It's been over a year since I last posted, and still shocked that I'm an OMS-II and am on my last unit of didactics (neurology – yippee, jk, it's challenging but so interesting). I glance at my previous blog post on November 2021 and chuckle as I finish reading. It's crazy to think didactics are almost over, and the dreaded "B" word – boards – are right around the corner.
Since my last post, by the grace of God, I have finished my first year of medical school. I had the privilege of going on a Spring break trip to Denver with my college best friends. I went to the Philippines this past summer with my family, which was much-needed (posts coming soon). I had a chance to explore different areas in the Philippines outside my family's hometown, like the beautiful beaches of Boracay and the exciting city of Bacolod.
But back to my last post, I must be honest. I was getting bogged down by the noise in medical school. During that time was our Unit 2, which was the musculoskeletal system, our first "real" unit of medical school since Unit 1 was a unique mash-up unit. I told myself I wouldn't compare myself to the other students in my class, and I still found myself comparing. I thought I had gotten over this part of myself before medical school. Still, sadly there were moments when my old habit of comparison kept creeping back in. I didn't know how to study effectively, and I didn't know how to prioritize my free time. I spent my weekends trying to catch up and felt terrible when hanging out with my friends or family, knowing I should be studying.
Thankfully since then, I've made some changes that have brought remarkable results and some aches and pains along the way. I've cultivated my existing friendships and deepened my current medical school friendships. I've also lost and been hurt by some friendships along the way. It's crazy how medical school sometimes feels like high school and how challenging it is to maintain healthy adult friendships. I've learned to lean in on my support system a LOT – you know who you are. Thank you.
I learned to effectively study and be okay with taking days off to spend time with my family and friends. My work-life balance isn't perfect, but I am learning to prioritize it before entering an even busier part of the medical school journey – rotations, residency, and attending life. I learned to be okay with not studying all the time and that self-care is vital on this lifelong journey of medicine. I became comfortable with not knowing everything there is to know about a subject and just doing my best. I've learned to not have as much “fomo” when I don't get invited to or get to attend significant life events due to school. Lastly, I've accepted that medical school can be so lonely at times and how much I cannot do this without the grace of God guiding me.
Learning about the human body has been such a unique and humbling experience. Each intricate part of this journey has been another way for me to appreciate God's amazingness. He designed every aspect of our body and how it works. Being a Christian in medical school has had its own set of challenges but learning to trust God in a more profound way has been truly vital for my growth in my faith. Getting plugged into a local church, CMDA and having accountability church buddies has been great.
Yeah, not every day is fabulous, and some days are more challenging than others. Still, I am grateful and blessed to be stressing about neurology and boards. I learned to cultivate a heart of thankfulness and remind myself how past me prayed about getting into medical school and living this current dream.
Lastly, I learned to make time for hobbies. Cooking has become a hobby that I prioritize and a new joy in my life. I've been trying to perfect my Filipino sinigang recipe and learn how to make other types of cuisines and other healthier and cheaper options. I'm excited to share my cooking endeavors with you and hopefully start posting recipes.
I'm entering a season of board studying, which is frankly daunting. Regardless, I know God is still in control, and it will all be okay. I am excited about the growth I experienced this past year and look forward to the development and challenges that boards will bring me. Please keep my classmates and me in your prayers as I enter this new season of life.
Until next time,
The girl with upside down dimples
I remember re-reading the email that was sent to junk mail - an email I almost missed. I was accepted into medical school. Finally. This was what I wanted for years and a surge of emotions flooded me.
It felt so surreal.
One by one I called my friends and recorded their reactions as their eyes lightened up after hearing the exciting news. It felt like a dream until I told my parents. I came downstairs and handed them the email that I printed out while my sister recorded. My mom screamed with my dad - who didn't even read the paper btw he said he just knew what it said hahahah. All the tears, hard work, sacrifices were worth it for the look of pride and joy in my parents eyes. This was the moment we all have been praying for.
Flashforward a little over a year later, and I have finished two units in medical school. It's only been four months but it feels like I've been here for ages. Classmates turned into friends who turned into family. I have met people from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds and have been in awe since the day I started. I have fallen more in love with medicine and the people it has brought to me. So many amazing people from different places and backgrounds with the same passion for medicine. Wild.
