What To Do With Your Life

The dreaded question: “So, what do you plan to do after university?”

I have to admit that I’m guilty of asking it myself; probably because I’m one of those annoying people who have an actual plan for their life after university.  I attribute that fact to my childhood days in which I HAD to have a plan or else I couldn’t sleep at night (yes, as a ten year-old I had to have my life planned out). As a result I cycled through dozens of plans until I decided on the one I’m pursuing today. But, today is not about what my plan is, because that isn’t particularly relevant.  What I want to talk about is how pretty much every twenty-something year old I’ve ever talked to (besides me) has no idea what they’re going to do with their lives.

I am here to tell you: it’s okay to not know right now. Pretty much no one does. (Again, me being the exception.) If you don’t believe me, go talk to your friends. I will bet you five bucks that they don’t have their lives planned out either.

Also: you don’t have to know even by the time you graduate. You can change your major a bajillion times, you can even go back to school after graduation if you discover your true passion later on. Plenty of people don’t find their “thing” until they’re forty or something. If that seems depressing to you, a) take heart in the fact that you aren’t the only one that’s unsure at the age of 20, b) be encouraged that your passion is in fact out there somewhere, and c) if that’s not enough just go try as much stuff as you possibly can to try and find that one thing that you love and want to spend your life doing.  If you don’t go looking, you aren’t going to find anything.

I would like to present to you a story: the story of my mom (her career, that is).  My mother graduated from high school a year early and completed a bachelor of business or whatever it is called at the University of Manitoba. She then went on to McMaster University and completed a BMA so that she could become an accountant.  She had several accounting jobs but never stayed for more than two years because she just found the work so incredibly boring. Then she had me and my sisters and she stopped working for twelve years (in which she was a full-time mom). She enjoyed that time, but when I started junior high school she started studying library science at a local college. She started working at the city library at the bottom of the chain, which was boring at first. She moved up the ranks as she stayed there for several years, and she liked some branches she worked at more than others. Now, she is working at a couple of schools, as a librarian and also as an educational assistant for the band, theatre, and art departments. Pretty far from accounting – but she loves it! She gets hours she’s happy with, she has fun at her job, she loves her coworkers, and she gets Christmas and summers off, too. Took her a long time, but she found a job she loves.

It just goes to show that your university degree doesn’t necessarily define what the rest of your life will look like – and also that you’ll find the job you love if you keep on looking, even if you don’t know what it is right now.

Overinvolved Student Problems

Every year since second year of university, this process always happens to me. Every. Freaking. Year. Let me explain through the magic of gifs:

1. Classes are so interesting! Way better than what I was learning last term.

2. So much free time. I should join a bajillion clubs on Clubs Day.

3. After joining a bajillion clubs and forking a lot of money to said clubs.

4. I’m so inspired to do more for other people and the community. I should apply for a position or two (or three…or four…).

5. Damn, so excited to be [insert position title] at [insert organization name] doing [insert job description]!

6. Repeat #5 2-4 times.

7. Proceed to spending all my free time doing #5 and #6.

8. Ehmegawd kill me now, I have no time.

9. Commit seppuku.

As time progresses, I’ve discovered this is what is called “Student Leader Problems.” Don’t believe me? There’s a Twitter account for that.

Now after 3 years of university, I’ve discovered what I am truly passionate about instead of doing random things because it peeks my interest just a tiny bit. Now I’ve broadened to organizations outside of UBC and they are even more exciting and incredible than the ones on campus.

So far my involvement schedule includes:

  • Two jobs: Hollister and the English Language Institute. Both of are awesome jobs and I’m really glad I’m working with great people.
  • 5 courses: 4 psychology and 1 business.
  • Involved with a few school clubs, like CVC and Right to Play.
  • 1 volunteer opportunity that is in the works, but one that I am so passionate about. I’ll blog about it as soon as I get it secured.
  • A mentorship/connectorship program with the Burnaby Board of Trade.
  • Dragonboating with Dragon Heart. So addicting, it’s crazy.

