Spiraling Down

The Sunday before last, I had a horrible day. A day that started off on a very wrong note and progressed even further downhill. I believe it was August 3rd. I had finished up summer school and I had one last Immunology final to take online that day before I was “officially” done. I wasn’t nervous for the final at all – I had done well on all the other exams and quizzes and I had spent Friday and Saturday studying away. But I think what was said to me earlier that day threw off my entire plan. You see, someone very close to me said that they wished for my death in the heat of an argument. And although an hour later, they waved it off as nothing and said that we’re always ‘mean’ to one another, it simply didn’t pass. Those words were stuck in my head, replaying over and over again. And I began to feel myself sinking. As someone who fell down that hole in high school, and found myself very close to that hole once more my freshman year of college, I started to pull away once again.

Private Practice has been very therapeutic for me.

Private Practice has been very therapeutic for me.

Matters didn’t help that I decided to take my two-hour online final a couple of hours after this incident. At first, all was going well, but then, my computer froze. I’ve had my computer for about a year and a half now, and this was the first time it acted up. I thought it was a slight hiccup, and since I was good on time so far, I decided to wait for a few minutes and let my computer breathe. However, when 10 minutes had passed and I realized my computer wasn’t recovering, I completely broke down. I tried contacting my professor to let her know. I tried accessing the exam on my phone to see if I could continue. With my emotions running high, my nerves completely together, and the calmness I had while taking this exam prior had completely been thrown out the window. Time flew by quickly, and before it, the exam was over and I had left more than 25% of the test blank. I ended up getting a D on that final.

My professor was not responsive, similar to how she was the entire session, so I decided to restart my computer and at least try to get my mind off how crappy my day had been so far with some therapeutic TV shows. But my computer ended up crashing. It wheezed, and coughed, and groaned, and then just gave up. I drove to the Apple Store both that day and the day after to see what could be done. I was given two different diagnoses which is why I had to wait until Monday to come in again. $60 later and three hours spent in the mall simply sitting in one of those cushiony chairs outside of JCPenny (I am not a mall person), my computer was up and running again. But I wasn’t.

I stayed in my room for the next couple of days, staring at the walls with all my motivation extinguished out of me. I wanted to talk to someone. One of my best friends had already moved up to Davis. And the other one was busy with her classes at FIDM. I didn’t want to seem like a bother, but I was drowning. My mood was consistently unhappy, I was snapping at anyone and everyone, and for the life of me, I could not produce a genuine smile.

Luckily, as if persuaded by a higher force, my best friend from Davis spontaneously came back for a visit at the end of the week. In a 10-minute car ride, I spilled everything that had happened to her. And although there was not much she could do, just talking to someone lifted that burden I was carrying all week. My mood immediately lightened. Of course nothing had changed. My grade didn’t change, my professor who ended up being a mediocre Immunology lecturer didn’t change, those words were never taken back, and my $60 was never returned. But I got better.

I’m not sure why I’m bringing this up now. I mean, it’s been more than a week and I’m in a better mood now, definitely. But I guess it’s because, that shift in emotions was primarily because I was able to talk it out. Talking it out with a friend truly helped me. So I guess I’m writing this in hopes that if anyone out there finds themselves in a similar situation, no matter size, they will take the time to talk to someone. If you feel like you can’t talk to anyone, just know that I will always be here to lend an ear.

Talking helps,

A.

Reintroduction of Serendipity

Given that today is Thanksgiving, albeit a Hallmark-driven holiday, I figured it would be the right time to reintroduce my blog’s theme, “serendipity”. It is times like these, when you reflect on what you are thankful for, that you realize how much these fortunate accidents tend to shape your life for the better.

I originally stumbled across this word when watching the movie, Serendipity (which is a great holiday movie, by the way!), starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack.

Jonathan: This is the ultimate blend to drink. How’d you find this place?

Sara: I first came in because of the name: Serendipity. It’s one of my favorite words.

Jonathan: It is? Why?

Sara: It’s such a nice sounding word for what it means: a fortunate accident.

