I had the best weekend ever! Blog post done. Just kidding… I want to share why my weekend in Sac Town was so lively. Can you really blame a girl for wanted to share her… More
If you had asked me around this time last year if I would be on academic exchange, I would probably say no. I had a lot of other SHIT going on in my life. But, a turn of events caused me to spontaneously apply to study in California this Fall. I applied exactly one day before the application was due. I received my acceptance letter almost immediately. And just like that, my life was about to change.
Leading up to exchange, it almost seemed as if everyone was more excited than I was. Everywhere I went, people I knew would stop me and say the most generic travelling things:
“You’re going to have so much fun!”
“You’re so lucky, I never got to do that when I was in college!”
“You’re never going to want to come back home!”
I would usually dismiss these statements. For me, this exchange
is was merely an opportunity to study abroad. Whenever people would say I was “so lucky” and was “going to have so much fun,” I would get annoyed. I wasn’t travelling for mere leisure, I was here to go to school. Little did I know that only 2 weeks abroad, I would already feel like a changed person.
I can’t say I really liked California much my first few days here. I was feeling homesick already. I spent my first day alone in a hotel then the following few days in an Airbnb. I was alone in a new country. I didn’t have anyone to call or hang out with. My days were spent lying down in a bed that wasn’t mine, watching Netflix, and ordering in food. I felt as if I had just made the biggest mistake of my life coming here.
This all changed a few days later during “International Student Orientation.” I completely forgot how hard it was to make friends. There was this HUGE line of International students. Over 300 of us. All of them clearly from different countries. But, being the ambitious little woman that I am, I approached the Swedish girl in-front of me (She is now my roommate hehe). One friend, turned into 2 friends, and later that day I already had a whole crew of friends from all over the world!
It’s funny how meeting new people and FINALLY settling in changes your perception of your environment. Only 3 weeks into my exchange and I already want to call California home. My professors are AMAZING, the weather is beautiful, and my mindset has been nothing but positive. Other than missing my family, close friends, and my dog, I haven’t experienced any sad, anxious or negative thoughts recently. I am truly happy. I see California as a land of opportunity and all I want to do is experience everything.
Stay turned for my new travel series – First stop, CALIFORNIA.
I lost myself in the process of finding myself.
Let me explain…
While reminiscing through teenaged photos of myself, I began to feel empty. I get it, people change. I always knew I was going to. I frequently look back at the past. I like soaking in all the fond memories I have. But, something was different this time around. I did not feel happy looking at old pictures of myself. I realized, I missed the old me. Who I am today is not who I’m supposed to be. Who I was in the past was the real me.
For clarification, when I reference the past I’m talking about 14-17 year old me. I never acknowledged high-school as being my peak. And I definitely hope it wasn’t. But, there was something so true about younger me. I took hundreds (probably thousands) of SELFIES of myself. Smiling, sticking out my tongue, and blowing kisses. Now, I can’t bear to open up my front camera without feeling some disgust for the person I see. There is always something to fix. My nose, my skin, my hair, my eyes… Yet, teen Nicole did not morph a thing.
Maybe it is the culture we are in right now. There are so many apps to morph your face and body into something you are not. Even though I know this Facetune/Photoshop/Instagram culture has something to do with it, my feelings of resent lie deeper. Everyone who knows me would probably say that I was always the popular, outgoing type. They are wrong. Looking back at these pictures, I realize I was SO FUCKING WEIRD! And I love it; I miss it; I want to be it! I did not give a shit about what people thought about me. And now I do.
That is my problem. Somewhere between the end of high-school and the start of university, I lost myself. I was that fun, artistic, stoner-chic, poet chick. I loved the person I was. I dressed how I wanted to, drew weird pictures, wore blotchy, no-brand makeup, but was completely content with who I was. Then, I changed.
I changed myself to be like everyone else. By the looks of my photo timeline, this transition happened gradually. Every photo included in this blog post was posted on my Instagram account ages ago. I used to take a strange photo and upload it immediately. I would upload photos at 3am, sometimes would upload 4 a day. Then I learned that your social media image and presence is apparently really important. Now, I never post.
I’m wondering if this acknowledgement of my lost self will lead me to becoming my true self again. Maybe this whole time that I was “trying to find myself” only meant that I would eventually return to the person I once was.
Each new school year, I make myself a goal list.
My overly ambitious self assumes that (based on the laws of attraction, of course) if I write down my wishes, they will come true. Unfortunately, my Notes app on my iPhone isn’t a genie bottle. I sometimes forget that.
I’m almost embarrassed to share my junior year goal list with you. Basically, none of my “wishes” came true. But, I guess that is exactly what happens when believe that your life path exists as one straight line. You cannot predict or plan your future. I learned this the hard way.
My Junior Year Goal List Was:
- Start A Blog
- Become A Freelance Writer For A Magazine
- Cut Down On Drinking & Partying
- Meditate Everyday
- Don’t Be Such A Bitch To Men (Some Guys Are Actually Nice)
- Start Reading Again
- Become President Of AOII
The only goal I was actually able to complete was Number 1. Numbers 2-4 happened partially or later on in the year. Numbers 5-7 didn’t happen at all. What I hate most in life is being labelled as a failure. I feel as if I failed because I was unable to complete all these goals. I’m in complete shock that I’m even sharing this list with the world right now… But, there is a reason why I am doing so.
No one should have to feel like a failure.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Trying to achieve a certain amount of goals in a short period of time is nearly impossible to do. The motivated self you are at the beginning of a new term isn’t who you will be throughout the actual year. Life is unpredictable. There will be hurdles along the way.