And things were going great…

Until I found out I had 9 midterms, 5 finals, and 3 papers.

At first I was like

Then I was like

And then this happened

And this is me now

That’s a total of 14 exams this semester. I’ve had midterms since late September and they last until mid-November, not to mention having 2 midterms and a paper on the same day and 2 finals on the same day. I’m just on the edge of my seat every day and my Google calendar looks a rainbow threw up on it.

The good thing about this, and this took me awhile to figure out because it felt like hell at the beginning, is that I’ve learned that I don’t procrastinate as much. Truth be told, I don’t have time to procrastinate. It’s not that I’m super efficient now, but I’ve learned to manage my time better.

Here are some tips that I’ve been doing that have pretty pretty effective:

  1. Know your limit.
    Although I would love to be working a lot with international students while making some sweet money too, I know that school is more important at this point. The first thing I did when I noticed I was falling behind was cutting back my hours at work. Then I was able to study and do homework in between classes instead of staying up until 3 in the morning. Don’t overexert yourself.
  2. Use a calendar.
    I can’t stress this enough: as much as you think you can fit you can organize your life like an Ikea catalogue in your head, it’s so much easier when it’s laid out in front of you. At first it’s stressful seeing all that you have to do, but it’s the first step to success. Then you can arrange meetings in between classes or reschedule appointments until you have a break in between exams or papers.
  3. Don’t be a party animal.
    As much as I’d love to go to all the cool events happening around me, I really can’t. I pick and choose things I find I absolutely want to go to and leave behind things that aren’t as important. It’s a hard thing to do because all your friends are going, but you have to value what you think is most important. For me, that’s school right now. Plus, you get to save some money from conference fees, entry fees, and booze money.

To everyone who’s having similar to problems or just time management in general, how do you manage it all? I’d love to hear how you are being awesome and how you deal with it. Please leave a comment below and share some ideas!

This blog post is inspired by #whatweshouldcallubc and if it not for the genius behind that blog, I would not be able to complete this post. I have no idea what ninja skills he/she has to find all these gifs. *slow applause*

Bad Days. (The Survival Guide)

They happen. Maybe you got lost on your way to class, can’t seem to make friends, spill your perogies all over the dining hall floor, failed a test, just miss your mom, or maybe you’re like me and royally screwed up your orchestra audition meaning you won’t get to play the absolutely beautiful piece you really wanted or go on tour to San Francisco with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Yeah. That happened.  I don’t really enjoy crying in public places, though you might be able to tell by the amount that I actually do it.

So take heart; you aren’t the only one who just can’t seem to anything right now and then.  It’ll pass, and until then here is my guide to making yourself feel at least a little bit better.

1. If you need to cry, just do it. I am a self-proclaimed cry-baby, and I always find that if I just let it out, that lump in my chest loosens up a little. My pillow and I are good friends.

2. Call your mom.  It’s kind of what she’s there for, you know? I mean, it’s totally true: Mom knows best. My mom can always make me feel a little better; she’s one of the few people who when she says, “It’s going to be okay,” I actually believe her.

3. Watch a movie/TV show that makes you feel good. Something funny and feel-good will take your mind off things and relax you a bit. My personal favourites for movie-therapy are Miss Congeniality and How to Train Your Dragon.

4. Comfort food. Perhaps not the healthiest habit, but so long as you don’t go overboard, comfort food can just fill your mouth with happiness. And hopefully the happiness spreads to your brain a little bit. For me, this includes cookies, hot chocolate, quesadillas, chicken soup, perogies, and ice cream. (Not necessarily all at once.) When your day is filled with poo, it helps to fill it a little more with awesome things.

5. Comfy clothes. Nothing feels better when you feel down than chilling in your favourite comfy clothes. In summer, I don my short shorts and spaghetti strap tank top (what I am wearing at this moment) and in the winter, sweat pants and fuzzy socks! And blankets. Can’t forget blankets. (Side note: fuzzy socks make my life. Instant happiness when my feet get all up in that soft and fluffy goodness.)

