“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”– Oren Arnold
Nearly a month ago, I had booked my one-way ticket to New York and was ecstatic at the possibility of a new life. Fast forward to today and not only am I still in sunny California, but I am in fact, not attending graduate school for the time being. Many may question this decision – in fact, many may assume that I simply “chickened out” or was all talk. But I can assure you, up until last night, my bag was packed and I was still enrolled in my classes at Columbia. And yet, this past week has been filled with so many events – “omens” you might say – that influenced my decision to stay. So I guess you could say that while it was decided last-minute, it was in no way a “last-minute decision”.
As I wrote in my previous post, an unexpected situation arose with the apartment. Months before, I thought I had secured an apartment and well-known apartment mates who would be understanding, communicative, and all above, kind – given that we were all Resident Assistants, I more so expected this than hoped for it. However, as the date for my arrival drew closer, certain unattractive characteristics began to unveil themselves. I could list out all of them here, but what would be the point? To reiterate, I am known to be a people-pleaser. What I hate more than anything else, is disappointing people. So to drop out of my apartment as quickly as I did must be supported by some legitimate reasons. Which I would be more than happy to discuss in person. Until then, let’s just say these misgivings grew to the point where I felt absolutely unsettled about the big move.
This past week, I felt as if I was burdened down with something I couldn’t quite pinpoint. As I continued to attempt to salvage the apartment situation, I began to think of alternative options. One possibility was to simply find a new apartment. Another possibility was – to the satisfaction of my mother – stay at home and instead, focus on my goal from elementary school. When I came into UCLA and immersed myself in the science curriculum, I was immediately discouraged. I began to doubt myself and my chances of getting into medical school and in fear of failure, I began to contemplate alternative career paths. Of course, those who were closest to me, such as my best friends and family, could not wrap their minds around this change in occupation. However, I had the support of those who did not know me quite as well and who believed that college was a time for change. So I readily morphed into someone who was never sure of what she wanted to be from the beginning. I ignored deadlines, the MCAT, and anything else that should have been done in preparation for medical school during my undergraduate career.
Fast forward to the end of senior year and I finally realized that I squandered away an opportunity on fear alone. So while I had decided to go to graduate school in Columbia for my Masters degree, I promised myself I would still take some steps towards becoming a doctor, whether that would be preparing and signing up for the MCAT or taking additional science courses on top of the courses necessary for my degree. I think that’s something many people have to understand – yes, it was Columbia. Yes, I had a set future. Yes, I could have gone on to pursue a PhD degree. However, this was my back-up plan. As much as I enjoyed Developmental Psychology in college, I really couldn’t see my life’s career being built around it. Fear, rejection, the thought of not being where I wanted to be by the age of thirty – these thoughts and expectations are what fueled me to go the practical route and have a back-up plan rather than taking the plunge and fighting for what I love.
Of course, I considered the fact that this could be me, making up excuses once again for the condition known as “cold feet”. Could it be that my nerves are just getting to me? Maybe I am meant to go to New York. I know my mother is against it. I know my relatives in Sri Lanka are against it – with the daily texts from my uncle and what not. So maybe their insecurities are what I’m currently feeling? But then, I spoke to my best friend, Siobhan, and reasoned everything out. And the next day, my best friends – JPAACKS – took me out for a farewell lunch. And when I told them that I was considering deferring Columbia and just staying here to pursue my medical dream, they were absolutely ecstatic for me – happy that I was the “old” A. once more. And that’s when I knew for sure. If the people I love, see this as a viable option, then perhaps I am doing the right thing after all.
I told everyone that these are my “selfish years” – my only opportunity to go off to New York and discover more about myself. But being selfish means doing what I want. And after four years of throwing myself into school, volunteering, work, and research, I’m taking a break. A break from a schedule and doing some self-improvement in the comfort of my own home. Many of my fellow graduates cringe at the thought of going back to the nest. But let’s face it – I will have more opportunities in life to travel and explore. But the years are numbered when it comes to spending time with my family. How many more Halloweens will I have to actively participate in candy handouts with my family? How many more Christmases and Hindu holidays? I took this all for granted back in high school, but I do not intend to take these days for granted during my “one-year break”.
This year is still dedicated to me. I’ll be writing in my blog, working on ideas for a novel, exploring nearby cities and traveling, and hitting the gym with my best friends. But I’ll also be working towards my long-term goal of being a doctor. It’s going to be hard work – I know it. But I know whole-heartedly that this is what I want. And regardless of the number of years it takes, I’m going to get there. So with that, I have a new countdown – in five months’ time, I’ll be conquering the MCAT.
