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Spring!

I’m back! It’s been an interesting and adventurous spring break, but I guess it’s time to get back down to the nitty gritty.

That means school.

That means studying.

Now, anyone who knows me know my adversity to studying, but I’d like to think of this quarter as a comprehensive exploration of three different possibilities in my life. It goes like this:

Communications Studies 10
Sociology 1
Physiological Sciences 5

In all technicality, I’m still a Physiological Sciences major. And who knows? Even though I’m fairly determined to change majors to Communications Studies, things could turn around again by the time spring quarter of next year rolls around. Life happens, you know? And besides, I’d take a miraculous C- in Chemistry 14B as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card from God any day. The big man upstairs could be telling me to stick to it. Or he could just be redeeming my GPA so I never have to see chemistry again.

It’s all a big mystery; Lord, You sure work in strange ways.

So I find it necessary for me to do this whole “exploration thing.” I could end up liking Communications or Sociology or Physiological Sciences more than the others. Either way, I think of them as convergent paths; I still don’t think I’m going to medical school, but I like paramedic school as an alternative.

In the meanwhile, it was nice having a break from all the studying and stress. I’d like to think that my acne levels have gone down significantly in the past nine days. I find myself sorely missing all of my friends and experiences at Cerritos High School, but I can’t live in my little bubble forever, right? Besides, the bubble wasn’t that great. It really wasn’t. But the people were, and they’re the ones that make the experience count. We just have to remember that it takes effort to stay in touch and maintain the friendships that we’ve built. They say that you never really keep your high school friends, but there are always exceptions to every rule.

It’s even more interesting when two very separate parts of my life become intertwined. With my high school friends one day and with my fellowship the next; two things that are very different but both make me extremely happy. It’s odd when that happens. It makes me question whether this life is actually better. It certainly is different, but better?

But then I remember. Both lives are better because of who I am now. I don’t know if I’m any better, but I certainly am different. And I like myself better this way. And I am very much happier this way. And because of that, my life (singular) is better.

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Home.

This past weekend, I headed home for less than twenty-four hours with a mission in mind: tell my mom about my faith and about my decision to not go to medical school.

I was scared out of my pants.

Now, anyone from a strict Asian family can tell you that we’re all expected to grow up, become something big, get rich, support our parents in old age, and lead successful lives. But success is relative. It’s subjective, immeasurable, by all accounts, by anyone but the sole subject himself/herself.

My idea of success? Being able to help people. How? Dunno.

But I don’t plan on being rich in the process. I don’t like money. Money corrupts. Money’s probably already corrupted me pretty badly. I mean, I spend thirteen hours a week at work, right? There’s a lot more I could be doing with that time. It would’ve been easy to pass all of my classes, but I’m probably going to end up with an F and a C (Thanks, chemistry.).

And my mom, being the kidder that she is, suggested that I work thirty hours a week so that I could attend school basically for free. This was about five minutes into our drive away from UCLA. I groaned on the inside, wanting to smack her (working thirty hours isn’t even possible or legal as a work study student) and not tell her anything. I then proceeded to tell her about my summer plans, which consist of attending summer school for the first half and taking EMT training for three weeks afterwards. Immediately, she went on about how we “talked about not being a paramedic, but a doctor instead,” and I slyly explained to her how a lot of doctors work as paramedics initially. In my head, I wanted her to shut up; it’s true, a lot of doctors do work as paramedics at first to get a feel for the field, and she ranted on without even knowing what she was talking about.

Sometimes people just need to shut up when they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

If you can’t tell, my mom frustrates me a lot.

And of course, I wasn’t even planning to be a doctor, and I didn’t say that I was, either. Which my mom found out later after lunch the next day, amongst other things.

Two people that I’ve talked to recently have had difficult situations with their parents regarding their faiths and their futures. I easily heaped my mom into the grouping of parents that would freak out, especially over both. Would I get kicked out of the house? Would I be disowned? Would she cut off funding for school (not that it matters, she’s probably more broke than I am at this point)?

Nope.

She was fine with it.

Just like that.

