It is 11:45 pm. I’m sitting at a table in the Hedrick Study (a favorite study spot of mine), trying to crank out my theater paper. At this moment, though, the paper is the last thing on my mind.

I feel a heaviness weighing on my chest. By happenstance, I ran into many of my friends this evening, first at Bruin Plate, my favorite dining hall, and now at the Study. High school friends. Friends I made here at UCLA. This evening, I felt like I was watching a montage of my freshman year playback in slow motion. Every five minutes, a familiar face passed by, and a nice conversation ensued, ending with the sad words, “I’ll miss you.”

I feel an ebbing throb in my heart. In three weeks, I will leave behind these people– my people– to follow my dreams. Of course I’m excited to finally be unashamedly and wholeheartedly pursuing what I love. But in this moment, my heart is breaking. I can’t focus on my paper because tears are welling up in my eyes, and I want to cry. The fact is, no matter what, I will miss UCLA, my second home. Even though I’ve only been here for three quarters, I’ve grown deeply fond of this place, and especially its people.

I sure hope that leaving here will be worth it, because giving up UCLA for a riskier path in art is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. It is a decision made out of my own volition, against my parents’ better judgement. In moments of fear and weakness, I wonder if I should just stay where I am. Get a degree from a place I know I love. Establish myself. Grow my relationships. Enrich my mind. Breathe a sigh of comforting relief embedded in safety.

But. There is that constant nagging sensation tugging at my heart, pulling me elsewhere. Something is pushing me to go for this other path. The one devoid of comfort, plagued with poverty, physical injury, short career-spans, eating disorders, drama, politics and an infinitesimally slim chance of reaching “success”. The path of dance. I know– how utterly illogical, absurd, irrational, ludicrous of me, right? Why, when I’m doing well at a great university I worked so hard to get into, would I choose to give it all up for life as an artist?

I can’t explain why. In this moment, I cannot express the flurry of thoughts whirring in my head… All I trust in is my instinct. My gut feeling, telling me that, despite everything, I’m doing the right thing in leaving UCLA.

Sometimes, I feel that my battle to pursue a dance career is one I fight alone. I know, of course, that this is not true– I have the backing of my coaches and friends who believe in me. My parents will always be there to provide a roof over my head, should I find myself penniless and unable to support myself. They wouldn’t let their only daughter starve.

As much as all this external support means to me, none of it matters if I don’t believe in myself. Above all else, I need CONFIDENCE and DETERMINATION and COURAGE as I embark on this brand new chapter of my life.

You know what they say– it’s the journey that matters more than the destination. Right here, right now, is the journey. This is what I’m trying to convey to you guys through this blog. This is a big reason why, three years ago, as a sixteen-year-old girl facing her first real adversity, I decided to start publicly documenting my triumphs and travails as I searched my way through this beautiful and cruel thing called life. It’s the journey I want to look back on when I am 80 years old, pondering what kind of meaning– if any– my life held.

What I’m feeling right now is the sadness, nostalgia and regret that comes with any difficult decision. Either choice I make, I will inevitably face some degree of regret. To leave UCLA for a dance career means leaving behind a second home, a second family, a life of comfort and stability. To stay in the safety of LA whilst surrendering dance to the status of a mere hobby would make me regret not giving dance my everything,  while I still could. Ultimately, it was a decision of which regret would hurt me more. Both would undoubtedly hurt, a lot. But I believe the latter regret would not only hurt, but eat away at me in my older days. I don’t think I could bear that.

College will always be here. I can always come back to school at age 30 or 40. I trust that my determination and work ethic will carry me through any potential obstacle attached to going back to college at an older age. I cannot say the same thing about a professional dance career. Passionate, talented and determined dancer you may be, to say you want to become a professional dancer at the age of 30 or 40 is to be dreaming of the impossible. Dancing lies in the NOW. School can wait.

