New Year Resolutions

I have always loved the start of a new year, because it gives people the chance to turn a new leaf, to start anew, to become improved individuals.

However, I’m a big fan of constantly setting goals for oneself, not just at the start of the new year. Below is a list of all the long term tasks I plan to take on in 2015, but I believe that personal growth is determined largely by the little goals you set for yourself each day that help you reach your larger ambitions.

So do without further ado, here’s the list:

1) Overcoming fear of public speaking

2) Continue pursuing new hobbies (diving, ballroom dance, etc.)

3) Get drivers license

4) Exercise daily

5) Read more classic/noteworthy books and fewer “junk food” books

6) Become a more independent person, aka “leave the nest”, “crawl out of parents’ protective wings”, you get the point.

7) Start working, preferably as a rhythmic gymnastics coach or a math tutor at Kumon

8) Do LOTS of volunteer work, including serving food to the homeless, raising environmental awareness, and helping out in the hospital.

I plan on achieving all of these goals by the end of 2015.

I wish everyone health and happiness in the coming new year!!! 2015 will be filled with many ups and downs, but we will all emerge stronger and wiser!!

2014, It’s Been Real

As 2014 is coming to a close, I thought I’d take a brief walk down memory lane of the past 12 months, highlighting major events, the best of times, the worst of times, simply anything noteworthy.

No More Rhythmic Gymnastics

This was the first year that I’ve been totally gymnastics free. I officially quit gymnastics in April of 2013 due to knee and back injuries. The reality of losing gymnastics really hit home for me in January, the start of competition season. Instead of training long hours at the gym and feeling the pressure and excitement of competition season looming ahead, I was at home, rehabbing and watching old competition videos. I missed gymnastics like crazy. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried A LOT when I initially quit gymnastics- the sport was my life, a HUGE part of my identity, my passion. I started gymnastics when I was five years old and essentially devoted my life to the sport. Without gymnastics I felt completely empty. I couldn’t bring myself to watch any competitions during the 2014 season because I knew that doing so would hurt me more. It was only recently when I started going to therapy that I was able to really move on from gymnastics and build a new identity from scratch. So, as much as I hate to admit, the majority of my 2014 was spent mourning and grieving the loss of gymnastics.

Moved on From Gymnastics

In July, I finally decided to seek therapy because I was unable to move on from gymnastics on my own. Therapy helped so much, because I was given the support I needed during a very low point in my life. I’m not saying that my family and friends were not there for me while I was grieving, but it’s simply difficult for many people to understand the emotional and psychological impact a career-ending injury can have on an athlete. My therapist, while justifying my grief over losing gymnastics, also helped me understand that gymnastics did not define who I was as a person. A person’s identity is not shaped by one single “thing”. Through this realization, I was better able to accept that a life without gymnastics does not mean the end of life itself, though at times it felt that way. My therapist encouraged me to make more friends at school, since in the past, most of my friends were from gymnastics. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, I recently starting doing diving, which has really helped me move on from gymnastics. The academic rigor of junior year is therapeutic, in a way, as I can channel any grief I feel into my schoolwork. I will also be taking my first ballroom dance lesson this Friday, which is super exciting! All of these new activities I’m trying and focusing my energy into fill the void that losing gymnastics has left in me. Nothing can really replace rhythmic gymnastics, but pursuing new hobbies is definitely the first step in helping me move on from this past life.

Took SAT!!!

Despite the major downside of no longer being able pursue my passion, I’ve had several celebratory moments this year, especially in academics. On June 7, I took my first SAT, and got a 2270/2400!! I’m super proud of my score because it took TONS of hard work to attain it. My mom signed me and my brothers up for SAT class in 8th grade (thanks mom), and for nearly three years we went to those tedious four hour classes almost every Sunday. It was neither easy nor fun, but my through this I was able to reap the rewards of my hard work.

Music Tour- Cruise to Mexico

In late April, our school band went on tour to Mexico, which was super exciting!! We boarded a Carnival cruise ship (forgot the specific name of the ship) and performed on the ship. I had been on several cruises prior to this one, but what made this experience so unique was the fact that I wasn’t with my family. Admittedly, I do most things with my family, and I rarely go away from home for days on end without them. It was a great experience to “leave the nest” for a week and just have fun with friends and classmates.

Volunteered at the Hospital

Over the summer my brothers and I volunteered at the hospital every Sunday for four hours. Sadly, I didn’t get to work in the hospital setting- I worked in the administration building and helped out with paperwork. I know. Boring. But the experience wasn’t for nothing. Scanning, filing, and printing papers to no end taught me that never in my life would I get an monotonous office job. It was also interesting to be in the workforce setting- everyone is very professional with one another and leave their personal lives at home.

