End of Week 4 Reflection

Hey guys! It’s 3:05am right now as I start this post. My friends went out to a Halloween party tonight, but I decided to stay in, as I have an influx of midterms (round 2) coming up next week. Gotta study study study!

Sleep, again, is a lost cause tonight. Probably because of that double shot pumpkin spice latte I drank at 11:00pm. On the bright side, at least I have more time and energy to write this post!

Lots have happened these past couple days! Yesterday, my parents gave me and Austin a surprise visit from home. I think the real reason they came down was to deliver food to me, to make sure my roommates and I weren’t starving in our apartment. Quite frankly, they came at just the right time, as we literally had no food in our apartment, and none of us had the incentive to go grocery shopping, with the vast amount of studying we all had to do. But man… how great are my parents? Seriously… they drove the 12 hour round-trip commute, just to give me homemade food. I don’t know anyone else who’d do that. I love my parents. Their love for their children is boundless. They are truly the best. I’m excited to see them again in a few weeks, for Thanksgiving holiday!

Next topic of discussion– studying. Goodness. It’s been a true ordeal, studying for midterms. I’ve been having so much difficulty with concentration, which has never been a problem for me until now. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it has something to do with me stopping my medications. By the way, I started taking my meds again, after my dad brought me a fresh prescription of Prozac. Hopefully, once the medications kick in, I will feel more like myself.

My inability to focus when studying may also stem from the mania, which has been creeping back since I stopped taking Lamictal and Abilify, the mood stabilizers. I can’t sit still for long periods of time. Eventually, I gave up on sitting while studying and resorted to standing up, with my books and laptop conveniently placed on a cardboard box. I pace around when trying to grasp concepts. It scares me that I no longer seem to have full control over my mind. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to focus for long stretches of time. Now, I cannot boast such a quality.

I know I want to major in psychology, but none of the prerequisite courses for the psych major are truly related to what I wish to study. This quarter, I’m taking a statistics class, a “science for non-science majors” course, and elementary Russian. All of these classes have their respective difficulties. I have the notoriously difficult professor for my stats class; the pseudo-science class I’m taking, as interesting as it may be, is more challenging than expected; and don’t even get me started on Russian… a very difficult language indeed.

I will be seeing my psychiatrist down in SoCal tomorrow, so I hope talking to her about my recent mental battles will alleviate some of my stress.

To be honest, I’m almost halfway through my college journey, and I have not enjoyed most of my courses– especially not the science ones. I have hopes that, once I hit the upper division classes, things will get more interesting, as such courses will align better with my interests. I’m starting on my potential English minor/major next quarter, taking English 4W. Very excited for that. And I plan on taking a psych upper division class, which should be very engaging. Things will get better, I know it.

Dance. Seriously guys, dance has been the reason I’m still sane. Whenever I feel like my brain is going to explode, and I can go no further with my studying, I break out my dance shoes and release pent-up tension and negativity. I’m so blessed that I have dance as a passion and outlet.

Last night, my friends and I went out to get Halloween costumes. I’m going to be a 1920s flapper girl this year! I’m so happy I’m not sick this year on Halloween, like I was last year. I shudder at the memory of being bed-ridden with a nasty respiratory/GI virus last year around this time. The tossing and turning in my tangled bed sheets; cold sweats and shivers; hacking cough; dizziness upon standing up; going to the bathroom every ten minutes; not feeling strong enough to eat food; etc. etc. Yeah, it was a trying time. And my illness hit me right around the time of midterms, which was a nightmare! But this year, there’s none of that. Probably ’cause I’m living in an apartment, which is a lot cleaner than the crowded quarters of the dorms.

I really really want to go to a Halloween party on Tuesday with my friends, but I have a midterm on Thursday for my science class. That’s why I’ve been staying up so late– to study hard so I can have fun on Halloween day.

Alrighty, guys! It’s 3:30am now. Starting to feel the drowsiness sink in. Gonna get some shut-eye and start again tomorrow!

Have a great weekend!







Wednesday, 10/25/17: Reflection

Hey guys! It’s 12:49am as I begin this post. Technically Thursday morning, but who’s keeping track?

I’ve officially renounced sleep as a lost cause for tonight. Got an iced cappuccino by my side and a stack of homework papers and textbooks awaiting to be studied. Decided to take a little study break and recap on the happenings of today!

I had planned on waking up at 4:00am this morning to study, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I awoke at 8:45am, dragged myself out of bed and arrived right on time to my 9:30am Russian class. I was pretty exhausted from the start of the day… no amount of caffeine could perk me up. The iced vanilla latte I drank after Russian class kept me from nodding off while studying in between classes, but my consciousness was still very much blurred throughout the rest of the day.

My LS 15 group and I had our debate today! As I had not spoken in public for a bit, my skills were a bit rusty, and I was ostensibly nervous. It didn’t help my nerves that I had stepped up to be one of the “rebuttlers” of my group, a role which required one to think on one’s feet. Impromptu speaking is definitely not one of my strong suits, but I’m eager to improve! As I’ve regained momentum towards my goal of becoming a confident public speaker, I will 100% be attending tomorrow’s Bruin Toastmasters meeting, and hopefully get some public speaking practice in! Very excited to see how far I can grow as an orator.

My parents have decided to come down to LA once more this weekend, to “visit” me and Austin, but more likely to make sure I’m not starving in my apartment. As you all know, my diet of late has been absolutely unacceptable, and I must change my eating habits, left I wish to gain any more weight. I’m too scared to even step on the scale at this point, because I already know I’ll quiver at the number I will see. Just gotta regain that discipline surrounding healthy lifestyle habits, like diet, exercise and sleep (*cough cough I should probably go to bed soon).

