It is the December 28th, 2017, my 80th day of Inspiring Challenge.
Here are five takeaways/reflections about how I start the challenge and keep it through. I hope people who want to set a goal and stick on it, could benefit from my experience.
Imagine yourself is going to have a terrific weekend! Would you rather go to the beach, hang out with a bunch of friends, throw a large party, and have fun? Or simply stay at home, sip a cup of coffee, watch some Netflix for the whole day?
After 171 days of the challenge, I feel bored.
Yes, you hear me.
There are days when I found hard to extract “interesting things” on a boring day. There are days when I was too emotional to share intimate stuff on this platform. There are days which were too fun and I don’t have time to write them down… And there are days I just simply lack the motivation to do it.
There are a lot of reasons behind it. To keep you understood in the simplest way: I feel bored about doing this vague journaling challenge.
April 21-22 Weekend Beginning
I did try to make the journaling thing inspiring and motivational.
You could see at the beginning I wrote some great posts: keep doing, eating disorder, introvert, etc. However, those posts with good content need one who constantly gets input. During that time, I was going through a depression period and was doing self-help. That was strong motivations.
I am the type of person who craves for change and variety. Self-help topic is always one of my passions, but not the only one. When I am feeling better and peaceful, I write more, but I am feeling extremely down or anxious, I don’t want to write at all.
Therefore, I want to change topics.
Inspired by Refinery29’s Try with Lucie, this week I choose a topic:
- At the weekend day – declare reasons to do, collect background info (benefits/drawbacks), and
- During the five days – consistently do it, no matter small or large, weird or normal
- At the last day –
And I will do it in a mix of languages – English and Mandarin~
April 21-27 Ideas
- Write a python program introducing myself
- Write a virtual chatting program portending computer as the therapist
- Write a movie/TV review touching people’s heart
- Do an infographic
- Write advertising copy
- Do an audio writing
- 5 Days of cook
- 5 Days of exercise
- 5 Days of self-compassion
- 5 Days of no diet coke
- 5 Days of taking a picture
- Do a documentary about self
- 5 Days of journaling
- Create names from A-Z
- Write a reflection paper
- Write gratitude letters to people I treasure
0428 Saturday Reflection
The more time I spend on thinking about creative ideas to accomplish, the more they come. The more they come, the more I dream about accomplishing them instead of writing them down.
What this exercise makes me realize is that I am a person with vivid imagination ability and a craving for change and variety. I always think about ways to present information in a different, better way, and this process takes me so much time. Therefore, I tend to procrastinate and forgot to finish.
What also makes me realize is that I need the audience to show my work. Every time I got excited about it, I want to share with someone and get them excited too. However, writing here with no people to read, I lack the motivation again. Sometimes, I don’t even know why I am doing this instead of telling you that I have a fantastic weekend: Friday I met my best American friends and ate Japanese Don. We shared a lot of interesting stories and de-stressed with each other; Saturday after a short period of study, I celebrated my 2-year anniversary in Rudy’s BBQ and watched Avenger: Infinity War with Frank. Ouuuu! the movie was!!!!!!! SPEECHLESS!
See? I am a spontaneous person. I do whenever I feel I want to write whatever I feel. Rigid structure hampers my personality. I need freedom, I need people, I need a change.
After years of crisis and self-discovery, I feel I more and more want to live in a way, not others wish me to be, but I want to be. I don’t want to spend the rest of years learning and working on things I could never be expert at them (design, coding), instead of my strengths with high potential to success (interpersonal relationships, career coach, writing).
Therefore, I have to take a pause of this challenge, for the second time.
As this semester almost ends, my junior year almost ends, I need time to think about my next step.
And the next time I come back, there will be another version of me, with more commitment, more authenticity, and more passions.
A Quiet Place
If not seeing the high IMDB score, I would not see A Quiet Place this film at all! For the whole time, I endured a nerve-wracking wait for the end. Ahhhhhhh! I hate those movies even though the acting, scene, plot, sound effect were all great and in a good timing. I just hate thrillerssssss
Wang Chao, Keyi’s ex-boyfriend said to her: “The livings for ambitious women are hard. I don’t want you to be that hard, that ambitious.” One comment below says: “I finally understand why I am always not happy. Like the character I just have too many desires and lusts.”
Oh. Well, same. People from big cities will never understand those in the small city wanting to get out of mundane routine. We want to see a bigger world and prove that we are capable of a good life. What we don’t realize is that, however, there is no universal definition of “a good life.”When Keyi asked her friend:”What do you mean ‘good life’?” she did not get answers she didn’t want to hear: “be independent, get power at work, and prove yourself.” Instead, her friend told her the dream “find a good husband, be pretty, and have two kids.”
Keyi didn’t understand at the beginning that ambition never has its fill. When she understood, it was too late. I feel I am now on the same path as her, chasing some meaningless goal – to be the best as an international student, as a female, as a young professional… but what I want is actually simply connecting with people, using my own abilities, and helping them be happy…
Two things happened related to my marketing research class. In the morning, one of my team members so enthusiastically shared professor’s approval of his research plan without discussion his opinions with us. It’s not about his great initiative but his communication style… making us feel excluded from the decision-making process.
