Monthly Favorites

Favorites & Highlights of May 2018!

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Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH!

This “monthly favorites” is going to be quite short; I didn’t really have the time to explore new things or pick up some new hobbies during the month of May, but a lot of exciting things did happen!

So without further ado, here are some things that happened/I enjoyed in the month of May:

1.) Twice

In a world where K-Pop boy band BTS is winning the hearts of millions all over, I found myself obsessing over a K-Pop girl group, which they call themselves Twice. Twice was formed through a survival show competition entitled Sixteen where 16 female JYP trainees were fighting for the 7 spots of JYP Entertainment’s new girl group. JYP is known for forming groups such as GOT7, 2PM, Miss A, and The Wonder Girls. After deciding to make the group 9 members, the official Twice members (according to the order on the photo) are Tzuyu, Jeongyeon, Sana, Jihyo, Nayeon, Chaeyoung, Dahyun, Mina, and Momo. I first heard of the group actually once while in the laundromat in my neighborhood, and the music video (as well as the song) were both very catchy, and I decided to look further into them. When I tell you that their fanbase is massive… it’s insane. Although they aren’t as mainstream in the U.S. as BTS, Twice is internationally known and have the potential to become just as big here as the boy band. I don’t know what it is about K-Pop groups, but they work immensely well compared to American groups. So yeah, check them out if you like cute, girly, catchy K-Pop songs!

2.) Highlight #1: Submitting my Thesis

The submission of my MA Thesis was a bittersweet one. Even weeks after doing so, it’s only until now that I feel like the piece is officially complete. Working on my thesis for two straight years is something I never did with a body of work in my academic career, and letting it go to officially submit felt like sending off my 18-year-old child to an out-of-state college. No, I don’t know how that would feel, but I can imagine it felt like the way I did when I submitted my thesis. At first, I was really determined to get honors on my thesis, but when it only passed, I was grateful that it did even that. My thesis was a controversial one, and there were professors that fit the criteria of the “type” of Professor I wrote about who had to read it. I’ve got comments back having them feel quite defensive of my words, but in the long run, I spoke my truth and now that truth will be published as a scholarly work, which is unreal to me.

3.) Highlight #2: The Graduate Research Conference.

After submitting my thesis for review, I quickly had to put a 5-minute presentation together of it and discuss it in front of an audience. It was an extremely stressful week to say the least, but I got up there and possibly did the best presentation I’ve done in my entire academic career. I was so beyond proud of myself for getting my thesis out there, and for having my thesis advisor support me while I was doing it. It was a great way to end my studies as a grad student, and it’s a moment I won’t be forgetting.

4.) Highlight #3: My Mental Health Journey

I decided to add this in here because my journey towards positive mental health played a major role in May. In early May, I got diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I’ve been going to therapy every week. I decided to seek out professional help because I felt myself not being able to handle my anxiety by myself anymore due to the fact that my anxiety was now about long-term things I had no control over. Grad school made my anxiety a lot worse, and it’s not going to go away now that it’s over. It’s a process to overcome certain obstacles when there’s anxiety involve, and having to speak them out loud instead of having them circulate in my mind has been extremely helpful. Therapy and going to get your mental health checked isn’t always about getting meds and calling it a day. It’s about taking ownership of your own life instead of allowing your disorders or illnesses take ownership of you.

5.) Highlight #4: Graduating Grad School

I won’t speak about this in detail since there’s already a post on this, but it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include the most important day of 2018 for me. Almost a week later, it still feels surreal that I’m a Masters Grad, and I’m considered a “Master in English”, and it probably won’t feel real until I get my Masters Degree in my hands but it came, it went, and I couldn’t have had for a better graduation. Despite the weather being rainy and cloudy, I have to say this graduation was a lot better than my undergraduate one. It was seriously just one to remember and cherish as my last graduation ever… that’s if I ever go and pursue my PhD, which isn’t in the picture anytime soon.