Although it has been an amazing experience so far, there are numerous times where I come home emotionally drained after a long day of classes and studying. I've shed so many tears from mourning the life that I used to have, the friendships I have lost and the overwhelming amount of information that I feel like I can't grasp. I constantly feel behind and ten steps behind everyone. I don't have a background in anatomy which makes structures lab more challenging to learn. My prior background of public health feels like it serves no purpose but a great conversation starter on what's happening around the world with COVID-19 and vaccines. Regardless, I know I'll be a physician that is able to not only help my patients, but also help their entire community - a phrase that I continually say to myself when I feel less than.
It's crazy how the insecurities I thought I had overcome still manage to creep up. Insecurities of not feeling adequate, not being smart enough, not learning enough for my patients in the future lurk in the dark corners of my mind. It's so easy to burnout and be pessimistic while in medical school. Easy to fall into imposter syndrome. I went to my best friend's wedding recently and those I talked to were so impressed that I was going to be a physician one day. I smiled, trying to hide the fact that it's not always as glamorous as people think. Nobody saw the dark circles or the mental breakdowns or the loneliness that studying medicine comes with.
Despite all of this, I am so humbled and grateful to be here. It is a blessing and I try my best to be grateful even when all I want to do is complain.
With Thanksgiving now over, I reflect back on how thankful I am to be living the dream that I always thought was unobtainable. I wasn't accepted into medical school the first time around, and it definitely has given me a new perspective on medical school on the days where I am frustrated and discouraged.
I am thankful to be living the dream even though the bags under my eyes are darker and deeper and sometimes the stress overwhelming. I am grateful for my family who always pick up my random Facetime calls when I'm missing them and who happily show me my cats and dog at home. I am thankful for my parents and sister's words of encouragement, especially my mom's Tagalog phrases of encouragement that manage to make me laugh. Managing friendships have been difficult while in school and there are loved ones I feel I drifted from in a short amount of time, but regardless, the ones who are still here and check on me are what helps keep me grounded. I am blessed to have friends who are patient when I don't respond to their texts or calls and who happily pick up when I call them during my breaks from school and the little free time I have. Lastly, I'm grateful for my study group and friends I have made here so far that walk through this journey with me.
Physicians and medical students always talk about how challenging it is to have a life outside medical school and it's definitely something I am learning to navigate. Still - something I learned these past two units is that life goes on and doesn't stop when you're in school. Friends have given birth, gotten engaged or married, and have bought their own houses. Meanwhile, I've been memorizing the innervations and blood supply of the lower limbs of the body. Hahaha, anyway. During Unit 2, I still managed to come out with my family and celebrate my dad's birthday - a special milestone since he had heart surgery this past year and stood by my best friend while she married the love of her life. I know I could always be studying but have managed to become more comfortable and not feel as guilty doing life with my friends and family.
Through it all, God has been so faithful. I feel so blessed and grateful that I am finally walking in God's calling for my life. This transition of medical school and moving to a new city has been a whirlwind but I am thankful that despite all the changes - He is never changing. New and old friends come and go and they may break my heart, but He is always there for me to lean on even during the times I feel like I neglect Him. Thankfully I have found a local church in the area and a dear friend to go with and encourage me in my faith.
I aim to continue to cultivate a heart of gratefulness even when it's not Thanksgiving season. After all, this is the blessing that I've been praying for for years. I am humbled to be here to have the ability to serve others and will do my best to not take it for granted. I hope to continue writing in this blog as my medical journey progresses and encourage those who are going through the same process and give a new perspective to those who are not.
The girl with upside down dimples, aka your favorite OMS-I student
One of the first questions they asked us when I started my Master of Public Health program was "What is public health?" My fingers typed swiftly as I discreetly googled "Public health definition" and looked around, hoping nobody would catch me. After all, my undergraduate degree was in public health, and I couldn't give a straightforward answer. Two years later, I reflect on my experience as an MPH student in the middle of a pandemic and define what public health means to me.
At the beginning of our program, one of our assignments was to "pretend" that a meningitis outbreak was happening. We were the public health professionals in charge of handling the issue. My classmates and I would sigh as we submitted yet another assignment on what seemed like common sense tasks at the time. Make sure what you share with the public is correct and evidence-based, gain the public's trust, and make sure we don't stigmatize those who have the disease. The semester came to an end, and we thought that was the end of that. Little did we know that what we "experienced" will be coming to life and seeing how sometimes what we learned was not always what we saw unfold when it came to the pandemic.
In the spring semester of our first year, we started taking courses for our concentration, mine being Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences. Before transitioning to Zoom, one of our professors told us about his contingency plan of continuing the course online if the virus came to the United States and everything shut down. We smiled apprehensively and secretly thought that it would not be needed. Then it became March, and we finished our first exam in one of our most challenging classes. Excited about our upcoming spring break, we all waved to each other with our sleep-deprived eyes and said, "See you later - have a great break!" And that was it - my last memory of an in-person class at the school of public health and the last time I saw some of my classmates in person.
This past year has been challenging to say the least. Still, this pandemic exposed to millions of people globally how vital public health is. It showed the gaps and inequalities in our healthcare system. The pandemic exposed which countries valued public health and were better prepared to face the outcome and protect the health of their citizens and essential workers. This experience has taught us to value mundane things and never take them for granted again. More importantly, it has shown how genuinely resilient humans are and how willing we are to adapt and continue and cultivate our social connections.
I had the privilege of learning with my classmates online my last year and graduate in person with an MPH this May. Ironically, our cohort became closer after the uncomfortable transition and navigating our way through Zoom and lots of GroupMe messages. It was funny since some of our classmates did not meet in person until actual graduation, yet we all were able to take class photo. It's crazy how shared experiences truly bond humans together, even if we never saw each other in person.
If you were to ask me what public health is now - I can confidently say I am no longer googling the answer these days. For me, public health is essential. It means protecting and promoting the health of people and communities, whether it is in the workplace or at home. Public health means caring for and protecting the health of others. Public health is vaccines, seat belts, and safety standards. Public health comes in all shapes and forms - I dare you to look around. With so many lives lost and affected, I pray and hope that we all learned a valuable lesson. Public health should continue to be valued and highly prioritized to be better prepared for the future.
Sincerely and Gig 'Em,
The girl with upside down dimples, MPH
P.S. I would like to say a special thank you to my family for their support these past two years. Thank you to my friends, classmates and professors who enriched my experience and made me proud to be an Aggie.
January not only started with a new year, but also a new decade so it only makes sense that I've been reflecting right? Ten years flew by so fast especially since I started the previous decade as a 13 year old 8th grader with teenage acne. Fast forward 10 years later, and here I am at 23... a graduate student with slightly less (adult) acne. Hahaha. I reflect back and realize that so much has changed obviously since I was 13. Throughout this past decade, I have learned so much not only about myself, but about how truly faithful God is. I have grown so much since then (not physically hahaha still short) and I wanted to share 10 thing I learned in the past 10 years:
1. You will not always vibe with everyone... and that's okay.
This definitely took a while for me to accept especially because I always felt like I had to be everyone's friend. Because of that, I was such a people pleaser growing up and felt like I always had to hide a part of myself that didn't want to "weird" people out or have to act a certain way so certain people would like me. But honestly, there were just some people that no matter how hard I tried... we just didn't vibe well. I never felt like I could be myself around them and it was so exhausting, especially when I did find people who I could be completely myself around and loved me for me. As I became older, I came to a realization that it's not the quantity of friends, but truly the quality of friends you have...and I have some pretty high quality friends if I say so myself.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others.
I elaborated on this a bit during a blog post I posted a while back about not comparing myself to others because my journey in life is different (so you should check it out). But I also learned not to compare myself to others regarding appearance. Growing up in a predominantly German town... I never felt like I met everyone's standards of "beauty". I felt like nobody ever had a "crush" on me in high school or thought I was "beautiful". Hahaha. It sound silly writing it out, but it's true. I was this dark haired, brown-skinned Filipino girl who had a round button nose and was super short. I was never asked to go to a dance and I always found myself dancing to "Big Green Tractor" by Jason Aldean (this is still a jam btw) with a friend because nobody would ask me to dance. I didn't have blue-eyes, pretty tan skin and blonde hair and I would always compare myself to those girls growing up. It really wasn't until started attending UT where there was so much diversity to where I realized...wow there are different types of beauty and mine is different than everyone else's and that's okay. Someone's beauty does not mean the absence of your own... and that "you're pretty....for an Asian" isn't a compliment.
3. You are more than your failures and successes.
In the past 10 years, I have graduated high school and college and now I am getting a master's in public health. I have had my fair share of accomplishments, trophies, and ribbons... but I've also had my fair share of failures. At the end of the day though, I had to accept that my identity weren't in those things. I am more than just my failures or successes. I am not my GPA, my degrees, or my achievements and I'm not my failures. I am a child of God and He loves me not for what I have done, but for who I am and I couldn't be more thankful for that.
4. Never settle.
I have learned through my friendships and relationships that I should never settle for anything less than what I deserve. I will never settle for a job that isn't my dream just because it has been a difficult journey. I will never settle for a relationship just because I am feeling lonely or because everyone around me is in one. A pastor from a conference I went to said to "never settle for anything less than God's best in your life" and I have never forgotten it since. I do not want to settle for a job that I am not passionate, or pursue other things because it's "easier" or be with someone who doesn't pursue or value me.
Philippians 1:6 "There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears".
5. Let God close doors in your life and be okay with it.
There were loads of times where I would pray to God asking if He could open doors for me in my life...but then I realized, in order to open some doors, He will have to close some. Then I was "shook" and would be hurt because He started closing doors in my life - whether that be opportunities that didn't happen, or relationships and friendships that ended. And honestly, although it hurt sometimes, I learned that it is okay because He has far better plans for me than what I imagined for myself anyway.
Ephesians 3:20 says "God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us."
6. What's coming is better than what is gone.
I am a person who tends to walk down memory lane a couple of times and when I walk down there... I sometimes tend to stay there. Then I start thinking about my regrets or past choices or "maybe I should've just done this instead of that" or the "what ifs" in life. Then I realized, what's happened already happened and I shouldn't dwell on my past mistakes or regrets. What the Lord has in store for me, is so much better and I am excited to see what it is.
Jeremiah 29:11 "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for."
7. Friends will come and go, but that's okay. Those who want to stay in your life will make an effort.
Aside from my family, my friends are so important to me and I have so much love for them - new friends or old. I try to be a great friend to my friends and it was a hard pillow to swallow the past 10 years to accept that I had to let go of friendships that weren't good for me or friends that became too "busy" for me and would stop making efforts to reach out or answer me. I believe people will make time for things and people that are important for them and friendships should be a two-way street. I get it - everyone is busy, but it doesn't take that much effort to shoot a text or call someone to check in on them once in a while. You deserve a friendship that pushes you to be the best version of yourself and a friendship where you do not have to guess where you stand.
8. Take it one day at a time.
I used to worry too much into the "future" and then the "future" started happening and it was not exactly what I pictured at all. If you would've told my 13 year old self that she would be getting an MPH and not in medical right now...she would not be very excited I tell you. LOL. It's okay, because 23 year old me has learned to just trust God and give it all to Him and that His plans are better than my own. At the end of the day, why would I stress myself out and worry too much when it's not going to add anything to my life?
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
9. You have nothing to prove to anyone.
Out of all 10 things I have learned, this one was by far the hardest to learn and what I still struggle with sometimes. As the first child of two hardworking immigrants who moved here to give their children a brighter future, I always felt I had to perform because I didn't want to disappoint them. I felt like I had to be the best at everything and to strive to be the perfect daughter, sister, friend and student. But what I really had to accept is that I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I do not have to "prove" to anyone that I am "good enough" or "smart enough" to achieve my dreams. There will be times where I miss the mark and that's okay too. I may have taken a detour towards my plan on becoming a physician, but don't look down or pity me because my path is different from yours. My parents are proud of me and will love me no matter what. I do not have to "perform" for anyone nor do I have to explain myself to anyone. If I am pursuing what God has for me, who are you to give your opinion about it?
Romans 8:31 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
10. Love yourself.
Last but not least, l really have learned to love myself, these past 10 years. Like actually love myself. I love my fun-sized stature, my Filipino button nose, my super distinct loud voice and everything quirk in between. I have learned to love my strengths and imperfections. Honestly, it has taken a while to achieve this confidence in myself, but when you really think about it... God, the creator of the universe... loves me and thinks I am the apple of His eye. How could I not love myself?! I am His treasure. Sure, there are days where it's harder to love myself, but I am so proud of how far I've come along into loving the person looking back at me in the mirror.
As you can see, I have learned lots in 10 years and I have yet to learn so much more these next 10 years. I have my highs and lows just like everyone and there are times when I am a hot mess... but hey, who isn't sometimes?
So cheers to what God has in store for me and you this next decade! I am looking forward to seeing who I become within the next 10 years.
The girl with upside down dimples
Yay!!! God is soo good y'all. I finished my first semester of grad school. :-) It's been a crazy couple of months, but I am going to give y'all a quick recap.
First of all, grad school is sooo much different from undergrad, especially with this program I'm in where our classes were unique this semester. I had one class that was only 1 week long, 1 class for 6 weeks, another class for 6 weeks, and a class for my concentration, Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, which lasted the whole semester. It was definitely an adjustment for sure because I didn't have a lot of tests - just lots of writing and assignments. Overall, I liked what I learned, especially in my concentration class, and I felt like I had an advantage because I did graduate with a B.S. in Public Health so much of it was a review.
Grad school was an opportunity to reinvent myself. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really is never too late to reinvent yourself or make a change. I told myself a while back that I would start using my "real" first name, Ressiel Nicole, when I feel like I'm "grown". I mean I'm kind of grown now right? I'm in grad school after all, and I worked a full-time job right after college. As most of you know, or don't, I usually go by Nicole... all my friends from HS, college, and family have always called me that, so it was certainly an adjustment for me. I know it sounds funny, but I actually did start going by my real first name this semester.
It was all fun and games until I had some people calling me Ressiel Nicole, some call me Nicole, and others who call me Ressiel and then I felt like I was going through an identity crisis. LOL. It's all cool though, because all three of those names are the same little Filipino girl and honestly, I'm okay with it. I started playing more of the ukelele and used that as my "study breaks" and finally had the courage to post it on my Snapchat stories and Instagram because I wanted to be more comfortable with that aspect of my identity. Now, some people know me as the "girl who makes up songs about our classes", hahahah.
Speaking of singing, I finally also joined the worship team at my church!! I was in the worship team in high school and college, so being up onstage felt so familiar to me...almost relieving. I get to sing for Jesus, help lead people into worship, AND watch people worship Him (which is honestly my favorite thing ever)! There's just something so beautiful when you watch people become so vulnerable to worship and love on Jesus and feel His presence and His love for them back.
My MPH cohort is so small - about 86 people - and it honestly reminds me of high school sometimes. My graduating high school class was about 318 people, but since the classes here were smaller, for me, I was able to learn better and speak up. I have made lots of new friends from all over the U.S. and the world!! Honestly, I really loved meeting new people and getting to know them and their background. It's crazy to me how some of them just graduated from undergrad while others took a gap year or two like me, and some are full on grown and are married and have kids!!
My classes were also an adjustment to me because before every class started they would say "Howdy" to get the class's attention which was new. Also there were plenty of "TU" jokes to go around which I never really understood...I guess the rivalry is still there from one side huh?
I went to my first and only midnight yell during the semester as well with my friends and let me tell ya, it was intense. Especially since many of my friends and I didn't go to undergrad here and we thought they would actually teach us the yells, but nope. We caught on eventually I think? It was still a fun experience though and I would definitely recommend going at least once. Aggies go hard, I tell y'all.
Speaking of, Aggie football games are a great way to bond. I went to an Aggie game when I wasn't a student last year, but it's so different when you are actually a student. Forgive me Bevo (Hook 'Em forever tho). I ended up actually going to two games, which is way more than I ever did at UT (I only went to one per year). It's still crazy to me though, how Aggies stand the entire time.
I also had a chance to go to my first hockey game ever which was intense...but I loved it. It was a game against UT btw (who I was obviously rooting for b/c I'm loyal). In a sea of maroon, I was the one of the two people wearing burnt orange, but hey! I made friends with the parents of one of the UT hockey players because I just started talking to them - a great bonding experience. I never realized hockey was such an intense sport and they would clap and cheer if someone got shoved against the glass. Although UT lost, it was still a really good game because A&M only won by 1 point.
