Music Reviews

Victon’s 3rd Single Album, “Chronograph” Album Review! ūüß≠

VICTON Turns Heads in Their Chronograph Teaser Pictures - EnVi Media

Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!

Liz? Posting on a Wednesday? Yep! This post is a special one because yesterday, my favorite boys made their comeback! For any newcomers to the blog, I am a major kpop fan and my favorite group of all time is Victon, a 7-member group under IST Entertainment (although one of the members is currently enlisted in the military). Their last comeback, which I wrote about on the blog, was a year ago, so when this comeback was announced back in December 2021, Fans for the groups were excited and happy to finally see the boys together again getting ready for a new release! In this release, there are three songs on the album (that’s typically what single albums consist of) with the title track being called “Chronograph”. Like in most reviews, I will talk about each track on the album one-by-one and tell you my honest opinion on them! Yes, even though these are my boys and I love them to death, I will be honest in my thoughts and give my honest opinion about the songs.

So, without further ado, let’s start!

1.) “Chronograph”

This title track is so funky, y’all. Like when the M/V for this song came out, it was nothing like I would expect it to be. IN all honesty, it took me a couple of listens to get into it because it was just… different. Like the beat is great and it’s so bright and colorful (which is something we haven’t seen Victon do since… well, forever) but the song can sometimes feel a little lackluster and under the radar. What I mean by that is that in the first couple of listens, I found myself not really listening to the song; like it was just playing, and then it was over. But! The song did get stuck in my head all day yesterday, and so I had to listen to it like 900 more times before I felt the groove and the funk of the song. I think this title track is definitely experimental for the group, and I’m excited that even in their styling for this comeback, it’s something we really haven’t seen Victon do since their debut. But, of course I want to be brutally honest with this review, I do have to say this isn’t my favorite title track of theirs, nor is it my favorite on this album. She’s a bop, but I find myself being more into the b-side of this album.

2.) “Want Me”

“Want Me” is so painfully beautiful and hypnotizing; that’s not even an exaggeration. When first listening to the song, the beat sounds very “tropical” in a sense (which would make sense since they spoiled in their comeback showcase that this song was the sound that their next comeback would resemble; am I smelling a sad Summer comeback?) but the lyrics pretty much talk about how someone misses a person not in their life anymore and that they are sorry for how things ended up, but they still want that person back. Subin’s “I can fix it” and “I can be better” lines truly hit in the feels that I didn’t know I even had anymore. Also, the chorus is highly addicting, and overall this song just feels very much like a Victon song. I really hope during their promotions, they perform this b-side on a music show or a variety show or even prepare it for their Fanmeeting in February because I would love to hear some live vocals for this song. Definitely my favorite out of the two here, but like who’s surprised: Victon has some of the best b-sides ever.

3.) “Chronograph” (English Version)

Victon’s first-ever English song, you guys! Of course, it’s just the title track in English translation, but here’s the thing about kpop songs translated in English: they always tend to feel a little dirtier than the Korean translation. The English version of this song is what made me like the title track in the first place, to be quite honest. In the English translation, the song is about liking the time spent on the person you’re crushing on/in love with and that no matter what, you can’t get them out of your mind. It’s cute, but when you have Seungsik sing “I won’t hold it back, let’s slow it down” and “Cause I wanna come explore you”, my knees went weak on my way to work listening to it. It’s so good! Of course, I won’t say anything about their English pronunciation because a.) English is not even a second language they know well and b.) this is their first time singing an all-English song like I would love to see non-Korean speaking singers try to sing a whole song in Korean; kpop idols are not human, y’all. Anyway, in saying that, I do hope that their pronunciation improves throughout their career (because I think the feedback on this English version would be positive and Victon is aiming to be more internationally known anyway) because it’s hard to sometimes decipher what they were singing, but other than that, it slaps and they did so well considering it was their first English song!