I don’t remember feeling this overwhelmed with studies last year, as a pre-med student. The three classes I am currently taking are not notorious for being especially difficult, so I wonder why I must put in so much work just to stay afloat. Russian is understandable– it’s a brand new unfamiliar language, and a complex one, at that. I’m taking Psych 100A with the difficult (but very good-looking) professor, Dr. Jaffe, so I guess that explains why I must study so much to do well in his class. LS 15 did not live up to its potential as an “easy-A”. Not by a long shot. I’m playing catch-up in that class, since I didn’t put in nearly enough time into studying the material, what with my preconceived notions of the course’s difficulty-level.

I was thinking of going out with friends on Thursday– remember what I said in an earlier post about my desire to EXPERIENCE as much as I can while young? I’m not sure if I can anymore, though, with a Russian quiz on Friday and my LS 15 midterm in 9 days, and a dance competition in a few weeks’ time. Lots going on. Must care for mental health and preserve my sanity.

I’m gonna end tonight’s brief post here. I’m just about reaching the watermark of overload. Which means I should try to get some rest… at least try. And then start the grind once more tomorrow (or today, I should say).

I’ve been trying this new thing whenever I start to feel overwhelmed with stress. I recite the script in my head, “Everything will be okay. Don’t stress. Life is beautiful. All will be fine.” Something of that variation. And, even though such words may be difficult to believe in that moment, I still find comfort in them, as they puts my stressors into perspective, drastically reducing their overarching significance. It’s like taking your mind on an airplane ride and leaving on the ground all your stressors– quizzes, exams, midterms, responsibilities, etc.– until the stressors that once were the size of trucks, is now no larger than an ant.

Alrighty guys! Take care of yourselves. Happy Hump Day, and have a great rest of the week!









Hi guys! I was writing in my private diary this morning, when the following thoughts spewed out, and I decided to turn this private internal conversation into a public one. Enjoy!


It’s Tuesday of Week 4 at UCLA. Currently 6:53am. I’m sitting inside the Starbucks next to the Fox theater. This has become a new favorite study spot of mine. Did some good Russian studying here yesterday. 

Ahh.. just got up to grab my pumpkin spice frappuccino– grande with whipped cream. Tastes sooo delish… Figured I’d reward myself for getting up early to exercise. I’m trying to get back on a healthy track, though this frapp doesn’t seem to be helping. But what the hey? I felt like getting a frapp to wake me up for the coming day, so get the frapp I did.

It’s a little chilly inside here. My outfit of the day: black velvet pants from American Vintage (it has this really cute front zipper that zips up to the belly, thus containing my ever-growing paunch); black tank top; and black wedges. I parted my hair to one side today, as my bangs are growing long enough for me to do so.

I think I’m doing a good job of preserving my sanity at the moment. Especially given the whole medication situation. I ran out of Prozac last week, and have since made the decision to stopped my mood stabilizers, so my moods don’t get too low. I don’t think it’s healthy for me to play doctor. I really need to schedule another appointment with Dr. Rees.

I have some big news, Diary– I’m writing my first book! It’s gonna be a compilation of my blogs from 2014 to now, with some private diary entries interspersed in between. It’s gonna be great. I’m super excited. That’s part of the reason why I decided to get up so early today– so I can work on my writing before class starts at 11:00am!

Man… I don’t think getting 3 hours of sleep out of PERSONAL CHOICE was a particularly good decision. I’m starting to feel the drowsiness. Eyes glazed over, vision blurred, mindlessly sipping on my frappuccino, shivering because it is so damn cold inside Starbucks. I think I’m gonna head outside, where it is warmer. Ah, the sun is rising, finally! Be right back.

Alright! I’m outside now. Definitely better out here, without the blasting AC and all. Sunlight is also keeping me awake. Man, why do I always do things like this? Thinking I can subsist just fine off of a few hours of sleep (I slept at about 1:30am and woke up at 4:30am)… I oftentimes overestimate my true capacity. We all like to believe that we can do ANYTHING; that we are super-humans, with no sense of personal limitation.

I believe that one of the most courageous things one could do, though, is to recognize one’s own limits and accept the times when they are immutable. I’m a firm believer in growing yourself beyond your innate capacity, but I’m beginning to recognize that sometimes, you just gotta accept certain aspects of yourself that won’t change, no matter how much work you put in.

Take, for instance, the whole sleep situation. There are some people in this world who can function just fine with three to four hours of sleep (I have yet to meet one personally, but I’m sure they exist). I, on the other hand, need at least seven hours to operate at my full capacity. I doesn’t matter how much I try to “train” myself to be able to subsist off of less sleep; seven hours is the biological minimum number of hours of sleep I need.

Let’s look at a better example. Like personality traits. For most my life, I’ve strongly identified as an introvert. Throughout high school, I suffered from crippling shyness that took years to overcome. Even now– a more confident, outspoken college student– I still have times of inward withdrawal, during which the social anxiety creeps back in, and I’m more likely to be found in my room than out at some social event or party. I used to feel so much shame attached to my “quiet” moments. A large part of that is society talking– society seems to better select for the extroverts and outspoken leaders, and for my entire life, I’ve been trying my best to fight to “submissive, quiet Asian kid” stereotype in hopes of better molding into society’s upper echelon.

