Collegiate Confessions

The First Year of College

My freshman year of college officially ended one week ago, along with my ties to the BS/MD program.

October 2014: The BS in BS/MD

I know I said I wouldn’t do this, but it’s time for the truth to come out.

I think these kinds of programs are shit.

How on earth could a 17 year old be qualified to become a doctor?

Yes, I know, I’m in one of these shit programs. And I’ve felt terrible about it because I know I’m not going to be nearly as experienced as the 25 year olds I’ll be surrounded by when I’m a meek 20 years old.

Tell me, do you want a 28 year old doctor? What kind of people trust a 28 year old with their lives? Most of the people I will treat will be older than me, and odds are, much more intelligent that I will be.

Wannabe doctors like me are grateful for such programs, but if I actually think about it, it’s such a cop-out.

And think about the personality of a doctor. You want someone who is trusting, non-judgmental, sympathetic and compassionate. But at the same time, you want someone determined, knowledgable, and tough. Not someone who will compare your SAT scores and then make bets to see who will get kicked out of the program for not meeting the grade requirements (yes, this has happened).

This has been building up for quite a while now, so it may seem like I’m exploding in a ball of anger. I’ve just been trying to hold myself back, seeing if there’s any way to justify what I’m doing. Honestly, I cannot.

And so, I am here to say that I am dropping out of the BS/MD program.

I mentioned this post “The BS in BS/MD” in my previous post, and I said it was too bitter to publish. I still think it’s a bit uncalled for, but I found it worth publishing for two reasons.

1. According to WordPress, I wrote this 8 months ago. Meaning I wrote this back in October, and I haven’t touched it since.  I was waiting for the day I would officially drop out and publish it then, but the fact that it was fully written by my second month of college is a bit painful.

2. I would never, ever write this today, 8 months later. These are not the reasons I am transferring. All of the facts that I had written about were true. I would have been a 20 year old medical student, a 24 year old doctor, and a 28 year old doctor who could practice medicine. There were kids in my program who made bets about who would get kicked out first. Funny enough, I appear to the be the first person to leave the program (not get kicked out of course, far from it). But my reasons are so much more developed than this that I’m glad I never found this draft again until a few weeks ago.

It feels silly to talk about that first year of college, and the “ups and downs” and the “long-lasting memories” and the “stories to look back on and laugh about” and the “late night munchies.” None of that happened to me.

But freshman year is a big year for anyone, regardless of the above experiences. You learn to be independent. You learn to make mistakes. You learn that you know absolutely nothing about the world and yourself. But that’s okay. Maybe you learn that it’s okay? The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t know anything.

I wish I had written earlier, but it’s been a crazy whirlwind of celebrating the summer high-school style (red cups and everything) and family travels to…

Stockholm! And now en route to Copenhagen, taking advantage of the abundance of wifi.

Stockholm – into Gamla Stan

The fate of this blog is up in the air, but I think it still has a few moments left in it.

Collegiate Confessions

Those Unfinished Drafts

One of the things I’ve learned from all this blogging is that it’s much easier to come up with ideas than it is to follow through with them (story of my life, really). Sometimes you jot down ideas, but once you have time to really flesh them out, the timing is too far gone.

Seeing as the name of this blog is essentially void (at least at this point in my life), I think I should at the very least move it to a new URL with a new purpose (right? or not? it would be much easier if I didn’t have to move everything). Before I even attempt to make any sort of transition, however, I decided to post all the titles of all the unfinished drafts I had, all the brilliant thoughts that were merely transient feelings. With finals and packing and just general craziness, I realize that I probably won’t be able to finish any of these drafts proudly.

In reverse order of creation:


Food Truck Friday: Eating on a meal plan

Wanderlust Wednesday: Boston, Massachusetts

Wanderlust Wednesday: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A pro/con list for pro/con lists

So, what do you want to do with your life?

When pre-med finally gets you

Losing your written voice

Learning psychology as a client

The dangers of “like” culture

My Favorites

Quarter life crisis at 18?

Adulthood – written on my 18th birthday

How Biotech got me here

Dear world, just let me be quiet! (this one is essentially complete, I just never published it)

ABCs of an A.B.C.

