Gap Year Blog Series: Day 1

Good afternoon, everyone! It’s currently 1:36pm on this cloudy Tuesday morning. Had a pretty productive morning– fit in a run and a workout earlier, learned some new dance choreography via my good friend YouTube, and called maintenance over to fix our clogged kitchen sink.

Gap years are often called “growth” years. It’s not a time to just screw around and waste your life away. Yes, of course, a big reason why students take gap years is to relax and recharge after experiencing burnout from undergrad. But a gap year should also be a time to grow yourself in some dimension, whether it’s traveling the world, gaining professional work experience, or focusing on personal passion projects. The way I see it, a gap year is a form of education in itself. It’s an out-of-classroom learning experience. A transition from student life to post-grad life. Oftentimes, when you are stuck in the insular environment of college for 3-4 years, you tend to lose sight of the fact that there is indeed a world beyond classes, exams, drinking, partying, and hook-up culture. I definitely lost perspective on the bigger picture. I also lost a big part of myself while at UCLA– the self-disciplined, focused, passionate Belicia who worked hard each day for her goals. A big part of my gap year will be devoted to getting back on track, straightening myself out, cutting out the bad habits and temptations, and living my best life once more. Heck, I’m thinking of rejoining the Mormon church, so I can be surrounded by a wholesome community who will help me get back on track.

I found that I’ve been writing less and less frequently on this blog, especially these past two academic quarters. That lack of daily self-reflection has honestly taken a toll on my well-being. I am no longer living with a calming sense of clarity. I feel like I don’t really know who I am anymore, as I am so different from the person I used to be, before UCLA. Some of that change is good, but some of it is really toxic and unhealthy. For instance, my lifestyle. I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight from stress-eating and not exercising every day and drinking/partying too much. I am currently in the worst shape of my life, both physically and mentally. It’s easy to point to college and college culture as the scapegoat, but really, all of my actions and choices were in my control this whole time. It’s my fault I chose to go down a toxic path, and it’s up to me and only me to change my direction.

Warren Buffett once said, “Write down your top 25 goals. Draw a circle around your top 5. Focus on those, and say no to the rest.” Here are my top 5 goals for my “growth” year.

  1. Live a healthier lifestyle. This means getting back my physical shape, cutting out alcohol, meditating, doing yoga, sleeping early and waking up early, and staying away from toxic people who don’t serve me.
  2. Take care of mental illness. Meaning, finding a bipolar specialist and attending regular therapy sessions. Staying on my meds. Practicing mindfulness meditation every day for 20 minutes. Checking in with myself regularly to see if I’m doing okay.
  3. Get back into dancing. I think I started losing myself the minute I stopped dancing as a hobby. I miss the feeling of getting hooked onto a passion and waking up each morning with intention and eagerness to continue improving. As scary as it may be, I think I need to get back into Latin ballroom dancing to feel like myself once more.
  4. Become financially independent. My dad is retiring next week, which means I need to start supporting myself. I need to pay my own rent, at the very least, and cut down on unnecessary spending.
  5. Continue writing. Voraciously. This is a given. I love writing so much, and like with dance, once I stop writing regularly, I feel like a big part of me is missing. I’m actually planning on writing a book (I know, it’s been my goal for a long long time). And now that I’m out of college, I will finally have time to do so! I’d say, working on the book for an hour or two a day is enough to get started.

So, there you have it! My top 5 goals for the immediate and long-term future. I will make it my purpose during this growth year to tackle these goals, and ultimately get back to living my best life. I’m getting started today– I’ll be taking a Latin ballroom dance workshop taught by Val and Jenna from Dancing with the Stars! Super pumped to meet and learn from such great dancers. I’m sure I will walk away super inspired!

I’ll talk to you guys later. Happy Tuesday and keep on growing each day!






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