As nervous minds shiver to no avail, the infuriating scribbling and relentless turning of page just as the waves clash against the rocks, ‘5 minutes left’. If we’ve ever had formal education, we all know this feeling. The test. The one thing that we fight, strive, yearn, sacrifice for, in which the result is 1 letter or 2 numbers, if you’re lucky you get the magic 3 numbers. The build-up is the most interesting human phenomena. How will we prepare for it? There’s a lot of factors with how we study, for example, the amount of days we have until that test, how many tests do we have and how are they spaced out, will we take a break before and after the test, how much material do we have to cover, is it cumulative, should I focus on the details or get a general glimpse of the information? It definitely is an art to discern the answers to these question, if we’re lucky, we’ve figured out our ‘thing’, if not, we’ve been in school for 12 years (if you’re in Canada, including elementary, middle and high school) and we’ve learned nothing. We should be able to know how we work best, right? I beg to differ. In fact, we will never know how we work best, there’s a lot of factors involved with how we work as well? Research has shown that we work best in different environment in order to create more associations to the information that we need to retain. But doesn’t that mean that we’ve created a lot more associations than we need? I think it’s definitely an art that we always need to refine and master, and who knows if we’ll ever master it. As life is a journey and a process, they’ll always be new techniques, new research, new methods to which we can try to put our fingers on and hopefully, that will improve our marks or our capacity to retain information.

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Learning a little bit more about myself, this past few years. I want to be kept busy and motivated to make a difference. I want to be changed and want myself to accentuate creativity. I want to reach out to people, to really appreciate who they are and what they mean to me. This thanksgiving, it’s the reminder of gratitude, a genuine appreciation of the people in my life who has molded and shaped me to the person that I am today. Take the time to remember who you are, where you’ve been and why you are there. Most of all, thank and love the people that mean the most to you. Yes, it might just be an event or some obscure day for some of you, but really take your time and learn to be thankful.

-signing off, MK

It has been a month since i’ve written in this blog. This past month has been  a mixture of struggle and inspired and struggling again and being inspired again. It was good to speak to my mentor again because he helped me steer in the right direction. That’s why I am recommend other people to go get yourself a mentor. My mentor is just an awesome person. He allowed me to see where I wanted to go again. The thing is we all sort of know where we want to go. I can’t really say that with confidence yet, but many have had encounters with a pull or a tug in their hearts, to do something, to be something. I am motivated to go to medical school.

Being an undergraduate (a 1st-year) is fun, but also tough. Especially at this time and period. I guess, there’s a lot of tough situations in life. Its the part of your life where you need to make decisions, and from what i feel, you need to make these decisions really quickly because these opportunities come by so quickly that it’s tough to catch the next train, if you know what i mean. I really wanted to meet my mentor again because it’s been a long time since we’ve sat down and talk, but it was good to really get things off out of my chest.

These past few weeks/month, I’ve had a huge dedication to my academics, my studies and I’ve neglected a huge portion of my life, the social aspect of course. I “disciplined” myself to staying one class ahead, knowing that midterms will be coming up and then next thing you know, it will be the finals. Its having the ability to manage your time. I’ve always encouraged having a sense of balance but I mean, life is so full of entropy, there’s just a lot of randomness and chaos, that at times, these balance do go out of whack. Life is amazing like that, one moment everything could be so right and so peaceful and you’re just so motivated to take on the world and SHABAM! all of a sudden, something is sort of weighing you down. There’s a hidden pressure that is instilled in our minds and sometimes we need to get that load off. I told him about that and I told him about my passion. Something that I want to do outside of the classroom, outside of the studying and the exams. I had this moment of “re-inspiration” again. I want to set up a TEDxconference in my university. I was watching some of the TED talks and there was so many of the speakers that were so passionate, and their flame allowed my flame to be lit much bigger again.

It reminded me of a quote that I personally keep in my mind by Marianne Williamson,

“Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I just wanted others to be re-inspired again and possibly there are others that feel the same way as I do, who once were passionate about their life and they just need someone or something to catalyze that passion once again. Setting up a Tedx would mean a lot of planning and there’s just a lot involved in it, but I think it would be worth it. I just recently got news that this year’s TEDx in my university got cancelled, so hopefully I would be able to be a part of the crew for next years (possibly). I remember reading another quote somewhere from Thurman which said,

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”

Its that constant question that you have to ask yourself, “What makes you come alive? What are your passionate about? What can you continually do without any rewards or monetary gains? What stirs up your heart?”

