On the Borderline

On the Borderline

For me, neutrality is the best, but what if it's prohibiting me?
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Recently, I’ve been listening to Billy Joel’s song, “Vienna”. I highly enjoy it and feel like it encapsulates not only my life in high school and college, but also those all around me. One lyric stood out in particular:

“Slow down, you’re doing fine/You can’t be everything you want to be before your time, although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight…”

It was a beautiful lyric in that it gave me images of what it would be like thinking about one’s life while strolling on a beautiful street in the snow. At the same time, it harkens to what I’ve been noticing in my life, through which I’m about to choose my major, to what I want to do in my future, and what I ultimately want to stand for in my life.

***

I pride myself in objectivity, or at least on what is as close as objectivity as I can. I want to listen to other perspectives and leave them as good ideas, rather than imprinting my judgement on everyone. I read a lot of books and articles and so I think I’m able to accurately judge everything. And therefore, I stood onto my neutrality.

However, I remember multiple times in which somebody pushed me to take a stand or support a sports club all throughout high school. There was even one time in which I had to translate a quote from Herodotus’ The Histories and say if I agreed with it or not. I said I agreed with it, in which somebody should go out and suffer pain instead of hiding out because somebody should go out and do what they’re passionate about.

On the one hand, I’ve decided in my mind what I stood for politically, and what field I was going to study for the rest of my life. So I have took a risk in what I wanted, and in many things that were more trivial, but were also prominent in developing who I was, such as my decision to learn Chinese and Fencing.

On the other hand, I had a hard time affirming my beliefs and defending them. Especially considering how polarized people are on the internet, armed with information which might be just as biased as it is false, I’m worried I might be wrong. On the other hand, when it comes to my educational choices, I get questions about if it is profitable in today’s marketplace.

***

So I want to do something significant with my life, yes, but I want to be on the right side of history in the end. I admire those who courageously go out into battle, whether on literal killing fields, or on the streets to protest stolen rights, or to argue eloquently through speeches or essays.

As I look forward to the new year, I realize that I am scattered all around. I have options, yes, but I want to find something I believe in. And, clichéd as it seems, risk it all for it. But how?

Cover Image Credit: Chuck Anderson/NoPattern

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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10 Things Economics Majors Want You To Know

For the MOST part, it isn't that bad.

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I decided to become an economics major the day I started college — I know, it wasn't easy for me to decide. Well, technically the real reason why I even chose the major to begin with was that I was undecided when applying for colleges. I was, and still am, an indecisive person.

When I saw economics as one of the majors at Stony Brook, I thought it was something I was interested in. After all, it was the "study of markets and the behaviors of people in that same market." Besides psychology and philosophy (the two majors my parents didn't want me to study), I then chose econ. While it wasn't a piece of cake, it wasn't too challenging either. Here are a couple things we all want so desperately to say.

1. It's not all math, don't worry

While so many people tend to think that economics is all math and no fun, I beg to differ. As I mentioned above, it is the "study of the behavior of people in the market," so while it is equations and statistics, it is also observing how people treat prices and products.

2. It's not difficult to understand

I don't understand why parents think that if you're majoring in econ, you're pretty much signing up to fail all your courses. If they actually took the course, they would understand that it isn't the economic theory you need to understand, but how people react to changes in the stock market.

3. Majoring in econ isn't the same thing as majoring in business

When I tell people I'm an econ major, they immediately say, "Oh, business?" And then I squeeze the urge to yell in their face that I said "ECON, ECON, NOT BUSINESS." Then they continue to say they know someone that majors in business, and then ask if I know the person. The annoyances then continue. Econ is the study of markets. Business is the study of being an entrepreneur. Totally two different things. Yes, they are co-dependent, but they are not the SAME thing.

4. Please don't rely on me to do your taxes or calculate tips at a restaurant

I hate it when everyone just stares at me when the check comes. I regret telling people I'm an econ major at that point. Because I don't know how to tell them I don't learn how to do taxes or calculate tips in class, that's what finance majors do. AGAIN, not the same thing.

5. I know most of us are Asian, but don't be racist

Don't come up to me, ask me what my major is, and automatically assume that I'm an international student. It really sucks. I have to then correct them and say I'm not, and then have them walk away.

6. One of the prime motives is because we want to learn game theory

How we play games is vital to econ majors, and it does involve heavy readings of game theory books.

7. We mostly won't do econ during grad school

Because grad school is a time where we want to actually exercise our skills, it isn't a time to dawdle and major in the same things as we did in undergrad. We're actually adults by then, and we most likely will resort to marketing, sales, or advertising agencies. At least I want to work at Instagram HQ someday.

8. Our classes never have curves

Finals season is always tough on us because it just means we gotta put in three times as much work to memorize formulas, theories, and math terms. Have mercy on our souls. Most professors aren't even nice enough to bring up our grades or give us extra credit.

9. The TAs are too busy with work to help us

Even they understand econ isn't a breeze, and as TAs, they can't really explain stuff to us that they don't understand either. In fact, most of the stuff we learn in class are self-taught, usually late nights with Starbucks coffee.

10.  We actually hate business majors

Because they have it easy. And they don't need math. Everything they do is easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Not gonna lie, I love being an econ major. But some cons can be too much and it does teach me not to do econ in grad. One thing is for certain though, I love what I do and I don't regret choosing it.

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