What have I been doing Spring Semester? Dancing~ – May

Holy Moly, College is stressful.

I have had a pretty difficult time balancing my time, which you might have guessed from the lack of posts. Throughout the spring semester, I have felt many urges to spring to my computer to write on Word Press and record my experiences at Hopkins, but alas, there is just too much many things to write!

I guess I’ll spend 30 minutes just SoC writing what I thought was one of the best things that happened to me, and it would be a good study break!

Greatest experience at Hopkins so far? It has to be Eclectics. For those of you who aren’t hip, Eclectics is a dance group that invites many different styles into their choreography. Everyone in the group brings a distinct flair to the dance floor, and it’s awesome to see these different styles amalgamate into spectacular performances! Some people I was particularly struck by (and I loveee focusing on them when they dance): Kangqiao’s “fabulous” attitude, Megha’s sexy “Derek Zoolander” expressions, and everything about Mia! (so much charisma and swag in such a small package!). I can go further! There is Raymond’s “cleanness” and “class”, Aurora’s “finesse” (she just looks so beautiful when she dances), Nakura’s “gracefulness” in her leaps. Khalid and Eddy are just straight just G’s, Ilana so cheerful and awesome to dance with, and Elsheba is such a diva when she moves, I love watching her. For Dillon, I feel like can also do everything: I’ve never seen someone with such a small butt shake it with such skill and grace.

And then there is Mey’s “Skills”. I’ll just stop there. But I will say her dance in “Bubble Butt” was damn inspirational, shaking booty is just as fun as waving my hands. Damn, I hope she never reads this. Too late, it’s been said. I’m now learning from Kangqiao to also get really low with it, I have so much to learn. It might be weird reading this, but I’ve danced like a gangster for so long I want to develop the “bad bitch” side of me now. Btw If I didn’t mention someone’s name, omg, I’m so sorry, I really can’t stop and think :p.

In all seriousness though, I’ve tried joining a bunch of groups here at Hopkins, but Eclectics is one of the groups (along with APO and CSA) I really feel comfortable in. I’m still shy as always when it comes to meeting people in student groups, and I admit I’m still quiet as heck around some of the people in our group as I just don’t know what to say. But in Eclectics, we do a lot of dancing instead of talking, and there is this bond that is created when you dance with people regularly in a group. Argh, its just so indescribable. Sometimes, you can really get to know a good part of a person by watching how they move. In a dance, I feel like you put a lot of your personality, your swag, your emotions into a dance, and when you dance together and learn choreography, your personalities and emotions become in sync for the briefest of moments, for a minute to a minute thirty seconds, and that is enough to connect with someone.

I guess my most memorable moment in Eclectics is preparing for the Spring Showcase. For nearly a month, every member exhausted themselves, pooling their heart and energy into this showcase, and in the end, put on some of the best dance performances I have seen. As a group, some of us entered a little bit unfamiliar with one another, but together, we created a piece of art that was so opaque in beauty, yet invisible, so alive and energetic, yet intangible, and so lucid in our mind, yet indescribable. I love Eclectics for giving me a beautiful memory that I now share with the wonderful people in this group, and for becoming one of my most memorable experiences at Hopkins.

 

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Small Note:

Well that was more than thirty minutes, but it was worth.

Some other topics I have been planning on writing:

– My thoughts on majoring in BME (I have a blog actually half written up, but I plan on publishing it at the end of the semester so I can a clearer idea)

– Maybe just how I’m feeling sometimes! Sometimes I’m just so pent up its unhealthy. Other times, I have hilarious/fun/memorable moments with my friend group, but I just forget to record it

I guess back to work.

 

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I ate 24 wings today

I don’t think I have room for Christmas Eve dinner,

My mom hates me.

The wings felt fatty and I ruined my strict diet regiment.

My body hates me.

The meal costed around $15.00.

My wallet hates me.

I just went to the bathroom. Oh dear God.

My toilet hates me.

I ruined Christmas Eve for myself.

I hate me.