The talk also reminded of another passion of mine, music, medicine and health. I thought of an idea to set up a club in my university that allows people to play their music (whether it be guitar, piano, vocal, saxophone, etc) in hospitals for music therapy programs, because a happy heart is a good heart. There has been plenty of research that supports the idea that music can allow healing to occur faster, due to mind being more relaxed and more calm, allowing the body to focus its energy on the process of healing. In order for this club to occur I would have to contact the hospitals in this area and ask permission for this to occur. I would also have to gather a group of people to be involved in this club as well and I would need to write a constitution and there’s many things that need to be done.

I am also planning to talk to a researcher who’s works is in music and neuroscience, my 2 huge interests, so that will be interesting, but right now, my mentor is helping me out in the writing an e-mail portion, and being able to shape my passion and my interest in writing. I still need to get that down pat. I need to work on my writing a lot. I’ve been reading 2 books lately, Bridges of Wave (an interesting book about listening to music and taking the full experience and appreciation of it) and also Wild at Heart (an awesome book about the journey of man’s heart and the passion and desire). It has been quite a reading week, but I have to start buckling up in this midterm rollercoaster. I’m attending a talk about Summer Jobs and going my dodgeball intermural game later on.

University life is just amazing. Even though there are some days that you study and work your butt off in isolation, its nice to be able to  have awesome mature talks about life and our plans for it, and about the health care system and just about the different things that we would like to see change in the world. It’s cool to hear other people’s perspective things on it.

With that, I bid thee farewell.

Wow! 2nd semester has already started and it’s underway. There is a familiar feel of the 1st semester, without the shock and awe. I was a Froph for Frost week if I didn’t say it before, but it was an amazing experience nevertheless. There were times were I did feel like a soph, and there were times when I experienced things like a frosh, so it was pretty good, as cliche as it is, you actually got the best of both worlds.

This semester I have established a few goals for myself, like improving my grades, staying on top of my homework (doing pre-reading and post-reading for lectures), and still being a member of the several clubs that I was in. The Acapella Project now is even more amazing and it feels awesome being in it and having the chance to take leads (although, I’m pretty average), but its good to be a part of such a tight-knit crew. I was also in the flashmob, and that was really interesting, hahaha, really really fun. I would recommend anyone out there to be in a flashmob, there’s the feeling of “togetherness” and just a sense of unity, doing something cool like that, together. I’m hesitant on taking guitar lessons because I’ve already gotten my acapella group, so right now it’s just the research and volunteer aspect that I need to sort of look on.

Today was an awesome day, very productive, dong tons of physics and bio which was top-notched, and I had a dodgeball game. It was intense. I missed the first game, which was alright, but when I got on that court, there was a feeling of excitement that built up. It was the game that I loved, very fun and very challenging. My emotions were running high, and I really wanted to win. It was fun, but my sense of sportmanship hid itself and I stooped to the level of overlooking someone’s hit on me and I didn’t walk out of court and took the no-whistle from the ref. There was a sense of guilt that I felt, but I took something huge out of this. What is really worth more? My sense of character and dignity or a loss from a dodgeball game that had no merit to it (no prizes, no trophies; just intermural, for the sake of enjoyment) I knew that character is important. It’s huge! From a high adrenaline game, my prideful self gave in and stooped low. Very low. But you know what, It’s alright. I’ve learnt well. It just shows a lot of things.

