This past semester definitely has had its ups and downs but I think the main theme of how I felt was struggling with the idea that the future is so close. Every friend that I've talked to would discuss the MCAT, a gap year, their grades, and everything that had to do with the future. I could sense their anxiety just by the look in their eyes as they rambled on about everything that worried them. From my friends who struggle with classes to my friends who have amazing grades, I have seen each one discuss their future with hope, but with slight fear of the future. I mean who can blame them? Nobody likes the fear of the unknown. It is something that I've definitely battled with too. Will I be able to raise my GPA high enough to be competitive for medical school? Will my MCAT score be high enough the first time I take it? What will I do during my gap year? What am I going to do after college? There have been so many questions lurking around my head to the point where it gets overwhelming. However, I have been trying to live with the idea that I told my freshman year self a long time ago-- take it one day at a time. It's easier said than done especially since I'm a planner. I plan way too far into the future and I stress out over things that I can't control. So what's the point in ruining my youthful face by worrying so much?
In all reality though, I don't blame anyone for having so much anxiety about the future. Nobody wants to be a disappointment to not only their families, but also to themselves. At the end of our four years here, we want to walk out and be proud of what we did here and what we accomplished. We obviously work hard and we're surrounded by people who are jut as intense-- I mean, we go to the University of Texas-- where students are 24/7 stu(dying) and building their resumes, volunteering, shadowing, involved in research, extracurriculars, etc. We're surrounded by this atmosphere that everyone has their lives together, when in reality, everyone is fighting their own battle. I couldn't help but be anxious at times comparing myself to those around me.
That's when this verse comes into my head from Philippians 4:6-7:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
I read that verse and it made me feel all happy and warm inside, but I'm not going to lie that sometimes I forget. I forget to present my requests to God and I forget to talk to Him. However, I am so thankful that His grace is so good and He still loves me regardless. I know that at the end of the day, my future is in God's hands. I'm just going to do my best in school and give it my all and hope for the best because I am tired of worrying.
Also I decided that I will be blogging more often instead of my regular end of the semester updates on my life. So stay tuned with that! This semester, I didn't really go out that much and try different places like I usually do, but I'm going to make up for it this summer when I'm studying for my MCAT and of course, my senior year. My family came to visit me and I finally had the chance to take them to Mt. Bonnell and we gazed in awe at the beautiful houses and the sunset. I also took them to Pho Please for the first time and I can definitely see why people go all the way to Riverside to try some. 10/10 would recommend especially on a cold day.
One coffeeshop that I did check off my list was Cherrywood Coffeehouse! I really liked the lighting there, but it didn't really have the coffee shop vibe that I wanted since you can order food as well. My friend Sandra and I ended up getting queso because everything smelled so good and we ended up hungry!
One of my favorite parts of the semester was definitely trying out the famous Voodoo Doughnuts!! Fair warning, it's cash only so I had a chance to sadly use an ATM for the first time. :( ATM fees are rough, but at least the donuts were cute! They were super sweet and super filling so you definitely have to be in the mood to eat it.
My friends and I took a quick road trip to Six Flags and ended up eating at this all-you-can-eat sushi place called Kobe in San Marcos. I NEVER ate that much sushi in my life. They make you pay for each piece that you don't finish so my friends and I ended up eating about 30 pieces each. We were still hungry after the first round of sushi, but it took them like an hour to bring us the second round and they gave us ones we didn't order. Regardless, the ones we did eat were really good though and I definitely want to come back again mostly because I'm the only one in my family that eats sushi.
Austin finally opened up a Sprinkles ATM and I finally got to try one as well! It was really sweet and kind of heavy, but I like the idea of getting a cupcake from a machine. I still prefer Hey Cupcake over Sprinkles ATM though. The photo on the left is like their Irish cupcake and the other one is their red velvet cupcake!
My small group and I went and had brunch at True Food Kitchen and 10/10 would recommend! I got their turkey wrap with a side of sweet potatoes and kale salad and it was delicious. The atmosphere was really nice as well because their kitchen was open and you can see the chefs preparing your meals with fresh fruits and vegetables. They also had a lot of vegan and gluten free options as well.
