I made a video about neurocriminology for my Biology III: Evolution and Diversity of Life class!
Here is the link. Enjoy 🙂
I made a video about neurocriminology for my Biology III: Evolution and Diversity of Life class!
Here is the link. Enjoy 🙂
I wonder what my personal blog is supposed to be about. Well, it’s obviously supposed to be about me because it’s called “the personal blog of Elsie Jang” for a reason. But I wonder why I’m publishing a portion of my life online. I write a lot, but I rarely share any of it. And I wonder if my life is interesting to anyone. We are all busy with our own lives and it’s hard to pay attention to other people’s lives. I wonder if there is anything worth sharing about my life. I don’t know if I’m being me and being real here on this blog. Heck, I don’t even know exactly who I am. It’s all so confusing. I feel like my blog is turning into a diary, a sob story, a dark corner of the Internet filled with an immature teenage girl’s emotional issues. I really don’t want this blog to be a diary, just without the “Dear Diary” part. The connotations associated with the word “diary” makes me cringe.
Moving on! I guess I’m posting another diary-like entry today. I have no good reason for doing this. Probably because I don’t have anything else to share with you at the moment. No wise words, no funny jokes, nothing particularly inspirational. Official warning: This blog contains some thoughts, some ranting, and nothing of particular importance. Please click here if you want to be redirected to Google.
What is a good life? How does one live a good life?
I thought my life would be picture perfect without Glee, Orchestra, and AP World History (commitments I made this year that have now ended). At the end of Module 6 (the last academic module containing the aforementioned commitments), I was so excited at the prospect of not living under an unnecessary amount of stress over things like: having to go to rehearsal when I could be finishing homework, memorising meaningless words and formulas, etc. I thought that in Module 7 I would do things I love every afternoon and overall just live a good life. Don’t get me wrong, life has been a lot better and I am always thankful for so many things in my life. It’s just that it isn’t quite everything I imagined it would be. It’s crazy how cluttered my life can be even with so little schoolwork.
My head is full of questions these days. My brain never shuts up. Sometimes I wish it would shut up for just a moment. Or slow down for just an hour. Sometimes I wish I could get through a day without asking “why” at least 2000 times and having existential crises of varying degrees. I just really want to lie down and think about nothing. Now that I don’t have to focus on school so much, the unanswerable (by this I mean there are so many answers but there is no “right” answer, I mean, that’s kind of the beauty of it, but whatever) question of the meaning of life. But if my brain really did shut up, I would be bored. There is something immensely pleasing in analysing and overanalysing everything. And connecting everything to everything. So, I guess I like that my brain is overflowing with questions. I only wish I had somebody I could talk to these things about. There are so many things I am interested in, but there seems to be no one who is genuinely interested in the things I am interested in.
Something that bothers me about high school is that every time something interesting of actual importance is brought up, somebody goes, “Aaaaaa we’re getting too deep!” And then almost everyone follows suit, laughter ensues, and the topic is dismissed. I don’t like shallow discussions. And I also don’t understand how some people are content with living life with just nice material goods, superficial relationships, and nothing much else. I mean, I like shopping and taking selfies and normal teenage stuff like that too, but I want to spend a bigger chunk of my life pondering the big questions. I don’t want to succumb to finding a nice husband, getting a nice house, and a nice car, and… just, living a life like that. That’s not even living, right? Gosh, I sound so arrogant. I don’t like it when I sound arrogant. I don’t want to sound arrogant. But it’s frustrating! Agh. I don’t even know anymore. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. Having a nice husband, house, and car is a good thing. But caring about nothing other than those things, is what I deem pathetic.