But yeah! I’m so excited that our boys are back in action and performing together again after a whole year! I definitely missed the feeling of comeback and being a part of the promotion period with them and getting all this new content from our boys! Let’s hope that this promotion period, all of the boys are in good health and stay in good health and make lots of great memories.

Until the next comeback!

Blogust 2018: The Series, Topic Tuesdays: Raw & Personal

Day 7: Let’s Talk About Mental Health Medication.

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Hey guys, welcome back to TNTH.

Yeah, I know, it’s another mental health related post.¬†I get it. Maybe that’s what you guys are thinking, or maybe that’s just my misconception and just my worries talking because let’s face it for the umpteenth time:¬†I have some severe anxiety.

Not everyone in my life knows this, but there are some who know my anxiety to the exact extent. I guess what I’m trying to say to you (and to myself ) that I shouldn’t care if I’m sharing too much about myself or too much about my anxiety; this is a very important part of my life and it’s a very real part as I’m trying to deal with it, and life that continues to go on around me.

I should’ve saved this topic as a voiceless rant, but let’s save that post for something more positive and upbeat…

Anyway, things with me personally haven’t been the greatest. I’ve gotten into arguments with those around me, I’m anxious way more than I used to be, and my mental health seems to be taking a detour from the road to recovery. The journey has not been easy for me.

Before I started to get more in deep with therapy, I had a conversation with my mother about the potential use of medication to help ease with my anxiety. Already having a family member on medication for their own personal reasons, I’ve singlehandedly saw how life was before and after the medication for this person. In my opinion, it hasn’t been that bad. I’ve seen improvements here and there and to a certain degree, I see this person being a lot stronger than I am since starting.¬†Again, I could be completely wrong, but on the outside, I saw a difference. But I brought up this situation with my mother telling her the opposite:¬†I didn’t want to take medication for my anxiety.

Continue reading “Day 7: Let’s Talk About Mental Health Medication.”

Blogust 2018: The Series, Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: News Culture Could Be Playing a Role with Your Anxiety. (8/4/18)

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Hey, guys, welcome back to TNTH.

I wanted to write this post because I believe this affects a lot of people in our generation; not just those who suffer from anxiety disorders. I’ve recently been watching a lot of people online and in my neighborhood discuss various things that have happened within the last month, and these things have been happening since the year started, to be honest. We could all pretty much admit that the first major thing in the year that had everyone’s eyes wide open was the mass shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida at Stoneman Douglas High School back in February. Since then, things have piled on top of each other since then. The latest event that has everyone in complete shock is the fact that a four-year-old girl got ran over by a car who didn’t even think twice to turning back to see what they had hit, while the mother of the child was simply tieing her shoe. Also, it’s been said that the person who ran over the kid has a family member who is in authority, and threatened the mother to call ICE on her if she pressed charges.¬†Whether it is true or not, it’s still a goddamn scenario that could easily be played out.

One thing that hit close to home was of the incident that happened in The Bronx on June 15th. Fifteen-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz was brutally murdered in front of a bodega by a group of guys with a machete and left him on the sidewalk to die. This 15-year-old kid got himself up, ran down the back where the hospital was, and died inched away from the hospital. On top of that, the entire thing was recorded on cameras outside of the bodega with people passing by, looking at these guys drag this boy outside on the sidewalk.¬†It’s disgusting, and extremely triggering to anyone.¬†

What sickens me the most about these type of news events is that there is always a video of the violence happening on camera. There are two videos of two different children getting killed all over the internet, and nobody is looking away. 

The news culture has become a place of the grotesque; it’s now a game of “who can report the most gruesome events of the day faster“. We see people getting shot and murdered in videos, we see people getting stabbed to death in videos, and¬†I guess we reached a new low: watching children get killed.

