It had always been my goal to make myself a better person, one that is confident about my own doings, while also recognized by other people as a decent and respectful man. However, it has come to my attention that some people frown upon my claim as a gentleman, which has led me to think that there are still much more to be improved.

After reading Benjamin Franklin’s 13 personal goals, I have decided that I must set a few goals for myself. Instead of big and lifelong goals like his, I'll settle for two smaller goals that I wish to achieve:

  1. Do not speak ill of others. I consider this to be the most critical flaw in my personality. Stay silent unless there's something good to say. Unless explicitly asked for opinion, do not give negative remarks.

  2. Respect people, do not make fun of them. Respect people and respect them, don't respect people and make fun of them. Friends may take your jokes with no apparent objections, but feelings could still be hurt. Don't make fun of people in any way.

There are also other virtues I can say, for the most part, I have succeeded in keeping. I do not lie, do not steal real-life objects, and I do not apply violence to people. Copyright infringement is one field in which I don't totally abide by the law. The software I use is no longer pirated, but the final step concerns the removal of music files sitting on my hard drive, which I am still reluctant to do. The ability (or rather the will) to be punctual, however, is something that I should attend to more than I do.

Friends, please do correct me if you find me violating these goals. You are helping me by pointint out my mistake, and I would thank you very much if you did. Hopefully, you'll have a better friend than the original!

Of course, there are still minor flaws which I hope to correct in the future. Including but not limited to: procrastination, lack of strong persistence, letting my mood down, and not keeping a routine bed time & rise time. We'll come to those, taking down a few at a time.

What's wrong?

Frankly speaking, it hasn't been a very pleasant week.

How could that be? It's only the first week of the semester! The first week should be full of novelty, of excitement, of experiencing new classes and new places...

Except that it wasn't.

Not that there was nothing new. The new classes were there. The new teachers, new classrooms, new subjects. Familiar friends and classmates were there. There shouldn't be much to make me uncomfortable. However, as I said, it wasn't a very pleasant week for me.

Perhaps the problem is not with the classes and places. After all, there is a subject in feeling novelty, excitement, and happiness -- me. Maybe it's just me that's not right.

It seems, though, that everybody had changed during winter vacation. Lots of people have decided they are going to sacrifice (pretty much) everything else to make time for schoolwork. My problem is, I haven't made that decision yet. There are things I still wish to do, leisure books I will wish to read. I'm just not yet ready to spend all of my time studying.

Let's start with the common notes. I don't doubt that it helps us studying, but is it really necessary? Nobody stopped to ask, can't we live without it? I highly suspect that everybody will just do fine without it. After all, we all did okay last semester! We were merely following tradition, a tradition whose necessity was never quite questioned.

Likewise, many people followed tradition when they decided they were going to start working hard this semester. A decision not made because they wanted to, but because everybody else does. As a result, almost everybody spends major amounts of time working on their grades, and those who do not get poor grades. When the class average is something like 92, getting 82 is just unacceptable, and it will show its influence when applying for residency.

In between classes, I hear people chatting about studying, reports, and midterms. For god's sake, it's only the first week! Can't you just ease off a little? Putting yourself under so much tension only creates tension for others, and finally everybody is under a lot of stress. Next thing you know, a tradition is formed, and everybody becomes stressed even before starting the semester.

I guess I'll just have to deal with it. Not exactly a pleasant way of life, but there's not much of a chance I can do anything about it. The only factor I'm able of changing is myself.

Perhaps it is time to rethink the taoist philosophies. By letting things be, I can live a more happy man, but it's just impossible to live in the confucious world. During the past of my life, I was able to manage work in a more or less relaxed state, and beat most of the confucians. However, now that I'm with 130 of the most top students in Taiwan, things are not as easy as they used to be. I'll just have to keep up, I guess. Goodbye, taoism.


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