And here’s what I replied back: Your ideas must be so amazing! We could definitely make great work with high grades! I really want to hear them! But I feel a little sad not able to get involved in the discussion process...
The other teammate said to me: Great job and thank my art of communication.
Another thing is during the class, our professor showed how much our survey data could reveal… I suddenly get excited by the exploratory process of research and want to know more about what is underlying… I feel we are touching some serious stuff…
“Google is created for the efficient, automated collection, transmission, and manipulation of information. Nowadays social network emphasizes immediacy and makes information kind of commodity. It promotes the speedy, superficial skimming of information and discourages any deep, prolonged engagement.”
“What makes us human is what at least computable about us – the connection between our mind and our body, the experiences that shape our memory and our thinking, our capacity for emotion and empathy. Our ability to meld with all manner of tools is one of the qualities that most distinguishes us as a species.”
“The price we pay to assume technology’s power is alienation.The net is diminishing our capacity for contemplation.”
For these days, I’ve searching new websites to move WordPress documents and create a new portfolio place. Wix is extremely user-friendly with the beautiful responsive layout but users have limited control, WordPress.org has unlimited design templates and themes but need extra money for a new host. I feel kind of angry getting tricked into WordPress.com…
A lesson for me is that I try so hard to find the “perfect” location for my future “greatest” artwork, but forgot what is most important is the core content – words, images, thoughts I create.
What’s the solution then? Keep doing this writing challenge here, using Wix free version, and continuing to build the core for me~
I met with Keyu talking about my Ted Talk idea. She thought I was pitching my idea and told no very coldly. Then, she offered a lot of advice how to do the marketing… I don’t know. I feel a lot overwhelmed and tell her I just want a conversation.
Different personalities. Usually, she will be contacted by her friends if her friends need help or a meal meet-up (I contacted her because of the latter). I told her, all I want is some emotional support and casual conversations. And I tell her she is more suited in a consulting role rather than marketing professionals because marketing is to communicate messages in the client’s way. She didn’t realize people have different personalities and some may feel offended by her straight-talking way.
Slept Whole Day…
Keyword for this week: Life
I watched the Ready Player One with my boyfriend. Wow, Steven Spielberg is so fantastic to show a VR illustration, greed for power, and importance of reality. Every game player will be amazed by these fine details and special effects.
One incident, when I purchased tickets, I put my login information wrong and therefore could not get access to my confirmation number later. When I arrived at the movie theatre and asked them to look for my information, the card of purchase is required and I left my discover card at my boyfriend’s home. My boyfriend was so furious about my forgetting to bring the card and not preparing fully that he tried so hard to suppress the outrage. Well, because of knowing his personality, I tried not to confront with him directly, let him drive back, got the card, and got into the movie theatre. Well, even though my friend was angry about my boyfriend’s behavior, I still told her: everyone has its own personality. You have to work on to adjust the best way to solve it. Because I know my boyfriend well, I know the mood is temporary, and I know showing powerless is the best way to deal with the situation. In the end, it just solved.
Highly recommend: check this 7 strange questions to help you find life purpose -As we were struggling with Youtube content, Serena and I searched Google randomly about “life meaning.” This website was a blast. We are forced to think, connect with the inner self, and find our passion again. Combined with the podcast I listened to on Friday, we are living in a society where propaganda is everywhere. We grow up with those messages so long that we get confused whether those messages come from self or outside world.
What makes my 8-year-self laugh because of pure joy? You just forgot how much fun when you solve a technical problem, lose in fantasy, clean home… The outside world prevents you to leave some space just for you…
I met with Ryan, a social psychology Ph.D. student who recently graduated, to ask for summer research opportunities. He was very warm and kind to introduce me a wide range of language and personality projects. Wow, they developed a program to analyze one person’s words and language on social media to tell his or her personality; they also developed ways to measure criminals, trauma… fantastic. I asked him whether he has a project related to digital media, and yes! He has collected years of film data and always wanted to analyze language behind texts to see why people love those films.
I feel everything now, everything I did during college, or even before college connect together. I love film and film, and I love communication. Design flyers, conduct mental health workshop, do interactive theatre, watch films… whatever I do, I all engage with media, people, and communication…
At 4 p.m in Jester, I did an interactive Using Planner Learning presentation for next year’s Sanger Learning Center Communication and Outreach Specialist position. The presentation and interview processes were great, but that’s not what I want to say here. My point is that I felt so anxious and overthought the bad outcome before doing it (blame to my vivid imagination) and preparing it. My perfectionism came out and drove me away from sleep that night. The true reason behind my thoughts is that I care about social judgments and feel diffident.
I finally got approved by Uni-Jiandan, a psychology study Wechat group. In that group, we are going to learn psychology and share thoughts together! It’s always happy to find likely-mined people to grow.
