In 2016, I got into college, dropped out of high school, traveled to 4 states in 4 months, started a company, filed a patent, finished my GEs, interned at a startup, worked 2 minimum wage jobs, wrote for the Odyssey, went to 4 concerts, mentored elementary schoolers, got 2 new jobs in the field i want to pursue…
I list these 2016 milestones with great pride, but I have to acknowledge the emotional undertaking of piling on projects, of maximizing the newfound freedom of becoming a college student, of "adulting":
For starters, I only told two people, my dad and my best friend, that I had applied to college, and was quietly holding in the stress of college admissions from January-March as adults all around me were pressuring me about retaking the SAT.
I secretly applied to take the CHSPE, a high school GED exam, and ended up taking it the morning after I was admitted into UCLA.
I spent my summer working two jobs five days a week from 9-5 every day, and spent 4/5 of my weeknights in class from around 6-9:30. On the weekends, I worked shifts at a daycare anytime from the hours of 9-7.
I used my Fourth of July holiday to study for three summer course midterms, all of which I had within that week.
I "celebrated" my birthday by resuming normal duties at one of my 9-5 jobs, and came home to put the final touches on a patent I myself had drafted and filed.
For the entire month of October, I was so emotionally overwhelmed with midterms, extracurriculars, and work that I would wait until my roommate fell asleep before I would break down bawling (love you Zoe).
And if you remember my first article for the Odyssey, I wrote about suicide, a topic that has always been and forever will be very near and dear to my heart.
I’m not going to lie, 2016 was the year of blood, sweat, and many, many tears. This year has been wild.
It's my fatal flaw that I'm never satisfied with what I do. I never pause for a moment to hear my brain, body, and being tell me to pause for a moment and breathe.
I acknowledge that statement sounds like the half-answer someone gives when asked during a job interview, "What is your biggest weakness?" But truth be told, I do think dissatisfaction with myself is my biggest flaw. I consistently convince myself I can do better, or more, or both, until I break, mentally and/or physically.
I iterate that I'm very proud of everything I've done this year, and while 2016 was probably the toughest year I've had thus far, being able to reflect on everything that has happened is very rewarding.
All in all, I'm thankful for 2016, which I say begrudgingly under my breath, because 2016 broke me. I'm not this invincible alien that can do anything she "sets her mind to," I am a human, with limits, with breaking points.
I'm trying to turn over a new leaf, where I let myself relax once in a while. I'm sitting here, not having done any work in a week, and honestly, I feel queasy. But this whole "doing nothing" thing is still a work in progress. Thanks for listening.