What will go on my first page?

This will be my last post on OVS Journalism Blog.

But, as Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us,” I will be heading off to college. FUN. And, I will definitely need some mental preparation and set plans for the next few years of my life even if my future may be highly unpredictable and spontaneous. I had pondered over my strengths and weaknesses and how they would influence me in the future along with the importance of life, college experiences, relationships, and the whole universe, and then guess what happened to my brain.

It went KABOOM.

I have FINALLY figured that too much thinking evokes my allergy to the universe. But, too little of it causes some troubles along the way. So, I wrote exactly two things on my first page of life that will become my legend, history, and everything.

First, actions over words.
Second, I am OUT, of high school.

And, the rest will be written as my life unfoils in the midst of surprises. I also want to thank this OVS Journalism Blog for entertaining me and stimulating my curiosity for my surroundings throughout the school year. The experiences that I gained from this blog will surely be unforgettable.

To that end,

Why OVS?

This is a question that hundreds asked me througout my life.

When I was 11, I joined OVS Lower Campus community as a fifth grader. Such early start of boarding life may sound incomprehensible to many people. But, I knew that my education at Lower is guaranteed to provide me with numerous benefits. And, it did. After I completed my elementary and middle school curriculums at Lower, I moved onto another school in Kent, Connecticut. Attendance to this school was not an option. It provided the education that my parents and I desired and a sense of dignity. Having had recently graduated from a small community and moved to a school near NYC where freedom is “freely” given with responsibilities, I thought it was the real world. Then, I wanted to get out of the states. I remember this one day finding my surroundings hackneyed. And, I could not imagine such life for the next three years. So, I shot an email to the admissions of schools in Paris and Lille, both in France since I had an intention of pursuing my French study. The response from the one in Lille was positive and seems to happen until I had learned about Kent’s affiliation to St.Sephen’s in Roma, Italy. However, since American Overseas School of Rome had the curriculum that suits better with my interests than that of St. Stephen School, I spent my sophomore year at American Overseas School of Rome.

At the end of my stay in Rome, however, I was seriously ill and learned that I had cyst near my ovary. To have an operation to remove the cyst, I had to be hospitalized for a while. Since my family was in Korea and my friends were at school I had been given no time to wait for them, I had to go through it by myself. After the surgery, teachers from Ojai Valley School, where I had spent my first four years before moving to Kent high school, contacted me. And, I recalled the lunch with Kara Waycasy, the school secretary/assistant to headmaster at OVS, and her sister in Kent, Connecticut. I immediately knew I missed Ojai and SoCal, my “second home”, very much and thus, decided to transfer back to Ojai Valley School. (Also, I believed the warm weather in CA would definitely help me to recuperate faster!)

Over the summer transitioning from my sophomore year to junior year, my mind was set on Upper and no where else. And, Tracy Wilson, the Director of Admissions and Marketing at OVS, had confirmed my decision. When I returned and joined the community under Mr.Cooper’s “super”-provision, I had an experience that I would never have at any other school. Such proviso was so unique at OVS that I had both moments of dislike and thankfulness. Throughout my two years at Upper, I seized the advantages of this distinctive environment and tried to maximize my potential. It was OVS that allowed me to become who I am now. And, that’s why I choose OVS.

Justice Against Me

I want to take my behind-the-wheel driving test.

But, my visa expires on my graduation date, June 3, 2011. And, DMV requires the test takers to possess visa that guarantees the next sixty days of entrance to America. So, here goes the conflict. As I will be entering my college located in California in fall 2011. I will be released with a new visa that covers the days after June 3, 2011. Because my sister is having an annual grand performance in South Korea, I fly back on June 3, 2011 immediately after the graduation. So, I must take the driving test before I leave.

Currently, I am scheduled for an appointment for next week.

By the way, why would DMV allow people to make an appointment without checking these major qualifications in the first place? What if I went to DMV after getting a permission from my high school with much difficulty and be notified that I cannot take the test? Are you kidding me?

So, I made exactly eleven calls to the DMV office, Sacramento, and NIF (nonimmigration Information Form) Office of my college for a solution.

At some times, I was put on hold for exactly 26 minutes 23 seconds. Thankfully, I was well-trained for such incidents when I applied for “Sogiorno” or residence in Italy, where everything is just “relax, and take it easy. Things will happen some day at some time. But, no one knows when.”