In rejecting one stereotype, though, I simply conform to another. Where have I– Belicia– disappeared to, through all of this? When we take society and outward expectation out of the equation, who am I, truly?

Like most things in life, my identity is neither black nor white. I do have times of loud, outward projection– that’s usually the manic Belicia talking– during which people perceive me as the epitome of extroversion, the life of the party, the outgoing, charismatic friend with the larger than life, “super extra” personality. Then there’s the other Belicia. The one who simply craves her alone time. The one reluctant to speak up for the group, but does so anyway out of felt obligation to live up to others’ expectations. The one whose palms sweat when meeting a new person; the one who’d rather cut short a conversation out of personal exhaustion, but smiles politely and continues talking, so as not to appear rude or (more importantly), blow my guise as the secret introvert only my closest friends and family know.

All my life, I’ve been endlessly haunted by the need to bend my back to others’ expectations, so much so that my spine threatens to break. My god, I just long to be FREE! I just want to live, unabashedly me, without shame or judgement. I want to build so solid an identity and self-awareness that I don’t keep changing my outward appearance, my demeanor, or my ideals, based on surrounding people or environment. I don’t need others to hold such power over my life. I don’t want to live for other people. I owe no one anything, aside from the people I truly care about. I know that statement sounds blunt, rote, harsh… but it’s the truth. Anyway, I just want to be me, without shame or fear.







A New Outlook on Life

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hi guys.

It’s currently 8:33pm as I sit at Powell library– not at my favorite desk, unfortunately, as someone has already claimed it. Anyway, before I crank out a late night study session, I want to take a few minutes to release some thoughts and emotions.

I haven’t been feeling like myself lately. I find it difficult to focus on tasks, be it studying or dancing. I’ve tried different strategies to help me better concentrate– changing study locations, eliminating as much distraction as possible, treating grueling assignments like games, with food and Grey’s Anatomy being the reward. Still, though, something is up with me, and I think I know the reason why.

On October 17, I ran out of Prozac, and was planning on sticking it out until October 20, the date of my scheduled appointment with my SoCal psychiatrist, Dr. Rees. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of scheduling a 7am appointment, and unsurprisingly, I slept right through it. I have yet to reschedule an appointment with the doc. Until then, I must make do without my medication. It’s all my fault for not having prioritized my mental health by rescheduling an appointment the minute I had missed it. Since my last prescription came from the Kaiser in NorCal, I can’t call the phone number on the old prescription bottle, as my psychiatrist up there doesn’t do mail-in medications, and she’d rather I figure out all my prescription stuff with my doctor down here. It’s kind of a mess, but I’m hoping all will be fine between now and my next appointment. To make a long story short, I’ve been feeling the lousy way I have, largely because I abruptly stopped my medications, which in turn did a 180 on my brain. The mood stabilizers work to suppress my high moods, but without the Prozac buffer, I worry that my moods will dip below the threshold of normal. Moral of the story: STAY ON YOUR MEDS! I wish I had the capacity to know which medications at what dosage to take and when it’s safe to stop taking them… but alas, I’m no doctor.

I must be kind to myself, though, and realize that my recent low productivity and inability to focus on tasks is NOT a measure of who I am– don’t worry, Belicia, you are not suddenly a lazy and useless noodle unworthy of love or respect– you are just going through some brain chemistry changes that will soon be fixed. There, I said it. Now, it’s time to believe it.

I’m gonna start studying now. LS 15 is kind of kicking my ass. Russian is a lot better, after Friday’s marathon studying. Psych 100A is not too bad anymore either, also owing to the hard work I put in on Friday. Just gotta keep it up! I’ll talk to you guys later in the night, when I take my study break.


Monday, Oct. 23, 2017


Lol guys. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to finish this post yesterday. On the bright side, I was able to finish most of my studying and am, for the most part, caught up with all my classes’ material.

As I’ve told y’all before, my diet has been absolutely horrendous. I can’t even begin to list out all the trash I’ve been ingesting these past few days… it seems as if all my self-discipline surrounding food has gone down the drain. Very, very bad, Belicia. Starting tonight, I will try harder to get back on track with a sticking to a healthy diet. Kind of difficult to do, though, when your apartment-life menu options are limited to frozen dinners and ramen noodles. My parents strongly advise I get a basic meal plan, just so I’m guaranteed at least one good meal a day. I’m beginning to think that’s a good idea. Even though doing so may be a little more expensive, my health and wellness surpass all talk of money. I need a well-functioning body to perform at my greatest mental capacity.

I woke up this morning with the intention to start treating myself KINDLY; replace the drill-sergeant voice in my head with a more loving, compassionate one. The shift in mindset has made me feel a lot more positive and accepting towards myself. I am no longer scrutinizing my faults and hating myself for being the imperfect being I am. I’m learning to accept imperfection as a part of what makes me, ME. I’m learning to separate WHAT I DO from WHO I AM. I’m no longer taking myself all too seriously. I laugh at my countless social faux pas’s and embarrassing “Belicia” moments. I now try to perceive things like college exams, projects, dance competitions and performances as fun challenges– not end-all-be-all stressors that put my face at stake.

I am in the process of expanding my worldview beyond the small, titular world of standardized measures of skill. While grades do matter, they far from encapsulate everything of importance in life. There is so, so much more in the grand scheme of things than earning straight A’s. My goal has shifted from being a perfect student to doing well in school, whilst experiencing as much I can in my youth, at a place of limitless opportunity like UCLA. As an aspiring writer, it is of utmost importance that I know life from the inside-out. It is not enough for me to read about life through the lenses of others. To be a student of the world, I must experience things for myself to truly understand how others think and feel in different circumstances, and ultimately paint such deeply felt, universal experiences into words.

