Goodbye, College.

This is the place that made me lose sleep, but it is also the place that became home.

I feel like I have said “these past four years went by so quickly” close to a million times within the past few weeks, but honestly there are no other words to describe how insanely fast my college chapter has flown by. The people I met, the ones who stayed, the ones I did not get to keep, and even the ones that came back in the end to finish what they started.

My college has had such a huge impact on my life. This is the place that made me lose sleep, but it is also the place that became home. Some are good memories, and some are ones I probably wish never happened. Regardless of what has happened to me here, I will always love this place.

My college is where I met amazing people from all walks of life; all the stories I heard and the things they taught me. This is where roommates became best friends, and friends became family. This is the place where I have fallen in love at one point — either with my future goals or simply with my daily life here. This is the place where I slowly figured out what I want to do in life and to be accepting of change. After all, we are forever discovering ourselves. This is the place that showed me what I am capable of. This is the place that showed all of us a world outside of our hometowns — no matter how big or small they might be. This is the place that has become my home.

While I will miss the late night studying (more like cramming) and running to an early morning class, the hardest part might not be leaving this place or the academics, but leaving the people. My friends were there when I missed my family. My friends were there when I was going through a helluva stressful week. My friends were also there on the good days, celebrating small accomplishments, like doing well on a presentation, or the big accomplishments.

There are three primary organizations and the people I met through that who have made a positive mark on my life here on campus. I was really nervous about the thought of joining new organizations on campus and making my mark. All three of these organizations and the people have pushed me to achieve feats that I, four years ago, never thought I could possibly do. I’m eternally grateful to have met these people who convey new ideas and an open-mind. I’m grateful to have met these people who are patient and kind. I’m lucky to have grown with such genuine people. It’s hard to find those who truly mean what they say, but I was lucky to find them.

We’re all so different in personalities, majors, goals, and aspirations, but at the same time we are all so similar. We all have rough days. We all sing at the top of our lungs to throwback songs — even if my friends and I don’t harmonize one bit. We all miss our families — love you dad and ma. And, we all have disagreements — but there are no judgments abound. We’re all different but in the best way possible.

These last few months have been extremely busy. It feels like life is running on an hourglass. The anxiety has been real — trying to get in all the good memories, creating as many as you can before it is all over, and trying to do the things you have been wanting to do since freshmen year. I wish this did not have to end. I wish we all did not have to go our own separate ways. I wish I could just take all of my favorite people and places to my next chapter, but life moves on.

Once I get into my car Sunday afternoon and start to drive away, the final chapter of the life I made for four years will be closing. I will leave this place but I know I will always have the memories and photos to look back on, smiling to myself as I think of these days. But for now, before we leave, I wish I could slow down time, just to savor and cherish every last second before the last grain of sand falls and this chapter closes completely.

Written May 2, 2017 before my Bachelor’s Commencement on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

New Year, Better Me

New year means reflections like never before.

The New Year means reflections like never before.

While I understand making resolutions doesn’t have to only happen on New Year’s, there is that extra motivational push to do so when others around you are reflecting during the same time. By having so much free time this winter break to reflect, the new year is my chance to sit down and prepare a list of important actionable lifestyle changes I want to make.

In the past, I have always made a list of things I want to change in my life every new year. When I think about them now, I realize how materialistic those goals have been. I particularly remember 2012’s one where I wanted to do anything I can to get into a prestigious Ivy League and 2014’s one where I wanted that 4.0 next semester. Yes – these resolutions motivated me to do well, but I realize now how narrow-minded these resolutions were. Ivy Leagues. 4.0s. I was missing the point of life. I was not understanding the importance of happiness, positivity, and peace. It was always a rush to succeed and never about enjoying the process.

Not sure what has been so different about me when thinking about this year’s resolutions (maybe I’m just feeling 22 haha), but when I began jotting my goals, I realized it could very easily be summarized as leading a happy life. There was no specific achievement I wanted. Rather, it was to enjoy every day of my life. Maybe this is the after-effect of close family friends’ untimely deaths. Or maybe this is the senior college student nostalgia kicking in already. Or maybe this is just me being more aware of society around me. Regardless, I am beginning to see the world and my role here in a different light.

My resolutions may seem vague to many reading this, but to me, this is exactly how I want them to be. We have all been taught to make SMART goals with the S standing for specific. As you’ll see, my resolutions are not specific whatsoever. Rather, they’re just how I want to lead life this year and for years to follow. I believe these resolutions are the door to happiness and eventually, my perseverance to make my mark in society.

Read More.

The last physical book I read was probably over four years ago. I still read the news, but that’s not really the same. I always blamed lack of time for this, but this year I really want to start reading more. With the endless amount of perspectives and lives we can read about, books can give us an opportunity to have experiences that we haven’t had the opportunity to and still allow us to learn the life skills they entail. Through reading more, I hope to discover more about myself.

Live More [Fully].

Yup, you read that right. Live more. I want to live my life more fully. I will pursue to live every day on a fresh new start. I do not want to be and will not be held back by what happened yesterday, the day before, the week before, the year before, and so on. This also means to be true to who I really am. Unintentionally, we all try to be someone we are not to impress someone or want everyone to like us. While I made this change last year, I really want to continue this as it has made me a more confident and independent person. I’d rather be an original version of myself than an exact duplicate of someone else. And, the third change I want to bring about is to stop complaining. I never understood how I much I complain until a friend recently pointed out. Call it venting, b****ing, or whatever, but I tend to do this during stressful times, and I need to turn it down a notch. While it is important to share your feelings with close friends, over-complaining or criticizing brings them down too even if they don’t express it. So 2017, get ready for the more positive me!

