Fifty Six

For just a little update,

It’s nearly three in the morning, and I refuse to beat myself for my sleep. No, I’m beating myself up for something else (because why else would I be writing here again?).

Sometimes, in art school, I have this sudden panic that I’m not fulfilling my full potential of being someone smarter with a science degree. I learned in art school I am damn good at sketching, drawing, designing, and even writing, but I literally have panic attacks when I encounter something related to science. All my memories flood back leaving me trying to pick up what was left by obsessively reading Nature articles and understanding none of it. It is just like before. I become frustrated and regretful and read even more, looking up terms I don’t have to know anymore on Wikipedia and still not understanding those damn papers. I was used to do this when I was a science major, but now that I had a bad breakup with my last major, that habit usually comes with a pang in my stomach and near asphyxiation. I feel like I have a combination of Alzheimer’s and PTSD symptoms where I am afraid of recognizing the words and figures that caused me so much self-hatred and doubt. Then, I would feel lost when I realize I really forgot them.

Deep down, I have this secret dream that I shot down when I didn’t believe I could do it. I have a secret dream of becoming a doctor. When I was in high school, I had a turbulent personal life and used to print out the Hippocratic Oath and tape it to my wall. Now, through all the withdrawals and “adventures”,  I might be a different kind of doctor whose path to medicine is more curved than the usual “track.” I want to be the doctor who lived a great life and found great love before serving life, death, and wellness. I want to be a doctor who can draw and sing, the type that can tell when patients are thirsty or too cold, or scared or excited. Whenever I look at the possibilities of maybe going back to regular studying and using some of my old science credits to take a shot at medical school, I have this secret smile, because I know, as a designer, I am learning what it means to care for people by creating for them. Then, I am happy, because that girl who used to read the Hippocratic Oath to herself everyday gets a hug.

Fifty

With family,

Sometimes you never know. Today, I picked up my sister from school and dropped off her friends and all was fine. Then I shared this awesome notebook called “People I Want to Punch in the Face” that I want to buy, and she retorted “Stop spending Mama’s money!” So then I ended up going to Yoga all depressed and moody, so depressed and moody I couldn’t keep my balance during the easiest poses.

After that disappointing yoga session, I went back home in an awful mood, in this awful chilly weather (It’s 60 degrees in California right now), and curled up in bed. Then she made bacon and chicken soup! And my grandma made my favorite food! And most of all, my mom made juice and didn’t force me to drink it. I drink some anyways, and no argument happened. No argument whatsoever. So, what started out as an awful day ended up okay.

As for school, I believe it’s going to be a while for me to go to Art Center, and still I’m going to keep applying until they let me in. I don’t suck, but I’m not  great either. I don’t stand out at all in terms of my work as the best in the class. I’m not talented enough to make it into Art Center within a year or obsessed enough to try. Overall, I was also upset today, because I’m bored. At least I had some routine, somewhere to go when I was in science. 20% of me miss reading meaningless research and lab work, but most of me believe I have a happier future. It’s just it seems farther than ever from where I am now.

I see my classmates from Smith appreciating the fall weather, but I have to remind myself that 60 degree Californian weather almost made me push everything off my shelves in a fit of rage today. Also, I need to refill my lamictal pills, which was something else that was pissing me off during yoga. Ugh.

Forty Nine

After a long and unforgettable summer,

I am finally starting art classes. I took a design and business class at a local UC, and I’m glad I did. Everything was so fresh after being stuck in the science world for so long. Discussions were more about every day life than medicine, biology, and research. Although people were no less humble, at least they were real. It was just art or business. Nothing about bragging of whose lab you are working for or hiding which lab you are applying for. It’s all about helping or competing with each other—straight up, no secrets.

With that done, I’m finally starting product design night classes. That leaves my morning to sleep and do whatever the hell I want during the night, because everyone just bothers me in the morning. If I’m not interrupted, I have to go out to get something or do something with someone else or else I will feel trapped. That’s what’s tough about dropping out of school and moving back in, the suffocation. However, I have no fear, because doing extra work for my product design classes gives me calm and some feeling of direction. I hate nothing more than a lack of control over my own decisions.

And beliefs. I have also been going to church with a very close friend of mine who I’ve known since forever. I have no other consistent friend in Southern California than her, except that the best way for me to see her is to go to church with her. She invited me to go the first time. And when you go to church the first time and everyone is just so welcoming and in need of some new members for this start-up Baptist church, you go the second time and the next. I made it clear to her that I am not a Christian, and yet I still go. In fact, I’ve joined the book club for crying out loud. This weekend, I’m setting my foot down and telling her I will only show up to an intelligent book discussion and not the [very-extremist-not-very-well-thought-out] sermons. I’m going to a Buddhist temple nearby instead, because it’s so peaceful there. I also need to scout out some spiritual activity for my sort-of Buddhist boyfriend and his family to go to when they fly over.

I should write about my summer that I spent with my boyfriend and his family later, because I learned a lot from it about one thing: love and family. All I have room to say for now is that although some of my family have grown distant over the years, I have gained new, wonderful family through my soon-to-be husband, and what a lucky girl I am.

Forty-Seven: I QUIT/(medically withdrew from) COLLEGE. (Long post)

I have never been happier. I have been avoiding it, but I’m just going to go ahead and reveal what college I attended: Smith College. I don’t regret going there. In fact, I’m wearing my Smith sweater right now, because I almost graduated. I was two semesters away, but I decided that I didn’t want that 3.52 GPA with a B.A. Neuroscience that’s “going to open so many doors for me” (roughly quoting my concerned advisor) or whatever.

Let’s just say my relationship with Smith was toxic, and it was a happy breakup. The before I left, I hung out with my dearest friends I met in Bridge and a dear friend who I only knew for one semester. They were one of the top three reasons I stayed there besides needing to know I can do this college thing and also not knowing what other career I will have than a miserable one in Neuroscience or teaching biology. Might as well stay in miserable Western Massachusetts if I have nowhere else to go.

I learned a lot in my three years there. I might learn a little more if I stayed for one more, but that night, when I was working on a paper for Systems Neuroscience, I decided: I know don’t want to do this in the future now. When I worked on that paper, I got so frustrated that I threw my butcher knife against the wall, my hairbrush, tin jewelry container, etc., screaming. I’m pretty sure I woke up some of my poor floormates. Looking back on my semester, I got dry eye from all the reading I’ve done for the semester and cuts on my shoulder out of self-hating frustration at my Neurophysiolgy professor. I couldn’t live like this anymore.

I guess from the past year of going through all the rough spots with my boyfriend, I learned that life is too precious to be with someone you don’t love and too short to have a career that I am no longer inspired by. I’ve changed so much from that girl who wanted to do research, be a high school biology teacher and eventually, a university professor who cares for her students, because she (still) thinks neuroscience students are very special and intelligent. Being in the neuroscience world, however–the classes, professors, and overall research culture–broke down the last bit of curiosity and drive I had for the subject. I loved neuroscience, once, but I no longer have a future in it. In fact, I might have committed suicide before even getting a job (see previous posts), and my dean knew it. Don’t worry, the school put me on Lamictal (…will write a post later about my meds and being bipolar), thank goodness.

I made the exit the moment my boyfriend suggested I should do something with my artistic talent and taste, so I decided: Design. I have a good eye, and not only would preparing for art school heal me psychologically from three damaging years studying science at Smith, I can help make things instead of being stuck in a dead end job that involves no creativity for the rest of my life. I would work five years to a B.S. in Industrial Design or Product design than get a B.A. in Neuroscience in a year any day.