It’s approaching 1am as I wrap up this post. Got a long day ahead, and I look forward to what wonders, beauties, knowledge and joy tomorrow will bring!!







Life… It’s So Damn Beautiful

Hello, dear friends!

It’s 1:57am, technically Sunday morning, but I’ll just pretend it’s still Saturday night. This following post will be brief, as I am in dire need of some shut-eye.

I’m just in one of those strange moods where, in spite of all the tragedy and turmoil happening in this world today, everything in my little bubble, in this very moment, seems just right. Everything feels as if it will work itself out in the end.

We all live, and we all die. Death is a great equalizer– it’s one of the only certainties of the human condition. The question, what do we do with the in-between? How do you as an individual want to live your life, until your departure?

I speak to you from the philosophical, existential state of mind I sometimes find myself in, usually during times of tumult, but sometimes during moments of peace and contentedness, like right now. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the exhaustion from studying all day yesterday and today talking. Whatever it is, all I know is that, in this moment, I live in a state of utter clarity. I’ve gotten a rare glimpse of the searing sunlight, and I’d like to share with you all what I see.

What is a human life? It’s but a tiny speck in the grand scheme of the universal lifespan. When you step back from the day-to-day stress, deadlines, responsibilities, leave your little microcosmic self-formed bubble of negativity, and open your eyes long enough to see Truth– that we are all creatures of the Earth, brought into this world without having a say, and destined to die– you should feel an immense load lifted from your chest. Life is short, life is beautiful. Cherish each day you have here in the land of the living. Love endlessly, and let yourself be loved.

I told you this post would be short. I bid you all a good night (or, in this case, a pleasant morning) with my utmost positivity, love and goodwill. Whatever struggles you may be facing at the moment, I sympathize with you. Just know that such times will pass, and soon become a fleeting memory. All the while, the clock will keep ticking, the Earth will continue spinning on its axis, and life will remain in motion. You don’t know when your last day here will be. Tomorrow could be it. Or 70 years from now. Who knows? Only He does. Let’s make a promise to one another that tomorrow, we will live each second with the utmost gratitude simply for being alive and breathing and healthy! Screw unnecessary stress. Let it all go. Life’s too short to put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Just be you, and that is enough.





With my best,


Friday 10/20/17: Reflection

Omg guys. It’s 11:04 am, I just got out of Russian class, and I am freaking out because I didn’t understand a single thing the teacher talked about in class!

I feel so behind in Russian… I feel like everyone else in the class is grasping the material, and I’m the only one drowning. Maybe it’s because I haven’t taken a language course since freshman year of high school, and I’m really rusty at learning languages. But Russian is proving to be very, very difficult for me. I don’t even find office hours useful at this point, as I don’t understand the grammar well enough to know what questions to ask. I will get it eventually. That much, I know.  Just gotta put the pedal to the metal and study the living hell out of this stuff.

For that reason, I decided to not go home this weekend. I just called my mom, who agreed that if I had too much studying to do, I should stay at UCLA and focus, as traveling takes a lot of time. You know where to find me for the rest of the day– Powell library! I have a statistics discussion from 3-3:50pm, but aside from that, I’m done with classes for the day. Speaking of stats, yesterday’s lecture was pretty overwhelming as well. And LS 15 is not getting any easier either. Plus, my LS 15 group and I are debating next Wednesday, and we haven’t met up yet to rehearse. Clearly, I have lots to do this weekend. No dancing until I get my stuff done.

I know I’m not a genius. But right now, I feel well below average in terms of innate intelligence. If there’s one thing I can do, though, it’s work hard. So whatever I lack in innate ability, I will compensate with my discipline and work ethic. Thank you, God, and thank you, gymnastics. But I mustn’t go crazy, either. Gotta remember to take care of myself.

Speaking of caring for myself… I totally missed my appointment with my psychiatrist this morning at 7am. I should have known better than to schedule an appointment that early… I really need to reschedule soon, though, as I’ve run out of Prozac, the anti-depressant. Hopefully I don’t relapse into a depression as a result…

Alrighty guys. I can’t procrastinate any longer with writing. Gotta get to work. Wish me luck!


I’ve been studying Russian for a good two hours, with a ten minute walking break in between. I feel like my head is gonna explode, and I know I’m beyond tears when I start laughing at how ridiculously difficult this subject (придмет) is. I think it’s time to eat some lunch– I’m positively famished, and my brain needs the energy to continue to function.


Back at the apartment. Went to discussion section for Psych 100A (stats class), but I find studying on my own more useful than listening to the TAs regurgitate what the (really hot) professor said in lecture. Did some groceries and washed the dishes. Now gotta get back to studying statistics. At 8pm, my friend Michael from Russian class is coming over to study with me. After we finish studying, I’m probably going to study some LS 15. Doesn’t look like I’m going out tonight!


Hey guys! Currently sitting in Powell library. Just rode my bike here from my apartment. I ended up leaving the house for a couple hours to dance. After getting my sanity back, I went back to my apartment, took a shower and had a Russian study session with Michael. It helped a lot, actually, to study with someone who understood the material better than me. Plus, Michael’s a fun, nice guy, so being around him makes studying a lot more bearable.