The only reason I decided to keep and even share my failed list of goals from my junior year was so that I can avoid making the same mistakes when creating my new list. Almost instantly I know that adding any goals that involve the help or reliance on other people should be disregarded. You need to be in charge of your goals. You cannot be dependent on the unreliability of others.
Next, I need to remember that daily schedules get busy. I tend to make goals when my life is at a bit of a halt. The silence I hear in my life now won’t last very long. Soon I will be bombarded with school assignments, events, travel, work, blogging, running errands, and all of the unforeseen circumstances that might come my way. Because of this, any daily or leisure goals this year will be avoided.
You can control the future (Well, to some degree).
Life remains unpredictable. But, striving for a particular end result is in fact do-able. That is, if you remain realistic and continue to be hard-working. I continue to make goal lists because they are what push me through my day-to-day activities. Yes, goals to me are literally an imaginary person I create to forcibly push me in the right direction. And failed goals you might ask? To stick with the same imagery, failure exists as another imaginary friend. Failure was once that friend that used to push me towards success, but has since failed me. This was either because of a change in my life direction, unforeseen circumstances, etc. Yet, failure will forever be in my life. It now exists as a hardship I have overcome, a lesson I have learned and a push to try even harder in the future.
Now… The long awaited goal list for my upcoming senior year.
My Goal List This Year Is:
- Get a 4.0 GPA both semesters of school
- Befriend all my professors – Ask for extra help and recommendation letters
- Earn $10,000 in profit through work, other freelancing opportunities, selling pre-loved things to new & welcoming homes, and blogging (a girl can still dream)
- Volunteer once a month. It doesn’t matter where, when, or what charity
- Buy a sewing machine then learn how to use it – THERE WILL BE A BLOG POST UP SOON ON MY NEW OBSESSION WITH RE-WORKED CLOTHES & SLOW FASHION!! LET’S ALL WORK TOWARDS ENDING SWEATSHOPS
Bad things happen. It’s inevitable. But, with every negative experience, comes a life lesson. And with every downfall, comes an incentive to change your mindset. Having hardships really makes you appreciate the things that truly matter to you.
When you’re going through a hard time, it is important to remember these few things:
Cherish those people that actually stick around
I can’t emphasize this enough. Very few people stuck by me through my lowest-lows. There are so many reasons why “friends” disappear during difficult times. Most of the time, it is because they were never a true friend to begin with. But, those individuals that stay, those are the people to value the most. Quit forcing friendships that aren’t supposed to be and begin appreciating the true friends you have.
Always search for the bright side
This is easier said than done. When nothing in your life seems to be going the way you planned, it becomes almost impossible to see the light through those hardships. Maybe, you need to start appreciating those consistent elements in your life. You know, all those small things that you would regularly overlook. Sufferings create an opportunity for you to change certain aspects of your life, whether it be your goals, outlooks, or even physical elements like friend groups and career choices. This is not to say that hardships arise because of life decisions, but facing certain struggles definitely allows you to grow as an individual. Always strive to move forward instead of looking back.
Embrace those limitations
Instead of solely ignoring, overlooking, or moving passed the problems and hardships you face, actually take the time to acknowledge what has happened. When you experience difficulty after difficulty like I had this year, it becomes quite tough to reflect on each and every challenge you have faced. But, when you feel like your life is finally going steady, take the time to try and understand how those losses have shaped the person you have become.
Being an aspiring journalist is hard.
Kind of like being a celebrity, it takes A LOT for a journalist to get noticed in the digital age. As much as I want to sit around at home and write about all my morally correct, feminist views – I know I can’t. Being correct does not get you views; being controversial does.
So I decided to go to the dark side and got a gig as a click-bait journalist… I know, I hate myself too! And it makes me kind of upset that all my profit is coming from stupid, Buzzfeed type articles, instead of articles that actually mean something to me. ANYWAYS, the other day I wrote an article that stirred up a bit of controversy. It was assigned to me by my editor and no, I do not agree with anything that I wrote. It was a challenging article write because it went against ALL my morals. I even made that clear in the introduction of the piece.
Within minutes of this piece getting published, I received SUCH HATE from sooooo many women. I can’t help but feel kind of upset that my morality is being questioned because I agreed to write such a controversial article.
On one hand, I know this article will get me a lot of views because of the questionable content. On the other, I kind of regret writing it. I wish young, aspiring journalists did not have to turn to such extreme measures just to get views and profit for their content.
I thought about you everyday.
You were the first thought I had when I woke up in the morning. You were the last thought I had before I went to sleep.
Wherever I went, you were on my mind. I would walk through a store and imagine outfits I might wear when we are together. I would plan what club, restaurant, or bar I went to in hopes that I would run into you there.
I would imagine scenarios of us in my head. You in bed with me. You at this party. You having dinner with my family. None of these scenarios ever played out.
When you would message me, I would get butterflies. When we would hang out, I lived in the moment with you. And when you would leave, I would think about the next time we would be together.
I thought about you everyday. Until one day, I didn’t.
I was out living my life. Out, thinking about me. Then, I felt as if I was missing something. I felt so whole. I felt so clear-headed.
Then it hit me, I stopped thinking about you. I wasn’t missing you anymore. You were no longer part of my everyday thoughts and routines.
I felt a little uneasy about this new feeling. This new life, which you were not apart of.
And then, I started thinking about you again. But this time, it was because I knew it would be the last.