Welcome to a resolution within itself. Committing to a project for a full year without procrastination and/or laziness interfering. I’ve alway enjoyed those yearly challenges – whether they be the 365 day photo challenge on Facebook or a 365 tweets on Twitter – but it never crossed my mind twice to actually do one myself. Until now. However, I found it more comforting to blog for a year, because let’s face it, I can only truly get my thoughts out through writing. However, I know myself and I know that I won’t likely stick to a strict regimen of blogging daily. So let’s say “tending” to my blog as much as possible this year and releasing it to the public before the end of the year?
2012 was a year of extreme highs and lows. I began to write a quick recap, but then I realized that for the most part, if not all of what’s happened, I’ve accepted and moved on. So here’s to not dwelling in the past. Goals were seized, expectations were failed, some doors closed, leaving other doors open.
So here’s to the beginning of 2013 – a slightly unorthodox introduction than past years, but nevertheless, a year of hopes and dreams. And more so, a year of pursuit of these goals in order to make a better life for myself.
It’s not only me who sees this year as a larger step towards the bigger picture. I’ve seen countless astrology readings (both the Hindu and English versions), and although I take everything in with a grain of salt, all of them state the same thing. My career aspirations will further this year. Here’s a few quotes that I found meaningful from the great Y! Horoscopes:
You’ve been blessed to merge the needs of your soul with your career since 2012, and now you’re learning to use the power of smoke and mirrors to your advantage in the most powerful way. Your offering to the world is incredibly healing. People are mesmerized with what you have to offer and you can use the power of your imagination to captivate your chosen audience and target market. All of this leads to greater exposure and possibility. You know the stakes are too high to take the easy way out and throw away all that you’ve built. Just remember: where there is love, there is no effort.
I only hope that this is an approving nod towards all my work that I’ve done with infants thus far. Regardless, this is my year. I graduate from my undergraduate career this year. I move on to that next step this year. I’m not sure when or even if this blog will go public, but this time next year, hopefully, I’m further along than I am now.
Until then, thanks for reading and may 2013 be full of love, laughter, and many accomplishments.
Why hello there,
It’s been a while since I last posted on this blog. But enough about the time that has rushed by – I want to discuss about the future. Today was the first day that I began to search for graduate programs. The word graduate sounds so foreign to me for it doesn’t seem like it was four years ago when I was searching for undergraduate admission information. And yet, here I am, clicking the tab next to undergraduate and sending out inquires for information on masters program. It’s funny how, on some days, you can feel so lost and helpless, not knowing what will come next in life. And how on other days, like today, everything seems to just fall into place.
I have wanted to be a pediatrician since I was in kindergarten. I grew up with this dream and confidently told anyone who asked me, that I was going to be a pediatrician. I held onto this goal throughout college, but what I did not expect, was for college to be an eye-opening obstacle. I did not study in high school. I worked hard in elementary and middle school. And part of high school. But I did not study. Therefore, I did not know how to study when I came into college, and being in the situation I was in, surrounded by pure Diamond Bar High people who thought highly of themselves and a roommate who was so intense in academics, she was a literal turn off, I did not learn as quickly as I should of. So now, let’s fast forward three years ahead. I am going into my senior year of college with a sub-par GPA. Let’s say mediocre to be nice. I went from a exceedingly high GPA in high school, to a mediocre one. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. So what happens now?
My confidence had been through hell and back and my pride would not let me apply to 50 medical schools with the 1% hope that I might get in. So I stalled. Mistake number 2. Note, not a regret, but I do recognize this as a mistake on my part. Oh well, so now, not only will be I be finishing up my final year, but I will be finishing it up in a hurry, as I do want to be done with it by the end of Summer 2013.
This minor. This minor validated my prolonged feelings of working in a child-related field. It made me realize that I could possibly go into something similar as a profession. So then I began to look at Early Childhood Education masters programs. And along the way, I found Child Development, specifically medically-geared Child Life Specialist, master programs, that would not only supplement my science GPA, but would take into consider only my undergraduate GPA for my last 45/90 units. For the first time in a while, I feel like I have a goal to work towards again and a sense of excitement.
There’s a great place in New York called Sarah Lawrence where I can get my masters in Child Development. But likewise, in the University of La Verne, which is like 15 minutes away from home, I can get a masters in Child Development or Child Life Specialist. And today, on this seemingly auspicious day, my mother called letting me know that we are indeed moving to a new home. A home with a balcony in my room and everything else. So perhaps this is a sign? Attend a masters program for two years at a school like this and commute. Study hard for the MCAT and aim for the highest score possible. Apply to medical schools, show them my true colors, and perhaps be accepted into one, regardless of location. And with the money I saved, go there, and finally become a pediatrician. I feel like things are falling into place. Now I just have to make sure I don’t screw anything up.
