Shell shocked

*I apologize in advance for all of the spelling errors and the sharp transitions between different scenarios*

I don’t think I have ever witnessed as dark a day in America since 9/11 as yesterday (11/9)

It was rainy and gloomy. It was said that even Washington D.C. was mourning.

I saw my friends who always showed hope and optimism in their eyes walk around yesterday in darkness and vacancy, as if their breath had just been taken away from them.

I walked down the path to my class (already running 10 minutes late, but I didn’t care because I had a restless night) and while walking, I didn’t hear anything for the first time.

Silence.

I felt and heard a bubble of silence around me. It was like everytime that someone passed me down this path, no one said anything. Maybe because it was out of pity, maybe it was out of guilt, maybe it was out of sympathy, empathy? Whatever it was, I felt it. People turned their eyes to the ground. Others looked at me with sad eyes. Some people gave a sad smile as if they had heard that I had lost someone, like I had lost something.

Freedom.

I wasn’t a big fan of the silence. It made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. It was as if looking at my skin color was an automatic indication that I was not with Trump. On the contrary, there were definitely a handful of people my color who sided with him (only God knows why, but they did). Of course, I could not bring myself to support the guy because he conflicted with too many of the values that I held true and dear to me.

I meant to write a blogpost about the election yesterday, but I couldn’t motivate or energize myself enough to do it. I didn’t think I would be so physically and emotionally affected by this whole election, but it has actually taken a toll on my mental state.

I could hardly even wake up yesterday. I had a hard time falling asleep because I couldn’t come to terms with the result.

What just happened?

The night before, my dorm held a viewing party to watch the election. The entire main lounge was full of people. I was coming in and out of the room because I had homework, but it seemed like I couldn’t even focus on it. I didn’t get any studying done, because I was so distracted by it. Every time that I heard yelling or shouting come from the lounge, I would run to see what had happened. I also saw that people were also doing the same thing as me. I just kept popping in and out. I was suppose to be studying for a Biochem quiz for the next morning, but I couldn’t. It didn’t work. And meanwhile, my roommate was asleep during the ENTIRE thing.

As in, she went to bed at 6pm and slept throughout the night. She got up at around 11:30 just to see results, and then she went straight back to bed. It was as if it didn’t really matter to her. She seemed unbothered by it. I don’t believe she even voted because she never got the absentee ballot in the mail.

I really didn’t like her, but anyways…

I saw the main room. They were worried. They looked stressed. I remember when I first came into the room and saw that the votes were 120-97. I was utterly confused. I was wondering who were these people who were voting for him? How could so many people agree with his policies? With his ideas, his plots? I was scared, because I really couldn’t imagine a future with him as president.

So I kept faith. I kept on holding on to the fact that more states would make the right decision.

I was actually suppose to have a dance rehearsal until 11pm that night, but I convinced them to cancel so that people could watch the elections. Thank God that it was cancelled, because we would have missed the majority of it.

When I saw the news… it was an unexplainable feeling.

It was about 2 am.

I had finished talking to my mom who had gone to bed because she had work in the morning. She didn’t really watch the election all the way, so she didn’t know until the morning about the results.

I, on the other hand, went to the main lounge only to see that the entire room had cleared out. Everyone went home. It was at that moment that I was scared. No one was rejoicing, no one was even watching the elections anymore. Something had gone wrong.

There were about 7 people in the room just staring at the screen. They all looked tired and worried.

I looked at the screen and to my dismay, I saw 266-215.

What. Was. Happening?

This couldn’t be. There was no way. The polls leading up to this day told me otherwise. All news stations were pretty confident that Hillary would have an easy win. There was no way that this man who was the laughing stock of the US, not to mention the world, was about to be president.

I sat down  on the blue couch on the side with my Biochem study guide in hand. Anderson Cooper and some other guy with a beard and glasses were talking about the election and they were giving us updates. 5 minutes later, I hear a woman on the screen say that there has been some breaking news…

Hillary had conceded.

It was at that moment that the whole room went silent for a second. Even the news anchors kind of went silent for a slight second. It was shock. It was finality. It was unbelievable.

The news anchors asked the lady if she was sure about 2 more times, and she said yes, it was confirmed.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, what I was watching. My eyes stared in horror. Some people in the room started crying, shaking their heads. Someone yelled at the screen, “Bullsh*t!” Other people stormed out of the room. I was still sitting there motionless, my mouth wide open in shock.

It wasn’t until I saw Trump walk to that podium with his family and supporters behind him, and I heard cheering, I saw all the bright red caps reading, “Make America Great Again” in white bold letters…

It was a horrifying sight.

He came up to the podium and confirmed what everyone now knew was a fact, “Hillary called me and conceded… It’s over”.

I lost it.

My eyes welled up with tears and I quickly walked out of the room, went to my room, sat at my desk, and cried.

I cried for all those people who looked to America for hope. I cried for religious freedom. I cried for same-sex marriage. I cried for peace. I cried for safety. I cried for the undocumented. I cried for the children. I cried for families, even my own. I cried for my parents’ efforts for a better future. I cried for my mom who received her first taste of freedom when voting for the first time. I cried for the future generations. Hell, I cried until I forgot what I was crying about.

I felt like I had just lost all hope for humanity in that one instance. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t feel anything. I felt numb for a second. I felt vulnerable. I felt like I had let my entire family down. I felt lonely, hopeless, drained, stressed, tired, sick, angry…

I even stayed awake until 4am just watching the news some more, still not processing what had just happened. I was waiting for the news to say that it was a joke, that they were wrong, they weren’t done bringing in votes, the girl didn’t know what she was talking about.

