Posts Tagged high school

Miss you.

leah-85“Off to college, yes you went away, straight from high school you up and left.” I think Aliayah, the famous singer, said it in her song titled Miss You.

You definitely will miss your high school friends. I do! Although we promised to connect with each other daily, we learned promises aren’t always kept. It’s hard getting in touch with my high school friends. First we are all busy with adjusting to school, but, more importantly, I realized that whenever I contacted them I neglected the friends I made at college and I feel like I’m grasping onto the past. It’s hard to transition to new types of people because you have to create a new bond and all those old insiders with your high school friends don’t apply. So, when you are laughing by yourself about a squirrel in a trash can everyone is looking at you like you are crazy.

Honestly, I am afraid of losing my high school friends. They are such special individuals and I feel like we all connect in a perfect way. They really became apart of my family. I don’t ever want college to get between us, which is why I try to keep up with facebook posts, weekly calls, and anything else in between. Some people do fade away though and some friendships sadly have expiration dates, but I don’t think that will ever happen to the relationships I have with high school buddies.

Flash Cards!

joseph-85Big Surprise: Finals time was stressful.  Couple that with the other assignments that have been looming at the end of the syllabus and everyone can tell you the time is overwhelming.  For a while though I thought I had it beat.  Every semester I get better at finishing assignments earlier.  This semester I was doing very well, albeit not talking to many people, and sitting in exhaustion at the circulation desk at my library job about to fall asleep.

I had thought long and hard about the phrase “Idle hands make sin;” about how in high school I had 7 classes and a great deal of other activities to engage in and I seemed to have so much more time.   I did recognize that at my high school there was almost no homework (and by oxy standards no homework at all.)  At oxy though, I serve on a couple committees, work, and volunteer with a few clubs.  Compared to high school I’m not doing anything, and I have very little free time to be spontaneous.  So I signed up for a fifth class hoping that my self-regulating academic capabilities could help me through.

They did, but since I can’t focus on work for more than 45 minutes to an hour without some irresistible compulsion to move or walk around, I ended up staying in the library until 5 in the morning quite often.  But my studying this semester was revolutionized, especially for Econ and German. I was saved by some advice from my German instructor. Two words: Flash Cards!   For just about forever I’ve been stubborn about flash cards.  When I was a reading mentor for younger students years ago, I was supposed to use flash cards to help the kids.  The kids never responded positively to them and I had grown a sort of dread and hatred myself towards what appeared to useless little pieces of paper that taunted the poor children who didn’t have parents that taught them to read when they were younger.  Reading books with them I always thought was much more effective.  Also flash cards just mean memorization, and I’ve never been good at that or found it particularly useful.

Anyway, don’t let biases keep you from doing something that can help you.  For me, it was the simple act of writing the information down onto the flash cards that I found so helpful.  It ended up making this an A- semester and made Christmas break all the more sweeter, until I got this flu that has lasted literally a week.  I should write a post about how much I get sick.  Thankfully, I’ve got this over the break, because it would have been a disaster during the school year.

Expectations Pt. 3

irvin-85Expectations Pt. 3

As I sit in a now deserted library, my self-made calculus study guide being my only companion, feeling the pressure of midterms, my thoughts begin to wander. I think about the people having fun tonight, those who are going out and ignoring the fact that they have midterms next week. Their life seems so easy, so carefree. I am going to be honest and say that there are times where I wonder why I do the things I do. Why do I worry about classes as much as I do? Why do I choose to do work after I go out Friday nights? Why am I awake at this hour doing triple derivatives and finding volumes under spheres and cones? As you can see, my mind goes to many places and questions many things. Yet, the answer to all these questions is one that I know quite well.

I do what I do because that is what I am here to do. Simple as that but yet, there is complexity behind this. What is it that I am here to do? Well, there is no simple answer to this. I am here for a variety of reasons.  Beyond the personal reasons of why I am here (better future, become a learned intellectual), I am here representing my race, my family, my community, and my high school. All of this ties in to the third type of expectations; those of your family and those of your community.

When you are sent off to college, whether said or not, there is an expectation for you to do well. You, your family and your high school have worked for years for you to reach this stage and it is expected for you to not throw this chance away. This being said, these expectations are at times heavy and create the fear of disappointing the people that have helped you get here. I can attest to this personally. I feel that I have to put forth my best in order to make my parents proud, make my community proud and show that my high school does have talent within its walls. Anything that does not show my best effort is, in a way, letting everyone down. It sounds harsh right?

