15 Things I’ve Learned in 15 Years

I worked pretty hard brainstorming, so here is my well thought-out list:

  1. Take care of your mind. Your mental health is important. Hard work is important too, but reaching burnout is unpleasant and dangerous. Taking a break by exercising, listening to music, or sleeping consistently; any of these can help you get back on your feet and return to work healthier and stronger than ever. 
  2. Read books. Lots of them. Experiences and life circumstances will hit you in life and leave you thinking and questioning. Savor that curiosity and use it as your fuel to search for answers to your own life’s questions in books.
  3. Surround yourself with good, positive, confident people; their behaviors will inevitably rub off of you. When you need to detach yourself from toxic people, do so and do not regret that decision. 
  4. Bad experiences may be hell in the moment, but learning from them, becoming stronger and smarter, and setting strong boundaries will be the greatest feeling ever after you’ve succeeded. 
  5. Work hard in the face of adversity. “It gets better” is an overused statement, but it is so true. 
  6. Focus on yourself by blocking out your surroundings, but also listen to the world around you. That perfect balance between inner and outer focus is how you become self-aware. 
  7. Learn to not care. Choose your battles wisely. Whether it’s a life circumstance that isn’t your fault, a nasty friend, family member, or teacher trying to hold you back, do not care too much. If you let these negative things in your life hold you back from focusing on your own goals, you will never succeed in life. 
  8. Life isn’t fair. Because there will always be someone better than you or someone who gets something that you believe you deserve more, you have to accept that life isn’t fair and it isn’t supposed to be fair
  9. Humans are inherently selfish and do things for themselves. Beware of manipulation.
  10. Celebrate change. It usually means you’re growing—just make sure it isn’t bad change. Some people won’t like the new you, but if you think you’ve improved, then celebrate it. 
  11. Never become complacent or comfortable with life the way it is. That hinders ambition. Happiness is overrated. In my eyes, happiness equals complacency. Stress, be criticized, be pressured, but never too much. 
  12. Sincerity always wins over words
  13. Experience matters more than age. 
  14. Being a good person stands out more than a prestigious college degree. Be different and be a leader; do not follow. 
  15. Don’t let people define you if they don’t know you. If they can’t treat you like a worthwhile person, they don’t deserve you, period. 

Quick Post on 9/11

Today, on September 11th, 2017, Americans stand together in solidarity to commemorate the day the lives of thousands of our citizens were lost. We remember the tears of the families mourning over their loved ones. We celebrate this day because of the courage of the first responders, police, EMT, and firefighters that rushed to the scene to help. Lastly, we remember the misdirected hate that fueled these attacks: a fierce cruelty my heart will never absorb, a stormy logic I will never understand.

In light of these tragedies, what truly ignites this day is the resilience of the American spirit—the optimism our country is known for, the glorious history based on the accomplishments of our forebears. Today, we stand together to reflect, remember, and remain faithful. That’s the America I dreamt of growing up, and something we can achieve, but not until we kill those barriers between us and our country’s greatest potential.

Hearing “You’ve Changed.”

Hearing “You’ve Changed.”

“You’ve changed.”

How many times have you heard that phrase? What does it mean? Is it a good or bad thing? As a young kid, upon hearing this phrase several times in my freshman year of high school, I was perplexed. I questioned it and pondered its connotations regarding my development. As a student in high school, I know that change is inevitable and imminent during my time in school. My freshman year has been very formative and I have been changing at a very rapid pace; I’ve assimilated into various friendship groups, participated in sports, was a solo instrument player, and my overall personality underwent a complete transformation from middle school. I wasn’t sure whether these changes were “normal” during the high school transition. My grades also dropped slightly when I entered high school—when this first happened, a myriad of questions stormed through my brain: was I less focused? Was I never truly prepared in middle school? Was all that middle school praise insincere? Have I been mediocre my entire life and just never thought about it?

Coming to think about it a while later, change is simply a representation of growth; not only physically, but socially, emotionally, and intellectually. As we meander through life, we experience events that anger us and excite us. The product is our character and personality. As we meet new friends and try to fit in, our personalities change. As we establish and maintain boundaries, we may not appear as sweet or kind as we used to be. Although we should strive to be kind, we all have limits and that’s something I struggled with in middle school. The anger and resentment that emerges from those events when we let people take advantage of us and cross our boundaries are the best experiences to learn from.

