How to Start Something You Don’t Feel Ready For

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Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

Without hesitation.

There’s really no other way to do it. When you go into something doubting your own capabilities, what you want, what might happen… You have to jump in head first. 

That’s what WOW was for me this year.

I’ll be honest, the summer was rough with two summer classes I willingly signed myself up for and a whole lot of work hours, among so much else. There was some fun in there, I promise, just not quite what I wanted to do with myself this summer. And as always, when the days rolled around to when I needed to be heading back here to SLO, I wasn’t ready.

I never am, I hate leaving home— especially because it always means I’m coming back here.

That sounds bad, doesn’t it? Well, I used to mean it.

But I don’t anymore.

You see, the way I started this year was completely different than any other. Part of the issue I’ve had at this school was finding a place to settle down into, whether it’s my major or especially my people; it’s been difficult to say the least. But I committed to WOW last year with the hope that I could find my own space in it and not “settle in” to the year, but throw myself in— there was only one way to do it.

Somehow, when you’re starting something that you don’t know if you can handle, there’s no room for hesitation. There’s plenty of space for stress, doubt, worry, hoping, finger crossing, and trying. But not an inch for hesitation.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

If I had hesitated on day 1, I wouldn’t have done WOW at all. And I wouldn’t have realized that being a minority of this campus can be hard; being a minority at a PWI with a family of minorities by your side since day 1 could also be the #1 thing that stops you from feeling like you don’t belong.

CCE is that family.

There are a few things that happened last week that made me question our collective value at this school— when all the CCE students of color get sent to the back of the building just so we can then be told a pre-scheduled event can’t happen for us, it seems a little off. And when a pre-scheduled bowling night somehow gets double booked and all 300+ of us are told to find something else to do, “a little off” is an understatement.

Or at WOW-a-rama, the event where all the WOWies basically meet each other and run around and play icebreakers as a collective whole— ask one of my CCE leaders and her kids what it was like to run through a tunnel of excited and hyped up WOW leaders, only to be called racial slurs by a transfer WOWie.

These things made me question why they would put all the students of color in groups like CCE for Week of Welcome— so they could be subjected to racism and disrespect as a group? Then I thought back to day 1, a day that was never awkward and had my group crying or supporting one another like a family from the very beginning, opening up a sharing personal things because they were comfortable on day 1.

Tell my why these kids were so happy to be a part of CCE, despite the people asking why all the “colored kids” are sitting together. Because at least before classes started and they’d then be surrounded by people who didn’t look or feel or hold a perspective like them, they would still have a foundation of family to come back to whenever they needed us.

There’s nothing wrong with white students– it’s almost like white people are being attacked or prejudiced now for simply being white and that is absolutely wrong; I am not holding anything against them. But there’s also nothing wrong with giving the minority students a safe space they know they can fall back into when they need it.

If there is anything this last week held, it was the opportunity for a home in CCE for all of the first years who were part of the program this year, and I am grateful to have been able to help give them that. College is hard after all; it’s the kind of thing 18 year olds are expected to jump into while figuring the rest of their lives out in four years along the way. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

Only if it’s done right.

This goes for anything— if you’re headed into a new job, sending the last kids off to college, deciding when/where to retire, questioning new relationships, or building back old ones, don’t hesitate.

Raise your questions if you must, tackle that doubt any way you can. Take your time and let the good or the bad things come, but don’t hold yourself back. Never hold yourself back.

Dive in head first, do not hesitate. And be ready for whatever comes next.

Firefly Lane– A Book Review

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Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

On Friday, I definitely said I was going to be doing a Poetry Place post  today, but I was incorrect— that’s what I get for not sleeping. Still got two more weeks until Poetry Place, sorry about that. Today is for Bookworms and Bookworms only.

So do you remember that book I hinted at, during the beginning of the month?

Well today is the day, I get to tell you all about it.

This book held a whole lot of promise from the moment I picked it up. I read one of her works maybe six years ago now, and I remembered loving her style but never picking up another one of her books. Until now.

