Of Quitting

It’s been exactly six months, twelve days, three hours, and forty-five minutes since I quit club swim. And though I sometimes wonder what would have been different if I hadn’t, I don’t regret it. Quitting is such a derogatory term. It’s always associated with the bad. It makes you think of someone who is giving up. But sometimes, there’s just no other choice.

As this school year began, I found myself swamped with a huge workload and new responsibilities. There was just no way I could balance all this with a three-hour swim practice every day. I tried to do this for the first three months of the school year, but it just wasn’t working. I couldn’t focus my efforts on one thing, so in result, I began slipping in everything. My swim times were getting slower and slower, and I couldn’t devote the time to being an editor for the newspaper, or even being a good daughter to my parents.

Once I realized that this wasn’t going to work, I realized that I had to give something up. I had done club swim for six years and had a couple really good friends on the swim team. Quitting was certainly difficult, since I knew I wasn’t going back. Once I had opened up that three-hour block of time in my schedule, I felt so much better. No longer was I bound by the commitment to come to practice each day even if it meant I had to miss other things. No longer was I physically exhausted every day.

Without swim in my schedule, I was able to explore so many other things rather than fixate on something I wasn’t getting better at. Of course, I continued to participate in high school swim in the spring, because I didn’t want to drop it all completely. Though difficult, quitting is sometimes the right thing to do.

Of Endings

Endings are bittersweet. They happen before you even realize and are over quickly.

As the school year comes to an end, I can’t help but think about all that I have done and could’ve done this year. There’s been so many new experiences I have been able to have, and looking back, it’s all been great. I learned how to drive, got a car, made new friends, became editor in chief of the newspaper, won second place for our newspaper, and made it to CIFs for swimming. There’s still so much that will happen within the next year, but it’s nice to look back and reflect upon the past.

Though we still have a couple weeks to go, the school year to me ended with the end of my last AP test. Though I have no idea how I did and will have to wait until July to know, there’s an enormous sense of relief that it’s all over. With testing out of the way, there is so much more time to explore new things.

It seems that no matter when things end or come to a close, there will always be something else that follows. Life keeps going, no matter what has happened in the past.

But like they say, endings pave the way for new beginnings.

Of Handling Rejection

Rejection stamp

The reality is that everyone at some point in their lives will have to deal with rejection, whether it is over a relationship or a college application. Knowing how to handle rejection can speed up recovery and lessen the pain that follows.

  1. Give yourself time to grieve. Only time can heal the feelings of humiliation and discouragement that rejection causes. Use this time to indulge on large amounts of ice cream or to cry out the pain in the shower. However do not allow yourself to grieve excessively, as this will only make matters worse.
  1. Accept the reasons for the rejection. Be honest with yourself and try to understand why you were rejected. Put things in perspective; the reasons may not even be personal. Do all that you can to learn from it and give yourself credit for at least trying to make things work. Think of what you can do differently to avoid being rejected in the future.
  1. Take your mind off of it. After the grieving period, do not obsess over the fact that you were rejected or fantasize about what could have been different. Instead participate in mindless activities to help yourself get over it. Playing video games or binge-watching Netflix can help ease recovery.
  1. Move on. Begin falling back into your normal routine but also do not be afraid to try new things. After taking steps one through three, the situation is now out of your control and the best thing you can do is move past the rejection. Explore new options and take this time to rethink your objectives.
  1. Get used to it. Rejection happens to everyone all of the time so expect it to happen again sometime in the future. Develop a healthy attitude toward rejection and you will realize that it is not as bad after going through it multiple times. Don’t let rejection discourage you from pursuing your goals but just know that it exists.

*This post was originally featured in The North Star, the school newspaper that I write for.

Forces of Nature

Nature collage

These photographs were taken at 三清山 Mountain in China during the summertime. The hike I took was beautiful and eerie, and I felt in sync with nature. It is almost as if the fog were wrapping itself around the mountain ranges weaving itself in and out of the rocks and trees. At times, I would look out into the scenery and see absolutely nothing but white.

Nature is mysterious, and that is what makes it beautiful.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Of Marijuana and Denver

This past weekend, I flew to Denver, Colorado for the annual national JEA journalism conference. We stayed at the Downtown Sheraton hotel and besides some snow on the first day, the weather was beautiful. The trip was a fantastic bonding experience among the members of our newspaper staff, and we learned so much more about the world of journalism. The trip itself was amazing overall. In between sessions, we were allowed to go out into the city and explore.

Sunday was the day we were able to see the city the most, and we were given the day to shop and eat. At first, we were all astounded at the number of homeless people who resided in Denver and wondered why they would choose to live in such a snowy city.

Then it hit us that the following Monday was 4/20. No, people were not gathered in Denver to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday. They were there for 420, or “Weed Day.” This unofficial national holiday for Marijuana enthusiasts explained the unusually large number of tatted, pierced individuals that we saw. I then remembered that we were in Denver, the capital of the state of legalized marijuana.

I found this amusing, as this rebellious holiday had taken place on the weekend that over 4,000 high school students were gathered for a educational journalism conference. Our administrator well-meaningly was overcautious with letting us leave the hotel. Even so, I had  some strange encounters with potheads in Denver.

In one case, while a couple of my friends and I were on the public bus on 16th street, one obviously high individual approached us and several other bus-riders and asked us to pet his stuffed animal monkey. We politely declined and proceeded to get off the bus at the next stop. Another waitress tried to persuade us to eat at her marijuana-themed restaurant and handed us a menu including items such as fried sriracha sauce with extra money for marijuana shots. Everywhere we went that day, we saw homeless men holding signs trying to sell weed or asking for money to buy weed. To make things weirder, there were absolutely no policemen there, though admittedly, everyone was very mellow.

This was all very strange to me, since I come from a state where marijuana is still illegal. Nevertheless, Denver was a great city and I had a great time at the convention, where our newspaper took 2nd place in the nation!

photo

Of Handwriting

handwriting

Thoughts flow to my pen

And form peculiar shapes

A continuous rhythm of letters,

Each unique in figuration.

 .

Letters merge into words,

And words into sentences,

Coalescing into unity,

Like the individual strokes of a

single wholesome painting.

U

Such a happy letter,

A single concave stroke,

Like the airiest of smiles

In a dark room.

U

The curve on an n

Juts up from the ground

Like a protruding mountain

In an ocean of words.

U

The eye of an i

Is isolated and trapped

Like a small island

Extended from shore.

U

Two strokes for a t

Each so definitive,

Like a decision that

Cannot be changed.

U

And finally the tail of a y,

Like a figure skater

Dancing into dizziness,

So elegant and free.

Cursive scrawl and rounded print

Carry the same word

But convey

Meaning of its own.

photo (1)

Of An Ephemeral Spring

photo

Spring has arrived. The sign of spring is in the newly bloomed hyacinths and in the shrill chirps of mockingbirds. The seasons seem to come and go so quickly, taking away the fresh green colors of spring or the muted chestnut colors of autumn. In the cycle of life, one only experiences so many springs or summers or falls or winters.

Spring is here, but it is ephemeral. The dandelion wisps still attached to the stem right now will soon blow away, either by the wind of nature or by the breath of a small child. Nothing is permanent.

Each feature of each season is so short-lived, and that is precisely why it is beautiful. The fleetingness of the present allows us to treasure the little moments in life, for the present will soon become the past as we move on into the future.

Daily Post: Photo Challenge