Anyway, I am getting off topic. What is a good life? How does one live a good life? I used to think that a good life was a happy one. I guess it’s still true, to an extent. I remember in middle school, a teacher once asked the class, “What do you guys thing the meaning of life is?” We came up with a bunch of one-word responses. For example, I said “happiness.” Someone else said “death.” “Charity.” “Nothing.” “Laughter.” My teacher had a response to each of these responses. For “happiness,” he asked me if eating doughnuts made me happy. I said yes. I like doughnuts. He then asked me if eating doughnuts for every moment of my life would make my life a good life. Of course it would not. But some happinesses are greater than others, at least according to Mill. If reading Shakespeare gives me happiness, should I read Shakespeare for the rest of my life? That could be very monotonous. And then there’s the concept of duality. Would I be able to feel happy without knowing the opposite of it—pain? I wonder if I could test these things out one day. For example, I’d place a newborn child into a stable environment where he/she wouldn’t be influenced by other human beings. And then I’ll create different circumstances to find out things about human nature and where languages come from and all these things I’m curious about. But nobody would give up their child for such an experiment. Plus, ethical issues.
I really don’t know. I’m kind of tired and I’d like to sleep. And although a happy life may not exactly be a good life, I think I’ve experienced happiness enough to know that it’s a good thing. But then I don’t exactly know what the definition of “good” is. Why do people seek pleasure so much? Are some sensations and emotions “better” than others? Why do I keep asking questions that I’ll never have the answers to? Anyway, since at this point in my life I quite like being happy (at least compared to being sad), I will end this very disorganised blog post with things make me happy. And things that I look forward to that will consequently make me happy, and which in the process of thinking about them is making me happy. I did this in my last post too.
Listening to the Pathetique Sonata (Beethoven, op. 13) makes me happy because it’s so delicate and pretty and sad and wonderful at the same time. I feel different in a good way when I listen to that piece. One day, I hope I can play it like Daniel Barenboim does.
My Current Event project for Biology class makes me happy. I look forward to presenting it in the near future. I’m doing something related to criminology and criminal minds because I’m interested in that kind of stuff. There’s this recent article about neurolaw that I will share with the class. I’m going to relate it to all sorts of things—biology (because it’s Biology class), the fundamental attribution error, existentialism and essentialism, things like that. I’m thinking about creating a presentation from scratch about it, with the images drawn by me and stuff. Brainstorming for the project makes me happy, and thinking about it gives me random jolts of excitement.
I’m also looking forward to tomorrow’s field trip to the Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC. At least I think it’s in DC. We’ll watch a modern recreation of Macbeth and we’ll be able to talk to the actors and actresses afterwards. I like being in the audience so that’ll be fun, and also, missing class. Missing class is nice and I wish I’d missed more classes back in elementary school when attendance didn’t really matter.
Thinking about summer makes me happy. I can’t wait to see my friends and family back in Shanghai. I’m excited for the two sessions I’m attending at the two campuses of St. John’s College. I look forward to getting better at Danish with a tutor. Plus, other things. Free time. Ice cream. Things.
I’m currently quite happy from writing about happy things. I wonder what this blog post was supposed to be about, though. Well, it was obviously supposed to be about nothing in particular because the title “Insert Clickbaity Title Here” doesn’t mean much, and I sort of remember putting a warning about it somewhere. I also remember asking what a good life is. I wonder if I’ve covered that at all. I also remember writing about the things that make me happy. I wonder if any of that was, in any way, relevant. I know that you’re still reading this, if you’re reading this. That makes no sense. And I wonder why you are reading this jumbled mess. I wonder if my life is interesting to you. I wonder if you felt like you were reading some random teenage girl’s pathetic diary. I wonder if I will read this blog post again someday, roll my eyes at my weird and arrogant self, and cringe.
I’m done with my AP World History exam! I’m not sure if I’m allowed to talk about it yet, so I’ll be safe and not talk about it. All I’ll say is that I really didn’t have to worry about it. I have to stop worrying about things. Worrying is honestly just suffering twice. Worrying doesn’t do anything.
Since I have more free time than I did any other module this year, I’ve been doing things that make me happy. Doing things that make me happy lets me realise just how many things there are in the world that make me happy. Below are just three examples.
