Midnight Ramblings: Future Ponderings

It is 4 AM. I have been staring wide-eyed and awake at the computer screen for the past 2 hours. My mind is racing. Thoughts are everywhere. As the New England Journal of Medicine articles stare back at me, the one thought that crosses my mind is the future.

What about it? Why is it so daunting? What makes it to attractive to us, that in the present, all we wish is to reach for it?

As I continue to grow older and develop a sense of the world, I can’t help but notice how the future hoovers over the present and how every decision I make now affects the future me, the future life that I will have.

With only twenty-one days until I board the flight bound for Chicago-Midway, I am starting to wonder if I made the right decision in transferring to my dream school, the school I wished to attend out of high school yet didn’t get the chance to. Now that I have the chance, now that I am a couple years older and a couple years more experienced, am I ready for this sudden change?

A jolt, really, in my daily musings. A new way of thinking. But does all this — moving, a new environment, being thrown out into the world alone — lead to a better future paved down the road for me? Do the challenges make me stronger? Will they help me finally come to realize where my heart lies, what my passions are?

I have all these goals, these aspirations. I like to think that these are just hurdles along the way to my dreams, that moving to the middle of the country, attending a new school halfway through my college career, changing my future goals halfway through college are all just hurdles on the way to my ultimate goal: becoming a physician, pediatrician.

But those goals are too far distant. First, I need to conquer the immediate ones. Like packing all my belongings and getting to Chicago safely. Like signing up for the most challenging, grueling quarter yet. Like putting myself out there for people to judge, because that is the first step in loving and accepting oneself.

Life isn’t without challenges, I guess. Or I know. I saw somewhere on the internet a picture with the words

Don’t give up, the beginning is always the hardest.

This is my beginning, I like to think. This is the beginning to a life that I cannot yet know, that I cannot yet envision. It is the biggest hurdle that I must overcome in the journey of my life. So as cheesy as it sounds, and as many times as we all have heard, it is true. Life is without challenges. We will always have hurdles to overcome. It is just a matter of trusting and believing that you will get over the hurdle, that you will be triumphant in the end.

Faith. Hope. Trust. Believe. And maybe, just maybe, a sprinkling of luck.

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Quick Summer Updates

I haven’t posted for a while now. First, I am no longer back home in Beijing, China. I returned to the States early last week and have been back in sunny NorCal for almost two weeks now. Besides enjoying the time off from the hectic life of the city and visiting high school teachers and seeing friends, I have been frantically trying to prepare for school this fall. Yes. College. It feels like I just graduated from high school in June, and that this summer is my first 3-month summer.

None of that is true, though. I graduated two years ago. This isn’t my first extended summer. And in the fall, I will be a junior, an upperclassmen. But what is different than the undergraduate experience of most of my friends is that I will be starting at a new place, at a new school, in a new environment, and in a new city.

10,958 miles away from home.

Summer is almost over. In three weeks I will be heading out to Evanston. But while summer is still here, I can’t help but wish I was back in Beijing, sitting in the room with my lab mates, talking about the latest olympic news and how this next experiment will run. I miss waiting for the 913 bus every morning, and I reminisce about the quiet, calm afternoons riding back on the bus through part of the city.

For now, it is summer. It is time to enjoy the present, to reflect about the past, and to look forward to the future.

It is still summer. But not for long.

Test of Patience

The rains didn’t stop coming. For what seemed like eternity, the rains kept coming. Steadily. But I couldn’t be kept away from the lab.

So in a test of patience this morning, I stood out in the steady rain, backpack in tow and a tiny umbrella just big enough to protect from getting wet, I stood at the bus stop. Forty minutes later, the bus finally came. And an hour and a half later, I walked into lab, ready to start the day.

It is this patience that was test again in lab today. Helping a student with the continuation of her experiment from the previous week, she taught me to use a machine that measures the voltage of a particular sample over time. The first couple samples I got to test, the results came out skewed. So she did it herself a couple times. But after waiting for her to sift through her results and figuring out what needed to be fixed, she let me take over again do she could do what she needed to.

And the patience paid off. Because right before I had to leave lab for the day, I got to run six more trials for her.

Patience paid off. It is a test of patience. Life, that is. And it is a test I am slowly starting to take.