Reflecting on Junior Year (Part 2)

Onward with my exploration of the past and seeking to find out what I can do better in the future! It’s 1:30AM; I should really be getting sleep since I’m headed to work at 9 in the morning. After this post, I promise:

What are some goals that you made at the beginning of the year that you stuck with throughout the year?

Huh. This is a question that I feel almost silly and ashamed to answer. My goals definitely centered around self-care: think more about God. Take academics seriously. Be healthy. Go to the gym. And there were some of the more blatant goals like don’t hang out with friends as much since they’re distracting from academics. Along the same lines, don’t be in a relationship. This year was similar to other years in that I was not successful with self-care. Self-care is something I didn’t grow up with, to say the least. Tangible material successes were what drove me day by day. When I think about high school, I think about days where I slept at 3AM constantly making study sheets for the upcoming AP World essays, when I practiced countless hours of violin not because I liked it but because there were awards/approval from my teacher/wanting to be like my friends, and (along those lines) where I was desperate for validation, affirmation, and acceptance from peers and judges. It almost became second nature for me to have many bad days but slap a smile on my face as soon as I walked out of the room and started conversing with people. It was almost like a talent; in seventh grade, I had learned the phrase “fake it till you make it,” and I ended up embodying this. But this was the first year I realized, to what extent should I fake it? This was the year I really realized why exactly self-care and self-awareness is important. If I don’t take the time to understand and work on myself, then who would? In many instances, we talked about deciding on an image to convey to the audience at hand, but again, what is the point of an image if it’s 2-dimensional and not real? I have always taken pride in that I was seen as genuine, but have I been genuine with myself and taken action within myself? I now know that I haven’t been doing so.

To be blunt, basically did not keep any of my goals. I kept pushing them off, but I think if I were to revisit these goals next year, they are for very different (and in my opinion, better) reasons. Being healthy and going to gym was primarily driven by vanity and insecurity. But I’ve been listening to my body more this year and as Cassey Ho says, this body is a temple. God has gifted me with this body, and I want to take the best care of it as I can. The only person who gets hurt is me. I pushed away friends, but friends coming to me made me realize while it is good for me to spend alone time, I should not underestimate the joy and power that comes from real true friendships. In the past, I don’t feel like I have always made the best of friends. But I’m now continuously surrounded by people who encourage me to look inward, people who support my every decision, people who CHALLENGE me to be a much better individual. As for relationships, well, to say the least, relationships come when you least expect. I feel that I have grown a lot in this relationship. He has shown me what a beautiful thing a relationship can be, and I cannot thank him enough.

What are some good habits you’ve picked up this year?

LOL ah I think I’ve picked up a lot of bad habits, but I had to learn that certain habits don’t work for me. If this is even a habit, I would say that I stop to listen much more now. I don’t want to be someone who pushes people away from confiding in me, and I’ve learned that before I’m a speaker or a talker, I must first be a listener.

How did you decide what you wanted to prioritize this year? Are you satisfied with what you ultimately prioritized?

The beginning of this year was very academic/career driven. While I think this was a good mindset then during recruiting season, I am content that this was not the motivation for the entire year. While I am satisfied, there is always room for improvement. For a really long time, I thought I wanted to be a PM. But after having been in several leadership positions which relate closely to the soft skills of a PM, I’ve realized that one needs a deep emotional bandwidth to manage people. It got to the point where I may have been tunnel-visioned and focused on the outcome and not so much on listening. I entered this weird state of not wanting to be around people, feeling revolted at the idea of getting a meal with a friend. After moments of reflection like this…I think I do realize that I want my priority to be people–people I can help and lift up. But I should not feel bad about prioritizing myself. I’ve learned so much this year and I’ll keep working at my priorities next year.

What is the best/most meaningful/noteworthy/significant/memorable compliment you received this past year?

This past year, I entered my very first relationship. Honestly, it was a sort of luck of the draw and it took a leap of faith. We are such different people, and none of our friends would have fathomed this to come to fruition. As what comes with a first relationship, this was the most vulnerable I have been with any one person. I have cried my heart so much, I have screamed my head off like no other, and I have shared the most beautiful moments with this one person. But it’s not just about me pushing my emotions onto him; for the first time, I felt my heart fall to the pit of my stomach and rise up to my throat with loss of joyful words, for the ups and downs this one person has had. I think growing up…I would eye couples in dramas and movies with awe but say “pfft, this doesn’t happen in real life.” Everyone has secrets, everyone is selfish and only cares about themselves ultimately. I struggled with how to trust people after incidents in middle and high school where I felt close ones turn on me. So how in the world could I give my heart to someone?! Well, because I felt him giving his heart to me. We know that God loves us all unconditionally, but never would I have believed that this person would be the closest thing to unconditional love in the flesh that I would see. I admit, I oftentimes was a child and would “test” him, ask him ridiculous questions to see if he would hold judgments, any sort of proof that what happens on the screen isn’t real at all. But through these months, he has been grounded, unwavering in his affection and his kind words to me. How can I beat that at all? Things that people would revolt at, he calls cute. The crazier I would be, the more he would laugh and follow up with crazy quirks himself. While I worried about what others would think, he directed his efforts on bettering something between the two of us. To hear someone say that….they love everything about me….brings tears to my eyes because I cannot even think of a time where someone who has seen all of me has ever said that to me. James, no matter what happens 3 months from now, a year from now, decades from now, please know that you have shown me something so beautiful and I feel lucky to have even had this memory. You yourself are a compliment in my life, and I will keep reminding myself of that 🙂

Reflecting on Junior Year (Part 2)

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