Friday, April 30, 2010

So the elation!

begins when you've finally finished a hectic week of school. Presentations, papers of various lengths to write and rewrite, meetings, reading for class, class debates, problem sets, doing favors for friends - all in a short five days! I felt like someone was knotting up my stomach all the time, my mind was strategizing every minute on what I was going to do next - and yet when I sat down in front of my computer I felt nothing but a paralyzing reluctance to begin anything useful and a compulsive urge to update Facebook every three seconds. And then there was the mind worm, the energy uselessly expended waiting and wishing all week for something that never came...

Yesterday night I slept at 4 am. Twice this week I've been up till the early morning. Yesterday wasn't quite as bad...the sleep debt will probably come knocking later. I'm hoping to cancel it out by sleeping well this afternoon and tonight.

When you're stressed out and strung out, every task seems like a major chore. Living seems to be an endless sludge, dragged on simply by the momentum of your organic fuel, never getting true rest till the day your heart stops beating.

I had so much time (because of the relative nature of time, as well) this week to think about why I'm here, and what I'm really learning. I realized that so much of what I do is extraneous. All this reading, writing, thinking...what do I have to show for it? My degree? My brain? I have stopped believing in my native intelligence. I don't think intelligence gets you very far here. Academia is full of the intelligent and perceptive, and I know without a doubt my professors can read through my uninspired bulls**t. What stands out as a good piece of writing in a curriculum based on memorization does not go far in an institution that prides itself on its interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving.

A crucial long-term lesson that I've learned from this (besides the one that I keep having to experience because I never internalize it, that doing work last-minute is not a good idea) is that its important to focus on a few things and do them well. I took five academic classes this term, one physical education class (Dance), work 8 hours a week, am involved in a very-active Asian American Student Union which organizes or co-organizes 5-6 events a month, am the treasurer of the Hall Council, the founder of the International Students club, and participate in a 2.5 hour weekly Bible Study. Along with the Saturday party nights which I am loath to give up, when all these commitments demand my time and energy at the same time, I cannot give it my best or even a decent effort. I feel like I'm fat-free milk. All the fat, the good stuff; has been skimmed off, all you're left with is mostly white, tasteless water. Or bak kut teh with only lean meat. Sometimes, a little sizzle, a little extra makes all the difference.

So next year, I'm going to make a conscious effort to keep the fat in. To not overload my schedule to the extent that I have to give up on friends, long walks, spontaneous conversations and new experiences just to maintain a good GPA and deliver on my commitments. I'm taking four classes, all different things and all promising to be pretty challenging. I'm taking one PE class, first aid, which is something I think I should know. Just in case. I'll still be really committed to SIS, AASU and (perhaps) Christian Fellowship, but I want to meet new people too. Being a mentor to new students is an important responsibility, and I need to make sure I do it well since my mentors have helped me so much along this often-difficult freshman year.

That's about it for now...I have a really packed summer schedule as well! Thankfully, the beginning and the end are mostly fat - 3 weeks in Claremont with no obligations besides cat-feeding and house-sitting, and a month of travel and exploration with beloved family and friends at the end. Perhaps then I will have more time to reflect on how this year has changed me, and what I should do/expect in the future. Or perhaps I will just laze, and rest knowing that I have gone through it well :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sometimes you feel like your own two legs are too weak to stand on

That's when you know what you're made of.
You need a goal, something to look forward to.
Look up, look up, look up.
Your tired feet will bring you to rest one day, my child.
Go north, keep walking, do not stop.
You are your own best friend.