Regarding my friendships. Heartbroken as I feel at the idea of leaving behind people I’ve grown to love, I have faith that true friends will remain in my life, regardless of any physical distance. It won’t be the same as growing together throughout the next three years, of course, but perfect situations in life are rare. I must learn to compromise and sacrifice.

And dance. What are my goals now? At this point, I don’t care where I end up as a dancer, in terms of rankings. When I first started dancing, my goal was to become the next world champion. I’ve since grown and adopted a more mature, realistic and intrinsically-motivated goal of simply becoming the best dancer I can be. I want to master the art of Latin-American dancing and touch the souls of others through performance. I long to bless others with the many gifts that dance bestowed on me. I want to dance my way through life.

It is now 12:48 am. I should be getting to bed, as I have work tomorrow morning at 7 am. I feel a lot better, having let my soul bleed onto the screen. Finally, I want to thank every single person who’s supported me in my decision. You guys give me the strength to follow through with this.







UCLA Spring Sing 2017– A Magical Night

Last night, I was graced with the mesmerizing talent and soul-touching performances of UCLA students at the university’s annual Spring Sing! Essentially like a large-scale talent show featuring off-the-charts artistic talent and celebrity guest judges, Spring Sing was definitely one of the highlights of my brief time here at UCLA.

Thousands of UCLA students gathered last night at 8pm in Pauley Pavillion to witness the production, featuring solo singers, bands, acapella groups, rappers, dance companies, theater troupes and the all-too-funny comedic hosts of the show, “the Company”.

To say I felt in my element last night at Spring Sing is an understatement. My cheeks hurt from continuously smiling throughout the night. Watching the performers made me long to be on that very stage, basking in the strobe-lights amidst the sounds of applause from the cheering crowd of thousands, and most importantly, touching the souls of others through creative expression.

This year’s panel of celebrity guest judges featured Jason Earle, aka “Jackson”, from Hannah Montana; “Meredith Blake”, the evil stepmother, from the 1998 adaptation of The Parent Trap; Perez Hilton, the viral blogger; “Matt Mcguire”, aka Lizzie Mcguire’s little bro; and musician Ziggy Marley, one of Bob Marley’s sons. I was totally starstruck when the celebrities were introduced, shouting at the top of my lungs and laughing in sheer excitement.

And the talent… my goodness gracious. Words can’t begin to describe how blown away I was by every performance. The caliber of artistic talent was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe I was watching fellow UCLA students perform– they may as well have been professional musicians / dance troupes! Everyone was that good. It just comes to show that UCLA Bruins are not only intellectually-driven, but also artistically gifted. Fun fact: famous singer, Sara Bareilles was a UCLA student who won Spring Sing in 2000. Look at her now!!!

From what I’d heard of past Spring Sings, I was expecting a lot, but I was still effectively awestruck at the professionalism, flashiness and flow of the production, which, to my knowledge, is completely student-run!

The comedic sketches put on by “the Company” in between performances were all so hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing!

One performer, Stephan Dismond, was a rapper who actually went to my middle and high school! I remember how he’d perform at almost all the high school assemblies. Now a third-year student at UCLA, Stephan’s music career is blossoming!

The dancing was amazing. There were hip-hop dance crews, an Indian Dance team and an exhibition dance company called “Inter Sanctum”, which created a Cirque Du Solei – like production. All were impressive in their own rights. I imagined that a Latin/Ballroom dance couple would have added a diverse flavor to the mix of predominantly hip-hop performances.

The singers were all so, so talented. I don’t know how the judges managed to determine the winner– a duet called “Ella B. Ross”.

Spring Sing ended at around 11:30pm. A friend I had met there, Angela, and I headed to De Neve dining hall to grab some late night munchies. After a heated discussion about the performances of the night, the two of us headed to a residential hall, Sproul Landing floor 8, which is the performing arts living-learning community. All the residents on that floor are performing artists of some sort, be it music, dance, or theater. So inspired I was by Spring Sing that, upon returning to my own dorm, I went straight to the music room to play piano and practice my (still-poor) singing skills.

