What Are You Going to Do With That?

The essay below is adapted from a talk delivered to a freshman class at Stanford University in May.

The question my title poses, of course, is the one that is classically aimed at humanities majors. What practical value could there possibly be in studying literature or art or philosophy? So you must be wondering why I'm bothering to raise it here, at Stanford, this renowned citadel of science and technology. What doubt can there be that the world will offer you many opportunities to use your degree?
But that's not the question I'm asking. By "do" I don't mean a job, and by "that" I don't mean your major. We are more than our jobs, and education is more than a major. Education is more than college, more even than the totality of your formal schooling, from kindergarten through graduate school. By "What are you going to do," I mean, what kind of life are you going to lead? And by "that," I mean everything in your training, formal and informal, that has brought you to be sitting here today, and everything you're going to be doing for the rest of the time that you're in school.
We should start by talking about how you did, in fact, get here. You got here by getting very good at a certain set of skills. Your parents pushed you to excel from the time you were very young. They sent you to good schools, where the encouragement of your teachers and the example of your peers helped push you even harder. Your natural aptitudes were nurtured so that, in addition to excelling in all your subjects, you developed a number of specific interests that you cultivated with particular vigor. You did extracurricular activities, went to afterschool programs, took private lessons. You spent summers doing advanced courses at a local college or attending skill-specific camps and workshops. You worked hard, you paid attention, and you tried your very best. And so you got very good at math, or piano, or lacrosse, or, indeed, several things at once.
Now there's nothing wrong with mastering skills, with wanting to do your best and to be the best. What's wrong is what the system leaves out: which is to say, everything else. I don't mean that by choosing to excel in math, say, you are failing to develop your verbal abilities to their fullest extent, or that in addition to focusing on geology, you should also focus on political science, or that while you're learning the piano, you should also be working on the flute. It is the nature of specialization, after all, to be specialized. No, the problem with specialization is that it narrows your attention to the point where all you know about and all you want to know about, and, indeed, all you can know about, is your specialty.
The problem with specialization is that it makes you into a specialist. It cuts you off, not only from everything else in the world, but also from everything else in yourself. And of course, as college freshmen, your specialization is only just beginning. In the journey toward the success that you all hope to achieve, you have completed, by getting into Stanford, only the first of many legs. Three more years of college, three or four or five years of law school or medical school or a Ph.D. program, then residencies or postdocs or years as a junior associate. In short, an ever-narrowing funnel of specialization. You go from being a political-science major to being a lawyer to being a corporate attorney to being a corporate attorney focusing on taxation issues in the consumer-products industry. You go from being a biochemistry major to being a doctor to being a cardiologist to being a cardiac surgeon who performs heart-valve replacements.
Again, there's nothing wrong with being those things. It's just that, as you get deeper and deeper into the funnel, into the tunnel, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember who you once were. You start to wonder what happened to that person who played piano and lacrosse and sat around with her friends having intense conversations about life and politics and all the things she was learning in her classes. The 19-year-old who could do so many things, and was interested in so many things, has become a 40-year-old who thinks about only one thing. That's why older people are so boring. "Hey, my dad's a smart guy, but all he talks about is money and livers."
And there's another problem. Maybe you never really wanted to be a cardiac surgeon in the first place. It just kind of happened. It's easy, the way the system works, to simply go with the flow. I don't mean the work is easy, but the choices are easy. Or rather, the choices sort of make themselves. You go to a place like Stanford because that's what smart kids do. You go to medical school because it's prestigious. You specialize in cardiology because it's lucrative. You do the things that reap the rewards, that make your parents proud, and your teachers pleased, and your friends impressed. From the time you started high school and maybe even junior high, your whole goal was to get into the best college you could, and so now you naturally think about your life in terms of "getting into" whatever's next. "Getting into" is validation; "getting into" is victory. Stanford, then Johns Hopkins medical school, then a residency at the University of San Francisco, and so forth. Or Michigan Law School, or Goldman Sachs, or Mc­Kinsey, or whatever. You take it one step at a time, and the next step always seems to be inevitable.