After Michael left, I continued to study, only to realize that I had exhausted my productivity, and was in dire need of a change of scenery, if I were to study any more. So here I am now, at Powell, about to continue cranking away. Got my iced coffee by my side and a bag of snacks, toiletries, phone/laptop chargers, paper, pens and textbooks. Plan for tonight: do a few more hours of Russian, a couple hours of stats and call it a night. Well, by the time I finish, it’ll be morning. There are certain times in life that call for all-nighters. This is one of those times. I am determined to stay up until I understand the material. So, without further delay, I must end this post to accomplish my mission. Here I go!




Thursday 10/19/17: Reflection

Happy Thursday, friends!

It’s currently 10:45am. I have 15 minutes to kill before my first class of the day starts. I went to my LS 15 TA office hours earlier– she held them at the Café Med, located in the David Geffen School of Medicine. Saw lots of cute guys in white coats walking around… potential boyfriend material? I think yes! Lol, just joking with y’all. But it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start spending some more time studying there…

Today was an all-black feels kinda day, so I’m wearing my velvet black boot-leg pants; fuzzy black cardigan from– dare I say it– Justice!; and a black fedora to cover my untamable hair. Going makeup free today, as my skin needs to breathe. It’s a sunny day, so I must pay for my choice of outfit…

Class ends at 12:15pm, and Bruin Toastmasters holds their weekly Thursday meetings from 12pm-1pm. I’m debating whether it’s worth attending– I really want to hone my public speaking skills, but the time conflict, coupled with the long walking distance to the meeting HQ, is a deterrent to my motivation. Perhaps I can practice my speaking in other ways! Grab every opportunity I can to get up in front of people and say a few words. You know, I dream of giving a TED talk one day. I have a feeling it’ll happen, once I become confident enough to speak in front of hundreds of people. I’ve danced and competed in front of hundreds– what’s giving a little talk in comparison?

Class is about to start. Hopefully I don’t fall asleep again. We have three more lectures until the midterm, so I gotta perk up and focus. Thankfully, I got 8.5 hours of sleep last night, so I’m feeling refreshed.


Hi friends. I just got back home from an evening dance practice at Westmor Dance Studio, over in Koreatown (about a 20 minute drive from UCLA). Midterm grades for my statistics class are up– I got a 44/50, which is 88%. I’ll be honest— I was a little disappointed, as the exam seemed easy enough, and I expected to have scored at least in the low 90s. In a way, this is really really good though. I’m more motivated than ever to study harder, find out which concepts are still fuzzy for me, and reassess my study/time management skills and see how I can better the two. Let’s actually do that right now, before I begin my marathon study session.

What’s been going on the past three weeks that have made me underperform academically?

  1. Adjusting to apartment life. Not trying to make excuses for myself, but I think this is a legitimate reason why my grades have not been at the level I want them to be. With apartment life comes added responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, taking out the trash, etc. etc. Things I never had to worry about while living in the dorms (or under your parents’ roof, for that matter). Sometimes, I find myself procrastinating from studying by cooking. This cannot happen anymore. Last year, in the dorms, the main distraction that came with studying in my room was my bed, which continually beckoned to me as I tried to concentrate on chemistry homework. This year, my apartment kitchen is the culprit. Once I learned how to operate a stove and actually make hot food, I became very excited, and enjoyed experimenting with new recipes. Just today, I made myself some stir-fry egg noodles with olive oil, soy sauce and ground pepper. Was not half bad. But I digress. Bottom line is, I need to cut down my kitchen time, so I’ll have more time to focus on my studies. And I can’t be using cooking and cleaning as procrastination tools that keep me away from my main priority, which is academics!   
  2. Study skills. Hm.. I’ve always prided myself on my good study habits, which have heretofore worked relatively well for me. I guess one thing I could do differently is cut back on the music I play in the background while studying. Not saying that I can NEVER, EVER listen to music while doing problem sets and such… but for things that require 100% concentration, like learning a new concept or reading the textbook, I should remove the earbuds from my ears and replace them with orange foam earplugs. Here’s a study tip I must incorporate into my own learning: study something until you know it well enough to teach it to someone. If you can’t explain the concept clearly in your own words, you have more work to do.
  3. Putting too much time into studying Russian. Russian is indeed a difficult language, and I have a strong desire to master it. But I mustn’t neglect my other two subjects! Maybe that’s why I didn’t do well on my first LS 15 quiz and Psych 100A midterm. On the bright side, I got a 100% on my Russian quiz, though it was pretty easy.
  4. Sleep. Yeah, my sleep schedule has seen better days. It’s improved a lot from last year, but still needs work. How can I understand concepts when I’m dozing off in lecture or nodding in and out of consciousness during my early morning study sessions? It’s not productive. Sleep is key. I need a well-functioning brain to perform well academically, and getting enough sleep is half the battle.
  5. Of course, we all could do with less social media time. I’m gonna delete my Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat apps from my phone, at least until things slow down. Gotta focus, Belicia!

Alrighty, guys. I will start studying now. Feeling the drowsiness starting to settle in, but I gotta push through it. Maybe brew myself a batch of black tea to keep me up. Have a great night!



Wednesday 10/18/17: Reflection

Good morning guys! It’s currently 5:43am. And guess where I am? In my favorite spot on campus– the Janns steps grassy hill! I brought my yoga mat out here today, so I’m really looking forward to not having to saunter around in wet pants.