In middle school, I was the shy, insecure girl. I suffered endless panic attacks, my face went burning red whenever I stepped in front of a crowd, I often refused to make eye contact in the halls and was scared away by authority. I barely spoke to anybody. I didn’t have too many friends, but many acquaintances. I had a crazy fear of being judged. It wasn’t until I discovered my passion for playing the violin that maybe that’s what I wanted to pursue—it was the one thing I was confident in. So I continued that in high school and I do not regret it. It helped a lot with confidence—and so did running and sports. You meet amazing friends through these experiences. As a result, I enjoy high school much more than I ever enjoyed middle school. The competitive atmosphere and challenging academics become a humbling experience that encourage you to work harder as you recognize progress in the journey. And coming out of adversity as a better person (which takes months of hard work and good relationships) becomes the most exhilarating, amazing feeling in the world. For the strong fighters out there, “it gets better” is quite cliché—but no phrase rings with more truth—it takes time.

Honestly, I don’t think change should be taken as a bad thing unless it involves self destructive behavior—in my case and others I know, most people are simply growing and learning. Some people around you—family members or friends—may not like it or it may take time to get used to these changes. And that’s okay—it isn’t always bad—but healthy relationships should be accepting of good change and growth.

Feel free to let me know what you think of change in the comments below. Whether it be an account of your experiences or comments on mine or others, write anything because I love to hear you guys’ thoughts! They matter a lot to me and I will try my best to respond.

Thoughts on Shams and Delusions of our own Brains

Our brains are our masters and we are the slaves. We fall under the spells of our brains every single day. But are those spells malicious and manipulative or beneficial? Are we falling into traps subconsciously? Are we ever truly aware of our actions? Are we doing strange things right now, at this very moment, that others see in us but we fail to see in ourselves? Are people not telling us something? The endless questions and mystery we see in our own lives probe us in a direction that we do not expect to go in otherwise. What makes us so sure of ourselves? We explore the manifestations of human existence and the delusions of our own thinking that drive our entire existence as we delve into higher order thinking.

It is a societal paradigm to shift from forming one’s thoughts based on societal standards of perfection and what is deemed “normal” to forming one’s own thoughts and thinking for oneself. Being able to think for oneself is considered attaining maturity. I believe that thinking for yourself means to not only form your own opinions based on your intuition and ignore societal standards, but being able to act upon them. An internal societal conflict among men is inaction versus action. We know things. We learn things and read books and internalize messages from the media. However, the knowledge just lies in our brain, completely idle. If I asked you this question, please answer it honestly for me: what is the point of knowledge without application? What good does idle knowledge do to you or others if it just lies in your brain? Are all those endeavors and late night studies you use to obtain knowledge completely useless if you cannot apply it to your own life or utilize it to benefit society?

Do you ever wonder if we delude ourselves into thinking that we are dumber than we really are, so when people ask us questions we don’t fully use our brains when we speak and come off as stupid because we think we are? Is this false act of stupidity an equivalent to “playing dumb”?

What about delusions in memory? Do we delude ourselves into over analyzing past situations and delude ourselves into thinking past events were worse than they really were? Do we ever overestimate our importance as individuals? Let me know what you think.

Furthering the Depression Discussion

I just read an article, Spending Your Entire Life Wanting to Die (link: https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/spending-your-entire-life-wanting-to-die) based off the memoir This Close to Happy by Daphne Merkin. I saw the book in catalogs and have been dying to read it.

Overall, this article communicates ideas to audiences that correspond to the possible factors contributing to depression, ranging from how it appears to outsiders, modern society’s perception on it, family issues, one’s household environment and many more. I would just like to elaborate on this. Having experienced a phase of depression, I’ve always wanted to look into it to understand why victims feel the way they do.

The symptoms associated with depression are either so simple and overemphasized that people see it as something that has lost meaning, or depression is communicated often as just a serious health condition that outsiders see it as that: something to sympathize for. For one who has experienced depression, and please feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts on it, the symptoms are much more complex than that. The stories behind the symptoms and how they impact us rise beyond those listed in healthcare pages online. They kill us—there are stories behind every person who experienced depression—and society tries to sympathize without full understanding.

Household environments are different for everyone. I like how educators encourage parents to support kids, but how many parents out there actually do that? How many parents are busy and working hard? How many kids grew up in unfortunate environments or experienced unfortunate events that have changed them?  Unrealistic expectations are traps for failure. Parents are all humans with disparate personalities and we cannot expect every kid to be a happy, jolly soul all day. Educators once judged me for being sad in school and on trips where everyone was having fun but me. And you know the education system is absurd when educators are part of the reason for your depression in addition to unsupportive parents. No parent is expected to be perfect, but having ideal students or judging others without knowing them as complex humans is just unacceptable.