Or maybe you did always want to be a cardiac surgeon. You dreamed about it from the time you were 10 years old, even though you had no idea what it really meant, and you stayed on course for the entire time you were in school. You refused to be enticed from your path by that great experience you had in AP history, or that trip you took to Costa Rica the summer after your junior year in college, or that terrific feeling you got taking care of kids when you did your rotation in pediatrics during your fourth year in medical school.
But either way, either because you went with the flow or because you set your course very early, you wake up one day, maybe 20 years later, and you wonder what happened: how you got there, what it all means. Not what it means in the "big picture," whatever that is, but what it means to you. Why you're doing it, what it's all for. It sounds like a cliché, this "waking up one day," but it's called having a midlife crisis, and it happens to people all the time.
There is an alternative, however, and it may be one that hasn't occurred to you. Let me try to explain it by telling you a story about one of your peers, and the alternative that hadn't occurred to her. A couple of years ago, I participated in a panel discussion at Harvard that dealt with some of these same matters, and afterward I was contacted by one of the students who had come to the event, a young woman who was writing her senior thesis about Harvard itself, how it instills in its students what she called self-efficacy, the sense that you can do anything you want. Self-efficacy, or, in more familiar terms, self-esteem. There are some kids, she said, who get an A on a test and say, "I got it because it was easy." And there are other kids, the kind with self-efficacy or self-esteem, who get an A on a test and say, "I got it because I'm smart."
Again, there's nothing wrong with thinking that you got an A because you're smart. But what that Harvard student didn't realize—and it was really quite a shock to her when I suggested it—is that there is a third alternative. True self-esteem, I proposed, means not caring whether you get an A in the first place. True self-esteem means recognizing, despite everything that your upbringing has trained you to believe about yourself, that the grades you get—and the awards, and the test scores, and the trophies, and the acceptance letters—are not what defines who you are.
She also claimed, this young woman, that Harvard students take their sense of self-efficacy out into the world and become, as she put it, "innovative." But when I asked her what she meant by innovative, the only example she could come up with was "being CEO of a Fortune 500." That's not innovative, I told her, that's just successful, and successful according to a very narrow definition of success. True innovation means using your imagination, exercising the capacity to envision new possibilities.
But I'm not here to talk about technological innovation, I'm here to talk about a different kind. It's not about inventing a new machine or a new drug. It's about inventing your own life. Not following a path, but making your own path. The kind of imagination I'm talking about is moral imagination. "Moral" meaning not right or wrong, but having to do with making choices. Moral imagination means the capacity to envision new ways to live your life.
It means not just going with the flow. It means not just "getting into" whatever school or program comes next. It means figuring out what you want for yourself, not what your parents want, or your peers want, or your school wants, or your society wants. Originating your own values. Thinking your way toward your own definition of success. Not simply accepting the life that you've been handed. Not simply accepting the choices you've been handed. When you walk into Starbucks, you're offered a choice among a latte and a macchiato and an espresso and a few other things, but you can also make another choice. You can turn around and walk out. When you walk into college, you are offered a choice among law and medicine and investment banking and consulting and a few other things, but again, you can also do something else, something that no one has thought of before.
Let me give you another counterexample. I wrote an essay a couple of years ago that touched on some of these same points. I said, among other things, that kids at places like Yale or Stanford tend to play it safe and go for the conventional rewards. And one of the most common criticisms I got went like this: What about Teach for America? Lots of kids from elite colleges go and do TFA after they graduate, so therefore I was wrong. TFA, TFA—I heard that over and over again. And Teach for America is undoubtedly a very good thing. But to cite TFA in response to my argument is precisely to miss the point, and to miss it in a way that actually confirms what I'm saying. The problem with TFA—or rather, the problem with the way that TFA has become incorporated into the system—is that it's just become another thing to get into.
In terms of its content, Teach for America is completely different from Goldman Sachs or McKinsey or Harvard Medical School or Berkeley Law, but in terms of its place within the structure of elite expectations, of elite choices, it is exactly the same. It's prestigious, it's hard to get into, it's something that you and your parents can brag about, it looks good on your résumé, and most important, it represents a clearly marked path. You don't have to make it up yourself, you don't have to do anything but apply and do the work­—just like college or law school or McKinsey or whatever. It's the Stanford or Harvard of social engagement. It's another hurdle, another badge. It requires aptitude and diligence, but it does not require a single ounce of moral imagination.
