We Are All Struggling To Tread Water, Yet We Need To Fight With A Smile

We Are All Struggling To Tread Water, Yet We Need To Fight With A Smile

The one where it's important to remember what's good, despite the self-deprecating jokes all around

At the University of Washington’s Odegaard Library, there’s a whiteboard next to the stairs with a different question every week.

Whenever I would read the responses, they range from the normal complaints of CSE142 and bad dormmates to the absurd ones featuring pop culture references, memes, and existential crises. All using different colors of ink supplied in a black mesh basket.

Recently, I found the board with the question, “What is one of your most epic failures in life?”

The same answers went abound, from failed classes to starting to play League of Legends, from not getting into their major of choice to believing that an omnipotent God controls everything.

I even wrote something down: how I procrastinated without end, losing opportunities from the palm of my hand.

However, two responses stood out which made me quite sad: one lamented on their decision to go to the University of Washington, with another calling it “being bounded”—an inversion of UW’s promises to be “boundless.” Another commented, albeit jokingly, about being born.

Regardless of how sarcastic or serious these were, it implied that their lives were filled with undying misery and woe.

When I look at UW’s Boundless Memes page on Facebook, I also note this cynicism. One of my favorites was one featuring somebody knowing they may not be able to get accepted to the Computer Science major, so they would end up trying to take Canadian Studies instead, to justify they’ve got a “CS” degree.

Naturally, I understand. It took a lot of work to get into college, and a lot more work to get a degree, a job, and dignity. I find myself struggling to get readings and papers done, trying and failing to get a decent job, and wondering if I should’ve chosen the path I engaged in.

My father warned me that I needed to get into the hi-tech industry instead, with its myriad of opportunities, a golden door towards wealth and general prosperity in the modern age. Yet I enjoy my major, in that I get to learn so much about the world I’m living in and hopefully developing writing skills so I would use them in a future research job.

However, throughout the nonsense that’s going on in the school, whether its classes, the cafeteria food, or the national politics of the day, one thing which keeps me afloat is a sense of optimism.

Everything ends at some point, for the better or the worse, but it will all be worth it in the end.

I know a bunch of people who are engaging in different internships, jobs, and experiences. They discuss how they are tired every day with doing such tasks, yet are always enlightened by it.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to take away the fact life isn’t always going to be like that on social media. As the cliché goes, one has to crop, edit, filter each photograph before it gets sent to publish, like this article.

Every word is curated like fine art, grapes for wine, or a new piece of technology. I’m not one to post something on social media without having something of significance, yet this is a frequent phenomenon.

At the end of the day, why not find something which is worth the suffering?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Five Tips to Get on Top of Your 2019: Tech Editions

Yeah, there's an app for that.


Technology is the course of the future, why not use it to get on top of your new year? Make 2019 the year you stop sleeping on these great productivity apps and get grinding! Best part, all the apps I've included here are free.

Google Calendar.

Look at that beauty.

I LOVE Google Calendar! Not only is it a great tool to map out your week, it comes with cool features. You can color code tasks and events, get text reminders and so much more. You can even sync your calendar with other people's (this is very helpful for roommates or study buddies).

Google Doc File Folders


Sick of that long list of documents in your Google Docs? You can make file folders to organize all of your docs!

Momentum Chrome Extension

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This is a to-do list on steroids- definitely worth checking out!


A to-do list app for your phone! I love this just to organize what my top priorities are.

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