Pursuing Medicine???

Since my dad is a doctor, I naturally have been inclined to head in the direction of health care from a young age. As a little girl I would always say, “I wanna become a doctor, just like Daddy!” Of course, I never ACTUALLY considered pursuing medicine when I said this. It was all just talk.

But now, as a junior in high school, I’m really starting to consider what I want to do with my life in the near future. Do I want to be a doctor? A nurse? An engineer? A computer scientist? A journalist? The list goes on indefinitely.

So here’s the big question: What do I want to be?

These past months I’ve been desperately digging for answers EVERYWHERE. I’ve been asking my friends and family what they think I’d succeed in. I’ve taken multiple personality quizzes online to find out what my calling is.

The thing is, no one knows me better than myself. And at the end of the day, it is ME who will decide what I want to be when I grow up. And for some reason, my heart ALWAYS points me back into the direction of medicine.

For the past three weeks, I went through a “computer science” phase, in which I tried to force myself to like computer science. Everyone around me always say that computer science is the way to go, as computer scientists are in high demand in this technologically-based world, and they make good money right out of college. When I heard this, I immediately immersed myself in computer science. I went to computer science class every day with the most positive attitude I could muster, listened intently to what the teacher taught, and even went as far as taking online classes on computer science. But it all felt so contrived, so wrong. I don’t like computer science. I just don’t. I’m not especially gifted at it either- the whole programming thing isn’t for me. So after doing some soul searching, I realized that what I really want to do is help people. Save lives. Work for the greater good.

So now I’m back to wanting to pursue medicine. I told my dad this last night, and he said, “Good luck.” I was mildly offended, as I thought he was implying that I didn’t have what it took to enter such a competitive field. But he went on and said that life as a doctor is not easy at all. Well, of course I know this. Nothing rewarding is ever easy. But saving lives is so worth it.

Of course, I do wonder if I have what it takes to become a doctor. I get straight A’s in all my science classes, but I have to work really hard to earn these grades. I don’t love chemistry, physics, or biology. But my dad once told me that doctors don’t have to love science- they just have to not mind it. And there’s the other issue of me being shy, uncertain in my abilities, lacking confidence. Doctors have to have an ego in order to be doing what they do. People’s lives rest in their hands. I know that right now, as an sixteen year old girl, I am far from having the confidence and stability that doctors need. I am not a confident leader, yet. But I have absolute faith in myself that I will become a confident leader one day.

Some of you may be reading this and wondering, “Why the heck is a sixteen year old girl so stressed out about her future?” And you’re right. I know I have a long way to go. College is the time when I can explore different things and really find my calling. Right now, I should really just enjoy my time in high school and not worry years in advanced. Who knows? Maybe medicine feels right now, but perhaps down the road I’ll come across something I love even more. There are simply too many questions that can’t be answered at this point in my life. I just gotta enjoy the ride.

Finals are OVER!!!

FINALLY! Finals are over and I am BEYOND relieved. I’m very happy with how I did on all my finals. I ended up with A’s in all my classes which feels so great. Now all I have to do is get through second semester of junior year :/ But I’ll worry about that later.

I have a very busy winter break planned out! My family and I will be skiing in Tahoe for the first time in years, so I’m super excited for that!!

The bulk of my winter break will probably be spent studying for SAT subject tests and preparing for AP tests in May. I know, borrriiinnngggg….

Im also gonna get started on my college essay, cause it’s never too early to write!! It’s a daunting task, to convince college admissions officers why YOU are worthy of going to their college, which is why I’m starting so early.

Throughout this two week break I am gonna read a LOT of books. I love reading, but it is so difficult to find time to read during the hectic school year. Currently I’m halfway through Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. After I finish this book I want to read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. If you guys have any other book suggestions feel free to comment below 🙂

Ive told you guys that I wanted to try ballroom dance. Well, that is going to happen over this break as well! I’m gonna start with beginner group lessons, possibly tomorrow (hopefully I don’t embarrass myself).

Anyway, I would love to write more but I have more studying to do right now, so I’ll talk to you guys later!


Hello again my awesome readers,

I am SO sorry I haven’t posted in nearly two weeks!!! 😦 Don’t worry though, my passion for blogging is still going strong, it’s just that finals start tomorrow and I’ve literally been studying all day every day for the past two weeks.

