Life Update 5/28/19

Hi everyone! Long time no talk! How’ve you all been?

Life these past couple weeks have been… hard. Motivation is at an all-time low, and I’m not doing as great in my Chinese class as I’d hoped. Worried about keeping my 3.8 GPA up, I am currently waking up at 5:00am every day to study for a few hours before class. After class, it’s straight to the library for another study session. It’s the grind before finals, and I absolutely hate it. But I have no other option but to do well, so I must grind away.

Another reason why these past couple weeks have been difficult is because my moods have shifted to a low. I think stress is a trigger for my depression and anxiety, and I’ve been taking on a lot of commitments beyond schoolwork. I recently wrote an article on ballroom dance legend and UCLA alumnus, Victor Fung, and published it a few days ago. The article has gone viral in the ballroom dance community, garnering over 6,000 views thus far. My heart is so very full because of the article’s success, and I am so glad that Victor’s story was able to inspire so many people, particularly young dancers worldwide. However, I encountered a lot of stress trying to meet my hard deadline in submitting the article. Moreover, I’ve been preparing for my numerous post-grad jobs, getting all the paperwork filled out and attending new hire trainings. Finally, I am continuing to run my club, Bruin Burlesque, which, while fulfilling, is also a lot of work. Sometimes I need to remind myself to slow down and take time for myself. Yesterday was Memorial Day, and in addition to honoring veterans who have honorably served our nation, I took the holiday as an opportunity to recuperate. It was a great day– in the morning, my best friend and I went to the beach and chilled there for a couple hours. My only qualm was the fact that a giant piece of tar got stuck on my shin, and it took a long time and copious amounts of baby oil to remove the sticky substance. After the beach, I went to Sawtelle with some other friends to eat some good food for lunch. At 3:30pm, I had a 30-minute tutoring session– this time, I was the student! My friend Izzy is fluent in Chinese, and she has agreed to tutor me for the final exam. At 4:30pm, my friends and I watched the live-action version of Aladdin. I honestly loved the movie so much. Beautiful soundtrack (give the song “Speechless” a listen, I promise it won’t disappoint) and brilliant choreography. The movie is a must-watch for lovers of musicals and performance arts. Naomi Scott and Will Smith killed it as Jasmine and the Genie. The actor who played Aladdin was not bad, either!

What else has happened these couple weeks? Ah. Regents’ Scholar Society end of the year banquet! It was only these past two quarters that I’ve gotten more involved in RSS, first through SPIEL, and then through the Inter-UC Conference. At banquet, the RSS board members gave toasts to individual members. I received a toast from my friend Irena, and honestly, I was so moved. Irena was my coordinator for the Overnight Stay Program back when I was a senior in high school, so I’ve known her for quite a while now. Her words really resonated with me, and I am forever grateful to have met her. For superlatives, I earned the award for “Best Splits”. At the Inter-UC conference, which is a two-day event where Regents’ Scholars from all the UC’s gather for a day of fun activities, the group of UCLA students took their group picture, and I decided to show off in the front and do the middle splits! Hence, “Best Splits”.

This Thursday, I will be hosting my graduation party, cleverly named “Bye Belicia” (it’s a spin-off of the popular meme, “Bye Felicia”). The party will be a lot more low-key than my birthday party. It’ll take place on the rooftop of my apartment building. There will be food, drinks, and dancing! A last hoorah of sorts, before I graduate and transition to post-grad life.

Alrighty guys, it’s currently 6am. I’m sitting inside Peet’s Coffee, sipping on my iced mocha and munching on my sausage and egg sandwich– both of which I bought from Starbucks. Lol. I’m feeling a lot better today, and I’ve learned that the best way for me to stay stable is take it one day at a time, and try my best to stay positive. I mustn’t anticipate the next mental breakdown, because that will just fill me with anxiety and dread. My medications have been working to keep me stable, which is good.

I’m going to head to the gym right now. I’ll talk to you guys later!