As a person who constantly thinks of the “what-if” scenarios on a day-to-day basis, these type of things are extremely triggering to my well-being. Those kids in that high-school shooting didn’t know their Valentine’s Day was going to end up the way it did. Junior did not think he wasn’t going to see the next day when dropping off bus fare to a friend down the block from where he lives. That mother did not know she was going to lose her child when she put the laundry together and took her to do laundry with her. These people did not know their last days would be like the way they ended up being, and I know I am not any different. Events like this make people not want to send their children to public schools because they’re afraid that their child isn’t going to return home from school at 3pm and instead receive a phone call from the police asking to identify a child they found dead. In all honesty, people are more afraid to go out to fun events (especially after the Manchester shooting in England after Ariana Grande’s concert) because these fun events could come with a price of your life. I’m not saying things like this haven’t happened in the past, I honestly believe it’s the way news outlets report these type of things.

Let’s take the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013 for instance:

After reporting the Boston Marathon news for almost a week, most news outlets interrupted their regular programming to report live at a literal hide and seek game between the bombers and the SWAT team. They tracked the guys down and followed them, found them, surrounded them, and killed one of them in an entire day. It was literally like watching a scene from an action movie.¬†To this day, I never understood why it was necessary to report minute by minute on a tragedy that affected hundreds and their families. Yeah, it’s news (and important news) at that, but showing such triggering an unsettling footage isn’t “letting the news be known”. It’s (to an extent) glorifying the event. It’s why so many recent mass shooters who stay alive after the incidents claim they are inspired by past mass shooters who had their name known for weeks on end and now for the rest of everyone’s lives.

Our news culture is extremely unhealthy for everyone, especially those who suffer from constant thoughts of these worst-case scenarios actually happening.

I’ve been terrified to go to certain places in my life because of the stories I hear and see on a day-to-day basis. I avoid certain areas in my own borough in NYC because of all the crazy and violent things that I hear happening there. While there are people who are able to watch these kinds of things and still live on with their lives, there are people who live in fear because of them, and it causes us to develop conditions that you wouldn’t even think of happening a couple of years ago.

I mean, I was told that I could be a possible agoraphobic. 

Now, I’m not saying that you should be oblivious to the outside world and not care what goes on; that just shows your ignorance and avoidance to some really serious issues going on in the world. Plus, it’s impossible to avoid the news in this day and age where the news is on every platform and screen you interact with. Sadly, it’s something you can’t just avoid and to all intensive purposes, you shouldn’t.

What I’m saying is that if you deal with constant thoughts of worst-case scenarios and you function the way you do because of these scenarios, take some time to breathe and recollect yourself. You don’t have to read pages and pages of breaking news. You don’t need to watch these videos of the violence on every social platform. You don’t need to know, hear, and see everything about a very triggering event, and that’s completely okay. Knowing every little detail and having knowledge about an event are two different things. Inform yourself, don’t harm yourself.

As to those who still get very affected by these events and don’t live with these “what-if” scenarios constantly on your mind, just turning away from the media once in awhile is good for your mental health. Take time for yourself during these moments of negativity. Also, know that you can’t live your life completely avoiding the world, and we as people can only hope that we are able to live on to see our dreams and futures potentially playing out in reality.

As for those like me,¬†we’ll be alright.

-Liz. (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: Your Life Has Just Begun. (6/30/18)

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Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.

Before we get into this post, can you believe we are halfway through the year already?¬†I mean technically, July 2nd is the 182nd day out of 365, which is literally half of the year, but you know what I’m getting at. How many of us can say they felt like they did live six months of 2018 already and felt like it’s been six months? I don’t know about you, but it feels like it was just yesterday that I was in Pennsylvania with my family ringing in the new year. It feels like it was just yesterday that my partner and I spent a weekend in Upstate New York for my 24th Birthday. It feels like it was just yesterday I was starting my last semester as a student, beginning to rewrite my entire thesis, and juggle reading poems and books for my two courses.¬†It doesn’t feel like it’s already been 6 months of 2018.