When I left home, I saw two birds staying on the roof and staring at me. I went closer— they are building a nest!! That explains why every day from 3 to 10 that I can always hear birds beeping. Ohh so cute! Their babies will come to birth near my window:)
After asking how many people read the required materials before class and seeing only a few of hands, our marketing professor first time lost temper. “I am going to say the same things as I did to my daughter. A lot of people tell you, you are the generation of future. When I was at your age sitting at your place, I was told the same. Opportunities are here and you are the ones who don’t treasure the opportunities…. You have to figure out how to live a meaningful life, not just getting a job, a career…I care about your learning, not just turning out some assignments as I told you…”
Well, he was right.
Three keys to happiness: forgiveness, gratitude, and keeping busy.
Keyword of this week: Thinking
We are facing a Youtube bottleneck right now. Serena feels the youtube editing is really harder now and we need more time to prepare, while I feel we need to create more creative and funny content to attract more viewers. Either of us is feeling a great time doing haha. Let’s see…
Cried for a long time. Alec and I did a stress management workshop for CSSA. However, surprisingly, most of them were playing with their phones, writing homework, and not listening to our speaking. At first, I felt stressed, later turning it angry. Alec comforts me, that as long as there’s one person listening to us and getting affected, we are doing a great job.
Always thinking about how to make people heard about my unique ability – discover people’s unique strengths and connect them deeply. Always thinking whether to study communication, psychology, or education… Always… always…
Today, our professor discussed the topic of organizational culture. Culture shapes behaviors and actions. However, interestingly, companies with a strong culture do not perform financially better than those with a weak culture because the strong culture makes them hard to change. We discussed the highly competitive culture of Microsoft, the creative and inclusive one of IDEO, and most importantly, the result-driven and leadership-focused one of Mccombs.
In McCombs, we are required to take BA 101- professional career planning at the first or second semester, follow the standard resume template, dress always professionally for interviews, and network in career development events. Some students said we are trained to practice public speaking; some said the college pushes us toward consulting and investment banking; some said McCombs studied other top 10 schools and rebranded itself toward Texas number one. It is amazing that in this session, a lot of students expressed dissatisfaction experience at McCombs. As the professor says, the older, the harder to change a company culture. We are in fact, “newly-onboard” employees at McCombs, and those career guidelines and classes are used to strength McCombs’ culture and unity large diverse people. Well, but sad for people who do not fit in…
7 Social Media Trends to Follow
Today I listened to the ProBlogger podcast hosted by Darren Rowse. And he shared 7 social media trends.
- Facebook is changing its algorithm toward organic because too many pop-up pages decrease the frequency people use it.
- Be human and be real. Engagement is the key. People are constantly competing against each other and we need space to listen. It is very important to be more humanized.
- Livevideo. You need not only a regular show to engage with people regularly but also random life to add some backstories. Youtube live stays longer than Facebook live.
- Episode Video. Video marketing, Snapchat, and Instagram are getting more and more popular.
- Stories Style Content. Storytelling is still the king
- Bots and Messenger Marketing. The automatic message could be tailored to different people.
- Blogging is back again. People want to blog and control their content
I attended the BDP Digital Art& Media application review session today. Firstly, the advisor explained what interdisciplinary study means: to take various subjects outside of your major, gain wide perspectives, about innovation and collaboration, and complementary skills to your career. Our applicants come from a wide range of majors: biochemistry, marketing, advertising, electrical engineering…
Today I met with professor Dr. Pennebaker, our well-known social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He just came back from Shanghai and became interested in how the Chinese language exhibits and hides the desire for power. I feel very excited when he shared the observation in Shanghai that people at the same age but with different culture and background still behavior in the same way (I completely agreed with him and joked if I was born in America, I would definitely join sonority. He laughed haha). One lucky thing is that he is starting to work with another NYU Shanghai Student to explore chinse language and I might be able to help him! So happy about this!
On the way home, I was listening to Kristy’s Food Psyche podcast. She invited Kalia, a marketing professional talking about U.S online marketing environment. Marketing is brutal. It usually uses words such as “NEW” “FREE” “YOU” “Imagine” “prestige” to trigger people’s fear about missing out opportunities and increase anxiety. We are living in a society where the trigger is everywhere. What you post online is actually building your own brand, and sometimes the brand becomes a burden. When someone who used to be a vegan and decided not be one anymore, she even got death threat; when someone claimed to be a health coach but is actually in rehab, she still cannot stop because people online rely on her… I feel this message resonates me deeply because I always consciously building a brand about how inspiring I am but sometimes people just forget I am also a human and have a bad mood…
Keyword for the week:
My boyfriend decides to go to London for graduate school. Well, a long distance year but I just feel so happy for him. With a more computer science focused study, he could have more opportunities to find jobs which suits his creative and outgoing characteristics.
