Culturally Conflicted Teenager

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, the lovely Anne — one of my high-school cohorts, a major part of my barkada, and definitely a wordsmith in her own right. She’s also a pretty boss photographer, if you’d like to check out some of her work, including her 365/Day photo project! (Mahal kita kiddo) 


I’m reading a speech by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt persuading the American audience that the U.S. should annex the Philippines and he states:

“The highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”

Throughout the speech, he essentially points out that Filipinos are incapable of forming their own government because they live a life of “ignoble ease” as opposed to the American lifestyle, the “right lifestyle” is to live a “strenuous life,” where there are greater moral prizes. There was, of course, the 1898 Treaty of Paris and the United States’ overwhelming desire to rise in military power to compete against Great Britain, France and Spain; therefore, by annexing the Philippines they can exploit its resources as well as China’s.

Back to topic. As I was reading this, I asked myself, “Is the Filipino Ideal to choose the path that leads to an easier peace?” I don’t think it is. I don’t think it is a principle for any culture. Otherwise, it would derail one’s morality, but so many people are surrounded by the idea of, “Success which comes…to…easy peace.”
I’m Filipino American and I began my college career as a Nursing student. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. A plethora of Filipino and Filipino American students are taking the “path of ignoble ease.” However, there is nothing ignoble in this choice. When you’re from a community oriented society, you have to live up to the strong instilled principles of one’s duty to family and I can’t help shake how pervasive the principle is.

It is true that there is a shortage of nurses in the United States and because of this, the nursing field is in high demand. I didn’t need to worry about the finding a job after college as much as others. If the starting salary of a new nurse is approx. $20/hr then I could have paid off student debt in about seven years. Despite how enticing it is to know that I can be free from the pain of running around the job market, I feel like I didn’t have the freedom to experience the pain.

Simply put, the reason why I took up Nursing is because of family. My immediate family is closely tied to my extended family in the Philippines and it is my duty as the privileged born American (because there is the idea that every American is rich) to give back to the mother country.  Plus, having visited the Philippines several times doesn’t make the decision to say, “No,” any easier. Overtime, I found the term “family” to be a paradoxical. For any of you who haven’t watched spoken work artist, Sarah Kay, perform “B,” a line that struck me was:
“When you step out of a phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the people who are standing on your cape.”

I want to fly so I can understand the world by myself and eventually self-actualize myself, but I feel like family tries to hide the pain from me. In a community oriented mindset, you help your family/ community and it fulfills yourself. I guess for me, this is where I have internal conflicts because I always want to better myself by pulling off a Thoreau and runaway to Walden Pond.

By the end of my sophomore year, I dropped out of Nursing and switched to Public Health. It wasn’t easy and the process to switch heavily involved calming down my parents, informing them of my plans, crying at myself thinking if I’m switching because I really want to or because I didn’t want to be another Filipino stereotype. Switching was the first time I truly felt autonomous and saw myself as my own person, but when I look at my parents and, even worse, look at those aunts and uncles who ask “What’s your major?” and they reply an underwhelming, “Oh,” after I say “Public Health,” I wish I stayed on the “path of ease.” I’m not taking this non-prestigious major because I’m unaware of my roots. I’m never going to forget my roots.

Despite the judging glances, I’m willing to struggle through this. If my family is truly my family, they’ll help me out through this and I’ll continue to work hard so I can help them out. It might be this childish mindset thinking that I can do this and struggle through this, but I know I’m mature enough as well to handle it.

— A. S.

(Admin note: Girl, I know the feeling. Pre-med was never for me, but it was what my parents wanted so badly until I had to tell them: Hey guys, it’s okay, I got this. You do what you need to do — go ahead and fly, your parents will be proud.)


On dealing with rejection (More self-reflection actually)

Did you know that every year seems shorter because you’re growing older? Think about it. One year seems forever to a 5 year old because that’s just 1/5 of their life. Now image that you’re 22 — hey that’s 1/22 of your life gone by, see how tiny that is in comparison?

Now all of that was just an elaborate segue into today’s topic: Rejection! Because let’s face it, life is too short to be hung up over it, unfortunately life is long enough to face a lot of it. Especially if you’ve been like me in the last few weeks and have looked like this trying to find a fall internship/job:

Accurate depiction of me

Contrary to what Time magazine likes to think about our generation — I’ve been keysmashing my way through websites looking for things to apply to, then readily applying to said things, and then playing the waiting game of: “Will they care enough to send me a rejection email?” Fortunately for me, I have received a few polite rejections (Easing one anxiety) but more silence from other avenues of possible employment (Oh no more anxiety!) — it creates an unfortunate loop but…

… It’s something I’m used to, as well. And something that I have come to expect as I diligently keep a look-out on all the things I can apply for.