Everyone had gone to bed. It was just me in the lounge. I stared at the 6 people discussing the elections on CNN, including Anderson Cooper.

I don’t know what it was, but I couldn’t stop looking at him specifically.

I’ve already expressed how much I loved Anderson. He’s my favorite news anchor because I feel like he’s the only one to be very real with people, to not act like the omniscient, indifferent onlooker that most anchors like to emanate.

That’s why after the results came out, I wanted to see his reaction. I wanted to feel justified in my feelings towards these results. I wanted to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt something. Anything.

And I saw it.

I believe it was how he kind of stumbled through his words while talking to the other anchors (who seemed perfectly okay with it, I might add). Though he was wearing glasses, he just seemed kind of shocked. His eyes were kind of squinted, as if searching for words or trying to wrap his head around what had just happened. He wasn’t standing still like he usually did. He was swaying, he was talking alot with his hands.

And it was at the moment that I felt a little better. Just a little bit.

But when CNN decided to take a commercial break, I saw Trump’s face shown on the Empire State Building with red, white, and blue lights on it, and it just looked scary, so I turned off the TV.

I went back to my room kind of in a daze.

I feel much better today now that I have had the chance to talk about it yesterday and hear from others about their emotions. It was comforting to know that I was not alone in my feelings.

The day after the election was a gloomy one. No sun, no light. Just darkness, moisture, cold, cloudy.

It was comforting though to see how my university dealt with the matter. When I say that this thing affected my entire school… I wasn’t kidding.

My inbox was full of people emailing, checking in on people, saying that they were okay to not feel okay, telling them about all the mental help programs on campus, offering condolences, giving time and their space to people who wanted to talk, saying that they understand that this election did not result the way that they had hoped…

The response was somewhat overwhelming. It was as if we had all lost something in this election and professors were completely understanding. So many people received extensions on papers, postponing of assignments, no deductions on participation if they were absent, it was very heart-warming. And some professors called in sick and said that class was cancelled. It was almost like there was no class that day because my classes were pretty empty as well. In my Biochem class, the entire first row was empty. I had a quiz that morning, but I missed it because I could hardly wake up on time. I was outside of the room along with many others who decided not to take the quiz, and there was a guy talking to his friend, saying how badly the results were. He was cursing and yelling, getting emotional, and it just seemed okay with everyone around him because we all felt that way. We all understood him.

When I entered, even my professor was a little shocked to not see me sitting in the front row as I usually do. I had never missed a quiz in his class. He seemed a little sad, and I felt his eyes on me for a second. And then the class started. Obviously it was really quiet.

I was the only one sitting in the front row, and I don’t know what happened, but I was sitting there and I think that’s when I really started to think about what would be happening to my next 4 years.

A single tear rolled down my cheek while sitting there. In the middle of lecture. And then another. I had to quickly get myself together because, I mean hellooo, I was sitting in the front row!

And I was the only one in the front row! I didn’t want anyone commenting on me getting emotional. I didn’t want the pity or anyone looking at me with those sad eyes.

I managed to get through that lecture, not retaining a word of what he said, and I went to my physics class. In there, it was also quiet. Many people hadn’t shown up for class. During that class, I knew that Clinton would be talking, so I sat in the back and opened my laptop to watch her speech. Normally, the professor would’ve told me to put the laptop away, but I guess today he just knew that no one was in the mood, so he didn’t say anything.

I watched the speech, and it was a sad one. Hillary was wearing purple along with her husband. She had walked out, and it was not very evident, but her eyes were somewhat red. But she still looked great. She was smiling and bowing her head at all the claps and cheers given to her. She kept clearing her throat to hold back tears. I really congratulated her on how strong she was. I wouldn’t have been able to do what she did and still does.

I skipped my physics lab because I just couldn’t handle it right now. I wasn’t mentally there. My mind kept going back to the election with every situation. So I sat in the biology office and did my physics homework due that day. It should’ve only taken me an hour, but it instead took 4 hours. Part of it was that I was with a friend who definitely wanted to talk about the election, so we kept talking about it while working. People would come in and we would talk to them about it. So yea, it just became more of conversation than actual work.

There was someone who I had not spoken to since last year. We were not on good terms. She came into the office and I easily went back to physics while she was talking to my friend.

We used to be good friends, but due to many circumstances that had happened during the summer, we were not friends anymore.

So she came in, and I was surprised that she was even talking to someone next to me given that she never wanted to even be in the same vicinity as me. When she left, she said “Bye you guys.” I couldn’t tell if she was talking to me because we hadn’t talked in months and there were other people in the room. So I didn’t say anything, but maybe I should have. She came in again later, but I still couldn’t make eye contact with her. I couldn’t even talk to her. I couldn’t tell if she wanted to.

Maybe due to this situation, it made it okay for us to talk, but I just couldn’t bring myself to talk to her. Plus, I was scared that things would just go back to the way they were after all of this kind of calmed down. So I said nothing. I worked on physics, and acted like she wasn’t really there.

I kind of wished I had said something.

That night, I had a Nicaragua trip meeting, and even the coordinator said that she had skipped her workday today because she couldn’t handle it. She made us go around the room and kind of say how we were feeling. It felt comforting to know that not one person in the room felt okay, and it was okay.