 

So yeah! Hopefully, there are more things to try & to do in June; I mean, I definitely have all the time in the world now. ^__^

-Liz (:

Self-Reflection

What Grad School Taught Me: The Masters Grad Edition.

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH!

A year ago, I published a quite negative post regarding how the first year of my grad studies treated me. You can read that here if you’d like.

This time around, I am a recent Master’s Graduate and my perspective on it has changed for the better.

Liz, “Master in English”.

Yesterday, I attended my departmental ceremony and officially graduated grad school. 130 undergrads graduated with their Bachelors in English, and 7 grads graduated with their Masters in English. Within the ceremony, our MA Director did something that was quite touching; she acknowledged all 7 of its graduates and shared to the English Class of 2018 all of our MA Theses titles to acknowledge our hard work during our journey in grad school. For my moment, I felt like my hard work paid off, and it felt great to just have the title of my thesis read because it’s such a body of work I am immensely proud of. I honestly wouldn’t have had the passion and drive for it if it wasn’t for my thesis advisor, Professor Carlo.

Professor Carlo & I.

Professor Carlo’s class was one of two courses I took during my first semester as a grad student. I was 22, I was naïve, and I was extremely timid and shy to even speak in class. In the duration of her course, I began to see writing in such a different perspective, and I began to express myself in a classroom in a way I haven’t been able to do so since the acting courses I took during undergrad. I felt a sense of freedom and began to get a sense of what my voice was, and I honestly believe I wouldn’t have known this without Professor Carlo’s class. I knew since the moment she said “if you’d like have your final paper become a thesis”, I instantly knew she was the professor I wanted to guide me to the end. And she did, and as a thank you for her dedication, time (and ears whenever I rambled on and on in our meetings), I gave her a bouquet of flowers. I cried giving them to her, she cried as I cried. And that’s the thing: the last time I truly cried at a graduation was in middle school, a time where I was at the happiest in my life and that I knew I was truly going to miss being there with my friends. I cried at my Masters’ Graduation because I was sad it was over and that the journey that I once felt was going to last a lifetime, was now over.

Grad school taught me more than how to research and analyze text on a scholarly level. It taught me the lessons in life I was too afraid to learn on my own.

Bachelors in English.

Prior to grad school, I graduated college not really knowing what the real world was like, and I wasn’t ready to face it because let’s be honest, I didn’t have a hard time completing my bachelor’s degree. At first, I accepted CSI’s “fast-track” into the Master’s program because I felt like I wasn’t done. I felt like I wasn’t done learning, growing, and getting degrees in all honesty. My aunt is the only other person in the family with a Masters Degree, and it was about time that a millennial in the family got one as well. But to be even more honest with myself, I started the program because I was scared of not having a plan, and going to grad school felt like the security blanket that I thought was going to protect me a bit as I got my own shit together.

In a sense, it worsened me.

With every journey comes with some hardships and particularly, grad school gave me a lot of them. I lost most of my friends (old and newish), I lost a lot of my social abilities which created this comfortable bubble of just me writing and getting work done, and it became a reason why I am now seeking out therapy.

It’s how I found out I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

But even with all of this, I’ve learned how to look at it through a positive lens. For instance, I would’ve never gone to seek therapy in the past because I never allowed myself to believe that I was sad/unhappy enough to the point where I needed outside help. Grad school, without a doubt, made me more responsible and more willing to manage things, and with that came this ability to become self-aware of my behavior, actions, and my fears. It made me see myself in a way that made me feel very exposed, and I didn’t have any help trying to get “comfortable” again.

Grad school taught me how to be self-aware of myself & how to acknowledge even the most uncomfortable things in my life. Whether it was me having to wait near the bridge for my bus at 10:30 at night, or writing two 12-page papers in 3 weeks, I was very uncomfortable during my journey. Half of those things caused my anxiety to worsen; half of those things taught me how to cope and make this a temporary “new norm”. There was no compromise in the middle; it was either go for it or let it get you. And I think that’s something so important to know when dealing with an anxiety disorder and/or dealing with life in general.

