A short yet pitiful update on my life that I’ve only posted to verify my existence and any remaining self-worth

The other day I had the pleasure of writing a recommendation letter for one of my best friends, who’s applying to college in the fall. He’s basically my younger brother, and when he asked me to write one, I was so honored.

Okay, you caught me. Disclaimer: I may or may not have had already written him one, and when he mentioned that he was applying to the school in question in casual conversation, I aggressively told him I already had it and that nobody else was allowed to write it but me.

Same thing, right?

Which brings me to the topic of college admissions. I can’t believe it’s been ~3 years since I’ve applied to college as a senior from high school, and around ~2 years since I’ve applied to transfer colleges as a freshman. Maybe I’ll dedicate an entire post to the college admission process for high schoolers, although I doubt how helpful that will be, considering I had to redo it 365 days later.

Honestly, applying for jobs is not that different from applying to colleges. For example, both of them cause much hardship and a lot of unnecessary stress. Furthermore, in order to reduce said stress, here I am, writing a blog post.

Let me try to fill you in on my life.

  1. I dropped Italian. I know. Devastating.
  2. I am now taking an economics class on libertarianism, which is super interesting.
  3. I’m still juggling recruiting and maintaining my sanity. TBD on how that turns out.
  4. I am now thoroughly boring you with this list.
  5. HOWEVER, I did receive a DNA kit, so this week, hopefully, I’ll get around to mailing in my saliva. And then I’ll learn about ~my heritage~ (see previous post) in about 6-8 weeks.

Thanks for tuning in. Stay #NotFazed.

How I may be jeopardizing my future and procrastinating on my ethnicity, but at least I excel at comparing myself to various Microsoft Word fonts

The second week of school has just ended, and I’m already exhausted. It’s not that my classes are extremely difficult (who am I kidding, I’m drowning in work), but there’s also the added factor of something called…RECRUITING.

No, not for sports. Although I probably wouldn’t have any more luck with that, either.

The summer after your junior year is, as I’ve been told on numerous occasions, critical. So right now is the time where everyone’s scrambling to get THE internship at THE company in THE city. And with recruiting comes networking, which is basically a word that means “Hi, welcome to adulthood, this is going to be the rest of your life.”

Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. Or maybe I’m bitter because I’ve attended approximately 9 networking sessions in the past 7 days. I’ve been wearing the same 3 “business professional” dresses, and I still haven’t gotten the confidence to wear heels (no matter how low) on the unevenly-paved streets. I’m notoriously clumsy, but I also happen to despise taking my school shuttle, which means that I’m walking to these events (it’s all about that 10,000 step count, am I right?) in sensible footwear. Dr. Scholl’s would be proud.

Anyways, an interesting thing happened a few nights ago at a recruiting event:


Recruiter: (brightly) Hello, how are you?

Me: (just as brightly) I’m well, how are you?

Recruiter: *beams* Good, thank you. So, tell me about yourself. What do you study?

Me: (excitedly) I study economics!

Recruiter: (enthusiastically) That’s great! Where are you from?

Me: *ruffles with pride* New York!

Recruiter: *raises eyebrows* Ah, but where are you from?

Me: *laughs nervously* Long Island?

Recruiter: *pauses* Yes, but…what is your heritage?

Me: *blinks rapidly* Oh, uh, I’m Chinese.

Recruiter: *smiles* Ah! Excellent. Did your parents teach you how to speak Chinese?

Me: *frowns* Uh, my parents are wh- I mean, uh, I was adopted by a Caucasian couple when I was younger, so I never learned Chinese.

Recruiter: *nods eagerly* Ah, I see!

Me: *combusts internally*


So yeah. I think I handled it pretty well and didn’t make him feel uncomfortable; we had a 15-minute conversation after that. But it had me thinking…

On applications, when they ask for ethnicity, I always put “prefer not to respond.” Up until the other night, though, I always justified my answer by saying that the company doesn’t need to know my ethnicity, that it doesn’t matter. Call it cognitive dissonance, if you will. But what if there’s a deeper reason?