Because let’s face it: We all have our fair share of disappointment, and unfortunately that’s just how it works. Unless you are incredibly lucky and fortunate, things in life don’t always pan out the way you expect or want them to.

You might shrug your shoulders, or you might want to rip your diploma in half because it hasn’t gotten you anything, it seems, or you might want to snuggle up with a tub of ice-cream and watch Netflix all day.

And that’s fine. We all cope with rejection differently; honestly do what you gotta do to make you feel better.

Of course, in the wake of such unfortunate outcomes the expected “It’s all okay/Things will work out/It might be better this way anyway” comments from friends and family aren’t that comforting to the newly rejected. Shut out of a job that would have been perfect? Or maybe that school you’ve always dreamed of going to? Yeah, no, being told that “It will all work out” just doesn’t cut it sometimes. Thanks I’m gonna go and chuck back some more raw cookie dough. (How about I put that on my resume)

And I think this all stems from the thought process that the reason you were rejected was because you do not deserve a job.

That tends to be the first response: I failed to appeal to these people therefore I am completely unwanted — yep, that seems to be the common train of thought when there’s no response for a week or two.

Another accurate depiction of me

Or well, it’s my train of thought — and I do suspect I’m not alone in having moments of confidence (Aw yeah look at all that experience I racked up, look at all the skills I have) suddenly shut down because of lacking results (Wait what it wasn’t enough?!).

Which is all fine and good, you know, but remember? Up top? Life is too short to spend hung up over one failure — for some of us, we just have to keep swimming through it. 

For some of us it won’t be an easy matter of what we want and what we need falling from the sky — life doesn’t play fair, you know.

And that’s fine.

One door closes, you try another. And keep trying.

It might help to find a support group, or a cheering squad of friends/family that have got your back – to listen to you vent when it doesn’t work out. And if not — well, there’s someone out there on the Internet cheering you on from her own corner; I know the feeling all too well right now.

But it’s not the end — this is, after all, a teeny tiny portion of your life. There are always doors — maybe not the ones you thought would work, but they are there and you can try, that’s all anyone can really ask for.

So  keep trying after there’s a door slammed in your face; brush yourself off with a tip of your hat, maybe go over your resume again and ask for advice on that cover letter of yours, and try again.

Even if it takes fifteen, or fifty, applications and an interview or two — keep at it.

Because you’re inching over to 23 soon and sure, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you, but you can save yourself some precious minutes when you come to accept that hey — you were rejected, but you’re still a living, breathing human with a spark in your eye and the determination to do something.

And the road is long, and there are many doors to try left.

So — let’s continue on and see where the path may lead!

Most accurate depiction of me

Internship/Volunteer Opportunity: OneReasonRecordings lookin’ for Graphic Designers, PR, and Campus Reps!

Hey guys the Wandering Girl here with an exciting volunteer/internship/just-a-really-cool-thing-to-do opportunity for all you creative types who want to promote charitable causes! Now a (long) while back we debated the use of an unpaid or a paid internship, but here’s the thing: If it’s an opportunity that speaks to you, even if it’s unpaid, I say go for it, and pour your heart and soul and do something that matters — to you!

And from the looks of it, working with OneReasonRecordings is definitely worth it, especially if you’re looking to make a difference and want to do so in a creative venue. Anyway now that I got that ramble out of the way (And I do this because the unpaid-paid thing is still a major debate, don’t want to step on toes here) — on to the actual details of this opportunity to join in!


OneReasonRecordings brings together music and service to realize our vision of a better world. We empower independent artists by using their music to mobilize listeners all across the world to take action in support of organizations fighting for social justice, enriching the lives of everyone involved. We are committed to making a real, sustainable impact on communities in need and harnessing the passion of talented artists to change the world, one song at a time.

 People can enjoy music from all over the world regardless of origin or language. Music has an amazing ability to emotional, mentally and physically change people. So what would happen if you were literally able to change the world with music? What would happen if artists from around the world sent in tracks of their original music to build albums that would support charities around the world?

This is what we set out to do. OneReasonRecordings is a non-profit organization that raises funds for social justice issues around the world through music.

You can read more about their mission here!

Join Our Team

The OneReasonRecordings team is a group of individuals that just want to make a difference. Because we are a small group taking on a big job, we could always use some extra help.  Here we will list any position openings that we have because we could always use an extra hand or two – or three for that matter.

Please keep in mind that we are not able to offer financial compensation at this time and our entire staff is made up of volunteers. However, we guarantee that you will gain plenty of experience and have a hand in changing the world through music.

100% of all proceeds go to running OneReasonRecordings and meeting our yearly campaign goal. If you have a special skill that we’re looking for and feel called to help us, please consider joining our team!

Please send all completed applications to

Currently looking for Graphic Design and Public Relations staff as well as interested high school and college students to act as Campus Representatives

For more information on the application process please visit their website here for all their info!