I was relieved. It was like trying to dig up hot stones from inside my throat, and saying it was like pouring cold water down my esophagus and letting those stones dissolve.

She was fine with me being Christian. The explanation was that she wanted me to be old enough and strong enough to make that decision before I did, which is why she always disapproved of me going to church when I was younger. To me, it sounded pretty silly, but I wonder if I’ll feel that way about my kids in the future, if I have any.

And she was fine with me changing my major to Communications, though she immediately rushed to “Oh, you can be a psychologist then!” Mom, please learn when to shut it. I had dig into her mind that I didn’t plan on being rich; she accepted it with some disappointment. I told her that I didn’t know what I would do with a degree in Communications; maybe go on missions or something. “Well, you can still learn some medical things…” Mother, there are times to spew crap and there are times to not spew crap. “Well, as long as you’re proud of what you do, go ahead and do it.”

Relief. And then a tinge of anger. And then a bit more. You hypocrite! You spent fifteen years of my life literally beating school into me, and you’re fine with this? Am I supposed to be happy? What was all the yelling and screaming for, then? What was all the expectation to get A’s in school? What was the disappointment on your face when I was rejected from UCLA and the glee when I was accepted? What was it all the times when I asked to donate to a cause that I was working for and you blatantly said no? Why the hell would you say “no” when I asked you to drive my friends home and they’ve driven me home dozens of times because you weren’t there?

You piss me off.

Are you proud of what you’ve done with your life?

“Not really.”

Oh.

You hurt, too.

I didn’t know that.

I thought you could only hurt me.

Lesson learned: though my mom can be a class A doofus sometimes, she’s still human. She’s fifty-eight going on fifty-nine this year, more than three times the amount of life that I’ve had. I wonder what went on in the forty years that I wasn’t there? I still have a lot to learn and a lot to live.

So yes, my mom is fully okay with… everything. And to add to the good news, my grandma, who had a stroke this past summer, is learning how to walk again almost seven months later. She’s been in Taiwan for the past two months because the doctors here told her that she wouldn’t be improving anymore and took her out of the nursing home. Wrong, you are, doctors. There’s really only one possible explanation for this:

God answers prayers.

In the words of one Michael Eubanks, “Now, if you had told me just one of those things, that would’ve been pretty cool. But all three?” Yes, Mike, all three. In short, I’ve been praying for my mom’s acceptance for a couple of weeks and for my grandma’s healing for a couple of months.

And I could’ve found out that my grandma was learning to walk again a while ago, but my mom chose to be ambiguous via e-mail because, well, she’s a jerk like that. And God basically went, “Hey, I’m going to reveal to you three amazing things in your time at home, it’s going to be awesome, and you’re going to see me in it.” That, I did. Good job, big man.

Photos later, hopefully, and I’ll attempt to update the photos from a couple of posts ago. It’s been difficult keeping up, not even because of finals or anything. Photography funk, I guess. That’ll change over spring break, for sure.

This is me, stuck at a five hour work shift, saying, “I believe in miracles. (Where you from? You sexy thang!)”

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Theory on what on earth is wrong with me 2.0:
I’m not studying what I enjoy studying. Chemistry and biology are cool, but I think they’re really boring. Why was I trying to take them? I thought I wanted to go to med school, be a doctor, save lives and whatnot. Well, I do want to change lives, hopefully save lives, but do I want to be a doctor? Let’s assess.

Doctor’s have to know the human body inside and out. Functions, metabolism, interactions, etc. Chemistry and biology, basically. Do I like those? No. I thought that once I got into upper division major classes and medical school classes that it would instantly make me enjoy chemistry and biology. Probably… not. I thought I liked those things because they were easy for me in high school. But I think that truly enjoying something means being willing to struggle through the difficult parts of it.

So I’m tossing medical school dreams aside and taking a good, hard look at what it is that I want to do and what God wants for me. It’s going to be an adventure!

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So I’m behind on pictures. I realize that. But I’m also behind on writing in my journal, school work, and life in general.

But let’s not get caught up on that.

This week was kind of crazy; I’ve been sick for the past few days, so everything was kind of a blur to me.