The future for me is unplanned, and I am learning to be okay with that for the time being. I made it this far, to see this day, to see yesterday, and I know I’ll make it see the future. Grad school taught me there’s no room to be afraid to do something; you’ll never truly know what could be in store if you don’t explore outside of your comfort zone.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable teaches you more about yourself than being comfortable.

Here’s to life as a Master in English.

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Liz (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: Therapy isn’t a Sign of Weakness. (5/19/18)

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Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH after its very long hiatus!

With the semester finally over and graduation just a few weeks away, I can finally focus my energy on TNTH and provide some new content for you guys! I’ve missed writing on here for many reasons, and one of them being that I have so much to share with you guys. It feels good to be back.

With that being said, I wanted to share something that I mentioned a while back on here about mental health and not being ashamed to ask for help if you need it. I’ve been going to therapy for the past month.

The act of going to therapy gives me anxiety every time I have to get up and go, and only because I know I have to go and talk about things that I’m uncomfortable with. I’m still in the early stages of therapy so I’m very much still trying to build a relationship with my therapist, but I know once I get into the swing of things, that anxiety will go away. In my first session, I actually learned a lot about myself that I couldn’t see due to my anxiety. Everything I was concerned about, my therapist told me that it was impressive of me managing in the way that I do, and that my best qualities are the ones I’m not taking consideration for. For example, I told her that I’m a bit of a “control freak” because I tend to find comfort in having every project in my life outlined, and she told me that it’s not being controlling, but organized. The point is that I have to start seeing things from a positive perspective; not everything I do/am is negative.

While there are so many other things I’ve discussed with my therapist, I walked out of the session feeling lighter and more… at ease if that makes sense. Like I felt like I didn’t have anything bothering me or causing me stress on my walk home, and it felt pretty good. I didn’t feel ashamed of going to someone’s office to talk about my issues instead of just talking to a friend, I felt like I had a better understanding (and motivation) to start seeing things differently and applying the things my therapist told me into action.

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In modern day society, the conversation about mental health is becoming one that many more of us are joining. People deem mental health was “crazy” and “ill” when really half of the time that’s never truly the outcome. Mental health is just as important as physical health because you should always seek help no matter what type of pain you are in. The misconception of mental health and therapy has discouraged a lot of people to stray away from it; in a recent study by Refinery 29, more than half of Black and Hispanic Americans are more than likely to never seek therapy in their lifetime due to the stigma it carries. Therapy isn’t this place where they hold you against your will if you say something like “I feel sad all the time”, therapy is a just a place provided for you to talk out the things that are bothering you, and hopefully get unfiltered advice and techniques to overcome those issues. 

Many people my age go to therapy because the struggle of living in a city like NYC while juggling college and jobs is a lot. Times aren’t how they were when our parents were our age, and sometimes as a 20-something young adult, we constantly feel burned-out and stuck in the position we are in. Therapy, for many of us, is just a place where we could get extra help and guidance in order to move forward with our lives. It’s not this place where you have to be deemed as “insane” or “crazy”, and for the love of the god you believe in, it is nothing like the depiction that television and movies make it out to be. It’s not talking about zombies eating your cereal in your dreams and asking your therapist what it could possibly mean. It’s not you talking for an hour straight while the only words your therapist say are “and how does that make you feel?” It’s not a padded room with 3 security guards holding a stray jacket waiting for you to say something crazy. It’s not that different from visiting your normal doctor, to be honest.

If you’re thinking of reaching out and asking for help from your primary care doctor, please don’t feel ashamed of doing so. There are thousands of people like you who seek therapy possibly for reasons related to yours. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to seek out help and talk about things that make you uncomfortable, but one thing my therapist told me that I’ll probably always apply to is that you have to accept that it’s okay to be uncomfortable, because it will get comfortable all in time. 

