Hello, dearest friends! It’s been almost a month since I last wrote a blog post. Man. Lots have been going on in my life since I last checked in, on February 26. I took my last final exam on Wednesday and have since been enjoying the start of spring break!
This past quarter has been formative, to say the least. I pushed myself far out of my comfort zone, from running my own dance club, to speaking at a student TED Talk event, to being an assistant choreographer for the school musical! All have been fulfilling experiences in their own right, and together have helped me so much with self-confidence. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again: if you want to live your best life, you must push yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s where true growth begins, and it’s the only way you will recognize what you are really capable of. Is it scary, doing something totally new and unfamiliar? Of course! In the past, any type of uncertainty would scare the living hell out of me. I’ve since realized, though, that it is these moments of not knowing, these moments of blind trust in the process, that we learn the most about ourselves. You know those butterflies you feel in your stomach and the adrenaline coursing through your veins, right before you’re about to do something terrifying? Well, that’s a physical manifestation of personal growth. It feels scary, but it is not something to be afraid of. It’s something to be celebrated. I think a key difference between ordinary and exceptional people lies in the very fact that most people are afraid to take the initial terrifying step out of their comfort zones. It’s human nature to fear uncertainty, and it takes a great deal of mental strength to fight the instinct of comfort. But let me tell you– once you start saying YES to opportunities, you will be greatly rewarded. You will grow along so many dimensions. You will surprise yourself with the things you are capable of doing. Most importantly, you will learn what it means to be self-confident.
So, that’s my little rant on the power of stepping out of your comfort zone. That’s what this past quarter has been all about! Moving on to the next topic– academics. Overall, I think I did very well academically this quarter. I took my last two requirements for the psychology major– Psych 120A (sensation and perception) and Psych 136A (social psychology lab). I also took Chinese 2A for my foreign language requirement.
I did very well in Psych 120A, despite having a subpar professor who didn’t really know what was going on. For the midterm, I earned the second highest score in the class, with a 95.5% (average was 79%). Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to do so well. I had so much going on extracurricularly around midterms season, that I literally had to cram 9 lectures and 8 textbook chapters into two nights’ worth of studying! I know, not my proudest moment. In the past, I’ve never had to cram for exams, because I’d know how to manage my time effectively. This quarter, however, I think I took on one too many commitments, hence the need to cram. I was so worried about failing the midterm that I nearly changed the class to Pass/No Pass, as I did not want to risk ruining my GPA. In the end, everything worked out. I also managed to do well on the final exam, scoring a 94%, despite not attending any lectures since the midterm. Most important of all, I learned a lot about memory and cognition in this class, and found the material surprisingly engaging. I actually gained newfound confidence in my intellect, after doing so well in the class. For the first time ever, I thought to myself, “Hey Belicia, maybe you aren’t as dumb as you think.” Well, you know, maybe I’m just a good test-taker. Either way, I am beginning to identify more as an academic and scholar, in addition to being an athlete and artist. School and learning is becoming a source of great pleasure, rather than a chore and obligation.
Psych 136A was truly a fun class. It was a capstone social psychology lab class, where students conducted their own experiments and captured their findings in a 12-page research paper. I enjoyed how independent students got to be in this class. We formed small groups based on common interest in a particular social psychology topic, and worked with these groups to conduct an experiment. It is a course that’s meant to give undergraduate students a first glimpse into the world of psychological research. Before this class, I had no intention of doing research; now, I recognize the great impact researchers can make via scientific discoveries. Knowledge is power! Of course, I still intend to focus my energies on the clinical side of psychology, working closely with athletes and professional performers in building mental tools to optimize performance under pressure (among other things). But it would be really cool if I could do research on the side, write books about my findings, and maybe even become a professor of sports psychology! And of course, in my spare time, I will continue my passions for creative expression. Wow, sounds like I have my whole life mapped out, LOL!
The third class I took this quarter was Chinese 2A, to fulfill my foreign language requirement. I was so intimidated at the beginning of the quarter about taking Chinese. I had taken the placement test two years ago during my freshman year, and was placed into level 2A (advanced). However, during the span of two years of little-to-no Chinese practice, my skill level understandably declined. When I finally got around to taking Chinese during my third year, my level was no longer that of 2A. I actually went to the professor’s office hours during week 1 and asked her to place me into level 2-regular. She did no such thing, as she believed I could succeed in 2A. So I stuck through it, and though it was a lot of hard work, I managed to do pretty well!
It’s spring break now, and I have many goals laid out to help me stay motivated. I know I haven’t been keeping up with my writing, given my super busy schedule this past quarter. However, writing is something that I can’t live without. I want to experience the world deeply, and it is through constant self-reflection and turning the mirror inwards that I am able to do this. So, this break, I will write at least one blog post every day detailing my day-to-day adventures. I will also continue to build my website, “The Athlete’s Corner”, and share the stories of athletes. In addition to writing, I will get back into my passions for figure skating and dancing. I went to the skating rink yesterday for the first time in three months and skated for a few hours. Surprisingly, I have not lost all my skills! I also will be taking dance classes all around LA and explore styles like jazz funk and heels. Recently, I found a new amateur dance partner, and will commence with the partnership after spring break. I plan on working as a tutor to fund all my expensive hobbies. I also really need to get on the professional development thing– i.e. looking for internships, doing research, building connections with professors, the whole shebang.
Alright, folks! Thanks for reading today’s post. It feels so great to be writing and sharing my life with you all, again! Talk to you tomorrow.