8```New Challenges!!!

Wow... When I reflect back on this week, its beginning feels so distant, even though I haven’t done very much for the past seven days.

When I started this gap year update, I imagined just sharing it with ~ 20 of my friends. I posted on Facebook and Instagram just in case a few people who I didn’t know might be interested weren’t left out. Hell I didn’t expect to see so many people care enough about what I’m doing with my gap year to get my emails every week, and that many (a lot of whom I haven’t really talked to before) would send me emails to support me, share cool content that they thought I’d enjoy, or share their thoughts and feelings. This all has been so magical! I especially felt it in the past two weeks, when I actually bounced back very quickly to an energetic and motivated mood largely because of the conversations that were made possible through the gap year updates. Thank you to everyone that took the time to read my thoughts and wrote/talked to me. It truly meant a lot. ❤️❤️
The major things that happened to me this week were related to Gnomon, the visual effect school I am applying to. I submitted my application the weekend before, and Wednesday the admissions called me, asking me to give them a pdf of my portfolio, even though the application portal said I could submit a website. The admissions specifically said: “I look forward to seeing how you design your portfolio.” Not a big pressure at all. 🤨

So that night and the following day, I spent a total of 10+ hours designing my portfolio, because I haven’t done much graphic design other than a few posters... I looked up dozens of graphic design portfolios on Behance and analyzed them, before trying to come up with some type of personal branding on the spot. I only knew a few tricks with InDesign and Illustrator, but it sort of worked out in the end, and I was proud about it... that night.

I had planned to finish a decent draft of my article for the internship by my meeting with my advisor on Friday afternoon. But portfolio unexpectedly took almost a whole day away from me. So on Friday, I was getting real focused on writing, until I got an email from Gnomon. 

They said they can see how I have done all sorts of things around game art, and they know I haven’t taken courses in game art or animation yet, but they just wanted to see some work of mine that’s actually relevant to what they teach. “The review board is looking to see if students are interested in working in this field.” And they were willing to extend the application deadline by a week for me to do more art. They also said I could reapply in October if I wanted more time, but, being Wendi, I immediately replied that I will give them some art in the next three weeks, without thinking too much of what I was getting myself into.

I was really excited at first, because this is how I interpreted it: if they thought I was not qualified, they would have simply rejected me. But they’re extending the deadline for me! So they probably were convinced enough to think that I have the potential to create great (enough) game art, and I just need to fully convince them. Because it is a 2-year, super intense, career-oriented program I am applying to. It’s a huge commitment. I can totally understand and I’m up for the challenge.

Also, I’d only realize this today, that I seem to have a history with applying to things twice... I didn’t pass a few really important advanced English tests the first time in elementary school (for getting into my middle school) I didn’t get into any of the 13 boarding schools the first year I applied. I didn’t get into my ED for college. And now I’m given my second chance from Gnomon!

Ok maybe I was trying too hard to discern some vague patterns out of the messiness of life. But, I was getting so excited about this second chance Gnomon gave me that I messaged two people I’ve been working with/for on different projects that I had to pause my work for three weeks. And I am now only focused on two things: preparing this portfolio and my research work. 

During the weekened, the excitement slowly turned into a mild anxiety and nervousness. It’s ironic in a sense that I was hoping to reconnect with the more creatively invested self through immersing myself in a rigorous creative curriculum and a big creative community. But they’re now asking me to prove to them that I already have enough passion before they can let me in. Do I have enough passion and commitment now to prove to them? Yes and no. It’s such a tricky question. I am convinced that I will enjoy the school once I’m immersed in it because when I let myself be open, I can be influenced by my environment really easily. But gosh I am not in that environment right now.

A huge problem with me, I especially came to realize since college, is that I have trouble finishing things on my own. When I have a project or a piece of work in mind, I get all excited with planning and starting them, but never really get to the point of finishing them in some way, unless I am forced to because of a class or some higher pressing authority. This summer, I’ve started to do more sketches and practices with digital painting, but, again, haven’t completed any piece on my own yet. So, even though I am confident about my art skill for the program, I am quite concerned and have no idea how I will do in the upcoming three weeks. 

Any way, I seriously want to go to Gnomon so badly for so many reasons (even though I’m sure I could have a great time otherwise too) And ten days ago I had no idea I’d commit myself this much to applying for a 2-year professionally-oriented program. The funny part of all this is that I had been planning my gap year for more than a year!! I knew I wanted a gap year two days after committing to Princeton, and I chose not to gap before freshman year because I wanted to plan my year well so that I could make as much as possible out of that precious year of doing art. I had been keeping a huge spreadsheet of art programs I wanted to do, artistic things I wanted to learn, places I wanted to visit, etc. But they kept changing throughout the year of planning, and the only thing that stayed in my plan the entire time -- another school for game/animation art -- turned out to be impossible because of my visa situation. Although it was due to my own stupidity that I didn’t realize I couldn’t be in the US for long. 🙃
But still. 

Apart from this application craziness, I finally watched The Wandering Earth and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I loved both of them: TWE for its imagionation of a massive, global effort in saving the Earth, and Spider-Verse for the relative good and evil with the super hero and the villain (that the super hero doesn’t always want to be a super hero and fails at mundane aspects of his life. and the villain only is a villain because he lost his family because of the super hero) While they both have things that could’ve been better, I definitely recommend watching them if you haven’t yet!

I’m going back to drawing now... I hope something good comes out of me this week... 🤞Wish me luck!!