A Little College Advice

kari-shea-1066699-unsplash.jpg

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.
zach-lucero-802489-unsplash.jpg

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.

linus-nylund-465861-unsplash

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
parker-gibbons-1056509-unsplash

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.

hello-i-m-nik-698722-unsplash

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

josh-calabrese-527813-unsplash.jpg

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

lilian-velet-692482-unsplash

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.

annie-spratt-1048363-unsplash.jpg

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

toa-heftiba-714962-unsplash.jpg

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?

nicole-honeywill-730102-unsplash.jpg

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.

gulyas-bianka-512681-unsplash.jpg

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.

When a Flaw Becomes a Risk…

rawpixel-653767-unsplash.jpg

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I saw this article in the New York Times earlier this week, one that we all should be talking about. So today, let’s talk.

Take a look here at the article, the one that showcases a class-action lawsuit against Stanford regarding ill-addressed mental health and its students.

The title reads Feeling Suicidal, Students Turned to Their College. They Were Told to Go Home. Like many colleges nationwide, Stanford struggles to support its students with their mental health as conditions ranging from eating disorders to anxiety are on the rise in the college-age generation.

The Lawsuit

Yet, according to several reports from groups like Top Class Actions or the Stanford Daily, one University is not doing enough to support students but rather ask them to leave in accordance with their Dean’s Leave of Absence policy.

Including this article from the Disability Rights Advocates Corporation, most state that “Stanford routinely bars students from campus and on-campus housing when Stanford perceives that they may be at risk of self-harm or experiencing suicidal ideation.”

The Problem

Now I understand that many schools face the issue of caring for more students that they can truly handle efficiently or appropriately. Yes, at a certain point it is beyond the scope of a university to provide certain kinds of help, and in some cases it is best to point a student towards facilities and resources that can properly suit their needs.

But cutting students off from their current resources or even schooling when they are in need of help does not seem like a solution. It seems like rather a diversion.

sydney-sims-520573-unsplash

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

One that may help for some students who take a leave of absence and find proper treatment from home before returning to school with a better mindset and overall wellbeing.

That does not mean it is a solution for all.

For some students, turning them away only hurts them more. Not only this, but the alternative options of medication or counseling outside the school may not be affordable– even more so, the trial and error approach along with the side-effects that come with medication may leave the student worse off before they get better, especially without a proper support system in place.

Not only does this say something about how college’s value a student’s overall wellbeing, but also about the flaw in an educational system to provide a productive environment for students as a whole. Just like professional companies often offer services, sick leave, and other options for their employees, it seems student’s don’t quite have that luxury.

Not unless they’re willing to pay, more than their tuition, but also the loss of that tuition in order to leave school and find the help that they need.

This is a broken system.
jd-mason-267072-unsplash.jpg

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

When I say “system,” I am talking about both our mental healthcare and collegiate educational systems. First of all, the amount of people who cannot graduate high school or get to higher education at all– due to family obligation, school-to-prison pipeline, money, complication, etc.– is astounding and largely unequal.

If so much of the professional world depends on a degree and proper education these days, how can we hope for a diverse and productive work environment when there is no equity in getting to that education?

From ages 25-34, we see about 37% earning at least a bachelor’s degree while only 23% of African Americans and 16.4% of Hispanic Americans earning college degrees. I understand that some people do not desire/need college degrees for what they want to do and that is fine.

These numbers are a problem for those who do hope to attain degrees out of their reach.

So within our education systems, there is a flaw of gross inequity. And within the mental healthcare systems, it seems proper care is not always being offered.

When you combine these two issues with the academic, financial, social, and professional pressure of college, it becomes dangerous. This puts the future of a generation’s professional and personal wellbeing at risk for failure.

No matter where this class-action lawsuit goes, I know we can do better as a people. There needs to be a higher value on mental health as well as equity within education as a whole.

Students have to get to a point of being suicidal; it doesn’t just happen out of the blue. And children need to be educated properly from the very beginning– all children from all backgrounds, with some way for them to reach higher education if they would like to.

We Need Change
marco-bianchetti-539177-unsplash (1)

Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

Think of the world we are about to live in, the one we want our kids and grandkids to thrive in. We shouldn’t have to live within these broken systems that foster inequity and improper treatment. And they shouldn’t either, not when we can start making a change for better now.

Those students are using the law to make a difference. As of today, I have my voice for change so I am using it.

*Cue Allstate guy “are you in good hands?” voice…

So what are you going to do about it?

The Truth About Forever– A Book Review

wu-yi-692203-unsplash.jpg

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

Another Bookworms post for your Tuesday and I’m bringing you one of the books that I come back to every summer. Each year, I always have this list of books to read, to finally get my hands on with the hope that I can use the plethora of time I like think summers hold.

Then I got older and realized that time wasn’t always a guarantee. First it was AP class homework, then an internship along with the homework, and now I’m in college spending my summer with class, work weeks, and not enough time for reading.

And yet, that hasn’t stopped me from going back to old favorites. For young adult books, author Sarah Dessen does pretty well from books like Just Listen to Lock and Key, each telling different stories that somehow connect to one another in some way. So without further ado, here is my book review for one of my favorites from her.

The Truth About Forever— Sarah Dessen

scott-broome-740559-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash

It’s your classic YA novel, you’ve got your main girl who has a boy and decides to let go of that boy, while finding a new one in the process when she wasn’t really looking for him. At least that’s what it sounds like from the back cover.