Today I discovered two amazing UK master program with a combination of media and education! The London’s Global University has a Digital Media, Culture and Education program which explores the theory and practice of media in society with an education focus. The program is also partnered with British Film Institute! I love films so so so much! And the University of Cambridge has an Education master with focuses in either Arts, Creativity and Education focus or Psychology and Education! As an artist who loves education and a marketer who loves communication, I could not be happier to find more programs and explore more opportunities (Used to thought only Columbia University has the Communication and Education master I truly love…)
Wow. I had a rough sleep and woke up around 6. Having class 11:00-12:30, tabling for CMHC and chatting with a few nice fellows 1-2, getting an interview 2:30-3:00, having class 3:30-5, meeting with teams 5-6, having a quick dinner 6:00-7:00, and getting back home 7:00.
This week is hellllll busy. However, I don’t feel much stressed about endless projects/exam/events needed to be done.
We talked with a small start-up company who is in need of Chinese-English translators to help them communicate messages. It’s almost nice to know great responsibilities and recognition in this role.
After that, I went to FAC to replace my ID card. When the ID center guy called my name Yingxin without any accent, I was surprised and stared at his white face for a while. It turns out he is learning Chinese and has a Chinese name Mai Yuyou. I helped him to change the name which is easier to pronounce and aligned with his English last name Madison – Mai Yusen.
It’s a storm day! Busy past school life and bad weather made me sleep over the class… luckily, I have my friend Max informed of class materials:)
When holding the Coffee Chat and talking with fellow peer educators, Kaya shared something really resonated with us. She shared how the retreat, weekly discussions, and activities connect us. When doing check-in, you could let out things which you never told anyone; you are safe and free to be yourself. Once when putting hands the shoulder of one peer who you think says something touching or insightful, we just immediately get connected. This is a magic place. It’s not a place where you could find some closest friends who you could share every personal detail, but a place where you could always trust when you share the darkest secret and they will be there and support.
A rising senior girl shared regret not knowing this program last year and connecting us earlier. I told her, which inspired everyone:
“As long as you are interested in mental health, we are always connected. Aren’t we?”
Kind of sad. I went to university writing center to check grammar my scholarship essay. However, my consultant gave me a lot of feedbacks and advised for a complete revision. Well, that kind of hurts me, but I did not feel as devastated as I were at old times.
After three years of college, my resilence become better. I no longer criticise myself for any imperfect work and any negative judgment. Maybe because I gain more confidence; maybe because I pay more attention to self.
Submitted my Scholarship Essay! Hope it could get good results.
We went to see the Pacific Rim 2. I first thought it’s another monster film defame China, but turns out China plays a big role in it haha. JinTian’s getting more and more famous toward Western film industry, and it’s really good sign to have more Asian faces.
However, the film overall could only get a normal average view. There are too much extra scenes trying to show bonding of new drivers, old drivers… making the battle part ending too fast. Anyways, the special effects still win the ticket price back.
Keyword for this week: Turmoil
Well, I watched the movie Game Night tonight. The alleged thriller, rated R movie is actually great. I laughed, I awed, and I appalled. Every element is included: love, laughter, horror, mystery, tear… The only thing I feel weird is too many surprises. When the director tried to give too much, the surprise lost its magic. (Also, why Racheal McAdams was in so many movies and was in lead character, but still not got the fame?)
Austin is so ready for the summer. Today’s cloudy weather with depressing humidness disturbed people’s moods, suggesting the upcoming of Monday. Serena had an emotional outburst today. She was so so so unhappy. She cried to me and told me that she already got everything: a summer job, a relationship….why, why she’s not happy at all? She doesn’t want to start the school. She needs her mom…
I know you are scared. I know. Not just because of my great empathy, but also because I had the same question in the past two years. I felt everything was pointless and kept chasing external, short, superficial happiness. The problem is those are not I truly want. My inner self was never nourished.
I told her you to need to find what brings you happiness. And only you could find the answer. It’s the pain of growing up, but after that, you will know what I mean the sincere joy. I will be with you.
The first day of school, I felt extremely tired. A full day of study, homework, emotional drama, theatre rehearsal, interview preparation… with a bad sleep yesterday, I felt so exhausted.
Going some emotional crisis I have to say. Nothing happens to me directly but everything happens to anyone around me. Frank is wondering what he truly wants in the relationship and in a self-doubt crisis. Things about future and uncertainty make both of scared. I got a non-profit internship but was waiting and also actively applying others. On Wednesday I have to do the first theatre show for the semester…
But the most important question is that I felt disconnected with the inner self.I am always good at relationships. Frank needs the feeling of acknowledgment, approval, and respect. I just naturally know that and gives him without mentioning; I am good at discovering people’s uniqueness so I often offer life/self-discovery suggestions right to the point. Those are things I want to share with the world. However, my thoughts and skills are not heard…
I want to be a writer, a designer, a performer, a motivational speaker, a communicator and a connector. It’s the thing I truly want to do but I always ignore it. Instead, I follow the large group without great self-awareness…
Half a semester went away. Here are things I feel needed to record:
- Agency – we worked with a Tesla carpool start-up this semester. I did a sales pitch, designed infographics, and will assist in future tabling. As a student in this 40 Acres, I sometimes don’t realize how the outside world is changing aggressively.