They celebrated Chinese New Year in the dining halls on Thursday! It was super delicious. There were shrimp eggrolls and spare ribs and even weird Chinese deserts that I swear are not Chinese…

I think almost everyone had one of these while we were eating. They’re just that good.

On Friday, we went to go see Valentine’s Day at the Bruin Theater! I didn’t carry my camera with me because it was raining. Sad panda. I forgot how much I really liked going out to see movies. The seats in this particular theater are super comfy! I was so down to sleep there…

Afterwards, I slept over in Esther’s room with her and Kristina. I literally just slept on the couch. It’s really hard to stay awake in the dark, you know? I’m really grateful to these two chicks for keeping me company this weekend!

Esther set her alarm… for 12:15 AM. It was supposed to be PM, hahaha. She woke up around that time anyway, so it was alright. We got ready really quickly and then ate brunch with Jordan. There was real Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the dining hall this time!

Later that evening, I was attempting to do homework but was distracted by the Olympics. JR Celski shouldn’t have been disqualified, dang it. How could you disqualify a face like that?!

So now it’s back to trying to do my homework. I should attempt to do so in my own room for once.

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As I sit here at work, I’m settling into two not-so-great moods:

1) I am too sick to even attempt my homework. My brain is like a rubber ball that’s been overinflated and then stuffed into my skull. I can’t take medicine because it’ll make me drowsy/nauseous, and I can’t rest because, well, I’m at work.
2) School… epic fail. If I don’t pass my classes this quarter, I’m changing to something north campus.

Theory on what on earth is wrong with me 1.0:
I’ve spent far too long from home. I miss my friends; I even miss my family despite all of our non-functionality. What I have here is great, but I need a break to go back to where I came from. Not that I can; I don’t live there anymore. I think it’s destroying me from the inside out.

No home to go to, no motivation, and now I’m not even healthy.

Life is fantastic in one aspect. It kind of sucks in another.

In other news, Nom Nom Truck is delicious!

PS I don’t like it when people worry about me to the point where they feel like they have to decide what’s right for me. I know my limits, thanks.

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I did not brush my teeth this morning. Yeah, grody.

Why, you ask?

Because I woke up at eleven o’clock, which is when work starts for me. So basically I jump out of bed, threw on my running shoes, and bolted out the door.

Why did I wake up?

Because of a massive cramp in my left calf muscle.

What was the cause of it all?

I set my alarm for 9:30 AM at 8:30 AM. It did not go off at 9:30 AM. If Paula can say, “Why is there so much death in my technology?”; I can say, “Why is there so much stupidity in my technology?”

What more could go wrong with that?

I didn’t bring my math homework because I ran out the door.

So between knowing that I won’t be turning in math homework today, being pissed at my alarm clock, having immense pain in my left leg, dealing with nausea and dizziness from running, being late for work, and suffering through the jankiness that is my mouth right now… this is not how I want to begin my day.

It’s taking a lot of effort to not just go crazy and start smacking things around and being all cranky over it. I’ll admit, that’s about as crappy as a single morning can get. But there’s nothing that I can do about it now; smacking things won’t make it any better, neither will crying over it. (Why do I have tears forming in my eyes?) I just have to make it through the next five hours or so, then limp back up and bury my face in my pillow.

I don’t like bad days in the midst of an otherwise good week.

This post, if not for the debacle that is my morning today, would have been about the ways that God has been teaching me the art of silence this past week. Which I’ll write about now since I’m done ranting.

So I have this sore in the back of my throat. It’s huge. Like… the size of a pinkie nail. It’s feeling a lot better today, but earlier this week, it felt like it was constantly tearing whenever I opened my mouth. At some points, I tasted blood when it had torn open. Gross.

And of all days for it to be at its worst, this sore decided to be extra painful on Tuesday night. After reading one passage from Deuteronomy at Mark Study, I was done. It had stung so badly in the middle of the words that after I finished, I picked up a paper, wrote that I wouldn’t be speaking a lot that night, and showed it to Daniel Allen.

