“This Is The New Year” (almost)

I know it’s an overdone thought – to make resolutions by the 1st of the year. And while I do agree that resolution-making can happen any time, what I like most about my New Year’s resolutions, is that I can look back and see where my head was at this time last year. Let’s take a look at my 13 resolutions made on December 31, 2012:
1.) Get accepted into a Child Life Masters Program

  • [  ] Not only did I switch from Chid Life to Developmental Psychology, but as we all know, I ended up deferring my acceptance.

2.) Keep tabs on UCLA Happenings and attend more events – it’s my senior year!

  • [~] While I did not really keep tabs, I did attend more events and ended my year with an event in Royce Hall.

3.) Have two more successful quarters for CEC and leave behind a positive legacy

  • [X] It depends on what you define as “positive legacy”, but personally, I gave CEC my all and looking back, I’m proud of what I accomplished.

4.) Learn how to play “Stop This Train” on guitar

  • [~] I took some steps towards this goal. I enrolled in guitar lessons and have learned a few songs including “Stay” by Rihanna.

5.) Take advantage of megabus’s $1 offer and take a semi-spontaneous trip to San Francisco

  • [X] I did ride the Megabus, but to Vegas, not SF. It was definitely not spontaneous, not did it cost me a mere $1. More like that + 40 more smackaroos. And to be honest, it wasn’t as great as I was hoping it would be. (*Sidenote: But I DID take a spontaneous trip to Davis via the Amtrak and while it wasn’t cheap, it was an amazing trip with one of my best friends*)

6.) Take a trip to Las Vegas, post-21

  • [X] Yessir and it was quite an experience.

7.) Exercise at least twice a week and slowly expand that to every day

  • [~] This didn’t really kick in until the latter half of the year, but better late than never!

8.) Follow a healthier eating regimen – take multiple trips to Ralphs and be conscious of all foods

  • [~] Still working on this, but I have definitely made changes in the houeshold. Now to get my mother to use brown rice instead of white.

9.) As always, go to at least one concert

  • [X] Not only did I go to multiple concerts, but I attended the CONCERT of concerts – Coachella. Check and mate.

10.) Attempt to do better in school – whether this means, procrastinate less, prioritize/focus more, or simply, thrive in new setting

  • [  ] I’m still working on this. Study smart, procrastinate less, concentration endurance – tips are welcome!

11.) Write consistently in this blog, every day, for the entire year

  • [  ] Oh, I wrote this with the intention of having a separate 2013 blog that represented blogging for 365 days. But by Day 22 I realized that I didn’t have the time, nor that interesting of a life, to fulfill this.

12.) Finally close that “7-year” chapter and do what I need to do to move on.

  • [X] Done and done.

13.) Never lose faith. Everything happens for a reason, so keep powering through.

  • [X] Losing faith in life is like losing the will to live. With everything thrown at me this year, I think I’ve managed to say afloat, no?

6/13 done properly. 4/13 done so so. And 3 that were just not completed – but I wouldn’t count them as failures. 2013 will always be significant to me as this was the year I graduated UCLA and came out as a recipient of a Bachelor’s Degree.

This time last year, I was trying to rebuild an image that had been demolished by certain events. I wanted to keep moving forward despite all the signs telling me to slow down. This year, I’m hoping to discover myself  and really focus on my emotional, physical, and psychological well-being, while keeping in mind of my friends and family who have been with me through thick and thin. Here’s to hoping that 2014 not only brings me one step closer to an acceptance to medical school, but an awareness of who I am .

One key lesson for the year:

Value yourself. The more you ­elevate your self-worth, the more you will ­attract what you desire.

And with that I leave you with my 2014 resolutions and my sincere wishes for a wonderful new year. Cheers!
Au revoir, 2013.
Au revoir, 2013.

Happy New Year,

A.

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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

It’s a Journey

Following my grand gesture a little more than a month ago, when I voluntarily decided to opt out of graduate school, I made a promise to myself that I would use this “time off” wisely. I try to stray away from the words “vacation” or “break”, because in my mind, this year off is just as crucial to my applicant status as the years at UCLA were. So I need to be productive. Not busy, but productive. And likewise, I can’t indulge in this new-founded free time. I’m not saying that I have never had free time to myself when I was at UCLA. Realistically, I have so much time to spare that I finished seven seasons of 7th Heaven in a month during the summer, along with taking classes. But at the same time, I never had time to myself to be productive. I’m gluttonous when it comes to free time. I tend to soak it in – which means sitting in bed in my pajamas watching TV and being a couch potato. That’s what I have always done when I  have wanted a mental break from school, home, work, and life.

But this “time off” is not a mental break. It’s more mental preparation for what is to come. Especially now that I have decided that I am really, truly, whole-heartedly going to dive into this doctor thing. In the past month, I have started shadowing doctors to gain a better understanding of what to expect. Per my primary care physician’s recommendation, I have looked into osteopathic, along with allopathic careers. Three months ago, if you had asked me what the difference between a DO and MD were, I would have looked at you with complete and utter bewilderment. Fast forward to now, and I am shocked at how little I really knew of the medical field. Maggie Gyllenhaal once commented that her Columbia education taught her to

“acknowledge that I really know nothing”

Well, you can say that this time spent researching and shadowing has done just the same in my case. I have wanted to a pediatrician since kindergarten. Why a pediatrician? I liked children. I liked being surrounded by fresh faces and young minds. Great personal statement for what motivates me to be a doctor, right? So as much as I am drawn to pediatrics, I have decided to look at other specialities via shadowing. Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, OB/GYN, to name a few. And so far, every occupation I’ve looked into has strengthened my resounding want to become a health professional. It is not about one speciality, it is about the whole package. And being a doctor is not just a “job”. It is a lifelong journey that I need to be emotionally, mentally, and physically ready to take on.

