Thursday, May 6, 2021

go easy on yourself.

We live in a society where everyone is always making progress. Everyone is always trying to climb a ladder, whether that be at a job or at school. There are always more things to do, more people to meet, more money to make. Sometimes, we forget to s l o w  d o w n. We get caught up in this rat race called life where we are expected to give our all, all of the time.

I'm a little tired of this. I'm tired of worrying every day whether I'm doing enough. I'm tired of comparing my work to others. I'm tired of always being tired.

It's a work in progress, but I'm slowly learning how to go easy on myself. Before, I would always want to make everything 100% perfect. I realized that it's impossible to do that all of the time without burning out. I would rather produce quality work, foster meaningful relationships, and go at my own pace rather than spread myself out too thin and try to appeal to everyone.

Although it may feel like everyone knows what they're doing, but the truth is, nobody knows what they're doing. It's just an act that we are forced to put on because otherwise, we'll be looked down on as a failure. At first, it will be difficult to be ok with not trying to play catch-up. However, over time, you'll come to learn that everything will work out in the end.



being bold

Recently, I hung out with someone that I met from an organization in college. It was a really spontaneous thing for the both of us. I didn't know him before joining the organization but I just thought his vibes were very good and that I wanted to know him better. I'm glad that I decided to meet up with him because we had some really deep conversations about everything and anything.

One thing about our conversations stuck out in particular. He asked me what I wanted to do in the future, which is a typical thing to ask someone in college. I said my usual response: "I don't know, maybe go to grad school? Maybe teach English abroad for a year and find a job at a PR agency? I'm not sure yet." And then I added, "And someday in the future, maybe start my own business?" I always forget to add that part but I remembered that day. He seemed intrigued and asked what business I would start. I said, "I don't know, skincare?" And then I quickly added that I wouldn't be doing this until much later down the line because then I'd have experience and the capital to do so. He then went on to say that I could start now.

He said, "Think about it. Now's the best time to start your own business. You have so many connections that can help you. Sure, you don't have the money right now, but in the future, what if you won't have the time?" I guess that got me thinking because he did have a good point. However, despite seeing some of my peers start their own online stores, it still intimidates me. I'm not really the type of person to put myself out there in a way that puts me in a vulnerable position. I'm not the type of person to take risks.

But maybe I should. Perhaps I can start by being bold. I can try something that will take me out of my comfort zone, bit by bit. Only then can I truly figure out what I want to do in the future. Only then can I start to learn more about myself.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Finding my purpose in life. [ikigai]

I was inspired by my friend Yvan Chu to make this “recap” of my year and to seek out ways to constantly improve myself. I hope that by writing this recap, I will find that surge of motivation that I so desperately need during this time. Despite everything that has happened in 2020, I hope that I can end the year strong.

What I will go over includes (not in any order):

  • Health

    • Physical

    • Mental

  • Academics

    • School

    • Career

    • Self-Study

    • Extracurricular

  • Social

    • Friendships

    • Relationships

  • Money

    • Budget

    • Job

Thank you for reading.


Physical - This is a bad note to start off on, but for most of January through March, I was sick. I’m pretty sure it was the flu. (I hope it wasn't COVID-19...) It was also my first semester at USC, which made it a bit worse. It made me really sluggish and I didn’t want to exercise. I felt hopeless as I wandered down the aisles of Target with my arms full of cough medicine and Emergen-C. In fact, it was my first time drinking Emergen-C. On the bright side, I liked drinking it.

Improvements to Physical - I will be sure to get the flu shot next fall. I can't afford to be sick again. I believe that this happened freshman year of college too. I can’t believe that I just forgot to get the flu shot. I genuinely don’t know how that happened. I also need to exercise again. I exercised every day last summer, but this year I stopped.

Mental - Being sick also took a giant toll on my mental health. I didn’t have the energy to do most things. Eating/swallowing hurt too. I found joy in calling my mom and Rena when I had the time. Random texts from any of my friends cheered me up, actually. I remember one night I was in my bum outfit walking to Target to buy medicine and I was on the phone with my mom, whining about how sick I felt. I saw some cute flowers on the trees and stopped to take a few pictures to send to her. It made me feel happy. Even though for the most part, I know that I have a generally strong mental state, it felt nice to rely on people sometimes. I have to remember that it’s okay to be helped.

Improvements to Mental - I started learning about manifestation, in addition to getting back into journaling, continuing my physical planner, and continuing with my healing crystals/color therapy.


School - Maybe because I was sick and didn’t have the energy to focus on anything other than school, but I found that I was actually trying my best and doing well.

