Category Archives: Advice

Food for Thought

An aficionado for words and phrases, I keep with me a book – a pride possession, frankly – where I jot down novel words that I encounter throughout the day, phrases that I want to hold on to, and puny one liners that fulfill my daily dose of cringeworthy angst. To me, collecting these forms of expression (most of which happen in passing) has always had an empowering and cathartic element to it. With every additional word, the arsenal of phrases within the book becomes thicker with emotions and, in fact, forms something of its own character. This book holds within its layers of papers, in between each line, the values that I uphold, the the the dreams that i have for the future, the poignant sweet spots of my soul, the motivation behind my actions, sobering wisdom of aphorisms, and the ideas that I fail to express with my own words. Unfortunately, as with most unrequited love, words never seem to reciprocate the same feelings I do: I am neither an eloquent writer nor a silver-tongued elocutionist. I stumble with my words when someone challenges me against my idea, and I take an absurdly long time reading. This oil and water relationship between words and me has been rather a bane than a boon, especially in a college setting where mastering self-expression is deemed to be the holy grail of many students. Though frustrating at times, this chasm lying between us continues a drive, a crave for words that I don’t want to ever satiate. 

On that note, and with thanksgiving looming, I’d take this time to express my gratitude for those around me by sharing with you the joy and knowledge they’ve given me through these soundbites:

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306401_1754734688175_977555_n1. “Seek out what magnifies your spirit – It’s a beautiful phrase and a beautiful notion. Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often. Use them not only as a remedy once spiritual malaise has already infected your vitality but as a vaccine administered while you are healthy to protect your radiance.”

2. “Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living – for as Annie Dilalrd memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, who we spend our lives.’”

3. “There’s a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively try to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. “1148842_4717885045082_845984708_n

4. “Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?”

5. “No regrets… sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

6. “Bernstein’s greatest point of enthusiasm was his lifelong devotion to enamoring young people with music. He understood that love and learning are inextricably linked, that learning is a kind of love and love a kind of learning, and he used his robust and radiant enthusiasm as a force of illumination.

My Two Cents

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When push comes to shove, my roommates are never afraid to reach out and lend a hand…Can’t love them anymore.

Its an understatement to say that a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Since then, I’ve become a brother of a professional business fraternity, lucked out by getting two charming Bigs who’ve showered me with treats and care, landed a research position with a professor at the nation’s best education school, met a myriad of inspiring mentors, and, without a doubt, put on some pounds and lost a few strands of hair. The brief hiatus of writing, though, has allowed me to take a step backwards from the frenzy of college. Feeling the need to outline and form into words the whirlwind of something so novel as college was paralyzing and tough for me at the time. I simply had too much to say but not enough words to express them. I would struggle to start sentences and grapple with finding the right words to end them. So I gave up. Instead, I spent my time trying to absorb the moment and take snapshots of the reality occurring before me. Unnervingly, though, I got lost through the constant zooming in and out of college life. Getting slapped by failed time-management meltdowns while at the same time completing feats that I’d never imagine I’d be doing, I’d say the past couple months were hard to swallow.

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A perfect place to collect my mind and thoughts – Inner Harbour

   Sure, the existential crisis kicks in during college, as common as it is. Indeed, they say every corner you turn, every choice you make eventually becomes a metaphor for the person you’ll become. In many ways, my experience was less of an of an empowering self-discovery, but a more humbling experience. Being surrounded by peers who are relentless in achieving their goals (like a fellow SAAB Blogger, Brianna), having discussions with my roommates about contentious topics, like abortion laws and child labor, I’ve learned more about other people and how different people view the world. Whether I agree with them or not, I figured these opportunities of intellectual ignition have allowed me to start formulating my own opinions around these issues. Throughout it all, these are the moments that I am most grateful for having: the opportunity to be constantly searching for MY answers – albeit their being not solidified or set-and-stone. Now, with freshmen year under my belt, I’ve been able to take the breath of fresh air that I needed to take to evaluate the confounding storm that had just passed. With that being said, here are a few words of wisdom that my most valued peers and I would like to share, although the list piled below hardly comes close to the sheer amount of lessons Hopkins has imparted.
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The amazing SAAB Freshmen team for the year 2015-2016!

  • Know your priorities. But more importantly, act accordingly.