- Internship – marketing is everything and nothing. Each very interview is an opportunity to see a different company culture and each industry looks for a different aspect of marketing. So, always be ready for surprises.
- Study – constant homework projects come up and get me overwhelmed. However, what I learned always inspire me to come to the class. In my marketing research class, though only learning basic analysis, we connect the knowledge with real life. We discuss Facebook data corruption, we research digitalization’s psychological impact on students… In my management class, I learned a lot about influence, management, and personality. What makes me most proud is that I initiated the interview with a real client, lead members, and take responsibility and consideration.
- Theatre – we created the brand-new interactive, entertaining, and informative I like, Like you show! It focuses on communications in relationships. We invite the audience to discuss, provide stuff for importune performance, and join to be the performer to support our character. What makes me most proud is that my performance resonates them and connects them emotionally without words. They laugh as I laugh, sigh as I sigh…
- Mental Health – the greatest accomplishment is the flyers I designed being published and posted on Facebook! This community is amazing because everyone brings the true self and support each other, as if there is an invisible string tie us together. So adorable each one!
Fantastic night. We performed the ILLY first time this semester. Although as a perfectionist, I feel there has a lot of things need to improve… audience enjoy the performance and engage with us!
Interestingly, I feel I’ve done a lot of things but felt nothing.
Friday is always my emotional unleash day.
My friend and I had a serious conversation today about how the Youtube channel’s going. We finally agreed our goal: to share not to get more followers. She told me if she wants followers, in her strategical mind, she will contact an agency and get famous first, instead of doing these meaningless work. And I do know she understands me and gives me time, I just feel my creativity needs some break from the “strict deadline pressure.” There are conflicts and when we address and agree to solve them, things will get better. It’s more about working together toward a goal and accommodate others’ needs.
The interesting thing is that after I shared this story with my partner, he said how bad communicator I was. I am so self-focused when asking for my needs instead of considering ways to make the other happy. Well having empathy does not mean practicing care.
Such an emotional season. Everyone is thinking about future and worrying about uncertainty.
Keyword of this week: travel
I drove 3 hours to Houston with Serena! A nice friend invited us to his home and we had an authentic Chinese food~ Later, we walked along the lake and the park. To be honest, it is not a great trip at all. The weather is hot, the friend is too nice to get along with, and the trip is too long. We were so exhausted at the end of the day.
We went to Kountze (Big Thicket Nature Reserve), China, and Beaumont (port near the sea) three cities in Texas, drove up to about 5 hours, and had a big Texas mean in a traditional Texan steakhouse. The friend took cares of us a lot and tried to show the best scene around Houston, and we do feel something which we could only feel in China. For such a long time, in Austin, at UT, we have been exposed to American culture and quite forgotten.. nice to remember:)
In past three days, I’ve driven up to 9 hours. Today shopping at Target and picking makeup materials, I felt extremely dizzy and barely able to stand straight.
Actually, however, my tiredness comes from mentally not physically. Two days of bad sleep, long driving, and endless travel made me feel I suffer a lot. Used to express emotions poorly, now I have to suppress them. All I want is from my friend a word You suffer. Sorry. I feel terrible for you. She doesn’t know what I feel and I don’t know how to express them. After I told my mom, she shared non-violent communication. I cried. Thank you for the experience and I realize I take care of my mental wellbeing terribly.
However, we’ve finally arrived at San Marcos and so ready for shopping tomorrow! No matter what type, a girl will always get attracted by the idea of shopping – browsing one store by another, comparing prices, trying on and looking self in the mirror, and carrying bags! Lolol
Could you believe that two of us spent half of a day and shopped the entire two outlets in San Marcos?! (She is an autumn skin type while I am a spring one; we bought completely different clothes.) One good thing about it is that I finally disclosure myself to her and showed her my vulnerability. I am not that tough and strong as she thought. During the Houston, I actually felt I suffered a lot while she didn’t know. Glad we finally resolved, understood each other, and tried to take care of each other in a different way.
We watched the People Republic of China, an SXSW independent series documentary directed by Hao Wu. It is a story about Chinese young people seek fame, fortune, and connection, but find the same perils and promises online as off. At the last, I cried as I could feel two main characters representing family, fan, and agency’s dream and struggling in the virtual world.
One thing very touching is that Serena, on the way home, kept saying how depressing the movie is. Well, I thought she did not understand the essence and kept explaining, but she suddenly cried out and told me the great responsibility she feels watching those people stupidly chasing the unrealistic dream. She felt a great obligation to be successful, make money, and invest education so people could better. However, she felt so powerless. At that moment, my empathy made me feel her deep sadness and started to cry again. Well, people respond to things differently. Under her cold, rational brain, I could feel the warm, kind heart. I connected with her at that moment.