Oh I also got elected as Director of Social Events for Texas Public Health so I'm pretty excited for that as well! I had a chance to participate in my second Longhorn Run with my mentees. Somehow they all agreed to do with it me?? We did the 5k and it was definitely a great team bonding moment since nobody really trained for it and we kind of ran/jogged/walked. Haha.
For spring break, my family and I took a spontaneous trip to NOLA!! Guess who ate a lot of seafood and beignets? ME. But seriously, all I ate there was seafood and it was sooo good. We were only there for a couple of days but we took a boat ride and explored the Insectarium and Aquarium. My sister and I even ate a chocolate chip cookie that had a cricket on it, yum!
As many of you know, I go to at least one concert per school year (I really need to go to more, but concert tickets aren't cheap). However, I had the chance to see Young the Giant with my musical soulmate/freshman year roomie Amanda and her brothers! By far one of the best concerts I've been to. They had so much energy and they just sounded amazing live. Their new album was so good and their throwbacks put me in the feels. I would be lying if I said that I didn't listen to them nonstop after that. It was really cool when I found out that the lead singer Sameer used to go to Standford and was pre-med, but dropped out to pursue his music career. It just shows that it definitely is worth trying to pursue your passion whether it's being a rockstar or being a health professional (aka me and like all my friends).
Also shoutout to my XA family (especially my resource group and small group) for always being my second family and for always loving me (and providing food). Thanks for being my go-to peeps when I need prayers for exams and everything in between.
Junior year was definitely one for the books. I'm grateful for my friends and my wonderful boyfriend who were always there to listen and were always down to get wings with me! Last but not least, I'm super grateful for my amazing parents and sister who are my number one fans and continue to pray for and support me throughout my journey as a pre-med student. Without their sacrifice, I would not be able to attend UT or pursue my dreams!! Love you all.
Hello senior year!!
P.S. I intend on blogging more as a study break from my MCAT studying this summer so stay tuned for that. I'm going to be trying more coffee shops, restaurants and food trucks with my friends!
I'm a junior in college. That statement is exciting yet nerve-racking at the same time. Saying that time flies is so cliche, but I feel like it's flown even faster this semester because I had an exam or a paper due every week. Next thing you know it's Christmas break and another semester was finished! This semester wasn't as academically stressful compared to my other semesters, but I definitely think I grew the most as a person. This fall, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a TIP Mentor as well as a Small Group Leader in XA. Both roles really made me question myself at times and made me wonder if I was even qualified to be doing both things yet alone one. It was challenging yet so much fun mentoring the amazing people I met and watching them grow as students and as people. One of my favorite moments as a mentor was definitely when one of them would text me about getting a good grade on an exam/quiz/project! Being a small group leader was definitely something. I didn't think I was capable of helping the beautiful ladies that were in my small group grow in their relationship with Christ because all I saw were my flaws in my relationship with Him. How was I supposed to help them stay faithful when at times I would fall short? However, God constantly reminded me that He is there to help me through it all and that His will be done and not mine. I really enjoyed getting to know those beautiful ladies and I'm thankful for their hearts and willingness to open themselves up for what God has for them.
As many people know, I'm a Public Health major, pre-med at UT Austin (Hook 'Em!). Being a student at UT is challenging enough as it is (we're ranked like 30 in the world and number one for Texas public schools), but being pre-med adds another load to that. I commend those that somehow have it all together-- with a 4.0, social life, and a decent sleep schedule. But in reality, does anyone actually have that? If you do, please feel free to contact me and share me your secrets because I am super impressed!! I say every semester that I continue to learn how to trust God even more, but it's crazy how much that gets tested the semester after that. After a visit with a health professions advisor, lots of prayer and talks with my parents, I decided this year to take a gap year instead of applying to medical school this summer like the traditional applicant. It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but for me, it shook my world. This isn't what I planned and it wasn't what I wanted. Although it's not the path I imagined for myself, I just had to really let go of it and trust God that His plans for me are for more than I've imagined. It reminded me of one of my favorite verses.
Proverbs 16:9 says "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." It was a gentle reminder that at the end of the day, although I have set my dreams and goals, I know that I should continue to grow my trust in Him because He's in charge.