I’m all alone out here, but I feel completely safe. UCLA is my second home, and I’m so glad I decided to stay, instead of transferring to some other university.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is playing in the background from my MacBook Air. A dog and its owner have just trotted past me– cool to know I’m not the only one who likes to start their day early. I love waking up early, getting things done efficiently and having the rest of the day for my own enjoyment.

Game plan for today:

  • Meditate
  • Finish Russian homework (I was so tired last night I couldn’t finish my handwriting practice)
  • Read ahead for LS 15 and Psych 100A (stats)
  • Go to Russian class
  • Meet with a Daily Bruin writer for an interview on my sexual assault experience
  • prep for today’s LS 15 quiz (easy-peesy lemon squeezy)
  • Meet up with LS 15 debate group before our 2pm discussion to discuss our debate next week
  • LS 15 discussion until 4pm
  • Go back to apartment, eat food
  • STUDY!!!!
  • Dance practice at John Wooden Center
  • Dinner (in Westwood, maybe)
  • run errands (groceries, bank account stuff, etc.)
  • Call Mom sometime during the day

It’s getting a bit chilly. I just took my sweater off, as the walk to campus from my apartment warmed me up, but I shall now put it back on. Give me a sec.

Alrighty, I’m back. So a couple nights ago, UCLA’s Regents Scholar Society hosted a professional development night, where a couple finance companies– D.E. Shaw, and another one whose name I keep forgetting– came and spoke to us about internship opportunities. There, I crossed paths with the guy I liked for most of last year (and, to clarify, he did not share my sentiment).

I am 100%– no, 1000%– over him, but seeing him still brings up feelings of embarrassment, as he was my first real rejection. I wish we could still be friends, but it is what it is. Anyway, I did not so much as gaze in his direction (okay, maybe I did a couple times), but refused to say hello, as I was too uncomfortable. It’s okay. He’s graduating a year early, so this year will be his last at UCLA, and I’ll never have to see him again! Lol, Belicia. What is this, middle school? Real talk, though, this experience brings up memories of my awkward adolescence– ducking around corners and hiding from crushes, cute guys and good-looking teachers alike, instead of standing my ground and keeping my wits about me.

It’s 6:07am now, and the drowsiness is setting in. I’m gonna relax and meditate now, then start on my homework when the sun starts to rise. Talk to y’all soon!


Hey guys! Just finished the last of my classes for the day. Feeling: super motivated to study hard and learn. Why? Because today in my LS 15 discussion, I was the only one who answered the question about sex-linked traits incorrectly (the TA had everyone raise their hands for the answer they thought was correct. I was the only person who raised their hand for option “C”). I’m not angry or ashamed of myself for answering incorrectly. I’m just concerned that I’m not grasping the concepts thoroughly, which is why I must study harder. Granted, I have been putting the least amount of time into LS 15, as most of my time is allotted to studying Russian and Psych 100A. This is the consequence.

I know I’m very, very, VERY far from being a genius, by any standard. In some ways, I’m grateful for my lack of innate intellectual ability, as I’ve been forced to work hard for what I achieve, which makes my accomplishments all the more meaningful.

So, plan for the rest of the day:

  • Study LS 15. Read textbook and take notes; make flashcards for important vocabulary terms; type up last week’s free-response quiz answer and correct what I got wrong (I got a 10 out of 12 on last’ week’s quiz, which is at least better than the 7 out of 12 I got on my first quiz). (2 hrs)
  • LS 15 debate: research on debate topic and gather sources. Our group goes next week! (1 hr)
  • Russian 1: study today’s grammar rules– nominative and prepositional cases, as well as new vocabulary (2 hrs)



Hey everyone! I’m laying under my covers, finishing up today’s post, whilst listening to the soundtrack of “Crimson Peak”. LOVE that movie, btw. One of the few horror films that are actually decent. Anyway, today ended up being quite productive. As planned, I studied LS 15 and Russian 1. I managed to negotiate my quiz grade with my LS 15 TA via email. She ended up bumping up my grade from a 10/12 to 12/12. She had made a mistake in my grading, and I pointed it out to her. Gotta give myself credit where credit’s due, right?

The remainder of the night was spent editing some international students’ college admissions essays. I’m getting paid for doing something I enjoy– though editing can be a huge pain at times, especially when the writer has yet to grasp the basic fundamentals of the English language. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be, though, for international students to write essays in a foreign language. A for effort, indeed!

Tomorrow’s gonna be a long day. Office hours for LS 15 in the morning, followed by office hours for Russian 1, followed by LS 15 lecture, followed by a Bruin Toastmasters meeting, followed by Psych 100A class in the afternoon. Then study and dance. It’s a good life, and I truly mean it when I say it.

Alrighty, guys, I’m gonna end the post here. Gotta get some shut-eye before tomorrow’s long haul.



Tuesday 10/17/17 Reflection

It’s 9:45 am as I sit on the grassy area next to UCLA’s famous Janss steps. I woke up at 7am today, ate breakfast consisting of Vanilla Greek yogurt with granola, and two slices of cinnamon raisin bread. After changing into my outfit of the day– cozy black Harvard sweatpants (it’s kind of a joke that I brought them to UCLA, but hey— at least they’re comfortable!); a floral crop top from Hollister; and my pink unicorn flip flops.