Since my classes were at 8 am, grad school turned me into a morning person. I've definitely valued sleep more way than I did in undergrad, so I try to be more productive during the day and try not to stay up too late at night. It also helped when I started training for work and I had to be there starting at 6:30 am :-) Now I actually don't mind getting up early just because I have so much more time to do stuff now!! Crazy!!
Fall came around the corner and pretty soon I was decorating pumpkins and celebrating with my family and friends. Fall has become one of my favorite seasons because 1. It's not as hot in Texas kind of and 2. There's so many fall activities that are just so wholesome and cute like pumpkin patch photos, decorating pumpkins, dressing up for Halloween, handing out candy to the neighborhood kids and being told I was a "big kid" and overeating lots of candy!!
I learned so much about friendship this semester - not only because I had to make new friends (again), but also how to balance and keep old friends. As a kid, nobody really tells you that adult friendships are kind of hard. It's a two-way street and sometimes people drift apart and it's normal. Those who want to stay in your lives will find a way to stay in there. I had to learn that this semester especially because there were some friendships I had to let go of since it wasn't a two-way street anymore. I know we are all busy with full-time jobs, families, school and everything else, but it doesn't hurt sometimes to check in on your friends to see how they are doing. It doesn't have to be an everyday or even an every week thing - but checking in on them now and then and actually responding to their messages or calls goes a long way. Putting in effort in a friendship even if it's a "Hey how are you?" or a "Hey miss you!!" truly matters and no matter how "busy" people are - people make time for people and things that are important to them.
Now back to the recap- my family, including my aunt and uncle, and I went to the Renaissance festival too which brought back so many memories from high school when I would go with my theatre class! It was my parents' and aunt's first time and we had so much fun eating turkey legs and seeing all the people dressed up and watching the performances.
The most valuable thing that I've learned this semester is to really just live in the present and to remember that God has me where I need to be. Sometimes I tend to worry about the future too much or look back on the past and wish I could've done things different or better. God has really taught me to enjoy the present and take each day as it comes. I know it sounds really simple, but for me, it was kind of challenging at times. At first, I was really apprehensive about starting grad school here and not really too excited about the upcoming two years, but I had to change my mentality and be more appreciative of this season in my life. After all, not everyone gets the opportunity to pursue graduate school. I may not have imagined my life to be where it is right now, but I am so thankful to be here and I'm here for whatever God has in store for me.
Matthew 6:34 says, "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." This verse has been such a great reminder for me to pay attention to what God is doing right now in my life, the blessings in my life, and all the people He put in there.
Thanksgiving came so fast and pretty soon the semester was over. I had the opportunity to attend two friendsgivings which were a blast because honestly pot lucks are my favorite. My friend and I actually even made a turkey for the first time ever!! It was delicious btw. I had a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and my out-of-state friends who couldn't go home for the break. We ate lots of delicious Filipino food as usual! Spending Thanksgiving with my family made me realize how truly blessed I am that I am able to spend it with them, so I'm glad we were able to be a second family to my friends who couldn't go home.
And just like that it became my favorite time of the year - Christmas time! My family had our tree up since early November because we're Filipinos and you know in the Philippines they are pumped for Christmas starting in September... so if you think about it we were behind. My family and I have a tradition of driving around to see Christmas lights and this year we also attended Christmas in the park which was super fun and family-friendly!
I love this time of the year for many reasons, but especially because of Christmas parties. My parents' life group had a Christmas party with our church family and we just had our annual Brazos Valley Filipino American Community (BVFAC) Christmas party as well! It was a "Pinoy Texas" Christmas theme so we were all dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls. I'm proud to say after 10+ years of living in Texas... I finally own a pair of cowboy boots! Haha.
My heart is truly full and I am just so thankful for everything God has helped me through this semester. I have made amazing friends in grad school that have made this semester so much fun, and although I miss my close friends from high school and undergrad, I am cheering them on because I know they are up to wonderful things!! Being at home with my family has been great and I know I say this every time, but it has made me appreciate my parents and sister even more. I'm grateful for my church family, new friends and old, and I'm super excited for what God has in store for me next semester and 2020!!
The girl with upsidedown dimples
They say comparison is the "thief" of joy. With that said, I was tired of being robbed... so I learned to stop comparing myself to others and became content with what I have.
