English Exam and the Red Mage

April 22th, 2017

Today I had 2 qualification exams in the morning and one English exam in the afternoon. The qualification is not hard. There are 4 problems in total, I got three and I just wrote random things on the last one.

The English exam on the other hand, is really easy for me. That one is based on a TOEIC test but there’s no listening and the reading is only 40 questions long. So every time there is this kind of exam, I get really cocky. I believe I can finish it ahead a lot of time and get almost maximum score, without even trying, which is reality. I got 2 wrong in today exam at first but then I asked for a new answer sheet and marked again.

But getting cocky over something like this is something I should not do. Sure there is a lot of people are still struggling with this kind of exam but I should not compare myself to them. I took the TOEFL and got a decent score so of course these kind of exams is a walk in the park to me. It’s like taking candy from a child.

If I still feel like this, that means I still lack of confident. To be honest, I am still insecure about the exam.  I expect to get every answer right, that’s my goal. It’s kind of frustrated when I get one answer wrong and it was a stupid one. I had the pressure to finish it perfectly since I am bragging about my English so much, not just with other but to myself as well.

On the other hand, there are lots of people who are better at English  than me. My TOEFL is not that high. Of course, those are often working in profession that require special English skills but still. I can only have my English as my strong point, it pointless if I don’t compare myself to the professional. Sure, my English is good for an engineer but my engineering skill sucks. I feel like a jack of all trades because of this. Another reason is that I don’t particular like anything, I feel like I can take on anything at a decent level. But that’s just plain mediocre. The Red Mage in Final Fantasy describe my dilemma perfectly. He can use sword, black and white magic. He is fun to use but not exceptionally strong. He is versatile so he can be useful until mid game. But in late game, he sure lacks the power.

The origin saying, however, goes:” Jack of all trades, master of none, but better than a master of one.” In real life, you don’t have to deal with a force that’s destroying the world. The Red Mage will do just fine, plus he can do all kind of thing, and he can do it all on his own. That’s what I like about the Red Mage. Life is all about fun, no? Well, a better expression is life is all about experience. And a diversity of experience might give the best life. Of course, he can never use the strongest black magic but he can have the taste of the other high rank one, plus white magic and sword. Why isn’t there a game feature a main character as a Red Mage yet? An adventurer, travels from place to place, a Red Mage is the perfect class. Knight, Blk Mage. Wht Mage are all devote themselves to one thing and be the best at it. They are all the classes that seem to work for the King or something like that. But Red Mage is kind of a free soul, wandering. That being said, Red Mage is trash in the game. He can do anything also mean he can’t do anything good. Nevertheless, there different classes in the original FF game as well, like thief or monk. The world is more diverse and complex than just a few job assign to some people.

After all that, the problem is I am not even mediocre in a variety of things yet. I still have much to learn. Beside my mechanical engineering degree and my English, I am pretty much don’t know anything about other fields. Philosophy and psychology maybe? I had just finished an introduction course for philosophy. Oh, and I can draw a little. What else? I’m improving my style so I’m looking into that. There are so much aspects I want to develop myself on. I don’t have any ambition to develop my engineering knowledge though, despite that’s currently being my main occupation. Probably because I don’t know which direction I will go next. Currently, I just want to finish this master degree and explore Korea as mush as I can.

I didn’t expect that rant about the English exam turned into a Red Mage rant. Well, maybe I should play FFI again.



My cousin

I don’t have any siblings so she’s the closest thing I have to a sister. I still have the memory of when I was a kid and she’s only a baby. I went home after getting a haircut. Everyone was around her, doing something. I jumped right in and stare at her face. Mom pulled me out because I might drop my hair on her. That’s my earliest memory of her.

She picked up quite a few thing from me. Video games, mostly. She loves Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy series thanks to me. And anime, I’m not sure if she picked that up from me.

But different from me, she is an extrovert, or at least appeared so. She’s a top student from elementary school to middle school. She’s active and dynamite, she participated in many extracurricular activity. All teachers know her. A model student basically. (And she ‘s not very good at math and physics like all the stereotype about girls)

The girl is short and chubby, not very athletic. Actually, she looks like my mother more than my aunt. If she and I go together with my mother, people would say she’s the daughter and I’m the nephew.

We used to spent time playing games together. We played FE and FF for sure but that’s only when we were older. I don’t remember that well all the thing we did when we were younger. My aunt often visits my grandparents on weekends. My apartment is near my grandparents’ too so it’s time when our family get together. I usually get to play with my cousin then. In summer, she often spent a few day at my place and in Lunar New Year, I at hers. That’s probably all the time we get to play together.