Needless to say, all the talent featured in last night’s show are going places.

I am so grateful I decided to go to Spring Sing this year. It was truly a wonderful way to end my time here at UCLA. Even if I’m no longer a student here next year, I’m definitely coming to all future Spring Sings. Perhaps I may perform in it too, one day!


Self-Reflection 5/12/17: Thoughts on Leaving UCLA

Today was a day of heightened emotions and conflicted thoughts. Well, most of my days lately have been like this… but today especially.

I was in the middle of my 7am – 1:30pm shift at Bruin Café, at the smoothie station rinsing out used blenders with hot water, when I had the following thought: What if I just gave up on this “silly dancing dream”, as many people have described it? What if I just stayed at UCLA, finished my degree in a timely manner, got a stable, decent-paying, “real” job, and kept dancing as my passion and primary hobby? Would I be okay with that?

Truth is, I am so afraid. I’ve chosen to give dancing a shot. But what am I really getting myself into? The dance world is, on the outside, beautiful. Glamorous. Fun and exciting. I am drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. The lavish costumes, makeup, crazy hairdos and overdone spray tans are enthralling… addicting. The life of a dancer– traveling the world, competing, performing, training, teaching… it seems like paradise to me.

But here is the reality of the competitive Latin/Ballroom dance circuit– it is so, SO cutthroat. If I aim to dance as a career, I’m up against people who’ve been dancing since they could start walking. While politics are present in any career, it is particularly prominent in the world of dance, where money and connections are oftentimes stronger predictors of competition success than pure dance skill. If I am truly going into Latin dancing as a career, I must be okay with the likely reality of not becoming a top dancer in the world.

Don’t get me wrong– I will fight valiantly to be the best dancer I can be, but if my best effort is not enough to get me to the top, I mustn’t be bitter or upset. No. The journey alone of fighting to fulfill an all-consuming dream is meaningful by definition. If we measured success by external validation, like winning competition titles, getting into top-ranked universities and having a lot of money, then 99% of us would be deemed “unsuccessful”. How many world champion dancers can there be? How many people are awarded Nobel Prizes, Oscars, Tony Awards, in a given year? How many Bill Gates’s are there? If being “the best” is my definition of success, then I am simply setting myself up for disappointment.

I worry that, if I don’t pursue dancing while I’m still young and have the physical ability to, I will live with regret later on. So, I’m giving dance a shot.

That does not mean, however, that I’m not afraid. Initially, upon making the big decision to pursue dancing seriously, I was ecstatic that I’d finally brought my 1+ year-long debate to an end. I chose dance. To reach that decision was no easy task, though.

Mentally, I first had to abolish the self-concocted idea that medicine was the “best” career to go into. That if I didn’t become a doctor, I wouldn’t be considered “successful”. Once I had cleansed my mind of this childish delusion (trust me, it was not easy– I’ve had many moments of relapse), I faced the hard truth that my heart simply wasn’t in premed. For so long, I thought I’d become a physician. It became this self-fulfilling prophecy– I tricked myself into believing that medicine was my calling, then reinforced this belief with actions, like studying an MCAT book, practicing sutures, shadowing doctors, etc. It seemed as if I was on the trajectory to go to medical school, and nothing could possibly sway me from that path. I think the most difficult part of my college experience was giving myself a hard, brutal look within, and facing the fact that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t cut out to be a physician. If the heart is not in it, it doesn’t matter how well you do in your premed classes. You WILL burn out. You WILL NOT be happy.

Now, as the end of my freshman year at UCLA looms closer and closer, I’m feeling more fear than excitement regarding my decision to dance. As the only person in my family to remotely consider a career in art, I have no reference point to go off of. I am carving my own path, deviant from the one I was placed on since birth. In moments of fear and doubt, I question my decision. I know this doubt will manifest itself many, many more times in the future– on off-days at dance practice, on days when I miss my friends at UCLA, on days when I long for the freedom of college life, away from the hawk-eyes of my parents.