It is and in the first few weeks here, this mentality set added more stress to an already stressful first term. As I’ve come to learn, behind every hardship here, there is a lesson. From this, I have learned to not be so harsh on myself. In college, I have learned that it is all right to fall down a couple times for this is just a natural part of the college process. As long as you are putting your best effort forward, you are not disappointing anyone. No one expects you to get perfect grades during your first term since you are faced with such an abrupt transition both academically and socially. If there is something that I could tell you about college is that it is ok to break down. You are not letting anyone down if you do not get the perfect grades. Actually, breaking down gives you a chance to rebuild and reconsider things which lead to a better strategy at approaching things.

Do not let expectations weigh you down and remember that at the end of the day, home will always have its arms open, ready to embrace you and welcome you, no matter what your grades are first semester.

Halloween Madness

jeremy-85Happy Halloween!  Halloweenas Beunas! Joyeux Halloween! Frohes Halloween!

Hey CSO Family!

Now that I’ve covered the universal greeting of “Happy Halloween”, let’s talk.

As you’re heading to higher learning, the last thing you want to hear is a lecture.  A lecture about proper behavior and appropriate actions of being a college student.  You figure, I’m going to be 18 and that makes me an adult.  I’ll be away at college and only accountable to myself.


In high school, you were given your schedule and required to show up at all assigned classes.  In college, it’s a whole new world.  You need to be disciplined and have integrity to do as you need to do to make the grade.  No one will call your mother or your father to find out why you didn’t show up for classes.

That’s the TREAT of college life.  You get the opportunity to grow up and mature without parental control!  SWEET!

Here’s where things can derail…


Oh, you thought it would be a thing of the past?  You thought is was over after high school and everyone you meet from now on would be just so intelligent that you wouldn’t encounter people who try to talk you into doing STUPID STUFF!  You don’t think you’ll meet people who have CRAZY on the brain everyday?

Trust me.  Just because they’re here on a college campus doesn’t mean they’re here to learn and do the right things.  That’s my TRICK part of the message for this blog on Halloween.

You will meet people who feel like they have to be daring and stay up for three or four nights straight without sleep because they can.  Avoid those people like the plague.

You will meet people who won’t study and do their required homework, don’t make those people your friend.  Steer clear of them.

You will meet people who make fun of other people because of their race, sexual orientation and anything else which says they’re different.  These individuals are to be avoided at all cost.

As you can see, college life is like Halloween: 24/7/365.  It’s up to you to control your behavior, your reactions to actions around you and how you present yourself to the world.  College is not something you put on like a costume and take it off when you’re done.  College is real world and your attire should not mask who you are, but reveal how great and decent you are.  

It’s a game of chess

lot-85Where do you see yourself in four years? It’s the question that has never failed to throw me into a state of deep perplexity. It’s the question my high school civics teacher relentlessly hurled at me. It’s the question that most of us put in the deep pockets of our minds. I had no desire to plot out my life outside making plans for the weekend with my friends

Now, most of us aspire to obtain reputable positions within our respective communities. Whether it be an engineer, physician or lawyer, we all have some end point, some perfect destination in the near future which will yield enough monetary gain and status to afford “the good life”. The objective on the resume is evident, but what are the sequence of events that will lead you there?

It’s a question that requires deep meditation merely because this world, whether you are aware of it or not, is thrusting into a new age of incessant competition with not only your classmates, but with invisible people in foreign lands. In a more globalized society we are only as good as the people we can outmaneuver when it comes to capitalizing our opportunities. Take a close look at the world we are living in. In the media we hear stories of raging recession in our community, and even in our homes we feel the remnants of a society seemingly incapable of sustaining the masses. Well, how does this affect you? The message to take away, if nothing else, is to doubt that future will be certain for any of us. Today, more than ever, it is the upmost priority of each individual, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, to secure a proper vision for the future.