Moral imagination is hard, and it's hard in a completely different way than the hard things you're used to doing. And not only that, it's not enough. If you're going to invent your own life, if you're going to be truly autonomous, you also need courage: moral courage. The courage to act on your values in the face of what everyone's going to say and do to try to make you change your mind. Because they're not going to like it. Morally courageous individuals tend to make the people around them very uncomfortable. They don't fit in with everybody else's ideas about the way the world is supposed to work, and still worse, they make them feel insecure about the choices that they themselves have made—or failed to make. People don't mind being in prison as long as no one else is free. But stage a jailbreak, and everybody else freaks out.
In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce has Stephen Dedalus famously say, about growing up in Ireland in the late 19th century, "When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets."
Today there are other nets. One of those nets is a term that I've heard again and again as I've talked with students about these things. That term is "self-indulgent." "Isn't it self-indulgent to try to live the life of the mind when there are so many other things I could be doing with my degree?" "Wouldn't it be self-indulgent to pursue painting after I graduate instead of getting a real job?"
These are the kinds of questions that young people find themselves being asked today if they even think about doing something a little bit different. Even worse, the kinds of questions they are made to feel compelled to ask themselves. Many students have spoken to me, as they navigated their senior years, about the pressure they felt from their peers—from their peers—to justify a creative or intellectual life. You're made to feel like you're crazy: crazy to forsake the sure thing, crazy to think it could work, crazy to imagine that you even have a right to try.
Think of what we've come to. It is one of the great testaments to the intellectual—and moral, and spiritual—poverty of American society that it makes its most intelligent young people feel like they're being self-indulgent if they pursue their curiosity. You are all told that you're supposed to go to college, but you're also told that you're being "self-indulgent" if you actually want to get an education. Or even worse, give yourself one. As opposed to what? Going into consulting isn't self-indulgent? Going into finance isn't self-indulgent? Going into law, like most of the people who do, in order to make yourself rich, isn't self-indulgent? It's not OK to play music, or write essays, because what good does that really do anyone, but it is OK to work for a hedge fund. It's selfish to pursue your passion, unless it's also going to make you a lot of money, in which case it's not selfish at all.
Do you see how absurd this is? But these are the nets that are flung at you, and this is what I mean by the need for courage. And it's a never-ending proc­ess. At that Harvard event two years ago, one person said, about my assertion that college students needed to keep rethinking the decisions they've made about their lives, "We already made our decisions, back in middle school, when we decided to be the kind of high achievers who get into Harvard." And I thought, who wants to live with the decisions that they made when they were 12? Let me put that another way. Who wants to let a 12-year-old decide what they're going to do for the rest of their lives? Or a 19-year-old, for that matter?
All you can decide is what you think now, and you need to be prepared to keep making revisions. Because let me be clear. I'm not trying to persuade you all to become writers or musicians. Being a doctor or a lawyer, a scientist or an engineer or an economist—these are all valid and admirable choices. All I'm saying is that you need to think about it, and think about it hard. All I'm asking is that you make your choices for the right reasons. All I'm urging is that you recognize and embrace your moral freedom.
And most of all, don't play it safe. Resist the seductions of the cowardly values our society has come to prize so highly: comfort, convenience, security, predictability, control. These, too, are nets. Above all, resist the fear of failure. Yes, you will make mistakes. But they will be your mistakes, not someone else's. And you will survive them, and you will know yourself better for having made them, and you will be a fuller and a stronger person.
It's been said—and I'm not sure I agree with this, but it's an idea that's worth taking seriously—that you guys belong to a "postemotional" generation. That you prefer to avoid messy and turbulent and powerful feelings. But I say, don't shy away from the challenging parts of yourself. Don't deny the desires and curiosities, the doubts and dissatisfactions, the joy and the darkness, that might knock you off the path that you have set for yourself. College is just beginning for you, adulthood is just beginning. Open yourself to the possibilities they represent. The world is much larger than you can imagine right now. Which means, you are much larger than you can imagine.
William Deresiewicz is a contributing writer for The Nation and a contributing editor at The New Republic. His next book, A Jane Austen Education, will be published next year by Penguin Press.




