Life Update: 4/16/18

Hi friends! Long time no talk! How’ve you all been?

It’s currently 1:43am on this Monday morning as I begin this post. I had planned on sleeping early and waking up at 5am, and sleep early I did! But I ended up waking up at around midnight, and was unable to go back to sleep since. So naturally, I decided to update you all on how my life has been going!

So, spring quarter has sprung. And it’s been, in all honesty, quite stressful thus far. This quarter, I am taking the notorious psychology “weeder” class, Psych 100B. It is a research methods course that teaches students how to write a proper research paper. While writing is indeed my strong suit, I much prefer creative over scientific writing. Past students have described the course as a “living hell”. Having heard all these negative remarks, I went in to the course immensely stressed and nervous, as I really want to do well.

In addition to Psych 100B, I am taking a course on adolescent development (also notorious for being a tricky class), as well as Philosophy in Literature, a very ready-intensive course. All of my classes involve a LOT of reading, more so than I’ve done in my life. It doesn’t help that I am naturally a slow reader. So, academically, this quarter is challenging, despite the fact that I’m only taking three classes.

The academic stress has taken a toll on my mental health. I find myself constantly irritable and on edge. Thankfully, dance has proven to be an effective outlet for my angst. As for extracurriculars, this quarter, I joined a beginner/intermediate hip hop team, Foundations Choreography. We have practice every Monday/Wednesday from 7pm-11pm, and are expected to practice on our own as well. During the first two weeks of the quarter, I used dance as a means of procrastinating from studying, which of course was a terrible idea, as I ended up falling behind in my classes. That is why I spent this entire weekend cooped up in my room, catching up in my studies.

I know I should be grateful to be at UCLA… but sometimes, I grow bitter at the very thought of studying. I wish I enjoyed learning more… I really do. But I’ve never identified as an academic or intellect. For most my life, I’ve had to suppress my inherently artistic nature, as my family and surrounding community conditioned me to believe that life as an artist was wholly unrealistic and unsustainable, and should never be one to strive for. Since moving to Los Angeles for college, away from the suffocating influence of my parents and upper-middle-class community, I’ve finally gained the courage to dig deep within my soul and be true to myself. Here’s what I’ve uncovered: despite being a skilled test-taker, I cannot call myself a lover of learning. I’ve always studied hard, but not because I genuinely enjoyed what I was learning, but rather, to get those A’s, because that’s just what I needed to do. I wonder how I can change my attitude in such a way that I can grow to love intellectual stimulation and classroom learning… but sometimes, I feel completely out of place in my college campus, surrounded by academics. It’s so hard to be an artist whilst in school… but, I recognize the importance of earning a college degree, as education is and always will be my ultimate safety net, in case my artistic career does not work out.

I am graduating one year early. Then I’m taking a break from school altogether, so I can focus wholeheartedly on my dancing. I’ll live at home to save money, and continue growing myself under the tutelage of my dance teachers in the Bay Area. Once I am ready, I will move to New York City to further my dance career, and hopefully find a dance partner there.

If dance doesn’t work out after a couple years, I will go back to school and study to become a sports psychologist. I am fascinated by competitive athletes’ ability to perform under tremendous pressure, and would like to study this phenomenon further. Such an endearing skill extends far beyond the world of athletics; in applies to everything, be it performance arts, medicine, business, law, and even everyday life. I sometimes think of life as a sort of performance… how does one deliver, under the face of pressure? Having experienced a career-ending knee injury that took me out of gymnastics, I also wish to help injured athletes cope with the psychological stress of injury– a phenomenon overlooked and misunderstood by many. In short, there are many reasons why I am drawn to sports psychology. With my expertise in the field, I can also help many professional dancers mentally prepare for high-stakes competitions and performances.

So, that’s a rough sketch of what lies ahead for me, in the immediate future. Of course, the only certainty in life is uncertainty, which means my trajectory is bound to alter its course. And that is okay! It helps me, however, to have a sense of direction to guide me and keep me focused on achieving my goals.

It is week 3 of the quarter, which means midterm season is fast approaching. In this coming week, I hope to be more positive in my outlook towards school, and not stress unnecessarily.

It was great catching up with you all, and I hope to talk to you guys soon!

 

 

 

Best,

Belicia

 

Spring Break 2018!!!

Hey friends! I’m writing to you as I sit inside the San Francisco Caltrain station, awaiting the bus to Los Angeles. The bus was supposed to arrive at 8:00pm, but annoyingly got delayed to 9:00pm. So here I am, passing time by writing this post!

This spring break was definitely one for the books. My friends and I accomplished most of the things on our bucket list:

  • Karaoke
  • KBBQ
  • Beach day!
  • Hike to the Hollywood sign
  • Road trip

It’s funny, because originally, I was not planning on coming back to the Bay Area for break. One random night, in a flash of inspiration, my best friend Chiana and I spontaneously decided to take a bus back to my home. I notified my mother, who frantically prepared the house for our arrival.

