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A Sea of Changes

I am now in my fourth year of university … and it’s now been over three years since I’ve came to UofT and Toronto. It’s interesting to reflect on everything that’s changed since high school, I think the most dramatic being myself.

First, a bit of background. I was born in Shenyang, China and grew up in Orillia, Canada since I was about 6 or 7. The city was a small town of 30,000 and pretty much all white, almost no asians, and so I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I was alot more whitewashed back then – but what do you expect, my high school was 50% full of gangstas and potheads. Orillia had one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Ontario, which is saying something. Regardless, ever since I came to Toronto I feel like I’ve changed alot though I still have not completely fit in. I am destined to keep traveling places until I can find the right place I can be comfortable in.

But I still feel that I have improved alot as a person, and here are some changes that have occurred since high school:

1 ) I was washing dishes back then, now I’m programming / surfing websites for the government.
2 ) I biked to work back then. Now I drive my own car.
3 ) Back then, I was so shy that I would hide myself in the washroom just to avoid having to talk to people. Now, I initiate conversations with classmates, hold meetings at work and deliver speeches at events.
4 ) I had no female friends back then, not even eating lunch with any girls before. Now, I have a decent few that I can hang out with once in a while. And I’ve eaten with too many to count.
5 ) I dressed sloppy back then. My dad cut my hair so my haircut was the same for 10 years. I always wore a baseball cap, T-shirts, and didn’t start wearing glasses until Grade 12. Now I dress equally or more formally than my co-workers do – and they’re older than me by at least a few years.
6 ) The only Chinese I knew back then was ‘是’, ‘行’, ‘不’, ‘好’, ‘你’, ‘我’, ‘爸’,‘对’, ‘妈‘, ’他‘ and a few other basic ones. Now I can write blogs in Chinese (see my 校内) and understand Harvard College seminars given in Chinese (which happened yesterday).
7 ) I knew nothing about finance and economics back then. Now, I’m investing in stocks, real estate (soon) and have a dynamic trajectory of my spending habits I look at everyday.
8 ) Computer games were the shizzle back then. Now, it’s all Xbox 360 =).
9 ) I sucked at football back then. I don’t remember making any touchdowns. I had like one good interception. Now….well now I play Badminton once in a while.
10 ) My hobbies back then were playing guitar, designing websites and playing Magic cards. Now they are playing guitar, playing piano, playing billiards, playing poker, going to different events with friends, etc. In short – I have a semi-social life now =).
11 ) I didn’t know any computer science in high school since my school didn’t offer any courses. Now I know what the Bellman-Ford algorithm does, what a universal turing machine is and the Abstract Factory pattern in Java.
12 ) I used to eat breakfast back then. Now I don’t.

So there you go. 12 things that changed for me from high school to now, Orillia to Toronto.
But I think the most important and noticeable change was with my personality. This topic came up because I was asking one of my afore-mentioned female friends to hook me up with her friend. Her response was “I don’t think she’s your type, she’s the type that’s determined and knows what she wants”. Now, that sentence might have been true a year ago. I was indecisive, I never spoke up because I didn’t want to piss people off, I had a fear of people hating me.

Now though – it’s different.

Now whenever I have an opinion about something – I say it.
I don’t worry about the consequences of pissing someone off anymore because I think the type of person that is pissed off at me for something I said or an opinion that I have says more about them than it does about me.
My Twitter messages, if you have noticed, are all very spur of the moment…a year ago I probably would have edited them or not said something that could have been misconstrued. But I’m just being honest – I’m more blunt in that respect now.
If I don’t like you – then you will notice it; you wouldn’t have before.
My temper also flares much more than before as a result of being more decisive. And determination – well let’s just say I know what I want and I have achieved everything that I set out to do this year.
I got into PEY and found a internship. I finished third year with no mark below C+. I found a part time job. I got into RSM100. I got into Rotman Toastmasters. I improved my piano skills. I improved my Mandarin. These are just a few battles of the many more that I will have to fight in this war – but through hard work and determination – I won all the ones I have set out to do so far. I have goals on my checklist that I check off and new ones are being added all the time.
If you don’t think I’m determined – If you don’t think I don’t know what I want – then you don’t know me well enough. But I’m guessing those who read this entry know a decent amount about me now. =).