So without further ado…

Firefly Lane— Kristin Hannah

Even though I don’t know the characters or the lives they’re living, this book made me feel nostalgic for people I’ve never met. That’s how you know the writer did a good job.

The way Hannah wrote her book, she follows best friends Tully and Kate, aka TullyandKate, around beginning with their lives in eighth grade up until their late middle-ages. Chronicling a friendship like theirs is hard to do because they come from two very different backgrounds— one is rebellious and independent with a drug-addicted mother who constantly abandons her. The other is quiet and seeks companionship, with the classic kind of family that supports its members unconditionally

Put these two kinds of girls together and let them become best friends— that’s where the story begins.

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Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

As they get older, working their way through loss and love and career hopes and fear, they change together over time. This story is as much about friendship as it is about love; the two go hand in hand. While the two friends fight, raise kids, and manage to hurt one another a few too many times, Firefly Lane is a look into what it’s like to have a best friend you always come back to

Even if at some point, the coming back gets a little too hard.

You’ll see what I mean if you read the book, through Tully and Kate I understood what it’s like to love and hate someone at the same time. Through their families, we understand what more life has to offer beyond our own selves or our jobs or out self-love.

There are some things you cannot find and holes you cannot fill on your own. Sometimes you need help.

Wonderfully written and hard to put down, this book made me want to read what happened at the end even while I was four hundred pages away from it. 

I enjoyed it, for the most part, but I did find one flaw in the book (and also one typo, as a writer I love finding those.) As I read, more towards the end of the book, one question kept popping into my head that shouldn’t have: when is this going to end?

I will say, the book was hard to put down– I meant it when I said that. But it also kept bouncing from one thing to another and I just kept asking myself when we would get to the big twist at the end. It came eventually, trust me it did, but I think it was a little long winded to get to. So I wanted to point that out.

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Photo by taylor hernandez on Unsplash

The one thing that surprised me about this book, a little long winded or not, is that is made me miss people… It made me miss everyone. In the way that you think of someone and you can hear their laugh in your ears or you hear a phrase and automatically connect it to them saying it. Or even just the kind of hugs you get from only a few people, the company that’s so easy to be around in silences that don’t have to be awkward.

This book is a chronicle of the human condition through TullyandKate. And it was wonderful.

I hope you think so too.

A Little College Advice

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

I wanted to give you all a recap on this past week because it’s something I really want to share with you– yet, with two days left of WOW, I’m realizing I can’t do a recap until it’s all over. Because there are too many moments still to come.

So instead, I’m going to talk about the fact that yesterday was my first day of junior year. I only have one first day of school left in my undergrad career. I know there’s a whole lot I still need to experience and learn, but there is also so much I’ve learned already that could maybe help other people to know too.

Here’s to sharing what I’ve got for you.


Asking questions and being wrong is better than never asking at all.
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Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

The thing about college is that we go into it thinking that we’re supposed to be responsible and have things under control. If something goes wrong, we should fix it on our own… But what if we don’t know how?

We probably don’t know how to do a whole lot of things, because this is a learning process. I remember coming in as a freshman, I was too afraid to ask questions from directions to a certain building to how to balance the fun versus the not-so-fun.

You only know if you ask, I mean I guess you could do a trial and error approach, but trust me, asking is a whole lot easier.

Fear is part of the game.

I can’t say I’ve met anyone who wasn’t at least a little bit scared about college. Whether they were first years or fifth years, there’s something daunting about the next steps you have to take.

Just don’t let that stop you from taking them.

This year with WOW or even last year with the very social Philipino club (PCE) on campus, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. With PCE, I let that hold me back; I participated just enough to be there and still make friends while still questioning every mood I made. I forgot to rip up my cool card and let myself just exist however I wanted to be in that space. Comparing that to WOW, I can tell you that SO many things have gone wrong or differently than I expected but I started this off the only way anyone should ever start anything.

Unapologetically. Among the fear, start there and let the pieces fall where they may.

You’re going to make mistakes.