Breathe More [Fresh Air].

This past year, I have been indoors way too much. Classes, meetings, meals, and assignments are all inside. I want to explore more Atlanta spots and take my reading, studying, and chilling there. I spend way too much time in my apartment and have always wanted to go outside to work on things, but I was never proactive. With my Fridays off this semester, I will have a great opportunity to explore the city I have spent practically my entire life in. Not only that, fresh air busts stress and increases happiness. Research shows that spending time in fresh air increases energy in 90 percent of people. This seems like a good resolution to me. 🙂

Give More [to Society].

In five months, I will have received my undergraduate degree from one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation. Why was it that I worked so hard to get this degree? It is honestly more the process and the four years of learning that has shaped me to be who I am now. Taking those fun courses that were outside the biomedical engineering curriculum was very honestly my secret to new ideas and passion. No matter how tough we think our lives are, there is always someone who has to face challenges that are even tougher than ours. Taking classes like sociology and leveraging social networks gave me a fresh take on how I can make a sustainable difference as opposed to volunteering at one holiday event. As a Girl Scout for 13 years and active member of various service organizations, I have kept my promise of giving back to society. However, this year I want to give more. I want to start an initiative myself going off my Gold Award project that I was and am still passionate about in 2013 — autism awareness. With the connections I have made these past four years, with the new advances I have learned about in my courses, and with the passion to lead and serve my community, I am really excited in launching this idea sometime the first half of this year.

Love More.

If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy. ~ Kristin Chenoweth

Enough said. Bringing more happiness and positivity to not only myself but to those around me is exactly what I will be doing starting now.

Smile More.

One smile can make all the difference in the world. One smile has the power to release stress, calm you down, make you attractive, make someone else happy, and can cause happiness. I want to continue smiling through ups and downs and see more positivity in any situation. After all, I do think smiling more is the way to mastering the art of positive thinking.

3 Life Lessons Being At College Has Taught Me

Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me both inside and outside the classroom, college.

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

I am a firm believer of this saying. While I may not have graduated from college yet, these past three years have taught me innumerable lessons on life – all of which I will take forward in life. Not everything can be taught in a classroom. I remember in high school how it was a simple routine. Early morning dance practices. Classes. Extracurriculars. Homework. Sleep. That was my life five days of the week. I was used to this routine. I mean why wouldn’t I be? I was getting good grades and doing things I love – service, dance, and music. I was in this protected bubble and at my comfort zone. Little did I know how much this was going to change after stepping onto campus in the fall of 2013. Now after three years of being in college, while some of the routine has remained the same, the new independence, friends, lifestyle, and workload have taught me a lot more lessons. I have highlighted three of the many lessons that I believe has made me a better person.

1. Discovering Who I Really Am

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment.” So a question such as “who am I?” really gives me the opportunity to differentiate and express who I really am and who I can be. While I seemed to know who I am for all those college applications senior year of high school, these past three years of self-discovery, the “fun course a semester idea,” spontaneous decisions, and new adventures have brought a new dimension to how I’d answer this question today. Through all of my successes, failures, and moving slowly, but surely out of my comfort zone, I’ve begun to recognize who I am and who I want to be. What I can really say is that I am progressing to make a brighter future for myself.

2. Discovering Who My Real Friends Are

Before coming to college, all I wanted was to get to meet everyone my year. Pretty ambitious, I know. But, to some extent, I made a lot of new friends freshmen year. Making friends for a lot of us comes naturally, but maintaining these friendships can become somewhat difficult.Little did I know that quality is so much more important than quantity — even in friendships. The simple truth is friends will come and go. And, that’s completely normal.

I’ve learned how to build trust within myself. I’ve learned how to let go of negativity, let go of the fake friends, and to stop worrying over people who aren’t doing you any good in life. It’s just not worth it.

I’ve quickly learned that true friendships are one of the most important things you can get out of life. At a place like my college, you need true friends to keep you sane, to keep you grounded, and to keep you motivated to chase your dreams. I have friends who are like family today. Without them, I can’t even imagine life to be the same. Without college, I would have never learned the value of true friendship and would have never gotten the courage to let go of those who aren’t true.

3. Discovering A Balance in Life

Achieving life balance was and is one of the largest challenges that we as college students face. After all, we have to juggle a wide variety of activities — from coursework to social life to extracurriculars — in addition to monitoring our mental and physical well-being. When I was a freshmen myself, I struggled to find that balance. There were many days I would go to class and then just chill with my friends. I’d start homework at 2AM and oftentimes, if lucky, get 3-4 hours of sleep. A couple days before midterms, I was frantically cramming for them. Sure, the classes were somewhat easier then, so it didn’t totally ruin my academic record. But, I knew I had to change my ways to balance sleep, academics, and friendship if I had to survive the rigor of the Biomedical Engineering curriculum.

Learning to say “no” was how I fixed this issue. You live for yourself. You can’t live your life doing what other people want you to do. It was hard at first, but keeping my goals and that balance in mind, it eventually worked out. College has given me a little glimpse into how to be better organized, balance fun and work, and put my priorities in order.

In May 2017, not only will I remember my college as four years of bliss, a symbol of complete freedom, and self discovery, it has also helped me develop essential life skills such as these three. Like Einstein’s words go, “the only source of knowledge is experience.” Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me both inside and outside the classroom, college.

© AвнιAятѕ 2016

Amour

Ma is my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love, and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.

We take for granted how much time, patience, and love our mothers have for us. From waking up much earlier than anyone else in the family to make me a homemade packed lunch to staying up with me until 2 or 3AM to give me company while I am studying, you are my pillar of strength. Merci pour tout, ma.

© AвнιAятѕ 2016