 

However, I got to catch up with my good high school friends, so I guess it was worth.

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First Impression of Hopkins and a look into my everyday mornings

In the future, I can imagine myself back at Montgomery Blair High School, meeting up with old friends and old teachers, describing all of the exotic experiences we have had living it up in our colleges. I can imagine Jason Ma rambling on for hours about the crazy atmosphere in MIT, where seems oddly intense academically, but at the same time, a huge f**king party school. Henok seems like he’s doing great, and I can imagine him describing his lavish dorm life, how he has one of the coolest suites ever with a huge T.V. installed to play FIFA and Project M. As we go in a circle, everyone becomes excited talking about their colleges, bubbling with fervor as they share some crazy anecdotes, and that’s good. College life should sound energetic, fun, adventurous, and everything that was made out to be in Van Wilder (to a certain extent). Yes, college will be academically rigorous, but the ecosystem built around college campuses is one of the most unique settings to ever be surrounded in. It lets you thrive as a teenager but slowly mature into an adult, gaining both academic and social experiences in the real world.

As it finally comes for me to speak, I cannot quite pitch Hopkins to my friends the same way they have pitched their schools to me. Hopkins is certainly a fantastic school, but it is a school not meant for everyone. In a way, I understand why their admission rate is dropping to the 12% and maybe lower than the 10% this year. You truly have to be a very unique character to not only get in, but also perform well here.

Most graduate students would say “treasure these four years, you’ll never get that experience back.” At Hopkins, their mantra is “treasure that freshman fall semester, it’s the only semester where your grades are covered.” Oh boy. Even as I am writing right now, I am experiencing the torrent of midterms, the onslaught of the difficulty curve in homework, and the emptiness of any school spirit or cheer, since everyone is studying (Lacrosse season doesn’t start until the Spring).  At the same time, however, I am enjoying the breadth of their incredible research opportunities and resources, the possibilities in Biomedical Engineering as they let you become more hands-on with science than any other college, the lovely walks around the Homewood Campus and Inner Harbor, and some of the most interesting group of people i will ever meet. Such polarizing feelings of Hopkins. For some reason, the negative aspects gets blurred out as the positive aspects are just so rich. Weird, isn’t it? Ultimately, I imagine all secondary schools to be somewhat fallible, but the student body tries to ignore some of the faults when advertising their school to you. I can’t bring myself to do that in this blog, even though I want people to apply here.

A Morning in Hopkins

Here we go again.

Alright Richard, it’s 8:30 AM, the alarm is blaring, so that means it’s time to fire up those neurons and get the blood flowing, we got a long Thursday ahead of us. Let me catalog today’s cycle as #051, and pull up the schedule and assignments due for Thursday’s classes. There we go…hmm…let’s see…

                10:30 AM – 11:45 AM  – Physics

                12:00 PM – 12:50 PM – Biomedical Engineering Modeling and Design

                1:30 PM – 2:20 PM – Calculus III Section

                3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Biomedical Engineering Modeling and Design

That’s not too bad I guess. Physics is a breeze, as long as you show up Richard, you’ll get your points. Biomedical Engineering is a tough cookie, but we’ll cross that road when we get there. You know…haha…this might feel like a pretty good Thur-….

wait a second…

is that alarm still blaring? Holy cheese on rye Richard you are one lazy motherf**ker. Get the f**k up, class starts 10:30 AM and it is…

……

……….

…………

10:25 AM. Richard. As your conscience, I say this with all due respect that you are the most LAZIEST MOTHERF**KER I HAVE EVER KNOWN. HOOOLY F**K. LISTEN TO YOUR DAMN ALARM, AND WAKE THE F**K UP.

_________________________________________________________________

“Yo…Kyoung-A, I just had the most crazy dream ever. maybe I shouldn’t have stayed up until 4 AM finishing my Calculus III homework.”

