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Archive for Self-Discovery

These are the times that try men’s souls

Summer break was much needed. Two years ago at this time, I was running on all cylinders — full speed ahead into the unknown. Last summer, I was recovering. I was adapting to life after a traumatic spring, and when life stopped, I took time to watch everyone’s ways of dealing with life, listened to advice (discarding bad advice and adopting everything that I thought worked). It was in that summer that I made several startling discoveries: 1) People think things are crazy when they don’t understand them. 2) People deal with pain in different ways. 3) I adapt quicker than most people, but live my life mostly in my thoughts, and don’t vocalize them unless I need something cleared up. When life gets hard or something unexpected happens, I tend to think negatively and go into a downward spiral until something or someone breaks me out of it. This spiral ended this summer. That’s right, fifteen months of a downward spiral — stuck in my own head –little-to-no sleep — reviewing the traumatic experience on repeat — thinking it was my fault, if I acted another way, or did this instead, everything would still be okay — stressful day-to-day learning in grad school compounding the issue because I have no time to decompress and forgive.

Let’s put it this way: I was 100% two summers ago. Last summer, I was probably at 10%, burnt out physically and emotionally. This summer, after a month and a half of good living, I’m efficiently back in the 70% or 80% area. By the end of the summer I could very likely back up to 100%, but over the last year of school, I could probably be burnt out to about 50%… I know most people don’t picture themselves as a human lithium battery that needs to be recharged over long periods of time… but it helps me guard against unwanted stress, and not to overextend myself. Everyone always wants a part of you, and if you give too much of yourself, you’ll have nothing left. It’s a sad truth.

I will also be updating this blog more (but not sure for how long, maybe for a year, maybe just until I don’t need to anymore). This is because during my free time, I’ve been doing some amateur psychology research. I was talking to a college student, and she said she just changed from being a psych major — and that when she first meets people she automatically types them as one of the four types of people. Apparently, I am a B/A mix (sometimes called the melancholic type). This interested me because I didn’t know about psychology. I immediately did my own research on personality types and traits, quickly finding the Myers Briggs personality types. There are 16 types, and my type, the INTJ, is very rare, comprising 1% of the population. I found an INTJ forum, and quickly discovered there are people who think like me. The many explanations of the type fit me perfectly. and I found a website that explained how INTJ could attain immense personal growth. One of these tactics was to write my ideas and not have them bottled up in my head, rattling around and causing confusion. In effect, meeting someone and talking about types of people really broke me out of the worst funk of my life (even worse than when my aunt died during college).

Cheers, for now.

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Oh the Life of an Academic

It’s been no secret that I’ve been applying to law schools this cycle. It’s very intimidating and stressful.

I think I’ve figured out the schools’ admission strategies thus far. So far, I’ve only been admitted into the lower tier schools. All of these schools need to know if I’ll be attending their institution by April 15th. The higher tier schools do not promise to have made a decision by that point. Plus these schools might only waitlist me and I’ll be in limbo.

This is how the lower tier schools get students. They create an unnecessary deadline so students will get worried (like me), panic, and send in a personal check for so-and-so amount to reserve their spot.

I refuse to settle. This ploy will not work! But we’ll see when April 15th rolls around. Then I’ll be panicking like crazy!

Wish me luck.

The Time Capsule

The holidays are officially upon us. Hanukkah is about to end, and like many people in December, I found myself scouring every nook and cranny of my attic for Holiday decorations. We found ornaments, and knick-knacks, and all sorts of Christmas and Santa material—so much in fact, that there was sensory overload. Shifting through these boxes took me back through the years, when, believe it or not, I was hell-bent to be on Santa’s Good List. We displayed the ceramic Christmas displays my grandmother made, which my family is particularly proud of—mostly because it’s a great memento of my grandmother that she bequeathed to us—but also partly because it is so beautiful. There were snow globes and nutcrackers, and everything else that reminds me of past great Christmases, those Christmases that will be the benchmark for successful upcoming ones.

It took a few days to set the house up and I found myself starting to get nostalgic. The Christmas movies started playing on television, the radio station I listen to started playing Christmas music just after Thanksgiving, so the hour commute added to my mindset. And if it weren’t enough, my family forced me to start a Christmas list of presents that I potentially would want.

Essentially, the holidays were in full swing.

The Cat Who Came For Christmas

When we were putting the empty boxes back into the attic, I stumbled upon a box of my belongings that anyone else would probably label “OLD SHIT.” Secretly, I’d been searching for this box. As I graduated high school, I stuffed everything I thought was childish and hastily stuffed it in storage where I didn’t have to see it everyday. I can admit that as I’m on the verge of finishing my last semester as an undergrad, I wanted a retrospective of where I’ve been, so I can accurately determine my future. I thought this box would unlock the mystery of who I really was, maybe even who I would become.

I was sadly mistaken.

In this box, I found many things. None of them tell me anything I didn’t know. For example, I kept a scrapbook. Normally, scrapbooks keep newspaper clippings about oneself—may it be the honor roll, or an achievement, what have you. Don’t get me wrong, my scrapbook did contain some of those things. However, it was also a litany of ongoing public disputes and general pop culture knowledge that is utterly useless for my quest for personal self-discovery. In hindsight, the All Star Celtic guard Reggie Lewis’ death from cocaine overdose was a great tragedy and affected me deeply. There was no plausible reason for me to cut out an article about his death (which happened to be on two pages, yet I still carefully taped them together) and paste it into my scrapbook. I also have the words “CLINTON IMPEACHED” across two pages, screaming for someone to read them, and headshots of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Abraham Lincoln(?).

No, I don’t know why either. Honest Abe was someone I admired?

I also have a scrapbook page dedicated to Roger Clemens in a Red Sox uniform. Seeing that I now see The Rocket as the spawn of the devil, this didn’t go over very well with the present-day me.

It seems like my life revolved around sports. In the box were all my youth league trophies and my Emmitt Smith and Ken Griffey Jr. posters. The scrapbook has my press releases: me rollerblading with a friend, every soccer goal I scored, my group’s photograph from Spain. There’s also my senior year profile from the sports section where I inexplicitly mentioned that Nomar Garciaparra was my favorite athlete, when everyone I know knows that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Emmitt Smith has always been my favorite. Also, apparently, my favorite band was Jimmy Eat World.

No, I don’t know why either. Maybe I wanted to Bleed American?

I did find my high school diploma, my varsity letter, and all my important Eagle Scout things; the letters from all the politicians and my medals in the smooth velvet box were stuffed in the attic where they could have been damaged! I was such an idiot.

What I learned from perusing through my old things is that I have always been impressionable. Judging from my Christmas nostalgia, I guess some things never change.

Happy Holidays!