I must be determined, and I must remain strong and resolute. Once I make the decision to leave UCLA for good, that’s it. I can’t allow myself to quit when things get difficult with dance. I can’t just say, “Well, dance isn’t working out, so I’ll just go back to UCLA,” the very moment things get tough. Likewise, if I decide to go back to UCLA, I can’t jump back onto my dancing aspirations the moment college academics feels overwhelming. In both cases, I’d be running away from challenges, because the options are presented in front of me. I am capable as a university student, but I’m also capable as a dancer. Running away from your problems is no way to live life, though. What kind of character is that?

No. Once I take that step to move back home and dance, I need to really, really try hard.

To clarify, I don’t plan on quitting college altogether. I will first take one quarter off from UCLA, which gives me 7 months of strictly dancing, during which time I will experience firsthand the life of a dancer. If, at the end of these 7 months, I decide that dancing is something I wish to pursue further, then I will enroll in community college to finish off my GE’s and lower division classes. My hope is that I can transfer to UC Berkeley (or, if I am insanely lucky, Stanford) from there, whilst living at home and training with my Bay Area dance teachers. That’s what the crux of this debate boils down to– my dance teachers and dance family being back home. If I want to give myself the best shot at growing rapidly as a dancer, I must be close to home. College will always be part of the equation. I have no aspirations of dropping out of school. Even if I do end up pursuing dance, I still want to be educated and have a degree to fall back on, should dancing not work out.

I guess my biggest regret of this whole decision is the fact that I’ll have to leave the friends I’ve made at UCLA. I was eating dinner alone at Bruin Plate earlier tonight, when I went to the bathroom, locked myself in a stall and cried empty tears of sadness, loneliness, nostalgia. Even though I’ve been here for only 3 quarters, I can honestly say that I love my school and its people. I will miss my friends. Of course, the beauty of living in a technological era is that friends can remain in touch across long distances. However, communication through wave-like mediums can never replace being physically present with the people you love.

But life isn’t perfect. Sacrifices and compromises must be made (La La Land perfectly epitomizes the struggles and sacrifices artists must face in the pursuits of their dreams). I am grateful that I have a chance to pursue dance. My true friends are the ones who, despite being sad that I’m leaving, fully support my dream. True friendships can withstand any physical divide.

And with that, it is now 1:16 a.m. Tomorrow will be a study day in the morning / early afternoon, followed by dance in the evening. I’ll talk to you guys later!






Spring Quarter Week 5 Reflection: Mental Health, Loneliness, and First Tattoo?!

Hi guys! Hope you all are having a great Saturday!

I apologize for being totally AWOL lately. I know I haven’t been keeping up with my weekly reflections this quarter like I did in previous quarters, which is ironic, since this is the easiest quarter I’ve had at UCLA thus far.

I wish I could say I was doing well… but I’ve been struggling with mental health problems these past few weeks. My mood has been so, so unpredictable. My mother likens my emotions to the stock market– constantly in flux. I have moments of high motivation and ideations of being able to “achieve anything I set my mind to”. But lately, I’ve been feeling a constant lethargy and low motivation. I feel lost, lonely and doubtful of my ability to succeed in life.