Does alcohol make me an extrovert?

Who are you?

Overshadowed to the point of non-existence (feeling a little too angsty when this happened it’s shameful)

Are INFJs really that rare?

INFJs: following your head or your heart?

Yukon: not the one you’re thinking of (spoiler: it’s not the potatoes or the Canadian territory, they’re my best friends)

Old friends, new friends, red friends, blue friends

Why I didn’t do a Food Truck Friday (a bit too personal)

The BS in BS/MD (this was too bitter to publish, but it sparked everything that happened this year so I might end up doing it)

I almost made this an unfinished draft in itself, but I decided I was not into the meta of keeping in the drafts folder.

2 days left here. Crazy.

[featured image:

Collegiate Confessions

Graduation Goggles

I was searching for another term for graduation goggles, but seemingly How I Met Your Mother is the first time such a phenomena was addressed. And it is unbelievably real.

I’m not graduating any time soon, but I’m leaving behind just as large a safety net. Graduation goggles exist because everyone’s afraid of what’s ahead. Even if you trudge along for days, weeks, maybe years, just dreaming about that day when you can go out and do what you have always wanted, you’re paralyzed with fear by the sudden freedom you have to do it. Nothing ever works out the way they do in dreams, even if that’s exactly what happens. What are we afraid of? Peaking? Laziness? Failure?

I’m terrified to be a college sophomore. For some reason I never pictured life past being a college freshman because my ultimate goal was to just get into college. And after growing up thinking medicine was the plan, I’m having a panic attack. Everyone around has something to do: working at start-ups, traveling the world to teach, progressing up the research ladder, taking classes to broaden their intellect, shadowing the people they aspire to be, even getting some real money in the bank. It’s terrifying to know that suddenly I feel behind. I keep telling myself: it’s okay, I’m just taking a different path. People are different. We take different paths. But have I become that lazy self-entitled young adult (millennial) who lazes around saying that I’m just on “finding my own way through life?”

Even though the future is why we really have graduation goggles, you only really wear the goggles when looking at the past. No matter how horrible a place may be (metaphorical or literal), it’s hard to leave it when you’ve grown accustomed to the day-to-day schedule and found little ways to try and cheer yourself up. The Philly skyline, the weird showers, the small coveted desk on campus that has that perfect location. Finally nailing the precise choreography that is timing the crosswalks just right. The pizza place that I always said I’d go to. Maybe we just dread the fact that we’ve finally built something nice for ourselves only to have it become void the second we leave.

But who knows, I’m loopy with all the finals, packing, book-selling, apartment re-letting, credit-transferring, university-withdrawing sleep deprivation, and it’s making me feel all sentimental inside. That could also be an explanation.

Collegiate Confessions

Dear Philly,

As I take the train home for the last time (school’s not over, but it’s the last time I’ll be heading home before move out day), I realize that I needed to thank Philly. It was only one year, but I’ll forever remember Philly as the place that let me finally become me.

Your skyline has become so familiar, with those two pointy buildings and the light show on the train station. The sunrises that exploded behind the Independence Hall greeted me in the mornings, and the night time glare of its yellow clock saluted me a good night.

You let me be a tourist visiting Independence Hall with my parents. You let me be a kid raging around the Franklin Institute and exploring the brain with wonder in a weird brain simulation jungle gym.

You let me grow up and become myself, slowly trying new things alone. You gave me strength and you gave me confidence. I discovered what I loved and discovered what I didn’t. You gave me a sanctuary to make what is probably the biggest decision I’ve ever made for myself. You let me make mistakes.

You let me become a local spending weekends exploring new cafes and finding the best streets to walk on by trial-and-error. You let me pick my favorite mural of the many I discovered, hiding in plain sight. You let me taste test cheesesteaks and food trucks, food festivals and fine dining. You let me run along your difficult-to-spell river, letting me escape the gassy city smell for once.

You let me get lost. And you let me get back on track, all by myself.

You let me fall in love with trains. The train rides home have been my favorite times of this year.