But once you go a little deeper, you’ll realize that this book is about grief just as much as it is about love— two things that undoubtedly go together. For each character in the book, it seems they are all trying to figure out how to reconcile the people they used to be with who they are becoming. Take the moms or the sons or the daughters or the friends, every single one of them is working through their past to get to their future.

Maybe that’s one reason I like this book so much, because it’s relatable no matter the circumstances your life has put you in. This book makes sense.

milan-popovic-537288-unsplash

Photo by Milan Popovic on Unsplash

Macy is the kind of main character that holds a whole lot of genuine comedy and sarcasm underneath her practicality and need for control. Combine her with the character of Wes, whose spontaneity and creativity makes him so endearing in the process, and it’s hard not to be drawn into their stories.

As their lives collide with one another, we watch them get pulled far outside their comfort zones and into a different way of living. Past the grief and the love, this book is also about family and relationships as a whole. The way Macy interacts with her mother and sister parallels with the way Wes and his brother interact— they both invite you into these relationships within the pages.

Not only does this book offer a feel for the families, but it also offers an inside look into Macy’s head and her need for perfection, combating the guilt and inadequacy she so constantly feels with people like her mother or old flame Jason even. This novel is a slice of life, with a heartthrob thrown into the middle of it for a little comedic and romantic relief throughout.

One thing I will say took away from this book a little bit is its slow start. Sticking with the book was easy for me simply because I like Dessen’s work and knew it would be worth the wait. But for some, things only get interesting when Wes comes into the storyline and gives us someone to get attached to.

thought-catalog-470985-unsplash (2).jpg

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Once that happens, the pages turn from there and if you’re anything like me, it’ll be one of those books that you just keep reading so you finish it before you put it down even once.


If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think! And if you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll take a chance on this one. I don’t think you will regret it.

Living out of Obligation

jehyun-sung-486247-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

Do you ever do something not because you truly want to, but because you feel like you should? I could easily be talking about work or writing or love or smiling… I could be talking about living.

In a way, I kind of am.

Let’s make this personal shall we: throughout middle school and high school, 7 years of my life, I was a runner. Here’s a concept— I hate running. Give me a 4×1, I loved it. But only if I didn’t start. Give me a triple jump or long jump, loved that too (probably more). But don’t make me run, not in a competition with a start gun and a timer.

I loved the people and the jumping. Not so much the running.

So why did I do it and keep doing it, running varsity all four years of high school and taking on team co-captain senior year?

Because I was good at it. What a shame it would have been to waste my talent right, to let my team down?

It was an obligation. Not one that I regret for the physical shape and amount of connections I made through the sport, but still an obligation.

Now think about yourself, why do we smile at strangers even when there’s nothing funny or amusing or remotely smile inducing about them? I don’t even know if it’s considered polite, we were simply always told to be kind and smile at other people. It’s an obligation of sorts.

Like the black person nod— no, I do not know every black person I see out around Folsom or Cal Poly, but that doesn’t stop me from nodding at them when I pass by. I never really questioned it, it’s just what we do.

You get what I’m saying.

annie-spratt-710486-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When it comes to these things, from the smiling to the nodding, maybe it helps us in the long run. I know with track, I met a handful of incredible people and learned a lot about myself in the process. Even with the smiling thing, it’s paid off working in customer service and retail for the past few years. We do a lot of things out of obligatory feelings of needing to do it. Whether we’re good at it, it’s polite, it’s “the right thing to do”…

Maybe sometimes that’s a good thing. And maybe other times it’s not.

Because what happens when we do something out of obligation that in turn compromises our own intentions or integrity? Now I’m not talking about doing something out of your comfort zone, those things are important for growth and experience in the long run.

I am talking about priority.

There are a lot of things that we may do because we feel like we should and it ends up helping us too. But if we take someone else’s needs and put them above ourselves, that obligation can turn around and hurt us in the process. Think about it, I’m sure you’ve been there.

vlad-tchompalov-450777-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Have you ever had a deadline coming up but a friend needed your help, so you put the work aside and helped them out leaving very little time for that deadline?

Or maybe you offered to help tutor a classmate or walk a coworker through something every day, only to watch your performance and time slip due to your time spent on them.

Whether they’re friends, family, coworkers… Anyone really, I understand the want to help people or to support them as best you can. Sometimes that will in turn take away from your own time or sleep, maybe even your own well-being.

There simply needs to be a line somewhere.

There is this grey area between being kind or helpful, and being a pushover. I know it’s something I’ve always struggled to find a balance in. Always putting other people’s needs in front of your own may not help them in the long run, and it definitely doesn’t help you. But never supporting others or letting yourself not be the center of your own life every once in a while doesn’t help anyone either.

The older we get, the more important our relationships become— that includes our relationships with ourselves. So find a balance in there, between obligation versus self-prioritization or self-neglect versus love and support.

sean-stratton-744839-unsplashI know it’s hard to find the line that balances the two sides out, I’ve been looking for it for years and still haven’t found it. But a life out of obligation isn’t a good one, not when you’re doing it for the wrong reasons or the wrong people. So find a balance and make sure it’s a good one…

I’ll be looking for one too.


See you Tuesday for a new Bookworms post. Happy weekend!