Right after the meeting, there was a debriefing facilitated by a group on campus. Soo many people showed up that they had an overflow room. It was just a time to talk about how we were feeling and initiate dialogue in groups. My group talked about how we weren’t comfortable with the idea of so many people agreeing with many of the things that Trump said. We wondered what went wrong, gave possible explanations, talked about how this affected us directly and why we were bothered by the idea of his as president. We talked about how college campuses tended to be more Democratic and why that was. A guy talked about how most of his family was Trump supporters, and how he felt distant from his family. I talked about how a friend had told me that on the night of the election, when Trump has won, he had heard cheering down his hall. When he went to see what was going on, they yelled at him “Border control! Border control! Go back to your home!” Everyone was shocked that this blatant racism was already starting. We also addressed how we felt a little weary about friends who voted for Trump because it felt like they did not respect them as a person.

After the talks (which were super comforting I might add), my vice president talked to us. It was at that moment that I realized that even the people in high power such as him were not okay with this. He knew that there was a problem. If he knew there was a problem, then there were many others who were not okay with this.

After that debriefing, there was another debriefing in my dorm lounge. People talked about how they felt, and how they were dealing. Even religion came into it. Many people believed that these were the final days, but they also felt like some religious people were giving up. While some felt like God had deserted them, others felt like God was teaching America a lesson.

One thing I really took away was that though the times looked bleak, we needed to stay optimistic and stay encouraged. It is definitely hard right now, but somehow it will get better. This is just the beginning.

My roommate was there. And this may have been the first time that I noticed that people kind of felt how I was feeling.

Alot of what she was saying was… just not what people wanted to hear at this time.

She talked about how the way she dealt with troubles was by assuming the worst. She said that she knew that things get bad and she knew that Trump would win, though not by as big of a margin as he did. But she accepted the fact that life is bad, the world is evil, and that’s just the way it was.

Well, that didn’t sit well with people to say the least.

One girl blatantly said that she did not agree with her and that it was not the way we should look at life. Of course, my roommate tried to justify herself many many times, but it wasn’t working, it only made matters worse. It came to a point where someone else had to interject and say that people deal with things differently and that we needed to recognize it.

Shortly after, my roommate quickly left the room.

After leaving the room, many people were talking about her, and for a good reason I guess. They were going off saying that this girl needed to nkow when she was wrong, and that it was not okay to feel the way she did. Some didn’t know that I was her roommate, so when I said that, they looked at me with shocked eyes and they said , “I’m sooo sorry.” I was just like… yea I know. Even my RA was in there and said, “Now y’all see what I have to deal with” and she even looked at me and was like, “She knows what I’m talking about.” I laughed, but I knew that she was right, and it felt good knowing that people didn’t think I was just crazy when I talked about just how much I had to go through in the room.

Well, this morning (11/10), she called someone and started loudly saying how she felt like her opinions were not taken into account, and that she didn’t understand why people didn’t see it the way she saw things. She said how she thought the open space was not really an open space and that the girls were close-minded, and that she didn’t like it here and so on and so forth…

And mind you, she was yelling and cursing and going down the halls on the phone, so you could tell that she wanted to be heard by everyone. She even left our room door open. And this was 9:30am, when some were still asleep.

Well, she came back to the room and… needless to say, someone was not happy about this. On the other side, I could hear a girl yelling in the bathroom to someone in the bathroom with her, saying that “This girl needs to realize when she is wrong and that she needs to calm down. She should know that everything that she was saying was wrong.” I went to go and fill my water bottle to hear a little bit of the convo. The last thing she said was, “You need to tell that girl to check herself.” That’s when I realized that she was talking to my RA who also lived in the same suite as us. I walked into the room, and well it was a little awkward. I mean we already don’t talk, but still…

She called back the person she was talking to and said, “I don’t know why this keeps happening. I know that I’m going to be transferring, but I feel like anywhere I go I will have the same problem.”

I just grabbed my coat and bookbag and left…

On the night of the election, I was confident.

I was confident in the fact that America was smart, that they were accepting, respectful of other cultures, of other people. I was confident that atleast more than half of the population was in favor of peace, of unity. I was confident that Americans would make the right decision and vote not only for themselves, but for this country’s future. I was confident that people would not vote to condone more violence, murder, racism, dehumanization, rape, injustice,

I was confident that she would win.

As for the emails… no politician is perfect. In fact, a majority of the tactics used in politics involve pulling strings here and there, calling up the people that you know to help you get to high places, and this idea of justifying acts using utilitarianism where things  that may be unlawful and unjust are done for the greater benefit and the common good. Every politician has done it, but since she’s in the limelight, of course the media will exploit this to no end.

I do understand that what she did was wrong, but her evils couldn’t possibly be placed on a similar scale to Trump’s. The only thing that I know that man does well is business.

It hurts to feel like my vote did not matter. This was my first time voting (yes, that may give you a small indication as to where I fall in age), and I was excited. No, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that I would be able to do such a thing as an American citizen. This is something that my ancestors could not even imagine me doing. My mom also voted for the first time. She was so happy. She texted me saying that she went to the voting booth and casted her vote in. That same day, I decided that I needed to cast my vote in quickly.

Especially during times like these when it may seem like the voices of the smaller number are not being heard as much, it’s comforting to know that there is a right that we know cannot be infringed upon.

Unfortunately during this election, this right was abused.

11,000 votes for Harambe?? That’s equivalent to a medium-sized college all wasting their vote away! I was horrified, and am still in shock at the fact that people could waste votes on that while there are people in America who still do not even have that right.