Kyoung-A, ignoring my incredible hindsight, shakes me, pushing me into free-fall in my dream, and awakening me in reality. Thank you #basedkyounga. Kyoung-A is my short but stout friend that is also majoring in BME. We belong in the same clan in BME Modeling & Design, and since we overlap on many of our classes, she will often crash in our living quarters. She has become a permanent resident of Room 307, and she pays her tribute by vacuuming our carpet every month. Plus she wakes my dumbass up.

Such a godsend.

“Yo Rich, if you don’t get up in 10 seconds, I’m ditching you.”

Scratch the last thing i said about her.

“K.”

“K, C YA.”

In my struggle to wake up, I am now alone, desolate and barren, as my blankets have fallen to the floor. Why thous has forsaken me?

Everyday,  I am also met with some initial regret of ever coming here. Dawg, why am I even an engineer doh? Those feelings quickly evaporate, as there is little time to reflect; I must weave through the lethargic march of late people to physics.

10:35 AM. I’m 5 minutes late, but the professor always dedicated the first 5 minutes of explaining where office hours are. It seems my body has calibrated my circadian rhythm to waking up just in the nick in time for actual Physics to begin.

It’s 11:50 AM already? Time to trek to BME Modeling and Design. I exit out of Physics awake and fresh, now able-bodied to appreciate the beauty the Homewood Campus has to offer. Yesterday it was Summer. Today, its as if all the trees sprouted glorious autumn leaves. As the sun shines, its rays refract around the multicolored trees across the quad, transforming the landscape into a phantasmagoria that I wish was perpetually stuck in Autumn. Magnanimous.

OH CRAP 11:55 AM WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF, I WILL ADMIRE THE TREES SOMETIME LATER. If other colleges were a mile run or a 5K run in terms of how easy-going/chill you can allow yourself to be, Hopkins would be a sprint. In my case it is quite literal.

I sprint to Modeling & Design faster, as I posit that one day these BME classes will break me into thinking like an engineer. That day could be this day.

Next post will be a more serious post on BME, and it will encompass everything I have seen so far. This post was just half serious, half fun. Needed to let out some steam from some bad midterms QQ.

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The importance of a director’s vision: I’m indifferent to children in wheelchairs

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Note: I started college, so I don’t have as much time to access my computer because of orientation, but I plan on writing about my experiences so far at Hopkins! But just to give you an introduction, man…Hopkins is incredible. OK, on to the review :p. It’s kind of late to review it, but I recently just saw it, and I think it deserves some analysis! Enjoy my first movie review in several months!

Prior to watching “Elysium,” I remember sifting through interviews of director Neill Blomkamp talking about “Elysium,” and how it’s an analysis on the human condition and the current politics that strangle our society. This was the Blomkamp I have been waiting to see ever since “District 9”, however, when I finally saw it, I was strangely disappointed. It wasn’t necessarily a bad movie, however, it robbed me a bit of my humanity, and left me feeling worse on the inside.

Most people don’t realize this, but when you’re in the hands of a movie director, you subconsciously become impressionable to his vision and understanding of the world. I remember when I watched “Schindler’s List,” I was crippled emotionally by Spielberg’s powerful imagery that uncovered the despair behind the holocaust, while at the same time, humbled by the plight of the selfless factory owner, Oscar Schindler, who lied to the Nazis to save thousands of Jewish refugees. This film became my second World History class, but instead of taking notes in my spiral notebook, I became a firsthand witness and developed an understanding of how tragic these historical events were. I know this movie is nowhere close in replacing the actual sentiment of those affected by the Holocaust, but still, through “Schindler’s List,” I was allowed to empathize with an event that would have otherwise become another faceless piece of history.

