the end, you lose.


Here are the links to which you can analyze the story yourself:

Victim’s Open Letter (read in court):

Turner’s father’s Letter in Defense of his son:

More coverage of the story:

The Stanford Rapist’s Father Offers An Impossibly Offensive Defense Of His Son

These are only a few sources that I have read and that have contributed to my views. I encourage you to read multiple sources, yourself, before forming your own opinions.

Hey Teacher

Hey Teacher

(an anaphora poem)


Hey teacher, do you remember?

You said we’d use this in real life

You said your lessons were applications

So why hit me for applying?

Hey teacher, do you remember?

Ad hominem attacks are logical fallacies

They don’t undermine the argument – they sidetrack

So by attacking my age, don’t you know you’re proving me right?


Hey teacher, do you remember?

You said you wanted my honest feedback

To help you grow and improve – at least that’s what you said

So why step on my suggestion?


Hey teacher, do you remember?

You said discrimination was wrong

You said hooray to the end of oppression and slaves

So what’s with your cultural insensitivity?


Hey teacher, do you remember?

When you dissed political figures for hypocrisy

You said this country was built on honor and honesty

So why are you doing what you told me not to?


Hey teacher, do you remember?

Your job entails professionalism

Meaning you brush aside the pettiness

You lock away the drama

Be the role model your students need

Not a 50 year old teen


Hey teacher, do you remember?

Those lessons you once taught me?

It’s pretty ironic, because I did learn a lot from you

I learned exactly how not to be

AP Testing 2016- Reflections

The most dreaded two weeks of my junior year career have fluttered by & away. I’m a bit nostalgic, but I sure do not want to rewind.

If you think high school students are melodramatic when they groan and moan over AP season, you’re exactly correct. However, being part of the crowd, I must say that the exaggeration does reflect elements of truth.

“Why do you take so many APs?” is the question I get quite often.

Well first, I only took 3 AP classes/tests this year, so it’s not the stereotypical 6 or 7 (really though, very few – if any – schools even offer that many AP classes to juniors).

Anyway, my generic answer to the question is: college credit. AP tests are $92 each but if you pass them, you pass out on a college GE class, which saves money in the long run. And, the quicker you get sophomore standing in college, the quicker you can graduate. With higher education being so expensive nowadays, APs are a smart route.

Another main reason to take APs are GPA boosts. An A in an AP class is worth 5 points, rather than the usual 4, which is why people are able to achieve GPAs over 4.0.

But behind the practical and superficial reasons I give out lies the sort-of ugly truth: Pride.

For as long as I remember, being smart was my characteristic. I think that there’s a part of me now that craves it – being on top and ahead of the game. That’s why it’s so important that I get accepted into the highest placing classes (we have to test into APs at my school), that I score high, and that I pass the AP exams at the end of the year (hopefully with 5s).

And the scariest part is, I am insecure. I am constantly frightened that I won’t do well or that I won’t do as well as I have before. On one hand, it’s great, because I’m always seeking to better myself. But on the other hand, it’s not, because every success I experience is another addition to the burden I carry. The burden of being myself. People are constantly praising me for my hard work and intelligence, but what they don’t know is that though their lauding relieves me, it also adds to my burden.

The only thing worse than being compared to someone else is being compared to yourself. And that’s why (in part) I try so hard. Because I don’t want to be the girl that used to be smart or was once so bright and achieved so much. I want to be in the present, forever. And so, though my past exerts pressure on me, it also propels me forward. I’ve never bought the (what I called) BS that “pressure can be good or bad”, but I’ve recently started reconsidering. I’m no physics nerd, but it’s basic knowledge that pressure can come from various directions. It can push you down from above, but can also push you forward from behind. Do I get a say? Because if I do, I choose forward.

And though some may say that pressure of all sorts is not positive, I’m deciding to trust that I can use pressure to better myself and achieve greater things.

Being the best will always be my aspiration. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing or not.