After this film, I began to witness how “serendipity” truly plays a character in our daily lives – and for all those times I can count, the outcome is always better.

An example? My Applied Developmental Psychology (ADP) minor at UCLA. I had known from the moment I started college that I wanted to minor in Applied Developmental Psychology. However, when I applied my sophomore year, I wasn’t accepted and I was absolutely heart-broken. Along with the disappointment, I wasn’t too keen on applying soon after. Less than a year later, however, while busy with plans to study abroad in the summer, I decided to apply last-minute on a whim. I’m not sure what consumed me, but despite the application being due the following day, I just knew I had to get it in. So in less than 24 hours, I contacted and received a spur-of-the-moment letter of recommendation from my 5th grade teacher and mentor (thank you, Mrs. Burke!) and was able to submit in a complete application. Two weeks later, I was offered a spot for the Summer 2012 cohort.

Spontaneity for the win, right? And sure, my plans for studying abroad were scratched. But as my good friend, Diana, noted today when I saw her, there’s always tomorrow. Back in high school, we planned on going to Spain together. Maybe that’s meant to be or maybe we’ll find our way there through some alternate path. While I advocate studying abroad in college, it just wasn’t in the books for me; but what I got out of my minor is priceless. Along with all the interactions with the children, I have met some of the most remarkable people through this minor. Some outside of my cohort, who supported me when I struggled to fulfill pre-med requirements and my minor requirements by overlapping classes and taking the maximum amount of units (thank you, Yujia!). And some inside my cohort, including one of my good friends post-graduation, Marina. I mention Marina because I had dinner with her a few weeks back. And it was then that I thoroughly explained to her about everything that went down with Columbia. Without hesitation, criticism, or disbelief, she simply said the following phrase. A phrase that was reiterated by my former partner-in-crime, Jessica, who I met up with this week,

“I feel like you’re doing you”

And that’s what I am thankful for – being surrounded by friends and family who understand where my true passions lie and are willing to believe in my dreams. I have done some crazy things in the past, but despite all that, they all have faith in me. My father, my mother, my sister. My advisors, mentors, and role models. My best friends from 4th grade, my friends from college and my friends in high school. Now I just need faith in myself, in my destiny, as I make my way towards medical school.

Along with Diana, I reconnected with Tim, a friend who will one day be one of the most powerful motivational speakers out there. He wrote this great gratitude speech, so while you’re dealing with that post-dinner food coma, check it out. In short, I am thankful for my failures along with successes. Without them, I would not be where I am today. If I wasn’t rejected the first time, I would have never met the people I did in my cohort in ADP. To sum it up, I am thankful for serendipity.

In gratitude,

A.

gobble gobble

gobble gobble

They Happen For A Reason

A detour from the usual to discuss a topic that often comes up when discussing the fragility of “meant-to-be” relationships. It is relevant once more as a close friend of mine decides whether she is as in love with her first and only boyfriend as she was in the beginning. For friends who are faced with the dilemma, that their first crush, love, significant other might not be their soulmate, I always bring up the “Cory and Topanga” scenario from the TV show, Boy Meets World. However, whenever I do bring up this example, I always get looks of disbelief as if I was crazy. But hear me out, even if it was staged on a TV show, this scenario is one of the most applicable to our daily lives. Cory and Topanga had one of the most iconic television relationships of the 90s. And yet, even they had to break up and see other people, to realize how much they really, truly loved each other.

My AP Psychology teacher, Ms. Hewit, pretty much summed up the same belief in class one day:

“Do not commit to the first person you see. You need to see other people to find the right person. It’s like finding the perfect outfit. You need to ‘try on different clothes’ in order to find the one that fits YOU the best.”