I just finished studying for my calculus final, which is on Tuesday, and I am in dire need of a catharsis (honestly though, calculus is so draining). My other finals include Physics Honors, US History, and AP English. We don’t have a first semester final for AP Chem, just a lab, which is such a relief!!!

Now on to the main topic of this blog: I started diving!!!!

Yes, you heard me. I actually tried diving last week at Stanford Diving Club. I was super terrified, since diving is really out of my comfort zone and I didn’t know what to expect from it. The sport of diving in and of itself goes against your instincts- you’re doing crazy (dangerous) dives off of super high platforms, and just ’cause you’re landing in water doesn’t mean it won’t hurt if you enter the water incorrectly (I’ve done that about five times so far…) Anyway, SDC is one of the best diving clubs in the nation. Seriously, that place is home of several olympians and national champions. It is NO JOKE.

My first impression of this diving club was that everyone there- coaches, divers, parents- are extremely friendly and welcoming. My coach is a Russian lady, who is really the sweetest Russian I’ve ever met. She is stern with her corrections, but always points out the things you did well and is super encouraging. All of the divers there, ranging from young children to even adults, are very very supportive, helpful, and friendly. Initially I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in with the other divers in my group, since most of them have been doing diving for years already, but I really had nothing to worry about!

During my try-out session, we started the hour and a half training with warm-up on dryland. We basically did a bunch of conditioning and stretching to get the muscles awake and alert. Then we moved on to the trampoline, where I was introduced to the proper technique of jumping on the springboard.

After lots of jumping and flipping on the tramp, we changed into our swimsuits and starting diving into the water.

If you’ve never jumped on a diving springboard, let me just tell you, jumping on a springboard feels NOTHING like jumping on a trampoline. I made the mistake of thinking the springboard feels exactly like a trampoline. The difference between the two is hard to describe in words, but I can easily say that jumping on diving boards really took some getting used to.

I learned quite a few simple dives- no flips just yet. The most memorable part of my day was smacking the water HARD with the backs of my thighs, because I stayed in a pike position for too long upon my entry into the water. Smacking the water hurt REALLY BADLY, since the surface of the water is hard. The initial sting lasted for only a few minutes, although my legs were red for the rest of the day :/

My coach had me dive off the 2nd level platform, which has to be at least 5 meters high. I was SO TERRIFIED in the beginning, since she wanted me to do a front dive (head first into the water) off the platform. I’m not scared of heights, but diving head first from such a high platform was terrifying. I remember cursing as I looked down at the water below me. After standing at the edge of the platform for two minutes, I finally mustered the courage to step off that platform. And it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My first dive was pretty clean, although the entrance into the water hurt my forehead a bit. After a couple dives, I really got the hang of it.

All in all, I really enjoyed my first day diving. Jumping off the springboard is super fun, and even jumping off really tall platforms is exhilarating. I love the adrenaline I get when I look at the water below, and the freedom I feel when I’m in the air.

The only bad news is that my coach told me that at my age, it would be very difficult for me to do diving competitively. It would take at least one year for me to start competing on the 1 meter springboard, and two years if I wanted to do everything else. By then, I would be out of high school, so it’s unrealistic for me to dive competitively. I was surprised by the amount of time it would take me to start competing, since I had the impression that I could start diving competitively in a matter of months.

Even so, I’m still eager to pursue diving. It’s always good to have a hobby outside of school to help me release my stress. Diving is also great exercise. Most importantly, I find the sport super fun.

December Goals: Diving, Ballroom Dance, Giving Back, Facing Fears…

Happy December everyone!! I hope you all are having a great start to this final month of 2014!!

Since it’s the start of a new month, I thought I would make a list of things I want to do by the end of this month:

1. Start diving. Ever since my knee injury forced me to quit gymnastics two years ago, I’ve been dying to find a new passion and put my gymnastics background to use. I think diving is a great sport for former gymnasts to pick up. Diving also looks great on college apps because divers are in really high demand in colleges these days. I’m scheduled to have my try out sometime next week, and I’m really nervous/excited/curious about what diving has in store for me. If I pick up naturally to the sport and, most importantly, enjoy it, then I will pursue it. If I don’t really like diving, then I by no means feel obligated to stick with it.