6. Time with friends. Just hanging out like nothing wrong can take the edge off, and maybe actually convince you that nothing is wrong. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine!

Trying to Have it All


Yes you can.

One of my favourite TV shows is 30 Rock. It follows the hilariously awkward life of Liz Lemon, head writer of TGS with Tracey Jordan, a Saturday Night Live parody. She works long hours, deals with idiots otherwise called her staff and actors, while trying to achieve the impossible: having it all. Having it all means getting a boyfriend, having a baby and eating healthy, none of which have panned out except for the first one in the lastest season.

At times, everyone puts exceedingly impossible goals for themselves. Getting a six pack. Going into space. Holding Walt Disney’s cryogenically frozen hand. But what Liz is trying to do isn’t impossible. There’s a push and shove. She doesn’t want to give up anything like time in her work and eating Cheezy Blasters while achieving her goals, but sometimes you can’t “have it all”. You can have certain things, but not everything.

Liz’s crazy life has got me to thinking about balance and achievable goals. I’ve set goals for myself for this summer, within the next year, within 5 years, and my entire life. Something’s gotta give and I have to be realistic. I’ll probably never date Jennifer Aniston or be an animated Disney character, but that’s ok. I have other goals. Goals that are doable. Goals are dreams with hard work. Goals I am working towards bit by bit every day.

As long as you are a little bit crazy, crazily passionate, dare to dream a little higher, you can do anything. Don’t give up on what you like. As Lemon says:

Hey, I don’t bail. I am still watching Smash, Criss. – Liz Lemon

Take My Money

No truer words have been said on TV, Fry.

A few years back, a friend and I had a running joke about the words “need” and “want” because in most cases when you say you “need something”, you actually don’t. To illustrate:

  • Need is when something is necessary, like when I whisper into the telephone to the police, “I NEED this stalker out of my house.”
  • Want is when you desire something, such as, “I really WANT my dad to stop asking me what am I doing when I am in the bathroom.”

In most cases, people say they need some sort of object, like a jacket, a new computer or some space. We’d correct each other and say, “Is that a need or a want?” or “What kind of space, like the one between your eyebrows and your hairline because it’s come soon, dude.” But then there are instances when we knew in the depths of our hearts that we really needed this object in our lives because it’s too awesome and for f***’s sake just TAKE MY MONEY NOW.

Here are some things I recently saw and then proceeded to throw money at my laptop screen but nothing happened because I realized that I am an unemployed student and the “money” I was throwing were pieces of my hopes and dreams. Yes, this just got dark fast. Now onto the beautiful objects of necessity.

Macbook Pro with Retina Display

TopBrewer Coffee faucet by Scanomat – with iPhone control


Monolito and Megalito carbon fiber table

GroundWave Shadow Trainer that teaches you how to dance

3rd year.. is finally done..

It was so exhausting this year on top of all the ECs. But along the way I have learned a great deal and my life and personality gradually changed… for the better I hope! But yup 3/5 of my undergrad is gone and done.

Unfortunately many of my friends weren’t done by the time I was done.. I was seriously becoming socially deprived and bored out of my skull. Fortunately DHL was done the day after I was done so we hung out. We ended up playing Super Smash Bros. on N64. Ah, what a classic. We spent a solid 4 hours playing and unlocking the secret characters. SO NOSTALGIC. Those were the days, playing retro video games non stop. I miss my own N64.

We ended up going to Sushi Garden and ate to our heart’s content. There were line ups as usual. Even for a table for 2, we had to wait 30 minutes.

And then I went on a shopping spree at TNT in Metro. I think I bought 10 pounds of fruit lol and a hotpot pot! I’m excited to have hotpot at home; it’s much more delicious when you cook food at home. Well, most of the time. Anyways, almost broke my back hefting the stuff back home. All in all, it was a great day.

When life gives you lemons, burn them.

And by that, I mean get rid of what is making what you want troublesome for you as soon as possible. It helps. Really. GO!

