149 – a little escape 

In London (Ontario) for the weekend and it feels really nice to be away from all my stress at school. I know it’s all just going to start again on Monday, but for now, I can just enjoy a little piece of happiness. 

I can see the stars again. It feels surreal after not having been able to see them much in Toronto. I feel at peace here, like everything is going to be alright. I hope that this feeling follows me back tomorrow. 

Everyone I’ve met here is really nice and willing to chat about their experiences. It’s not even my interview date, but I feel welcome here. It’s refreshing. I’m super glad I decided to come a day earlier. The med student that’s hosting me is incredibly friendly – I’m relieved we get along. I feel like I fit in here and hope I get in. 

Time to get some sleep so I can do my best tomorrow. I’m nervous, excited, yet oddly calm because of the wonderful atmosphere. It’s a weird mix. I like it. 

walls of gray

broken down by my inadequacy

I don’t know how to face it anymore

they say nothing

but I feel it by exclusion

I no longer pretend to feel welcome

beyond those doors

though I struggle to accept

this hollow state of mind.

 

I keep on pushing through

just a few more months

one week at a time

but it’s really all too much

even my best efforts

to numb these currents down

are fruitless

I lie shattered

broken and weathered

unable to pick myself up

unable to hold on

to that sliver of hope

and so I find myself engulfed

entranced in inhibition

privy to these crushing thoughts.

 

I cannot see the horizon

beyond these walls of gray.

148 – dreams shatter, but we carry on.

I fell into a deep slump last semester. Burned out from classes and research, all I could do was try my best not to let depression get the best of me. In November, it took all I had not to burst into tears every time I stepped into the lab. I dropped one of my courses and felt really out of my element even in classes I thought I would be comfortable in. My ability to write in a fourth year level course was questioned and even now I’m not sure I have the confidence to say I’m a good writer anymore. Without a doubt, this has been the worst year of my undergrad, exceeding the horribleness that was my turbulent first year in which I spent every month at the doctor’s with another physical illness.

Still, I’m halfway there. I’m sure I’ll make it through somehow. I haven’t gotten all of the details worked out quite just yet, but I’ll get there. One way or another.

My absolute lowest moment came from a rejection email from UBC. With that, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fulfill my goal of studying back home. With that, I began to doubt whether or not I was even good enough to have my dream become reality. I thought then that maybe I wasn’t smart enough and that I should be considering an alternative career. But those negative thoughts blew away when I talked to my mom over the telephone. She assured me that even if I got rejected from every school that she would support me trying again or taking the time to find a new dream. I’m really lucky to have her support. She also told me that she’d come live with me for a year if I got into med school somewhere else – though I’m not sure I’ll take her up on that offer since I don’t know how well my brother can handle living alone (despite being five years older than me…). Regardless, failure became an option for me and not the end. Just another possibility that I needn’t be afraid of.

Things have gotten a little easier this semester, but not by very much. I’m still struggling in the lab, but have gotten more or less numb to disappointment. I still hate the thought of letting down everyone the lab, but my inability was shattering every inch of self esteem I had left. I think it’s best not to think about what others think of me. Especially if they’re not good things.

I think my perspective has shifted a little – especially after hearing that one of my old high school teachers has struggling with untreatable cancer – something he dedicated a lot of his time and effort into raising awareness and money for. I’ve always had the mentality that the present is more important than the future – to enjoy the small, happy moments as they come, but I’ve also placed a lot of my hopes on the future, on the life that I spend day-to-day fantasizing about living. I think hearing the news really shifted the timeframe of my mind a little bit more to what’s happening right now. Along the same train of thought, I decided not to apply for graduate school in Chemistry. It wouldn’t be something I’d enjoy and life’s too short to be spending everyday of a year or two on something that I wasn’t thrilled about. There are other options out there that I think I would enjoy far more even if taking a “gap year” is sometimes considered a waste of time (I disagree with that sentiment).

I got an interview invitation from McMaster so that’s one blessing that’s been thrown my way in this really tough year. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’m prepared for that – it’s given me both hope and confidence that my dream doesn’t have to stay a dream. The interview, however, is a few days after the poster session for my thesis project – so I’ve only got so much spare time. Nevertheless, I want to make it through these next few arduous months with no regrets. If that means sleepless nights and caffeine-powered study sessions, then so be it. I’m ready for you, 2017.

I miss you, my monster.

It’s funny how in some of my darkest moments I do not seek comforting words nor kind embraces, but instead yearn deeply for a fiery anguish that I once fought against. I never wanted to be by your side when I was forced into your hands. I never did like you all too much when you were the biggest thorn in my life. I’m still not quite sure I like you now. Still, strangely enough, I miss you.

I’ve always thought of you as a monster: dark, and filled with all the frustrations I compounded within you; hollow, with no possible understanding of all the sorrow that I was consumed with; terrifying, because I always running away. So I’ll continue to call you monster.

Without me, you were worthless. With you, I was the one that felt that way. I felt like there were impassable barriers  – that I just didn’t have the talent to become your master. There was so much I wanted to express, but I never found the right notes to do just that. Always, always, I felt an insurmountable desire to give up. Always, always, I was forced back into your hand. I despised the redundancy of repeating the same melodies over and over, memorizing the movements as if I were just a machine. I just wanted to play new things all the time, but I knew that would get me nowhere.

Though sometimes, nowhere was okay. Nowhere was a safe place to be. I would slam the keys and cry my heart out, realigning the hard-pressed edges of my life. I would release every angry thought in a flurry of chords played fortissimo, pressing down the pedal so that everything meshed into one amalgamation of harshness. It was best when the house was empty, when I could immerse myself in some desperate melody. Though sometimes I just didn’t care, even if everybody outside could hear this disgraceful use of an instrument. Maybe a part of me wanted everyone else to see you for the monster that you were. The monster that you still are in my mind – because the memories never fade.