“Elysium,” on the other hand, was something truly different. Instead of inducing any positive experiences and lessons for me to draw upon, I feel bitter, confused, and now less caring about sick children in wheelchairs in third world countries. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, who also directed “District 9,” “Elysium” is a poor sci-fi flick with a pretentious vision, as it pretends to tackle on political and sociological themes such as immigration, health care, and class issues, which adds little to nothing to the current debate on these issues.

elysium-teaser_77-930x384Set in the year 2154, Earth has become overpopulated and unclean, which as a result, has caused the rich to leave and live on a luxurious space station called Elysium. While the wealthy enjoy living with the medical pods on Elysium that can make them younger and disease-free, the poor scramble to survive in the harsh living conditions and the heavily-policed streets. Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), lives in the ruins of Los Angeles, but when poisoned with radiation at his factory, he attempts to make an illegal break to Elysium to cure his sickness while at the same time, discovering a way for everyone on Earth to get instant medical access.

To be fair, there is a lot to like in “Elysium.” Sharlto Copley, who plays a psychopathic mercenary called Kruger, is a lot of fun to watch on screen, as his disregard for the law and vigilantism allow for plenty of exotic scenes where he’ll blow up shuttles of civilians and explode soldiers with “shruiken bombs” just to capture a single person. Unfortunately though, one shining character isn’t enough to pull the weight of a very fat movie that struggles to have an identity.

Like I said before, movie directors often have a way of captivating the attention of their audience through cinematography, which in turn allows them to see their vision. In the case of “Elysium,” I was captivated by the CGI effects, from the zoom-in to Elysium space station to the sweeping shots of the decrepit but overpopulated cities of Earth. However, when it came turn to see Blomkamp’s vision, I saw nothing, except a generic dystopia, with a generic corrupt politician, and a generic story of the lower class rising up that somehow contradicts with the themes Blomkamp tries to present.

If Earth was overcrowded with low class civilians with medical conditions, why “on Earth” would you give everybody free healthcare that would make them impervious to any disease or injury? Wouldn’t that just exacerbate the whole issue of Earth being overcrowded? Because of this contradiction, Blomkamp’s claim of how the wealthy strangle the lower class seems one dimensional, because if it weren’t for the strict immigration laws and regulations over the medical pod in the film, all of humanity would be doomed. While it’s easy to blame big government for the misfortunes of the lower class, which “Elysium” does exactly that, it doesn’t highlight anything that hasn’t been looked at previously in other more serious films.

To take this one step further, because of how weak the vision was in “Elysium,” I actually wanted to see the bad guys win for once, because the movie didn’t make me care at all about the children in wheelchairs. While it tries to make 2154 Los Angeles seem like a very hostile place to live in from the opening credits, it’s actually…not THAT bad, pretty decent living conditions. Having lived in China for two months, life in 2154 Los Angeles is pretty much just China with mean robots. On one corner there are children with doo rags running around smiling and playing on the swings, and on another corner there are children playing “Double Dutch” like it’s nobody’s business. People still have a roof over their head, and they can still partake in leisure activities such as drinking with coffee with office buddies. Occasionally, it can get very rough, especially with the strict law enforcement, but how is that any worse than Los Angeles right now? Sure, you do see plenty of sick children in wheelchairs, with their mothers pushing them to hospitals as I bet they are worried sick about them, but so many of them flash on the screen that you never really get a close look at any of them, so in the end, you feel indifferent to their woes. Unlike the aliens in District 9, not enough attention was placed on the daily struggles of life living in 2154 Los Angeles, making it kind of seem normal and tame. I would be more alarmed by the daily struggles in “Elysium,” but the glaring contradiction as noted above, along with the exotic arch villain, makes the villains pretty appealing to root for.

Unlike “Schindler’s List,” which reinforced its themes through well-written dialogue, black and white cinematography (with the occasional red), and a fantastic John Williams score that’s played over sweeping shots of the aftermath of WWII, “Elysium” doesn’t reinforce anything except throw at you staple scenes of children in wheelchairs strolling around. The children that do have legs get to run around in doo rags and play “Double Dutch.” That sounds pretty mean and cold, but…sigh, that’s how I feel after watching “Elysium.” It took the struggles of the day-to-day life of there on Earth seem mundane and uninteresting to look at, not to mention make the harsh regulations and laws created by the wealthy look like a necessary evil.

Most directors have a vision of what their story is going to be like, but I think Blomkamp unfortunately “tunnel-visioned” too hard on his.