I’m not comparing men and women to clothes. But the theory makes sense right? As humans, it is difficult for us to simply settle – from a biological standpoint, we are constantly looking for that partner who will provide us with optimal offspring. Some people end up searching their entire lives for this “ideal” soulmate. I don’t think this is appropriate either, as high expectations often leaves you in solitude. But if you haven’t put yourself out there – if you haven’t gotten to see what the world has to offer you, how do you know that this is THE person for you? And likewise, how do we know if that first chance – that first shot – is the right time and place? A relationship involves two core components – timing and chemistry. And maybe that first try wasn’t the right time or maybe both parties were just not on the same playing field. If even Cory & Topanga needed to give each other a second chance then I don’t see how we think we as real-life human beings are invincible.

Just some thoughts,

A.

Dance.

Hey you,

Here’s a confession. As much as I never intended to get involved with dance (it was always supposed to be my sister and I was supposed to be the one who sang), I really did love it. And it’s exactly how you described it above. Bharata Natayam made me feel graceful and feminine and for once in my life, I could really relay my emotions to my audience. Which is why, every time I felt like this could be something life-changing for me, every time I was close to appreciating it, it was completely stamped out by Malini Aunty. I swear, if it wasn’t because I was the tallest girl in class, it was because I wasn’t graceful or was not trying. I hate when people tell me I’m not trying when I actually am.

So for the eight years of my dance career, I pretty much loathed dance and myself for almost the entire time. I probably would have quit sooner if it was not for my determination to prove Malini Aunty wrong and because I really did like it. But of course, every Friday, it was another blow to my self-esteem. It wasn’t enough that I felt like I was completely ugly in middle school/high school. I had to be told every week how un-feminine I was. So what kept me in it for those last two or three years? I could have easily said, nope, high school’s here, I’m out. Haha, I started to make legit friends in class. Like, really meeting everyone rather than simply acknowledging them. My first REAL friend in dance who made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that I could, if I put my mind to it, stick through it to the end? It was you Harshita (: Dance became fun and emotionally rewarding again because I was happy learning it, knowing that I had a friend to share it with (:

And then, of course, Malini Aunty decided to pull me from the class where I had a group of friends and place me in a different class all together. I knew I was missing a lot of class because of Leo Club and Color Guard, but we were having one-on-one sessions to help me catch up. And then she pulls that. Puts me in a class with pre-teens and it’s back again to how I’m the weakest link. So I did both her and me a favor. I quit.

I regret it of course. I wish I could have stuck through it just like everything else. I NEVER in my life, have given up on something that I’ve worked hard on. IB, Color Guard, etc. Dance was that one thing – it was bittersweet. I felt like a different person when I was performing, but classes made me feel like the largest, ugliest, clumsiest person alive.

When no one’s watching, I still dance a bit. Mostly to remind myself of everything I learned. The expressions, the hand gestures, the poses, etc.

Yup, that’s my story.

<3 A.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

In 7 days, I’ll be home and done with my first quarter at UCLA. Now don’t get me wrong, I love college and I absolutely love the atmosphere, but I am just so tired. I have been going through the same motions every day – breakfast, work, school, dinner, study for chemistry until midnight, sleep. And I guess I feel a little more confident about chem and all, but I just wish the final could be next week rather than the day after tomorrow. But anyway, to try to change things up a bit, I have been following up on my desire to explore LA and meet people. On Thursday, I woke up around 5 AM and caught a bus just in time to get to Ryan Seacrest’s recording station to see Nick Jonas. I’ll admit, I am a little bummed out that I couldn’t get his autograph and picture, but instead, chose to listen in on a private concert, but, I think the memories got me through a excruciating night at Powell Library. Since tomorrow is Saturday – which means an entire DAY dedicated to chem, I really want to hitch a ride to the Grove and meet Mario Lopez. A part of me thinks this is stupid, especially with my final being the day after and having no one else going with me. But a huge part of me thinks that this would just be a good break and keep me sane. Thus, it is 11:50 at night and I am still deliberating.

But you know, even more than Mario Lopez or Nick Jonas, I really want to see my friends. And at this moment, especially D’FAT. I can’t wait for the road trip we have planned and just to see their faces and talk to them. I want to go out and night and watch the stars and I want to go on our weekly trails and watch the sunset. Most of all, I just can’t wait to have an unpredictable schedule every day. One more week (:

<3 A.