College

A realization made after my bedtime

I have been getting more sleep than usual because of the greatness that is spring break, so I found myself unable to quickly fall asleep tonight. After a bit of tossing and turning, I decided to listen to some music. Since my phone’s music library remains empty due to my laziness and also since I did not want to shuffle through my single massive Spotify playlist containing songs from Liszt to Five Finger Death Punch, I pulled out my Zune HD (Microsoft’s attempt at an iPod Touch competitor in 2009), which was last synced with my laptop’s music library some time during my junior year of high school.

I pressed shuffle and proceeded to skip many songs before settling on NU’EST’s “Face”, a kpop song that I was obsessed with during the spring semester of my sophomore year in high school and also a song that always takes me back to the moment when a Chinese school classmate showed it to me after class one Sunday and I judged the random dubstep break in the song.

A few other songs that I listened to

  1. “Je Sais” by Shy’m, a song my French teacher in sophomore year of high school showed me.
  2. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift, the clearest memory of this song being working at the DECA store at school during lunch on my 16th birthday and singing along to the beginning with one of my friends, Austin, who sadly does not remember this occurrence.
  3. “Go Away” by 2NE1, a song that reminds me of freshman year of high school and of the first time I went karaokeing with my family and my older sister made a nice comment about my “rapping”.
  4. “Mr. Taxi” by Girls’ Generation, a song that takes me back to touring Taiwan in June 2011 with the Austin Chinese Choir and also to having a major crush on someone (who shall remain unnamed).

I suppose what I am trying to say is that music is really powerful for me; specific songs define moments, people, and places. I listen to a song, and I am suddenly washed over with feelings associated with it. (Ask me if I have a song that reminds me of you!) Listening to these songs tonight made me feel nostalgic for the simpler, seemingly happier days of high school, when my biggest worries were my weight and making sure that my mother did not find out about my secret dreams of becoming a kpop star.


I have a confession.

I am not entirely happy right now.

I have not been satisfied with my college experience, from being slapped in the face by my classes during my first semester to questioning whether I am even competent enough to be in one of my majors (computer science). I was excited to go to college until I started missing the familiarity of high school: teachers, friends, easy classes, and the simple goal of doing well in them so that I could become what I wanted to be “when I grew up”. I thought for the longest time that I wanted to be a faculty member in a biomedical engineering department at a university, teaching students and doing some kickass research, but now I am not too sure.

But as I was being washed over with feelings and memories from my younger years in high school (mainly sophomore year) tonight, I realized that “the longest time” was merely ever since junior year of high school. I did not have my life after high school figured out as a sophomore in high school, so why do I expect myself, a sophomore in college, to have my life after college all figured out already?

And this is the realization that I referred to in the title of this entry. It is okay to not know what I want to do after I graduate. I was able to figure out what I wanted to do after my high school graduation in the span of two years, during which I also built some great friendships and made some awesome memories, and I can do it again.

However, I know that I am not looking to recreate my high school experience in college because someday I will look back on this (school) year and think about all the good memories from it that were not just mere carbon copies of the past.

  1. Had some awesome pasta at Patrizi’s for my 19th birthday.
  2. Road-tripped to a SWE region conference in Arkansas.
  3. Finally escaped at Austin Panic Room (with 33 seconds to spare).
  4. And so on.

Sure, I will remember the internship search struggle, the biochemistry struggle, the OOP project struggles, but even those are beginning to dull and fade away into my collection of challenges I have overcome (or at least survived), just like the struggles that seemed like they would never go away to 15-year-old kpop-obsessed me.

(And now I think that I am sufficiently tired to sleep.)

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