I don’t know if I’ll miss you Philly (although seeing the train slowly trudge away from the familiar skyline left me feeling hollow), but I will be eternally grateful for what you have done for me.

Before the craziness of the end of the year begins, I just needed to acknowledge it.

featured image [Chris Hunkeler Philadelphia Night Skyline- Flickr]

Collegiate Confessions

Why do I feel guilty about leaving medicine?

What do you want to do with your life?

This question used to be so easy to answer. Go to college and then become a doctor. Done and done. I’d find a husband along the way and have a beautiful family after that, and we’d all live happily ever after. OBVIOUSLY.

Well, ignorance is bliss.

What a mess I have gotten myself into.


Just the thought of exiting my program gives me the guilt sweats. (Are those a thing or just my body being weird? I just know that I’d know the answer to that if I were to stay in medicine.) It feels as though I’m telling myself to quit medical school and that I can always “re-apply” when “I’m ready.”

It feels like I’m betraying my family, my younger, ambitious self, my community, my future role as a person who helps people. I’m betraying all those people who thought our family was the perfect doctor family. I’m betraying my friends who believed that I would be a great doctor. I’m betraying my name, even my blog. But if anything, I’m betraying my pre-med peers. I feel most guilty that I stole this spot in the program from someone who wanted this path much more than I did, and leaving won’t give it back to the person who deserved it. So for that, I’m truly sorry.

The only reason people seem to be okay with me leaving this program is when I say, “I don’t want to do medicine anymore.” Because I don’t have another career path in mind, it’s the only thing I can say. But that is an outright, blatant lie. I don’t think I’ve made eye contact with anyone when I say that phrase.

I never saw how a person wouldn’t want to be a doctor. Just like I don’t understand how a person doesn’t like psychology. Do people out there exist? Clearly not everyone is a doctor and not everyone is a psychology major, but medicine is definitely a lucrative, highly-respected career path, so how can I turn it down if it’s being handed to me on a silver platter? Just take it.

When I took my career assessment, I discovered that I was best suited for things like communications, counseling, education, and health care. Health care. And right in front of the career counselor, I started panicking out loud. What am I doing? It says health care right here. It says physician. Why can’t I just stick with it? So many other people just go with it and they don’t make a big deal out of this, so why am I? And my career counselor said perhaps what I believe is most important for everyone to know: because that’s who you are.

Left: INFJ, classic; Right: Strong interest inventory: Artistic, Social, Investigative, Enterprising, Realistic, Conventional

Left: MBTI – INFJ; Right: Strong interest inventory – Artistic, Social, Investigative, Enterprising, Realistic, Conventional

He yelled it in my ear multiple times before I could finally get the message past my panic attack, but suddenly it was clear. I’m the type of person to take the reflective journey, and I have to do it in order to feel confident and secure with my life. Some people don’t need to do it, and that’s ok. But you have to stay true to yourself because this is your life. Just because everyone else is on the same path doesn’t mean you have to be on it too.

You have to do what you believe is right for you, and you can’t just compare yourself to other people and how they react or manage their problems. You can emulate how your heroes became successful, get advice from your peers on how they got out of that rut, but it will only last for so long. So while I do feel guilty about leaving medicine, I realize that I’m just taking a break to do what I need to do. And some people might never understand it, but I trust myself enough to know that I’m doing the right thing. (…right?)

Collegiate Confessions, Wanderlust Wednesdays

Wanderlust Wednesday: Stars Hollow

Instead of wanderlust-ing to a real place in the world, let’s wanderlust to the magical little town of Stars Hollow.

Luke’s Diner

Often confused for as a hardware store. Best place to catch some classic American food with small-town entertainment.

Independence Inn

Best place to stay if you want a snooty French concierge and gourmet food on the side.

Doose’s Market

What appears to be the only place to buy anything in this town.

Kim’s Antiques

Of course the only other store is a furniture antique store. Good place to practice your bargaining skills.

…And that’s it. Stars Hollow is probably about 3 square miles. But it’s still a magical place.