I studied a bit more for today’s stats midterm, but honestly, I don’t think there is much else I can do to prepare, as I’ve pretty much exhausted the material. I’m trying this new thing called “not going overkill with studying”. Work hard, but no need to go overboard and live and die with each exam. Do what is necessary, and leave it at that. What is the difference between a 98% and 100%, after all? When you’re strategic about how much time you devote to studying, and how much you allot to enjoyable pastimes, you end up with the best of both worlds! Last night, I told myself that I would not do any Russian homework that night, as I had just taken a Russian quiz that morning. Instead, I focused on doing some brush-up studying for today’s stats midterm and read some of my textbook assignment for my LS 15 class (science for non-science majors).

At around 9:30am, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day outside, and took my phone and laptop to the lawn. I called my mother and made plans for this coming weekend (I decided to fly back to the Bay Friday night and return to school Sunday evening). Afterwards, I opened my laptop and began this post!

Well, it’s almost 10:00am now. I have class in one hour. Better get back to the library and prep for lecture. Talk to you guys soon!


Hey guys. A very exhausted Belicia here talking. I feel a legitimate heartbeat on the tips of my two big toes– they’re throbbing badly after a long, painful dance practice. Got back to the apartment about an hour ago, actually. Did my Russian homework, took a shower, got ready for bed, and now I’m here, finishing off today’s entry.

Today’s stats midterm was not half bad. Questions were reasonable. I think I did well, and I didn’t kill myself over studying. Sign of growth! Go me! My only qualm is the size of the desks we took our exams on. We had to squeeze papers, pencils and calculators on those sad excuses of desks that can barely fit the length of my forearm. That was the main distraction I had during the midterm, what with papers flying around and writing stationary rolling on the ground.

I had dinner with my friend Grace, who swiped me in to one of my favorite dining halls, De Neve. Every time I eat at a dining hall now, I feel so blessed to be surrounded by piles of real, steaming, gourmet food. It’s a great change from the usual canned goods I call my dinner. Lol. My eating habits have been pretty poor– I no longer watch my diet or restrict my calories. If there’s food around, I will eat it. In some ways, this is good, as I’m no longer practicing the self-harmful behaviors of purging or starving myself. I’m growing to love myself wholly, and that includes caring for my body. Which means I should probably cut down on the sweets and carbs, and load up on protein, fruits and veggies. New goal, starting tomorrow!

Dance practice was good. My partner and I made progress. I think I was a little less impatient today, or at least tried to be. Sometimes, I think I take myself much too seriously. I need to let loose sometimes and just let the journey take me places, instead of constantly trying to CONTROL everything that happens to me. In that sense, I really admire my brother Chris– the one studying music at U of Michigan. I don’t think he’s ever lost a wink of sleep over worrying about things out of his control. He kind of just goes with the flow and enjoys his life. A happy medium between me and Chris would be ideal. I think Austin fits that mould perfectly. He’s cognizant enough about his future and responsibilities, but not to the point of stress and anxiety. Goodness… why must I worry so much? Oh right… my anxiety. That was as dumb question. It may also be temperament and personality. Maybe I’m just inherently a more high-strung, nervous, uptight person. Nothing wrong with that, as long as I’m keeping myself mentally healthy. Doing things that require me to let go, trust in my intuition and embrace uncertainty- things like dance, writing, improv, and activities completely out of my comfort– helps me develop the skill of adapting to novel environments and letting go of the need to plan everything out.

Alright, guys. I think I’ll end the post here. Gotta get sufficient shut-eye, so I don’t fall asleep in lecture tomorrow, the way I did today. Have a great night!



Monday 10/16/17: Lessons Learned about My Mania

The older I get, the more I value the importance of daily self-reflection as a means to live the most authentic life you could possibly lead. It’s a way to ensure that you’re continuously growing and bettering yourself each day; checking yourself when you feel you’re headed down a wrong path; making sure you are living life, day by day, the way you’d always envisioned it.

For that reason, I am henceforth committing myself to posting on my blog once a day, no matter how busy or tired or stressed  with college I may be. Just a couple hundred words is fine. I needn’t churn out a personal masterpiece each time I write. This’ll be the “Daily Life of Bel” segment of my blog, if you will, and I’ll keep it simple. Anything interesting, funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking, formative, enlightening, or simply worth sharing, I will put forth for you all to mull on.

It’s actually in times of stress and tumult like these (we’re approaching the first round of midterms season) that self-reflection is ever-so important. Caught up in the circus act of juggling classes with work, internships and other extracurriculars, many college students don’t leave sufficient time for self care. And a big part of caring for oneself, I believe, is by practicing regular self reflection. Even huge societal figureheads– business moguls, politicians, professionals– integrate introspection into their busy lives. I read somewhere that Bill Gates routinely sets aside one week away from his work to reflect on his day-to-day performance. What went well? What could he have done better in both his work and personal life? And after this one week grace period, he springs back anew– equipped with greater self awareness to perform at a higher maximum potential.

So, here I am, incorporating the practice of the greats into my own little life.


Today was a good day. I woke up at 6:30am, studied for my Russian quiz, took my Russian quiz in the morning, screwed up the oral portion of the exam but quickly forgave myself, and headed back to my apartment. At home, I did laundry, cooked myself some chicken breast and asparagus (I screamed when the olive oil started jumping up and down on the pan), and took a quick nap to catch up on needed sleep. At 12:30pm, my therapist from NorCal called, and we had a thirty-minute conversation about my hypomania. I really felt supported and cared for when talking to Margery.