Improvements to School - The biggest things that I have to work on are using my time more effectively, to actually reach out to professors/TAs when I need help, and to participate more in class. Too often I find myself putting off work until nighttime and then staying up at late hours working when I could have spread out my work throughout the day. With reaching out to professors/TAs, I need to get my work done ahead of time so that I can actually remember to set aside time to reach out/schedule appointments. As for participation, I actually enjoy participating because it's good speaking practice but at the same time, I feel like my classmates are going to judge me or the professor won't know what I'm talking about and I'll have to reexplain myself many times. I have to get over this fear! And the only way to do that is to participate more. I also planned to study abroad in Australia spring semester but the programs got canceled. However, I am not going to give up my study abroad dreams and I am determined to do so one way or another.

Career - I am still not entirely sure about what I want to do. I have a general idea, yes, but not anything specific. What I know so far is that after I graduate, I want to work in a public relations agency, possibly attend grad school, and in the far, far future, start my own businesses.

Improvements to Career - To get a better picture, I can consult other people that have professional experience, do internships in different fields to see what I like and don't like, and research more career opportunities. Recently, I have been thinking about working at an advertising agency and being a professor. I hope I have a solid plan soon. I know that things are always changing, but when I talk to other people, it seems like they have their lives all figured out while I am still floating around.

Self-Study - I told myself I would self-study Korean and Cantonese. Japanese, even. But no. I should have seen this coming. I even signed up for online courses that I have yet to complete. Besides languages, I want to learn data analytics, entrepreneurship, investing, etc. I think that I have a lot of skills that I want to learn but don't know where to start.

Improvements to Self-Study - In order to actually be motivated and continue with my self-study journey, I should narrow down my focus to learning one language and one skill at a time. That way, I can focus and actually make progress/see results. For now, I will make time to continue to self-study Mandarin Chinese and begin (once again) to learn Korean. As for skills, I might look into a data analytics certification.

Extracurricular - Since transferring to USC in the spring semester, I pledged for an Asian-interest sorority and attended a few club meetings for a Chinese-American organization. During this fall semester, I officially became a member of the sorority! I also tried to join a few other organizations but no luck...Either because I didn't get in, didn't think it was feasible over Zoom, or because I neglected to apply.

Improvements to Extracurricular - Depending on whether next spring semester is hybrid or online (I doubt things will go back to being completely in-person), I will see if I can join at least one more organization. I have one in mind already but I did not apply this fall semester because I stupidly forgot to submit my application form.


Friendships - Jumping from one school to another is bound to put a strain on friendships. I’ve prepared myself for that. I know that the people that I genuinely want to continue being friends with I will put 100% of my effort into keeping. So far, that’s working. I appreciate all of my friends and without them, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I’ve also made new friends along the way and I am thankful for them as well. Thank you for listening to my rants. Thank you for giving me advice. Thank you for hanging out with me. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for taking the time to talk to/message me (even though I’m a bad texter). ♡

Improvements to Friendships - I need to learn to open up more and to disassociate less during conversations. I find that I’m pretty closed off at the start of friendships and that might deter people from getting to know me better. It’s all subconscious. I will find ways to break through that barrier. I also need to disassociate less when people are talking about topics that don’t relate to me, which I actually have been finding luck with lately. I hope that with these improvements, I’ll be able to strengthen current friendships and make new ones! (I will also try harder to respond to messages in a timely manner. Emphasis on try.)

Relationships - I vowed to myself that I would not get into another relationship until I learned to fully love myself. I realize now that being able to “fully love myself” is a long process. However, I’m glad that I decided to focus on myself instead of jumping into another relationship that I wasn’t ready for. Sure, I admit I did think to myself to get a boyfriend already so I can stop feeling “lonely” but I knew that I would be doing nobody a favor there. Also, hookup culture is prominent among college-aged students for a reason, I’ve learned.

Improvements to Relationships - This is hard to say. Right now, I’ve realized that I’m still not ready for a relationship. At least not anything that’s long-term. I’m young! I need the most time I can get to work on improving myself and figuring out what I like and don’t like! I’ll have time for serious relationships when I’m older. Besides, I am very busy with school and personal goals.


Budget - I tried to keep a budget but I keep failing to update it.

Improvements to Budget - Legitimately stick to a budget...Look up YouTube videos on how to keep a basic budget and make a savings goal.

Job? - Since I'm in Los Angeles for school right now, I don't feel comfortable doing a non-remote or off-campus job. I applied to work at the library but they have yet to contact me...I really want a job because I want to start making my own money instead of always relying on my parents. I currently teach English to children but that's only once a week for one hour so I'm not counting that as a job. I'm also starting an internship for my Chinese internship class and I am pretty intimidated. But I hope that I can learn a lot and try my best with the assignments.

Improvements to Job - Get a job. Apply to more remote jobs...Continue the search for internships as well. If I continue to live in LA for the spring semester, I might consider a non-remote job if I can't find a remote one.


Overall, I'd say that the year was a transitional one for me because I went from living in Wisconsin to LA. Academics and social were the strongest areas for me while I fell short with health and money. With the remaining months of 2020, I will do my best to improve myself in all areas. Writing down how I feel about my progress makes it tangible and clear to see what next steps I should take. It's only up from here!


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