A lot of them. Whether it’s coming in as the wrong major (I get it) or maybe failing a class you probably shouldn’t have (I get that too), you have to remember that none of this is going to be perfect. Part of the fun is seeing what comes after the mistakes, after all, you only get out of an experience what you allow yourself to.

If you’re hoping for a seamless adjustment to every year of college, great grades, best friends, perfect roommates, and the picturesque experience, you’re probably watching too many movies. The idea is to be okay with making mistakes as long 1, you learn from them and 2, you don’t let them define you.

Simply take a chance on yourself let them help you grow.

College is what you let it be.

A lot can happen in 3-6 years. You could fall in love, find your lifelong friends, make a career change you never saw coming, or even move to a new place that fits better than the old one. But your experience is yours, and yours alone.

If someone spends their time studying, always, and you don’t… That’s okay.

If another person wants to go out on bar crawls (when of legal age of course) or line dancing every night and you’re more of a stay in and watch a movie kind of person… That’s also okay.

There are pieces of your college experience that only apply to you and there’s nothing wrong with having your own way of doing things. As they say, if it ain’t broke…

Just remember, whatever routine you get into, don’t forget to break it sometimes. Ditch a movie night to go out to a party and let loose for a little while. Or maybe study early for an exam this next time instead of procrastinating like us college students always end up doing anyway.

I’m not saying you have to always push yourself out of your comfort zone. But I am saying that college isn’t supposed to always be comfortable… It’s supposed to be one of the biggest and most transformative four years of your life. Leave the doors open for new opportunities to come.

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Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

And do something that changes you.


If I think of anything else, I’ll probably do a midyear advice thing during winter quarter. But now, I have to get back to another WOW event and take my own “college is what you let it be” advice.

So I will see you all on Tuesday for another Poetry Place. Otherwise, have a fantastic weekend. And if you can, get some extra sleep for the both of us.

Pushing the Boundaries That Need Breaking

I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time. — Michael Phelps
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Photo by Parker Gibbons on Unsplash

I made a lot of goals for my first two years of college, but I ended each grade with a changed mind and questions of whether or not I met those goals… Whether or not I even wanted to.

This year, I can already tell that things are going to be very different.

Like a lot of people, I tend to stick to my safe zone, you know where the status quo is something you’re used to and find comfort in. It’s always been easy for me to stick to that boundary in most of what I do. It’s comfortable there after all.

Last quarter I committed to something that would completely shove (not even lightly suggest or push) me out of that zone.

You see, there’s this event on campus I’ve seen people put on for the last two years and I always watched, thinking “that will never be me.” It looked like a lot of work and frankly, I wasn’t the type of person to sign myself up for everything it entailed…

Yet here I am, day 1 of WOWies (first-years) on campus and I’m doing it. I am a Cross Cultural Experience group leader for the Week of Welcome (WOW).

There are probably a lot of things we look at in our lives, swearing up and down that it would never be us. Instead, we watch people put in the work and go through the whole process of trying out a different role, one that maybe we still want.

What if it could be us?

That’s been one of the biggest concepts surrounding my college experience, recognizing things I could be doing or should be doing, versus actually doing them. With WOW, I guess you could say I decided to do it for one reason and stayed for completely different one.

I joined because someone asked me to and so I could throw myself into something new and find a purpose here at Cal Poly, maybe find a way to prove to myself that I didn’t choose the wrong school– that the wrong school didn’t chose me. I’ve wondered that since my first day.

Even after the partner I thought I would be going into it with found someone else, I stayed. Normally I would have bailed, I almost did too. But I stayed.

Because, well, I already have a purpose here. Through the people, the cultural clubs and first official CCE program in WOW I have the honor of being a part of, there’s a meaning to what we do. I stayed because leading new students and throwing myself into situations with no safety net or expectation makes me uncomfortable– in all the best ways.

Like Phelps said, goals shouldn’t be easy. And the goal of college– beyond the education– is to grow.

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Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

When people say college is the best four years of their lives, some of them mean it in exactly that way. Beyond the facade of what we think it’s supposed to be, maybe it can live up to that.

Whether or not I hop on that bandwagon by the time I’m done here, I do think that these years should be the ones that impact us the most.