Therapy is just the first step into bettering yourself, and the biggest step to take in the process. After that, it gets better.

 

-Liz (:

*If you or anyone you know is going through a difficult time in their life, please refer to this page of numbers that can help get you the help you need: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources 

 

 

Voiceless Rant: The Series

A Voiceless Rant: April 2018 Edition.

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like April is just flying by us. It feels like I blinked and somehow we are on April 18th. I find it really crazy that in a month my last semester of school ends and that in a month and a half I graduate with my Masters. I am feeling all different types of emotions at the moment, so I decided to come on here and write what I write best:

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I know many of you probably don’t read these posts solely because I tend to express some of the same ideas again and again: grad school, mental, health, blah blah blah. Maybe there are some of you who read to be informed or to relate to your own situations, but for the most part, these posts are mainly me just talking about what’s been on my mind, and for the past year or so, these topics have been on my mind.

Anyway, I’m writing this today as a reminder to my future self that the decision I made was the right one, despite currently feeling otherwise at this moment.

Last week, I finally spoke up to my doctor about my ongoing anxiety and requested to seek therapy.

I know I mention time and time again in my posts about mental health that those who need special attention with their mental health should not be/feel ashamed in seeking professional help. I preach this all the time, and yet it took me nearly two years to suck it up and finally ask for some help. It would’ve saved me so many restless nights of anxiety and crying spells if I just have spoken up sooner.

Guys, please don’t do what I did and wait. We are all different and the way we handle our own issues and situations vary as well. Just because I waited this long to reach out, doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do.

As a society, we are so quick to run to the emergency room or to our doctor when we physically don’t feel good. Got the flu? Doctor. Broke a bone? Doctor. Got a bad cough or a sore throat? Doctor. We are quick to check out the things that are physically hurting us, yet so many of us will live in the dark about our mental health. We deem our mental health as “self-curable” and the cure to a sad or gloomy day is positivity and smiles. It doesn’t work that way.

I’ve been that girl. I’ve analyzed my feelings and made myself believe that what I was feeling wasn’t that serious and that I was being overly dramatic. I told myself countless times over and over if I focused my energy on positivity and just smiled all day long, I would feel better. If I was having a good day, I forced myself to stay that way because I was tired of feeling sad. I overworked my mind and my body just so that I didn’t have to deal with all the bullshit that my mind likes to feed me, and I believed that once I went to seek for help, those around me would deem me as “weak” even though I knew that wasn’t true. I believed that I was a stronger person if I handled my own issues myself. 

At the end of the day when the sun goes down and all the people around you go to sleep for the night and you’re up at 2 in the morning sitting in your bathroom crying for absolutely no fuckin’ reason and begin to feel anxiety creep on you yet you’re calm, you know what you’re telling yourself is a goddamn lie.

Some issues you can’t solve on your own because you just don’t understand how they occur, and I’ve had enough of trying to save myself when I already tried all that I could.

My first appointment for therapy is next Wednesday, and yeah I’m feeling more anxious than usual. I am out of my comfort zone and sharing with another person who does not know me the things that I haven’t even expressed in detail to my own family. It’s nerve-wracking and honestly, you are going to feel some level of shame at first and deem yourself as “crazy” because of the stigma mental health has.

Let me reassure you guys and even to myself that taking the first step of getting some professional help is probably the hardest part of the progress. You’ve acknowledged your mental health and you deemed it as significant if you’re bringing it up to your doctor. You’ve become aware of the fact that something just doesn’t feel right, and you decided that you are going to prioritize it and attempt to make it better. In no way shape or form, you’re now weak for speaking up about your mental health. In a sense, you are now a part of the movement that is trying to make mental health just as common and acceptable to talk about in society.

