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Alishan in Taiwan

Yesterday I woke up at 6 am. Yes, a Saturday.

Because I had a ‘Personal and Team Development’ summit up in the mountains.

And I even got there early.

Lets just saying knowing literally no body there wasn’t exactly the most fun I’ve ever had. 160+ students in the foyer of West Mall.

Add in the fact that this was heavily based around one of those ‘personality type tests’, where our results designated ourselves as colours.

Labels.

Great.

Yes, they did say ‘you are so much more than just a SDI (the test’s name) colour’, but it doesn’t make it much better.

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The SDI triangle.

The SDI is a triangle shape spectrum where each point is the highest intensity possible for their representative aspect. Red, Green, and Blue are the three points. Not sure how they came up with these, as Green isn’t a primary colour, and if they just used primary colours the overlapping areas could also be colours.

Anyways, I don’t particularly like personality tests. While this one required a significant amount of money to use, it wasn’t exactly very… open? Three designated points, with 4 overlapping areas (Blue-Green, Red-Green, Blue-Red, Hub [the middle]) only gives you 7 separate areas to belong to. Pretty sure there a lot more than just 7 types of personalities. Sure, it’s not a clear-cut separation and is more a spectrum, but I really feel that 7 is way to small a range. Considering how basically 50% of the students were placed into Hub, then the other 40% were spread between Blue, Blue-Green and Green, it may be slightly safe to say that their categories were too general. MBTI (Myer Briggs) has 16 different things you can be placed in using 4 different criteria for evaluation and sometimes it still feels very general. While SDI does say the values of your position (basically your score for each category), it doesn’t do much but say ‘you’re different from the others, but not enough’ and that isn’t enough. I’m very sure people already know that other people are different than them, but they want to know how they are different and where they are different. What can I get from seeing the score that someone is 10 points lower than me in Red, 5 lower in Green but 15 higher in blue? How much is a one point difference? It’s not very helpful.

Anyways. Enough about the personality indicator.

The first half of the day was just finding out what every type of people wanted, expected in a group, and disliked. It took a lot of time (3-4 hours), and honestly it was really boring. I could fall asleep. ‘What’s your motivation?’, ‘What does a successful team look like to you?’ and ‘What irritates you?’ Are you kidding me? Do people actually not know what they’re goals, likes and dislikes? I seriously found it troubling that people had to spend up to an hour to answer those 3 questions. Then when we tried to organize the group to do it, took 2 hours. God damn, I’m bored.

Sometime later we moved to group activities (IBE group [4-5 people]). Our first was a scavenger hunt.

It actually pissed me off how bad we were at it.

We had to download a QR scanner before the summit. So we had to scan a QR code to start the scavenger hunt. It would then give us a link that asks a question, and we would have to go to the place to find the answer (which was a piece of paper with another QR code on it, but no one was told this apparently). The first question was something like ‘where can you find resources to help you learn, and study better?’ Easy. Library, learning commons.

I tell my group, ‘it’s probably the learning commons in the library’. No one says anything. We spend 2-3 minutes standing still because they’re not sure if we should go to the library. I’m starting to get irritated already.

Maybe it’s the advising office?

But you don’t learn how to study there, you consult advisors about your academic future.

I don’t know what was more frustrating: that the advising office is a legit possibility, or that we haven’t done anything yet.

I basically decide to just go to the library and start walking ahead (key: I scanned the code, and we can only have one scanning device per group) so they followed. We’re so indecisive about everything. Someone would suggest an idea, no one would say anything. Nothing good, nothing bad, nothing neutral. Just nothing.

What about the Maggie Benson Center?

[Ignores] Oh, maybe it’s back in West Mall?

For. Fucks. Sake.

I was actually really frustrated. At this point I’m basically walking like 50 meters ahead of them because they’re reluctant to follow me in case I am wrong, but they weren’t going anywhere anyways. Honestly, I should have just tried to take command of our group and tell them where to go. Communication is a two-way activity, so it’s also my fault for being so indecisive with my team. We all just wanted to ‘get along’, which means to have no conflicts. But conflicts are good for a team to develop, so that was a naive way of thinking.

Eventually after 15 minutes, we find the first answer. At the Learning Commons in the library.

Cool.

After that, the next one was slightly easier, and took 5 minutes.

Then the remaining 4 was finished in 5.