Of course that only helps when you know what you want. I don’t particularly like talking about myself, but it’s been a while and there is a distinction between bragging and just laying out facts right? Right??…Sure. Some of the enjoyable things I’ve ever done has been on a whim. Bump into some friends on campus as they’re about to head over somewhere to eat, chill, base jump off Buchanan Tower and we end up exploring, drinking (for the first time), having philosophical discussions, and generally feeling content about life (just to name a few things). That being said, here’s a topic that is completely on a whim and something I hope I will not regret sharing.

I try my best to keep myself positive and, for the most part, look at life from an objective point of view (getting information from as many different sides as possible). I do my best to not take things personally and look at the best in people. The best part of this style of thinking? There is no one I dislike and very rarely have I come close to being angry at anything or anyone. The not so good part is that I often have a “meh” attitude towards many things and it sometimes takes some pressure before I really get into doing anything. That’s me though, and I’m not really complaining. I’m happy for the most part. I wasn’t always like this though. Back when I was younger (hey I sound like I’m 50! Can’t wait till I turn 50), I was generally a depressed kid that either didn’t fit in well with others or didn’t really feel like fitting with others. Yeah, I really don’t even know which even though it was myself. I guess that’s pretty serious, but ANYWAY. Elementary school blew and I never felt like I was part of a group. High school sucked up until grade 11 (more on that later) and I was still shy, reclusive, untrusting, and suspicious of everyone and still didn’t feel like part of a group (this includes my own family, any moments there were felt quite temporary)! 7 year story short (I count grade 4 to grade 11), I never really liked life. Something in hindsight, quite ridiculous in its own way. Life has a funny way of working that way.

Come grade 11 and I had discovered photography, probably one of the most defining moments in my short life thus far. Now comes Jeff. He’s a guy I’ve known since grade 8 and honestly speaking, also a person who has had a big impact on my life. Looking back, he was the one that encouraged me to join yearbook class the following year. I can think of two things that make it so important. First, he was the first person to encourage me to put my photography to use and for a meaningful cause (and feeling useful/meaningful is one of better feelings one can have). Two, as far as I’m concerned, he believed and trusted me with something. I didn’t recognize it in the moment, but really thinking about it now that made for a huge change. I never felt connected to academics (though one can argue that no one really is) and I was on a downward spiral that did not make me want to put any effort into my life. Having something to be decent at and having someone who believes in you and is encouraging you to pursue it further made such a difference that I ended up becoming a different person. I shudder to imagine where I would be if these two wonderful coincidence didn’t come into my life the moment they did. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be in UBC, I wouldn’t know all the people I know now because of being at UBC, and I sure wouldn’t be the me I am today. Of course, one can ponder the possibility of my existence had I gone to SFU (yes I probably would have gone there, that is a very likely possibility). It could have been better, I could still be the way I am right now, and who knows perhaps I would have met even more amazing people at SFU. That’s all a “what if” though.

Whatever happened to me and Jeff though you might ask. Well, we both went our separate ways. We co-blogged in our first year and then things just drifted, as one would say. If you asked me what I thought about him in grade 12, I would have said that he was one of my best friends. Ask me now, and all I can reply with is a shrug. The last time I really talked to him face to face in a meaningful way was back in the beginning half of first year. I still see him around here and there, but it’s never more than a “hey, how’s it going? Great, yeah me too” kind of thing. This kind of result of something so meaningful can be described in a multitude of ways: disappointing, sad, undeserving, insane, ridiculous, or stupid. It can be blamed on lots of factors. I could be blamed for it too. Is there any point in blaming? Not really. Things are the way they are and in the given context, disappointing but not worth really crying over. I see it as one of the wonderful realities of life. A concept that produces both sadness and joy, a kind of grace in sorrow. I don’t know if Jeff will ever read this. It probably doesn’t really matter, if does it would be quite interesting. If he doesn’t, it’s still quite interesting. Nothing lost, nothing gained, nothing wasted.

