Life

You can’t leave every battle victorious but you can leave with something

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Whether you’re applying for a scholarship to study abroad, a job at a new company, or a position within a club or organization, the truth is you won’t always win. Yes, this advice sounds familiar since we’ve all heard it before but this is a positive friendly reminder that even though the results may not end in our favor, we’ll always leave with one thing: experience 🙂

Last week, I experienced rejection and was reminded of this lesson.

Near the end of February, I applied to a prestigious club for seniors devoted to preserving the welfare of my university. As expected, the process was an arduous one. On Thursday last week, they announced the 13 members selected for next year. Mine wasn’t one of them.

I left that evening feeling frustrated and disappointed. I thought everything had gone well. I thought I had a chance! I thought I would leave with that triumphant feeling one feels after battling for five thousand kilometers to cross the finish line before the other runners. Instead, I felt empty.

But then pace of my black dress shoes slowed as if they saw a red sign approaching. I stopped.

I thought to myself, “Wait, a second. I may not be leaving as a new member for next year but I am leaving with something and that something is experience.”

Thanks to this process, I now have more experience writing a personal statement, being interviewed, specifically by 13 people at once, mixing with other applicants and getting to know people. All of this experience will prepare for the next position or job or scholarship that I apply for in the future. It’s all about taking risks and learning from your mistakes!

The next time you consider applying for a job, a scholarship or to a club or organization, don’t hesitate and go for it! Even if the chances are against you and you don’t end up winning the battle, you won’t leave empty handed 🙂

The recognition of family heritage through a weekend trip to Northern California

This past weekend, my younger brother and I flew to San Jose to spend the weekend with my family and for him to meet my Uncle Nick. It was a trip that reminded me the importance of my family heritage.

On Friday, my mom, stepdad and younger brother flew in from Laguna Niguel, where they live, and met us at the airport. They picked us up in a rental car and the next moments were filled with smiles and hugs. It’s always a euphoric moment seeing your family in person after a long time.

Saturday, we woke up early and drove to Milbrae to take the BART into the heart of San Francisco. We spent the early morning/afternoon walking around Fisherman’s Wharf.

fisherman's wharf

san francisco

In the evening, we headed to Gilroy so that my brothers and stepdad could meet my Uncle Nick. We ate dinner at a seafood restaurant called Rosy’s At the Beach. The Ahi fish tacos were delicious! It’s a lot of food too so you receive your money’s worth.

Afterwards, Uncle Nick invited us over for dessert. We were eating cake together when suddenly my younger brother Charlie said, “What’s that?” We all looked over out of curiosity to see him pointing at this

gramophone

Uncle Nick said, “Well, that right there is called a gramophone. It’s a family heirloom.”

“A gram-uh

-what?” I with a confused look across my face.

“It’s how people used to listen to music back in the day. Here, let me show you.” He turned it on and then I started to hear music. I thought to myself,

“Wow. This. Is. Cool.” I couldn’t imagine what it was like to not be able to hear music aloud whenever I wanted.

“This was the only way to have music at an event or party. It was this or a live band.” Uncle Nick said to us.

It’s amazing to think about how technology has evolved and the things we take for granted these days. Before that moment, I completely took for granted the idea of being able to hear music. I realized how lucky we are to have the ability to listen to music on our phones, computers and tablets whenever and wherever we want.

The other idea I took away from this moment was the idea of heritage. Heritage is defined as, “an inheritance.” In that moment, I inherited not only a part of history in general but of my own family history. This was a moment that I know my ancestors would be happy to see. I hope this tradition continues and that one day, I’ll be the one sharing the story of the gramophone.

Why isn’t the news more positive?

The other night, I was at home eating ice cream and watching Fox 10 News with my dad when they showed a video of a security guard being beaten up in a subway station by a bum. It was a video from YouTube taken by a person watching.

My brows moved in and confused look came across myself. I asked myself, “What’s the point of this? Why are they telling me this? Yes, I understand that this man was almost injured but why should this be on the news?” I remembered a Ted talk I once watched where the speaker, Shawn Achor, brought up the fact that the majority of news is negative and about drugs, death, and violence and it’s true!

Take a look at the latest headlines on CNN in this screenshot from today(3/20/2014):

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If you look at the headlines, the majority of them are negative. “killed herself” or  “lost arm in accident” or “most hated man dies.”

I had never questioned the topics covered in the news until I heard Shawn Achor say that. It made me start to think about the news in a different way.  As a society, it seems as though we’re more interested in hearing about death, drugs and violence. Or maybe that’s just what major news outlets believe.  BUT!

What if all news was positive? What if we only focused on the positive aspects of issues and stories? Imagine the impact that would have on society. I think more people would look at life from an optimistic perspective. The world would be a happier place.

I wanted to share this because I think it’s important to think about the effects of media on society and I’m curious to know what others think. What do you think about the news in society? Would the world be different if news didn’t cover drugs, violence or death? Can we do anything about it?

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One Young World and Under 20 Summit- Two amazing leadership conferences to check out

Last week, I was checking out other blog posts on Students Gone Global and learned about an awesome leadership conference called One Young World, which is a “UK-based not-for-profit that gathers together the brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change.” I watched the film for last year’s conference and it just sounds amazing.

I wanted to share it because you can apply now to attend this year’s conference which will be held in Dublin, Ireland from October 15 to the 19th. Unfortunately, the cost of the event is around $4,500 plus tax, which is a little hefty, especially for a college student. The good thing- there are tons of scholarships out there that may be used to fund you to go!