I also am surprised at the huge discrepancy between poll results and the results given throughout this election by newpapers and articles. Being in such a position to swindle the decisions of voters should not be taken lightly. Thoughout this election, people thought that Hillary would win. Hell, I became soo confident in my thoughts that I almost didn’t vote thinking that my vote wouldn’t matter

America tends to hold this strong egocentric idea. When I say ‘egocentric’, I mean the thought of America and only America, the idea of only taking care of their own and no one else. If you ask many Trump supporters why they voted for Trump, they will possibly tell you statements along the lines of, “I want my America back, the way I remember it,” “My life won’t change significantly, but I want the government to be about the people instead of themselves,” “I don’t want another Clinton in the White House. It will give our government a bad rep,” “I don’t want to lose my job to immigrants,” “I want to feel safe,” “I don’t want the US to be in such a huge deficit anymore, ” “I don’t like Obamacare. I don’t have to use it, but it was a failure,” “He knows how to make deals that will make America great again,” “I completely hate Trump, but I want conservative laws,” “I want the American dream, and that’s what I’m getting with Trump”…

I… I… America… I… I.. I… America… America…. I… I.. I… I… America…

Let’s think about this…

America is a world superpower. Why is that? Only God knows, but it just is.

We have wayy too much power in our hands just to only think about ourselves. The rest of the world is depending on us for almost every aspect of life. We are suppose to be the most-advanced people in the world, yet we are failing at even choosing the right leader.

In fact, we put the least-qualified man in the position to take over the world. No political experience, never been in a war (besides business conflicts), didn’t study law, hasn’t the slightest clue as to the structure of this government…

I bet some politicians are pissed at the fact that a man who didn’t even need to study law could become the president of the United States while those who have been working in politics all their lives could barely even get on the ballot. How messed up is that?

I have two friends studying abroad in France, and when they heard about the elections, they were as shocked as everyone else. The next day, French journalists stopped them and came up to them, asking them about the election: what were their thoughts? How did they feel about it?

The fact that the rest of the world also saw that this situation was not right, it wasn’t good… And the fact that controversial leaders such as Putin are congratulating him… does anyone else smell something fishy there?

Robots… egh. I prefer people.

So at the beginning of the semester, I was enrolled in a robot ethics class. It was okay. The professor was nice, and the information was interesting. I really thought that I would pursue the Information Science minor. It sounded cool. I liked the idea of creating new technology and being able to design new things.

That’s what I’ve always been drawn to. Creating. Designing. Inventing. Investigating. All good things.

And then I realized… I don’t like working with just metal. I like working with things that have feeling, that have life in them.

I noticed this during the 3rd week of class when we were watching a Youtube video about a robot that this elderly lady was obsessed with. It was the idea that her feedback made the robot more interactive with the lady, and as a result, she became more attached. After time went by, the lady brought he robot with her everywhere annoying many of the people she lived with. They asked her to put the robot away in her room and she looked like they had asked her to stop living. It was scary, and I couldn’t understand it.

Watching the video, I was a little creeped out, and I couldn’t wrap my head around how a person could prefer robot interaction over human interaction. There was another video of someone making a robot exactly in a person’s image, and this robot was presented to the daughter of the person. She obviously was creeped out and wanted it to end. I was creeped out for the girl. I felt a little antsy just watching it. I cringed multiple times and couldn’t imagine making such a device.

It was at that moment that I wasn’t really into all the technology. I didn’t like the idea of robots taking over the world. There are obviously many things that robots can do that people cannot, but I would rather work on finding a way to work on human interactions rather than fix it with metal.

Another thing was that the class was all about philosophy, which was pretty annoying. He made us question everything. He put a command on the board and asked the other side of the class to find out everything that was wrong with the command and try doing everything but the command while still not violating what the command was asking. It’s kinda crazy how much was wrong with the command.

Oh, not to mention that most of the class were engineering majors, so for many of them, this was alot of fun. They found it easy to find something wrong with the command, and my team had to keep modifying the command to be more and more specific so that they could not possibly find anything wrong with it. For me, I was just thinking, “… guys, just do the damn command. If we say write, just write.” But yea, the majority of the class found it super fun.

So philosophy definitely was not my thing. We had to turn in a paper about utilitarianism, which was kind of interesting, but I had the hardest time writing the paper. I didn’t even finish it or submit it. I only had 2 of the 5 pages that I needed to write. The class just wasn’t for me.

I think the only thing that kept me in the class for as long as I was was the fact that he had these 2 more-adorable-than-life white fluffy puppies that he brought to class and passed around. They were so cute in that when you picked them up to hand them off, they would press against you and lift their arms up as if getting ready to be picked it. They were soooo cute!

But then I realized that the dogs weren’t going to help my grade in that class, so I dropped it.

Plus, I am already taking a whole bunch of classes required for my major this year, and knowing that this class was not as important as my other classes, I knew that I would fall behind in the assignments for the class (Just look at what happened last semester with that opera class… I’m still salty -.-).

Thoughts on Technology

So I just finished talking with a friend about how I was thinking about pursuing the Information Science minor, a subject that she is majoring in. I always was interested in everything that she was doing and studying in class since my freshman year, but I didn’t know much about the major. It wasn’t until I started talking to a co-worker about it (turns out that he is studying the same thing). In fact, we have alot in common during this time which kind of scared me for a little bit, but after getting over that, things got really interesting.