I can already say I believe in that.

And the moments or the lessons I remember the most are the ones that made me uncomfortable, the ones that I honestly couldn’t see coming and wasn’t prepared for– the ones I didn’t think I would be in until they were already happening.

When it comes to college and a whole lot of what we do in our lives, maybe those are the moments we really need.


Happy Friday everyone, I will see you next week. Who knows, maybe you’ll get an update on how WOW is going too. Have a great weekend.

Robert Frost and an Original– Two Poems

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Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

As I head back to SLO today, I’m thinking that sometimes transparency can be a good thing. I wrote the second poem here a little bit ago to play with a new style and in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day which is September 10th; for the love of poetry, I’ve included one of my favorite Robert Frost poems too.

Remember to treat yourself like someone you love this week, happy Tuesday everyone. Here’s what I’ve got for you.


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening– Robert Frost

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Photo by Lilian Velet on Unsplash

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Transparency

The sadness can’t even
ache anymore;
it just sits
and stays
and holds
and hurts.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It leaves me empty and desperate
for someone
to help me up
or out
or away
or through
or within.

For the loneliness, it’s cruel
to want ignorance
so soon
so badly
so achingly…
So please.

Tell me why broken
dreams make a home
out of me,
leave me lonely
and too tired
to keep this up
on my own;

I can’t bear
this weight
any longer–
The ache,
it never stopped,
did it?


If there’s anything you like or anything you would like to see more of from me, feel free to hop over to the Contact Me section; I would love to hear from you. See you all on Friday.

 

Need Or Want?– Learning the Difference

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Yesterday, I got to do something that I haven’t done in a really long time and probably won’t have time to do again soon: I finished a 500-page book in less than 24 hours.

It’s not that I haven’t been reading, though not nearly as much as I’d like, but I haven’t sat down and shut this world out for a while so I could trade it in for another one. Even though I have responsibilities to attend to and last minute things to take care of before I leave on Tuesday, yesterday was the kind of day that I ignored most of it and threw myself into a book instead.

It was fantastic.

One thing I think people forget to do is take a break. Whether it’s sitting down for a football game, spending some time watering plants, or even enjoying a good snack, we don’t slow down. I mean, I get it… There are a lot of things to be done in a short period of time and if we don’t do it, it may not get done.

But when is that ever not going to be true?

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Because if we’re not careful, we get so busy that our time runs out and not enough moments were spent with things we enjoy.

That book I read yesterday? Well I’ll tell you about it in a couple of weeks, but it was the kind of story that makes you take a step back and evaluate your life. For me, it reminded me how important it is not only to write, but also to read as much as I can. It’s the best form of learning for me.

So my question for you today is this: what do you get when you have a writer who doesn’t take the time to read?

Ready for the answer?

You get a terrible writer.

I tend to forget that improving my own work doesn’t always involve doing exactly what I think I need to be doing— writing. Most of the time, it’s also taking the moments and the hours to learn from what’s already been written.

We forget that what we need may not be exactly what we think it is.

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Photo by Gulyás Bianka on Unsplash

Take love for example; yes I know, a topic that I appreciate but can only write from certain points of view.

In taking my psychology course this summer, I learned that this current stage of my life is called the Intimacy versus Isolation stage by Erik Eriksson. Relationships are highly important in this stage and while a lot of us may search for love in a romantic relationship, we might let the importance of friendships fall by the wayside in the process.

Love can look like a text saying “home safe?” or even someone who takes your voice and makes it laugh, even when you don’t want it to. This can easily be a significant other— it can also be a friend. And maybe we forget to question which one we’re looking for, though in the end, what we need comes as it may. It might just take a little longer.

So what am I trying to say?

nathan-dumlao-287713I’m saying that while we go about our lives, going to school or work or running errands or remembering those breaks I talked about, take a moment to think about what you’re looking for.

And remember that what you need may not be what you think it is. So don’t close any doors yet, instead try opening the windows and see where the breeze can take you.


See you Tuesday for a new Poetry Place everyone.