In the process of getting asked questions anyway throughout the night (i.e. “Why can’t you speak?” Oh, guys. You’re so funny.), I found that I could at least provide short answers in a hushed undertone that made it hard to hear.

But being silent myself helped me to hear and listen to people so much… better. I mean, anything from prayer to frustrations to just how a person’s day went; everything held more meaning. Especially prayer: it was less about preparing what I was going to say or just saying something or just listening to something being said; it was making each word that was said count, taking the needs buried in our words, giving them up to God, and pouring that back in the one being prayed for. Okay, I can’t explain as well as I’d want to.

So, to make myself feel better this morning… things that I’m excited for!

Morale-ing for Dance Marathon! I’ve decided to take the 9 PM – 12 AM shift and the 3 AM – 6 AM shift… all in the name of Paula Lacson, pretty much. Apparently she needs me that much, haha. But I understand. My cuteness can really lift you up when you’re tired.

Talking to Michael Eubanks. Could it be epic? Maybe. I’m not sure what’s going to go down, but it’s a chance for me to find out if iTeam would be good for me or not.

Dinner with Tina Bui! Wednesday. I already talked about how much I like this girl and how cute she is and how I like to stalk her with my camera… yeah, it’s going to be plenty fun.

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Rest. God. Love.

I’m really falling behind on blogging and posting photos haha. But maybe that’s a good thing considering how busy I was with other things for the past few days. Monday a midterm, yesterday an essay and a debate due. It’s funny to think that the amount of stress that I had was all by my own doing. I should probably study harder.

Today’s looking pretty busy, too, but in a different way. I had a doctor’s appointment that made me late for work, where I am now. After work, I’ll run back up the hill for a meeting, then get whisked off to dinner with our Frosh Con small group. Then ice cream social. Then kendo party. That should be interesting.

I did get a lot of sleep last night, though, which I’m really thankful for. It was the first time I’d been well-rested in a few days. I wanted to stay up to think about things, but after a certain point, I just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. We’ll do this story in reverse.

What made me tired was… well, it’s not my story to tell. But let’s just say that it involved some spiritual warfare. I have had no experience with it whatsoever, but sometime between listening to this person and praying for them, I realized something: I love this person. As a human being, as a sibling, and as a friend. And for them to feel alone and like their life is sunken in darkness breaks my heart. I don’t know how I could possibly express that to them without seeming weird, or even how to do it period. I could probably use these words. Maybe.

Another thing, though. What that event made me realize, too, is how I need to confront my own demons. My friend had the courage to confess their fears and to ask for prayer. Shouldn’t I, too? Still, I think God instilled emotion in me last night that shed light on some of the darkness in those areas. There’s still doubt about my own heart, but it’s a bit less now.

Intermission: I really like Tina Bui, haha. So much so that I stalked her down with my camera repeatedly trying to get a good picture of her. She’s so cute!

Moving back a couple of hours to the seeker event, I’m really happy that the person I brought, Ben, had the courage to stand up and answer the call to be a seeker. It just made me really happy to see that the things I’ve been inviting him to and the friends he’s made are really changing him. I’m excited to see what happens next!


Intermission 2.0: Everyone loves Sarah Kim. Sunjin is watching me, though… little does he know, I’m watching him, too!

The mini-adventure of wondering where to live ended a couple of nights ago. Leslie was invited to become a Team Leader somewhere, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go there. So we did a listening prayer one evening, and I ended up with where God had pointed me at for her. Turns out it’s a perfect match! Tuesday evening, she finalized her decision and also invited Paula and I to join her there, and we wholeheartedly accepted. So where are we living next year? Sproul! Of all places. It was really unexpected for Paula and I because we had crossed it off of our list early. Still, I’m mucho excited to be around my ladies next year and harassing them more than ever. They love my socks and my farts. And I love their dorkiness and creepiness. And them.

It’s been a truly wonderful week despite all of the academic stress. And I feel like it’s only going to get better.

Tonight’s another time to spend with those I’m close to. And to have fun and laugh. And another challenge for me to face, but I face it with the knowledge that I am capable.

But the one thing I realized just now that I like the most?

I haven’t felt alone in a long time.

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