He told me that he studied Information Science and he told me that he really liked it. He then asked me about what I wanted to do, and I told him that I was interested in the medical field, which was why I am on the premed track. Then, I told him about my other interest of technology and being able to design, create, invent, and improve technology in the health field. He said that he basically wanted to do the same thing, and that’s when I was a little taken aback. I had no idea that Info Sci even did that kind of thing. So I looked into it and… it was just ridiculous how much I loved their website (even down to the colors!) and the overall experience I had on just their website. I then looked into the classes and the classes were even better. I always though the idea of artificial intelligence and robotics were super interesting to me. The idea that the person didn’t have to think for themselves anymore of inserting that kind of thinking into an inhumane object was just.. mind-blowing to me.

I also believe that technology will eventually rule all of our lives. Just saying .

So anyways, back to talking with my friend.

I told her about the Info Sci that I was taking this semester that talked about the ethical issues that arise while talking about artificial intelligence and automatic systems like that. I have only taken 2 classes so far (and slept during the last 20 minutes of both, but in my defense it’s at the end of the day), and it’s been really interesting. We’ve actually been talking about philosophy and what people say about who has rights to what? We are basically trying to define what human rights are. It’s actually super interesting, and the readings are cool. And the professor is cool too. He has two white, fluffy puppies that he passes around the class so we can all hold them. They are soo cute (and so therapeutic). When I was going to pass him to the next person, he pressed himself against me and sat back on his hind legs, like he was prepping himself to be picked up. It was literally one of the cutest things I’ve ever had the chance to witness.

Anyways, so she told me how Info Sci was one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

Info Sci is a social major and such a broad, new field. It’s focused around people and how people interact with technology, and your job is to find ways to improve their experience. She talked to me about how GoogleUX came to her class, which I thought was super cool. I honestly didn’t know what she was talking about or what that was, and then later on in the discussion she described what they did. So basically, they evaluate how people work with technology, and they see what they can do to change the settings or make it better for them. In other words, UX = User experience. I’ve heard of the term before, but I had no idea that was what they did. It just sounded boring to me.

She told me how she has tried out different technology by companies such as this thing to bring a virtual world to people. It was so real to the point that people would forget to pay attention to their own daily tasks (ex: a couple forgot to feed their own baby because they were too busy taking care of their virtual baby in their virtual world. Another one is that people would forget to eat food while in this virtual world). So she said that part of their job is to figure out how to improve these technologies so that people remember to actually go back to reality for sometime.

I have always been interested in that kind of technology: 3-D printers, Google glasses, Eye contacts for diabetics (I didn’t know was a thing until she told me), etc.

I also told a friend once when I went to the Coca Cola Company with him and other friends this past summer that I would love to work with the design of their products. Being able to interact with people and create videos for their ads would be such a cool job. And now I realize that if I were to study Info Sci, that would be the work that I would do. It’s just all coming together for me, and it’s kind of exciting to realize what I like and that there’s something out there for me.

She then told me about how she wants to work mainly in music and media, and figure out how to improve the experiences of tour buses for artists. Apparently, being in a tour bus is actually very taxing on the brain, to the point that people develop mental disorders and depression. I thought that was super interesting and the fact that she wants to focus on that is really neat.

She also said how Info Sci majors came up with the entrepreneurship hubs that were newly built at my school, and… you do not understand how happy I was to know that they were the ones to design it. I have always thought that those spaces were beautiful. They are so nice and look so appealing to the eyes. To know that they were the ones to design and decide to build that place just blew my mind.

I knew there was a reason why my favorite building on campus happened to be their building. I also knew that there was a reason why I loved Iron Man, not just because he’s a great and awesome super hero, but also because of what he does. He creates robots (iron suits) and works with artificial intelligence. I always thought that was really cool.

I knew there had to be something out there that worked with it. What a turn of events!

Have your Piece or Find your Peace

I’ve had a good amount of experiences on this earth during my almost 2 decades of being here, but never in my life have I ever encountered such close-mindedness by people who I considered to be my friends, my closest allies, my sisters…

So last night was a time of bonding for the dance group that I am in on campus. It is focused around Christian dancing, so it is assumed that everyone on the team is Christian (which I don’t believe should be something assumed, but the majority assumed it).

Last night, we had mani-pedis done courtesy of our head choreographer’s over-abundant collection of nail polish. I painted mine light blue, a color that I would never see myself wearing until tonight.

It turned out beautifully, might I add.

We ordered pizza, wings, and fries, though I only ate about two pieces of pizza and five fries because I was full for whatever reason.

Actually, now I remember!

I had come from the mall because I had just watched the movie Captain America: Civil War (an Ah-MAZING movie that is worth watching. I’m a huge fan of Marvel, and Captain America and Iron Man are two of my favorite superheroes. Of course the entire time, I was just so sad because they were against each other, but it was still an amazing movie.) I had eaten about three pieces of Twizzlers and about 4-5 handfuls of popcorn. It was a great time because I went with 5 other people.

Anyways, due to the movie running longer than expected (and me and a friend missing the bus), I got to the bonding two hours late. I walked in right when they were talking about how God had shown himself to them. It was super emotional, and I was actually not enjoying myself at all. I hate these kinds of things, because although it seems like a time when there should be “no judgment” and “whatever is said in the room stays in the room”, that never happens, People’s view of others change drastically. And unfortunately, that’s what happened here.

So everyone had went around the time that I came in, so they said that I should think of something. I couldn’t think of anything on the spot so we ate, and had elections for next year’s E-Board. It turns out that I’m Treasurer, a position that I really did not want, but it seemed like everyone wanted to put me there because that was the only one they thought I fit in. Honestly, I wanted Publicity Chair, in fact I wanted it so badly that I nominated myself. I had so many ideas for how to make the group extravagant and shown more to others. Unfortunately, they said Publicity Chair would be given to someone else. Oh well.

