March 4, 2017

VENTURING BEYOND MY ANEMONE

Written during a time of immense personal insecurity and anxiousness, I reflect on my choice to switch pursuits to computer science and my goal to continually reflect on the past to perceive the present from the future. These thoughts are derived from a listening to Nemo Egg.


I listened to “Nemo Egg” from Finding Nemo today. I first watched the movie in elementary school and listening to the song caused me to reminisce simpler times. I recalled days spent passionately killing mushrooms and tree stumps in MapleStory, moments habitually annoying my two older sisters, and days in which every little detail was given to me. Every choice I made came with little consequence, and there was certainty in the success of all things I put my time into. These were much simpler times than my present reality. While listening to “Nemo Egg,” I began thinking those were my “good days.”

In those times, I was satisfied with the choices I made and how they affected my life. I was in my safe coral reef enjoying the security of my present and close future. I had no idea of the ocean out there for me, and it did not come to mind one day I would be exploring beyond my anemone into frightening deep seas.

Recently, I made a decision for myself, defying the wishes of most of my family, to stop pursuing medicine to pursue computer science and statistics. Unfortunately, with shallow understandings of few facets of these subjects, I am uncertain what specifically I want to pursue, and this frightens me. I see others around me having a firmer grasp on their career, and I am essentially floating in open waters. I lock myself in the library, stay in on weekends, and devote days to hackathons to figure my academic/career goals out–to figure myself out. I am mostly content with this lifestyle because I am finally using my school–time working again towards something I want. However, at times I want the freedom some of my peers have to experience this wonderful life we have outside of academics with one another.

I am in colder waters figuring things out. Granted, not a dark and frightening ocean just yet because I am not in these waters alone; I have friends who care about me to actively mentor and support me in this transition. The water still feels cold and looks mysterious at times, but these people show me the warmth and light it can have if I continue to set myself onto making my transition work.

I had countless terrible memories before going off to university, yet when I reminisce these times, I recall the pseudo-Olympics I had with close friends in the summer of my senior year, the long nights working on my research project with my partner that enabled us to develop a life-long friendship, and the enormous amount of love and support I received from my family. Perhaps a decade from every phase of my life, I will be able to reminisce over the amazing things I did not fully appreciate at that time in my life. I am surrounded by amazing, caring, and ambitious people who want to see me succeed. At times, I feel unworthy of being where I am, the opportunities I’ve been given, and the care my peers provide for me—I start feeling lost and alone. My hope is as time passes, I will have a moment of uplifting reflection on the progress I made in the my present time, similarly as I did while simply listening to “Nemo Egg.”

The time I spent reflecting on my past was calming and freeing. I reminded myself I currently have an enormous potential to steer my life in whatever direction I want due to the opportunities available and the guidance of others around me. I am anxious if I will be able to progress in these upcoming years to reach a point in which I can satisfactorily reflect on the work I put in to achieve my accomplishments. With this in the back of my mind, I hope I can continually recognize my good days were in the past but I am also living them now!

Hugh and me in Washington D.C.