I interviewed with two companies today – one technology start-up and one non-profit. Somehow, however, I feel a deep distortion. Both jobs look for an advertising/promotion/design professional to create marketing materials for them. I have a lot of experience and skills which definitely could help them.
However, that’s just the strategical part of me. I definitely enjoy creating and helping businesses grow. Somehow, my intuitive part, however, looks for nourishment. I look forward to opportunities to write, to connect, to empathize, to helping people grow. Somehow I don’t know why I rush to chasing countless opportunities and feel so overwhelmed. Even though this spring break I had a great rest, I am not ready to be back yet. I want to do something just for myself…
Feeling lost and stretched, I remained awake all night. “I feel my emotional part was neglected. I have to exaggerate my 30% professional, strategical part up to 90% and squash my 70% to 10%” I told to Shanon, “I felt so tired. so tired.”
At 2 p.m, I opened my MacBook and randomly searched keywords “how to find yourself.” A blog post “6 Questions to Help You Find Your True Self” popped up. The writer, same as I am, is a marketing professional, gave the following questions:
- What do I love absolutely?
- What do I consider my greatest accomplishments in life?
- What would be my purpose if I knew no one would judge me?
- If there were no limits to what I could have or could want in my life, what would that be?
- If I had all the money in the world, what would I do?
- Who do I admire most?
Not just inspired by answering those questions, I am also inspired by Lisa’s title “re-branding agent.” She has the same passion as I do to promote right images, to tell stories, to help others. I used to think two parts of me, logical and emotional are completely separate. However, either account management consultant my professional dream or life coach my personal dream, I simply want to communicate changes and connect people. They are the same.
After the night, I feel so relieved. I am so awake.
Keyword of the week: Meeting
It’s my uncle and my mom’s lunar year birthday. Coincidently, I was reading the letter she wrote me before I came to the U.S and argued with my dad whether it is worthy to spend so much money and send me to study abroad. My mom wrote these words to me:
I am always firm: it is worthy. We are doing this for our future; it is an education investment. Though we won’t gain much from it, your future is definitely better than not going.
Dear mom, thank you so much for the trust and support. You are the most beautiful and wise person in the world. These years of studying abroad, when I am down, you with dad, are always “at my side” and the first to offer help. With the love and care, I have the courage to overcome obstacles and grow.
Now I am so proud to tell you: It is worthy. The study abroad thing is the most brilliant and beautiful decision is you made. I achieved high grades, I made American friends, I have stable relationships, I even become an actress using non-native language… I grow up, take responsibility, and start building my future. If without you, none of these would happen. Thank you thank you thank you, mom.
I will always be in love with you. Happy birthday, mom.
A shooting day! After the rain, Serena and I went to Raising Canes and had fried chicken for lunch. Later, I went home and had ice cream for dinner lol. This semester I’m having the least amount of homework and most amount of fun and gratitude. Nice!
Five days Spring Break countdown! My theatre group met and discussed things to need to work on during the break. Finally finished all script and arrange everything entertainingly and interactively! All of us for various of reasons sadly only gonna stay in this program for a year, but we leave the beautiful legacy to the future fellows!
It’s a group project day! My friend Minjian designed appealing keynote slides and compiled the video. Every class he got lost in coding and data, so I almost forgot how artistic he is. Everyone has its strengths and weaknesses; we need to spend more attention and more patience on discovery.
I am sitting on the Student Service Building underground floor, listening to theatre majors, U.S Americans, with age range about 15 yrs, laughing and arguing the correct famous idioms (It should be Life was a box of chocolate, The show Sex and the City). Though I cannot fully engage in the conversation, I still feel safe and belonged. Maybe it just about growing up. Maybe it’s about confidence and trust I feel in this community.
It’s our Peer educator Photo Day. I brought snacks and wore pretty makeup (Alissa liked it very much!) there. Everyone is so happy that we laughed and took funny photos. I feel so belonged in this group even though I am a foreigner. The passion for mental health brought us together. And Michelle united us together. Also, it’s Anu’s birthday~
Today UT Littlefield Foundation turned to purple! Some communist party did the graffiti and used wrong dye color (They will be punished lol) It was so pretty, especially in this spring season when flowers blossom.
In the afternoon, I met Amissa and asked how to start writing the community engagement essay. I told her how grateful I am when she told me I am an artist, invited me joining I Like, Like you, and let me see a different world. I am just like a bridge, connecting two sides of the world, and I am happy to be the connecting point and bring an inclusive world. That’s the thing my destiny and identity which I embrace after exposed to U.S culture. I asked her what is leadership. She thinks we focus on too much masculine power and value toughness, but feminism leaders aim to support and provide a world that everyone feels safe and loved. It is about giving, sharing not asking, commanding. Well, she shines my way.