So we finished eating food and started with mani-pedis. The girls kept pestering me about sharing my “coming to God” experience, so I did. And now thinking back, I shouldn’t have told them that.

I shouldn’t have told them about my dad’s situation, my financial situation, my health, and all of these problems. These were my private matters, and I should’ve left them private because after I told them, they looked at me differently. They looked at me in pity as if they were saying “Oh you poor thing”. They would stare at me and just nod or smile.

I shouldn’t have told them.

And this is why I hate these types of situations.

Anyways, the next thing was talking about relationships, which I really didn’t want to go into, for one reason and one reason only.

But of course, some of the girls knew about it, so naturally they were like “So how are you and so-and-so?”

The rest of the girls were curious now as to who this was. So of course, I had to talk. I talked about how we met and how long we’ve known each other.

Then came the hard part. The question that I knew they were dying to ask me:

“So… how is his faith?”

This was the exact reason why I didn’t want to share our relationship. It was as if nothing else mattered if we didn’t practice the same religion. He could be the perfect guy, put thought into everything he gave me, everything he did. He could be literally my dream guy, and yet, if he wasn’t the “right” religion, then everyone could care less.

So here it was. I told them that he was not a Christian. He was Muslim.

Now, some jaws dropped, some eyes went wide, some people shook their heads, and others just nodded.

And so began the interrogation.

“Why would you go out with a non-believer?” “The Bible says ‘Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers’.” “Are you thinking about marrying him?” “What religion would your children be?” “What would you say if your boyfriend says he wants them all Muslim?” “What about your values?” “Have you prayed about this?” “What if he changes your values?” “Is this long-term?” “Have you talked to him about all this?” “Do your parents know?” “How would they react?” “Why would you waste your time?” “Are you ready for all of that?” “Have you guys reaallly talked about this?”

While trying to answer these questions with my own answers, it seemed like they already had an answer formed and cemented into their minds. It was as if their opinions were facts, and they were not open to anything else or any other ideas that I brought. So I stayed silent for most of it while they were constantly telling me about what they thought

That upset me for a little bit.

More than half of the girls have already met him and known him for a really long time, so they know him. Unfortunately, since he’s Muslim, I guess his personality and character are not enough.

I don’t believe in any long-term relationships right now, as in marriage and kids. I don’t want that because I will be going into medical school after college. I don’t have the time for that. He’s going into medicine too, so he has said the same thing. I told the girls this, and they seemed to be super confused. They believe that dating meant finding someone who I would potentially marry. If he is not someone I would potentially marry, then I’m wasting my time.

I see where they are coming from, but since I don’t plan on getting married anytime soon, is it wasting my time? If I had stayed single, wouldn’t that have been an even greater waste of time? I wouldn’t have been able to experience life with someone, with a support system, with someone who I could depend on. And these characteristics have nothing to do with religion. As a result, unless I am looking for the love of my life and the person who I will spend the rest of my life with, I can honestly keep my options completely open. And how would you know if a person is wrong for you without actually experiencing it firsthand?

I basically told them all of this and all they kept saying was, “Just pray about it” as if they keow for sure that God would not support it. So I asked them the question, “Do you believe that God could say yes to the relationship?” Some of them didn’t answer, but one person said, “I feel like He would say yes so that you could have the experience, and He wants you to see how it is to be in that kind of relationship.”

And that was the end of the conversation. I nodded, and asked for others to share their relationship stories.

It was very interesting to get this feedback from my “sisters”, because yes the Bible says “unequally yoked”, but when I had asked them earlier in the year what that meant to them, they all said “marriage”, so all of these arguments that they had towards me was only if marriage was involved. I made it perfectly clear to them that I didn’t want marriage and I wasn’t looking to it at all, but they just kept going back to it. It was as if they couldn’t see a relationship without it.

I should have asked them, “So in high school, were you in relationships because you thought you could see them as your potential husband?” I wonder what their response would be.

I also told them that I was also influenced by my mom who told me to make sure that I knew the person I get into relationships with very well. She stressed to me that if I had a relationship in college, it would be more like a “strong friendship” in that we were to build each other academically and socially. We were suppose to be each other’s support systems. The person we could study with and receive help from. The person who we could talk to in times when we needed an ear. And I understand where she’s coming from because my dad was not the greatest ‘dad’. Jeez, I can barely call him that without flinching. He has gotten into lots of trouble in the past (which is still affecting not only his present and future, but ours), and much of it could be attributed to the fact that he lied about alot of his life.

He tricked my mom into coming with him to America, saying that he was rich there and he had inherited so much wealth. He said that he was super successful in America, so my mom said okay. She came to America only to live in the projects of Oakland, California. He lived in the slums, and didn’t even have furniture. My mom had to work twice as hard to make it in America, because a man decided that he wanted to lie about his upbringing.

Then, I came into the picture, and of course this was a lot for her. She had me in California, and I don’t remember any of that experience because we moved after I turned 1. After we moved, my other sisters were born.

And he still lives with us doing absolutely nothing. He watches two televisions in his room (using up my mom’s electricity) and writes constant letters to “friends” begging for money. He had a couple cars, and completely totaled both of them. He does not have a job. He barely has a penny to his name and refuses to work because he believes that he is old enough to be the boss of his own life. He’s almost blind, so he can’t really drive, yet he insists that his vision is perfectly fine. So many people ask my mom, “Well, why don’t you just kick him out?”

