blog 02. bulletin board

blog 02. bulletin board

“What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” is a question that I have asked myself a lot in particular recently as the future I thought was determined for me has become to unravel in college.

Plagued by a fear of failure and regret, I dove headfirst into everything I found even the slightest inclination toward, from neuroscience to writing to programming. In high school, the plan was to bless my college self with every option she could dream of. What I had not considered then was how much worse regret must feel when you’ve had every option in the palm of your hand only to abandon them in pursuit of a few, or one.

In retrospect, I realize that much of my internal dialogue on the necessity of making a single decision stemmed from the mindset my immigrant parents instilled in me, as it was the only reality they had known. There was no space for options when you had a family to raise and care for. 

However, in a world and space where it has become increasingly possible and accessible to change your career path multiple times in your life, I feel hopeful and more secure that whatever decision I ultimately make for myself will be the best for that moment.

For this sophomore year, I’m dedicating my efforts to being honest with myself regarding what it is I want and don’t want without the pressure of creating an idealistic perfect future. I hope to be able to end the spring semester by coming to some type of decision.

Inspired by this train of thought, I have written the following poem, titled “Bulletin Board,” about my experience of bearing the weight of responsibility that comes with being a child of immigrants in the United States. I see where the poem is at right now as a part one that I hope to append continuations to over the next few months as I see how the bulletin board of my life evolves, along with the help of the CUNY Peer Leaders program.

When I am born, the first pin pierces my body.
Through the center of my abdomen,
I become bound to this world.
From one hand,
A nail is hammered through to my mother’s,
The second to my father’s.
I am losing blood,
Thrust into an environment where I can’t speak
Messily and relentlessly revived by the little my own parents have left to give me,
For they too are riddled by pins and nails of their own,
Centered by the one we all share
To this world.

blog 01. the new college classroom: rekindling curiosity in academia

Image of library with book shelves, circular window, bathing a few tables in the room in the su

blog 01. rekindling curiosity in academia

A common piece of advice I received as a prospective college student in high school was to learn how to teach myself, because high school would be the last time I’d have my hand held through lessons and assignments. As someone who has always felt that I learned best from being taught a concept, I couldn’t wrap my head around how attending college lectures wouldn’t be helpful in learning and understanding the material.

It was only when I began my freshman year of college and attended a few lectures for myself where I recognized how this disparity could exist. As a sophomore now, I’ve recognized that learning in academic institutions, at present, is not about gaining knowledge, enrichment, or strengthening one’s own ability to think for themselves as it may well be advertised to be. Each course is instead a mission to understand a professor, what types of questions they may ask, and, most importantly, how to ace their exams. Strategy and the pursuit of bigger and bigger numbers is held well above all else at the expense of receiving an actual, beneficial education.

Although this is evident throughout some of middle and most of high school, the shortcomings of the education system truly stands out in college. Many of the formalities upheld in high school for the sake of obscuring much of school’s incompetence are abandoned in higher education. With pretenses stripped away, the failures of our current education system become glaringly obvious.

The truth of the matter is that the education system, as it currently is, is not meant to foster a love for learning. Rooted in dated teaching and learning techniques, academia now is centuries behind what the scientific research at present advises us to do and not do. There is an urgent need to reprioritize how we approach education and foster a desire to learn in students at all levels.

The truth of the matter is that the education system, as it currently is, is not meant to foster a love for learning.

At the level of higher education, Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis are two individuals who are dedicated to this cause and in positions in the City University of New York to bring long delayed change to revamp the education system. I, like many of the CUNY Peer Leaders of the 2022-2023 cohort have shared, am passionate about learning. However, most of my pursuit for knowledge is done in private, with school sometimes even serving as an obstacle to being able to dedicate time and energy to truly seeking education. To incorporate this pure, unbridled desire to know into higher education can seem like an infeasible task. But in The New College Classroom, Davidson and Katopodis provide an informative guide to demonstrate how it is very much possible through scientifically backed methods in active learning.

Adjusting to refocusing education back onto true knowledge will undoubtedly require a lot of work from people at all levels, including students, professors, and administrative authorities. In fact, many students would deem it a burden to take the effort to truly understand and care about what they learn. However, the long term benefits this will have on the depth of students’ cognition not only makes this endeavor an important step for the advancement of academic institutions, but also a moral obligation for such facilities to truly adopt the purpose for which they have been created.