I find myself sitting Indian style on my bed with my laptop perched on my lap with a bottle of Poland Spring Water resting beside me. I’ve been sipping on it slowly every couple of minutes hoping it’ll make my nausea go away. Water and laughter are some of the cheapest medicines anyone can find in this world. I have a random dull pain on the left side of my chest and it’s slightly spread out across my shoulder and left arm. Meh, so weird. If it persists I may have to go to the health center tomorrow.
It’s 2 o’clock in the morning, and as usual, I’m in my dorm struggling with a physical restlessness and a tired mind, that is otherwise known as insomnia. Go figure.
And of course, this inevitably trails down to my mind becoming analytical towards any and everything and eventually sparks a state of pensiveness that I detest. Why, you may ask?
Because this state of pensiveness and thinking too much is never a good thing, sincerely. It hasn’t happened in a while, but the fact that it’s punching me at this hour like a contracted rubber band that eventually snaps is definitely a red flag in my eyes.
It’s amazing seeing how this inner indecisiveness of mine towards certain things is slowly fading. As I slowly grow more and more aware and in tune with myself, I’m coming to the realization of so many things that I’ve questioned for years. I have asked myself the same question over and over again only to realize that I knew the answer all along. I just never gave myself the time to really sit down and calm all the thoughts rushing in and out of my mind.
I used to ask myself what the fuck did I want to do with this life of mine, and instead of consulting myself and being honest, my mind would jump to my family, friends, or anything that would make some kind of judgement towards my decisions. I have grown up in a family where they expect so much from me since I was the “first baby” in the family, and used to be constantly compared to a couple of my family members who have made some mistakes in their lives. It is extremely frustrating being compared to others who I love and being told that I should be careful with my decisions if I don’t want to end up like “him” or “her”. More than half the men in my family either have been or are currently serving in the military (army/marines), have worked in the government, or are currently federal officers. Two of my aunts are lawyers, another a professor, and another works two jobs and is able to travel every summer to anywhere she pleases. All this has placed so much pressure on my shoulders, and over the years I grew with this constant feeling of fucking guilt whenever I did something that I wanted to do, but thought it would be seen as wrong in the eyes of my family.
This is probably one of the main reasons why I broke up with my first love. I was too nervous to step out of my comfort zone and test my limits on things, while he let the college life infiltrate his head.
But slowly over the past 3 years, I have learned so much. Going to a university where the men/women ratio is seven to one (and where most of the girls are commuters), I felt like I had some kind of culture shock being shoved from an all-girls high school to a predominant male university. But because of this, I have slowly broken out of my shell and stepped out of my comfort zone.
This year has really been a year of change for me. Perhaps, in a sense, this change originally began my freshmen year shortly after I broke up with my ex. That was the year where I learned what heartbreak felt like, what it was like to lose certain dreams and hopes that I had, learned how to pick myself up, and learn how to love again by loving myself fully with every fiber of my being. I discovered this inner confidence that I had stored up inside, and hadn’t fully expressed it until I decided to walk the runway in the fashion show that year. Since then, I have progressively grown and started seeing things in a new light.
This year, I was finally able to tell my family that I didn’t want to study criminal justice. It took me all this time to finally cut that string that would pull my mind whenever I had to make important decisions. I was tired of always taking into consideration my families thoughts on things that was going to affect me. I’m not saying that I wanted to completely disregard their advice, but at the end of the day it is MY life, and they needed to understand that I wanted to make certain decisions on my own. One night when I skyped with my uncle, my entire family was there celebrating a special event. I took the opportunity to tell them all of this, and told them that it was MY life, and no matter what I choose they should respect me and support me for it. They were shocked at first, but I was so relieved when they all smiled and told me that they are proud and have been proud this entire time.
I felt so liberated and free and cried joyful tears that night.
and with that came a series of events that have caused me to have such amazing and memorable moments with people. Ever since then, whenever I have to decide on something, I tell myself 3 things:
1) I am my own hero.
2) Do whatever makes ME happy.
3) Don’t linger or over think it. Solve the problem, and move on.
People and problems come and go, so why take either one so seriously? Solo me amarga la vida a veces…
Last Thursday, I went to my advisor and told her about all of my plans and my thoughts on changing majors. She began comparing the courses I have taken with the requirements for achieving a degree in Bio, Chem, or anything health related. After comparing everything, she basically informed me that if I were to switch majors, I would be behind by 2 - 3 years. This seriously felt like such a slap in the fucking face because basically it would mean that I would have to start all over again which was out of the question. As she rambled on about the courses and timing, a series of thoughts started rushing into mind.