Though it was all just me running to the place asked in the question (because I’m probably the most familiar with this school out of all of them) while they lagged some 200 meters behind. I even lost them near the end. They called me to find out where I was.

Hey… where are you right now?

I’m at West Mall’s foyer, I just finished finding all the things. Where are you guys?

Didn’t like how this group was turning out.

The rest of the day was basically team bonding with a SDI twist (why couldn’t we have dropped this already), and I confirmed my suspicions. Everyone in the group is a pleaser (wanting everyone to be happy or wanting no one to be unhappy) , no one wanted conflict, no one wanted to take charge. Possibly one of the worst type of groups. It was worse when 3 of the 4 other members all spoke Mandarin (international students), so when they asked me something in Mandarin, one of them would be left out. Here we are in teaming bonding phase, and we’re already excluding members. We did make progress though, as we started to actually converse with each other about the discussion questions and joke around with each other (it took a lot more out-going personality than I thought I could do…).

I guess I would say the team bonding worked out well. Though we’re still very… ‘pleaser’ like when it’s about our project. We ask around once. Ask again. Suggest ideas without commenting on them. Then we ask again. Then we end up going with the first idea to pop up. While I think part of it comes from the 3 international students not being confident in their English, they still were quite reserved when it came to the actually project.

And then I came home.

Disappointment comes in two ways. Disappointment you anticipated was going to happen, and disappointment that you didn’t anticipate was going to happen.

I got both at the summit (anticipated – the whole ‘learning about self/SDI’ thing, unanticipated – scavenger hunt), so I thought I was done for the day.

Turns out I’m not going to DineOut this year. Kind of disappointed really. I don’t frequent many restaurants or trips to Downtown, so it was kind of exciting for me. I know it sounds a bit strange that I’m excited about going outside to what basically is my hometown, but I just never get to actually go places. Parental restrictions, no real motivation, uncertainty about what I’m even doing, going alone, and a whole bunch of laziness. By the way, I’m still restricted from going outside often. I emphasize often, because to another student, often might mean 3-4 times a week.

For my parents, ‘often’ means going out 1-2 times a week, every week (other than mid-term/final week). During the break, I went out 3 days in a row (what else do I do during a break?) my mom commented on me ‘going out way to much and should do something else’. What other fucking thing am I supposed to do? Go online and spend the whole day playing games? You scream at me for that EVERY SINGLE DAY. Oh, I should totally be trying to figure out what my next courses are going to be about, and then doing pre-readings for readings I don’t even know exist yet and start studying the curriculum that I don’t even know yet because ‘the internet will have it’. God do I feel so sheltered.

I look around and notice friends going out maybe 3-4 times a week. Actually getting experience of more real world kind of things. Interacting with people, dealing with communication issues, practicing verbal communication (you don’t do that a lot when you’re home by yourself) in your preferred language (my parents don’t speak English to me, ever).

You need to learn to be more social.

Yeah, maybe I would if I would be allowed to go outside.

And this is why I’m a ‘pleaser’. I thought my professors said that my IBE groups would have varying personalities, but that never happens.

Anyways, back to DineOut.

I came back to home to be disappointed by people telling me they can’t/won’t go. I anticipated this, so it wasn’t a real surprise. It was more of a ‘oh well, I tried’. Using numbers, if my happiness at a neutral state normally ranges between -5 and 5 (negative being unhappier, and positive being happier) and I was at a 5 state, the news would drop me to maybe a 3 or a 4. The fact that it happened is obviously slightly disheartening, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen, so in my mind it was going to get canceled eventually, heavily dampening any suffering (maybe too harsh a word). If it did happen, it would have been a surprise and it would jump my 5 to maybe a 15 or a 20 (with 15+ being a ‘happy state’, and -20 being an ‘unhappy state’).

Oh well, I tried. There’s always next time? Although I’m still certain it will always be declined too.