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    When food becomes our #1 priority 😀

This one is a tough one to come to terms with. We all know, whether unconsciously or consciously, that certain things should be on top of the list; for me, it’s my well-being. However, once you’re caught in the blur of college, it’s a real test to actually commit to what we think should be prioritized. If you value how much you learn in class, then maybe you should wait till class is over to finish the eight-page paper that is due tonight. If meeting people and finding the right community is important for you, then, by all means, go to the party, gathering, etc. and promise yourself that you will finish laundry as soon as you get back. Easier said then done, these responsibilities do pile up and can overwhelm any sane person. All you have to do is remind yourself of what you consider to be important, not only for your success in the future but for yourself as a whole – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
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When food becomes #2 priority too..

  • Take initiative. Be active.
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A different view than the cubicle in C-level of MSE, Gilman is the perfect place to buckle down and focus.

Once you arrive here, you’ll feel the palpability of the opportunities abound here. People are doing amazing things, like programming a cure for breast cancer through BME Design Teams and creating films that unveil the entrenched injustice of our society. In fact, Hopkins is a bustling mecca of diverse activities, ranging from competitive a cappella groups to machine-building to memberships of groups of faith. Once you fall in to the comfort of the regularity of life, though, it’s easy to miss the knock on the door of opportunity. I, for one, found my research position by checking the daily bulletin announcement and deciding to shoot the professor an email. All it took were a couple clicks of my email, message, and send. When you keep your eyes peeled to what’s around you, it’ll be much easier for you to expand your vista of the world through the experiences you can possibly get. My two cents would be to constantly keep a conversation with your peers, be on the look for flyers, bulletin boards, emails, etc. or simply share your interest with a professor online and offline. Who knows, your professor might even want to get coffee with you just to chat (it’s happened to one of my close friends). Be active and take initiative. 

  • TREAT YO’ SELF

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    When the roommates buys you a succulent because (a) you love plants and (b) you don’t have time to water them.

I’m not exactly the most qualified person to advise someone else to utilize this rule, as it has been proven maybe once or twice (and by once or twice, I mean maybe a couple of hundred times 🙂 ) I take life too seriously. But, during my freshmen year, it was increasingly apparent that nurturing the soul was crucial for my sustainability at Hopkins. It’s so easy to get lost in the climb, and when you’re making the effort to bring home that A+, operating on three hours of sleep can become a routine occurrence. But, every once in a while, we need to “shut off” and recharge ourselves. “If my body fails because I pushed it too hard, then what good am I to the world?”(@JustinBaldoni). Have a study break and get FFC Late Night with a couple friends. Take a day off to watch the Light Show at Inner Harbor. Splurge a little on food by trying out Stang of Siam near Penn Station. Or simply, go stargazing on the Beach. These little down times in between will lift the damper on your day and give you a clearer lens to refocus on the things that unfold before you.
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The time I got lucky and won a raffle ticket to New York to watch a Broadway Musical for free. 🙂 Perks of Hopkins

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Treating ourselves by dressing up and fooling around at the traditional Hindu Diwali Festival

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The henna I got was pretty for 10 minutes… until I ruined the design by being clumsy and smearing it all over my clothes…:(

 

  • Last but not least, appreciate.

One time, I was grabbing dinner at Carma’s Cafe with a senior who left me with a saying that has been with me ever since. “It’s the attitude that carries the experience’s weight and value.” We’re social creatures that are rather easily influenced by our surroundings and other’s opinions. It’s what makes us such fluid beings. So, it’s only natural that when the atmosphere suggests a certain vibe, we tend to blend ourselves with it and let the prevailing clime dictate our perception of the experience. At Hopkins, you’ll encounter countless of opinions and attitudes about a class, a teacher, or even the school, itself. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. But, I’ve come to learn that I operate better by keeping negative vibes at bay and relishing the moment for the good things. Call me naive, but by being realistically optimistic, I’ve been more open to appreciating the community I have, the people that surround me (especially my roommates), and the support I get from my loved ones. Having this mentality has significantly allowed me to experience college with joie de vivre. Always give thanks for those who have made you possible.

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My boyfriend who always motivates me to achieve more and laugh more.

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Love of my life, who I respect for her bravery in having a strong voice and being supportive through wear and tear.

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The ultimate gift that Hopkins has given me…They are my college, my school, my education, and my joy.

 

 

Phew, long post! For those of you who’ve still stuck around to read this, thanks. 🙂 To those who this post’ll serve, as long as you are passionate at what you do and try your best at it with good intentions, I’ll always be rootin’ for you. I’m absolutely ecstatic for those who have committed to come to Hopkins next fall! I can’t wait to run into some of you next year. 😃 Be excited!!

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Congratulations, once again! (click for motion)