It’s natural for most to become enamored with the temporary realities that come with high school. I remember going through the motions of high school, cutting the corners to get the grade that could pad the cumulative GPA rather than seeking knowledge for the sake of broadening my set of skills. I frequently saw high school as a step to college, but is it crazy to suggest that high school is the first step to real world success. When I sit in my freshman level classes, I take a hard glance at all the students pursing the same major as I am and wonder how will I distinguish myself from the pack? I came from a high school where I was a prominent student. Now I often see myself being challenged by peers and being pushed to the max in terms of intellectual prowess. It’s a cold hard reality not being the most impressive student, but I see the situation as a opportunity for growth in terms of how much knowledge I can gain and worthy accomplishments are yet to be ventured. A year ago I had the same mindset: There are fifteen students in my class applying to the same university as me, not including the thousands of students from all around the country and across the world. How do I secure my position and my own portion of scholarships? How do I gain hands on experience in the field of study? How do I prove to future employers that I have initiative, leadership, and critical thought to surmount any obstacle? How can I be extraordinary?

It’s hard to think of my life ten or twenty years from now, but I must in order to make every day count. It comes back to the notion of how one can seize upon opportunities to advance his or herself in future years. It’s like playing a game of chess, every move should be meticulously made to reach the goal. Think two or three steps ahead of the opponent and the game and you win.

7 Days Left to Apply for the CSO Opportunity Scholarship!

CSOlogo-85High school seniors, could you use $1,000 to help pay for your freshman year of college? Or better yet, could you use $1,000 every year for the next four years to put toward your college expenses? If so, keep reading…

Class of 2010, YOU’VE DONE IT! You’re almost to graduation and you are ready to move onto the big leagues: COLLEGE! Woot, Woot! You received your college acceptance letters, selected the college you want to attend, are sending in your housing deposit and receiving your financial aid package. So now you can just chill out during the summer!

Well, not yet. Before you begin your chill session, make sure you apply for the CSO Opportunity Scholarship–a $1,000, four-year renewable scholarship awarded to first-generation, low-income, and/or minority high school seniors (class of 2010; entering the college class of 2014) enrolling at a CSO College Partner. If you win, you’ll also be given the opportunity to share your college journey and offer advice to younger students on how to make it to college on this blog!

Download the application here or email scholarship@csopportunity.org to receive an application.

Make sure your application is completed and postmarked by the deadline, May 28th. And again, congratulations on making it college!

Our work is never over

duylam-85I was going to keep some of the more major things I’ve been doing at college under wraps, but in light of a series of events that have occured back home I feel the need to stop being so abstract and “wise man” like and show maybe proof that the sky’s the limit regardless of “this, that, and the third”. Hopefully I don’t sound like I’m gloating…but I am. Just kidding, hah.

So maybe we should kick it off with my high school year.

January 1st passed, just like you guys now, all my applications are done and I’m feeling overly relieved. Between my schools it was a whole bunch of business schools: Washington & Lee, Uni. of Virginia, Uni. of Richmond, and Babson. And then there was the Rhode Island School of Design. I know!! Complete 180 from all of the schools I’ve applied too, but that was my sort of crazy, not-secure school that I would go to if I decided to pursue my more creative dreams.

Well the rest is history as they say, but it’s actually more like a long story I’m going to explain in my blog.

I never went to RISD as you know, hah, I was too scared to follow that route, but to serve as a medium I went to Babson, which I thought would be nice because Boston is right there and a big city means big opportunities. Oh good lord I forget to mention that at that time and currently still, I was/am passionate [is that too corny of a word to use?] industrial design/product design. Industrial design is basically the creation of new products. Some of your favorite companies have a huge emphasis on design: Apple, BMW, Fender, etc. You get the gist.

Right anyway, so I’m all gung-ho about design so I email the professor, Sebastian Fixson, in charge of this really cool class at Babson called Product Design & Development. So I email him once I decided on going to Babson. We remained in correspondence all throughout the summer, and after the first week of college I email him again and we set up a time to just talk about everything. So I meet him and I’m trying to exude my passion as much as possible, and let me remind you meeting him was a HUGE thing for me – I had already planned on sitting in on his PDD class. Anyways we talk about everything and he offers me a seat in the course!!! This just put a smile upon my face because even though I wouldn’t get credit I would learn something, which I did, and I also created a few important relationships. Right also this course was a 3 school joint program with Babson College for business, Olin College for engineering, and the Rhode Island School of Design – HOW COOL THAT EVERYTHING COMES BACK 360 [actually I knew about the class before I came].