I finally earned RM 1 in my blog 
hanya satu ringgit?? *with the Indian head shaking movements*
I know it is not much but I am so excited to see changes from 0 to 1

Is it possible to earn 1K in a year?

when you read my blog 



Humble Work

"Lets us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."
-Mother Teresa 

Doing charity is something that we can do in our daily life! For instance, you can join Tsu Chi recycling projects, visit old folks home without the purpose of doing your moral assignment, helping your friends in academic, Soka Gakkai free education programme, giving some food to the guards in hostel and make some donations instead of shopping(buying unnecessary stuff zzz)! Charity need not to be in monetary basis, a daily prayer for the happiness of the humanity is also making a good deed!

Handicamp volunteer

I looked weird with braces -.-

The old folks are very happy when we go to visit them every month

Also, I realized that most of the volunteers in Handicamp are came from the family members of the participants. I hope more people will join the meaningful activities that will bring your enlightenment! I felt thankful and gratitude without complaining much after joining these meaningful activities!

How I wish we have longer holidays in our semester break!
I hope we can have two months holidays instead of two weeks!
Then I can participate in more Volunteering Programs!
I hope to go Africa/China for the volunteering programs after I graduate!

Cause' when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for awhile

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has two principal areas of work in pursuing its commitment in its mission statement to "innovation in health and learning to the global community". There is its largely US-based public education work – investing heavily in the state school network and bringing new technology to out-of-date libraries. And then there is its international programme to combat disease and poverty in the developing world. The latter makes up 60 per cent of the total, tackling both the causes and the consequences of malaria, TB and Aids, among others, around the world. [from Independent UK]

Some philanthropists prefer to give anonymously. The late David Astor spent his life giving away his inherited millions, insisting only that his donations should not be acknowledged publicly. That, you may argue, is the true meaning of charity, but it is rarely heard of. 

I will never forget my ultimate goal in life to do philanthropy!

Good Luck! 



Happiness is not something far away. It is to be found neither in fame nor in popularity. When you live with integrity, your hearts begin to fill with a happiness as vast as the universe. It’s about being true to yourself and starting from where you are. From there your happiness will expand and grow limitlessly.
-- Daisaku Ikeda


Mei2 Cooking Class

Are you sick of eating the same food again and again in the cafeteria or canteen? So why don't you try cooking yourself in your college or university?

Sure, with our busy schedules, it might seem like taking the time to cook a real meal just isn’t worth it, but here are some reasons why we should start teaching ourselves to cook in  college, as well as some tips on how to get started:

You’ll Save Money

Cooking for yourself will save you lotssss of money! Instead of paying around 8 bucks for  a meal, you could spend 11 bucks and get ingredients to make that meal three times over.
Buying products and vegetables that you have to prepare yourself is cheaper in the long run, simply because it is more time consuming to prepare. When buying take-out or prepared meals, we’re paying extra for convenience. This is okay once in a while, since everybody gets overwhelmed sometimes, but you’d be surprised how much money you could be saving if you made the effort to cook for yourself! 