The other conference I want to mention is the Under 20 Summit conference. The conference is put on twice a year-once in San Francisco and once in New York and it’s put on by the Thiel Fellowship. The Thiel Fellowship is a fellowship for under-20 adolescents who are motivated and ambitious and want to change the world. They’re” given a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000 to skip college and focus on their work, their research, and their self-education.” Even though the fellowship is for students under-20, the conference is open to all ages and it’s free! As long as you pay for yourself to travel to San Francisco or New York,  the conference itself is free to attend.

I found out about it last summer while interning in San Francisco. I met someone in my hostel who was attending and she invited me to go. At the conference, I met hundreds of young, bright individuals with ambitions of changing the world. I also heard from many inspiring and motivating speakers and had a wonderful experience overall. I would definitely encourage attending the conference if you have the opportunity.

Well, that’s it for today’s post! Hopefully this is new and helpful information to you! Thanks for reading!

P.S.- if you’re from Arizona, help support computer science education and take two minutes to send a message to the senator by filling out this form here! If the bill passes, computer science will count as a high school math course!

Credit to Ellen for sharing about One Young World on her blog post 

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“I Am”-the documentary that will change the way you think about the world

I Am documentary poster

[Photo Courtesy: Google Images]

If someone were to ask you these two questions,

“What’s wrong wrong with our world and what can we do about it?”

What would you say?

These are the two questions Tom Shadyac(director of Bruce Almighty and Ace Ventura) poses in his documentary titled I Am(2010). The film brings us along his personal journey to find the answers to these two questions. He decides to seek out the truth behind life after a cycling accident where he suffered a severe concussion and struggled through a long depression.

I watched this film Tuesday night for a class assignment and immediately after felt impacted by it. Here are the most significant ideas I took away from the documentary and wish to share with you:

Consumerism has taught us to value competition when instead, we should value cooperation

Specifically in the United States, we are taught to spend and buy things because things make us happy. Many of us are told to study a field that will land us a high-paying job-why? Because the more money we make, the more things we can buy and the more things we can buy, the happier will be. The truth is money will only provide temporary happiness. In the movie, Tom talks about buying his first house in Beverly House and remembers sitting on the steps in his living room after the movers leave, thinking to himself, “Well, now what?”

We value competition by seeing who can make the most money and then we praise these people and label them as “successful.” Yes, I agree, they are successful but that doesn’t mean they’re happy. Sure, Bill Gates has billions and billions of dollars but does he actually need that much? Instead of competing to see who can make Forbes’ Billionaire page, why don’t think about helping those who don’t have enough to afford food? Or those living on the streets because they can’t afford to put a roof over their heads? We should instead remind ourselves of community and cooperation and help those in need instead of only worrying about ourselves.

Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature

Whenever we think about Darwin, we think of “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest.” The truth is, Darwin really only mentioned “survival of the fittest” twice and mentioned “love” 95 times in his book The Descent of Man. As humans, it’s in our nature to feel joyful when we see a father reunite with his son or sad when we see a little girl crying because she lost her mom in the mall. We are sympathetic creatures. We feel emotions even when we’re witnessing an experience rather than experiencing it. I think this idea from the film goes along with cooperation. If we can help someone and affect him or her in a positive way, the rush of happiness is going to flow from head to toe inside us. We’re meant to care about others and we should.

Smalls acts change our lives and the lives of others

Last year, I lived in the dorms and I happened to be in the bathroom brushing my teeth while a someone was showering. Then, all of the sudden, I heard the water stop for about 30 seconds and then it continued running. I thought to myself, “Why’d he do that?” My friend Jesse stepped out of the shower and I asked him and he simply said, “Oh, I do that to save water.” That small act I witnessed made me realize, “Why am I not doing that?” That small act affected me in a significant way and made me try to change a daily habit and save water.

Here’s another example: About a week ago, I noticed trash on the ground around campus and thought, “What if everyone picked up trash on the ground and threw it away every time they came across it?” I decided to take that small act upon myself because I realized it’s really not that hard to bend down, pick up a candy wrapper and throw it away. Sure, I don’t stop and pick up every piece of trash I see but I tell myself that if I can pick up at least one per day, it’ll make a difference. The other reason too is that if someone sees me do it, maybe they’ll pick up a piece of trash too. It’s these small acts that build up over time that can change the world in my opinion. Slowly, but surely, we can make a difference step by step. 

Nothing in nature takes more than it needs

The last lesson that impacted me the most is this one: nothing in nature takes more than it needs. If a lion is feeding his family, he will only kill enough for them. A redwood tree doesn’t take all of the nutrients from the soil. It only takes what it needs- that’s it! This is idea is so simple yet so powerful! Why do feel the need to take more than we need? This goes back to the idea of love, community and cooperation. We should love our neighbors and think about the needs of others. It’s not only about us. Sometimes we(including myself) forget that. We just need to constantly remind ourselves to care for others. If we have more than we need, why not be selfless and recognize the power we have and help those in need?

Hopefully this post wasn’t too long or too wordy. If you can’t tell by now, this documentary has important messages that we can all learn from. Here’s a link where you can watch it for free(thanks to filmsforaction.org)! It’s 1 hour and 16 minutes long but well worth every minute 🙂

What are some small acts you do on a daily basis that others might benefit from?

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