Thoughts about Finishing my Second Year of University

I’m finally finished with my second year of university. After many hours writing papers on my computer and having Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN on repeat, I’m halfway through with finishing my bachelor’s degree. My sophomore year at Point Loma Nazarene University has been crazy. From studying abroad in London in the fall of 2016 to leading volunteers for homeless ministries in San Diego and even travelling to New York City by myself. I’m pretty thankful for the experiences I’ve had within the last 8 months of school. I’ve become much more comfortable being outside my comfort zone. I’ve come to the point where I’ve become less dependent on others and dependent on God on what I want to do with my life. I’m really excited for my junior year of university because I’ll be living off-campus in a house. I personally felt tired of living on campus and being trapped within the “Loma Bubble.” I like to describe the Loma Bubble as the view that everything has to be perfect in order to please others. Stereotypically, students would make sure to look good and trendy on their social media accounts, almost as if their life is perfect. I find it ironic when I’m scrolling down my Facebook feed and I see people who “appear” awesome because they’re laughing, smiling, and having fun in their pictures yet when I meet them in person they come off as completely different. I’m not saying that they’re personalities are a complete 180 of their perceived personas, but that their personalities don’t match the way the portray themselves on social media. Another reason about why I’m excited to live off-campus is because I’ll finally own a car and I’ll be able to drive on my own. I felt trapped at Point Loma and now I feel that I can finally explore the rest of San Diego. I also didn’t give surfing too much of a chance while I was in San Diego, but now that I have a car, one of my goals is to pick it up along with hiking. There are some awesome hiking trails and deserts I want to explore. Those of which include Joshua Tree and hopefully the Grand Canyon. I’ve never hiked until I went to Point Loma where some of my upperclassmen friends invited me to some hikes. I think this is one of the few things I appreciate about the culture at Point Loma, where it sparks a sense of adventure. I think the culture at Point Loma is similar to other colleges where if you want to be considered a “Point Loman,” it (an admissions brochure had it) gives you a bunch of requirements/standards on what it means to be Loman. Such requirements/standards include: owning a Hydroflask bottle, wearing Patagonia brand clothing, being a surfer. One of my professors noted how ironic it was that this college tells you how to be Loman, yet wants to promote diversity among its students. I don’t fit much into the standards, so would I be considered as someone who is a “Point Loman?” What I do appreciate about it is the sense of fostering growth, adventure, and openness with someone who is used to being in his or her comfort zone. Despite these complaints, I’m grateful for all the relationships I’ve built there and all the experiences that developed my character at Point Loma Nazarene University.

 

 

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Easter and Home

I just landed in my hometown of San Jose, California in time for Easter. This weekend will be a nice weekend where I get to relax and catch up with friends and family and celebrate Easter with my home church. I used to hate being in San Jose because I thought it was such a boring place to live in. But travelling the world has helped me find value in my home. I’ve never felt homesick before, the feeling arose when I visited New York City and met with my extended family. San Jose is not as lively as London or New York City nor does it have outdoor getaways that San Diego has to offer. But, San Jose will always be home base whenever I’m out exploring the world because of all the special relationships I’ve built the past 18 years here.

I’ve never viewed as Easter as an important holiday because I was simply ignorant to its significance. My early perception of Easter was that it was a cheap holiday meant for chocolates and bunnies, similar to Halloween. But, Easter is not that shallow. It’s the symbol of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. It is the end result of Christmas. Christmas symbolises the coming of a perfect savior that dies for an imperfect people and Easter is the result of our imperfections, which includes death, not being able to hold us down because of what our savior has done for us.  My weekend will be attending a Good Friday service at my church and then my church is hosting a play on Saturday and we will have an Easter service Sunday. I want to know what you are doing this weekend, even if you don’t celebrate Easter!