Anecdotally, ever since we were young kids desperate for support and affection, regardless of whether our parents openly displayed love or not, there is this gut feeling inside us convincing our mind that maybe they do love us. Even if they are abusive or in conflict, we have hope that deep inside, beneath all the anger, they do love us anyways. And that wishful thinking is why we cling to them even when there is tension. But as we grow older, we become more skeptical of others and uncomfortable with intimacy because we aren’t sure what it will bring to our lives or we may question its authenticity.

Furthermore, household environments are complex for everyone. We strive everyday to understand why our surroundings are the way they are. Everyone has been through different experiences in their lives. As a result, some people make a big deal out of petty problems. If you come from a relatively affluent neighborhood and household, you are not immune to depression. If you come from a household in a neighborhood with poverty, you are not immediately prone to depression. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that someone cannot be depressed due to external values like wealth or even education. When I was depressed, I went to school and put on a happy mask so no one noticed. When I consulted my guidance counselor, she sent out an email to those teachers. Soon enough, they all accused me of lying about depression just to make teachers more lenient on grading because my drop in grades stressed me out in addition to the depression. I barely slept at night. It was bad. One night, I broke out with bloodshot eyes and a pit in my stomach. It was difficult to force myself to pull through school while being miserable. You can be one person at home and one at school. It’s what depression can do to you.

Concluding all of this, I just want to note that in this society, there are a lot of misunderstandings regarding depression. The symptoms appear simple but are much more complex than they appear on the surface. Depressed individuals may have masks and it is important to look beyond that in order to help them, and to not be impetuous to judge them. Household environments are factors in the overall development of children, and external things like wealth, power etc. do NOT determine one’s chances of encountering depression. We all have different stories and backgrounds behind us, and as educated humans, we should always refrain from developing ideas about individuals we barely know or jumping to stereotypes. Yes, depression is serious, but we need to stop overlooking it just because there aren’t many vicarious accounts of it. Friends, if you want to talk or have any questions or concerns, feel free to comment on this post and I will reply. I’m always open to talk if you ever need somebody and I’m completely open to discussion and feedback. I hope we can grow as community members and continue fighting for what it is that we want.

Be Alert: Depression Today

Among the many mental health issues that may be experienced in life, depression is among the most prevalent and fatal. According to The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, depression is the cause of over ⅔ of the 30,000 reported suicides in the United States each year. Although the age of onset for depression varies, as many as 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents have clinical depression.

Whether the depression is mild or chronic, it is important that one seeks help immediately following diagnosis. Even while showing early warning signs, it is important to recognize them and avoid isolation. If the symptoms go unrecognized by the patient or by people surrounding them, the symptoms may worsen and overall deteriorate the individual’s mental health, physical health, and relationships.

During depression, thoughts are distorted. Patients have a negative outlook on life and believe that the world is cruel and that no one wants to help them, leading to isolation and hopelessness. Those feelings then cause the individual to keep everything inside of them and swallow up the sadness, causing symptoms to worsen if untreated. On a personal account, depression developed through overthinking, loneliness, and isolation. It occurred after a dreadful experience that I did not tell anybody about. The minute the experience began, self-deprecating thoughts swarmed in my head for weeks, and that had never happened to me before. But even while it was detected, I did not do anything to stop it. Now, that’s called self-destruction.

For parents, I would strongly advise them to ensure that their kids know, early on, that they are open to conversation and that if kids ever experience tough events, they can tell the parent. Adolescents and children may experience adversity too intense to be handled alone, so it is important that parents provide guidance and support. This does not call for a dependent relationship on the parent: this calls for the parent to talk through the event with the child, teach them proper coping skills, and eventually let the child use them on their own. The kid will eventually “spread their wings” and use those skills, but only after they are taught. If parents notice persistent warning signs of depression, or any disorder for a matter of fact, in an adolescent, do not instantly mistaken it for a “typical teenager attitude” or impetuously assume that the teenager is simply moody. Adolescents are moody by nature, but persistent symptoms should not be dismissed; it may be a sign of something worse. The number of times I have heard of depressive symptoms being mistaken for “moodiness” or the “onset of puberty” cannot be expressed in numbers. Parents, teachers, siblings, or anyone surrounding those you care about should always be on the lookout because there are those who suffer in silence or conceal their sadness in masks.

I find that those who have experienced depression are better at understanding, empathizing, helping, and being alert for symptoms in others in order to ensure that people do not go through what they went through, or experience a relapse. Regardless of its intensity (mild or severe), depression fundamentally affects mood: that in turn affects academic performance, motivation, relationships with others who are unaware of the depression, work life, and willingness to live. Now, whether you have experienced it or not, be on the lookout, offer support, and reach out to those who are suffering: they may feel too alone or hopeless to talk to others themselves.