Fearless

Not even going to pretend like I too busy to write for four months; I really just started watching too much television...

So welcome to summer y'all, hope it's going really well for you so far. I've honestly been putting off writing about graduation and things ending because I know I'm going to get nostalgic and cry if I think about it too much. I didn't really say a true goodbye to anyone because it doesn't feel like this is the last time we will see each other. This country is big, for sure, but we find ways to get around to see the people we care about. Plus, technology is so developed now that you can always feel connected to your friends in some way or another. When I graduated as a senior in high school, I cried whenever I heard "Friends Forever" by Vitamin C. The difference between then and now is that I really think I'll be staying connected with people in college, whereas most of my high school friends have lost touch. College is where you change, and sometimes the friendships you thought once made sense don't seem to once you've fully grown into your own skin. That's certainly how I felt. I think my emotional college song has got to be "See You Again" by Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa. I cry every time. 

After our final performance in Zhuhai last summer, I posted a blog post with these words at the end:

"People often don’t realize how much work and effort goes into making a performance happen, not just a task list, but also emotional investment. When you put the label “final” on the performance, signaling that something wonderful was coming to an end, it adds a whole new layer of emotions like longing and despair and sadness. I want to remember this final performance not only for all of the confidence and talent it showcased from the students, but also for this bittersweet feeling that makes me want to cry, but also smile. I don’t think this performance is an end, but rather a means for our students to be motivated to push themselves more out of their comfort zones. There is so much about this program that is not “final” in the most literal sense."

I have to say that it's a parallel to how graduation felt. I can't wait to see what incredible things my friends have in their futures, but it's easier to think about it as a new beginning rather than an ending. We are constantly preparing for the next performance in our lives whether it be medical school or a job interview or getting married. Every performance has emotional investment; it isn't a frozen pizza you throw in the oven, but the culmination of delicate knife cuts, careful seasoning, and a beautiful presentation. Every new step should be something we are proud of. I'm proud of learning everything I did at Duke and graduating a month ago. But sometimes it is frustrating, because we just want a break from preparing! You think a gap year means you get to take a little break before applying to medical school, but in fact you're busy at work on a personal statement the week right after you graduate...

Sometimes the preparation and journey is just as enjoyable as the end result. In the case of cooking, which I have been doing a lot of recently, this is certainly the case. I've only recently started letting myself experiment with recipes and new foods, and it has been incredibly therapeutic, the preparation even more than the eating itself. I even decided to start a food blog to log my foodventures. Cooking is really an art, and I've always loved the creativity and personality that the arts let us shine through. But I feel about cooking how I feel about dancing: I honestly love it, but I don't think I've had enough guidance to have the finesse that I want. I don't mind the working hard at it bit, but finesse is quite expensive and time-consuming. If I'm going to medical school, I don't know if I'm going to have the cash or time to pursue these hobbies further. 

Which brings the question, do I feel this way about medicine/why do I want to be a doctor? Yes, I just wrote my personal statement on it, and it is both of the things I just mentioned (expensive and time-consuming). I made a metaphor between dance and medicine in my statement - how there are tasks to get done, but they are incomplete without compassion and heart. Yes, I want to go to medical school to find finesse in a career that will help make people's lives better, hopefully. But if you ask me for the moment I knew, or for one distinct answer, I really just don't know. I just know it feels right. How do you put that in a 5000 character statement? I don't want my career to be about me; I've never wanted anything to be just about me. It's about sharing any talent I might have with others, and that's how it has always been. I cook to feed others more than myself, because the fulfillment comes from big smiles and the "mmm" sound of satisfaction. That's what I want from medicine. Fingers crossed that someone wants me back.

So back to where I've strayed so, SO far from: graduation. Commencement itself wasn't very heart-wrenching because a group of 2500 of us were just namelessly sitting in the morning sun in Wallace Wade. The neuroscience graduation was more personal; I was prouder to be leaving as a neuroscience major with distinction. All of graduation weekend, I only cried once - when I was leaving my roommate Yolanda for the last time. Usually if I think about something sad or emotional hard enough, I can get myself to tear up, but this was real, pouring down my face, tears. I wasn't thinking about the memories we had together, I just knew I was going to miss living with her the way we had for the past four years. Four years! Some people can't even make it through a year with the same roommate. I was lucky enough to have four years with her. Now if that's not a lifelong friendship in the making, I don't know what is. 

Whenever I look back over a period of time like college or high school, I most regret not taking better advantage of the opportunities I was given. It's like I made lemonade out of the lemons, but I could've made an even more delicious lemon meringue if I worked a little harder. I could've done this extra volunteering or shadowing or extracurricular. But like they say, in the end it doesn't matter and I'm sure things will be okay moving forward. If I think about about every semester of Duke on its own, the negatives seem to be the first thing that come to mind. Sophomore fall I fell into a sophomore social slump. Junior fall was an emotional roller-coaster because of my first time planning the Dhoom Awaaz performance. Junior spring scandal after scandal disconnected me from a positive Duke environment. But when I think about my time here overall, I think it was pretty incredible. We won a goddamn national championship. I went to China. I LEARNED stuff. I'm more qualified to do stuff now, and that's pretty incredible. The "satisfaction of competence" is pretty wonderful. Atul Gawande, Being Mortal. 

I don't regret anything in my social life nor my relationship, because they made my Duke experience incredibly valuable. Friends that offer to bring you chicken soup when you're sick (lookin at you Yolo hehe) and stay up until 4 am listening to you rant and support you through everything. I was blessed. I'm going to miss my dance team -- there's rarely the opportunity outside of undergrad to be part of that kind of team, especially when you're off to medical school. We never had drama, only love and fun and laughs. Some tears, yes, but ones that we wiped away for each other. Those freshmen and sophomores especially - Raj, Emily, Wendy, Wenfei, Deeksha, Cheenu - have grown such an incredible amount in the short amount of time I've known them, as dancers, as leaders, and as people. I will never stop thinking of you guys as my little brother and sisters. You have such greatness within you - make sure Dhoom gets some of it! Also please add me to the new Groupme...

There's a lot more I can reflect on, but for now I'm going to head to sleep. I watched a lot of TV today, and I really need a job soon. What's new?




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3 Responses so far.

  1. Love you so much. Words can't express. <3

  2. Love you so much. Words can't express. <3

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