It shows why people lie. Why do people lie? People lie, because they are afraid of the truth. It makes sense and it should be obvious, but I find that so true in so many cases of our lives. We are afraid of ourselves, and facing the real us. Some of us are better liars than others and it’s hard to see how much we’ve lied because we’ve believed in our lies for so long. Look at the situation of pornography. It is a lie in itself. We cheat the system of getting a girlfriend, making a commitment and sharing that intimacy to be able to have that connection to finally enjoy the real thing, and the fantasy that we enjoy so much is a huge lie. There is a belief that everyone does it. So what? So many times we’ve been told this and we really have just overlooked it. Life is too fragile to do this to ourselves. You know what we’re actually doing? This is what I got from my experience today. As human beings, we want to experience things and many times our patience runs so thin that we allow ourselves to have the fake experience, to just have ANY sense of experience. Unintentionally we are actually robbing ourselves of the real thing. At times, we become so relentless to feel anything, that as long as we get a hint of it (not even the real thing), we become satisfied. Oh, that’s when you know you’ve been trapped. Trapped by deciet and lies. Yup, you know that, that sense of gratification and that sense of satisfaction is just temporary, it’s like getting sprayed by a mist of water when we could’ve gotten a huge downpour of water to shower ourselves if we were to just be patient.

Life is tough like that, but it’s really worth it. I believe that nobody wants to have the necessary satisfaction, but for so long, we’ve felt disappointed at the things that WERE suppose to happen. But you know what, life goes on. Just keep on believing and keep on hoping. Remember who you are, where you come from, and what you can do, because that is your identity, don’t forget it. You are a lot more than what you’ve done today. Live on those experiences and keep on looking up.That’s for today and for the rest of our lives. God will always be good.

Yesterday was pretty amazing. Busy day. Well not as busy as I thought it will be, but nevertheless it was an awesomely busy day. I had classes which was really good, and then I planned out the day from 3:30-7… where at 3:30 I met Alvin, one of my T.A.’s for a media assignment for psych. He is such an awesome guy, very friendly, willing to help you out, and he actually does care for you, which is amazing. After that I was walking to an elevator and I saw this interesting girl (she’s beautiful and a grad student). I talked to her and it was pretty cool, but I wanted to hang out with her but didn’t get the chance to ask for her number. Stuff like that happens (I actually saw her later on in the day), but I needed to go to an interview at 4:20. It was actually 4:00 and I wanted to do a little bit of reading before the interview, but it was 4:20 after those 20 minutes and I looked around. She texted me and I found her, but before that I was looking around and I saw the elevator grad girl, what are the odds eh? Anyways, the interview went pretty well, I hoped.

I had an awesome trayboganning experience but that’s for next time.

“Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” -Marianne Williamson

We all know we’re in need of those moments. That moment of brilliance and complete utter passion where we could burst forth our most inner beings and tell the world that we are something. We may want to scream it out loud, but it usually is that whisper from within. Wanting it. Hoping to do something about it. That sense of immaturity or being inexperienced to naturally go about and just explore the intricacies of the natural. It is the natural isn’t it?

This journey that i’ve been in, the moves that I’ve made and the blogs that I’ve posted last September, they are still a part of me. There has been so many things that has been going on these past 4  months that I can’t begin to start.

Western is such an incredible university. There has been zero regrets of ever going there, the environment is amazing, the student life is amazing, and the opportunities that has been given to me is amazing. I’ve met countless people and I’ve made a few friends and there has just been such an attachment to the university life. After a week and a half of winter break, there is a part of western that I miss and that I’m excited to go back to. This winter break  has been filled with a lot of things.

Before that I should’ve blogged about midterm exams and final exams. First things first, they were awesome. There’s something about the examinations that makes me really excited. Is it the challenge that excites me or is it that I want to be tested to see how much I truly know or be able to grasp? It just gets  my heart pumping from the very beginning of the exam to the end. My results were not that great (and I know I could do a whole lot better), but my marks have been fair (as I always tell people). Fair? I think they were pretty good, but I’m aiming higher for next semester. It’s that expectation that you put on yourself. I completely agree that if you understood the concepts early on, you don’t have to stuff all the information into your brain at the end or middle of the semester, that’s no good. That’s why for this next semester, I have to do pre-lecture reading/notes, listen actively during lecture, and post-lecture reading/notes. It might take a little bit of time, but I want to see if it’s more effectively.