I think a big part of my mental health problems stems from the lack of daily structure characteristic of this quarter. I took a lighter course load this quarter so I could focus on dance and improve my mental well-being. I’m beginning to notice a personal trend– when I’m not constantly busy and immersed in work, I get depressed. I lose the regimented structure that I am so familiar with, and in turn, I feel lost. My ten years as a gymnast epitomize the kind of structure and discipline I need to feel most effective and productive. Since leaving the sport, I don’t think I’ve been able to recapture that regimented lifestyle. I ask myself why I can’t create my own structure and keep myself busy, even if I don’t have much schoolwork to study. The fact that I feel at a loss of things to do when not burdened with externally-imposed goals/tasks– i.e. homework assignments, papers, dance competitions, etc.– shows that, perhaps, a lot of my life’s achievements have been extrinsically motivated. Studying hard to get good grades. Training hard in gymnastics and dance to win competitions. What is it that I’m after? Other people’s approval and praise? If I was truly intrinsically motivated to achieve, I would set personal goals and embark on passion projects for my own enjoyment, exploration and learning, rather than robotically completing tasks and challenges laid before me.

How did I get in to UCLA? I studied hard, did well on standardized tests and demonstrated high achievement and dedication to my extracurricular passions. I knew how to play the game– or rather, I was raised in an environment where everyone was furiously playing the same game to ultimately make their ways up the social ladder, via education. But what if all those long nights of studying and hard work amounted to just that? Playing a game. I don’t think I was ever truly invested in learning. I never found a vested interest in any of the subjects I studied in high school. I never had an itch I really wanted to scratch. I studied hard because I wanted to get into a good college. Because that’s what everyone needed to do to become successful, right?

I’m starting to wonder– can I even call myself an intellectual, an academic? On paper, you’d hardly question that I did well in school. I got into some great universities and have been excelling here at UCLA. But simply doing well in school does not make one an intellectual. For my brother Chris, the traditional classroom did not reveal his true bright colors and potential. Disorganized and sloppy at times, he was the kid who’d do his homework the day it was due and forget to turn it in. He has always beat to the beat of his own drum. He’s the kid in the classroom who, instead of frantically copying notes from the board, will raise his hand every ten seconds to ask seemingly out-of-the-blue questions, to the chagrin of his teachers, who often couldn’t provide adequate answers to his inquiries. On paper, he is less than outstanding, at least in comparison to his siblings. He didn’t even get in to UCLA, whereas his sibling both got in as Regents Scholars. But the truth is, of the three of us, Chris is the only one with a true learning mind. If it weren’t for my mother’s constant urging, I’m sure Chris wouldn’t care about his grades. He’s in the classroom to learn. His intentions are pure. My parents used to worry a lot about Chris, because on the outside, he seemed to be the one who didn’t have his sh** together. I don’t think they have anything to worry about, though. His artistic talent is undeniable, his critical thinking skills unrivaled. Chris has a beautiful mind and, more importantly, the warmest heart.

I look at Chris, and I admire him so much. In him, I see a reflection of what I am not. Never have I gone to school out of my own volition. School was just something I had to do. A deterrence to what I really loved– gymnastics and dance. I am here at UCLA, but really, is my heart in my studies? I feel like a horrible person for admitting that, despite being graced with the opportunity of being at UCLA, my heart really just wants to focus on dancing, and see where that path leads me.

As you could all imagine, my parents are NOT happy with my decision to leave UCLA to pursue dance further. Every time I call them to discuss the matter, emotions heighten and we end up fighting. Each conversation ends the same way– my parents frustrated, me hurt that they don’t seem to support me in my pursuit of dance. They are letting me take one quarter off from UCLA, not because they support want me to dance, but rather, so they can keep a closer eye on me and my mental health.