Keyword for this week: Down
Wow, the movie is amazing! Full Black casts with a great plot to show responsibilities of not just a family, but also a country and a world. Funny story is that I thought the bad guy cast Micheal Jordan is the basketball player with own shoe brand. When I asked my friends where is the basketball Micheal Jordan, they all laughed so hard! Marvel did a great job! To include such a diversity and show the world African culture!
I did a Stress Management Workshop as a mental health peer educator. With past facilitation experience, I summarized my points, engaged with the audience, and generated insights. It went so well that I cannot wait for Tuesday’s Bouncing Back Workshop with Jenn. However, there is such overwhelming feeling of disappointed after the successful workshop. For my past experiences, there were no international students to learn the importance of mental health. As a Chinese, I learned how to make community guidelines, how to conduct workshops, how to encourage participation, how to speak, how to take care of yourself… I feel a strong responsibility to bring my learning back to my community and help them live a better life. I just feel so sad about my limited power…
Another interview. I find myself screwed again. Interestingly, I cannot do well in the phone interview. Without face to face communication, I will easily get distracted and caught in my own thoughts. When the recruiter firstly asked me how much do I know about the company which I barely remembered to apply, I feel my confidence level went straightly down to the bottom. Later when she asked me questions my expected pay, full-time or part-time, work authorization, I know she won’t consider me in future at all.
However, I do feel less anxious than before. She asked me a question what is the biggest takeaway in college, I feel it is the only time I feel 100% confident in my answer. I tell her I start to ask for help instead of trying to accomplish on my own. Working with different people, asking for advice is a way to see your limits and improve your strengths. A team makes a better job. Nevertheless, what I didn’t tell her is that the reason behind the seeking action: accept myself. I have limits.I’m an international student. That is ok. I could excel in Chinese interview way better than anyone else.
There are certain things that I cannot accomplish. And I need to acknowledge that. Letting others help me is to make comprise with self. Accepting is the first step to be independent, the first step for me to jump out of my comfort zone and look upon the outside world.
Wow, a lot of things need to be grateful!
- First time feeling nailed an interview. When doing company research and the recruiter, I find that she defines herself “director of people and culture,” enjoys the taste of a bot of everything, and starts journaling at the age of 8. Immediately, I know this is a person we would get along with in future. Indeed! Four my four interviews, she is the only one who said this is just a casual conversation and tried to relieve my nervousness. After the talk, I feel that she really likes me, but of course, it is because I like myself first. It is very important to use empathy. she successfully made me believe in the company.
- I finally nailed the kind of why marketing question! After I shared a lot of my involvement in mental health promotion, she was very curious about why I am a marketing major (I should do psychology). Yes, that is because I love people so much. Marketing for two reasons. First skill based, it is a mix of everything and mostly project based. Everytime working on the project, I could quickly learn a client company, an industry from the beginning. The challenge of gather resources excited me. I could develop not only creative side but also technology side. Secondly, people! Working with a team, helping clients to discover problems, interacting with customers… I am an interpreter. My parents always argue because of not understanding needs and wants. I interpret their messages to facilitate healthy relationships. Marketing is a natural job for an interpreter to do. Clients don’t understand their problems, understand data, understand customers, we interpret and present in their languages.
- I did a bouncing back workshop with Jenn, Anu, and Alexis. It went well although we only have three listeners today. I find I could generate summary and gather insights better. When working in Theatre for Dialogue, I was sad because I could not facilitate communication as great as my members. However, working with my peers with past experience, I actually did a superb job. Well, I also need to learn a growth mindset and intrinsic motivation.
- Finally, I met my ILLY friends and continued to work on scripts. Cannot wait to the performance! BTW, there are more than you think to do an interactive show. Not just performing and communicating, we also try to make it run smoothly, entertainingly, and informatively. I have to say I learned a lot.
Update, we are heading to Houston for spring break!
My friend asked my opinions how to communicate with her boyfriend, and I told her: you need to think from his perspective and satisfy his deeper needs and wants.
If you open a relationship workshop, I will definitely sign up!
Well, it’s not a relationship workshop… it’s more about understanding humanity and back to the basic needs and wants. We want senses of security and belonging. All our actions are learned since young to make sure those things won’t be taken away.
Got my MIS coding exam1 grade today: below average! I thought I did ok… Heading to professor’s office and checked my paper: turns out that I missed 4 of 5 multiple choices and got 11 points deducted. Well, for the next class, there won’t be multiple choices testing your programming history knowledge anymore. However, still need to study harder cuz the materials getting more and more difficult.
Our team met the Leta, the PLUS specialist. She was so so so nice and shared a lot of information for us(even wrote down all the answers she gonna say). It seems that the program aims to help students learn materials instead of making sure the program run well. She knows the peer coordinators well but not the facilitators. There is no clear instruction and that’s not her focus.
However, as a business student, we are more interested in managing people better and motivate them to teach. I’m still happy to see such a nice person who truly cares about student’s growth.
