The first two weeks of my senior year has come and gone. After my internship and the perseverance on my GMAT, I felt an ardent need to make the best out of my last year at Michigan and not let my inferiority complex hinder the things I want to try out. In other words, I’m not letting myself the easy way out this time. To try and fail, is better than to never try at all (my take on it’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all).

With that in mind, I set myself up to find a job to reduce the financial burden on my parents. For the first time ever, I replied to a umich email that was looking for a research assistant, not expecting much at all considering the number of outstanding students in the department. To my surprise, and much gratefulness, I am hired!!! If that’s not good enough news already, I have the skills the job requires, the job has great flexibility and the pay is pretty decent.

One thing I was dying to do last semester was joining Michigan Daily – the student newspaper org on campus but my emails were never replied to, so I made it a point to go to their mass meeting this year by hook or by crook. I was pretty torn between joining the news section or the editorial board because 1) Editorial – I dreamed about publishing an opinion piece, emulating a super successful senior that I’ve always looked up to 2) News – It’ll be cool to cover stories on campus, interview people and participate in activities that I’ve never known or cared to join before. In the end I went with editorial, because I decided since my goal was not to be a journalist, joining editorial would make more sense in terms of the stories I want to cover, and the style of writing I want to use. Last Monday I wrote my first paragraph and the head editor of editorial said she really liked my writing!! – I was super flattered and as you can imagine, my confidence on my writing skills shot up by like a thousand points. It was also very exciting that our piece got to the front page! https://www.michigandaily.com/section/opinion/daily-misguided-call-reform  For my own remembrance purposes, I wrote paragraph four, short and sweet.

And then today I received another piece of good news: I am accepted into the Michigan Journal of International Affairs!!! I’m so glad I spent a chunk of time writing the applications because I wasn’t sure if it would be a fruitful or futile effort. So I’ll be spending the rest of my semester crafting 1-2 articles regarding international affairs which I’m so excited about, because isn’t that what I do in my free time anyway? Just not to a very professional, edited, fact-checked, journal-appropriate degree. I am over the moon about this one because never in a million years would I have imagined something of mine might be published (I did publish a chinese article and a comic strip on the 联合早报, but that doesn’t really count cos I was in Primary and Secondary School).

What changed? How did my writing improve from an embarrassing teacher-talk-to-parents, parents-fuss-over-poor-writing to this point where I could articulate my thoughts in a more coherent manner? (In my defense, I did score the highest in my lit class in Secondary 2 and Mrs Chitra- love her! spotted some potential and placed me in an invite-only advanced lit class where I learned about Oedipus complex, the color purple and those sort of things – and then HP rejected me and GP did nothing for me). If I were to attribute it to one thing, it would be the knowledge I was imparted in US, more specifically in Hofstra Honors classes and Michigan International Studies classes. I think I’ve always been more of a creative person, so the rubics given to me for GP gave me a structure, but I was too ignorant to fill in the blanks. I lacked content – that translates to a hazy understanding of issues, which forced me to look at model essays to recreate others’ arguments. Critical thinking was only a concept I learned of, but not applicable in real life. International Studies 101 and 301 Lectures were very much content-based, which is surprising considering most of us stereotype Western education to be less rote learning (which is also true, but not to an absolute extent). The intensive readings and discussions then filled in the critical thinking part.

Anywhooooss, I really have to count my lucky stars; this year is looking up! Now, let’s not neglect your studies yo, and ace that Econometrics quiz (gulps…) tomorrow!


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