What I learned in 2015

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Today is the last day of 2015.

Weird I know, huh? It seems like the older I get, the faster the years go by. This was something that my parents had warned me about when I was a naive little girl, anxious to grow older, to grow up. And now here I am, watching as the years seems to pick up speed and past me by.

One of my goals for the new year is to be more intentional with self-reflection because I think that only after you understand the reason why you choose to do the things you do, or make the decisions you make, do you truly mature and grow from the experience. So in order to kick off this resolution, I thought that I would reflect upon this past year and the things I learned from it.

…..

In 2015 I learned that:

  • It is good to try new things.  In the beginning of the year, I made the decision to do research. A lot of my friends did it, but mostly to prepare for med school or better their chances of getting into grad school and I knew that I was neither going to be a doctor nor could I see myself with a future in academia. But then again this was something I hadn’t done before that I knew would enrich my undergraduate experience, so why not? So at the very beginning of spring semester, I found myself in a research team under the guidance of one of the most renown professors in my field. Through conducting this study on optimizing patient workflow through a pediatric cardiac ICU, I gained a new appreciation for my academic field, made new friends with the people I worked with on my team that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have ever interacted with at school, and confirmed that my strengths probably do not lie in research (as I had expected. But hey! That’s how you learn right?)
  • Traveling is a great way to get to know yourself.  This summer I studied abroad in France and travelled to over 10 different countries… and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. Studying abroad was something that I had always wanted to do but even then it was not the easiest decision to make. After all, being away from home for three months, though not an extremely long time, is still a big enough emotional and financial burden on oneself to question whether or not it would be the right decision. But it definitely was for me because being put completely out of my comfort zone in a country over 4000 miles away from home meant that I had to literally expand my mind as I got adjusted to being in a place where nobody spoke the languages that I knew, I had to make new friends because I didn’t come into the program with people I knew, and had to stretch my perspective on the world as I immersed myself into new cultures and ways of living. It was an eye-opening experience where I learned so much about the places I went to, but also so much more about who I was as a person as I saw my own character being reflected in the people and places around me.
  • Take risks, you don’t really know your own capabilities until you try.  Fall meant finishing up the year back on campus and since a lot of my friends were finding themselves close to graduation, a large part of the semester was consumed by the daunting task of job searching, aka securing our futures. I myself wasn’t at the point of looking for a full-time job yet, but wanted to find a summer internship for the following year. After many months of hard work, lots of interviews, and even more rejections, I can proudly say that I snagged my dream internship in my dream city with a dream company that I did not even think I was “good enough” for. Through this whole process, my biggest takeaway was that, honestly, the whole job search process is simply a big giant crapshoot. You could be the most qualified candidate with the highest GPA, most impeccable resume, and flawless personality, yet still be rejected because there are so many things that are simply out of your control. All you can do is make sure that you really know yourself, what your passions are, and how you envision achieving your life goals. Your passion is an infectious energy and the right people will see and appreciate that. So take the risk, do not discount who you are because of one person’s fleeting impression of you, and try, because the worst thing that could happen is that you fail and learn from the experience. And now you are one step closer to being where you need to be.
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