Check out more from the class here

Anyways I sit in on the class and [this part always makes me laugh] it’s full of 3rd years & 4years and I introduced myself and I said I was a 1st year at Babson and I picked business over RISD and they all laughed at me. Woot! So I sit in on other classes and I even got to go to RISD, which is absolutely beautiful by the way, and I met a man named Tim Prestero of Design That Matters. A quick aside, DTM is a non-profit that produces products that are actually of use to people in 3rd world countries such as medicial devices.

Tim had this really interesting project where students would be making a phototherapy unit to help fight hyperbilirubinemia/jaundice in newborns [you can find out more here and click around that is only one type of HB]. If there are any parents, you know how this works. The jaundiced baby/baby with hyperbilirubinemia is placed under a blue light [yes blue light is all it takes] and in a few days the problem is gone. Well this project was of particular interest to me because it was to be made in Vietnam and first implemented in Vietnam, my home country. As you know, Vietnam is not so rich, and the best phototherapy units, such as the neoBlue, cost up to $10,000 USD. Yeah that’s not working for a third world country.

I approached Tim and we exchanged information and I email him a few days later seeing how I could help even though I was a first year. He then directed to the Babson MBA graduate students who were working on this. I emailed them, and then I met Shilpi Gupta, Molly McDonald, Lara Clemenzi, Rahul Bhansali, & Prakash Bhatia the students on the project. We met over the course of the semester and worked on a design that would fit the culture [even my mom helped!]. Well long story short, the final product matched the best phototherapy unit on the market, the neoBlue, on output and the product lasts, about, 10,000 hours. And guess what? The creation of the product only takes $400 USD. Labour expenses will raise the cost of the unit once it starts becoming manufactured in Vietnam, HOWEVER, everything should remain will under $1000 USD. Also, by the time the product was in the design fair at Babson, there were already 300 orders for it.

Here are photos:

This is Praks with our baby. And our finished design.

I am completely honored to have worked with these people, they are nothing short of amazing. Something major come from practically nothing. Even if you’ve got a million to one shot, you’ve still got a shot.

The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire” – Ferdinand Foch,

Freezing with a Side of Steinmart

seanna-85Class of 2009…Class of 2013…Class of 2015…

After you say them enough, they all begin to roll off the tongue.  While these years may mean little to you, for me, they represent graduation years—high school, undergrad, Master’s…the list could continue for quite a while.  The years also symbolize change, something present in everyone’s life on the eve of a new year, particularly for current seniors.

My advice:




Open to the many new experiences headed your way, some of which you may have never considered participating in.

Prepared for all that has yet to come and for the events you have yet to finish.  Before the college journey begins…finals, admission decisions, prom… (GRADUATION!)… all remain.

Excited because here you finally are—on the brink of a novel environment—closing the chapter of elementary, middle & high school…progressing to another stage of your life.

Be all of these things and ultimately, be ready for change.

So here I am, back in Arkansas for Christmas break.  I exchanged a 78o climate for 37o weather.  I’m back at my job at Steinmart, greeting customers and bagging purchases.  Once again, surrounded by family and familiar friends. But now it’s different.  I’m different.  Still myself but with subtle adjustments.  In fact, I realized that college may be a guide in becoming more “me”.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly…”

–Henri Bergson

So, as you finish up senior year in the next few months and Fall 2010 becomes more of a present reality, keep who you are in mind, but also be willing to change…to mature…to progress…

New Year’s College Resolution

ashley-85First off, I hope everyone had a great holiday.

Now that it is time for school again, it means it is time for me to get back to work. Last semester I really didn’t know what to expect, so I treated it like it was still high school. That was a bad move and by the time I realized that it wasn’t going to work that way it was too late for me to change my ways.

So as a new semester begins, it is a whole new beginning for me. I switched my major to Sociology with a minor in Psychology (and History) and I have pledged to get serious about my studies.

Being the first in my family to attend college is very important to me. I want to be able to succeed.

Do I plan on destroying my social life? Not at all. I plan on learning something I have never had before… Time Management.

Although it is cliché, I know I can do anything I set my mind to. I have survived 2 days of the new semester and so far, all is well. I hope this is one New Year’s Resolution that I can keep.

Now as a message to my readers.. I want you to (if you haven’t already done so) think of the year ahead. What is in store for you? Are you prepared for it? If not what can you do to make yourself ready? This new year will be coming at us full speed and many challenges are ahead. Make sure you are ready. If you are, then you will conquer all.