A couple days ago, I went to the ER for a psychiatric emergency. My dear friend Emily walked me to Ronald Reagan hospital, a mere five minute walk from campus, and stayed with me until I was stable. The weeks leading up to that day, I was progressively spiraling lower and lower. My rocky relationship with my parents was one emotional trigger. I hate disagreeing with my parents. All my life, I’ve done what they’ve asked. I was never the “problem” child. I studied hard in school and performed well as as gymnast. I never partied, dated guys, drank, smoke or did drugs. I was a good, clean girl. For the first time ever, I am going deliberately against my parents’ wishes by choosing to explore a career in art. To me, my parents are the voice of reason. They’ve always seemed to know what was right for me. So long as I listened to them, everything was fine. Safe. Stable. But, coming to college, I realized that my heart was definitely not in pre-med. In fact, it probably was somewhere else altogether, beyond college.  And I owe it to myself to follow my heart, right? To be happy. It’s too bad my parents’ definition of happiness (education as a means to attain financial stability) does not align with my own. I am a dreamer, a fantasizer, a young and reckless soul. I’m scared as hell to go against my parents’ better judgement. Maybe I’ve chosen a path that inevitably leads to a wall. I could resign myself to a conventional, stable life of graduating from UCLA, going to medical school and becoming a doc, whilst dancing as a hobby. Not that there is anything wrong with such a life. Most people choose this path, and with good reason. The archetype of the “starving, tormented artist” is not something most people strive to be. In any case, I’m going for dance, simply because I owe it to myself to go for my shot while I’m young and still have this narrow window of opportunity. I don’t want to live in regret. And even if I don’t find success as a dancer, at least I can say I gave it a valiant effort.

Another trigger that led to my latest mental breakdown was, as aforementioned, the light course load I’m taking this quarter. Without needing to constantly be studying, I’ve had more time to sit and ruminate about my decision to leave UCLA and give dancing a shot. During midterm season, everyone around me was studying like crazy. I, on the other hand, had only one theater midterm to worry about, and thus was taking it very easy. I think a part of me missed experiencing the midterm-hype. I know, sounds crazy to say, right? But when all your friends are too busy studying to hang out, and you are the only one on campus taking it easy amidst a heated environment, you feel like a fish out of water. Believe it or not, I felt… lonely. This is the first quarter at UCLA in which I was no longer on the rigorous pre-med track. And maybe, just maybe, a part of me missed it. I know why I took a break this quarter. To focus on myself, my mental health, my dancing. To do some serious soul-searching. I knew I couldn’t possibly decide what I was truly passionate about if I was buried neck-deep in organic chemistry, my perfectionism forcing me to obsessively study in the tunnel-visioned pursuit of getting into medical school. So I took myself out of the academically rigorous environment. In doing so, however, I think I faced a mini identity crisis. For the first time in my life, I felt like… an academic underachiever. Why wasn’t I studying hard like my peers? What the heck was I doing? Was I wasting time, like my mother so often said? Was I doing the right thing?

These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling lonelier than ever. Emotionally divided from my parents, soon to be distanced from my friends. I can’t help but look at my friends and think about how I have only five more weeks left to make memories with them, before it’s back to the Bay. I wonder if the friendships I’ve nurtured this past year will last once I’m no longer in LA. College was the first time in my life that I’ve been able to develop true, meaningful relationships. My heart is full as I recount the many instances in which my friends were there for me, and I for them. I can’t imagine another time in my life where I didn’t feel like an outsider, a lone wolf. Here at UCLA, I’ve discovered the beauty of sharing life experiences with people you love. Life isn’t a single-handedly fought battle to achieve goals. Friendships are not just a “waste of time”. Here at UCLA, I finally feel like I belong to a group of people. It hurts that, just as I had begun to find a second home in UCLA and earn my place in people’s hearts, I will be leaving behind this place and its multi-talented, ambitious, kind people. A part of me has been interested in exploring the so far uncharted territory of dating, but I hesitate to start something right now, when I’ll be leaving in five weeks.

Going back to a couple days ago, when I decided to go to the ER. I was feeling particularly low, empty and unstable, and I feared for my own safety. Even though I was deemed well enough to be released from the hospital after a few hours, my parents decided that I needed to come home so they could be there for me when I have breakdowns such as these.

So now, I am most definitely leaving UCLA for an indeterminate period of time. To my parents, I’m coming home to fix my mental health, while focusing more on dance is a mere “bonus” feature of my primary reason to leave UCLA. To me, I am coming home to dance. If it were just about my fixing my mental health, I would be able to build a support system in LA, without needing to leave behind my friends and the school I love. But, if I go home, I know I’ll be able to continue my growth as a dancer under the tutelage of my teacher, Daniele. For the first time in my life, I’ll be able to put everything into dance. I am excited to see how far I’ll go.