Keyword for this week: Excitement
Awake almost full night and tried, I still arrived at Student Service Building and attended the Peer Educator retreat. For five and half hours, we checked in with each other, discussed gun control issue, educated available mental health service, ate domino pizza for lunch, and met in committee group. I was so grateful to have this close group because we became closer and closer and had a true passion to promote mental health.
Since the Youtube channel is going to be a routine, Serene and I become more aware of appearances. For my friend Serena, she learned to slow down her speed. For me, I learned to smile more often.
Clothes is another important thing. Could you believe it’s my first time of this year for some new clothes? The truth is that when I think about buying clothes, feelings of shame and sadness overwhelm my mind as I have to squeeze those designed for slim girls into my fat body. However, now as I start to accept myself and appreciate my body, I feel I look prettier with those clothes. Guess the confidence is the key to beauty:)
My friend KY interviewed my theatre job for her industrial/organization psychology work project. I shared her my passion for the team, creating change and connecting with students. You could see students’ engagement level from the beginning they were focused on phones and computer to the middle they make natural responses seeing our performances, to the end they clapped hands and took pictures with us.
Then I asked her work and she shared a little team motivation problem. I told her that people need recognition and acknowledgment. The main problem is they do not expect that high amount of commitment and do not feel the motivation to contribute. Volunteers are not paid. With no extrinsic money rewards, they have different intrinsic needs and wants.
At the night, she told me she talked to the supervisor and started a reward system. Thank you so much! if without me would probably frustrate al day.
See? The appreciation is all I need to devote 200%. I don’t work the money. I work for approval.
A busy start but I feel so prepared. I searched the “thank you” keywords in my email box and here’s so much love I received: You are so awesome; Thank you for sending; Thanks for a great and productive first meeting yesterday; Thank you all for responding… A thing I love about English and American culture is how easy to say thank you, to show appreciated. In China, we do use word thank you – 谢谢 with more weight to it and do not express gratitude that often. Maybe it’s because of our implicit culture, maybe because of distanced relationship…
Just want to say I am grateful to experience a different perspective and apply it to my life:)
I met with Melina and continued to work on the mental health blog. It was surprising to know that I know a lot of things she didn’t know, about UT blog service, about content ideas. We achieved a perfected balance as I am creative and she is hands-on. Yes, for years I am waiting for opportunities to use my skills and make a contribution.
Five of us finally met!
I could not be happier for our group! There is no such a group like that of us that look forward to meeting so eagerly. We gather here, became the closest(spiritually) friends, and together work on the brand-new most entertaining and informative interactive show. Every meeting we share the 100% of ourselves and get each other’s back, regardless of race, age, and country origin.
One is heading to teach own courses in a liberal arts college, one is focusing on community engagement stuff, one is preparing a campus interview for a teaching position, one is getting married…
And one (yes it is me): is having the best time with the most fulfillment. I learn to release stress, put time for relationships, practice gratitude, balance life and work, believe in myself, accept failure, develop creative skills….
And accept the self.
When I was young, there are so many times that I felt very embarrassed and anxious about questions: what are your hobbies, what do you do for fun, etc. Then I simply threw back general answers such as “making friends” or “watching movies,” simply because I don’t what else to say.
However, if you ask those questions now, I will give a large smile and tell you with confidence: my interests are creating changes, coming up ideas, and connect people deeply.
For a long time, I felt I was weird and boring. I just cannot enjoy singing, cooking, photographing those concrete things like others. It took me such a long journey to understand myself. Now I know, my interests are abstract, innovative, and future-forward thinking. my passions are people, making them happy and satisfied.
I am the person who I am. And I accept who I am.Now with the acceptance, I move on, focus on my passions, and contribute.
A cold rainy long day. I arrived at the Moody College of Communication Career Fair a little late. Employees and companies were so diverse. Some pretend interested but either kept packing stuff to leave or remained posed with a distance; some appeared exhausted for a long day but still offered insightful career advice or tried to connect you with company culture…
I still feel energized. Recruiters are people too. They could experience a bad day or enjoy a good day. Still, appreciate the opportunities to use my intuition and find out companies I want to work for and those not.
A pitch, an exam, a meeting, an application rewrite; a latte a Mediterranean Vegan Wrap…. I went home and felt exhausted as well as disappointed. All busy things finished. Interview, social interaction, gratitude, team bonding, rehearsal finished. Feel my body is not ready for an ending…
(Haha my fourth Meditarrian Vegan Wrap of the week, cannot resist the taste) A fog day. Nothing special. I had Pho for dinner and went to Hmart for some snacks (so pricey!). Shannon told me that I should start to find some hobbies for myself because I deserve it. Well, I do enjoy have meals with my friends and connect with people, but those require a lot of simulations. I need something to calm myself down. One problem about Chinese culture, about our generation, is that we get used to being taken care of and told what to do. We are good at socializing and achieving great performances but not good at being independent and starting a life just for self. For me, meeting with others could get me excitement and energy, so I hate wasting any second not doing it. However, to be a better person, I still need to find a balance. When it exceeds certain degree, it creates harm.