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To introduce yourself, you must know thy self first. Let me begin.

I’m kind of a shy person.

For those that know me, I usually seem pretty charismatic, happy-go-lucky, and sometimes, just downright silly. However, that’s only a small part of what I’m able to express. The part of me that I don’t express…well…if I could explain it to you, I wouldn’t have a problem expressing it in the first place lol.

That’s my problem, but it’s not like I put on a facade to mask my emotions or anything. When I’m at a party and the mood is festive, I can loosen up pretty well and keep the party going with some jokes or crazy stories. However, when it’s crunch time and people are arguing over politics, philosophical notions, academia, or even emotions, I get a mental writer’s block on my thoughts. Even if it’s an idea I’ve done some heavy thinking beforehand, when it’s my turn to step up to the plate and contribute, my mind freezes and I’ll strike out by saying something shallow and unimpressive.

But like Future Sight, I’ll figure out the words I want to say after it’s my turn (two turns actually), and then proceed to mentally hit myself over the forehead for missing an opportunity. Such is how I have felt the past four years in high school. Especially on debate team. Especially in the random fights that break out between Pulkit vs. Henok vs. Jason vs The World (I love them but they can get crazy). People look and treat you better if you project yourself as smart, well-spoken, and serious (some combination of those traits and some others that I’m forgetting). None of which I exhibit when I stand their quietly doing nothing, figuring out what to say and then waiting for the tension in the air to cool down so I can say something lighthearted.

As a result, I want to get better at expressing myself, and I think I can do that through writing on WordPress. Though it takes an equal amount of time for me to organize my thoughts when I’m writing than when I’m speaking, I’ll get out what I want to say eventually; to see my invisible thoughts in the form of actual words. Seeing my writing makes me a bit happier :D, and raises my self esteem as I’ll prove to myself I am not totally dysfunctional.

I plan on writing on my WordPress through college, jotting down my experiences and my difficult thoughts that I have turmoil figuring about. Also, I want to review anime, movies, and T.V. shows when I can, just so my critique is always sharpened :D! (Haven’t done any of that since my days on Silver Chips Online. I miss it :C )

However, my major is pretty difficult and time consuming (Biomedical Engineering), so I’m not sure how much time I can dedicate to writing on WordPress. In addition, I have a bad habit of flaking out on promises I make to myself (and other people) because like my ideas, my priorities/responsibilities are mess and incredibly disorganized. But hey, I want to change that. House from “House M.D.” says that people never change, and to an extent, that is kind of true. However, I can’t let myself take a step back now, because the only worse thing than failing is giving up without having ever tried at all. Wayne Gretsky said something similar: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I have disappointed myself and at times other people, but I know when I’m committed to something and I follow through I can do some pretty amazing things. Only time will tell if I can hold my resolve and keep up my responsibilities.

Alright that was a bit over-dramatic and tense to read l0lz, but I’ve always wanted to say that. Everyone is their own harshest critic, and recently I’ve been slacking on my self.

Oh yeah, forgot what I wanted to say in the first place. College will provide me with lots of exotic experiences, but not the bountiful time I need to constantly write on WordPress. I’ll write what I can, and I know will every now and then because of how therapeutic writing feels. Writing all of this and then reading feels…amazing. I love it. It’s a good step forward. yays :3!

Got an essay to write for Hopkins, on the book “The Others,” by Wes Moore. Heck, I think I might put my college writing on WordPress (after I turn it in). I wouldn’t turn in any college essay if I didn’t think I had good ideas, and if I have good ideas, I should organize em!

Boring first post, but expect more out of me in the future! I’ll be looking at movies, anime, and any T.V. shows. I’ll be documenting my college experiences just so I never forget them, and writing down my emotions and thoughts just so I can figure myself out.

OH YEAH, AND ONE IMPORTANT THING I SHOULD MENTION! My name is Richard Chen, but just call me richarizardd :D! Someone already took “richarizard” :/, and I don’t blame him, it’s a wicked name.

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