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 One

Within a year,

I have done more than people usually do in a few years, said my mom. She was just trying to make me feel better, I know it. All I’ve done was get married, travel to China and Denmark, and change my career. I guess when you’re in your 20s or at least when you leave school a lot tends to happen within a year.

Currently, I’m in a love-hate relationship with my potential major (product design). Loving doing the thing, but I hate the people in my class. I just dislike people in general and I don’t warm up to strangers very well. The group last semester was fine, but this semester, I have to adjust to a whole new group of people, none of whom are that willing to be close friends with me. After most of my classmates from last semester left, I’m unwilling to make any steady friends until I get in.

Also, my career seems to be a lot of waiting and being on hold. I have classes Tuesday through Saturday except for Wednesday. My Tuesday and Thursday classes barely have any homework but I can never finish my work for Saturday!? That has gotten me down a lot. As a result, I’ve felt so inferior that I was going to quit until an admissions counselor told me I don’t suck. Everyone was happy to hear it, but the effects have worn off on me. Back to being depressed about my life and the increasingly nagging feeling that I should go back to some kind of normal school.

I miss writing. I miss reading. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I also miss science. I look at my old classmates sharing science related stuff on Facebook and I no longer miss science. Or, at least I don’t miss sharing pop science and trivial studies just to legitimize my career choice. At least I am being honest with myself when I say where I am now is leading me to what I want to do.

Forty Five

Since an hour ago,

I only had 373 days before I graduate from this school early and begin my life with my boyfriend. As you can probably tell, I like counting things, but once I reach post number a hundred on this blog, I want to put my blogging on a countdown to the days I get out of here on a non-anonymous blog (hm… I might be prepping for it right now. No one will ever know). This is so my remaining posts on here aren’t garbage like the last one, and because I can’t link any of these posts to my new blog in any way. Some things have to end, and before I end this, I’m going to dump all awful secrets of my life on here that I can only do anonymously. I can’t be that depressed girl running a secret, anonymous blog writing about things that I don’t want anyone I know to know about for the rest of my life. I’ve changed too much over the course of the one year to see that this isn’t the only way to publish myself.

I am happy now. Yes, I’ve been through some serious mental shit, and I know my limits now. But since I’ve learned what it’s like to work for something I truly want—someone I love, happiness, sunshine, and a family—I literally have nothing to complain about except for why I could never feel happy in California, and why I could never feel happy in Massachusetts. It’s because I never had this purpose or drive behind me, or I guess, the power of love to be very very cheese.

Still though. There are so many bad things that I haven’t vomited on here, and I can’t say horrible secrets once I reach 100 posts, which is supposedly when I start acting like a real adult and keep these complaints to myself. I mean, once I start an apartment, a job, a family, using a blog to dwell on all the bad things like I have this whole time is so unhealthy and restricting. I want the world to see my happy face, my accomplishments, and my precious notebooks. In other reason, I also found a reason to keep bad thoughts to myself in handwritten diaries, which I’ve grown a habit of writing by now.

I hope I can make these last few posts count.

Forty Three

So far,

Everything’s been great, and that’s probably why I haven’t been posting lately. Also, I started this blog for a space to share my life, and well, that space has taken the form of a person–my man. It’s pretty bad how much I’ve been neglecting my friends, but he and I are moving at a pace that probably only couples in their honeymoon period would understand: making plans about marrying, moving, and living life together within half a year of meeting each other. But I have a good feeling about this. He knows all my flaws and strengths and finds no fault with me (most of the time, lets see how it is in five years). Everything about us just lines up. I skype him for seven hours a day but for the first time, I’ve been basically getting straight A’s and B’s. Before, I would flunk one, have an episode, and then pull myself up again with either taking the class pass/fail or actually studying for an exam.

Another update is that I’m no longer aiming to become a researcher, at least for now. I would like a simple day job in the lab to not lose that challenge of being in a research environment, it’s just that right now, research isn’t for me. I don’t have enough experience, I never feel competent, I seriously need to take a biochemistry class, and I’m better off being a teacher than a PhD student, financially. Also, I can’t be in a lab when I’m pregnant, and I want 3 kids by 30.

Therefore, the single-subject (biology) teaching route is the one for me. My original plan was to become a high school teacher after a few decades as a university professor to you know, just chill out and work with optimistic and hilarious teenagers. However, I realized that in order to become a professor, I need to get tenure, and that’s hard to get. I also think teaching in a high school can give me some room to breathe, reflect, and work in an environment that supports well-roundedness and creativity. It’s also a skill I need to be a good professor at a University anyways in order to not be one of those professors that everyone hates, so there’s that.