The first time I watched Gilmore Girls, I was 15 dying for someone or something to just “get me.” The relationship between Lorelai and Rory and the high-stress pressures of an overachieving high school student were particularly relatable. I was inspired to become the real life Rory Gilmore. I had the quiet thing and precocious maturity down, I just had to get the studious thing down. So I studied hard and aced my junior year of high school (amazingly, by not going out and just staying in to watch more Gilmore Girls PRE-Netflix ). I loved the Richard-Rory dynamic and thought Lorelai was the coolest. I loved Dean, hated Jess. I became obsessed with reading and never actually did any reading. I even started considering journalism as a possible career.

Now with the second time around, I see the serious flaws in each character, and I’ve fully acknowledged that a town like Stars Hollow is a cartoon. Lorelai is irresponsible and horribly stubborn, Rory doesn’t know how to express her feelings at all and lacks a lot of personal motivation, letting all these other people just guide her life. I understand the Rory-Jess shipping now, and I hate Dean. I know I can’t be Rory Gilmore (and I don’t want to be), despite my odd success 2 years ago. I love the Emily-Lorelai dynamic, and Sookie becomes one of my favorite characters. I’ve given up on the reading nonsense, and instead of motivating me to be better like last time, Gilmore Girls slowly destroying my GPA.

Now that I’m watching on the dangerous platform called Netflix, I can’t leave the Gilmore lives for a second. And I would do anything to escape my urban college life for the quaint town of Stars Hollow with a daily trip to Luke’s and a night in with junk food and movies.

I watched 15 episodes in a row, two days before a major midterm. I didn’t do anything today. Except watch the Gilmore girls succeed in their endeavors in their eccentric Stars Hollow lives.

They’ve become my best friends, and I’m afraid to leave them for a second. I can’t even bother to do a real Wanderlust Wednesday post, so back to Gilmore Girls!

featured image: []

Wanderlust Wednesdays

Wanderlust Wednesday: Beijing, China


Soundtrack as you read. (seriously, so catchy and so funny to watch, plus Jackie Chan singing).

Beijing, China is a brilliant city that I hold close to my heart. I’m not from there; my parents are. It was the very first place I visited outside of the U.S. (when I was ~4 months old), and the one place outside the U.S. that I have visited more than once. I have a somewhat complicated relationship with my Chinese culture that should be explained another time, but I know that today I still love China and Beijing. When I look at these pictures, I miss it, even if I’m far from being able to call myself a true Chinese. Either way, I figured it was time to share some of the amazing things about Beijing, and dispel any kind of fears people have about it.

The Forbidden City (故宫)

First of all, you have to know Beijing huge, huge enough to have an ancient city in it. Considered the largest palace complex in the whole world, the Palace Museum (Forbidden City) has so many stories, so much history and culture. I have a whole notebook at home with research on each section (the galleries, halls, corridors, gardens) of the Forbidden City. It’s an incredible site, a home to 24 emperors from 1420 all the way to 1910. Almost 500 years!

See-ming Lee - 太和殿 Hall of Supreme Harmony / 中國北京紫禁城 Forbidden City, Beijing, China /

See-ming Lee – 太和殿 Hall of Supreme Harmony / 中國北京紫禁城 Forbidden City, Beijing, China /

Temple of Heaven (天坛)

The Temple of Heaven is just what it’s name implies. It’s the site where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties went to pray to the gods of heaven. If you catch it on a beautiful blue sky day (like I did!), its colors brighten against the blue backgorund and its details shimmer under the clean sunshine. The surrounding area also involves other temples and noteworthy sites, such as the Echo Wall and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. There’s just so much, and it’s all bathed in history and culture. I love it.

faungg's photo - The Temple of Heaven Beijing 北京天坛 (Tiantan) - Flickr

faungg’s photo – The Temple of Heaven Beijing 北京天坛 (Tiantan) – Flickr

Great Wall of China (长城)

There are tons of entrances to this massive creation. I’ve gone through the tourist route and the backside, untouched hiking route. They’re both wonderful experiences, and they both require a lot of climbing action. But once you’re there, wow. You can’t see the end of it. You can keep going, and it will become less structured because of erosion over time or destruction from history, but it’s still there, no matter how far you go. You can climb up the towers to really get a view like this one. It’s just an incredible feat of human design, and it’s so so SO worth it. I mean, it is one of the 7 wonders of the world.