It’s funny, because people will ask these questions and then not ask themselves, “Don’t you think they have tried that? How easy do you think it is to do that?”

In fact, you bet it is exceedingly difficult to kick someone out of their own house, given their name is on the lease (yet he hasn’t paid or contributed any money to it for years)… The police won’t allow it. In fact, we’ve had the police appear at our house plenty of times in hopes that they would kick him out.

Nope.

They would come and say, “Well, if he wasn’t physically hurting you, then we can’t do anything about it.”

Hell, he threatened my own mother’s life atleast twice, and both times they said the same thing. “We can’t kick him out, because he didn’t become physical.”

What the actual hell? There’s something wrong with a system that allows for a man like him to stay in a house that he doesn’t even pay for. He causes emotional and social damage to our family due to his schizophrenia, paranoia, and laziness, but that’s not enough for police. In fact, they’ve told us to be the ones to move out, which would be easy if my mom had the time to look up places to live that have good education systems and good work compensation. There’s alot of factors that go into that, yet they made it sound like the easiest task in the world.

He had a business for a while until he completely messed that up. He was sent to jail for it, actually. And to this day, he refuses to tell any of us what he did. We had our entire house completely searched by police. The entire house was flipped upside down. The living room and our rooms were a mess. And yet, after all that, he kept claiming his innocence. My mom tried to help him with his business because she saw the potential, but he didn’t want the help and constantly accused her of trying to take his money. She has tried to help him invest it, and he was never willing.

My mom even set up an education fund for me and my sisters, and she always put money into it yearly. That was the money that ultimately kept me at the college I am at now. It was not until I entered college did I find out that my dad did nothing of the sort. My mom tried to convince him when I was about 6 years old to do this for his children, but again, he only accused her of taking his money.

Now he has nothing. And now he depends on us completely, though he does absolutely nada in the house. It bothers me so much to see my mom struggling through all of this, barely making ends meet with the paycheck that she gets and having to take care of one more big baby in the house, and that’s why I vouch to never allow my children to go through that.

Which is what swayed my reasons for not being super attached to a person during college. I need to do well in college. I need to help my mother out and eventually supply her with everything that she’s ever wanted. She’s sacrificed so much for my sisters and me. She is the main reason as to why I’m even in college now.

Hayy coincidence, it’s Mother’s Day, and I’m talking about my mother. I’m so thankful for her. I have no idea where my sisters and I would have been without her. We have had the world’s largest and loudest arguments, yet she had shown unceasing love towards us. I love you, mom 😀

Of course, I was not going to explain all of this to these girls who I wanted to call my “sisters”. They probably still wouldn’t care about it and they would say “Oh, you just need to pray about it.”

What do you think I’ve been doing all of these years??

I have prayed, cried, yelled out to God, balled my eyes out night after night for years. And they believe that I just haven’t done it hard enough?

That’s what got me upset. That’s what has gotten me shaken up. The fact that they will never understand. But at the same time, I don’t want them to understand. Giving people too much information is dangerous, which is why I do not trust people enough to do it, and sometimes you do need a certain level of uncertainty to keep on living in this world.

So after that, I basically felt the distance come between me and the girls, and it was sad because it was suppose to be a bonding time. Even when I left, I only gave hugs to two of the girls. The other girls seemed disinterested. Some of them continued to stare at me. Others couldn’t even make eye contact with me.

Wow. Just wow.

I am almost completely sure that I will be leaving this group by the end of this semester. It was a nice year that I’ve been with them, but I feel like it’s time for me to open a new chapter.

These were girls who I thought I could grow in my relationship in God with, but I feel like I’m shriveling. Is this how God’s love is suppose to feel like? Conviction? Like I’m in a courtroom all the time? Like I’m always stepping on egg shells? It seems like they’re making themselves look like angels without any flaws or mistakes. No impurities, not a spot.

And I simply do not believe in that.

I really wanted to stay with this group until I graduated, but I just can’t see it.

I actually went to another showcase that was more about hip-hop dancing, and that was something that I was always into. I love watching music videos, and making my own dance to the beat of the music. I’ve never really been interested in the words of a song, but if the beat was on point, then I was listening to it. I actually joined this group’s listserv first out of all organizations that I joined on campus. I was suppose to attend their workshops, but I always had work during the time. Now, it’s been 2 years, and I think I’m ready to make the change.

So watching this showcase was just amazing. I loved it so much. It was like an experience. I will definitely be attending the workshops next semester to see how it works out. They seemed like just a concrete family-no judgment, no pre-conceived notions, no assumptions- and I wanted to take part in that. My friend is in it and she told me about it, and her eyes lit up when I told her that I was interested. That’s the kind of welcome arms that I like to see. That’s what you call pure joy.

It’s sad because we just had our showcase last week, and it went flawlessly. I made myself more public about my standing in the group to all of my friends on Facebook and everything. I guess bonding time is also considered an eye-opening experience too.

