How could I have been such an adept user of the internet for most of my life and still find it difficult to navigate these websites? Same deal with the Discussion Boards on Blackboard.
Well, I’m here now, current status: uncomfortably warm, tired, kinda hungry, but it’s late and it’s not very wise to eat at such a time. I’m James, I am an 18 year old Filipino American male, born in Manila, but do not speak Tagalog. Please don’t ask me why not, my parents didn’t see it necessary to teach me. I have been raised in and am still residing in Jersey City, New Jersey. No, living here is not like living in the middle of a Baghdad warzone, I have freely walked its streets since my youth and have never had any danger fall upon me. Then again, I have shared this fact with some of my other Jersey friends and they find it hard to believe themselves, so perhaps my account may not be the most accurate in terms of the safety of Jersey City streets. One of my friends has a theory that it’s my naive ignorance of the dangers around me that has protected me from harm as I do not look fearful and vulnerable. Don’t know why that would stop someone from mugging a small-framed Asian boy, but I’m not complaining.
Jersey City’s one of the most diverse cities in this country, and combined with the diversity of the schools I have attended, I have developed a comfort with most, if not all, types of cultures and beliefs (provided they do not force it upon me). My best friends in high school were a genius Puerto Rican with a deep fascination for dinosaurs who was our valedictorian and currently attends Harvard, and a 6’4″, 300 lb black bodybuilder with an eccentric flair and a taste for Indian women. On the other hand, I also feel terribly uncomfortable with homogeneity of races. Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, if there’s too much of any of them in a room, I’m not gonna feel comfortable. I harbor secret fears of acting too Asian or too White.
I just wrote about 6 paragraphs now and deleted the whole thing because this was stretching too long. Plus, if I write all about my family and how they’ve shaped my life experiences now, there won’t be anything more to learn later, right? Then that whole thing led into some introspection on the contrast between my experiences and my worldview and then I feared that writing all that down as it was going on in my mind might make some people think something was wrong with me. I’m certainly not doing so well quelling that right now, but on to the next subject.
Honestly, the Baruch Honors Program doesn’t really fill me with fear or anxiety or anything. It’s just another new experience for me and some of it is feeling like deja vu, specifically, the speech the teachers give about how we used to be top of the class and now we’re with equals and that we may be experiencing our first B of our life. I haven’t been the top of my class since 5th grade, and from 6th grade onwards, I’ve been getting that same speech in every school I went to.
In 5th grade I was accepted in the Academic Enrichment Program at the Jersey City middle school, Academy I. 6th grade was where I felt the whole “I’m not the smartest kid in the class” trauma. I got used to it by 8th grade where I stopped trying to act like I had something to prove. I got into McNair Academic High School afterward, which was the #1 high school in Jersey City at the time (I think it’s #2 now, just behind this new, richer school) where I got the same speech. Both of the schools had a pretty much equal population of whites, blacks, hispanics and “others” (a term I always found humorous). As college neared, I feared I would have been taking the diversity of my schools for granted and I’d end up surrounded by white people in some rural college campus. Then I get accepted into Baruch, one of the most diverse colleges in the country and I have no more apprehensions.
I think I have a pretty good grasp on the fact that I’m not going to be the smartest guy anywhere anytime soon, so I don’t see any reason to try to prove it. My goal with college is to just live it to the best of my abilities and enjoy it while it lasts, something I failed to do with my previous years.
Damn, already 3 AM, times flies when you’re writing your autobiography and then decide to retract it at the last second. I guess I can leave it here, maybe wait a little while before I feel comfortable sharing what I typed in those deleted paragraphs. I’ve gotta get to sleep, I got plans this morning.