Crossing the Threshold


The plan right now is to get a 3-year degree in creative writing then fly off to Japan to teach english in a rural town. The plan used to be that I’d get a welding certificate (though I’ve never tried welding in my life) then work on the creative writing degree parttime while I was on my apprenticeship. While being indecisive about that plan, I planned to join the American Navy. And the plan before all this “dropping a semester of class” business was to go to university for mechanical engineering and later specialize in clean energy so I could save the world. Let me tell you how I got to where I am now.

(Wait, didn’t I say I wouldn’t talk too much about my past? Well… Until school starts in February, I really don’t have anything else to talk about. Be prepared for a long read. There’s always a lot to talk about once I get started.)

When I was in the 8th grade, this happened:

I dreamed of designing ways to keep things like this from happening, ways to keep people safe when things happened that we couldn’t stop. To prepare myself for university (since I was told that this was the best way), I signed up for the IB program. I think they let me in based on my classification as “Gifted and Intelligent” because my attendance and work ethic were already starting to get worse the year before highschool. After a few months at the program, my teachers already knew something that I wouldn’t find out for myself until 2 years later: I didn’t really care about anything. I had no goals and my enthusiasm was all for show.

Haha. I don’t actually know how I got there. It might’ve had something to do with a girl, or two of them. Might’ve had to do with how I handled myself in front of other people, always looking to please them. Might’ve had to do with pressure from my parents. I don’t know how to tell either. Lol.

I made friends in the IB program. There were people there that were at “my level”. Though I might not have agreed with them entirely, at least we could hold an intelligent conversation about it. (And they all played pokemon. Fuu, I only bought Black to play with other people but there weren’t many cute pokemon in Unova so I got bored easily.)

So when I got kicked out for bad attendance and bad marks, I remember thinking really negatively about coming back to my old friends from jr highschool. The school that they all went to (and that we all go to now) has a pretty bad reputation for having a lot of students that don’t care about their future. (Might not be true.) But after a month of summer school with the old crew, I was back to my old self. But some people noticed that things were different.

Some friends of mine, though they didn’t tell me directly, mentioned that I was a lot quieter than I used to be and not in a positive way. I wrote it off as growing up, getting older, but it actually seemed to be a symptom of not knowing what I want in life. At this point, I was still following that ghost of a dream I had about going to university for engineering but my marks and attendance weren’t improving. (I actually got a lower mark when I took a math class again for a higher mark. From 55% in an honours class to a 45% in a normal class.)

All of this build up to a point last semester where I’d go to class once every 2 weeks or so. My marks weren’t terrible; I was managing straight 60s with a 70 thrown in every now and then. (How I’d study was that I’d sit down at my desk starting at 7pm then go through the unit in the textbook, do some practice questions until I was fluent in the formulas then go to bed at about 4am. Then I’d walk into only the class that had the exam, no other classes, and I’d rip a 70% out of my ass.) I was on an attendance contract and I still didn’t go to school. At that point in life, I was really pushing myself to get things done. “Get into a technical school and transfer over to uni” was the plan. Call me lazy, but I still couldn’t get myself on track. So some time in late october (if I recall correctly), I asked for help.

(My descent into laziness might’ve been expedited by some drama involving the student council president and my desire to keep people from getting into the same mess that I got into, but the scabs from that have just fallen off (lol, ew) so I have no idea how long that digression would take. Another topic for another time.^^)

I walked into the school counselor’s office and said something like, “Hi, I’m [Insert Name Here]. I need your help.” I guess it’s a little embarrassing to admit that I had to ask for help but I think that’s just because of how I was raised. I don’t think anyone should be embarrassed about asking for help. I think it’s just stupid not to know your limits. I mean, it might sound harsh or sound like giving up but everyone has things they can’t do on their own. In the end, refusing to ask for help might just be foolish pride. For me at least, it was that. I think. Knowing when to give up might actually be a step up from doing everything on your own. Who knows.

(This is where I went to get a glass of water and forgot about what I was going to write next.)

So I asked for help… And that’s when we worked through how I felt and what my friends saw and came to the conclusion that I didn’t know what I wanted. There was also talk about how getting kicked out of IB was a major blow to the image I had of myself in my head. But it’s not longer a negative thing for me because it showed me a lot about myself that would’ve been harder to admit in the future. My counselor told me that what happened to me in my first year of highschool actually happens to a lot of people in university. (I have no idea if this is true. It’s just what I’ve been told.) People just lose interest in everything and all of a sudden aren’t very commited. It happens to people who don’t need to try very hard to get good grades. They just breeze through everything until one day when they hit a wall and start thinking they can’t do anything. So, in a way, I might’ve saved myself thousands of dollars by going through all this trouble early.

After it was established that I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, my counselor suggested that I take a break from school to think about everything. Obviously, my traditional (though quite liberal) asian parents thought that this was a terrible thing. My friends thought so too, the being raised the same way as me, the difference being that they worked hard without actually knowing exactly what they wanted to do. (Those are only my observations though.) Maybe they think they know and that’s good enough for them. Or maybe they don’t know and that’s fine, or maybe they really know.

(Anywho, there was a time when I was really worried about who I was (and how I motivated myself) in comparison to my friends but I think I’ll have to write about that later.)

I think I’ll stop here for now. tl;dr:

  1. I found out in a pretty harsh way that I didn’t know what I wanted in life.
  2. I swallowed (haha, swallowed) my pride and asked for help, and I believe that everyone should know their limits and ask for help when they need it.
  3. I didn’t have much support from my friends or family for it, but there seemed to be good reason for me to take a break from school.
  4. I took a break from school.
  5. Then some more things happened but I might be getting emotional about it so it’s time to take a break.


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