As for me, I hope that seeking help with my mental health allows me to gather some of myself back. I long for the days I could feel inspired and passionate about the things that drive me. I long for the days I smiled and laughed and stayed happy for months on end because I was genuinely happy. I long for the days that I had a better sense of who I was. I know many of these things are going to be long and tedious and will probably cause me even more anxiety the more I am forced to get out of my safe space/comfort zone, but I am ready to make a change. I’m ready to be a survivor to those who are simply not brave enough yet to speak up. I want to be an example to people. I want to tell the story about how I got through possibly the hardest time in my life as a young adult. I want to end that story with,

“here I am, better than ever.”

 

-Liz. (:

Topic Tuesdays: Random

Pros of Journaling.

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For the entirety of 2016, I decided that I was going to journal write every single day until the end of the year. For the most part, I kept up worth it and the 300+ page journal I kept is now completely full of memories, moments, and simply just thoughts I had at the time. By the time the year was ended, I realize just how much journaling the entire year helped me shape into the person that I always wanted to be.

People dismiss journaling because people classify it being something that “emotional” people do to cope with their emotions. Where, yes, it’s a place where you most likely write your emotions down whenever you’re feeling them, but journaling could be s helpful when things get a little too much to handle. Nowadays, people keep bullet journals to help organize their life and make sure it keeps them on track, so it’s not always about writing to your therapist named “Diary”. I kept a daily journal for an entire year for one reason and one reason only: to make me feel better.

I came into 2016 from having such a rocky and terrifying 2015. I felt like I was slowly losing who I was and I needed to change it ASAP. I decided that I was going to keep a daily journal that would document the year 2016. 2016 was an important year for me because for the main reason that in June, I was graduating college. Who would’ve thought that there was so much more that I actually documented that are now life-long memories? It’s crazy how life works that way.

I don’t know why I stopped after 2016 was over, but I did. I noticed that towards the end of the year, my entries sounded a lot more like Facebook status updates instead of things worth documenting, but even after that – journaling really helped improve my mental health tremendously. I know everyone isn’t a writer and may not feel it be necessary to write in a notebook without a reason, but doing so helps you “talk it out” with yourself with words.

Sometimes, all you need to do is to talk out your thoughts to put them out in the world. Journaling does that while also keeping them confidential, just in case there are just some things you don’t want someone knowing like a family problem or health problem. Personally, I was going through a lot of family problems before I started writing in a journal. Although journaling didn’t help the problems go away, it did make it easier to cope and deal with my feelings in a way that didn’t make me lash out in anger.

I also wanted to start journaling to physically see the change in myself once I finished the book in a year. Although I haven’t had the time to read 365 pages of entries, I know I saw the change in just a few of the posts that I wrote. I began to write about the happy things in my life, as well as look at myself through an unbiased lens. It’s weird because I felt like journaling made me into a “real person” again because the journal had memories and moments told in my perspective, which meant I had to trust myself enough to believe these things happened the way they did.

 

Journals of the past.

 

The fact of the matter is that I was always a journal writer. I’ve kept journals since I was 9 years old, the difference between those journals and the daily one I kept was that these other journals spoke about things that happened because of other people. “Oh, this girl told a nasty rumor about me and I was so close to beating her ass at lunch today.” “Oh my god, my crush finally kissed me in the rain!” They were about moments that involved me, yeah, but these became impersonal because they never truly showcased any growing I did over the years. I actually just recently threw away a lot of my old journals because of this very reason. Why did I want to keep journals that never represented my journey?

Besides my middle school journal, the only other journal I kept was my 2016 journal.

Sometimes, journaling just shows you the journey that you forget about being on once you’ve already been there.

Because it’s already too late into 2017 to start a daily journal for the year, I’m planning to strictly keep a summer one. Because 2018 is going to be another big year for me, I might just start another daily journal then, to document that year’s accomplishments and big events that I can’t wait to actually go through.

Pick up a pen and book and start writing. Trust me, it doesn’t hurt to try. 😉

-Liz (: