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Sunday, January 19, 2014


I've been feeling a lot more in-control this semester. I'm more confident with my classes and my interactions with professors, and I'm also not putting myself down as much. I think being home for December really helped me rejuvenate. 

I've also been trying to look at school more like a job. I'm attempting to only put in 40-45 hours each week so that I still have time for myself and don't burnout. It's common in academia to feel like you're  procrastinating when you aren't studying. I'm hoping this will get me to be more productive when I am working, and help me to justify relaxing when I'm not.

One thing I have noticed is just how exhausting 8 hours of school work is. At around the 6 hour mark, I start feeling really unfocused and tired. I'm starting to think that absorbing information and learning takes a lot more energy than just working. 

In fact, I took a picture of myself a few days ago when I was working on an assignment around 8:30 at night. I have hazel eyes that are somewhere between gold and green in color, and my mom swears that she can always tell when I'm getting sick from my eyes. I think it's because red veins bring out the green, which is exactly what I noticed from this picture.

On the bright side though, I think the 40 hour plan is working so far. I've managed to get to the gym this week and also spent this whole weekend relaxing. With time, I'm sure the 8 hours of studying will get easier as I adjust. If all goes well, I'll hopefully be able to dedicate Sunday to exploring the city a little more. I'd really like that; I've been missing taking my camera places and collecting pictures to share.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Hike in Mer Bleu Conservation Area

I'm back in Vancouver again for school, but on my last day in Ottawa I decided to take a hike in the Mer Bleu Conservation Area. The weather was freezing for most of my time back in Ontario (usually with windchills of -20°C to -30°C). Luckily, the weather warmed up slightly for my trip to the bog.

It was beautiful as always, but the cloud formations were especially intriguing.

 Funnily enough, halfway through the hike I realized that there was a noseprint on my camera lens. Chances are it was from my relative's dog who I saw at Christmas. This left a bit of a blur on some of my photos, and explains why some of my photos from Lyon Mountain were also slightly blurry. Oh well, what can you do? This definitely isn't the first time I haven't realized dog snot was on my camera lens, and it probably won't be the last!

While Ontario was very cold, being back in rainy Vancouver makes me miss the dry, powdery snow. It's a very cold year for most of Canada, so I hope all of my friends and family are keeping warm. I, on the other hand, will attempt to keep dry!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Lately I've been recollecting on 2013 and trying to determine some new goals for myself as I begin 2014. Thinking back on the past year, I've realized that I can't appreciate my progress without also acknowledging how 2012 went for me.

To me, 2012 was definitely a year of insecurities. I had graduated from my bachelor's program into a poor economy with minimal work experience in my field. Graduating also involved moving back in with my family in Ottawa and saying goodbye to my beloved Guelph. While this was a great idea for saving money, I found aspects of family life difficult to resume after having lived alone for so long. I was fortunate and found employment, but I recall feeling so nervous and uncomfortable with the office life. I just wasn't feeling comfortable with myself. I also experienced a terrible bout of acne that flared up right after graduation and took at least half a year to clear up. It seems really superficial and silly, but I was so insecure with my appearance and how other people perceived me. By the end of 2012 I had decided to apply to graduate school and submitted my applications. I just remember how doubtful and unsure I was about whether I'd be accepted. The whole year was filled with a lot of anxiety.

If 2012 was my year of insecurities and uncertainty, then 2013 was when I finally started breaking out of my shell and pushing myself. I became fully committed to working out and eating well, and I finally started seeing the results of my hard work. Feeling stir-crazy with life in Ottawa, I made a point of reconnecting with old friends and visiting my friends that lived out of town whenever it was possible. I even signed up to participate in events that would have been too far out of my comfort zone years ago, such as cosplaying at Comiccon or competing in the Spartan Race. In my opinion, the best change of all was that I allowed myself to become a little more outspoken (or "sassy" as my coworkers put it). It involved getting over my fear of conflict and standing up for myself or others when I felt the need. It was definitely difficult though; there were some days I'd come home and have a breakdown because I felt bad about something I had said. However, I found it much healthier in the long run to voice my concerns or issues then let them bottle up and consume me.

2013 also marked the year I was accepted to graduate school for a program on the other side of the country. After learning I was accepted, I traveled out to BC for the first time ever and managed to find an apartment in only a week. I had always been such an anxious person, and yet I handled this task with such ease. It was definitely a sign I was moving in the right direction. The last months of 2013 were spent in BC completing the first semester of my program. While I did finish the semester utterly exhausted, I'm still proud by what I had managed. I couldn't have imagined how easily I'd befriend my peers, live on my own, and navigate a new (and huge) city.

I think the greatest success over this past year has been my personal development into someone who makes me happy and proud. That's all I can really ask for at this point in my life. I don't usually write down resolutions, but I feel the need to write down my goals for 2014 so that I can keep up my momentum.

  • Work on developing a balanced life. 
  • Get back into organized sports, whether it's ultimate frisbee or trying something new like kickboxing.
  • Continue standing up for myself when necessary.
  • Not allowing ungrateful people into my personal life, or people who contribute only negative energy or feelings.
  • Continue working on overcoming my trichotillomania compulsions. (This is a nasty little admission, but it's unfortunately one of the remaining consequences from being really anxious in the past. I've gotten a lot better with this, but I feel like making it public it might help relieve the stigma I feel).
  • Get better at running/jogging. 
  • Continue to support myself and garner self-love.

So those are my goals to work towards this year. 2013 was definitely a wonderful and productive year for me, and I'm optimistic about what the next year has in store. 

Wishing you all the very best in the year 2014!