After missing our 7am bus on Wednesday morning, we took the next bus at 10am, and arrived in San Jose at around 5pm. That first night, my parents, Chiana and I ate dinner at a Thai restaurant. The Pad Thai there was not quite as good as the one at Mr. Noodle in Westwood; nonetheless, we shared good conversation over a generally delicious meal.

On our second day in SF, my parents kindly chauffeured us around the city. We took pictures at the Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman’s Wharf. After sightseeing, my parents dropped us off at Union Square, where Chiana and I walked around and made fun of all the expensive, high-end stores lining the streets. We window-shopped at Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, and Neiman Marcus. I think it was inside the Jimmy Choo store, where one of the sales associates flirted with me! Apparently my jacket tag was sticking out. He pointed it out, then proceeded to reach his hand down my neck to fix it for me. I kindly thanked him, to which he replied, “Bye sweetie.” Don’t get me wrong— this guy was hot— but I didn’t appreciate being treated in such an objectifying manner, and most definitely was not flattered by his actions. Similarly, when Chiana and I were walking along the streets, three men from a white truck wolf-whistled at the two of us. At first, I didn’t think they were referring to us; it was only when they continued staring at us through a rolled down window did I realize what had transpired. Ugh. Men. What can you do? At 4:30pm, Chiana and I headed to the top floor of Neiman Marcus, where we had afternoon tea at the Rotunda. We felt like royals, sipping on our exotic teas with milk and sugar, while munching on the finger-food delights arranged meticulously on a three-tiered fine carousal. All was well, until we got the check— $45 per person! I thought the experience of high tea was worth it, though.

Friday morning began bright and early at 5:30am! My friend Jung, who also goes to UCLA, made the spontaneous decision to join me and Chiana in SF! At 6am, she came knocking on the front door, and I welcomed her inside, groggy-eyed and all. I then went back to sleep on the couch, while Jung took a much-needed nap on my bed after her 8-hour red-eye bus ride from LA to SF. After we all received sufficient beauty sleep, my mother drove the three of us to the SF zoo! There, we took many pictures and saw many exotic animals, including:  lemurs, monkeys, giraffes, penguins, black bears, Grizzly bears, tigers, hippos, rhinos, foxes, panthers, pigs, goats, sheep, and several insect species. The zoo closed at 4pm, so we saw as much as we could in the 3.5 hours we were there. After the zoo, we made a quick walk down to Ocean beach, where we dipped our toes in the cold Pacific Ocean water and collected seashells. Afterwards, we took an Uber to my favorite Pho noodle place. We enjoyed a great meal of hot chicken noodle soup. Aside from the grumpy demeanor of the waiter, we were very happy with the meal, and left with our bellies full and warm. After dinner, we made the 30-minute walk back to the beach, just in time to catch the 7:30pm sunset. The trek through the biting cold wind was definitely worth it— the sunset was a sight I will never forget. After taking our pictures, we took an Uber to the Bart station, where we took the train back home. We concluded the day with beautiful, heartfelt, vulnerable conversations and disclosures. Twas’ a memorable night, indeed.

Saturday (aka today) began around 8am. We spent the morning at Bay Club, the local health and fitness center I grew up in. I didn’t realize how blessed I was to have been a member of the Bay Club until I saw my friends’ reactions to the place— awe and wonder at the center’s bourgeois nature. I guess I kind of just took the Club for granted, having been a member since the age of four. At around 3pm, we headed to the Caltrain station, armed with all our luggage, and bade farewell to my mother, who, surprisingly, shed a few tears upon our departure. I later asked her why she got so emotional; she said that she knew how difficult college was for all of us, and seeing us walk back into the lion’s den of another quarter pained her But, the pain and suffering is all for a good cause… we are getting an education and opening doors to a brighter future!

At the station, we met up with one of Jung’s friends, Eddie, and headed to the city. There, we took an Uber to Ghirardelli Square (there’s an extra “r” in that word that I didn’t know existed), and bought a bunch of chocolate goodies for friends back at UCLA. It was definitely a hassle to lug around our heavy bags while maneuvering the crowded streets of SF, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated at the situation. After Ghirardelli, we came across a modern art museum, and proceeded to culture our young and hungry minds. The curator gave us a detailed history overview of some of the artwork, and the whole experience was very informative!

We made it back to the SF Caltrain station at 7:30pm, where the Megabus would depart. The original departure time was 8pm, but, due to a series of extenuating circumstances, the bus was delayed until 9:15pm! I was quite irked at this change of plans, but hey, what can you do? We sat inside the train station, where it was a little less chilly, and waited until 9pm to line up in the bus line.

The bus ride back was pretty uneventful, aside from the one unexpected stop we had to make, due to mechanical malfunctions. I slept most of the way back to LA. We arrived at LA Union Station around 5am. Upon getting off the bus, I had the good fortune of running into a friend from UCLA, Clifford, with whom we split an Uber back to Westwood.

And so concluded our very fun and adventurous spring break! I definitely have no regrets, only beautiful memories to cherish forever.