You’ll Get Healthier and Slimmer

We all know fast food isn’t the healthiest option out there, but even the healthier prepared meals you pick up at the supermarket can be full of sodium and preservatives, so they can cook it at the factory and have it stay good until you finally decide to pop the dish in your microwave.
As I said before, once in a while, this kind of meal won’t kill you, but it’s so much healthier to prepare your own meals and know exactly what you’re putting into them. This is especially important if you have any kind of food allergy or intolerance, since packages aren’t always clearly labeled, and you could end up consuming some ingredients you’d rather not. 

You’ll Prepare for the Future

Eventually, we’re going to graduate, get jobs, and start our lives. I’m not saying there aren’t adults out there who live on McDonald’s, but if you plan on having a sit-down meal with family or friends on a regular basis in the future, why not start preparing yourself now?
Learning how to cook can be a really rewarding and an essential life skill, and it can also help you feel more balanced  and capable someday when you’re really out on your own and building your future. Plus, it can be loads of fun!

Getting Started Cooking for Yourself
Now that I’ve (hopefully) inspired you to start learning how to cook, here are some easy tips for getting started:

Start small. Maybe try cooking just one night a week, when you’re not as busy, or alternate with roommates to prepare meals together, or for one another.

Plan ahead. Before you go grocery shopping, make a meal plan for the week. Even if that plan includes frozen pizza three times, it will allow you to map out when you want to cook, what you’re going to make, and what you need to buy, so you don’t overspend or get overwhelmed.

Do your homework. Ask for a beginner’s cookbook for Christmas, check out recipe websites like Cooking Light or follow my blog, or even ask your Mom and Grandma to teach you some of their favorite recipes. There are all kinds of resources out there – you just have to look!

Experiment. The best way to learn how to cook is to take chances and try new things. It won’t always work out, but you’ll learn important lessons (like how measurements are really important in baking!) and you’ll have some fun along the way.

Recruit others. Have your roommates, friends, boyfriend, etc. try to start learning along with you. You can swap recipes, share horror stories, and even organize a potluck so everyone can show off their latest accomplishments. It takes a lot of the stress off if you’re not going at it alone.
Trust me, cooking save you a lots of time! Previously I thought it is time consuming to wash all the cooking material after your dinner. But subsequently I found that it is the same time as you drive to a restaurant, order your meal, pay your bill and come back to college. 

Normally I took around 15 minutes to cook. I can finish everything including enjoying my meal around 30-45 minutes! Yes I am proud of myself!

This was what I cooked yesterday: 

Miso Udon Noodle

Share with you some tips on cooking DIY in college

Step 1: Prepare ingredients

Udon Noodle one Packet cost around USD 0.5

TOHU Cost around USD 0.5 (can cook for up to 4 times)

Miso Bean Healthy Soup Paste cost USD 3.50 (can cook for at least 3 months if you eat twice a week)

Organic Japanese Seaweed cost USD 2.00 (can cook for at least two months)

Chinese Herbs

Baby Corns

Step 2: Cooking Process

Cut it into small size *OPS I saw my hair* =s

A small portion of seaweed is sufficient

Cook using electrical conductor

A small portion of Miso Paste

DONE!! Enjoy your meal =D

What do you think?



A Letter From Sleep

Dear Mei Mei,

I am starting to feel neglected. I always wanted to be the most important part of your life. But recently, I feel like you keep pushing me aside to make time for your other "priorities" such as partying, video editing, blogging, gathering instead of studying for your final exam. And when we do spend time together, you are always late. Most nights, we don't even meet up until like 2 a.m. compared to 11.00 p.m last time. What kind of relationship is that?!!?

Sure, we spend some quality time together on weekends, but I am getting sick of being your two-days-a-week fling! Saturday and Sunday just aren't enough anymore! you need to make time for me on weeknight. We should meet Seven to eight hours everyday! But at least six hours per day OK?

