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.

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Forty Six

Regarding my friends on the East Coast,

I haven’t been making any effort to see them, because I feel like honestly, it’s time for me to move on. We haven’t fought, we haven’t argued, but I feel like I’m in a world so different from theirs now that I feel alone whenever I hang out with them.

I don’t want to splurge personal secrets that may hurt my boyfriend on here, but they knew things that I told them thinking they were mature enough to handle it. I was so wrong and so unsurprised when I watched one of them (who talks non-stop anyways about everything that pops into her head and was a very sheltered child) basically shout what I told her throughout the dining hall. Another friend sat next to her and shrugged, “Well, these are your decisions and shame is one of the consequences.” I learned that the motor-mouth friend also told another friend, who we all know can’t keep a single thing to herself, and I felt so alone.

I forgive my friends, because they, like many people at my school, are naive. The world works only one way and it’s obvious who the bad guys and good guys are to them.  Going through the things I told them has made me learn how to stand my ground and feel invincible, so they do not hurt me when they judge my boyfriend and I and our dreams whenever I see them. They can still be my bridesmaids. Two of them can still be my kids’ godmothers. I am just tired of being verbally beaten down by them all the time and being thrown things I’ve already been hit by.

There are so many things wrong with this. I know I shouldn’t sacrifice my friends for my relationship, because they care about me. I am not sacrificing them. I still care about them. When they are hungry, I give them food. When they need somewhere to be because they don’t want to go bed yet, they can hang out in my room. When they want to see me, I go downstairs and hang out with them. I make them laugh, give them the same bad advice, and voice the same questionable opinions. We are still friends. It’s just that we are too different for me to say that we are friends, because we all have so much in common, because we really don’t anymore. My friends on the West Coast though, they’re chill, and I’ll talk about them in a later post.

Forty One

On the subject of life-long love,

I am iffy. My poor boyfriend always knew I never saw myself in a lasting relationship. It was either me leaving or him leaving, but either way, I’d have my suitcase packed and ready for him to cheat and/or fall out of love with me. I even talked about an approximately thirty year contract before we started dating: I would be married for thirty years, and during that time, my husband and I would pool money together and whoever cracks before the 30th anniversary will lose all the money to the other person.

Harsh, right? I can suffer through it, no problem. It would also be his ticket out of the relationship once I lose my desirability and my ticket to buying that Newport beach house, distinguishing my career as a researcher, and living happily ever after with dogs as children. I will be lonely, but I can find love in all the strange corners of the world and love fiercely like each day was my last.

My boyfriend knows about my fantasy of divorce and happy aging, but he’s slowly making my desire to divorce/separate fade. He said that he would follow me even if I want to go my own way and get that beach house, attend worldwide conferences, and give Neuroscience lectures across the country. Sure. I came from a broken up family, so I’m really the “I’ll believe it when I see it” kind of person. What I know for sure is this: I don’t know how long we will last, so that is why we must love each other intensely and passionately.

Every day, he gives me a reason or I remind myself why I love him, why I should return his WeChats, why I should finish my assignment now so I can Skype him. I have this amazing ability to transform any feelings for a crush into affection for my boyfriend. The more I interact with prospective men, the more I want him to feel loved by me. I guess it’s my way of strengthening my sureness that he’s the one.

Eleven

Especially after my last therapy session,

I thought a lot about the past and future as I begin my ten day countdown to my return to the school that I withdrew from last spring. I stopped doing that, since I can’t think about it forever. Looking behind me and way ahead gives me lessons learned and a rough map, but it doesn’t prepare me obstacles and victories that are waiting ahead.

Going back to school should feel like a new start, but it is actually going into a dark and dangerous cave with nothing but a generic guidebook and a small flashlight than a hike. Hiking trails are often exploratory, safe, and mapped, and cave escapes are not. I have to journey through the dark towards graduating with my class, accomplishing all my academic goals, and being admitted to med school or grad school. I will run into professors that underestimate me, people I really don’t want to see again, and, of course, my recurrent depression, and I have to stop blaming myself for it. With the all the uncertainties and dead ends I will encounter, I need luck, reason, and resilience more than a plan and a makeover as I take risks to survive and sacrifice items I can’t carry anymore. In other words, I anticipate letting things go to know what I can gain.

Forget reaching the top of a mountain and enjoying a glorious view, all I want is to survive the darkness and appreciate everything that the sun shines on at ground level. I don’t care about the prestige of the schools on the East Coast or even going somewhere warmer like Texas anymore, because all I am aiming for right now is to come home to my family in Southern California, all grown up and ready to build the rest of my life here. 

Escapist Moment: Thinking about my future

 

Today was a pretty good day. I didn’t fail my calculus test and I did decently in an AP Government debate. So now, I’m just going to turn on my Spotify radio and treat myself to a stream of consciousness before cramming in my pre-med diagrams.

All I want to think about is what will happen once I get into Smith. I want to explore the nearby forest at dawn and stroll by the lake at sunset. Well, I wouldn’t see a sunset since I’d be in Massachusetts. I want to huddle with my housemates after a day of studying and classes. I want to visit the nursery and sit down at a bench somewhere and just drink my tea on a chilly day. I want those things to become a reality.

Then again, I learned from past experience not to set my mind too much on one goal. I remember crying for hours after I received a B on a test, just because I was unable to accept anything other than an A. Thankfully, I earned some B’s that allowed me to face reality and do better. Likewise, I decided that I won’t kill myself if Smith rejects me. I got Mount Holyoke, George Washington, University of Rochester, University of Michigan, and Boston University waiting for me. Of the list, a college admissions nerd would immediately assume that Boston University is my safety school. Yes, it is safe, but after I attended a conference for Boston University, it definitely isn’t my last. The conference talked about students who are extraordinary. There are BU students who talked one on one with the professors who won Nobel Peace prizes, students who travel worldwide and do a plethora of community service and research projects. I want to be one of those extraordinary students. [Right now, I’m also listening to a Iain McGilchrist’s TED talk on the divided brain, and it’s muy interesante. Check it out.] I can see myself gathering up the courage to ask the professor a question after class and, of course, studying in the grand but cozy library after trudging through snowfall.

I think… this scenarios helped me learn to love the colleges I apply to. Even if I go to community college or UC Riverside–I shudder at the thought–I will look forward to wherever I’m going with vignettes in my mind, the little moments that motivate me. Solitary coffee shop moments, that Friday feeling of relief, having complete control of where I go and what I do in a city that doesn’t operate on traffic reports — the list could go on.

With that said, I have a pre-med test tomorrow. More importantly tomorrow, I have an interview for Smith College that I really want to do well on and a George Washington University conference that I’m ready to be inspired by.

Fears: Marrying Up

Recently, my grandma came home from a trip to China and raved about a cousin who’s getting married to a rich dude. That cousin was really smart, talented, and did well in school. Now, she’s putting her college education on hold to get engaged to a guy whose wealthy family owns a wine refinery. My grandma told me that she said something like, “I will never have to toil again!” That, and more raves on how his family owns fancy cars, houses, etc. While a boost in pride for our family, I view her decision as a disgrace to herself. She’s smart and hardworking enough to be independent and have a decent, while not as rich, life. I don’t understand why she’ll sacrifice so much just to get married. Sure, I bet love was involved in some form between my cousin and her fancy rich fiance, but I still squirm at her decision and her blatant admiration for his wealth.
Anyway, I hope I will never date until I get my M.D. The last thing I want happen to me is some sort of easy “happiness” that steals my independence, my education and my career.