She didn’t have her own computer back then so when I was at her place, we don’t play videogames together that often. I don’t remember exactly but we did talked a lot about all sort of things.

As we grow older, we spend less time together. Of course, it’s inevitable since I am six years older than her, basically a different generation. By the time she finished high school, I have already finished my bachelor a few years. That’s turning point marks a huge difference in our interested, thought and ideals.

About finishing high school… She should have finished it last year and be a freshmen this year. But yeah, she repeated her high school senior year.

She changed after went to high school. Well, we all do. That’s an important turning point too. Some says the best years of your life is in your high school years. At least in Vietnam they think so anyway. I personally don’t have that much memorable events during those years but apparently  many people do. I didn’t have many friends as usual and spent most of the time playing by myself. I still got along with the class well. It just that I felt being left out of many things. There were many things happened I was not aware of. Despite that, my close group of friends are those who I  know from high school and we are still meeting regularly now. But I still feel that I am not personally close to anyone of them. I should try more to get to know them, to truly call them my friends.

Okay, moving on, so she got into a really high standard school. Most of the students there are both come from rich family and talented. My cousin, who has always been a special kid, apparently become just a normal kid. She participated in lots of extra curricular activities as she always do. Sometimes, her family worried that she may neglect her study but they couldn’t stop her either. In the end, we think she ‘still did well in both.

But then, one day she started stop coming to school. It began with skipping a few classes and ended up with she didn’t go to school at all. And of course, when she skipped too many classes, the school couldn’t let her graduate. Even though her family begged the school and the teachers, they also gave her many chances but she didn’t take it and she has to repeated a years.

Her mom took her to the hospital to see what’s wrong with her. Everyone thinks my cousin is a model students. And she was going to study in America too. Many students in that school plans to study in the U.S after graduation. She was eager to do that too. She did a lot of research and preparation. But it seems it didn’t go smoothly. Sometimes she did great on the mock SAT and TOEFL, sometimes she didn’t.

So she was diagnosed with depression. The psychologist gave her pills and therapy. I don’t know the details but her family has been going through a hard time. My cousin didn’t cooperate. She didn’t take the pills, didn’t follow instruction and didn’t share her feelings with anyone. Well, that’s to be expected from someone with depression. If she could easily ask for help then depression is not a big deal. Her father, lost all hopes and believes that he will help to support her all his life. Her mother, still trying everything she could, even asking help from supernatural force, fortune teller and channeler and such.

In her repeated year, things seem to get better. She still skipped classes but not as much. Everyone hoped she can finally finish high school. After that, we can figure something out. She still want to study in the US though we don’t know how can she study and live by herself in that condition. But no one stop her. She got accepted to several school actually. All is left is to finish high school.

However, at the end of the semester, when there is only a few final exams left. She didn’t go to school, again. She skipped some of the exams. And even if she finishes all the finals, she still has to take many make up exams. But she just doesn’t go to school. There is still a chance. If she goes to school now and fills up all the missing exams, she can still graduate. But we don’t know if tomorrow she will go to school or not.

My mom and my aunt (her mom) hope I can influence her somehow and help her. But personally, I never talk to her about her problems. I’m afraid I might hurt her more but also, I’m afraid of rejection. I think I probably only make matters worse. I lacks the confident in myself.

I can’t help but worry, the way parents worry about their kids. Technically, she and I are both adult but she still haven’t finished high school while I am getting my master and working at the same time. So I can see her in that way. The most priority now for her is to go to school and take all the make up exams. If she can somehow do that and somehow graduate, we will have to think about whether to let her go to the US to study. It’s difficult to convince her not to but letting her go under current condition is risky too. Best way is to treat her depression, we will have do to that either way. I don’t know much about depression but I think regular exercise is always good. She is wanting to lose weight too. Don’t know how much did she progressed though. The body and the mind are connected, if her body is stronger so is her mind. Plus, it will boots confident too. If we can get her to exercise, things will get much better. Of course, it will have to go along with healthy diet and sleeping habits. If she can wake up early, eat healthy meals at the right time, exercise about 1 hour a day, go to sleep early, that will improve a lot. The rest of the day, if she can do something productive is good, but otherwise, as long as she is not bored, any activities is fine. Just not sleeping all day. That’s is difficult if you don’t have anything fun to do.

I had the thought of if I had time, I will stay with her and whip her into shape. Not sure if I can actually do that even if I have time though. She may go crazy before I can make her to do anything.

Anyway, I hope she will at least graduate and get well soon. I myself am in deep shit too. While I’m relaxing and writing this, a lot of work are waiting me. I want to graduate soon too. When I return to Vietnam, I hope I can see her being well again. Or maybe she ‘s already gone to America. Who knows?