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30 (40) Hour Famine

On April 7th and 8th, I’ll be fasting for 40 hours to fundraise money and raise awareness about world hunger. My home church annually attends this event during this date, but because I’m far away in university, I’ll be doing it by myself. It’s normally 30 hours, but because I’ve done it already for two years, I feel that I can push myself for 40 for this year. Personally, It will be challenging when I’m faced with the temptation of food, but fasting will help me control my desires. If you would like to donate toward my cause, it will be in the link down below:

https://youth.worldvision.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=31338

Blessings

The past four months have been the craziest time of my life. Traveling to London  was one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken because it was my first time being outside California. Going outside of California taught me a lot, it showed me the world didn’t have sunshine every single day, or palm trees around every single corner. One of the biggest qualities of the people of London is their diversity. The people of London bring so much culture and history into the ethnic melting pot that is London. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world in London, some of which include the Czech Republic, Nigeria, Ecuador, Indonesia, and South Korea. Meeting all these people helped me understand the world and its people. I’ve learned how history and culture influences a person’s beliefs. Studying in London was also one of the most stressful times of my life because I had to learn how to balance homework, a social life, and traveling. I’ve done so many things that people can only dream of within the span of four months. I’ve explored most of the United Kingdom, visited France, Italy, and Germany and have seen countless live plays. Unfortunately, my time in London was short. Our program ended so that we could come back in time for Thanksgiving and to spend time with friends and family. Because it’s Thanksgiving, I want to write this post to recount the blessings that I’ve had throughout my trip to London.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn how to travel. Never would I have imagined me and a few friends going on a weekend trip to Germany. Our trip to Germany was the first trip that I’ve taken to a country that speaks a foreign language. Thankfully again, most Germans knew English fluently so getting around wasn’t too challenging. I’m also thankful that my friend waited until 2am for us and squeezed four people into his tiny apartment in the center of Berlin. Going to Berlin also helped us prepare for the rest of Europe. We made sure to pack rain gear because we experienced a torrential downpour in Berlin. We also made sure to convert out US dollars to Euros before entering the country because most shops don’t take American credit cards.I’m thankful that we suffered these tribulations because it made our trip to Italy much more worthwhile. Going to Italy was one of the highlights of my trip. It was amazing to see the beauty of nature combined with the handiwork of man. We were prepared to take on the rain. We actually took on a monsoon instead and lived. We also prepared ourselves with Euros and indulged in gelato. Our professors then took us to Paris toward the end of our semester. I’m thankful for having such awesome professors even though they drive me crazy sometimes. I was quite fearful of coming into Paris at first  because one of my friends described it as a place where “you should wear your backpack in the front.” The pretense I built up led to an image of Paris being filled with pickpockets and thugs. Fortunately, all of this disappeared once I was there. I soon fell in love with the city and its people. Most of the events we did in Paris we ended up doing for free. Because we were students studying in the EU, we were able to visit the Palace of Versailles, climb atop the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and enter the Louvre for free. Paris turned out to be our cheapest trip yet. Traveling in foreign countries has helped me learn how to be independent and how to act when I feel lost. I’m thankful to God that I had the opportunity to travel so that I can learn more about myself and about people.

The next thing that I’m thankful for is the communities I’ve found in London. I’m thankful for the community that we have in our London study abroad group because we’re all so supportive of each other. It was great to be in London with this group of people because we were going through the same challenges academically and we can support each other through it. It also helps that we come from the same university because it gives us a sense of familiarity with each other when we feel lost. I’m also thankful for a wonderful community that I’ve found in the city of London. I got introduced to Hillsong London’s connect group, which is a group where young adults from the church can hang out and connect, and quickly bonded with them. I’ve only spent time with them for two months, and in those two months, they’ve quickly become a family to me. They’re an awesome bunch of people who are supportive and make me smile. They’re what made London into a second home for me. We’ve gone on awesome adventures such as paintballing, going to a ping pong bar, and random trips to Nandos. I’m also thankful for the community that I have back home in San Jose. I’m thankful for a supportive, loving family that funds my education and allowed me to make this big step in my life. I’m also thankful for an awesome group of friends that I can talk to about my career and future.

If you made it here, I want to say thank you for reading my list of blessings.

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A Reminder to Look Past Failure

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

I found this quote from Edison to be inspiring. It’s a positive outlook of failure. I appreciate this quote even more because it comes from the man of many inventions. One of the many reasons that I want to study computer science is because of people like Edison and Elon Musk. They are people willing to take risks and fail 10,000 times in order to innovate technology and make the future worth living. As for me right now, I am struggling to find out which classes I am going to take for my next semester. I shouldn’t be worrying because I know that God has a plan for me after my four years of university. I desire to change the world with technology and I know I will eventually end up working in the technological sector. Hope this quote motivates you to look past your failures as it did to me.