Spending time with friends makes me happy. Yesterday I went to the mall with my friend Casey and we read books together at Barnes and Noble. Today I went to Georgetown with my roommate Alexandra and had a really nice dinner. And not just these formal outings—I feel like my connections and conversations with my friends every day have become more cheerful and meaningful because I’m not constantly stressed.
Being in the Huffington Library makes me happy. There are so many interesting books in my school’s library. These days I’m doing research on the pursuit of pleasure. We seek pleasure, but pleasure is only respectable in moderation. And only certain types of pleasure are respected in our society. I’m reading some books about mind-altering substances, and they’re fascinating. So much learning happens outside of school.
Learning Danish makes me happy. Duolingo is such a didactic and addictive tool for learning languages. I am also speaking to a Danish friend of mine who lives in Nyborg. Another hobby that I adopted recently is writing poems in Danish. Oh! And also, I am reading this amazing article on eksistentialisme (you can probably guess what that means) and enjoying it a lot. It’s an informative article, but it’s so poetic and beautifully phrased at the same time.
So, yeah. Life’s good. For now. Like I’ve said, my life is roller coaster full of ups and downs. I’m pretty high up in the air right now, and I hope I stay there for a long time. Thank you for reading, and have a good night.
I feel too strongly, although I try not to show it on the outside.
When I’m happy, I’m as happy as a person can be. It’s like I’m sky high on cocaine (not that I’ve tried it before).
But when I’m sad, I’m the worst mixture of all the ugly emotions. And it’s at these low points that I think: maybe I do not want to exist any longer.
It’s past 3am and I don’t quite know what I’m doing with my life. But my life is kind of nice right now, except for the looming AP World History exam. Module 6 is over, and I only have 5 more weeks until the end of the school year. I’m sort of ready for sophomore year to end, despite all the good things it has brought to me.
Module 6 was a pretty relaxed module. My three classes were AP World History IV, Algebra II-II, and Latin I-II. Algebra and Latin were sort of easy this module, and so was AP World History. Except for this week, when everything was due all at the same time, I wasn’t very stressed. Orchestra and choir was also very relaxed.
So much learning happens outside of school. I started reading a lot of books on philosophy and psychology again. It’s so nice to read books that aren’t assigned. I’ve also been working on languages, like Chinese and Danish. I’ve been writing journal entries in Danish and that feels nice.
In Module 7 I’ll be taking Biology III, Latin I-III, and Algebra II-III, although not in that order. I can’t wait to be done with my AP exam and spend more time exploring what I love to do. Because as much as school is important, the most important thing in high school is to discover yourself, I think.
Have a nice weekend, and thanks for reading my blog.
It’s been ages since I’ve updated. Sorry about that. My life has been busy but good. This will be a short and sweet post containing three photos.
Photo #1: Path from the Hurd Gymnasium
Spring is finally here. The days are warm and I had my first Founder’s Day. Lucy Madeira is the founder of my school, and Founder’s Day is a surprise celebration of her birthday. We had no classes, ate strawberries and ice-cream, and played outside.
Photo #2: Dandelions behind North Dorm
Dandelions are everywhere on campus. The binomial name for dandelions is taraxacum officinale. I really enjoy blowing on the fluffy, ripe ones. Two times a teacher stopped me while I was blowing on them and asked me if I was smoking.
Photo #3: The Huffington Library before Study Hall
This is a photo of the Huffington Library that I took earlier in the year. It’s such a nice space to be in. I spend Study Hall and most of my Saturdays in there.
I hope you enjoyed the photos! Life is going really quite well for me right now, so I hope the peace lasts. Plus, I can’t believe there are only 47 more days until the last day of school. Sophomore year is going by fast.
There is so much I want to do. But then there is so much I have to do. And there is so little time—I cannot do everything, even when I sacrifice so much of my sleep. I just hope that one day, I can curl up with a book of my choice and not worry about the schoolwork I should be doing instead.