Now, while I am an NYU alum I only just heard about this organization this morning — but I am confident enough to say that this does look like a very exciting opportunity for all you creatives out there =) So if anything give them a shot and, if this is something you’d love to devote your time to, I say go for it! 

And again here’s all the info you’ll need here.

There is no acceptable excuse for silence

Especially on a blog meant to encourage and inspire and provide venting relief and a forum to speak in!

Seriously >:U

I mean we can talk about all the ways my generation–aka the class of 2013–has been duped  by circumstance.

The promises of the 90s aren’t our future, sadly – and it seems like a college degree is weighted like a high school diploma.

But – we still keep trucking!

We’ve still got our drive, our voice, our creativity – we’ve got a lot to talk about, I have a lot to talk about (Haha), and we need a space — somewhere, anywhere, even on a seemingly insignificant scrap of real-estate on the Internet.

… Of course, the two-week-long vacation didn’t help in keeping my writing mojo, as well as the swing back into work, and a few personal family matters.

:’D But for those of you who were wondering — the Wandering Girl isn’t lost.

Just a bit busy with life and not smart enough to queue up posts — WAH

Keep posted guys there’s more to come!

A lot more to come.

And definitely on this blog: NO MORE SILENCE

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Trailer Finally Released!

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Trailer Finally Released!

Hold onto your helms guys, Dreamworks JUST released a teaser trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and it’s brought back the magic and whimsy of the first one! (AT LEAST, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION ANYWAY)

There’s so much I want to say about this trailer — from the way they reused key movements, to the introduction of new whale-like sea dragons, to the feeling of flying, and the change to Hiccup’s design and oh my goodness do you see that armor and that new “dragon wing membrane”? I think we’re used to the “ride on the back of beloved animal companion” trope, but what I love about Hiccup and Toothless here is how they can now move side by side — equals who love the gift of flight that Hiccup gave back to Toothless and that Toothless in turn inspired Hiccup to pursue himself.

Also it looks like Hiccup fixed the dragon-tail sail-rig — Toothless can steer himself and doesn’t need Hiccup; I find returning his flying independence to just be the sweetest thing and I can’t

I’m just going to sit down here now and flail at these feelings – so here enjoy some Toothless and older!Hiccup

Hiccup’s new digs! Armored digs!

Hiccup’s new wing suit– I can’t


Now in GIF form! Look at the different hair texture for Hiccup here — and more armor details! Also does he have teeny tiny viking braids? That’s adorable

Is that Hiccup and Toothless flying together independently yes yes yes


In closing — I’m really excited :D





To flash or not to flash

I bet you were all hoping for some pictures from Hawaii or a guest blog post… Sorry but nope!

I’m actually here to ask for some advice on photography. Throughout this trip around Hawaii my father and I have often clashed when it came to taking family photos — it’s never about posing, composition, or even petulance (More on that in another post) but it’s always been about using the camera flash.

I’m no expert by any means — I’m an artist at heart who happens to know how to make okay-ish compositions that look pretty cool. But I always balk at the use of flash, whereas my father stubbornly insists on it; he’s taken classes to “back him up” so to speak but still.

I don’t like using it often — but I am curious: why bother to use it? Especially when the lighting is perfect, I can still hear the accented, slightly offended chorus of: Anak, where’s the flash?!

So, readers, since many of you seem to be following me for my photography (Haha) why bother with the flash?

From the shores of Honolulu

Hey all, the Wandering Girl here — and for those of you who haven’t been paying attention I’m on an extended two-week long trip to Hawaii. Hence all the lovely guest posts. And the lack of posts. *Cough*

I will say that the trip to Hawaii has certainly been a boon to my wanderlust my travel itch, with many activities and sights, and sounds, and what-not that are just amazing to experience. One of the first things I hope to share with you is just this ocean-front view of the infamous Waikiki Beach that has been my home for a few nights — and due to a case of jet-lag and just my joy to be here, I’ve been spending many a relaxing early morning and evening just sitting out here and enjoying the view.

I’ve also got a copy of Lady Chatterly’s Lover tucked at my side (oooh) to satisfy the bookworm — but I daresay that Chatterly’s poetics about sex and love affairs really can’t compare to the power of the ocean.