While talking with Marg, I learned some things about my mania that I think is worth sharing with you all. To give you some context, allow me to help you better understand what being “manic” feels like. While riding the huge wave of mania– in its early phases– one can feel absolutely euphoric. In her memoir, “An Unquiet Mind”, Kay Redfield Jamison, a renown clinical psychologist and recovering patient of manic-depressive disorder, eloquently illustrates the addicting nature of her volatile illness:

“My manias, at least in their early and mild forms, were absolutely intoxicating states that gave rise to great personal pleasure, an incomparable flow of thoughts, and a ceaseless energy that allowed the translation of new ideas into papers and projects. Medications not only cut into these fast-flowing, high-flying times, they also brought with them seemingly intolerable side effects. It took me far too long to realize that lost years and relationships cannot be recovered, that damage done to oneself and others cannot always be put right again, and that freedom from the control imposed by medication loses its meaning when the only alternatives are death and insanity.”

Her words perfectly embody my sentiment towards my own manias. I know that, with every high I experience– the mania– will inevitably come a painful crash– the depression. There you have it. Manic-depressive disorder.

Up until now, I always saw the onset of a manic episode as a POSITIVE thing– a strength, an asset. Mania was motivation. Mania was my key to achieving much in short stretches of time. Mania… it was my superpower.

I’ve always been unusually motivated and driven from a young age. Gymnastics gave me the discipline to see my goals to fruition. It seems I was destined to be a powerhouse, an unstoppable force.

People oftentimes have called me “crazy”, in reference to my hardcore work ethic. I always took that as as compliment. Never did it cross my mind that I may, in fact, actually have a mental disorder driving me into these manic episodes of increased goal-oriented behavior, superhuman motivation and drive, and feelings of being unstoppable– all at the expense of my physical and mental health.

When people see me working my butt off and putting my absolute all into everything I do, they shower me with respect, admiration and praise for my commendable dedication. It’s a simple case of operant conditioning– I do something that wins me a reward (others’ praise), which drives me to do more of that special something. In this case, it’s working hard. Like, insanely hard. I’ve had a long-time history of being a people pleaser and yearning for external validation from others as a way to feel good about myself. In working super super hard at what I do, I am able to get really really close to achieving things that the “average” person cannot. This, in turn, wins me even more praise from my peers and superiors.

But, I digress. Let’s get back to my manias. I can’t pinpoint exactly when my innately driven character morphed into the realm of dangerous, self-harmful behavior… I want to say it was sometime during my peak as a gymnast, in 2011/2012. In their early phases, my mood swings were much more manageable. At the illness’s inception, I never really experienced the depressive lows, just the highs. When I started dancing in 2015, my highs started getting more extreme. I remember, when first starting Latin-American dance, I already had unreal aspirations of becoming the next world champion Latin dancer. As mentioned before, gymnastics gave me the discipline to work towards my lofty goal– I’d wake up every day at 5:00am to practice before school; then, at lunchtime, I’d practice in the school’s dance studio; after school, I’d head straight to practice and train for a few hours before going home and doing homework. Pretty extreme behavior, for a 16-year-old. Driven, indeed. Admirable, even. And I knew all this. I loved my highs. I wore them like a badge for the world to see. Except, at the time, I didn’t know that my increasingly intense highs were signs of a festering illness. The more I played into the mania and reinforced such states as POSITIVE phenomena, the more severe they became. And soon enough, I began to experience mania’s evil twin– depression. I’d work and work and work and push myself over the edge, until I’d inevitably crash and burn.

Here’s an analogy. You are situated at the top of a mountain. Something tips you over the edge, and you begin to fall. Your descent represents the mania. You fall slowly at first, then faster and faster. The ride may be exhilarating. The adrenaline’s rushing and you love the feeling. Eventually, though, your ride will end with a painful crash. That’s the depression. And it hurts like hell. Somehow, though, you find a way to get up, and climb back up the deadly mountain. You get up and brush off the dust. Then it’s up, up, up once more, until… boom. You are back where you started. Maybe perching on the peak of an even higher mountain than before. It’s an unstable and dangerous position to be in. Even the slightest trigger– an upcoming competition, an important project deadline, a big exam– will drive you over the edge again. And soon enough, you will find yourself on the hard concrete once more. Limbs and soul alike, crushed. The magnitude of such ups and downs only get worse over time, until one day, you may never be able to pick yourself back up from the fall. Then it’s all over.

This is what it feels like to live with manic depressive disorder. I know that my “highs” are not really my friends. They are dangerously addictive toxins. My manias, exhilarating and thrilling they may be, are NOT on my side. They will always lead me to depression. They will lead me to insanity. Left untempered, they will lead me along the path of suicide.

So… is a short period’s worth of heightened motivation, productivity and creativity, worth it when you put everything– your relationships, your health, your life– at peril? I must ask myself this, each time I find myself longing for my past manias, and on the brink of throwing away my mitigating medications. Each manic episode I experience is not a step forward, as I’ve hitherto believed– it’s a huge step backwards on my path to recovery.

Whoo. That was one lengthy, draining rant on the nature of mania. Here I was, telling you guys about my day, until I got on the topic of mental health, and BAM!!! The train started chuggin’ away. Apologies, guys, for the frenetic tirade I just powered through. To sum up– speaking to my therapist today helped me gain more insight on my relationship with my illness, and in turn, learn how to better manage it.

I was going to continue talking about the remainder of my day– dance practice, followed by a pretty useless study session for tomorrow’s stats midterm, followed by a professional development night– but it’s 9:44pm now, and I really should get back to studying.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s reflective piece! And I promise it won’t be as lengthy as today’s!