Some time later I get an unexpected disappointment. Something I thought was going to happen, apparently isn’t going according to plan. Things that were initially supposed to be all okay, apparently turned out to be all okay. I probably could manage it, and just adjust my schedule to change accordingly, but I really wasn’t feeling like it. I wasn’t exactly pleased by the summit (both content-wise and time usage-wise), and while expected disappointments aren’t the end of the world, it still will hurt.  So I wasn’t exactly feeling up to par. Maybe a -10? Or maybe even a -15. But I was not exactly ecstatic about it. Why is planning always so hard? Can people actually confirm the confirmed dates of availability? Is it hard to determine a location a week or two before hand? Just choosing the place was hard, not even mentioning that it was difficult to even get to to really consider going. Yes, when I read this some months later, I will probably feel like I am being too biased towards the difficulty, but those are my emotions showing. My dislike, my frustration, and my disappointment. It’s not even just from this one thing. Multiple similar things happening on a constant basis, albeit at a smaller level. People being unwilling to compromise. Can’t move dates (or don’t want to). Being lazy to even go. Some quote about things being taken from granted being noticed only when they are gone is a good quote to be used here.

And it’s not just me. At least one other person has mentioned this before to me. It’s so god damn hard to meet with these people. This day? Nope, I don’t want to. How about here? Nope, I’m busy. This day? No, I have to study.

Well hello, I don’t want to go to things, I’m busy with things, and I have to study for things too. It’s not a take-take relationship, but a give-take relationship. Give up something to get something else. Obviously here, the perceived (and probably actual) benefit (aka: enjoyment) from such a thing is not as large as the costs (not doing another thing, having to prepare, travel time, monetary costs).  Maybe I’m just not busy. I don’t even make the 1 outing a week status, so it would make sense. Maybe they’re really busy. They’ve got things to do, people to see, and places to be. But it never seems so.

What are you guys doing?

Nothing.

A common question with a common answer.

Doesn’t help the case.

Maybe they just don’t want to go. They’re finding excuses to not. Secretly they really want nothing to do with me. Sometimes they’re lazy. Might even be the case of taking things for granted.

But there’s a lower chance I’ll even suggest doing something now. Maybe I’ll feel more lazy when it comes to them. Maybe I’ll value them less during my personal cost-benefit analysis. Maybe I’ll just ask someone else, or just have less interest in doing those kinds of things.

I keep being reminded of a thing I was told by someone (can’t remember who!) that said it is better to be busy and decline, then to agree to everything. As then they will value the interactions they do get with you because it’s rarer, and thus worth more to them making them want to see you more.

I can’t help but disagree right now. I’m not feeling like I want to see them more. Instead I want to see them less as the struggle to get to the meeting point takes too much effort.

Sigh.

I still want to go to DineOut. Though part of me is using this disappointment to completely skip the event. If I really wanted to, I could ask other people if they want to go, but there’s always something off about it. I’m not sure. It hasn’t been long enough to the point where I feel lonely again and want to see people I haven’t seen in a while. Some other people already have plans, so I don’t want to disturb them. All I really want was to get some people and have fun. A time where I don’t really have to care about what I say, how I say it, when I say it, how I act, or anything. It’s only been two weeks of school so far (and two more weeks of other things that make me go ‘ugh’ during the break) and I’m getting tired already. Maybe that’s a long time, maybe it’s short.

I’m inclined to think it is on the shorter side though.

Anyways, I should end with the disclaimer that I’m likely to be exaggerating difficulties/frustrations, the frequency that it happens and undervaluing the benefits. I’m also still trying to sort out my thoughts about this DineOut thing, and for the first time in a long time, writing this blog has not helped me clear up what was on my mind. I’m still not able to pinpoint the exact causes of my frustrations, or find enough examples from memory to support them. There’s also the whole thing about not wanting to be perfectly clear by stating names, clearly explaining events and chronologically ordering my thoughts. The fact that I know who could be reading this definitely changes how and what I say (okay, ‘type’). It makes me both hide things as well as elaborate on things. There are things I want people to read, and things I don’t want people to read. Maybe it’s actually time to start a 0-viewer blog.

Oh, and today I met-up with a old friend, Bill. I don’t remember the last time I saw him, but it was probably sometime during summer. Maybe even earlier. He had some family issues just before the dinner, so he apparently stormed out of the restaurant (I say ‘stormed’ but he’s so peaceful he probably just walked out normally). My parents & his dad made me give him a call because they thought I could be a more persuasive reason to come back. I really didn’t feel like doing it since it made me feel like I was kind of forcing him to come back. Though I shouldn’t since that was probably the better choice. Maybe it’s because I’ve become so distant with him that it feels wrong for me to butt in on his problems. 7 years ago (wow, that actually sounds like a long time ago now) I probably would’ve went out and dragged him back, but not anymore. Feels kind of bad now to know we’re kind of distant. I’m not helping the cause when I initially behave as if he was just an acquaintance, not a long time friend.

