Hi friends! Long time no talk! How’ve you all been?
It’s currently 1:43am on this Monday morning as I begin this post. I had planned on sleeping early and waking up at 5am, and sleep early I did! But I ended up waking up at around midnight, and was unable to go back to sleep since. So naturally, I decided to update you all on how my life has been going!
So, spring quarter has sprung. And it’s been, in all honesty, quite stressful thus far. This quarter, I am taking the notorious psychology “weeder” class, Psych 100B. It is a research methods course that teaches students how to write a proper research paper. While writing is indeed my strong suit, I much prefer creative over scientific writing. Past students have described the course as a “living hell”. Having heard all these negative remarks, I went in to the course immensely stressed and nervous, as I really want to do well.
In addition to Psych 100B, I am taking a course on adolescent development (also notorious for being a tricky class), as well as Philosophy in Literature, a very ready-intensive course. All of my classes involve a LOT of reading, more so than I’ve done in my life. It doesn’t help that I am naturally a slow reader. So, academically, this quarter is challenging, despite the fact that I’m only taking three classes.
The academic stress has taken a toll on my mental health. I find myself constantly irritable and on edge. Thankfully, dance has proven to be an effective outlet for my angst. As for extracurriculars, this quarter, I joined a beginner/intermediate hip hop team, Foundations Choreography. We have practice every Monday/Wednesday from 7pm-11pm, and are expected to practice on our own as well. During the first two weeks of the quarter, I used dance as a means of procrastinating from studying, which of course was a terrible idea, as I ended up falling behind in my classes. That is why I spent this entire weekend cooped up in my room, catching up in my studies.
I know I should be grateful to be at UCLA… but sometimes, I grow bitter at the very thought of studying. I wish I enjoyed learning more… I really do. But I’ve never identified as an academic or intellect. For most my life, I’ve had to suppress my inherently artistic nature, as my family and surrounding community conditioned me to believe that life as an artist was wholly unrealistic and unsustainable, and should never be one to strive for. Since moving to Los Angeles for college, away from the suffocating influence of my parents and upper-middle-class community, I’ve finally gained the courage to dig deep within my soul and be true to myself. Here’s what I’ve uncovered: despite being a skilled test-taker, I cannot call myself a lover of learning. I’ve always studied hard, but not because I genuinely enjoyed what I was learning, but rather, to get those A’s, because that’s just what I needed to do. I wonder how I can change my attitude in such a way that I can grow to love intellectual stimulation and classroom learning… but sometimes, I feel completely out of place in my college campus, surrounded by academics. It’s so hard to be an artist whilst in school… but, I recognize the importance of earning a college degree, as education is and always will be my ultimate safety net, in case my artistic career does not work out.
I am graduating one year early. Then I’m taking a break from school altogether, so I can focus wholeheartedly on my dancing. I’ll live at home to save money, and continue growing myself under the tutelage of my dance teachers in the Bay Area. Once I am ready, I will move to New York City to further my dance career, and hopefully find a dance partner there.
If dance doesn’t work out after a couple years, I will go back to school and study to become a sports psychologist. I am fascinated by competitive athletes’ ability to perform under tremendous pressure, and would like to study this phenomenon further. Such an endearing skill extends far beyond the world of athletics; in applies to everything, be it performance arts, medicine, business, law, and even everyday life. I sometimes think of life as a sort of performance… how does one deliver, under the face of pressure? Having experienced a career-ending knee injury that took me out of gymnastics, I also wish to help injured athletes cope with the psychological stress of injury– a phenomenon overlooked and misunderstood by many. In short, there are many reasons why I am drawn to sports psychology. With my expertise in the field, I can also help many professional dancers mentally prepare for high-stakes competitions and performances.
So, that’s a rough sketch of what lies ahead for me, in the immediate future. Of course, the only certainty in life is uncertainty, which means my trajectory is bound to alter its course. And that is okay! It helps me, however, to have a sense of direction to guide me and keep me focused on achieving my goals.
It is week 3 of the quarter, which means midterm season is fast approaching. In this coming week, I hope to be more positive in my outlook towards school, and not stress unnecessarily.
It was great catching up with you all, and I hope to talk to you guys soon!