The next three thousand words are selections of writing I did for a class I had this Fall. I am slowly learning, and hope to return with better pieces to make the most of this. A lot of my writing dealt with religion, home, and expectation. If you read this blog, you’re probably used to that. Thank you for following my journey from my first “chapbook” (not really) to my first college works. The title comes from the fact that I did delete a Pinkerton reference in the fiction piece, somewhere in the attempt to copy Borges (we read a lot of Le Guin and Borges–the comment was that there was too much extraordinariness in the listing of lives and beings, and I agreed, we have to dwell somewhere more common at times) but without the experience and knowledge to actually understand what a worthwhile life is like, but I’m getting there. I don’t really spend much time publishing or sending out things (I don’t do this at all), but I’ve been writing a lot lately, so here.
I first began thinking about studying abroad in my junior year of high school. In America, particularly. It felt like the safest option in terms of diversity and accessibility, and was entranced by the prestigious Ivy League dream (I knew about Harvard and Yale before most local universities, Western media influence and all). One day, I brought it up to my mother and was pleasantly surprised with encouragement. If we can afford it, go for it. In 2017, Town & Country Philippines released an article called “The Best and the Brightest: Brilliant Minds From the Class of 2017“. Questionable title, they’re definitely not “the best and brightest” but the point on their international education stands. The universities mentioned in the list are all selective–they’re not those kinds of schools that accept anyone that can pay the full fee and boost their international student count, a metric often used in top college rankings. If you do a quick Google search for a school, you see their acceptance rates–or you know, you know that Harvard is Harvard because it’s hard to get into. The thing about international admissions is that it’s even harder to get into than what is publicly listed. MIT’s 7.9% acceptance rate is actually somewhere like 3-4% for international students. It was an interesting article to see (even knowing some people there!) and of those I were familiar with, I knew it was well-deserved. It was inspiring to see students that shared interests and activities that I had who were able to get into incredible dream schools. It became a mental note: I’d be on that list next year, my story listed somewhere. After an insane application process that took hundreds of hours, emails scraped together for fee waivers, discovering my own self again and again, panic attacks and breakdowns and scraped bank statements and riveting moments of doubt and oh my god I really haven’t done enough to get anywhere what am I doing what am I doing I’m wasting my time, spending hours churning out everything I believe in and love into words, getting rejected, getting rejected again, oh wait an acceptance–oh god this school is incredible and I can’t imagine–I somehow made it into incredible schools. This fall, I’ll be heading to Yale. This year’s article had a lot of familiar names. There aren’t much platforms that celebrate student achievements, and there aren’t much resources or stories about Filipinos from hereMore?
The truth hurts worse than anything I could bring myself to do. Oh, dream schools. I made this weird promise to myself. I held this weird sort of belief. If you take enough time to think when your minds are in that chaotic dearth, you see the sky clear again. You see the world rise once more. You see beauty against pain, reason to triumph over conflict, the light cascading and piercing through—symbolic of hope: in good mornings, fully-rested naps in the middle of the night, good food and the extra pound or two post-buffet, your heart tumbling, twirling, and fighting after the climax of a movie you’ve seen over and over, teenage freedom and believing that you are in love. What I mean to say is, there are many feelings that we believe are pristine and pure. Convincing ourselves these are unique sensations, looking forward to moments of happiness and sense in an otherwise bland and decrepit world. These are innocent reasons for our being, which I firmly believe are the ones that drive our soul. When I speak, these are the gaps in conversation that can only be filled by what you think of me: what does this girl want to do? Who could she become? What do we want to help her become? There are those days where I believed in hope. Logging into the MIT portal before I could receive my decision, just hoping for that sliver of faith in its transformation to a student portal—before slipping back to reality. An entire world lies, waiting, severance before I know it. The word on my self-worth before it can all come crashing down on a single webpage: blinking, waiting, crashing down in front of me–four, no, seventeen years of work. It’s more than a job. I had to go in sideways. I just didn’t fit. But truth is: I don’t think I’ll ever find my fit. These days, I don’t know where my mind runs. I am in the limbo of wanting to feel everything and wanting to be nothing all the same. But the truth is: MIT will never know me. They will never ever see the way I could have fit in and contributed, numbers and figures diluting that a bit more–the new face 8,000 miles away in crowds of other mixed people as well. They will never know the sacrifices I made, the consistent three-hour drive toMore?