I’m planning on sharing a few of my adventures here in Hawaii but for now enjoy the view =)

 DSC02147 DSC02148 DSC02153 DSC02157

Everything you probably never needed to know about Study Abroad

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, the every lovely Jay — who is a marvelous writer and wordsmith and has a lot of perspective on study abroad ;U I personally think this will be an enlightening post for many of my readers who happen to be from the US on how folks across the pond feel about us (Hahaha look at that bad pun) 

Smile: You're studying abroad =) Here's what you need to know

Smile: You’re studying abroad =) Here’s what you need to know

Study abroad is a really big step; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The idea of going to another country, away from friends and family, was frankly terrifying to me, to such an extent that I kinda chickened out and convinced my friend to do it with me. And we only went from one English speaking country to another: going to a country where you’ll be studying in the native language has its own set of issues and difficulties you’ll need to keep in mind. If you’re a naturally courageous person who loves exploring, then you’re likely to step off the plane full of excitement about the country and the institution you’ve chosen, and you’ll be raring to go. People like this should definitely go for study abroad.

If you’re more like me, and love the idea but being 3000 miles away from your usual support systems scares you, I’d honestly still recommend going. It might be worth looking into support systems on campus before you get there- your mental health should always be an important consideration while studying- but don’t let fear keep you from what could be an amazing experience.

As far as support systems go abroad, the college that I attended had decent healthcare which included mental health and access to counsellors. The nurses were occasionally a little too quick to offer meds for things- Vicodin for wisdom teeth issues made spring break very interesting- but on the whole they did very well. You should look into this at your own institution and take advantage of it if and when you need to, as well as looking into the support available for the more academic side of things.

Building up your own support systems is also a good idea while you’re there, and will make the experience more fun. Try joining a sports club, or societies that focus on things you’re interested in. It’s way easier to make friends this way. Also, keep in mind that there are probably plenty of other study abroad students on campus. You’d be surprised how well homesickness and just being the foreign kid can function as common interests when you need someone to talk to.

No educational system is alike when it comes to study abroad, so keep in mind that even if you’re studying a subject like Literature (like me) where it’s seems like it’s all really books and essays on books and how hard can that be really, there will be changes to the system from marking down to essay structure that you’ll have to get used to. Trying to work out how GPA corresponded to degree classification took me a while, because when you get to university level in Britain you don’t get letter grades on essays anymore.

I was also thoroughly stumped by the fact that you had to come up with your own essay titles for your modules, where at home we received a list of essay questions in the run up to deadlines and we just had to pick one. Unfortunately, once you get used to the freedom of picking your own essay topics, it’s just as hard to revert back to the old system.

Anyway, that’s the fiddly side of the education element. What you really want to focus on is the fact that studying abroad can open up a whole area of study that you didn’t have as much access to at home, even if it’s just that the institution offers a different range of modules from your home university or college. Even something like studying American Lit while actually in the US made a huge amount of difference for me (though studying British Lit as the only Brit in the class was a little bizarre).

It’s also worth keeping in mind that if you study abroad as an extra year added onto your degree- in Britain, a degree is 3 years, but can go to 4 for study abroad- the modules you study while you’re there don’t all have to correspond to your degree. Essentially, you can take the opportunity to study whatever the hell you want while you’re there. Personally, I took Russian, which was seriously difficult but a lot of fun, as well as a few creative writing classes.

An obvious point now, but one that I feel I should point out: when studying abroad, people will likely feel it necessary to comment on your accent. It probably didn’t help that I studied in Massachusetts just in time for Sherlock as a fandom phenomenon to really kick in. I was stopped in lunch queues by girls who told me they loved my accent because they loved Sherlock. I had people listening in on conversations with my friend because of our accents. One of the chefs in the canteen made me repeat my order several times because he couldn’t get over my pronunciation of “tomato”.

I heard several variations on the theme of “I have a friend in London, maybe you know him”. You are also pretty much guaranteed to hear all the jokes people can recall about your home country, from the legitimately funny to the downright racist, as well as all the daft questions under the sun:

“Is it true you all have to drink tea by law?”

“Why do you still have a queen? Do you know the queen?”

“Why does everyone have such bad teeth?”

You get the idea. Now this might be more of a Brit going to the US thing, but it’s still worth keeping in mind. 80% of the time people are trying to be genuinely friendly and just going about it in a strange, slightly condescending manner, and it’s worth giving these people the benefit of the doubt, at least the first time. For the other 20%, and the people who don’t stop trying to imitate you after you’ve asked them to 3 times, I find a sharp thwap upside the head with a dinner menu works wonders.

Given what I’ve said so far, complaining as I have been (something Brits are also very good at apparently), I’ve probably given you the impression that I didn’t like studying abroad. The thing is, for all the silly questions and the different education systems and the overwhelming realisation that hits you every so often that you’re thousands of miles away from home, studying abroad is still an amazing experience.

Meeting new people, going somewhere you’ve never been before, and possibly learning a bit more independence than you might have at home, that’s really indispensable. Make the absolute most of it that you can, and if you get the chance, always take the opportunity to travel. It does sound that old shtick that the university gives when they’re trying to convince people to study abroad, but it really is true.

P.S. Keep your travel documents somewhere safe and do not forget them. Customs is not your friend.