T-Minus 1 Month Until Graduation!

In exactly one month and four days, I will be walking across the commencement stage in Pauley Pavilion in what will be the culmination of three difficult but beautiful years at UCLA. My time here was short, but the amount of personal growth I experienced was exponential. I can’t possibly express how grateful I am to have spent my most formative years at such a wonderful university, surrounded by some of the smartest, kindest, bravest individuals I have ever met. My time here has not been easy, nor did I expect it to be. College, especially these days, is meant to push young people. Hard. But it is through this pressure than we grow strong and resilient, and learn the skills vital for our success in the real world.

How do I feel right now, you may ask? To be honest, I don’t think the gravity of my decision to graduate early has hit me quite just yet. Bear in mind, I made this decision two weeks into spring quarter. I did not come into this academic term expecting that it would be my last. The decision has been made, however, and I continue to stand strongly behind it. As amazing as college was, it was also a volatile, tumultuous time, and I’ve faced some of the darkest days and lowest lows, here at UCLA.

It breaks my heart to say this, but UCLA’s mental health services are subpar, at best. I did not receive the help and treatment I so needed, during my hardest days. I am not blaming any one individual in particular—but I do blame the institution for not providing adequate funding for its Counseling and Psychological Services. We need more counselors who are equipped to help college students deal with the unique stressors that characterize university life. Otherwise, students will continue to suffer in silence while awaiting that therapy appointment they scheduled, one month earlier.

But enough of my tirade on the inadequacy of UCLA CAPS. That’s a discussion for another day. In terms of my academic life, I’m honestly just trying to graduate, at this point. My motivation to study is at an all-time low. Zero. I know, it’s so bad. I’m taking such a light quarter, too—my last GE, a Chinese class, and a 2-unit career development seminar. So, two-and-a-half classes. I didn’t perform as well as I normally do on my midterms, and that is to be expected. As I transition out of post-grad life, I’m spending more time looking for jobs than I am studying. But I need to remember that, as close as I am to graduating, I am still a student, so I have to continue acting like one.

In terms of jobs, I went to an interview yesterday for a position as an off-ice stretching and dance instructor at the esteemed Toyota Sports Center, a figure skating rink in Los Angeles home to many Olympians. I am happy to say that I was hired on the spot, and they are paying me a decent starting rate. If things work out there, I may extend my stay in LA to at least the end of summer. I might also be starting a job as a dance fitness instructor at UCLA’s school gym. So that’s two jobs lined up already.

Goodness, it’s already the end of week 6! Only four more weeks to go, and then finals. Finish line is in sight. It’s the last 0.2 miles of the marathon. I look back on my college experience, and a part of me thinks, “How did I do it?” I worked hard for my 3.8 GPA—yes, I know it’s not the best GPA out there (shoutout to all my 3.9+ pre-med friends) but given the series of mental breakdowns I had along the way, I am surprised my GPA had a fighting chance of surviving. So yes, I am proud of myself. I have pushed myself time and time again to the breaking point, and every time I’d hit a wall, I’d take a moment to recuperate, then get back up and find a way around it. I’ve made some amazing friends, which is more than what I could say of high school Belicia. I’ve come a far way out of my former shell and matured so much these past three years. This is the magic that transpires during college. It sneaks up on you and is the result of an infinite number of moments… beautiful, difficult, scary, tragic, happy moments… all of which come together to make you, you. You blink your eyes and the next thing you know, it’s three years later, and you are not the same person you were then. At least, that is the hope, right? My biggest fear is to remain stagnant. It would be a huge travesty if I came out of college the same person as I was, going in. I think we as humans need to strive for continual growth and learning. Be lifelong learners. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, each and every day. And boy does college push you out of your comfort zone, in every way possible. But I promise you, the view is incredible when you’re sitting on the edge of fear.

Alrighty, folks. Gonna end this post here. Need to get back to studying—or, rather, get started. Lol. I’ll talk to you all soon!