I apologize for not updating for over three weeks. School has been stressful and busy as usual, so even though I've been doing a lot of extracurricular as well as academic stuff, I haven't had the time/energy/will power to write about them. I did some fun artsy stuff, outdoor cultural stuff, all of which mean nothing to you without pictures and reflections. I feel like I'm semi or quasi sick more often this year than my past two years at Rice. I think stress contributes to a reduced immune system maybe? I worry about staying in shape and taking care of my health, because I haven't been getting the best sleep or eating as healthy as I want to or exercising.
I do really enjoy time spent with others, and I've been meeting new people, especially new students at Duncan, my residential college. Suite life is pretty sweet, with our cute gatherings to do homework and chat in the common room space. It makes me feel like I have a family away from home. Things are also going full speed with The Mentorship Project, a club that I am heavily involved with at Rice. I lead eight other students to go mentor at a YES Prep high school to help their seniors apply to college. I really like the small group atmosphere and it's my third year working with this club, albeit first year working with YES Prep. In my college essay (available here), I reflected on some of the opportunities I've had and how I want to pay it forward in college and beyond, for example through mentoring/tutoring other disadvantaged youngsters. It feels awesome to read that again (I actually gave copies of my essay to my mentees this semester, too) and know that yes, despite how long it's been since I wrote that essay, I stayed true to myself and found a way to do what I said I would. Mentoring has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I wouldn't trade it.
Going off a little bit and being introspective, junior year has definitely brought the pressure on more than ever before. Rice is full of spectacular people, and I've always known that and felt a little intimidated and inspired to do a lot. All the time. Except now it's my third year of trying so hard to do all that I want to do, and I am proud to say that I've tried to devote 100% into everything I do and that is my best that I can ask for, but sometimes I can't help by question myself a little bit - am I not doing enough if I'm only involved in 1 club? What am I going to do this summer? How am I going to make sure I will be a competitive candidate when I enter the job market? What do I even want to do when I graduate? But then I think about how even with five classes and two main extracurricular activities, my schedule is always packed already, so even if I wanted to, I can't really fit too much else in. To be quite honest, I am living one day at a time, because if I start to think too much about the uncertain future and how much I have to accomplish, I just take a deep breath and focus on finishing the day first.
So that is where I am with life right now. Fall semester always seems to pass by so quickly. Two thirds of the semester is over. As I race towards finishing this semester, I want to make sure study abroad is going to work out financially (that is really the last puzzle piece) and that I pack everything up and store it somewhere before I come back to Rice for senior year. I can't promise anything but I hope to have a post up soon with details about what I've been up to for the past few weeks. For now, here's a sneak peek of New Orleans..!