Hey guys!!! Hope you all have been enjoying your winter break so far. I know I have!
So part 1 of my fall quarter 2017 reflection explored the academic side of things. You can check it out here.
Part 2 explores my personal growth over the course of these past ten weeks.
To start, I’ll say that this quarter was pretty tough, mentally. Just like winter and spring quarter of last year, this quarter was an emotional roller coaster… but not in the same way as the former two.
Last winter and spring, I was going through a huge shift in career plans. I renounced pre-med, a track I had placed myself on since age 10, and opted for a very, VERY different career– ballroom dance. My parents completely opposed my decision, and our disagreement placed a great emotional strain on our relationship. I almost ended up leaving UCLA, in pursuit of a dance career… such a big decision was not an easy one to come to, and I remember crying every single day of the last few weeks of spring quarter, as I didn’t think I’d be coming back to UCLA– a school I’d fallen completely smitten with–the following fall. Eventually, I came to my senses and realized that I needn’t give up an education, a school I loved, and a community I cherished, for dance. I could graduate, and still be young enough to pursue dancing full-time, should I wish to do so. So, much to my parents’ relief, I decided to return to UCLA for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Now, with one quarter down my belt, it’s time to reflect.
As you guys may know, I was diagnosed with type II bipolar disorder shortly before coming back to UCLA. The disorder is characterized by a periodic trend of wonderfully intoxicating hypomanic episodes (euphoric moods, increased productivity and creativity, unrealistic goal-setting behavior, etc.), inevitably followed by depressive lows (low moods, low energy, lethargy, feelings of emptiness and hopelessness, etc.). Sylvia Plath once said, “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” I believe such words perfectly encapsulate the essence of bipolar disorder. Manic episodes of “wanting everything”, followed by a depressive episode of “wanting nothing”. Truer words have never been spoken. But I digress.
Basically, during the middle of the quarter, I stopped taking my mood stabilizers, thinking I’d be fine without them. The result was disastrous. Before I knew it, my mood instability crept up on me, until I found myself back in the dark hole of depression, unable to climb out. For several weeks, I struggled with day-to-day functioning. Getting myself to study was the hardest thing ever. I stopped paying attention in lecture. I spent most of my time sleeping, or cooped up in the apartment. It was suffocating.
Thankfully, my brother convinced me to start taking my medications again, and once I did, my moods improved, just in time for my final examinations.
I guess the moral of the story is, DON’T GO OFF YOUR MEDICATIONS!!!
My quarter wasn’t all bad, though. Some highlights include:
- finding a new dance partner and competing with him at the UCSB Beach Ball dance competition
- teaching the UCLA Gymnastics team some Latin dance moves
- dipping my toe in the world of musical theater, as an assistant choreographer for the UCLA HOOLIGAN Theater’s fall quarter production of Cabaret
This past quarter, I was meaning to improve my public speaking skills through Bruin Toastmasters, but, with the depression and all, I found very little motivation and energy to attend the weekly Thursday meetings. Towards the end of the quarter, I attended a couple sessions, but didn’t get a chance to speak up either time, due to time constraints of the hour-long meeting. Next quarter will be my chance to really get more comfortable with public speaking, and take baby steps towards becoming a seasoned orator.
All-in-all, I’d say this quarter held a great share of learning experiences. It was my first time living in an off-campus university apartment, which in itself held a new set of responsibilities. I had to learn how to cook from scratch, do groceries, and communicate with apartment-mates. It definitely was a lot to take in, at first, which is why I am grateful I didn’t overload myself with a heavy course-load this past quarter.
Next quarter, though, I will be piling up on classes, to make up for the previous two quarters’ lighter course-load. I will be taking:
- Philosophy 6, Intro to Political Philosophy
- Psych 137C, Intimate Relationships
- Psych 127B, Abnormal Psychology
- Chinese 2A: Chinese for Advanced Beginners
- Psych 130: Developmental Psychology
- Film/TV 33: Intro to Screenwriting
SUPERRRR excited for all these classes! It’ll be a lot of work, and I’ll necessarily have to cut down on extracurricular activities, but because I genuinely am interested in the class material, I will actually enjoy studying, rather than dread it, like I did with chemistry and biology.
Alrighty guys! I’ll conclude my fall quarter 2017 reflection here. Talk to you guys soon!