When I was younger, it was comparing myself to others based on how I looked. I mean - being an acne covered, braces-wearing, tan, Filipino girl in a small town full of beautiful blonde-haired and blue-eyed people... how could you not?? With time, I learned to stop comparing myself to others based on looks and accepted the way God created me. That's when I truly began seeing myself in God's eyes and realizing how beautiful I am in His sight. (Also shout out to 1 Samuel 16:7 for that phase of my life).
But now, that I'm older, it's different. I see former classmates in medical school/getting interviews and although I am truly excited and rooting for them, I can't help but be a bit sad and frustrated for myself. I find myself asking, "God... why can't that be me?" or "God that should be me right now, why am I not there yet?" I see friends and former classmates getting into relationships/engaged/married, having kids, buying houses, or succeeding in their career and can't help but wonder if I am behind compared to everyone else. A part of me is just so antsy to get to that point of my life where I can say "Here I am, I made it." I just get amused thinking about it because being in your 20's is wild. So many people are in such different phases of their lives, and honestly it's okay... there is no "right" or "wrong" place to be.
Social media doesn't help either, especially with everyone's picture perfect Instagram photos, but I can't completely blame social media because after all - I do use it. Instead of putting the blame on anyone or anything, I made a conscious effort to stop comparing myself to others.
1. I remind myself that God's timing is perfect.
Just because I don't have all those things now, doesn't mean I won't have those things in the future. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven". God's plan for me is far more than what I can imagine, so who am I to rush Him in His timing for my life? I tell myself, maybe I don't have those things right now because I am not ready, and I am learning to be okay with that. God is preparing me for the next season of my life and He is still working on me.
2. I remind myself that everyone has their own path in life.
Each one of us is different, so obviously God has unique plans for each of us individually. Focus on your own path, run your own race, and things will fall into place. My path to medical school, having a family or a successful career does not and will not look like others' paths. I have learned to accept that. I know I've said it on this blog a million times, but Jeremiah 29:11 is still true today. "For the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future." His plans for your life may be different than other people's lives, and that's okay because trust in knowing that His plans for you are great.
3. Cheer those ahead of you as you become inspired, not jealous.
As much as social media can be a debby downer at times, I love its power to connect us. I love seeing people I know achieving amazing things in life and celebrating the milestones with them (whether close or from afar). Whether I am close with them or not, it truly makes my heart happy to see people succeed. Although I was a theatre kid in high school, deep down I know I am a cheerleader because I am always cheering for my family, friends and old classmates/acquaintances. It's always comforting knowing that God is not a respecter of persons meaning that what He can do for others, He can also do for you. As Acts 10:34 says, "Peter fairly exploded with his good news: 'It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites!" Your time will come, and while you're waiting, be grateful for what God is doing in others' lives, because He will do the same for you. We need to cheer each other on and encourage each other, not cultivate jealousy.
4. If you're going to compare yourself to anyone, compare yourself to the old you.
I don't know about you, but I am so grateful that God has done some work in me. True, I still have a long way to go, but I am so grateful that I am not the person I was before. I compare myself to how I used to be and honestly, I can say that I am proud of who I am becoming. You may not be where you want to be, but it is okay to look back and see how far you've come. It's okay to be proud of who you are and all that you have accomplished, because after all...you did that.
5. Learn to be content.
During this season of my life, this has played a huge role. I am learning to be content with where I am in my life and enjoying the present. I tend to look so far into the future and don't really take time to enjoy the present and be fully present in my life sometimes. I try to think of things that I am grateful for that day and dwell on it. Sometimes I get so caught up in life, that I don't stop to thank God for the blessings I have in my life and realize that I truly have so much to be grateful for. So whether it's the hot cup of coffee you drank this morning, or making it to work or class on time, whether it's something big or small...there is always something to be thankful for. With Thanksgiving coming up, I know people become more "thankful", but honestly we don't need a season or a day to realize that there is a lot to be thankful for, ya know?
With that being said, I truly hope that you learn to stop comparing yourself to others. It is easier said than done, but being aware of it is the first step to freeing yourself from the pattern of comparison. It's okay to take a break from social media if you feel that is what causes it, I mean I do that all the time. Just know that are you fearfully and wonderfully made by our God and that you are so loved.
The girl with upside down dimples