Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I think I can honestly say that my whole winter break was spent anxiously waiting for the last two of my grades to be posted on myslice. I religiously spammed myslice and even made it my front page of chrome. After all that waiting and anticipation, finally all my grades came out like 30 minutes ago. Its then I realized my anticipation and anxiousness was for nought.

Its always those last few classes that either make it or break it. This semester the last two grades I was waiting just happened to be the ones that I've been most anxious for. The first class I felt like I bombed. I thought I did mediocre at best on the final and apparently I missed one report that needed to be handed in. The other class was my most anticipated "gpa booster" class. I was pretty certain I got no worse than an A just because I feel I spent most of my time into this class and produced stellar work. 30 minutes ago my world flipped upside down. I checked myslice and there they were, the last two grades. Oddly though they seemed to have swapped places with each other because there was no way I did this good in Geography and this bad in Studio. Go figure, art classes never grade fairly.

In my whole life I've never gotten a 4.0 or straight A's. The closest I've come is probably around 3.8 back in high school. I guess I'm not cut out to be a scholar. It never bothered me though. What bothered me about college is the way I anticipate a certain grade in a class and never seem to get it, be it good or bad. Thats why I absolutely (can't believe I'm saying this) love academic classes. No I'm not a teacher's pet nor am I a super student, I merely just love academic classes because their syllabi (syllabuses?) are always straight forward. 10% attendance, 30% exam, 40% final, 10% participation, etc. In the end, you can always calculate to a certain extent your final grade give or take a few percent. Art classes make no sense whatsoever. They're syllabi always states "do your best" or "we expect this level of work" nonsense. It's frustrating that "your best" gets you a B- (or some other lower than expected grade). It should just say "grades will be given according to professor's own opinion" and none of this "10% participation, 50% portfolio, 40% final" blah blah blahness. While other schools around the University have a 3.4 honors gpa, VPA has a 3.2 while architecture goes down even to a 3.0. The sad part is not many make these thresholds. Those that do are either 1) teachers pet 2) prodigy or 3) have legendary bs-ing skills. I really thought that this semester would be "the" semester for me where I could finally break the 3.6ish area. I felt like I've been doing excellent in all my classes (except Geo at the very end). The reality of studio classes came back to kick my ass again, hard. I didn't fail the studio class, just under-achieved.

I've been really wishing to achieve a 4.0 at some point but to do that I've only got one chance, one semester left. How much harder do I have to work in order to achieve this feat in an opinion-based learning environment? I'm fine pushing myself beyond my limits. Even then that'll probably net me a B+. Or maybe I should just take the easy way and level up my bs-ing skills to post legendary.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Christmas List

I don't have a christmas list this year. I was once again reminded that I don't really need one. I love the random blessings that come about here and there. With God, its like christmas everyday. You give he takes, he takes and gives back a hundred fold. Anytime, anywhere. My parents always taught me the importance of tithing. 1/10 of your possession seems like a lot sometimes but hence we live by the faith that He will cover the rest of our expenses. Its like paying for insurance. You pay 1/10 of whatever you make and you're set for life financially. I like that idea. Last sunday when I realized I forgot to put in my weekly tithe portion of the offering. I quickly dug in my wallet and pulled out $6. $6 is a relatively small amount of money but I guess God never cares for the financial amount you put in. That day I came home with a 32" TV, way under priced. Sometimes it takes God a while to repay you but this time it was rather instant. Tis the season for giving. Fulfilling our friends' and families' christmas lists are very important but lets remember that God has a christmas list too. He just wants your two small, copper coins.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Artist in Me

Recently I stumbled upon my old online portfolio. 


No matter how far I stray from myself, the artist in me always pulls me back to my basics, creating art. Those were the good times where I aspired to be a great artist. Nowadays that passion is all but diminished. Passions may die, but art is forever.

Figure drawing from sophomore year in Syracuse

(This one is my personal favorite: Tribute to PreCalculus)

The 3-part study of the primary colors done in high school for my AP Studio Art "Exam" (and my college admission portfolio which ultimately got me into VPA)

One of my personal favorites done freshman year in Syracuse. Simplicity vs. Complexity.

Sometimes I wish I continued to pursue and hone my artistically trained mind. On the flip side, I'm glad I chose a new direction. 

Monday, December 6, 2010


Recently I had a conversation with my roommates about our future. We were reviewing each others' resumes, talking about potential companies to work for, etc. The question that came up was "What is your top selling point?" It dawned on me that I've become a "Jack of all trades, master of none". Over the past 4 years I've picked up skills I never would've even thought of getting a chance to. Who would've thought that I would learn to make films, music, or even learn how to speak Java or ASCii. Who would've thought my eyes could be trained to be keen on design or that my ears could be trained to pick up every little detail that composes a song. Maybe this was my purpose for coming to Syracuse. I can't imagine picking up any of these skills had I have gone to RISD or Parsons. Thank God for more of an "open" institution.

Its nice having a wide range of flexibility but at the same time its quite limiting because "anything I can do, someone can do better". In society today, people prefer an expert, a master in a particular field of profession. No one wants to choose the teacher over the electrician or vice versa. I guess I'm screwed because I still have not found that one thing I want to/can master. As job applications pile up and the nail-biting process of opening reply mails continue, I hope I chose the right path for myself. If I had gone and pursued one skill to master would I be better off? I'd be a master in that field but I'd lose my flexibility. After being a so called "jack", I've noticed it does come with its benefits that a master cannot comprehend. It may not land me a job right away, but it does come with its perks. Jacks are pretty much shunned in the job market but who's to say Jacks can't succeed. 

Do I secretly want to be a Jack of all trades, master of none? Deep down somewhere within my subconscious is a desire to be a master of everything. I want to be good at everything I've learned. Realistically that's never going to happen so for the moment I'll humbly accept my title of Jack. 

In due time may God grant me the desire to become a master of one (or two). 

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Friday night was sort of an eye opener. The usual praise and prayer night where we sing songs and pray about certain topics, nothing out of the ordinary. Towards the end one of the prayer topics Jenny Ahn mentioned was praying for the people who influenced you as well as people you have influenced. Thoughts swirled around as I knelt to pray in thankfulness for the people have influenced my life. On the flip side it also made me worry about the people I have influenced. I'm a big believer in subtle influence. You don't necessarily have to be a huge impact on someones' life but in the end, anything you say or do can and will influence others whether it be for the better or worse.

Everyone wants a role model as well as be a good one for others. I'm no different. When Jenny mentioned the topic, I think I replayed my entire 4 years here at Syracuse in less than 10 minutes. I know for a fact that there are people who have influenced my life. A lot of people probably don't know that they have influenced me in very subtle ways. I guess what made me worry is that humans have this extraordinary power of influence. Did I influence people for the better or for the worse? My 2 years of being a small group leader, my 3 years of church leadership, my 4 years of being present in Syracuse, I pray they have been fruitful. I guess part of the reason I decided not to be a family group leader this year is for that exact reason. I don't want to be in that position where I can influence someone's life drastically. I rather be subtle about it.

Thanks to certain subtle influential figures, I am who I am. Your subtle acts of kindness and faith changed my life and I hope I can do the same for the future generations.

We have the power to influence people. What a scary yet reassuring thought that we have the power to carve the future.