DragonWoman - Great Wall of China - Flickr

DragonWoman – Great Wall of China – Flickr

Summer Palace (颐和园)

The summer palace could be considered just a giant (seriously huge) park filled with history, culture, and beauty. It’s an UNESCO site and considered one of the best preserved imperial gardens in the world. There’s so many parts: The Court Area, the Long Corridor, the Marble Boat, the list goes on. In the Long Corridor, the walls/pillars and “roof” is painted with stories that go down along the corridor. As a child, I read about a lot of these stories (I remember so few of them now), but the simple thought and detail of it is amazing. There’s also a lake in the park where the Marble Boat is located (that you cannot ride in), but boats can be rented to enjoy the full serenity of the Summer Palace.

Francisco Anzola - Summer palace side - Flickr

Francisco Anzola – Summer palace side – Flickr

Julien LOZELLI - Beijing Summer Palace - Flickr

Julien LOZELLI – Beijing Summer Palace – Flickr

David Stanley - Kunming Lake, Summer Palace - Flickr

David Stanley – Kunming Lake, Summer Palace – Flickr

Tiananmen Square (天安门广场)

Much, much larger than you’d think, Tiananmen square is filled with political history. The May 4th movement in 1919, the protests in 1976 after Zhou En lai had passed, the student protests in 1989. Of course there’s also Mao’s proclamation in 1949, and his face is still there today. Many sites on this list are of ancient China and all the amazing culture, but modern Chinese history is actually really fascinating to me (mainly because my parents were part of it). I learned it all in IB history two years ago, and it was last time I ever took history.

yuan2003 - Tiananmen Square 2 - Flickr

yuan2003 – Tiananmen Square 2 – Flickr

Hutongs (胡同)

Hutongs are considered the real essence of Beijing. It’s how the people lived (and still live in some cases). It’s a step away from the glamorousness of the temples, squares, and palaces that the royals and political figures stayed. It’s where the people stayed. Essentially they are narrow alleyways in which the houses in the the area are joined into communities. Many people take rickshaws around the hutongs, but if you choose to do so, make sure you tip properly. My friend and I took one and we did not tip enough (we were only 14 years old, what do you expect), and the guy got pretty angry. But the ride was fun! Anyway, be sure to check out the Bell and Drum towers in the hutongs, you might catch a performance if you’re lucky!

faungg's photo - Hutong's Morning - Flickr

faungg’s photo – Hutong’s Morning – Flickr

La Priz - Biking the Hutong Alleys - Flickr

La Priz – Biking the Hutong Alleys – Flickr

Geoffrey - hutongs - Flickr

Geoffrey – hutongs – Flickr

Street Food: Jianbing (煎饼)

I remember asking my mom to get me this all the time for breakfast. Yes there’s Peking Duck, and zhajiangmian, and watermelon on sticks, but nothing beats jianbing to me.

Bernt Rostad - Peking Duck - Flickr

Bernt Rostad – Peking Duck – Flickr

botterli - 炸酱面 (Zhá jiàng miàn) - Flickr

botterli – 炸酱面 (Zhá jiàng miàn) – Flickr

Wanderlust Wednesday was a bit overzealous this time (I usually do about 4 sites without food videos and a soundtrack), but there’s just so much to see and so much to experience (coming from my perspective). From hating China and my culture to being embarrassed by it to falling in love with it too late, I only wish I appreciated my Chinese culture more when I was younger.

There are many other places to visit too, like the Olympic Village, Jingshan Park, Beihai Park, Lama Temple, the list goes on! Dog is not seen on the menu, and you don’t need to wear a mask from the smog (more like from the smoking, honestly). You won’t offend anyone by doing some normal American gesture. China’s great and stereotypes like these (that I learned from school classmates that made me embarrassed by China as a child) is just like calling everyone in America corporate, gluttonous obese people. Wanderlust Wednesdays are about the culture and the beauty that every country has to offer, pushing stereotypes into unimportant non-existence.