Jian myself, wishing this seemingly foreign class was

Jian Min Agnes Tan English Comp 3, Section #32Dr.

GudasEssay #101/30/2017Word count: 1389 Letter of Recommendation: SunsetsI am an avid fan and a staunchbeliever of waking up early. Luck, however, wasn’t on my side this semester.Having no morning classes and a class from 4 to 5p.m. every day, I already knewthat it would be a trying semester ahead. Being used to ending my day by noonlast semester, I was worried that this change would conflict and disrupt mydaily routine.  To make things worse than they couldever be, the 4p.m.

class was on linear algebra associated with n-dimensionalEuclidean space. How does the professor expect me to comprehend things in four,or five dimensions at such an ungodly hour, when my brain can already barelyfunction in the morning with two-dimensional, linear equations? During thefirst lecture, the professor explained that the upcoming topics we will becovering include: orthogonality, matrix algebra, subspaces, bases anddimensions as well as eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Although I lived andbreathed mathematics, and numbers constituted my vocabulary, I struggled tounderstand every single word he just mentioned.After what felt like an eternity,the class finally ended. Dragging my feet out of the lecture theatre, adreadful twenty-minute walk back to my apartment awaits. How frustrating, Ithought to myself, wishing this seemingly foreign class was never part of myschedule.  With earphones plugged in, Iembarked on my treacherous journey. With eyes glued to my phone screen like atypical teenager, I started replying text messages, before moving on to thealmighty Instagram and Facebook — applications that we can’t live without since keepingup-to-date with all our “friends” has grown to become a necessity.

Beingconnected has become one of the most fundamental values ingrained in oursociety. Pervaded by our thirst for immediate replies, instant messagingapplications like Facebook Messenger, iMessage and WhatsApp now include readreceipts and “last seen” timestamps that allow people to know when you wereonline and active. This causes all of us, users of instant messaging, to beunder constant pressure; a read message without an immediate reply is deemed asrude, impolite and unacceptable. Undeniably, technology developments in thetwenty-first century have created a generation of impatient beings — those who expecteverything at lightning speed whenever they wish. After all, everything ismerely a click away. I, too, succumbed to the effects oftechnology.

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My Instagramfeed was taking longer than usual to load and my patience started towear thin. In an act of defiance (honestly, more of exasperation), I glanced upfrom the piece of glass that I am guilty of staring at way too often.  I stopped walking immediately.

It was sunset. I watched with anunfaltering gaze, as a fiery, golden orb of light slowly dipped behind thehorizon, and streaks of light lingered in the sky, mingling with the movingclouds. The skies were adorned first magnificent hues of orange, thentangerine, then pomegranate pink, until all that was left of this masterpiecewas a chalky mauve, and then that faded away into obsidian darkness.Sequin-silver stars like the glowing coals of a dying fire winked down at me,illuminating the pitch-black curtain draped over the sky. Suddenly, the cloudsdivided, and I found myself looking at a luminous, radiant disc casting brilliantrays of moonlight onto the tenebrous grounds. Against the night sky, thissingle pearl had mercilessly stolen all the attention to itself. That was breathtaking. I wasmesmerized by the beauty I had just witnessed.

The colors of sunset weremajestic. Still in awe, I checked my phone for the time, a concept I wascompletely senseless about since being engrossed in the wonders of nature.Thirty minutes had passed since I was last on Instagram. Within the past thirtyminutes, I witnessed the sky transform from shades of salmon to scarlet, and toamethyst. Within the past thirty minutes, our globe was cloaked with wisps ofbright pink, cotton candy clouds that have slowly evanesced into the dark sky.Within the past thirty minutes, the biggest star had given way to thousands ofothers.

 There was something exceptionallybeautiful about the sunset. In the thirty minutes, time slowed down. Whilebeing riveted by the sky and witnessing its masterpiece, I subconsciouslyregained control of my day. I was rejuvenated, a feeling I would never havegotten if the internet connection didn’t choose to slow down just as I was onInstagram. If not for the thirty minutes spent watching the sunset, I would have toggled betweenInstagram, Facebook and Twitter. And because, by the ingenious algorithm thatencodes these applications, things you had missed would always appear at thetop of your feed. Thus, I would switch back to Instagram again, and thisvicious cycle repeats itself.  In the internet age, our concept oftime is askew and significantly shortened; experts believe that technology hasindeed sped up our perception of time.

We have also become culprits of instantgratification. With the advent of technology, living in the twenty-firstcentury means we expect everything right away. Besides, with any desire,craving or want, the piece of glass that our lives rely on simply gives it tous with just a touch of the fingers. If we want to watch an episode of “TheTonight Show”, Jimmy Fallon pops up on our piece of glass straight away. If wewant to watch the highlights of the latest Golden State Warriors game, StephenCurry appears on our piece of glass right away.  This ravenous appetite for instantresults has seeped into all corners of our lives — we expect same-day delivery onAmazon, downloads to complete within seconds and instant replies from friends,teachers and even employers.

Instant gratification has, sadly, turned us intoimpatient creatures — a fewextra seconds of waiting causes us extreme disdain and annoyance. Being an aviduser of technology, I have also surrendered to its effects on our lives,turning into someone short-tempered and quickly provoked. When I stand in line,I am unwilling to wait for anything that takes longer than a few minutes. WhenI explain to my mother how to update her profile picture on Facebook, I getrestless, vexed by the fact that she was taking so long to comprehend aseemingly simple task.

When I read an article online, my limited patience only allows me to getthrough the first two paragraphs, before I skim through what is left to gain abrief idea of the article.  Duringthe few seconds that felt like a few whole minutes when Instagram failed toload, I am thankful that I lifted my eyes off the 2.79″ x 5.65″ screen that myeyes wander about for the most part of the day. A screen that has not onlynarrowed my vision but also, my patience and tolerance. Ironically, despite theirunassailable beauty, sunsets are the epitome of the direct opposite of what we cravefor in life: accessibility and speed. Rare (only occurring at one specific timeof the day as compared to whenever we desire) and long-lasting (requiring acertain amount of time to complete as opposed to being swift and immediate)they may be, sunsets do have a degree of allure in them.

Watching the sunsetthat evening made me realize that I have been subtly losing control of my life,and steering it in the wrong direction. I have let the advancement oftechnology dictate my life, evident in my craving for instant gratification andmy lack of patience. Sunsets have, in their own unique manner, taught me totake things as they come, and to have the composure to wait for things that arenot necessarily instant.  Now, although the 4p.

m. class onmatrices, vectors and subspaces continues to stun and confound me with itscomplexity, the walk back has never failed to marvel me. The colors of everysunset are different, yet each one so charming and magnificent in its ownright. The golden glow of each building during this spectacular time of theday, too, makes these walks even more magical. Eyes fixated on the canvas thesky has transformed into, I will learn to savor every bit of this fleeting beauty that has molded me into someone morepatient, understanding and composed. Ultimately, we shouldn’t let technologycontrol us — we’re the masters of our own lives.

 

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