After an awkward phone call, I sent a text if he was okay. He replied maybe 22 minutes later, which doesn’t exactly bode well. He eventually does come back, and it became his oldest sister & my family’s job to make the interactions between his father and him not ruin the atmosphere. It was about a girl. They weren’t exactly dating, but he was considering it. His dad really had something against her background (ethnic background, some location in China, I think it was DongBei? Wiki calls it Northeast China). Since I’m not exactly interested in describing everything that happens, lets just say to understand each other. By ‘understand each other’ I mean Bill understands his fathers point of view and will probably follow it. He’s a good guy like that.

Oh and my mother&father were very good at being calm and collected about it. She agreed with his father too (and also dislikes people from Northeast China). It could only make me think ‘why can’t they be this calm and understanding when they discuss things with me?’ It’s so much harder when things affect (HOW DO I USE AFFECT VS EFFECT?) ourselves to try to be calm and collected. Moving on.

But during the dinner I couldn’t help but notice a lot of things that he was better than me at (quite commonly found). More sociable, better at being a ‘host’ (I’m not sure how to describe it, but it makes sense to me!), better health (20/20 EYE SIGHT, I HAVE TO BE MAD ABOUT THIS), better fitness & physique, better schooling (debatable, since I just rejected UBC Arts & he’s in it, but he was originally accepted into UT/Waterloo [I’m not sure anymore] and he declined it because his mother told him to), and he’s also better at League (really not important to me). Oh and his family is really rich! He also has siblings (3 older sisters, though I’m not sure if this is a benefit or not), and a much better attitude about things. He also drives a Porsche (it hasn’t arrived yet, I’m just anticipating).

I feel he’s better than me in basically every single way, but he once said to his mother:

Why didn’t you name me Kevin?! Every single Kevin I know is amazing

(Loose translation from Mandarin)

And at that time I had already thought all of those things, he’s just gotten further ahead at all of those things now. I don’t know if he thinks that way anymore, but just that one time was enough for me. It made me feel happy. Satisfied. Accomplished. That the things I’ve done were worth the struggling. But I still don’t see how he could have ever thought that. Maybe he overvalues me, maybe I undervalue myself, maybe he was just being nice. Oh well.

I am just glad he’s doing fine, regardless of how we are now. Hey, maybe if I do transfer to UBC, I could see him more often and become close again, who knows.

Another reason to transfer? Probably, it’s just not a very… good reason.

Anyways, this is soon going to become longer than my first 3-4 Extended Essay drafts. Any longer and I’m going to not want to write anything for a long time. Then again, I already kind of do. Recently I’ve been making too many blogs (in my opinion). I don’t recall a time where I had something I wanted to write every day, let alone even trying to write one every day (I’ve made some drafts that aren’t ever going to see the light of day [or should I say publication, since it is called ‘Publish’]). Soon I’m going to feel all burnt out, and I’ll be back to monthly entries.

Oh and, I’m very close to being able to follow all the Taylor Swift songs from 1989. I should really consider finding a new album to listen to, I think I’ve been at 1989 for 2-3 weeks.

Too bad I still can’t find a good, free mobile music player application (for Android!) that plays .wma files. Maybe I’ll just concede and change them all the .mp3 files. The only two I’ve tried that can run it so far have only a free ‘trial app’ and both their UI’s are very… wonky, so I’m not compelled to buy it (even if it is only like 3-4$). I can’t find the .wma war for longer (I don’t really care about it to be honest), so I might just convert to .mp3’s. But that takes so much work & I’m too lazy to bother! In another way, it could be said that the value is not high enough to surpass the cost of time. Though when my trail versions expire (I think the one I’m using expires in like a day) I’ll have to find a solution.

That moment when what seen as a ‘joke’ is actually the truth. Feels so strange because you’re never sure if they’re going to realize it’s the truth or not. It’s been happening quite a few times these days, and it’s not exactly the most fun thing. Maybe I should just amp up the ‘joke’ dial and make it ridiculous. Then it can’t ever be the truth.

Or you know, just not put myself in that kind of scenario.

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