As much as I hated you then, I miss you now. I miss the sensation of release, of mindlessly pouring out my emotions as if you could absorb all the terrible things that I was feeling. I wish you were here in this cold, callous city to warm me with frenzied passion. I wish you were here to allure me to sleep with the gentle lullabies I always liked to play. I wish you were here to I could go through a stack of music and find solace in something more beautiful than I will ever create.

I…I have nothing more to say,

but I miss you.

in deference to what I love

This journey has been hard, but I am not barred.

I know there is something more,

something I can’t yet see,

something beyond obscurity,

something just for me.

 

Pushing through the doubt and strain, I’ll gladly do it all again.

For all the faith that you bestowed

this is a path I can’t forego

this is the only path I know

and through the misery, I shall grow.

 

For the horizon really is not that far, closer and closer each day that we are.

This is the dream that I’ll never leave

a dream so compelling it keeps me awake

a dream that will test how much I can take

a dream of mine that nothing can break.

 

Because even from the very start

I have loved it with all my heart.

145

I ended up dropping one of my courses and I think it was probably the best option for me considering 1) it’s not a required course 2) I can use the money I save for med/grad school applications 3) I can always take it in the fall when I have to pay tuition anyway and 4) I’m not sure I could handle doing two courses in such a compressed timeline.

So that’s one weight off my back. It’s a shame because I actually found one of my friends in the class last Thursday and it would’ve been so much more fun to take the class with her. I’m considering sitting in the lectures with her, but I have to prioritize doing well in the other class and starting to study for the MCAT again. So we’ll see.

Shadowed an experiment in the new lab I’m RAing in – it’s really interest seeing physiological data being recorded from the participants and I’m excited to be a part of the project. I really hope I’ll be able to do well…I’m really clumsy so I’m a little worried that I might put electrodes on the wrong place or make the participant uncomfortable. I *should* be okay though.

Completed Standard First Aid and CPR this past weekend and it feels good to know that if an emergency situation ever arises, I have the general knowledge to deal with it. I’m awful under high pressure situations, so I don’t know how useful I would be if it came down to it…but the knowledge is there.

Bought a bike from a friend today…and biked my way home. Was out of breath from the 25ish minute ride. Signs that I’m really, really unfit. Also, I didn’t really know the turn signals too well or when it was appropriate to use them…I think my mom would be terrified for my life. As someone who’s never biked on big/main streets before today, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. Definitely a little intimidating. Going to try to bike more this week.

My mom and brother have booked flights to visit me so that’s something to look forward to at the end of the summer. Just gotta get through all the work along the way.

I can do this. 🙂

144

It’s been a long while since my last post, so I decided to push myself to write something today. One of my resolutions was to write more per month, but it’s clearly become an ongoing struggle. Will try to do better this summer.

Part of me feels like I’m running away when I don’t write. It’s hard for me to get focused without a clear plan of what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it and writing seems to making things easier. When I’m not writing, I feel like I’m dodging my problems…this rings especially true when considering the copious amounts of Stardew Valley, League of Legends, and Overwatch that I’ve been playing. Gaming is not a solution to all your problems, Nessa. Jeez.

I have a rough two months coming up ahead. While I know it’ll be stressful, I think it’ll be really good to feel productive this summer.

Currently enrolled in two courses (introductory Biochemistry and Physiology) that I’ve been having immense difficulty fitting into my regular schedule and thus have been forced to take them in the summer. May drop Physiology if the first midterm does not go well since learning so much material in the span of six weeks is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not required for my degree/graduation, but I felt like taking it may help me in studying for my MCAT retake. I’ve always found learning from a teacher/professor to be easier than on my own.

I wanted to get a part-time job this summer (at a coffee shop so I can stop spending so much money on coffee…), but due to my other responsibilities, this doesn’t seem to be realistic until at least after my summer courses end. 😦

Currently continuing to help out in the psych lab I was RAing in for the past year – just training some summer students. Also applied and was accepted as a volunteer RA to another lab – really excited about the opportunity as the lab is one of the only at U of T to use psychophysiological instrumentation. I think the experience will be super rewarding even if I don’t get paid for it.

On top of the courses and the RAing, I also have to study for the MCAT and continue volunteering (~3 hours/week). Safe to say I don’t have much free time planned in the coming weeks. But it’ll be good for me. Hard work is supposed to make you a better person.

Other miscellaneous things I have yet to do, but am mentioning as a reminder to myself:

  • CPR & First Aid course next weekend – it’s apparently a medical school requirement for some schools and it’s also something that the lab I’m RAing in wants me to have
  • Renewing my passport (expires in August) – am not looking forward to taking another horrific passport photo…never understood why we can’t smile in those photos
  • visiting a doctor regarding orthotics – flat-footed me has been putting this off for a whole year…that student health coverage isn’t going to spend itself :/
  • decide on a supervisor for CHM499 – have talked to three profs, unsure if I want to talk to more as I’m already struggling in deciding which lab I’d like to work in

Will try to update on how I’m doing every week for the next two months as I navigate through this heavy workload. I think it’ll be a very simple way to keep my spirits high and the stress low (hopefully…)

More than anything, I want to focus on the little things that make life feel good. Like walking through High Park with my friends yesterday. Like winning that game of Coup on Friday (boardgame night) despite being one card down. Like finally getting a Play of the Game on Overwatch despite me being absolutely horrible at FPS games. Like CLG proving NA can be a strong region at MSI.

Things like that.

Things that can put a smile on your face no matter how hard life seems to get.

Let’s focus on these things.

Because happiness is all about perspective.