“You’re too lax”

This was told to me in 10th grade by a girl who was extremely gifted. When I first heard her utter these words, I was in complete and utter shock. I, of all people, lax? Are you kidding me? I have never been as tightly wounded as I was back in high school. So I took in those words and promised myself that I would some day meet up with her again and be able to throw them back in her face. Petty? Extremely – especially now that I realize that she wasn’t completely wrong. I may have been a “tight-ass” in high school, but at the same time, I had such idealistic/naïve views of the medical field. They told me it was going to be hard. They told me that I would meet thousands of crazy pre-med students in the same scenario. But I sort of half-listened as I charmed my way out of high school, not really knowing how to study, and optimistically thinking that becoming a doctor meant taking a test and getting into a school.

Thankfully, I have been given the time to really discover how being/becoming a doctor is multi-faceted. And through this knowledge, comes acceptance and understanding of what I must overcome – not only in this year or next year, but for years to come. It’s a bit hilarious really, thinking of how, a month ago, I cringed at the thought of disappointing so many people by not carrying out a false dream of mine. Now I cringe thinking of all I might have lost if I decided to blindly follow my mind.

Sometimes it pays to consult your heart. As corny as that may sound, I really think regrets stem from solely following either your brain or heart and not allowing a dialogue between the two. Sure, I don’t have the hustle and bustle of a city. I can’t call myself a graduate student or revel in the immensity of Columbia University. But I do wake up every day at 7 or 8 AM. I learn more about this field that I am dedicating my life to and I get to read often. I have become a regular at Planet Fitness with my two best friends. I have fallen in love with the guitar. I get to find the beauty and importance in the little things. Sure, it’s not New York, but I have never been healthier or happier.

And with that, I leave you with this hilarious comic:

My personal favorites are Pediatrics and Radiology [:
My personal favorites are Pediatrics and Radiology [:
<3 A.

Everything Happens For A Reason

So I’m not going to lie. My self-esteem took a blow when I didn’t get Entertainment Chair for Relay Board in our Colleges Against Cancer club. It wasn’t necessarily the fact that I didn’t get it (because believe me, I have been through so many situations where I end up not getting what I want or applied for). But I think it was because I had a gut feeling that I had no chance. It sucks when connections and favoritism take over. Ah well.

tumblr_l393jdyMy31qzbfzao1_250But then on Friday, I found out that I had been offered a position for our Campus Events Commission. And not only for any category, but for FILMS :D I get to call agencies and hold special sneak previews of movies months in advance and $2 movie nights! And what’s even more unbelievable, is that unlike CAC, CEC (haha) is widely-known throughout campus if not the entire Bruin WORLD. I mean, this organization is 45 years old and had guest speakers such as Martin Luther King Jr. come as well as awesome bands and singers. Therefore tons of people apply and I get to be a part of it next year (:

Now here’s the catch: to be a “filmsie” on CEC, I have to make sure my Tuesdays are free from 6-8 pm. CAC usually has its meetings on Tuesday from 6-7 pm. Therefore, if I DID get Entertainment Chair, I would have had to give up CEC all together.

So moral of this story? Good things HAPPEN. And usually just around the corner of a bad road. And sometimes these bad events happen for a REASON. What’s that you say? SERENDIPITY? I think so. (:

<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.

Moving Out and In

Saturday. The day I was waiting for since July finally came and quickly went. I was able to move out of my house and into my dorm. Although technically, I didn’t move out of the house since my presence is required every weekend, the thought of having a sanctuary of my own where I can make my own decisions pleases me very much. My first day as an official college student revolved around unpacking and making the dorm into my own. Once I was finished I felt much more ‘homely’ with the posters, pictures, and little figurines. I wanted my side of the dorm to scream ‘Anantha’ and I think it does just that. Although my roommate unpacked and left for the day, I was certainly not alone. My best friends came over and dropped in for a surprise visit. It was crazy fun walking around campus and starting to formulate a mental map within my head. Although, the crazy times were interrupted every 5 minutes due to my parents calling me to check up. I think they are currently experiencing separation issues. -.- Haha, but that still didn’t kill the moment.

Other than the fact that classes haven’t started, the only other thing bothering me is that I haven’t met as many people as I wanted to. So far I’m sticking with the DBHS kids. Although it’s great to have them, part of me really wants to branch out and meet people with various backgrounds with maybe similar tastes.

That’s why I’m pretty happy that the rest of the DBHS kids aren’t dorming with one another because I at least have their roommates to socialize with. Although the plaza is similar to a residential hall, not many doors are open so I can’t socialize with my floor as well. Today was Bruin Bash and I had hoped to mingle with people during this event. But the concert didn’t really offer a good atmosphere to just talk and by the time LMFAO actually came on stage to play, we all just wanted to leave. Didn’t go to the dance or movie either because we were visiting other dorms.

That’s why part of me wants to go to a frat party or join a major club/sorority to meet different people, branch out, not be seen as the same girl I have been viewed as since elementary school. Maybe the Club Fair later on today will provide more outlets. Let’s hope so.

<3 A.