Two Passions in One Week

So many things have happened in the past week! I feel like I have started almost every post this way, but it’s true. College is starting to become a little more interesting.
So let me start with the most recent event.
I am still writing up my Genocide paper for my Anthropology class, and as I am writing about it, I have learned that I really do love learning about this subject. Any subject where a large amount of people died from either their government or an environmental force will catch my attention. I am writing about the Rwandan genocide that happened during the 1990s, and I have delved so far into the topic that I still have no idea how I am going to finish this paper. My professor gave me a 2-3 page limit, but I just cannot see how I can fit so much information within those boundaries.
I found this book online that talked about how war rape was such a huge thing during this genocide, and the book gave accounts of women who were victims of it. They shared their stories along with what happened to them during this time and how it has still affected them today. I was only given a few pages to read from the book, but now I am so interested in it that I am going to look for the book in the library. I now was to read so many more books about the women along with other victims of these happenings.
From my research, I have learned that about 250,000-500,000 women were raped by soldiers and the Hutu people. From that number, an astonishing 70% of those who lived tested HIV positive. I was shocked by these statistics, and it is still exceedingly hard to wrap my head around it.
It’s crazy to see how much you will learn by just reading.
And in the book, the women also shared how they all bore children from these rapes, and how hard it is for me to look at their children and not see the man who had raped them. I felt for these women, but I was even more moved by the fact that not a single woman chose to abort the pregnancy.
One thing that all the women seemed to do was place their children before their own lives. They all held a deep fear that they would die before their children and they would be left as orphans. I wondered what their government was doing to save these children and to help their people. Was the government still in denial that the genocide had even happened? Did they even want to help their people?
I have been searching for a club on campus that would begin a fund to help these women who were victims of war rape and who now have children that they must take care of. I have also been searching for a club that will inform people on the effects of genocide. I don’t believe that people know the severity and that people even know that genocide is predictable and preventable.
Maybe I should be the one to start the group. Maybe that’s the group that my school is looking for, though we already have too many clubs to even count.

 

The other passion that I found was a passion for chemistry. Now, many people call me crazy for actually calling Orgo my favorite class. Since high school, I have heard the horror stories involving organic chemistry and molecules.

But then I got to the class… and I was pleasantly surprised.

I loved it!

I loved the molecules that we are learning, and I love how we can synthesize anything we want after taking only one full year of organic chemistry. It was like candy for me.

I knew that I was always into making things. I loved working with my hands.

I have always loved DIY projects, I built toy houses for my dolls. I would create posters. I loved when science fair came around when I was little because I loved designing my display board. I loved crocheting and making new things. I loved fixing things too such as anytime when something was broken in the house. I loved using tools. I also kept a little collage of pictures that I drew where I designed my own pumps and heels. I loved arts and crafts.

I just loved working with my hands.

I think that is why I love orgo so much, and the lab that goes with it. I love how I can mix different chemicals together to create different molecules. I loved how I could make structures depending on the solvents I used. It was all really fun for me.

This is why I want to double major in chemistry and biology, but I honestly believe that I am hanging onto biology only because I have already fulfilled most of the requirements for it.

I love everything about it, and I am so excited to take more class in it.

So here are my two passions, and boy, does it feel good to find things that you love.

Hopefully, I can come back and read these posts to remember what I love.

Planning Before Actually Knowing

I had made a four-semester plan for myself in order to see if I could really major in the subjects that I wanted to. I realized that I would need to take a few things during the summers and winters, and I told myself that I would get a scholarship for them.
One of those classes happened to be in a country that I learned more about in my anthropology class: Cambodia.
I learned about it through my research dealing with genocide. I chose the class for the winter break just because it fulfilled requirements that I needed in order to graduate, not because I actually took an interest in the country.
While researching about genocide, I told myself that I would love to go and visit one of these countries to see how the country is currently doing. I wanted to see if there were any effects due to the genocides that happened in the areas.
The first genocide that I had researched was the one in Cambodia. I didn’t really know much about the country, but when I heard that a genocide had occurred there, I wanted to learn more about it. I did, and I was astounded by the fact that the genocide was not talked about more than the Holocaust.
Now, after researching about the country and its people and the history of genocide that happened there, I realize that maybe it was a good move on my part to plan to go there for a class. The class would be teach me about the government, the people, the history… literally everything that I now held an interest in.
I planned this before I knew anything about the country, and now everything is falling into place. I am so excited, and I hope I will actually be able to partake in this trip. Of course, I’m going to need to apply to plenty of scholarships for this trip… and for college in general >.<

Doctor in the Making

Factoring out academics, I feel like I am on the right track to becoming a doctor.

Of course, I cannot tell this to the people reading my medical school application.

I mean I have a little bit of shadowing experience with an ENT, Head, and Neck Surgeon and that was definitely an experience.

I got into this summer program that is for aspiring medical doctors! I will be shadowing physicians, tour a medical school, take a 3-credit class, receive a stipend along with have housing and meals and transportation paid for. I am super excited because this is a program that I was hoping and praying to be accepted into for over a year now. Now that I got in, I wonder if this was really what I wanted.

There was no doubt in my mind before this moment. What if I am not as into the medical field as I thought? What if I end up wasting a summer? What if I hate the location and the people in the program?

Okay, I don’t think I will hate the people in the program, but I just want to know that I will make some sort of relationship with the people.

This program is only for half my summer, and I already went home for spring break, so I kind of just want to go somewhere else for the summer. I don’t want to stay home, as bad as it sounds. I just don’t feel like I get much done at home. I was home for the entire winter break and didn’t do a single thing. It was glorious, but it was definitely a time when I could have gotten so much done.

I am thinking about staying in my college for the next half of the summer. Hopefully that can happen and it will be glorious. I already know plenty of people staying on campus, and I have already stayed on campus for two consecutive summers (the first time was not by choice, and the second one was a program that I could not pass up. It was more of a branch off of the summer before). So far, I have really liked my time here and I am ready to stay for another summer, though many people say I should just stay home.

Decisions, decisions… and I’m running out of time.