Tag Archives: freedom

Vivid Sydney

5 Mar

via Daily Prompt: Vivid

 

I have found myself more nostalgic than usual these days, and one of the memories I find myself exploring more often is the 6 months exchange semester I spent in Australia and the freedom it brought. For the past year I have felt as if every decision concerning my life and my future was in someone else’s hands and it made me feel so weak so powerless. But in Australia, for 6 months, I, alone, was in charge of every waking moment and I pushed myself out of all my comfort zones to explore a new continent.

Continue reading

US College workload and course-work from an international perspective (Day 2 of NaBloPoMo)

2 Nov

I know this shows that i posted twice 2 today, but it’s just because i changed the time zone of my blog. I’m still going through the challenge of posting every day this month.

This is probably one of the most approached topics when being questioned about my experience at UCLA as an international student. How difficult is the school work? Is language a problem?

And, as vague or as cliché this may sound, what I have learned over the past 3 months in the US is that college is indeed what you make of it.

To begin with, in a short answer that I know many are looking for: No. College coursework is not this incredibly difficult, unachievable task. And I’m not even talking about barely passing; I am talking about getting good grades. On the other hand, it is definitely not an easy endeavour and you can always chose how hard or easy you want it to be, which is probably the appeal of a us college in which there is no fix curricula.

What do I mean by this possibility of making it as difficult or as easy as you want?

There are several aspects to it.

Firstly, and probably the most striking difference to the university system back in Europe, is the fact that you can and sometimes even must take courses from across different fields. Some of you may not know, but European universities are specialised, meaning you apply directly after highschool to medschool, to law school, to architecture school, to engineering school, to political science university, to psychology university, etc. You usually have an exam related to the subject and the coursework you will have to do in order to graduate is fixed. Should you decide to switch your career after a year you usually have to start all over at a different university compared to simply switching a major in the US. This liberty that the US college system gives you is empowering and liberating as you can explore different fields without pressure to pursue them and even get a minor in a secondary passion of yours. On the other hand it is definitely tempting and easy to choose only the easy classes, especially for the General Education requirements most colleges have. This is the first aspect in which college education is what you make of it. Challenge yourself and choose your classes based on your interests and passions or go with the flow, and choose the ones that are known to have indulgent teachers, nice TA’s and easy finals.

Continue reading

Changing my “About” page, again or My life is about to start

13 Jun

I once read a quote, I don’t really remember it, but it said something about how fast everything changes when you are young and during these days I could not agree more. I reread my “about page” as well as a post I wrote about having to change that page, and I notice I almost do not relate to the person who wrote that anymore.

I am no longer a senior, having just graduated and identify as an UCLA freshman. My focus is no longer getting into college and I am no longer stressing with applications but embarking on a journey, as cliché as that may sound.

highschool graduation

In less than 2 months I will pack my life in 2 pieces of luggage, each about 23 kg and fly toward a new life on a new continent, in new city, where I know no one and will only come home for a short period of time next year in June. I am so excited about finally starting to live my dream, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel a tiny little bit anxious. I am thrilled at the possibility of reinventing myself, meeting so many new people and cultures, forming new groups and friendships, doing a lot of extra activities, continue with my passions and simply live. I have waited so long for this moment and I cannot wait for it. Exams now seem pointless, I do not need great grades, but I am studying for them, because this is who I am, I want to be the best, and plus studying keeps me busy and makes time fly faster.

tennis

A huge part of my life until now has been tennis, and I’ve gone through a lot with and for it. Even though I was courted by some Division 1 Universities, together with my family, I decided that I would for sure get into higher ranked colleges just based on my academics and because I was senior year, tennis fell on my priorities list. The transition from international junior player to simply doing it for fun has been extremely difficult for me and I could not adjust to my new position. So, despite not playing competitions during the year, I continued to train at a slower pace but managed to rediscover  the joy of simply being on the court and thus brought a new mentality to my game.