And that’s been a reality for me ever since I turned 18 in 2012; the years have been passing by like it’s been nobody’s business, and when you take time to actually think about it, you sit there in awe and wonder how did you manage to make it this far into life? I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it to see past 18, yet here I am, a 24-year-old woman with two degrees and a whole life ahead of me.

But with time going by so fast, sometimes we take it for granted. Sometimes, we don’t see the consequences of having time move so fast.

We don’t realize that since we’re getting older, the people around us are too. Our friends who used to share their building blocks in Kindergarten are now proud parents of a Kindergartener. Our siblings who we once shared a room with are now living in their own apartments and houses. The parents who were lively and energetic are now older and prefer to relax on their days off. The family members who you use to see every other week are now only available for two holidays a year. And the grandparents aren’t grandparents anymore.

I’m writing this with a lot in my heart, especially since today would be my childhood dog’s birthday.¬†His birthday, in particular, reminds me of all the beings in my life who passed away thus far.¬†In the last four years, I lost two family members and a childhood pet and the process still isn’t completely over. I think back to when they were here and I remember how young I was.¬†I still remember the day my family and I got Pal at the Animal Rescue in Manhattan 17 years ago.¬†When you realize just how much time has passed, you wonder what will happen in the future. Most of the time, it is extremely hard for me to even think what life would be like for me in 10 years. It’s extremely hard for me to even think about what life would be like in 2020.

I apologize for this “Self-Appreciation Saturday” being such a downer,¬†but I know there are people my age, younger and older than me, who feel this way. They may not go into such detail as I do, but adjusting to a life you’re not familiar with after being comfortable all these years is terrifying and difficult.

But, it isn’t impossible.

I guess what I’m trying to say in this post (and here’s where the “self-appreciation” in “Self-Appreciation Saturday” comes in), is that for many of us, our lives have just begun. Whether or not you’re still at home, a career or job or degree, or whether or not you’re about to start a new family with kids of your own, our chapter in adulthood is beginning and we need to embrace it and accept it for what it is. Yeah, I know how scary it is to picture a life without the people you’ve grown to love and trust since the moment you were born, but adulthood comes with that acceptance that every day with those people (or pets) is valuable. This chapter in our lives is all determined by us and us only; we are adults in the real world making real-world decisions;¬†we are a new generation of adults who now get to live life the way we’d like to.¬†

I know I sound ridiculous and I swear I’m not writing this during witching hours, but thinking and feeling this way is such a huge problem within our generation because we’re just so afraid of change within ourselves nowadays.¬†It seems like with everything else in our lives we are more than ready to change something,¬†but let it be our age and how we live life and we all shut down, even if I’m just speaking for myself at this point.

At the end of the day, you¬†and¬†I shouldn’t fear the future. Yeah, the unknown is scary and creepy, but the unknown could be full of opportunities and blessings in which we could miss out if we fear change too much.

Your chapter of life has just begun; write it the way you’d want it to be.

 

-Liz. (:

Topic Tuesdays: Raw & Personal

Dear Extroverts: Signed, A “SAD” Introvert.

Hey guys, welcome back to TNTH!

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In the recent weeks, I’ve been on this new path to bettering my mental health now that I don’t have much distraction in my life. For the past year, I’ve been noticing this “downward spiral” of anxiety that kept creeping up on me, and it wasn’t until the past couple of months that I began noticing my anxiety get worse. I finally started to seek out professional help to find ways to overcome this newfound anxiety… well,¬†anxiety that I always had but just recently became out of hand.

In a couple of posts before this one, I mentioned that I got diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In a way, it’s an umbrella term that describes a whole variety of different fears and phobias. When I went to see my psychiatrist for the first time, she ultimately deemed me as having Social Anxiety Disorder. At that point, I went to do some further research on it, and¬†might I tell you, it explains a lot more of my anxiety than I ever thought it would.¬†To be more exact, social anxiety is more than just being “shy” or quiet” in social situations. It’s the incapability to not go out or interact with other people because you get anxious doing it, even with the closest people in your life.¬†

Honestly, it explained a lot of the questions I had in why I was behaving in the way that I was.

Just like depression, anxiety is always misinterpreted as something else that people think is easily curable. People who don’t have SAD may find themselves wanting to stay in instead of going out for reasons that are actual reasons: they are busy, they are tired, or maybe they are just not up for it. People with SAD find themselves staying in because they are already thinking about the hours in advance, worrying that something bad might happen for they might get an anxiety attack in the middle of a social event,¬†even if it’s with your closest friends or even your significant other.¬†People with SAD tend to stay in because it’s more comfortable and safe to be by themselves instead of around other people.

Dear Extroverts,

Please understand that Social Anxiety Disorder is more than just being shy and quiet and “socially awkward”. It’s a chronic illness that¬†can be treatable, but it doesn’t go away on its own. Plus, only 5% of the U.S population is actually diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder,¬†yet its considered the most common anxiety disorder because so many people who live with it are not diagnosed. The reason for that being is even people with SAD feel like it’s such a ridiculous thing to have and our behavior is ridiculous that we often feel ashamed for being this way.

And extroverts, your introverted friends who may have SAD may feel discouraged because of you.

We are not asking you to be our therapists. We are not asking you to constantly ask us if we are okay if we are out for dinner or at a party. We are not asking you to speak for us in social situations (unless requested) and most importantly, we are not asking you for your unsolicited advice on how to “get over it” in order to live like a “normal” person.

We are asking you to be supportive of us. We are asking you to at least understand the words that come out of our mouths. We are asking you to be okay with the fact that yeah, maybe four months ago we were okay going to that restaurant across the city, but our anxiety has gotten worse since then and the travel to get to that restaurant is a lot of us to handle. We are asking you to be informative on what we had at least at the basic level.¬†No,¬†we are not asking you to know every little thing to do when faced with someone with SAD, we are asking you to at least know what we are going through when we are feeling anxious, and that we are constantly fighting to try to overcome such ridiculous feelings and worries about something that is supposed to be fun. We are asking you to not change who you are to us and change the friendship, we simply just want to feel as if you have our backs while we deal with it. You’re saving us a lot of worries if we absolutely know you will not judge or belittle us for not being able to control our behavior and emotions.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN that you are doing us a favor when you don’t invite us to hang out or to important events in your life just because you think you are doing us a favor or if you think we are going to always decline on your invites. People with SAD are not happy when we don’t have to face social interactions or situations; we hate that or anxiety holds us back from having a good time. In most cases, we want to actually go out and have fun;¬†what human being doesn’t?¬†We want to go out to birthday parties, we want to be around other people and hang out, we want to have a good time in the same way you want to, the difference is our body and our mind circulates the “what if” questions to the point where they will only stop if we don’t go. If you are our friends, we want to feel like you are our friends, so even if we do decline an invitation time to time, know that we appreciate you still are thinking about us.

All in all, we appreciate you and are very thankful to have you in our lives. You balance us out and we look up to you for being so outgoing and unapologetic for being who you are. As different we may be, we are able to connect with you for the qualities that you have, and although you may not understand how we feel about dealing with SAD, we understand that you try your best to be present and available for us while going through something so weird and confusing like SAD.

We value your friendship more than you ever know, even if we have a difficult time showing it. We value your presence in our lives.

Signed,

A “SAD” Introvert.

-Liz (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: I Don’t Want to “Settle Down.” (6/9/18)

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH!

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I just graduated grad school. I can’t lie, not being a student anymore is an extremely scary thought. I’ve been in school since 1998; literally for 20 years. Many of us don’t realize just how much being a student becomes a part of our personality and how it contributes to our work ethic in the long run. I know that being in school shaped me into the person I am now, and it’s scary knowing I’m going to be living a life now that doesn’t involve me being a student anymore.

I technically have to learn how to be an actual functioning adult.

I give props to those who are older (even younger) than I am and already on paths of being adults in the outside world. Many of you are living in your own places (alone or with your partner), many of you have children you absolutely adore, and many of you are either engaged and planning for a wedding or already married and living happily ever after. It’s amazing that many of you are living life the way you want to live and doing it happily.

I don’t want that type of life for myself.

When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be the person to get married, have kids, live in a big house;¬†y’know live the type of life we thought we were able to have when we were little kids.¬†It wasn’t until recently I thought about it again, especially being in the chapter of life I am currently in. I realized I wanted more than that for myself. I realized that getting married before 30 and having kids is just not my way of a “happy and joyous life”. I realized that just because I don’t want to have kids or get engaged right now doesn’t mean that won’t change in the future.¬†Maybe it will, and maybe it won’t,¬†but I realized I shouldn’t feel ashamed of wanting a much more different life than the majority of people out there.

I never found myself to be the type of woman who constantly cooks, cleans, and takes care of kids. I’ve always known I wanted to be the one who was career-driven and successful and have someone who shared the same work ethic as me. I always knew in some type of way that I was meant to only take care of myself, and not because I’m “selfish”, but I literally don’t know how to take care of anyone in the way I know how to care for myself. I still have mad love, I still care about those who care about me, but I accepted that at this time and age, I do not want to have the family life everyone strives to have.

I want to be the type to travel the world. I want to be the type to be with a person who doesn’t care about getting married anytime soon or having children anytime soon and just cares about the present. I want to be the type of person who enjoys the rest of her 20’s being a bad-ass independent bitch. I want to be the type of person to be with my partner watching¬†Family Guy until 8 at night on a rainy day eating snacks and all and not feel pressured to be talking about marriage or kids.¬†I just want to live my life the way I know I want to live it.

So yeah, I don’t want to settle down. That doesn’t mean I want to jump in and out of situations with random dudes because “I’m too afraid of commitment”. That’s not at all what this post is about and those who share the same life goals as me shouldn’t feel like saying this is a bad thing.¬†I’ve been with my partner for almost 9 years; commitment isn’t something foreign to me.¬†When I mean “settle down”, I mean settling down to finally being ready put your own priorities in the back burner and care for another human being,¬†let alone a child,¬†anytime soon. I barely had time to get to know myself while being in grad school, I just know I want the rest of my 20’s to get to know myself better.

If you’re one of those people who feel pressured into settling down in your 20’s and feel like you have to pop out a kid because your “biological clock is ticking”, let me reassure you that you’re not the only one in this world who feels they physically and emotionally cannot take care of children, let alone their own. It’s okay to feel career-oriented and focused on yourself. It’s okay to want to wait maybe in a couple of years to have children. Maybe in this present day, you feel the way you feel and nothing at this moment is going to change that. There’s nothing wrong not wanting to settle down at this very second. Your decision is yours only and nobody has a say in what you want to do with your life.

Everyone has different paths of life, and it’s okay if yours isn’t like everyone else’s. Let’s be those “boujee aunties who travel the world and gives their nieces and nephews secret money at family gatherings to be the cool as fuck person” together!

Hey, it’s a thing.
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-Liz (:

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, ‚ÄúMaster in English‚ÄĚ.

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 na√Įve, 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 (:

Voiceless Rant: The Series

A Voiceless Rant: May 2018 Edition.

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH!

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So, no one was going to tell me that I haven’t posted a voiceless rant post for the month of May and now we are literally two days away from June?¬†Crazy.

This month flew by, but then it didn’t. It could be because I wrapped up my final semester and the first half of the month was literally me writing and writing and writing every single day before the last day of classes. In the gist of final papers and submitting my thesis (which passed!), I got the opportunity to speak about my thesis at my college’s graduate conference. It was such a surreal feeling to stand in front of an audience (including my very supportive thesis advisor) and showcase what I’ve been working on for the last two years; it was seriously a great way to end my graduate career.

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Abstract of my Grad Conference Presentation.

Speaking of finishing up grad school,¬†I graduate in two days.¬†I am still trying to let that sink in. It didn’t feel real for awhile; I kept telling myself that something was going to hold me back from getting this Masters degree and that this wasn’t going to be the end of my journey. But everything is stamped and ready to go.¬†I’m graduating with my Masters degree in English.¬†

Two years felt like an eternity when I was just starting out. 2018 felt too far away for it to be only two years, but these last two years flew by. I just was graduating with my bachelors. I was just taking Professor Carlo’s class in my first semester as a grad student. I just wrote that last final paper for her that I knew was going to be my thesis. I just met all of the people in my grad courses who were cool as hell.¬†I just started grad school.

 

And I think that’s what tripping me up: I struggled and worked my ass off for two years, and finally it is all over. I can’t lie,¬†I lost a lot of people to get where I am now,¬†including my uncle who constantly told me how proud he was for me being the first in the family to get two degrees.¬†I even lost a lot of myself in the process,¬†and it’s not easy trying to get parts of yourself back after feeling like you’ve been away for so long. I don’t necessarily remember who I was before grad school, but I’m damn sure that I’ll be finding who I am now as an actual human being than just one who is a student.¬†I finally am going to be able to take care of myself in ways I wasn’t able to do because of grad school,¬†and that’s honestly what’s so bittersweet about this moment. I was able to get through such a hard time and place in my life, and I can finally breathe again.

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Middle School Tassel & Grad School Tassel.

I guess the overall meaning of this post is that don’t let anyone, not even yourself, tell you that you can’t do it. For months, it felt like I was never going to see the end of this journey because I was self-sabotaging; I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. There were times I told myself I was dropping out because my mental health meant so much more than a piece of paper you get framed on your wall.¬†But I didn’t. My drive, my passion, and my responsibilities made me get where I am now, and I’m glad I got here to experience what it feels like seeing all of your hard work pay off. Staring at my Masters gown, decorating my cap, trying on my graduation outfit… nothing else beats the feeling.

Ten years ago, I couldn’t imagine myself being where I’m at. As a 14-year-old teen, my next chapter was me going to high-school and pursuing my singing with other talented teens like me. As a 24-year-old young woman, my next chapter is me getting a better understanding of who I am, and hopefully getting hired at a job that reflects on the hard work I did to get here.

Here’s to graduation, here’s to a new chapter of life, and here’s to everyone who may have self-doubts about doing whatever they want to do.

Come on and do it. (Yes, that is a Spice Girls reference.)

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-Liz. (:

Monday's Muse

This is What Passion Really Looks Like.

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.

Whoa, a Monday post?! I know, since when? I wanted to write and publish this post at the start of the week as a reminder to all of you (and myself) that no matter how things end up going, you still have passion doing it.

I say things after watching a middle school/high school talent show on Friday. My partner is a dance teacher at a school in NYC and for the last couple of years he’s been there, he has taught a group of girls that call themselves “The Eliminators.” For the last month and a half, I’ve been a witness to my partner’s hard work and dedication towards this show and the competition they went to literally an hour before the talent show started. They were the last to perform for the evening; I could tell my partner was extremely nervous for them to perform and execute this dance well.

The group danced in a way I never saw them dance before, to be honest. This was my first time seeing them in person dancing, but by judging the videos I was sent of their last performances, these girls really outdid themselves. While they were dancing, I noticed my partner cheering his group on in the middle of the auditorium, hyping them up as they danced with the biggest smile on his face. I saw it in his face. I saw it in his nerves, his composure, and his body language. I saw how passion really looked like.

Continue reading “This is What Passion Really Looks Like.”