Oh boy…

2. Try ballroom dance. OMG I absolutely LOVE ballroom dance. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. It’s such a beautiful, unique art, and I’ve been dying to try it for the longest time. Like many others, I developed an interest in ballroom through the reality show Dancing with the Stars, which just so happens to be my favorite show ever. The reason I haven’t started ballroom earlier is because of my shyness and insecurities. In all honesty, the mere thought of dancing with a boy whose face is centimeters away from mine terrifies me. I watch professional ballroom dancers gyrate their hips and do all these sexy moves, and I simply cannot imagine myself dancing like they do. But that’s exactly why I SHOULD pursue ballroom, isn’t it? By doing the very thing that terrifies me, I will feel more confident in myself. I believe that ballroom dance has the power to make a person look and feel more confident. It is also GREAT exercise and just a good skill to have. If you know how to ballroom dance, never again will you find yourself awkwardly glued to your chair at parties and dances, refusing to dance for fear of embarrassment. If you know how to ballroom dance, YOU will be the one showing off your moves at the center of the dance floor. Ballroom will really help with my performance anxiety, as will diving, for that matter, since both sports involve performing in front of an audience. Anyway, as my favorite male pro on DWTS, Mark Ballas, said: “The biggest challenge of starting ballroom dance is getting over that initial fear of awkwardness or embarrassment.” So yes, I will feel nervous and shy and awkward, at first, but in the end, learning ballroom will really pay off.

mark ballas
Mark Ballas, my favorite male pro on DWTS. Isn’t he a hottie?!?!?

3. Make homemade presents for friends and family. Personally, I find homemade presents so much more meaningful than store bought gifts. When a person takes time out of his/her busy life to make a little present for you, it shows that the person is truly thinking about you as a person. It’s so hard for us to find time during our hectic lives to express gratitude and appreciation to those we love, and that’s really what the holiday season is about: giving back to others. And what better way to express gratitude to your loved ones than to make them special, customized, heart-felt presents? Sometime in the near future I’ll be posting some cool DIY Christmas gift ideas I like that you guys can try as well!!

4. Donate to charity. Something I really regret is not being more diligent with donating to the less fortunate in past years. Oftentimes we take the simplest things we have for granted, like having food on the table or a roof over our heads. Can you imagine living on the streets, stomach always growling in hunger, not having a bed to crawl into on bitter cold nights, ? There are many people around the world who live like this, if you even call it living. That’s why I’m making it a goal of mine this holiday season to donate to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and other great charities (there are so many more but I can’t think of them right now).

giving back quote

5. Continue to face my fear of public speaking. My original goal was to be able to conquer my stage fright by the end of the month, but such a goal seems unrealistic at the moment. I am making a lot of progress, however, by grabbing every opportunity I have to participate in class discussions, ask the teacher questions, and speak in front of small audiences.

I want to end this post with a quote that has really motivated me to face my fears:


Thank you all for reading this, it truly means a lot! Hopefully the above quote inspired you guys as much as it inspired me. Remember, real courage is doing the thing you think you can’t do.

Have a wonderful December!!


Extra Credit Presentation???

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Today I found out that my physics  teacher is offering extra credit to those who are willing to do a presentation on how physics applies to things in real life. I have a 99% in physics, so I am in no need of extra credit, but I think I should do the presentation just to get the experience. After all, the only way to conquer your fears is through exposure. The more I cower away from public speaking, the stronger my fear  will grow.

Of course, preparing for this presentation will give me a lot of stress, possibly some sleepless nights, but I know I would feel incredibly guilty if I simply let this opportunity pass by. I need to get over my stage fright. How will I survive in college when I have to stand up in front of hundreds of people and present?

So yes. I will do this presentation. I will sweat, I will tremble, and I will be afraid, but the more public speak, the easier it will get. I know that much.

Let this be a message to those reading this: Fears are only there to be overcome. Overcoming your fears is incredibly awarding, as you will grow as a person, become more confident in yourself, and live a life less anxious. Personally, I’ve always been an incredibly shy kid. Up until recently, I HATED raising my hand in class to answer/ask questions. I simply couldn’t do it. Every day as I walked into each class, I felt afraid that my teachers would call on me to answer a question. Then one day, I woke up and told myself that I didn’t want to be so anxious every single day. I didn’t NEED to be anxious. So I slowly began to raise my hand.  I started by answering simple questions that didn’t require much speaking. At first, I was terrified. My heart would race, my voice would waver, and I would break into a sweat. But I continued to answer questions, and the more I did it, the easier it got. After answering questions became easy enough, I went on to asking the teachers questions, and later I engaged myself in classroom discussions. Now, I can speak up in class without hesitation. Public speaking- when I am physically standing in front of the whole class- is still extremely anxiety provoking for me, but I know I can tackle it, just like I tackled my fear of raising my hand in class.

Thanks for reading this, and I’d appreciate it if you guys could comment below any tips/strategies you have regarding oral presentations.