1/2 WAY POINT
HALF WAY POINT CHECKMARK
Apologies for a slightly delayed blog post!
It is absolutely insane to think that we are basically half way through the semester. Every week still feels very new to me, like I am not on this chronological path of time, but each week feels scrambled and much more distant and independent from each other. Sometimes I feel like I am time traveling back in time and other times, I feel like I am living in a simulated space. I think it’s mainly all freaky to me because I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be present.
Being present is something I’ve been furiously working on since like the age of my dawned consciousness I guess. I am pretty sentimental and I tend to worry a lot, so I think about everything and anything leading up to and after present, but nothing really about present (but I am now!). I think it’s because I sort of find present to be something of the past: if I am in the present moment already, then it’s like I have checked it off the list, and I can move on. Overall, I am not really convinced by the whole concept. I want to be present, but I think nothing is truly present when everything is changing, so you can’t really capture the presence of present. So I don’t know, I guess now I find “being present” to be a saying that just sounds prudent, but it just feels like an illusion. This has been my food for thought.
I am also sort of realizing that badum! has gone completely off tracks, ah-ha as I am not really recording my badum! moments here abroad. It really has become a site for dumping my thoughts informally, and other times, it feels more like an angsty diary of sorts (?help me), but I think I am really fine with that. Still, I should still let badum! serve its purpose and share what’s been happening. If I had to encapsulate this past week of frenzy in one sentence it would just be: midterm season and e-prime hell.
E-prime is a software we’ve been using in my core class lab for our independent experiment. It crashed about 6 times in the midst of our programming. E-prime connotes hours and hours of staring at a computer screen located slightly above eye-level for the prime experience of awkward discomfort. Thankfully, we finished on time. We ran our pilot trial on Thursday, and I was actually surprised to see statistical significance when we analyzed it on Friday. This is because our experiment felt like a bridge made out of marshmallows and spaghetti noodles. To be fair, I came up with the experiment, so I am not passing any judgment on my lab group, just the messy process itself.
Other than that, here is the rest of the recap from the week: celebrated Hannah’s 21st birthday by visiting a lovely outdoor sauna near Reffen (and then jumping in the freezing water to feel my body go numb), reunited with my Pomona friends on Wednesday to mope, reminisce, and look forward to the next semester, impulsively cut my hair to save myself from falling into indifference, video chatted my best friend from home after failing to schedule a call for the past 2 weeks, attended 3rd floor’s ~ evening in France ~ party, bopped around Copenhagen to find statues with my friends in Danish class to understand “Danish Identity”, barely managed 3 exams, STARTED FLEABAG***, and visited Dyrehave.
On Sunday, Copenhagen finally opened their new metro system that they had been working on for almost 8 years. It’s called Cityrigen (the city circle line) and it basically makes a circular loop around the city, making farther destinations much easier to access. To celebrate this grand opening, the metro was free on Sunday, so my suite mates and I decided to travel 20 minutes up North to Dyrehave or Deer Haven.
Looking back, this was a very impulsive decision for me. I had planned to meet up with my friend Jiwon to study for neuroimaging at 3 and I wasn’t quite done with all the powerpoint slides. Back home, I probably would have prioritized studying, no question about it. I could not picture myself physically removing myself from a confined room to take a 3 hour excursion when I had an exam the next day. But I did, and I am really happy that I did.
We took the S train and got off at the very last stop which brought us to the very entrance of the park. The park is actually a lot bigger than you would think. I just did a google search and found out that it covers 11 square km which is basically almost 3000 acres. We walked around for about an hour or so but on the map, we had barely left the entrance.
Everything about the park was so ethereal. There were old trees with branches handing down low like umbrellas. We walked along a trail of yellow leaves on the ground (but no crunch because the ground was wet). The first deer we saw was white and then we saw a greater bunch of brown deers. But then, there was a particular buck that kept chasing the does (this part not so ethereal) and made this really frightening deep noise that sounded like: UWAAAhaaaWAHHHUHGa repeatedly! It seemed really upset for some reason, but you know, it also could have been very happy, who knows.
We took a break on a slope next to a tree. Hanan read her sci-fi novel that was due in a day. Sophia laid on my lap and took sneaky pictures of random folks passing and their dogs. Jasmine made some sketches (Jasmine is Hanan’s old roommate!). I worked on my neuroimaging study guide. Okay, the grind actually did not stop at Deer Haven. Still, there is a difference between cramming the same content in my apartment versus being with nature in complete ~ tranquility ~ and studying my notes. I think it’s funny that this is actually SUCH a big thing for me to actually acknowledge and even dedicate a blog post on because this is not the case at Pomona. I don’t know why it is always so hard to remove myself from this academic gravitational pull (of death) that feels like a trap back at home. 3 hours. It was the best choice I had ever made.
The break ended when there was a crazy downpour and the wind was just gusting everything down. Still, I enjoyed every single moment of it. Yellow leaves started spiraling down like confetti and it was probably the most beautiful thing I had witnessed that day.
And you know, I did fine (I think). I still made it to the study session that day with Jiwon. I reviewed my notes back at home and I went to bed early. Wow….this sounds a lot like time management? My first year of college, I failed time management in academics, it seriously took a mental toll and I had no free weekends. My second year, I had learned to prioritize certain aspects of my studies, but I guess I was still failing at overall time management because I was focusing a lot on academics*
Being abroad has made me less intense of a person. I’ve been more spontaneous with my schedule, and this sense of autonomy makes me appreciate the time and decisions I am making for myself.
*however, the academic rigor at Pomona is much more intense, so I mean, I might just fall back to sophomore Eileen
HALF WAY POINT CHANGES
Okay, and because we are half way done and I actually feel and see physical and of course, internal changes and growth, I want to share some that I’ve observed:
- like mentioned, I am less intense of a person now….sort of. I mean, yes, I still rely on my google calendar that is crazy packed, I still get anxious over things that are months ahead, but I am better about doing things simply for the pleasure of doing, and not letting my rationale get in the way of it too much.
- I really stopped caring about people pleasing. And this is good, but it’s also bad in that it wasn’t a gradual thing. It just stopped unexpectedly and it really shows. I am really bad at hiding my emotions, so it shows on my face when I am flustered or thrown back or if I really really don’t like you. And the latter happens a lot because I don’t like a lot of people here. But seriously, it really takes a lot of mental toll to fake like I care when I really don’t, so I stopped and it’s never been better.
- This kind of goes back to the last bullet point, but Ella and Taelor both shared their experiences in classrooms where people have said uncomfortable, inappropriate things and they have decided to call people out whenever they do so. I have decided to do the same. I am finding myself to be okay with stepping into uncomfortable situations and I am not going to stop myself from doing so just because I want to be at a good place with everyone.
- Fully stocked fridge shelves make me feel like a rich woman and I never thought I would ever feel this way.
- I am learning to appreciate long walks (and decently short runs). Back home, it was always about efficiency and how to get from place A to place B as quick as possible, but now, I really like strolling.
- A part of me really hoped that Copenhagen would enlighten me in some way in terms of my careers and where I should go from here, but 1) it hasn’t so far 2) I have come to terms with the fact that I am perfectly fine with being absolutely lost and confused with my life plans and that it is actually stranger to have a set life plan/timeline for the next 5-10 years.
And definitely, definitely more to come!
***I wanted to talk about Fleabag, but this blog post is already very long, and I might just write a separate post on it after I finish season 2. I have 2 more episodes left.
Wow that was a lot. And I am leaving for Italy this Saturday, then Greece next Thursday! 70 degrees here I come.
Until next time,