Hello, Fellow Xangan


aturday was a first for me. Over the summer, my school offers several “inaugurations” for incoming freshmen. It’s basically a fancy orientation. The freshmen stay in a dorm for three days, enjoy dorm food, and register for Fall classes. Another thing they do is take placement exams and I am in charge of Japanese this summer.

Today was the first day of the second inauguration and I had five students take the exam. The last person to hand in her paper, walked into my office and I looked at her exam. She did quite well, actually. Quite impressive as a matter of fact. I told her that she could probably enter any of the advanced courses, and asked her where she had learned her Japanese. Well, after high school, she studied at a university in Nagoya before entering an American university. I was surprised because she gone to a university that many of our students go to. And she tole me she knew imahima. I looked at her information and saw her e-mail address: endersatomi. Hmmm… why does that sound familiar… I was desparately recalling and discounting in order any and all conceivably embarrassing, damaging or career-ending situations (haha, just kidding), when it hit me. I looked at her and said: “Xanga!” She looked at me and said, “Onigiriman?” Hahahaha. What a moment. She said she had heard of me from my other students, so I suspect she kinda new who I’d be, but I was caught totally off guard.

On the train ride home, I found myself lost in thought, imaging what it would be like cruising the country and “bumping” into people I know. I’d probably have to recruit a partner in crime like Vlade, and we’d leave LA and first go up north to the Monterey peninsula to check out pair of intriguing lips and eyes, then to Vancouver to grab and shake a sexy shoulder from behind., We’d then head inland across the country to Chicago and scope out Orange and look for small aircraft flying in the wrong direction, all the while canvasing universities in Illinois looking for a hairy dog. Then maybe to NYC to find a sarcastic chick for a tongue lashing (I shudder at this thought) and a girl who walks her guinea pig. Then we’d head south to check out the campus of FSU to look for two squabbling sibblings who think they look cool as gangsters and an artist who paints his dog. Then to Atlanta to look for the screwiest JA in the south, then to Texas in search of a really cute coed who is a self-proclaimed tomboy… Then we’d head back to LA to check out my Bruin Xangers hanging out at UCLA. Whew, I figure it would take a month and a half. If you know the regular commenters on my site, you would know who I’m talking about. But this kind of time, I don’t have, although Vlade seems to have the time to go rafting in speedos… hehehehe. You’re on the air.

SunJun: Here’s my question: what is your greatest regret in life? As an instructor, is there’s one basic concept you could manage to stick into the minds of each and every one of your students, what would it be?

O-man: Regrets? No, I think I mentioned earlier that I am happy with my life and so do not have any major regrets. I mean we all have little ones–“Oh I wish I hadn’t said that,” or “Crap, why’d I send that e-mail?” You know, stuff like that. But nothing I would really point to. As an instructor, one basic concept I tell all my students is to

Do what you want

I know it sounds hokey, but in college this is the best advice I can give them. More than a few students have come to seek advice as to what to do in the future, and I tell them to do what they want, not what others–usually parents–want them to do. I think I touched on this previously, but I think it bears repeating. Do what you want. I believe that most parents are thinking of the welfare of their child when they tell them to study so they can go to law school, or medical school, or business school. And this is fine if the sudents hopes and dreams coincide with the parent. But what if the student wantes to do something else? Chances are that students, who do what they are told to do when they want to do something else, end up wondering what life would have been like had they chosen what they wanted. They may even regret not having pursued it. Those who choose what they want usually excel because their is no pain in doing something they enjoy. They end up spending a lot of time studying because, for them, it is not longer a chore. Ultimtately, they can follow whatever path they want or need, but if it can incorporate some of what they enjoy doing, it makes it all the more rewarding.

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