Thirty Seven

Although I’m still a rising junior,

I’m already deciding to take a year off after college. I need it. I need to just gather my life together after throwing myself into the sciences and getting out in pieces. Right now, I’m not sure I want to continue on this path of studying neuroscience, at least not in academic research. It’s slow, judgemental, and stifling.

I need a space where I can be creative and productive at the same time, and I need to work with people who I can connect with. I want to work with people who are just as passionate about the biological basis of neural diseases as I am. My idea lab would be a bunch of people with enough background on a subject to understand each other, but regardless of our status or experience, we treat each other and teach each other as equals. I don’t think I can find that in academia, where professors are scrambling for tenure, funding, and paper deadlines.

Yes, I will be dealing with similar things like deadlines and expectations, but I think an industry environment might be more lively. There might be clearer timelines, deadlines, and requirements, and I think a company is more open to change that an old professor stuck in his ways (mine isn’t, but I hear stories about other profs). Actually, I should take two years off before committing myself to a real career. I need two years off to get my masters and work in another lab environment. Not every school has a masters program in neuroscience, and who knows how competitive it will be. I can only hope they will take me as I am as I learn a little more everyday in lab, however painfully.

Mostly, I need space to explore. While taking classes, I can — who knows — work at Francesca’s or Khol’s or Barnes and Nobles or the library or an after school tutoring program. Being in a master’s program can help me look for something I love without feeling like I’m letting myself go (intellectually. Physically? Let’s not talk about that…).

 

Thirty Four

Whenever I hate science,

I think about the other dream careers/majors that I could have pursued. One of them would be art and design, but there was always someone more creative and talented than me in every school that I gave up that passion. Same goes for piano, singing, and writing. I learned a lot from those better than me on how to tap into creativity by experiencing more and practicing more, but those passions would never earn me the lifestyle I wanted. So I killed those dreams for the sciences – the field that everyone wants to get into if they want a steady life nowadays. That, or accounting and pre-law. Everything else is unstable.

That is why I’ve dropped everything related to work and school and spent the last few days going out with my friend. I went to an art museum, the beach, a mall, and I envied every single person who I assumed isn’t a science major: the guy making pizza, the artsy looking girl working retail. I wanted to be them so bad. I wanted to handle beautiful clothes all day, making customers feel beautiful and welcomes, and then go home and write an essay for my English, Fashion Design, or Architecture major.

I have a good eye, and I’m not afraid of the grudge work that comes with creative careers. The grudge work in creative careers are already part of the creative process. They don’t have that much room for creativity in science – maybe just room for instinct, which I don’t have.

My dream job would be this: one that has room for creativity, my personal input, clear purpose, enough pay to rent out an apartment somewhere on the edges of LA and pay the gas, and interaction with different people every day. I can’t that out of a university research job or some plain old office job, so I’m looking and searching for something I can do with my Neuroscience degree that satisfies my requirements for my dream job. I’ll give myself next week to figure it out.

Also, I still hate my school.

Twenty Nine

Since it’s almost midnight,

I’m not at my most optimistic, but I’ll try to lighten up before I sleep. I had a dark moment today between 9 PM and 10 PM, when I was about halfway done with my study guide. I saw that my therapist-friend was on Google chat and asked her what would justify an extension for an exam, because my test anxiety made me want to run to the third floor of the science building I was in and jump from the open stairway like a fucking bird. So I sat there, whimpering to my friend on Google about how I cry so many times a week and clenching and rubbing my fists on my legs trying to console myself with some sort of pressured touch, to remind myself that I’m still here and that I should give myself a few more minutes of precious life. This has happened before.

Actually, this happens several times a week. I was on my phone with my therapist, and we were talking about coping methods. Once I printed my study guide and went into the supply room to staple it, I saw a pile of rubber bands and grabbed a few. I put it on my wrist and snapped it, and it felt great. It was like cutting except it wasn’t. With each snap, my heart felt lighter, because the pain 1) woke me up and 2) reminded me that I still felt. Pain without scars, just like school.

I fantasize everyday about quitting school and going on a soul-searching trip where I learn everything I wanted to gain from school organically, healthily. I would be back in California, have a decent secretary/teacher’s assistant job, and take online classes where I can go at my own pace. I would feel so in control, empowered, and intelligent, but that’s not what college is for is it? Grad schools and companies won’t be impressed with me unless I am a survivor, not a thinker or writer or researcher – a survivor of this hell we call higher education.

And so I stay, trying not to let school get in the way of me having a tomorrow. I have to remind myself why I’m not going to try to fly like a bird or not-eat until I faint, because I need to return to California in one piece. Better days are ahead of me. I know it.