Now, I stand at a crossroad in this area of my life. Both my trainer and I, especially after seeing some videos of UCLA girls playing matches believe I could be on the uni team. I certainly have the level required. But I could not contact the coaches there. I desperately hope that they hold try-outs or at least allow me to challenge members of the team, because I need to know if I’m not good enough for the team or if I could help them and even strengthen it. In preparation for that decision, that is no longer mine, I have started training a little bit harder again, both on and off court and will play my first tournament in almost a year next week. Fingers crossed. I didn’t tell anyone yet, but even if I don’t get on the team, I will continue to train and play at club level and will try, for one year the 10.000$ tournaments, which are the lowest category for above-18 years players. I have saved some money and plan to use it to offer me the chance to fulfill my dream. If it doesn’t work out then I will finally admit that maybe it was not meant for me and focus on something else, but I do not want to live with regrets and questions such as “What if”.

Anyway, much has changed and I am sure I will go through a life-changing process in the next few months and will keep you updated on my other areas of interest which have yet to change, other sports, languages and international politics, but for now I believe I have to go back to studying.
52 days left until my life starts 🙂

life starts now

Earlier than sunrise or Being the only one awake

27 Apr

This post comes as the answer to Today’s daily prompt, Early bird, or night owl?,  and is actually something I have long wanted to write about.

Daily Prompt: Your Time to Shine.

Ever since I can remember, I was always the first one to get up in my family. Or probably around the same time as my mother and grandmother. Meeting both of them in the kitchen at 5 am used to be our morning ritual. Perhaps it is in our genetic code to wake up at crazy morning hours but I am and will forever be grateful for this habit.

Simply put, I feel that the earlier you wake up, the longer your day is, and the more you can do.

Sunrise on the tennis court

Waking up before the sun rise or being woken by the sun rays in the summer is probably the best feeling there is. Opening the window, going out for a run when the entire town is still sleeping empowers you, makes you feel you own the world. And in a way, you do. You gain time and momentum and while you live, others miss it. At least this is the way I see it.

Continue reading

On the other end of learning (or About teaching)

4 Mar

I am currently going through a phase of transition in which I feel that I’m simply waiting, not committing to anything, not having a definite purpose. It’s a new feeling for me, who has always had a plan, a schedule and a place to be. Somehow, this is my rebellion. This is the reason I haven’t been writing, because I felt I was not doing anything important or worth sharing and because I didn’t want to turn this blog into my personal diary of daily lamentations and frustrations.

Even so, I do enjoy keeping myself busy and among all little things that have crept into my schedule, like reading, watching series, finally playing some games, going out (all things I thought I missed and wanted to experience) I finally found something to write about:

This weekend I officially became a ski instructor. Continue reading

Trusting anyone is hard after a while

15 Feb

I found it difficult to convince myself to post things here for the past couple of weeks. I felt I was a hypocrite for believing that the stuff I write has any meaning or that the writing itself- any value. I missed it, so I kept writing in my diary but I didn’t trust myself enough to publish anything.

Today, I learned that perhaps trusting somebody isn’t that bad. Having been hiding all my life, pretending, trying to elude questions and maintaining a happy appearance has hardened me. Especially after the one person I confided myself in disappointed me enormously, trust became something nobody could earn from me. All I could see were false friends waiting for the opportunity to see one of my weaknesses, to use the information I would let slip against me or to their own advantage. Slowly but surely, without me even realising I began asking myself every time I spoke: “Do they need to hear this? Does this give any of my secrets away? Could they use this?” Inevitably, I stopped giving voice to many thoughts for this fear. I was never alone, being lonely would be a hint that something was not quite right, that I might not be that happy person. But I didn’t have friends either. I got along with everybody and nobody actually suspected that I didn’t particularly hang out with somebody. I was constantly on the move, gravitating between groups but never really bonding with anyone for fear of being exposed.

Continue reading

Staying on the spot when all I want to do is run

28 Jan

I thought then the moment I would click send on all those applications on the 1st of January I would be overwhelmed by relief and could finally go on with my life. Oh, how wrong I was. All I feel is being restrained and powerless. It may sound dramatic but my future is being decided on somewhere far away and there is nothing more I can do to influence it. For somebody who has always taken pride in being in charge of her life and destiny this state of being is very unusual and comfortable. What is more, it has left me with no incentive for anything and too much time to think. No matter my grades this semester or the ones from the leaving examination everybody is stressing over, I can no longer influence where I will be in 8 months time. And the immensity of possibilities is scary. In 8 months time I could be living my dream in New York and play for a great university having the world at my feet, or I could still be stuck with my family in a city I have wanted to get away from for the last past 10 years. And all I have worked for will be in vain or will pay off.

Continue reading