My college recommends me to bring my letters of acceptance along with a completed form of NIF which should pretty much prove the delivery of my visa soon, very soon. DMV, finding this problem out of their hands, gave me a number for the main office in Sacramento. When I called several times to Sacramento, my calls were, okay, I do not even go there. To simply put, the experience was horrid.

No matter how many times I explained how I am a high school senior graduating on June 3, 2011 and transitioning into my college in fall 2011, they suggested me to fill out Optional Practical Training (OPT). Well, I called my college to request the completion of this form. Then, they spoke that I ought to have complete some kind of program and practically completing the form as an entering freshman is an impossibility. Suprise!

Now, I am going to enter the DMV office with my letter of acceptance and completion of my visa request in my hand just like the NIF office of my college suggested. And, if the DMV office refuse me to grant such opportunity,

Something is wrong. I mean,

Something is VERY wrong in the system.

Just because I am a young adult gradually experiencing the “practical” reality, I will not let my complaints for such ridiculous system slip away. If California set up to ensure the legitimacy of the test takers, then am I suppose to forgive this insanity and let myself kneel down to the law set for the benefits on only one population and not for the other? Should I be submissive to these laws with ironical respect, or not? Maybe I need an answer to this question more than to provide a solution to my visa problem.

Surely, my future looks bright with this justice by my side.

Botox for 8-year-old

What would you do when your child complains about wrinkles?

This Mother Kerry Campbell would immediately persuade her Daughter Britney to have Botox and fillers injected to lessen the “wrinkles.”

She buys the products from cannot-be-publicized-online-man. And, she, who is apparently a “trained beautician,” tests the products’ quality and credibility by injecting into her “adult” face before she uses for her “eight-year-old” daughter’s face.

A 34-year-old mother from San Francisco defends her malignant practice, “A lot of the mothers there (beauty pageant) are giving their kids Botox and it’s pretty much like the thing and a lot of moms do it. I am not the only one.”

Moreover, Britney was forced to get her legs waxed so she would be more “beautiful.”

Britney’s friends consider all these practices “cool” and even looks up to her.

What’s wrong with all this? Someone tell me.

The Pursuit of Nationality

I am Korean. And, I am Americanized.

My circle of friends varies–Koreans who have never been in America, Koreans who have tasted American culture, Korean-Americans, Americans, and Europeans.

As a high school senior who began boarding in 2003 as a fifth grader at a private school in California, I know what America is. As I get older, I now face some dilemmas within the Korean and American social structures, and I am not alone in this journey of confusion and struggles.

Here is my case:
My mother completed her education in Korea while my father did in America. Weighing the benefits and disadvantages of American educational system, my parents provided me the chance to broaden my insights. Before I took off on my journey to this land of opportunities, they clarified on this one thing–you are Korean. I did not get it because I was legitimately Korean. But the more days I spent in America where the culture vastly contrasts from the one in South Korea, I started to doubt about my manners, logics in English, semi-understanding of American trend, English writing skills, Korean speaking and writing capabilities, and most importantly, adapting to the Korean and American social structures.

I do not know where I will settle to live and work.

Read More »

School and Freedom

Just now, a freshman girl from China interviewed me about freedom at OVS. It was fascinating for me to have a citizen of a communist country pay attention to my insights about such “forbidden” topic, freedom.

The questions were pretty straightforward. Here are some: What can you do to improve freedom at OVS? Do you think OVS has a lot of freedom? What do you do during your freedom at OVS? What is your first impression of OVS?

Our school try to provide the students with many opportunities even if some might disagree.

But, are we given with the right amount of freedom?

Yes, we are given with a lot of free time. So, does that necessarily mean we possess the rights to our freedom?

Pondering for a brief moment, I found myself caught in the conflict between individuality and society.

Balancing out these two is crucial. And, here I relate these thoughts to OVS.

Integrity. Individuality. Utilitarian society. Liberty. Morals. Coercion. Censorship.

If I were to list these words to describe OVS in a certain order of relevancy, I would have to weigh out a lot of OVS student handbook regulations, American societal standard, and realistic circumstances where all these regulations would be implicated. To that end, I am not going to organize them here anyway.

What if, a girl or a boy student decides to wear a plain shirt with a single word, “gay” or “lesbian”, printed?

Would this behavior be interpreted as an act of rebellion, a violation to the profession as a student, or nothing?

Just wondering.

Sick Humor

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Glorify, celebrate, and embrace this moment of relief says the media. True. He had been the most wanted man in the world. He had put people in an absolute horror and unrecoverable remorse. He had brilliant ideas to cause further worldly destruction. He had killed the lives of millions and planned for even greater number. He had committed, multiple times, the most horrendous sin among mankind, murder. He had maddened the world. Now, he is gone, for good.

Extensive comments and articles about the details and expressions of relief and joy are, thus, understandable. However, people are having a hard time containing themselves as they make sick black humor out of this man’s demise. He, despite of his nearly unforgivable deeds, is a mankind.

A man. A father of six children. A husband of two wife.

His death was performed in front of his 12-year-old daughter. And, his death was confirmed by his children while his wife resulted in death during her “operation” by U.S. force because she would remain faithful to her husband.

Here, I question. “Do you think those children chose to share the disgraceful blood with this sick-minded man hated by the billions alive?”

But, sympathy is not the suitable wording of this case–apparently, those fancy and domineering religions have failed to deliver their grand message, forgiveness.

I am not an American citizen, but have friends, and relatives who suffer from the 9/11 catastrophe and the days since then. Maybe, my nauseating reactions to these comments are abnormal.

However, I know. I know, that some comments displayed online have exceeded the borderline of appropriateness.

An eye for an eye.

Is that it?

Nerdy Tip About College Admissions

Here is a nerdy tip about college admissions.

Do not hope.

This advice could sound absurd. But, it helps.

There are tons of books in bookstores and advice from college counselors, websites, and people with experiences about “how to get into (your epitome college).”

The ultimate truth is, no one knows. Of course, the admissions will look into your essays, grades, recommendations, and resume. But, luck also plays a crucial role and you do not know what kind of tastes your application reviewers will hold on the tip of their tongues. In the end, your admission is unpredictable.

So, I recommend anyone who cares about colleges to work. Work as if your admission is not guaranteed to any college.

Be hopeless. Be desperate. That is the only way to survive in the bloody competitive world of college admissions.


Life and Facebook

I have a “terrible” habit.

And, my friends ask me,
“Are you okay? You deleted Facebook!”

Among many merits of this wonderous social-networking site, I particularly enjoy connecting with my friends and families from long-distance, and taking an advantage of people’s privacy–just kidding.

All the “like” buttons, comments, uninformed lurks of my profile, messages, and pictures, especially the tagged ones, can sometimes be overwhelming. Also, I, as a high school senior, is afraid of secretive patrol from college admissions, even if I have nothing to hide, having an unknown identity search for my private life frightens me. In the future, my Facebook could play even more detrimental roles in debilitating my identity to the future juries, creditors, insurers, ex, employers, and strangers.

To aid these concerns, Facebook has invented vastly complex privacy settings that if one is not a supreme expert in the field of Facebook and digitalized media, this privacy control can give a worthy headache.

So, whenever I feel too distracted and time-consumed in taking precious care of my fabricated life displayed on internet, I quit, at least temporarily.

It’s not an illness nor a sin. Nothing is wrong with my identity, personality, and life. I just do not feel like devouring my time to talk to strangers, staying alert to check if highly undesirable photos have been tagged recently, or selling my privacy to the public.

Indeed, my life still continues, just not on Facebook, but in actual reality. And, I will definitely return, when communication and connection become necessary.

Just saying, Facebook deactivation is sometimes needed.

Feral Child

A seven-year-old boy chirps on the hands of rescuers when they were trying to liberate him from an aviary cage filled with birds.

Until this rescue, he had not been taken out of the cage, never. His mother, who despised her unintentional birth to her son, hid him in the cage and treated as if he was her abandoned, heartless pet. Since the day of prison, he was fed as a bird, raised by them, and thus, behaved like a bird. When he was rescued, he violently moved his arms high up and down, making futile attempts to fly.

He is not the only victim. Many cases of feral children, who are abandoned to spend childhood with wild animals without human contact, appear each year. From 1920 in India to today, about 80 children were discovered with animal parents.

Once they are discovered, they are sent to learn about values and customs of the real world and their identities as human beings, not as untamed animals.

Despite these efforts, these feral children unusually fail to live a long lifespan. They often die within ten years of their rescue. The causes vary from high stress level to suicide attempts.

And, they always attempt to return to their previously horrendous living conditions.

On the other hand, John Ssebunya the “Monkey Boy,” who was raised by monkeys in the Ugandan jungles after running away from his father’s murdering scene with his mother at age of four, now speaks in a human language and even sings in an African choir.

Although fascinating, sadly, humans raised by wild animals is no longer a legend like the one of Romulus and Remus descended from the fourth century BC. It is now the true and bitter reality where parents desert their children with complete ignorance.