Goodbye, 2020

For the last few days, I have been reflecting quite a lot about this year… Although the new year does not guarantee the ends to all our problems, I have always been one to enjoy reflecting and coming up with new year resolutions and such. Out of my ten pages of reflections in my journal, here is a gist of the lessons that I learned this year.

Lesson 1 – Letting go

“It’s better to be with people who lift your energy than to be alone. it’s better to be alone than to be with people who drain your energy.” – ronwritings

While scrolling through my instagram, I came across this very special quote that perfectly describes a large chunk of my year… When you’re surrounded by the same people everyday at school for years, it’s quite difficult to break bonds and distance yourself, but all of this changes once you graduate…Coming from a person who hoards all sorts of things for memories, I have always found it hard for me to let go of people. However, it was easier for me to do so when I realized that I can let go out of love, not out of any bitter feelings…

The friendships that I distanced myself from allowed me to find more peace…but that doesn’t mean that all the years spent with them were for nothing. I’ll always be thankful for what they have done for me and I’ll forever cherish all the memories, but it’s merely time for me to let go of them… for the better.

Lesson 2 – Finding the roots

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard

One of the most important things that I did this year was journaling: It allowed me to explore all sorts of things in my mind, even the ones hidden and forgotten… If it weren’t for journaling, I wouldn’t be able to find out all the answers to questions such as “Why is it hard for me to trust people? or “Why do I act the way I do?”.

I truly believe that it’s very important to live in the present, but the present will only make sense if you fully understand your past. All the questions that I have always asked myself were answered once I started journaling… Finding out the answers that gave me light to the way I act, talk, and feel made me become more aware of who I am. This made me more accepting and understanding of myself; therefore, my own mind became a much more healthier and better place.

Lesson 3 – Accepting what it is

“Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for the moment.”

The pandemic affected all of our lives this year, and I’m certain that it’ll still impact us next year too. However, being angry and dwelling on that will not change the situation… We always have to remind ourselves that everything happens for a reason, and that includes the pandemic too… At first, I was devastated that my graduation and trips were cancelled, but looking back now, I am certain that everything is happening for the best. I’m more than thankful to have had all the time in the world to grow into the person I have always wanted to be.

So… what does 2021 have prepared for us? I guess we won’t find out about that until the time comes. Nevertheless, let’s keep the mindset that everything works out for the better in the end.



The Art of Journaling

Journaling has always been something that I have tried to incorporate into my daily life for as long as I can remember. As a child, whenever I saw characters from the disney channel writing in their diaries and journals, I would feel motivated to start doing exactly that… only to forget after a few days.

Starting from 2017, I got into the habit of writing in my journal whenever I felt out of place. I would pour out all my feelings and frustrations into these pages… leaving with a much lighter heart afterward. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that I started to journal every other day (or more when I felt inclined to).

I never knew that something so simple could change my life. Journaling allowed me to analyze my thoughts and figure out the root of my problems and feelings. It shed light on things that I have always kept hidden inside me (to the point I forgot they were there) …and once these were translated into words in pages, it felt as if an unbearable amount of rocks were being unloaded from me. Getting lost while writing these words allowed me to find myself…

Thoughts can be deceiving. Once you let yourself get immersed into these thoughts, finding the way out can be so challenging. That’s where the art of journaling comes in. Writing out your thoughts allows you to become rational and unclouded by making you reflect without feeling so overwhelmed… With every single word that you write, it slows and calms you down. It helps you learn more about yourself by reflecting on the past and present, therefore leaving the future for the better.

The gift of journaling is something that I would give to everyone if I could. I encourage whoever is reading this to grab a pen and a book to start writing whatever is in your thoughts. Who knows… you might start learning new things about you and start healing parts of yourself that you thought you never could. Regardless, I can promise you that journaling will change your life as much as it did mine.



Favorite reads of 2020

Hello everyone,

The pandemic has been affecting our lives for nearly a year now… I’ve been in my house for nine months already with lots of time to spare since my university doesn’t start until next year February. Thanks to quarantine, I was able to fall in love with reading once again (read more about this here). With the quarantine blues, these books helped me get through it all by serving as a place of escape and making me feel a little less lonely during the most vulnerable times.

1) Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

Have you ever been too excited at a bookstore that you start grabbing literally every book you find interesting due to the fear of not having enough time to browse around? Well, those happen to me frequently and I would end up with piles of books waiting just for me…. sometimes, a book or two would slip into an alternate world and I would forget that I even had them until the universe decides to reveal it to me at the perfect timing. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro was one of them.

I won’t say anything about the storyline or the characters because I want you to get the same experience as I did. If you’re going to read this book, the less you know the better… so don’t go reading any spoilers! Never Let Me Go was the only rollercoaster ride available for me this quarantine, and I would do just anything to read it for the first time again.

2) The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

As a potterhead, I never thought that I would ever find a different series that will move me like the Harry Potter books did. The Fellowship of the Ring proved me wrong. I was so happy to finally come across a new fictional world that was waiting for me to explore all the unknowns. I felt like a little girl reading the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone again. Although I was supposed to start reading The Hobbit first, I started off with The Fellowship of the Ring and I do not regret it one bit.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s descriptive writing was to die for! With every turn of page, I became so impressed and attached to the places and characters. To get the full experience, I would suggest readers to listen to the related The Lord of the Rings ambience and music on youtube. Anyway, this book has it all: quests, loyalty, wizards, villains, history, and the list goes on. I’m currently halfway through the second book and I must say that I’m reading the series a bit slower than usual to savour every single sentence.

