Kat Huang Memoji of me making a peace sign

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Personal lessons from Q3 of 2019

3 min read, November ‘19

This post is nearly two months late (so late that some of the points no longer apply to my life), but here's my review of the third quarter of 2019! (See quarter 1 and quarter 2.)

This time, I'm splitting the review up into two posts.

  1. The first part is a play-by-play of some of the major events or milestones that have happened from July through September 2019.
  2. The second part (this one) consists of lessons I've learned and changes I want to make in my mindset and behavior.

Why am I splitting it up? Both parts are meaningful to me, and I want to give each one the space it deserves.

The first part is wonderful to look back on, since it holds detail and spontaneity that my memories simply can't after a while.

The second part was initially an afterthought when I first started doing reviews, but I've realized that I love reflecting on how I'm thinking, working, and living over the span of a few months—long enough to notice patterns, short enough to experiment with changes.

Be comfortable with discomfort.

During dance auditions at the beginning of the semester, I was constantly trying to suppress feelings of stress, even though I love dancing and performing. I think the stress is sort of valid, given that auditions have some level of pressure, but I really think I shouldn't have been stressed about it.

I think the stress was a sign of discomfort from not being the best. I find that I often complain and make myself feel bad about things that I haven't practiced a lot, which is unproductive and unfair. In order to improve in any area, I need to be comfortable with the uncomfortable process of failing and being bad at things.

Seek help more.

On one hand, I've been to Student Support Services, the Writing and Communication Center, and some office hours, and I've reached out to my peer mentor and academic advisor once each. I'm glad I've done these, but I know I'm barely scratching the surface of the community and the support resources available to me.

Especially for academics, I think I can and should do more than I currently am. Luckily, I'm not intimidated by cold-emailing accomplished strangers or approaching professors. Despite that, however, I've only been to a few office hours and haven't been putting in my consistent best effort in my classes (which leads to my next point!).

Schedule time for priorities.

I have a Notion page that lists all my commitments just so I don't forget any when I'm making to-do lists. But it doesn't really prioritize things, so I usually end up working on the tasks that are less important but easier.

I want to make more progress on my priorities, and in most cases, the best way to do that is with consistent effort—a higher average speed, not maximum speed. To make sure I achieve that, I'm going to try to build routines and put work time and break time on my calendar, instead of just events, calls, and classes.

Build a track record of high-quality work.

I've realized that there are almost no projects from high school I can point to and proudly explain, especially technical ones. That's unfortunate, but it's alright.

Moving forward, I really want to build up a collection of projects I can point to and be proud of. They should be documented well and easily accessible.

I think this will translate to me being more intentional about my work and mindful of the outcomes (the process is still important, of course).

Open questions

Note: These are mostly for myself to think about. Although I'm sharing them publicly, I'm not really looking for others' input on them.

  • What should my personal academic standards be?
  • When should I say "no" to things, and how do I convince myself to want to?
  • (How) should I track whether or not I'm applying these lessons?
  • How do I tell my story if I don't remember many of the childhood/early-teenage-era events that shaped who I am today?
  • How should I make decisions related to social things?
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