”Maybe I can transfer to a CUNY and start from there while working so I can slowly pay off some loans”
“Maybe I can take a semester off and work things out without spending money on loans”
What ceased all these thoughts and made me focus back on my advisor were the next few sentences that she told me,
“If you stay here for more than 4 years, financial aid will not cover you Ivy because, see, they don’t help in shopping around for degrees, they help you in actually GETTING one. I don’t know what to tell you…. I just feel bad seeing so many students drop out because of financial problems. You should have thought about this before taking all these classes and starting here.”
I swear to God, I have never felt so offended in my life. I absolutely DETEST when someone tells me that I can’t do something when I know inside that I have the potential of achieving it. In that moment, I am so glad that she briefly stepped out of the office to make copies of my transcript, because I started tearing out of fury. I have incredible patience with many things, but that really just made me snap. Anything that may be perilous to my future (or my family) is always taken seriously. I was able to gain my composure within that minute while I was alone and as soon as she stepped back in the office, I asked her about the interdisciplinary studies. After all the calculations, she told me that I would have to make up a years worth of work. I would honestly rather take a year over 3. So with that, I kept my professional composure and thanked her for her time, and went straight to the director of IDS. He was a little Asian man who was so sweet to me the entire time. I told him everything that had happened and what my advisor had told me. I asked him if he could “please help me” with my situation and asked if he would give me some insight since he was the director of the program. After reviewing some of my courses, he smiled and said, “You can still graduate on time Ivy. Some of the classes that you will take if you change your major will automatically count as some of the pre-reqs that you are missing. The most you’ll have to make up would be a semester, but you can still graduate within four years.”
And so, tomorrow morning (or in a few hours rather), I will be meeting up with my “advisor” who insinuated that I would be a college drop out, and tell her to change my major to IDS with a concentration in Biochemistry, that the director of IDS told me that I WILL be able to graduate on time if I put in the effort (which I most definitively will), to kindly make him my advisor since he has more knowledge on the program (clearly…), and I am going to ask for a meeting between the three of us so that everything goes smoothly and I can plan which courses I have to take from now until the end of senior year without any bullshit happening and so that she can be more aware about the program so that any future student doesn’t have to go through the same shit I have. This is actually convenient because I will be able to take the courses that the optometry schools ask for instead of some of the useless classes that are integrated in the bio program.
I am my own hero. Do whatever makes ME happy. Don’t linger and don’t over think things. Solve the problem, and move on.
This past weekend was very well needed after all that stress on Thursday (and the entire month of October really…). I’m already planning on renewing my passport during Christmas break and looking into getting my drivers license if I get a chance. I’m also looking into submitting my resume and looking for interviews for volunteering/shadowing at local clinics so I can gain experience over the summer. I’d rather research everything now and do everything during the winter so they can keep me in mind for the spring and summer. My aunt and uncle mentioned that if they go to Brazil next summer, I am more than happy to join them if I renew my passport. I can also visit my other aunt and uncle in Seattle and see the girls again <3. My dad and grandparents said that the day I get my license, they;d help me with expenses in getting a car, but then again I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, haha.
Overall, things are slowly falling into place in terms of school. God willing, I’ll walk across that stage with the rest of my peers smiling happily.
Finally, I’ll write a little anecdote about something that has happened recently as well. After 2 (almost 3) years of completely ignoring texts and such from my ex, I’ve finally let go and let myself talk to him. I haven’t forgiven him completely, but I’ve let myself be able to, at the very least, have a decent conversation with him. It’s funny seeing how, in a sense, he’s still the same guy I knew back in high school. Yet ironically he’s a completely different person all the same. This has actually lifted a kind of weight off my shoulders because the truth of the matter is that I never realized how much I actually missed him until I let myself talk to him and stopped ignoring him. I missed him as a best friend, nothing else. It’s nice seeing how we are still able to converse and have some laughs together. It’s almost as if I’ve finally let myself fully heal from that painful experience over 2 years ago. I know that my family will be against this (and perhaps this was part of the reason why I was so adamant about ever talking to him again), but at this point it doesn’t matter anymore if they get mad at me for it or not. I choose who I want to talk to.
With all these changes, I’ve been able to cut off certain people who aren’t true friends to me (yet I insisted on keeping in touch with), I’ve been able to ask for forgiveness to those whom I felt deserved an apology from me (and found that our relationships are sooo much better and way happier than before <3), and have been able to say NO to people when I don’t feel like doing something. It’s okay to say no without feeling guilty. Just how it’s okay to ask for something that you want without feeling guilty. No shame.
I’ve been way more outspoken, more extroverted in some aspects, and happier.
Happier, because I know what it is that I want in life and who I want to share my joys and laughters with. It’s such a good feeling being able to do things because I WANT TO, and not worry about who will give a damn about it. I feel so free ~
I am my own hero. Do whatever makes me happy. Don’t linger or over think things. Solve the problem, and move on.