3) Blankets, Craig Thompson

I must say, I’ve never really been a fan of graphic novels… partially because of the tedious reading assignment that I had back in middle school. However, I came across Blankets while searching for a fun and light read. Well… it didn’t end up being one, but I was too wrapped up in it to stop.

First love. Sibling rivalry. Childhood traumas. This graphic novel felt so real and touching. Letting go of hurt and regrets are really difficult, especially ones that have haunted you since way back. Blankets by Craig Thompson reminds us all that not every child got the childhood that he or she deserved.



What I Have Been Doing Before Starting Medical School (Quarantine Edition)

After years of wanting to get into medical school, I didn’t know how to react at all when I saw a notification that started with “Congratulations…” on my phone, just days after I submitted my exam results. My emotions were all mixed to the point I didn’t know whether to surrender myself into bawling my eyes out or to springing up and down. 

Just at the end of the day after telling all my family and friends about the news, I thought to myself, “What Now?” 

My end goal for the past four years was to get into medical school and now that I finally got in, I felt lost. So of course, I went to the greatest search engine of our time. I googled the following: What should I do before starting medical school? 

To my surprise, most were encouraging students in the same position as me to simply enjoy life before all the chaos came rushing in. There was even a website that mentioned how students who didn’t study before medical school perform better than those who started studying way earlier. Anyway, most of the articles I read were written prior to the pandemic so the possibilities of things I could do now had to remain within the walls of my house.

1) Falling in love with old pastimes 

One of the greatest love stories that can ever be told does not consist of two people, but a person reconnecting with forgotten passions. 

Like Christopher Robin, we all have subconsciously let go of things we once loved without truly acknowledging it— regardless it may be a result of growing up or growing too busy. 

As cliche as it may sound, fictional worlds and characters were my escape that I sought comfort in whenever I felt out of place. I spent hours each day with storybooks in my hands while my mind traveled to places beyond this world. Then one day, I realized it. I realized that my head was still in books… well, textbooks instead of novels. If you asked me to pinpoint the exact moment when I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to. I just realized one day that I let go of something I once loved deeply without even noticing it. 

Everything fell back into place the moment I picked up “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro one evening out of boredom. It was as if all these books have always been yearning for me after all these years. I just had to lift it and turn to the first page. All the feelings of falling in love with a book and memories of reading extra slowly towards the last pages to linger around before parting with the characters came rushing back in. 

I quickly fell in love again. This time, I’m never letting it go. 

2) An alternative to traveling 

Before getting into medical school and way before Covid-19 happened, it was my initial plan to check off the one thing on my bucket list that I’ve always looked forward to achieving as a treat to myself for finishing thirteen years of school: Egypt.

 Ms. Rona ruined my plans of traveling to Egypt, but it didn’t stop me from seeing famous attractions such as The Great Pyramid of Giza and Luxor’s Karnak temple. Well, thanks to her, I was even able to explore and learn more about the Atlantis, Bermuda Triangle, and Secrets of Christ’s tomb… needless to say, through a screen. I picked up a new hobby and can proudly say that I’m a newbie documentary geek in transition. 

3) Spending time with family 

If someone reassured me back in March about the pandemic by saying that “every cloud has a silver lining”, I would laugh in disbelief. However, after nine months of being at home, I must say that indeed every cloud has a silver lining after all. 

After living with my family for eighteen years of my life, I was supposed to move sixteen hours away from home to further my education. However, that has been postponed and with free time on my hands, the relationship I had with my parents and siblings changed. I didn’t have any worries or responsibilities, which meant that I could spend pure quality time with them without feeling rushed or guilty after years of feeling that way back when I was hustling for my “end goal”.

From playing UNO with my family and starting a small garden to baking cookies at midnight and watching my little sister perform musicals, the memories that I have created over the pandemic will always stay near and dear to my heart. Ultimately, the pandemic also made us all realize the truth in not knowing the worth of something until it’s beyond the grasp of your hands. 

Instead of continuing on with the long list of things I’ve been doing for the past months, I’ll end this blog with a short gist. 

Am I studying for medical school? No.

Am I doing any preparations for medical school? Yes.

Instead of preparations in terms of studying in advance, I am indeed taking actions to make sure that I am my best self by the time I start university. For example, I have been finding solutions to common problems I face such as stress and anxiety by turning to self-care. I have been practicing journaling, meditating, and mindfulness in daily activities, in hopes of maintaining these habits. Also, I have been researching the best study techniques that would work for me by reading articles and watching videos on youtube. Moreover, I have also been brushing up my cooking and baking skills to prepare for my independent living situation when all this is over. And of course, like many others in quarantine, I’ve been binge watching Netflix shows and excessively online shopping. Everyday, I’m spending time with my loved ones and indulging in my old hobbies while finding new and exciting things to try out before my time off is over.