More to say and more to come, but for now, stay classy!
I know what I want out of life. I don’t know exactly what’s in store for me, school/profession-wise. But I know that there are certain events that need to take place so that when I look back on my life, I have no regrets. Some events are as trivial as posting a YouTube video, while others include residing in New York for 6+ months. So it’s not that I don’t have ambition or dreams. I do. I just need to figure out how to achieve all of this. I need to find ways, with any means necessary (while of course preserving my dignity) to get to that next step. I have all the dots, now I need to connect them.
My mother wanted to have a “heart-to-heart” today so I was like, okay, fine, I can do that. She wanted to know why I was having doubts about medical school and I told her about how at the end of the day, I only want to go to med school because I want to be a pediatrician. So (hypothetically), if they were to announce one day, that no one else could be a pediatrician and that was that, I would drop med school in a heartbeat. Actually, I’ve been trying to relay this notion to both my parents for years now about how I want to go into a career that involves working with kids.
You know what my mother says? You’re not a “children’s person” at all. You’re lying to yourself. That’s not your character.
Oh, so that joy I get from working with kids? Probably fake right?
Geez, great “heart-to-heart”.
March is halfway over and likewise, the mad runs to the mailbox or computer have increased as we are all anticipating the responses from the colleges we have applied to. And as responses are read, tears of either joy or disappointment are shed. I, like the others are on college-watch. In fact, it is to the point where I have accessed my email account from my phone so that when a new email comes in, I will be able to know ASAP. Ah, how emotions can be so easily altered by a simple email or letter . . or lack of one. I remember last week when I heard USC sent out their acceptance letters and I had not received one. I was completely crushed, thinking that I was not to everyone else’s standards and there wasn’t any college that wanted me. True, I got into VCU, SBU, and University of Pittsburgh before, but those were colleges that I was already pretty sure I would get into. No, it was because I still hadn’t heard from UC Davis, the lowest of the four UC’s I applied to, and therefore, thoughts of how I wasn’t even good enough for UC Davis came along.
And yet the next day, when I received my USC acceptance letter, although I was ecstatic, it didn’t bring as much joy to me as getting accepted into UCD and UCSD. This is most likely because I never planned on going to USC. Especially because it is so expensive. However, the thought of not being accepted to a school saddened me greatly. Likewise with UCD and UCSD. I don’t think I will be going to those two schools, but the fact that I was accepted by a UC school and am officially UC-bound makes me smile. And this is what makes me unsure of the future, because I take rejection so seriously. The two MAJOR fears in my life: spiders and rejection.
Rejection. <—— I’ll talk more about that in my following post.
So today we celebrated Christina’s 18th birthday by kidnapping her and taking her to Carrow’s and Chuck E. Cheese’s. We joked about how we were taking her to a Strip Club while she was blindfolded, but honestly, what better way to ring in your adulthood then running around playing games with your friends and trying to get enough tickets to get matching bracelets? To some people, this may seem so lame and childish since it’s not one of those high-profile parties. But you know what, screw you. This is the BEST way to celebrate your best friend’s birthday. So as Christina, Karry, Siobhan, Amanda, Pooja, Bond, Young, and I sat around talking about our little traditions and next year, everyone turned to me saying that I wouldn’t be here. Everyone else will be in California, but it’s me who’s pursuing a college in the East Coast. So the question arises, “Do I want to go to the East Coast?”. And as I continue to ponder, “Do I really want to get into a medical program?”. Hell, “Do I really want to become a pediatrician?”.
Ultimately, one must be happy in life. That makes everything that have done, are doing, will do worthwhile. I remember Mr. Patterson saying in Freshman year, “If you’re not strong in Math and Biology, you shouldn’t think of becoming a doctor”. But I believe that statement is totally BS. If you have the passion and the drive, then you CAN make it happen. If I want to become a doctor, I will somehow become it, even if it means achieving that goal when I’m thirty. But the question is, will I be happy as a pediatrician? Will I be happy away from all my friends, knowing that these were the last birthdays we would celebrate together? Will I be happy if I get accepted into a top-notch school?
I honestly don’t know. This blog is so confusing because I have so many conflicting notions and emotions. I think I’m going through a quarter-life crisis. Au mon dieu.