Maybe it’s not that I don’t want them to know my ethnicity, maybe it’s that I don’t know how to be honest and feel comfortable with my answer. I’m Asian, but I wasn’t RAISED Asian. I’m not Caucasian, but I was RAISED Caucasian. (Heck, I didn’t even learn how to use chopsticks until senior year of high school, and that was only after I discovered I had a deep love for sushi.)

Call it procrastinating on my ethnicity, call it an existential crisis. I’ll continue to put “prefer not to respond” until I have enough time to give this all a closer look.

Here, let’s use the analogy of resume fonts. Sometimes I feel like I’m supposed to be Times New Roman, since I was raised Times New Roman and I act Times New Roman. But in actuality, I was born Arial. I just don’t feel comfortable saying I’m Arial, even though I look completely Arial. But I’m not quite Arial, and I’m not quite Times New Roman. So what do I do?

That’s right. I change things up completely and use “Garamond.” Problem solved.

First day of junior year, including one (1) instance of public humiliation and two (2) moments of panic and/or desperation

I’m cheating here by having my first REAL blog post be retroactive. There might be a few more of these, but I’ll do my best to leave my dorm regularly so I can have new material for you all. I know, such a giver.

After consulting my publicity team (a.k.a. the couple of my friends I begged to read my first blog post), I decided to go with an “open journal” format. So whenever I’m not drowning in schoolwork and/or stress crying, I’ll write about the latest ongoings in my ordinary life.

So, let’s talk about this year’s first day of school.

My first day of junior year happened on Wednesday, August 31. This is the first time I’ve been in the same college for the second year in a row because I transferred to my current university after freshman year. So I guess junior year is sort of like my sophomore year, except the exact opposite. Higher stakes, less free time, more sobbing. You get the gist.

Anyways, my first class of the day was an Intermediate Italian course at 9 a.m. It actually wouldn’t be that bad, but this is the first semester where I’m trying to balance 2 languages at once. And, in the early morning, my cognitive functions are not at their peak. The professoressa asked me a simple yes/no question, and instead of replying with an acceptable “”, I responded with an unacceptable “Ja.”

Ah, German. The language of love. It never fails to roll right off the tongue.

You may be thinking, Gillian, why are you taking two languages at once, when it’s clear that you’re not good enough at either to keep them separate? Because I’m a masochist. Next question.

Gillian, why are you taking German?

Because Italian didn’t fit into my schedule last semester and Russian looked too hard.

German and Italian have completely different origins, and I personally find German grammar easier, since it’s more akin to English. But Italian vocabulary is a lot more intuitive, especially if you’ve ever taken Spanish. However, I still can’t speak a lick of it besides, “Yo quiero un burrito.”

Ah, yes. Four years of high school Español and look how fluent I’ve become. My parents would be proud.

After my public humiliation in Italian, I went to my German class, which had a whopping total of 5 people. This number would drop by 40% the next day, as there aren’t many students who want to take the Intensive Intermediate level, which requires 7 hours of class a week and 2.5 hours of homework a night. I’m not even sure if I want to take the Intensive Intermediate level. But I already bought the textbooks, which have a no-return policy, so I guess my decision has been made.

After German, I showed up to an economics seminar I was interested in. There were too many students, so the class had to be lotteried. I later found out that I was one of the two or three that didn’t make the cut.

Psh. I don’t care that much. It’s not like I sent a cordial (read: desperate) e-mail to the professor. It’s not like I included a gif of the scene from the movie Up where the little kid’s standing outside the airborne house and begging, “Please let me in.”

Just for the record, I didn’t, but maybe if I did, the professor would’ve taken pity on me and I’d be enrolled in the course instead of procrastinating on doing the reading for another one.

Update: I just received an e-mail saying that I got off the waitlist. Disney was right. Dreams do come true.

Also, PSA: I never finished the reading for the other class, which I’m now no longer taking since I switched it out for the seminar. Procrastination can save lives, people.

