“You’ve Changed”

Is typically a phrase I hear from people I haven’t seen in years.

Do people really change? I used to believe that at the core, people just don’t change, and I was tired of people telling me that they would. But looking at myself and how far I’ve come, claiming that people don’t change would be hypocritical of me.

At the core, I believe that I am the same- I still hold the same values and have the same friendly and bubbly persona. These things are ingrained into me and will be constant, just as surely as the sun rises and sets everyday. But so much has happened in the last few years; all the highs and lows have continually shaped me into the person I am and the person I aspire to be. Things that I never thought would happen in my wildest dreams have come to fruition.

I have noticed that I am different. In the way I carry myself, in the way I interact with others. I am more confident, not afraid to make use of and showcase my abilities and talents (rather than covering them up like I used to), and no longer afraid to laugh at myself. I try really hard every day to find the perfect balance between taking the high road and not letting people walk all over me, knowing when to speak up and stand up for myself. Do not mistake this for arrogance- I am still a nice person at heart. But being confident and being nice are not mutually exclusive. I am a firm believer in treating people with respect and being aware of other people’s sensitivities.

I have pushed myself further than I could have imagined going into university. Sometimes you don’t realize that you are capable of so much until you are right in the thick of it, and you realize that you are doing just that, and that this is your life, right here and right now. A small amount of ambition can propel you further than you can fathom. I try to imagine what my younger self would think of me right now, and I think she would be proud to see that I am chasing my dreams and show no signs of stopping.

“You’ve changed.”

But is that really a bad thing? Did you expect me to remain static all these years? We as humans are continuously evolving creatures. The world is not static, so why would we be?

So much is about to change in the next few years. I am afraid, but I am so excited. As 2013 comes to a close and I start reflecting on not only the past year, but my journey over the last few years, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the wonderful opportunities I’ve had the privilege of experiencing, conflicting with a sense of nostalgia because I know nothing will ever really be the same again. I am so excited for what 2014 and the next few years have in store for me.

“Really? How so?”

“No, it’s a good kind of change. You’re more confident and mature, and I’m proud of you.”

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An Open Letter To My 15 Year Old Self

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Dear Joyce,

It’s September, and you have just started 10th grade, and just had your birthday over Labour Day weekend. 15 years old, huh? You’re so old now. The pinnacle of your teens.

I know you feel so many different things at once: excitement for the new school year, confusion over the fact that you should start thinking about a viable career path to follow (can anyone say Planning 10?), and hurt over some of the negative people in your life.

Allow me to help you clear up some of the question marks in your life.

This term will be your worst academic term to date, because you have so much going on in your personal life. Granted, you will still make Honour Roll, but they aren’t marks that you’re going to be proud of. Don’t be too hard on yourself, because from here, there is no way to go but up. Trust me, you’ll see.

I know how much you hate math and science right now, but your jaw will drop when I tell you that they end up to be your top marks in senior year, and that you’re actually (gasp) good at it. You just need to work a little harder, and find the resources and support you need.

Stop making excuses for your boyfriend’s behaviour, and leave him. You don’t deserve to be treated that way. You will part ways later in the year, but why prolong the suffering? Joyce, you will see that your world is so much bigger than your relationship, and you will realize much greater dreams than having somebody at your side. Down the road, you will break some hearts, and you will suffer heartbreak, but these issues will seem trivial as you figure out and pursue your dreams.

Have the courage to speak up to the “friend” who constantly manipulates, undermines, and upsets you, who has brought you nothing but grief all these years. This year will be the turning point: you will finally decide that you’ve had enough of being a pushover, and you will walk away from all the hurt and frustration, and never look back. But it’s not until maybe six months from this point that you decide to do so.

Also about six months from now, you will come across the school and program of your dreams that you never knew existed before. You will spend maybe 10 minutes conversing with school representatives, completely fall in love, have your heart set on entering said program, and never look back. And you will achieve this, despite the odds. I know it sounds like a stretch right now, but you will surprise everybody who ever doubted you. It will be a pivotal point in your life, because from this you will gather the motivation to work hard and work relentlessly, and your performance will increase tenfold from here.

When you enter said program, you will THINK that you know what you want to do with your degree. Well guess what darling, you don’t. You will struggle for the first year or two to figure out your passions, and luckily enough, you will discover them.

And let me tell you that chasing your dreams will be so, so much more fulfilling than slaving away at something you don’t enjoy just because you think it will earn you more money, or that other people think is the right path. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Trust your gut instincts. The happiness that comes from following your passions and doing what you love will be something you wouldn’t trade for the world.

Hang in there, Joyce. Your world is about to change- you just don’t know it yet. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve.

Ten Little-Known Facts About Me

I’m going to try to dig deep and come up with things hardly anyone knows about.

This is my attempt at being *interesting*. Jk I’m really not that interesting. But here goes.

  1. I’m left handed. You’d be surprised at the number of good friends that after a year of friendship suddenly go like, “YOU’RE LEFT HANDED??” Thanks guys. Note: Because of this, I have a hard time cutting fabrics or anything other than paper cause most scissors are for right-handed people.
  2. I’m allergic to mosquito bites. No seriously, they swell up to the size of a plate large enough to hold your dimsum. I get bitten at every forest or grassy campsite I go to, even when its cold and raining.
  3. I have a great weakness for anything salty and crunchy (ie: popcorn, chips, etc). But I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.
  4. I’ve been published in The Province.
  5. I’ve had my phone stolen three times. Only managed to retrieve it once.
  6. I took Chinese school for 10 years and grew up in a Chinese family, but I speak English to my parents normally, and they speak Cantonese back to me. (It’s pretty bad)
  7. I can’t eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets without gagging because years ago, I found a large, sharp bone inside one of them and was scarred for life. I think I experienced psychological trauma.
  8. I’ve been to the states at least 50-60 times, and Victoria at least 15-20 times.
  9. I’m a massive Gossip Girl fan. Yes, I’ll admit it. I own all the books in the series, all the books of the spinoff series, and watched every single episode of the T.V. show.
  10. I hate seafood. No really, I actually hate all seafood EXCEPT smoked salmon and salmon sashimi. I refuse to eat any other seafood. (I always order chicken fried rice when I go to Chinese seafood restaurants.)

And that’s all for now! I love finding out about other people’s quirks and little details that you would otherwise miss. It’s what makes us all individual and unique.