Because I will be moving back home in a matter of one month, I feel a desperate need to relish my freedom while I still have it. Yesterday, I got my first tattoo, on the right side of my ribcage, below the bra-line. It is the word “Endure” printed in black ink and cursive letters. I think the word speaks to the human condition of pushing through in the face of inevitable suffering. The world is a cruel, dark place. I’ve lived in a sheltered, pristine bubble my whole life up until college. Moving away from home exposed me to another side– a darker side– of the world. A side where people take advantage of you and drop you once you’re no longer of use to them; where, no matter how hard you work, success is not a surefire guarantee; a world where the limits of reality constrain you from pursuing what you truly love. College itself is still a bubble. I have yet to brave the “real world”, and I expect it to be even crueler and even darker than college. Such is life. Life is freaking hard, and at times, it takes nearly all I have in me to not let adversity beat me to a pulp. This is why I’ve ingrained the word “Endure” into my very being. We are all enduring, every damn day.

To those of you who’ve known me for a while, you’re probably shocked to hear that I’ve inked my body, as I may very well be the last person you’d imagine to do such a thing. I, for one, am very happy with the way the tattoo turned out, despite the 15 minutes of sharp pain. Shoutout to my friend Linda, who let me squeeze/scratch/twist her hand while I gritted my teeth through the pain of the whirring needle. The place I got my tattoo is called “Shamrock Social Club”. My tattoo artist was Mike, and he was super nice and professional. Shamrock is a bit on the pricey side, but the quality is impeccable. With something as permanent as a tattoo, I didn’t want to risk the artist messing up or using a dirty needle. I called my mom today and told her what I had done (yeah, try as I may, I can never keep big secrets from her). She replied, in a tone laced with disapproval, that her opinion no longer matters, as whatever my parents tell me to do these days, I won’t listen. I’m sure she is referencing the whole dance decision… but either way, I am 19 years old, and I have the right to do what I please with my body and my life. As long as I am safe and make wise decisions, I don’t see anything morally wrong with getting a tattoo. I grew up in a conservative Mormon family, spurning the practices of drinking coffee, consuming alcohol, smoking, using drugs, gambling, desecrating your body with tattoos and multiple piercings, and engaging in sex before marriage. I automatically assumed that all such behaviors were innately wrong. Coming to college, I have become a lot more tolerant towards people who do engage in such behaviors. I am no longer quick to judge people based on their lifestyle choices. In fact, I’ve personally explored some of the above experiences, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, as long as you are safe, there is nothing wrong with having a little fun once in a while. I do know that going home will mark the end of all such behaviors, at least for a long while. It’ll be back to the pure, disciplined life I led before leaving home. But, if that is the cost of pursuing dance, then so be it.

Alrighty guys, I need to head to bed soon. Gotta wake up early tomorrow to study! I just remembered– I forgot to talk about my first day of work at Bruin Café. It was a fun experience indeed! Expect a blog post on that coming tomorrow, as well as on my current status on dating/romantic relationships. Lots of juice on the latter topic.

Meanwhile, I am combating my depression by creating a set structure for each day. Keeping busy helps. Starting work at the café has kickstarted me back into the structured grind, and my mental health has shown a marked improvement since. I’m also going to update my blog on a weekly basis once more (I’m telling you guys this so I’ll be held accountable, should I feel myself slipping). I’m determined to end this last quarter at UCLA with a bang, both academically and experience-wise. I’d love to go to Santa Monica beach, attend a movie premier at the Bruin Regency Theater, swim in every pool at UCLA and try every exotic restaurant in Westwood. Mostly, I want to remember my year at UCLA as a positive one of immense growth and maturation.