Before the Christmas holiday break, I also had the opportunity to volunteer at a old-age nursing home (for those with Alzheimer’s/Dementia) and it was an amazing experience. That was the first old-age home that I’ve actually felt alive, with the live music entertainment when we were putting up the trees and the care that I felt for the seniors there. It actually looked like a fun place to be in, in spite of the news about how common elderly abuse is in those homes and rumours of the terrible conditions that they’re living. It sort of feels like home in a way. One huge thing I learned there is to not be afraid to live your life. I understand that I always say that but, my goodness, being surrounded by people of age there is a feeling of vulnerability in your lack of experience and your lack of living, but it gets your spirit up to keep on living and to experience everything in life, to not regret anything at that old age. The perks of joining Alzheimer Western Society and the Pre-Med Society is giving you a ton of volunteer opportunities.

I’ve also got the chance to join the Pre-Med Dodgeball team and it was enthralling to be a part of that. We finished one season in the one semester and got a through the 1st round of playoffs, but 2nd round we were defeated in a gruesome battle. I got hit in the face and I think stretched/pulled my groin/quad. It hurts, but it was worth the pain. 🙂

I had the chance to join an Accapella group which was such a right decision to make. At first, I was feeling sort of iffy on how much commitment I could take but it’s been an incredible ride. I had the chance to actually be in the 1st flashmob and the unity that you feel among the group was just amazing. It was really fun and it was brilliant. Hopefully there will be many more flashmobs to come, but the feeling that I get out of singing with the group is just right.

I’ve also joined in the guitar club as well, but that’s another thing for another time.

I’ve learned that adventures are as awesome as I’ve imagined. Hahaha, I went to Toronto twice to go on my bookstore adventures (or hunting) and they were incredible. Seeing stores, talking, imaging the life of being a bookstore owner, buying books, reading the books, eating in random restaurants, every part of the journey was amazing. At times, I realized that I wanted everything to go well, to reach every book store and smell the presence of the books that have been read and what it meant to read those words. It’s that energy that I get from knowing that the authors have poured a lot of their efforts, their mind, their passion on writing on a piece of paper, a piece of toilet paper, a piece of whatever they can get their hand on to put down their ideas and inspiration on paper so they don’t forget about it. I bought 3 books on my 1st journey, ‘Bridges of Wave’, ‘Musicophilia’ and ‘The World in Six Songs’. These books are about music and about the brain, still my passion in life. I’ve started Bridges of Wave, and the author starts the reader off in a journey to re-discover music through the re-discovery of simple everyday mechanism of life such as walking. That book excites me, and I’m also re-starting ‘Influence’, a well-known book, so i’ve heard about the psychology of persuasion and I’m learning a lot from that as well.

This winter break I was given a psychology assignment and I chose to do music therapy which suits me well, and this project allowed to go out and buy these books, knowing that I’m probably not going to use the books for my projects, just ideas that I may be able to incorporate. There’s something intriguing about this assignment, but it just stirs me up, when i’m doing it.

There’s a lot on my mind, but till then.

Wow. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 4 days until I go to London and 6 days until I finally move in, into my first year of university. My feelings? There is none. Actually there is too many feelings. Nervous? Why not. Excited? Oh, yeah. I mean, going into university. U.N.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y. I can’t believe it. A bunch of my friends have moved in already. Heading off to a suite-style type of dorm and I had the option to do a Quad Room, double-room suite-style (so it’s like a a combo suite-traditional style), but it’ll be almost the same thing, so I’m sticking with Alumni House. I’m here again, just like in Grade 9, where a new chapter will unfold, leaving behind the pages of high school and stepping into the outskirts of university life. Ohhh, I’m also doing my driving exam on Friday. Yup, I can’t believe it myself either, it feels like i’m getting the responsibility of an adult. There’s a lot of clubs I want to join in Western, but I have to focus on my studies/marks though. It’s pretty cool that I got my scholarship money from a metal company and a letter from Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship, but I have to sign up again for other scholarships and find a new place by November or December. Hahahaha, such a long-term thinking. I still need to get a phone and no phones have been made available to me that I can use for the plan that I want.

Reading the book ‘Complications’ is making me feel very excited to being a surgeon. That is my dream. I will continually be more of the ‘doer’. And I miss work. Eldorado, you made yourself a second home to me. Hopefully, till next year.

I just noticed that, that was a lot of things said. Just go. Just do. Just be.

“Why are we inspired by another person’s courage? Maybe because it gives us the sweet and genuine surprise of discovering some trace, at least of the same courage in ourselves” –Laurence Shames (Author)