Dear mom

Words cannot begin to describe this strong, determined woman whom I have known for 24 years (well even longer if you count the months the her womb, haha).

My mom is the one who
… listens whenever I vent about trivial matters in life,
… patiently puts up with my mood swings and antics, but then again, I like to think that I get my weirdness from her,
… wakes up at the crack of dawn to cook food so we will never have an empty stomach,
… is not afraid to speak her mind and bluntly tell me when she can see the zit growing on my face or when my brother gains a few pounds,
… and brightens my day because of her sass, and we somehow both end up laughing like hyenas.

Most importantly, my mom unselfishly places my brother and me at the center of her world and sacrifices so many things to singlehandedly raise my brother and me in the states.

謝謝媽媽。我愛你。

Because my mom brings so much happiness in my life, I thought I should start a comic series of the things my mom says because she quite often says a lot of silly things, and also I wanted to find a way to practice writing Mandarin. Please stay tuned 🙂

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udon

One of my friends loves saying “#udou,” which I often read it as “udon,” hence the title of this post. For those who don’t know, “you do you” is “the act of doing the things that you normally do. Nothing more, nothing less. Just being yourself and showing everyone who’s boss around here” (source: urbandictionary).

The other day I was out with some friends who are my juniors (i.e. they’re still in high school or college). I haven’t seen some of them in a while, so we jump right into pleasantries like “how are you” or “what’s been going on in your life.” Then this conversation proceeded…

Friend A: Did you graduate yet, Marisa?
Me: Yeah, I did.
Friend A: Finally… took you long enough

What. Did my ears hear correctly? Now, text is pretty hard to convey mockery, but it sounded like I was being judged for taking six years to graduate. I let it slide but it did remind me of times when an acquaintance often joked that I was never going to graduate.

Yes, it took me six years, but I proudly wear that fact like a medal because it could have been longer due to budget cuts. I am fortunate enough to even have studied in higher education, something my mom didn’t have the opportunity to do. So what if it did take me an extra two years than the norm? I am doing things my way, just like you’re doing things your way. Everyone’s moving along at their own pace. Is that so wrong?

I hope I don’t sound passive aggressive because that isn’t the intent. I think as long as you have a goal in mind and you’re enjoying the journey towards that goal, then it’s okay to move through life at the pace you want to go.

#udou

What’s next?

For twenty years, I have been in school. I’m sure others spend more or less time than I have, but we all probably have the same question running through our minds after graduation: What now? What’s next?

A few weeks ago I graduated from university. I spent six years pursuing a higher education and earning my Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and Linguistics. Throughout those six years, I knew my end goal and I knew what I needed to do to achieve that goal. Here I am, beginning a new chapter in my life. It’s daunting yet exhilarating not knowing what lies in store. However, I feel like a lost animal aimlessly wandering because I don’t know what my new goal is.

Find a job? Cold. Find a job that pays the bills? Warm. Find a job that values you? Definitely hot… but also, I believe, a bit difficult to come by.

In the last semester of school, we had many alumni from the graphic design program come to our class to give us advice on scoring interviews, making the transition from school to work, and building our portfolios. One guest speaker left some valuable nuggets that have been running through my head as of late:

  • “Know what you want”
  • “Know your worth”
  • “Your most valuable asset is you”

These words of wisdom ring loudly as I enter this new chapter. Keeping them in mind really shifts my focus from simply finding a job to finding a job that values me. I admit, I’m neither outspoken nor assertive, and I struggle in voicing my needs and wants. I frequently find myself justifying why my job treats me the way they do. Don’t get me wrong, my jobs, past and current, have treated me alright. However, every time I take a step back and reflect, I realize that I frequently overlook the obstacles I’ve overcame and the skills I’ve gained. As a result, I fail to realize that I frequently downplay my worth. At the end of the day, I think it doesn’t matter how much you get paid because if your job values you, it’ll reflect in how they treat you and you will be justly rewarded.

My advice: don’t be like me. Know that your experiences and opinions are just as valid as anyone else in your work environment. Sure, you still have a lot of learn, but you still bring insight that maybe your coworkers haven’t thought of. Your personal journey is unique and valuable and important. “Your most valuable asset is you.”

A Day in SF – Play Artfully

Wow, it’s been almost a year since I’ve updated my youtube channel. I’m amazed how people find the time to edit their footages, and in such a way that’s engaging and entertaining. Seriously, mad respect to filmmakers, vloggers, and basically anyone who has experienced editing videos. Anyway, this vlog is a bit old but I didn’t get around to editing it until now. It’s a snippet of a day in SF with some of my awesome design buds 🙂

We are a masterpiece

The more I hear about the professional world under the lens of design thinking, the more I feel like each department is like a color. Design is red, Engineering is blue, Marketing is green, etc. Seemingly separate, when we mix together to solve a problem, we produce something beautiful… a masterpiece you could say.

This analogy sounded better in my head. My point is I think schools should adopt this methodology of cross-disciplinary collaboration to prepare students for the professional world, and to rid of any stigma or misconceptions some may have of other majors.

#randomthoughtsisrandom

Failure is an Option

Excuse me for my cliche title.

My User Experience (UX) professor asked us the other day “what can students do to experiment more in the classroom?”, to which I asked, “Shouldn’t the professor facilitate an environment that allows failure?”

He volleyed, “How?”
I conceded with “I don’t know.”
“How would you do it?”

My professor then said that even if teachers facilitate that environment, students should change their mindset from getting good grades to a mindset that’s willing to explore. He said, and I’m heck paraphrasing here (i.e. I could be off), if students only aim for that “A,” their mindset is narrowed to only achieving that “A” level and they don’t realize their other potentials.

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Childhood is calling

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I am fortunate enough to have an older brother who loves video games. I don’t recall which console I played on first or what my first game was, but it is safe to say that the Super Nintendo made a huge impact on me. I remember how we had games without the cartridge casing (so basically the green piece of metal), and I remember my brother playing Secret of Mana and battling AIs in Street Fighter. Chun Li obviously is the best character.

Why the sudden nostalgia? Apparently my brother’s friend has been holding on to my brother’s SNES games and he finally returned them. I didn’t even realize we owned so many. After rediscovering the console amongst many cable wires a couple years ago, I plugged it in to see if it still worked… and it did, and still does.

I guess what I am trying to say is that despite the graphics looking primitive in comparison to today’s video games and despite the console being clunky, the Super Nintendo is timeless. These games laid out before me are timeless… well, some of them. I literally feel like I am four again as I am clutching these SNES cartridges.

If you don’t hear from me in a while, it’s safe to assume that I am engulfed in a 16-bit world.

What was your first video game you’ve played? Do you have a favorite game and console?