I constantly had to remind myself that I am good enough to achieve all of my goals and dreams one day. It may not be the way that I planned or expected, but I know that I will get there one day. More importantly, I realized I could not do it alone. I need to completely and wholeheartedly trust God and let Him use me for whatever He has planned for me. I also will not be able to achieve any of it without the unconditional love and support from my family, especially my parents. I am grateful for my parents who support my dreams and are always encouraging me. I'm also so thankful for all of the friends I have met while in Austin who constantly encourage me and make me laugh. Thank you for the late night study dates, food runs, and long conversations about anything and everything.
Okay, enough of what I've learned. Let's talk about my little adventures in Austin this semester! I don't think I did very much compared to other semesters, but I did get to visit and try new places! Around October, I went to Barton Hill Farms to take pictures at their pumpkin patch!! It was my first time at a pumpkin patch so you bet I took a bunch of pictures after we found our perfect pumpkin. It was a really cute environment that included a corn maze and lots of family friendly events! One of my favorite parts of that trip was eating a turkey leg tbh. It was also my first time carving a pumpkin and we carved a cat. Surprisingly nobody got hurt, and the cat ended up being really cute.
Every fall semester, I try to go to at least one football game! This time I went to the Baylor game and guess what? We actually won!! It was the first game that I attended where we actually won, so I now know that I'm not the bad luck charm. I'm super excited though for football season next year to see where Coach Herman will take the team. Hopefully we'll have plenty of great games like our Notre Dame game this year so it would make senior year more fun!
In October, I had a chance to attend Altitude with my Longhorn XA family. It's a North Texas district conference that involved North Texas XA campuses. I haven't attended a conference since high school so it was nice to be able to attend one again. The message that the pastor gave us was really eye opening and really changed my perspective on certain things. It was a really nice break from all of the studying to just really unplug and have my attention on Jesus. My family and I had a mini family reunion this year as well! My grandma was visiting from the Philippines and so my family from Illinois came down to send her off. It was so much fun seeing all of my cousins, aunts and uncles again because we rearely ever see each other. My family threw a going away/joint birthday party for my parents and that was pretty exciting too. There were so many people and even more delicious Filipino food at our house!
This year my friends thew our very first Friendsgiving and wow. There was so much food and they were all so good!! We even did the mannequin challenge which surprisingly turned out pretty decent and a lot harder than I thought. I'm just not capable of sitting or standing still. I think the best part of Friendsgiving was just seeing everyone and enjoying the food we brought and made together. Nobody really ate the vegetables I brought, but it's fine I guess.. Lol. But really though, it was right before Thanksgiving break and finals and it felt like I was with my Austin family. I was glad everyone was able to take the time out of their busy schedules and to just catch up/complain about our UT struggles.
My friends and I went to the carnival by Ben White Blvd and it reminded me of when I used to go to the fair in my hometown. There weren't many people so there weren't any lines and we rode several rides multiple times. Fyi, they were the spinny-make-you-dizzy rides so I got dizzy pretty fast. Luckily, I didn't puke though because I didn't have anything to eat beforehand. It was still super fun though!
When December rolled around, let's not forget the famous Mozart's light show and Trail of Lights. Of course it was a must visit as a study break for finals/post-finals!
For new places to eat/study, I had a chance to go to Bribery Bakery and Irene's. Monkey's Nest, a 24-hour coffee shop was cool too and I really liked the coffee I got from there. The vibe had a more restaurant feel instead of a coffee shop though. At Irene's I had the chicken avocado sandwich and it really good! Bribery Bakery was so aesthetically please and it was super cute, so you know I took many pictures there! The desserts at Bribery Bakery were soo delicious too. 10/10 would recommend!
Although I didn't do as much compared to other semesters, I really had a chance to develop new friendships and deepen the ones I already had. I'm grateful for my Longhorn XA family, especially my resource group and leader for being my second church family away from home. I'm thankful for my friends and my super sweet boyfriend for our late night study dates/meltdown sessions, motivational pep talks and everything in between. Last but not least, I'm so blessed to have a wonderful and amazing family that sacrifice so much so I can reach my goals. Without them, I would not be where I am today and I'm so grateful for their unconditional love and support.
Until next time!