I miss for the days when we would curl up in bed together, pajamas on, lights off, no distractions. Now, I am lucky if you remember to brush your teeth =s

I know you are busy, and I know that I am not the most exciting thing in your life, anymore. But I truly do believe you are better off with me. You are happier, healthier, more alert, better memory and "pimples free" if you spend more time with me!! You keep blaming exams and schoolwork for your inattention, but the truth is your grades will improve when we hang out more! I miss you, but I hope this letter will remind you that I will always be there for you *shy*

Besides, I know you miss me too. You know how great we are together. Let's face it. I bring out the best in you, and you are lucky to be with me. Some people lie awake in bed for hours every night, wondering if they will ever find me. But I am confident we can make this work. You just need to rethink your to-do list a bit and balance to your life.

Come on, I know you want me, you just have to work a little harder for it! Don't meet me too late after the Debate Seminar at the campus these two days OK?

I promise to give you super power to enhance your memory for your final exam if you meet me at 11.00 p.m. every night!

P/S : Thank you the present-latest dress(bedsheet) that you have bought for me this Chinese New Year! I like it very much! Remember to find those cute giraffe/star dresses for me when you go shopping next time, OK??


















The 3 Idiots!!

Thank you Cheeda and other friends who recommended me to watch this awesome and meaningful movie!! 

I was outdated since This movie had been released on 2009, but it is still worth watching!!

I realized that Bollywood movie is much more meaningful than the Korean Drama that I have learned nothing except looking at gorgeous girl and handsome guy, a rich guy love a poor girl *typical Korean Love Story*

For Those who havent watch any Hindi Movie yet, I highly recommend all of you to watch this one!! 

Clock wise from the upper right-Rancho(Aamir Khan), Pia(Kareena Kapoor), 
Farhan(R Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi)

Bravo!! I had a wonderful experience watching this awesome movie. 3 Idiots takes the plot much beyond the campus confines and the target audience much above the youth, for universal appeal. The story starts a decade after the graduation of college companions Farhan (R Madhavan) and Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) who get a clue on the whereabouts of their missing third friend Rancho (Aamir Khan). As they set out on a road trip from Delhi to Shimla to Manali to Ladakh to find their friend, the narrative cuts to and fro into flashbacks as we are introduced to the three idiots in an engineering college. 

Rancho clearly is different from anyone else in the college with his individualistic thought-process and rebellious attitude, which invites the ire of the college principal (Boman Irani) and affection of his daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor). 

crazy college principal Boman Irani

The irrepressible free-thinker Rancho the character most probably inspired by Hollywood great Robbin Williams well Rajkumar Hirani’s fascination with this pleasant character never ends nor does the charm of this genius who thinks out of the box and captures heart in a unique way and changes their lives.

Perhaps the most-satisfying aspect of '3 Idiots’ is how it provides an insight into the pressure system prevalent in the society within the survival conflicts that ignores the true calibre and results in end of a deserving life. This movie presents us with insights into the education system of this country through flashback sequences of brilliantly executed campus sequences, the Chamatkar Balatkar speech on Teacher’s day and the ragging with the pants down jahahpanah act becoming the major highlights!! Haha! This comedy is soo funny and never fails to entertain throughout the movie! But please prepare more tissue too for the touching part!

The friendship between the 3 makes some sensitive points like the class divide telling it in a light hearted manner like the melodramatic introduction of Sharman’s family in black and white which is just brilliant.

The movie then looks into more border perspective from here and starts talking about the true definition of excellence and following your heart without worrying about success as it will come again and again on your path of excellence.

But all said and done, ‘3 Idiots’ is one of those cinematic joys that deliver most of its pleasure through a combination of rich character development and fantastic performances that comes with a message!!

I love it sooo much and will watch it again and AGAIN!!

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