Month: August 2015

Continuing the cycle of school


I am writing this in the beginning of August, 2015. That’s the time when students go: “Hmm, I need to do my summer homework.” And that’s the time I reflect on the previous school year, as well as this summer.

After I got my AP exam scores, I felt very accomplished. But wait, what about class rank? I was very anxious to find out how well I did compared to my peers. In the 2014-2015 school year (FYI, freshman year for me), I had tried quite a lot. But to be honest, I did not push myself over the limit. I knew if I did push myself over the limit, I would fail. I did homework for about 1-2 hours a day, on average, unless I had notes or a project to complete. Then I watched Netflix or browsed the internet, checked up on my company to make sure it didn’t go bankrupt or anything. Dinner, pre-bed preparations (like showering), and off to bed to sleep, only to wake up at 6:30am to go to school. Fun.

So I felt I deserved a high class rank and AP exams, for my persistence in this endless, hopeless cycle which adults call the educational system. The persistence itself is what pushes me to perform at 90%. And that 10% difference has caused some scores to be not as great as they could’ve been. But so far, I have been extremely lucky not to screw up big time. In addition, taking two AP courses and getting A’s in them have helped me propel myself rank-wise.

When I found out how to get my class rank in the middle of the summer, I remembered my rule: if it’s too high, I become a target. If it’s too low, my reputation is ruined. And guess what, there is no middle ground or “perfect balance” for me. Yes, it’s because I am a second-generation Chinese American who isn’t going to give up on the dream that my parents began. Failure is not an option.

I sent the email to the faculty member at my school who gives out class rank on a Thursday night. Since the school worked from Monday-Thursday every week in the summer, I would have to wait 4 painful, grueling days for my class rank. It killed me to wait. But I was in New York City for my summer vacation, and I tried to let time pass.

It passed quickly. Monday morning at around 9:04am, I think, my phone made the Gmail buzz, to which I have became quite acquainted.

Slide to open. Finger on the home button. The phone unlocks. Gmail loads. The message appears. Heart beats at 2,000mph.

Hi Jeffrey!

WOW What an Awesome year you had academically!  Enjoy the remainder of your summer and we will see you soon!

Rank:  4 out of 712


Don’t get me wrong, I was shocked and yet, at the same time, excited.

“Hooray, I tried hard enough and I got a really high rank!”

Then reality came back.

“Oh crap, I’m too high. I’m a target.”


After the vacation and a few weeks, I did do some more homework. Getting started on summer work was actually the hardest part, but completing it isn’t too bad.

I actually was offered a job that paid $10 an hour. It made use of my Minecraft experiences. Being a tech guy, I was overqualified for the job. But since I haven’t really worked face-to-face with others before (before, it was all through the internet on MyWikis!), I gladly accepted the job. It gave me experience with teaching kids. It let me dive into the insight of a younger generation, one which is not accustomed to dial-up speeds, Mojang accounts, or even Windows XP. (smh) It made more than MyWikis anyway.

I have made a few hundred dollars for all my work there. Not bad, considering the times are shorter than school and I still had time to do my summer work after work. And of course, let’s not forget the Netflix I can watch afterwards!

But then I think how close the beginning of school is, and it scares me.

“Have I even done enough summer work? Do I need to work quicker? I NEED TO LEARN THIS CONCEPT NOW. No, MASTER IT.”

And then you get to the actual thoughts of starting school again.

“Great, another year of stress begins.”

I’m trying to soak up as much summer is left as I can. Wish me luck. Because right now, thinking about school starting again is giving me the most stress, and it’s not helping me calm down.