The “other” category.

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Is it possible for a portrait to photo-bomb?

I’m bi-racial.

50% European, 50% East Asian. It’s a pretty sweet deal to be mixed. I get to experience two landscapes, two states, two cultures.
Sometimes, though, I have to say I’m slightly – that is, very slightly – irritated when I face the classic “check-one-box” dilemma. It happens when I’m filling out surveys that ask me about my ethnicity. Here’s usually what I see:
What is your ethnicity? (Check one box)
African
East Asian
European
Latino/a
South Asian
Native American
Other
At this point I can either choose between my “two halves” or resign myself to the “other” category.

And let’s face it – “other” is not the most desired label. To be placed into the “other” category is to forgo the privilege of being rightly identified as what you truly are.

Yet I’m finding myself in the “other” category more and more.
I’m not simply a Glendon student, because I’ve spent an equal amount of time at Glendon and Keele.
I’m not just an introvert or an extrovert. Depending on the day I have the qualities of both.
I don’t fit into any of the existing degrees at York, so I’m writing up a proposal for my own individualized major.

In all of these areas, I don’t fit into the existing categories. Does that mean that I should classify myself as “other”? Probably not.

We will never be able to fit all of the criteria for another person’s category. At some point we have to define our own category. Do our own thing.

And perhaps that’s what growing up means : doing the hard work of self-discovery instead of letting others do it for us.

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Bro, this is the way it is. (#examlife)

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The best sideways look, ever.
I wrote this when I was working on an essay really late at night at the library. I was very, very fed up, but it got me thinking about why I was there in the first place (in school, that is). 
 

School isn’t glamorous. 
It’s working late nights at the library.
It’s juggling all of the things that you have to do with the things you want to do.
It’s making sacrifices.
It’s feeling stressed out sometimes.
It’s building certain skills from the ground up.

School is worth it.
It’s working for something that matters.
It’s creating work worthy of attention.
It’s finding your passion.
It’s about meeting people who ask hard question and try to find better answers.
It’s facing challenges and emerging a changed person.

Why do you think school is worth it?

Chicoutimi… Explore Program… here I come!

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Springggg….

It’s the night before my departure to Chicoutimi. I still haven’t finished packing, writing my major proposal, writing my summer job application, buying all the stuff I’m supposed to, applying for a government loan, or blogging (evidently). It’s crazy. I feel overwhelmed.

I’m exhausted, but I’m excited. I’m going to Quebec for five weeks for the Explore Program. It’s a government-funded language immersion program that is apparently awesomer-than-awesome according to the people that I’ve asked. If you’re interested, by the way, click here.
I’m not sure what things are in store for me this summer, but I’m looking forward to meeting new people and getting way better at speaking French. I’m also glad I will be living in community with people my age, exploring new francophone territory, and growing up a little bit by living on my own and actually doing my own laundry.
I have about twenty-four hours left to get ready. Before I know it, I’ll be on the bus, with a 12 hour journey ahead of me, and some homesickness in my heart.
Part of me wants to try and control what’s happening – to get nervous and anxious and worked up. Yet I know that the only way to respond to situations like these is to enjoy the ride and live the adventure.
But before I do that, I have to finish packing, write my major proposal, write my summer job application, buy that stuff . . .