Insert non-cliché title here for introductory post that won’t include the words “new beginnings” or “fresh start”

Hey. I was doing just fine just before I met you.

These words, as you may have noticed, are not my own. But don’t let that discourage you from reading this. Okay, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Gillian, why are you quoting an extremely catchy song by The Chainsmokers in the first post of your sub-par blog? Another question you might have is, Gillian, why are you even making a blog in the first place? Is your life really that interesting that it merits a website dedicated to talking about the insignificant events that occur in it? 

To answer your question, and approximately the half dozen more you are probably thinking of, I’ve taken the liberty of coming up with a list of FAQs, and their respective answers, that might clear things up a bit:

  1. Why are you quoting an extremely catchy song by The Chainsmokers in the first post of your sub-par blog?
    • The truth is I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the past 4 days, and it doesn’t seem to be leaving any time soon. I may or may not be listening to it as I write this.
  2. Why are you even making a blog in the first place? Is your life really that interesting that it merits a website dedicated to talking about the insignificant events that occur in it?
    • I always wanted a blog. Or at least some sort of outlet that allows me to write about my thoughts and/or feelings as they come, in some sort of format that is appropriate to be viewed by the public eye. So yes, is it mostly for me? Yes. Yes, it is. But I’m a giver, and I hope people find some entertainment in it. And by people, I mean you, Mom. Thanks for everything. You’re the real MVP.
    • My life is actually pretty uninteresting. Sorry to disappoint. But, in the grand scheme of things, it’s about taking what you’re given and making the most of it. So I’m going to take what I have and try to spin it off as something really fantastic. Wish me luck.
  3. Apparently you’re a college student, but you keep ending some of your subordinate clauses with prepositions. Maybe you should quit thinking about enrolling in a graduate school and start thinking about enrolling in a fourth-grade English class.
    • This isn’t a question, and I don’t know whether to be offended or impressed by your audacity. Yes, I keep ending sentences with prepositions, and I’m sorry about that. I might as well apologize in advance because the grammar in this blog post, and all future ones, may leave a lot to be desired. Not necessarily because they’ll be filled with inappropriately placed commas, but because I’ll be writing this in a simplistic format that’s supposed to mirror the structure of somebody talking. You don’t have to listen if you don’t want to (see? I did it again), but I promise this won’t be a complete waste of your time.
  4. What does the title of your blog mean, anyway? Are you trying to be funny?
    • So my name is spelled Gillian, like Gillian Anderson, who is apparently an actress from a TV show my parents like a lot. You would not believe how many times people have tried to pronounce it with a hard G (instead of a soft one), similar to the namesake of an island from another popular TV show. I guess I figured I would get it off my chest from the get-go…my name is pronounced like “Jillian,” not “Gilligan.” I know. It takes a little getting used to. It took me almost 20 years to get it right.
    • No, I’m not trying to be funny, but I do think it’s an accurate name for my blog, as it makes a reference to Gilligan’s Island (see bullet point above), and also because I’m from Long Island. If you don’t know about Long Island, it’s the fish-shaped chunk of land surrounded by water to the right of Manhattan, New York. It’s pretty much the best place on Earth and where I call home.
  5. What does the title of your blog post mean, anyway? Are you still trying to be funny?
    • Okay, I was trying to be funny here, I admit that. I know I may not have succeeded, but at least, like I promised, I didn’t include the words “new beginnings” or “fresh start.” No, using those in quotes here doesn’t count.
  6. So, why should I care about this again?
    • That is an excellent question, and I’m not sure I have an answer to that. You shouldn’t care about this at all, considering you probably have a social life (unlike yours truly) and the motivation to work hard most of the time (also unlike yours truly, who is currently writing this to avoid watching a movie for her Italian class). But I promise, there is an above-average probability that you’ll derive at least a few units of utility from reading this.

I hope that addressed the basics. If it didn’t, well, I’m sure they’ll be addressed eventually.