And with that, I shall end. A story that I would say is common, but uncommonly told.

If only papers were this easy to write…I would be halfway through one of them right now with this many words in this one blog entry. Sheesh. And in case anybody was wondering, I really do not regret writing this, and in fact it has brought me out of what was a depressive state.


So Scary It’s Funny

I’ve always loved haunted houses at carnivals since I was young. My friends and I always get scared the crap out of ourselves yet we keep coming back. The process is always horrible, but it’s always a great laugh afterwards when we relive our near-death experiences. This hilarious video where Ellen Degeneres sends her writer and her mother to a haunted maze reminds me just how much fun being scared and makes me want to go to Fright Night at the PNE even more!

Warning: you might get addicted watching this and jaw pain from laughing uncontrollably is substantial. You have been warned.

iSad: RIP Steve Jobs

Today, a man heralded as the greatest CEO and our generation’s Thomas Edision, has passed away.

Steve Jobs had a cult of loyal followers who collected e-mails sent by him. He was a perfectionist who required the best out of his company. He revived Apple from the ashes. He was a visionary and innovator who truly helped our world embrace technology not only as a tool, but as enjoyment, communication and part of our daily life. The calibre of Apple’s products have allowed greater competition and even better innovation for the world to experience. You don’t have to love the Apple company or own an iProduct or be an Apple Fan Boy to have been affected by Steve.

Steve is first a foremost a person who dared us to keep hungry, be foolish and think differently. He gave himself high goals and exceeded them. He is the definition of innovation. The world will not be the same without him. Thank you for all that you have done. Rest in Peace.

Harry and the Gang Ends 8 Films with a Whimper

As a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I went into the movie theatre 10 years ago to see the first film adaptation with scepticism. Like most fans, this feeling was purely that the film would not live up to my expectations, that something would be missing or changed which is blasphemy, and that the actress portraying Hermione Granger wouldn’t be cute enough. I walked out of the film a satisfied fan because the first film was almost scene-by-scene the book, almost nothing was changed or missing, and Emma Watson was cute and adorable.

One of the only reasons I continued to pay to watch mediocre sequels.

Over the years, my expectations that someone could fit 500-700 pages into a 2-hour movie without butchering the book went down and I let some things go without much criticism. And then I saw the trailer for the seventh film part deux. I was blown away by how awesome it was. The pace was fast, the scenes moving, and Mrs. Weasley fought like she meant to kill. After seeing the trailer a dozen times, I set a date and prepared to see the final film of the series in IMAX to end the series in style.

Boy, did that money go down the drain.

To get you up to speed: Harry, Ron, and Hermione are out to destroy several magical objects called Horcruxes so that they canfinally defeat the Dark Lord/He Who Must Not Be Named/Lord Voldemort. Thing is, they only have hunches of where and what these darn things are so they’re running around a bank (Gringrotts) and a school (Hogwarts) while trying to escape from everything that’s trying to kill them (a dragon, Death Eaters, Lord Voldemort, giants, etc).

“Why do I need glasses when I know magic?!?”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 didn’t live up to the hype nor to how the trailer portrayed the film, the latter of which should have been obvious but I didn’t want to believe it. All the big scenes were covered by the film, even the moan-worthy 19 years later scene, but nothing was particularly memorable or rewatchable. 3D simply meant that the characters appeared to be 3 inches closer to my face, the pace was fluctuated between slow and slower, even the Battle of Hogwarts scenes, and none of the supporting actors could get anything more than 1 line or said something for cheap laughs which I didn’t laugh at. By the end I only felt a sense of relief that the movie wasn’t longer and agony that I spent $19 for a movie.

That being said,  I wouldn’t completely stay away from the film. Additional elements in the Battle of Hogwarts that weren’t in the book were fine by me, everything looked beautiful and Mrs. Weasley said her fan-famous PG 13 line. All in all, the franchise comes to a satisfactory end and thank-god the cast was perfect, save for Ginny Weasley. But hey, if JK Rowling supposedly says it’s awesome, who am I to judge?