how my experiences at Pace have made me thankful

Or, this could also be titled “How Nelli’s past week and two days of school made her realize there is more life than Post Sandy stress” – I’ll leave this up to the discretion of my readers.

1. Eventhough I’m human, I also have my own Kryptonite. 

One of the “big things”  that happened last week was when I went to Bill (my advisor) and told him I wanted to drop my philosophy and social theory Learning Community. It was an extremely conflicting moment, since there were a plethora of thoughts plaguing my mind while I sat outside Bill’s office and swung my legs my back and forth. Was I simply giving up? Or I was giving in to the reality that the course had been increasing my stress levels every week, the low grades I’ve been getting after all the time I’ve spent on the papers have really frustrated me, and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I did? In my state of confusion and on advice of a friend, I talked to Bill and he guided me through my then-rambled thought process. Since the course wasn’t a requirement for Political Science majors, it was driving me insane, and my hard work on papers reflected low grades, Bill said it would be best to discontinue the class. I wouldn’t fall behind on the number of credits I needed since I’d be taking more classes in the spring; thus, I would still be right on track for my freshmen year. Hearing this took a huge weight off my shoulders, and then Bill worked his magic on the computer to withdraw me from philosophy. It’s a bit funny since I literally felt a HUGE weight come off my shoulders when Bill showed me the “WC” symbol (withdrawn class) listed next to philosophy on his computer screen, but I can honestly say  all the stress and negativity left my system. I wish I had decided sooner to withdraw from the class and replace it with another one; but I felt like sticking through with it since both professors were so passionate and incredibly inspiring. (The workload, however, was killing.) Anyway, the moral of this event was just a reminder of how I am thankful for my past academia professionals: teachers, current professors, and advisors at school. Without their presence in my education and being my “second parents” at school, coming to school wouldn’t be as fun as it would be. Not all academia professionals are the warm, fuzzy, and completely-open-about-their-lives types; but the ones who aren’t have their own way of showing their care and concern for their students. A few of my friends at school who don’t have Bill as their advisor aren’t so happy with who they have, and that reinforces the thought of how lucky I am to have Bill as my UNV 101 professor AND academic professor (not to sound like a complete brag or anything). So this is a shoutout to all the academia professionals in my life: From the bottom of my heart, thank you for putting up with my questions and awkwardness, for pushing me outside my comfort zone, and for sharing your stories with me. I hope to make you proud one day!

2. Strangers can turn your frown upside down.

Last week I was in the bathroom, doing my business and being quick about it since I wanted to finish a specific amount of work before leaving school. I had washed my hands and was looking in the mirror when I noticed the girl next to me was crying, and it was bad.   She was really red in the face and she wouldn’t stop; and if I hadn’t looked the other way reflexively I would have cried too (because once I see people cry I start crying too). I went back to the Honors Lounge  and then sat down, picked up my book and tried to continue reading. But I couldn’t shake the image of the girl crying, so I grabbed a random chocolate bar, went back to the bathroom, and gave it to the girl. When I entered she was talking to another girl about what was wrong, and I picked up that the girl was a sophomore transfer acting student (from Florida) who had just auditioned for a big time Broadway director. After singing her song piece, the director looked her up and down, then said, “You’re  pretty, but you don’t have the talent I want.” He then criticized all of her flaws, and that was terrible in itself that she was the only one he had done that to. The other girl and I were shocked beyond belief, since it was such a harsh blow. We stayed with the girl in the bathroom and talked to her, small talk about other things at Pace and life in New York. It was the  most random of discussions, but still … it was a moving moment. The bathroom is one of the most unfavorable places for strangers to conglomerate and talk; but then, the setting was alright. Girl talk in the bathroom is so classic, you know? So here are hugs (and chocolate bars!) to the ladies in my life who have been through the good, bad, and so-sad: thank you for the girl talks, wherever and whenever those were. Even if you are a stranger, or if you were a school mate but we weren’t particularly close, thank you for being a presence in my life. Your smile, words, and actions have left irreplaceable footprints on my heart.

I love finding encouraging sticky notes whenever I feel down.

3. Friendship rocks all kinds of water. 

When I think of friendship, my mind splits into two zones: the Van FamJam on the West Coast and the friends I’ve made here on the East Coast. There hasn’t been one second of the day when I’ve thought about and missed loved ones in Vancouver, and been grateful for my new friends here in America. I just … don’t know what else to say. My friends render me speechless and in awe for all the things they do for me; so I’m going to be so cheese-y here and say I love you all so much and it’s never going to stop.

[insert the ja-billion photos I have of me and my friends]

Pigeons on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: My friends and I are like birds – we fly our separate ways, but we eventually make our way back to each other (with food).

4. Early morning and late night commuting are a worthwhile pain.

Commuter students from Jersey are still experiencing Post Sandy commuter problems. Until the World Trade Center PATH train gets fixed, extra waking-up-early in the mornings and one to two hour delayed evening commutes will be ongoing. It’s painful, annoying, and sleep-depriving, but it has two perks: NJ Transit (ferry and bus riders) and Port Authority bus commuters get to see the sunrise, sunset, and night sky against the New York City skyline. Some may consider that a cliche movie or novel scene, but in my opinion it’s incredibly mesmerizing and wakes me up. It reminds me how lucky I am to have made it to another day and night, and to be thankful that the breath I just took was not my last one.

sunrise from Liberty State Park

[And on a side note: another special thing about commuting is the bonding time my father and I have travelling together. Cheers to “fueling up” at Wawa (aka buying hot dogs and wake-me-up mochas for dinner) and “Daddy Wisdom”. I’m thankful that I commute with my Dad – there’s no one else I would do it with.]

5. People who inspire are the world’s most beautiful dreamers.

One of the things I love about university is that there’s so many people you’ll meet, and each person has their own story to tell. Bring those stories together, and they make up one of best story books of all time.

Two of the many people who inspire me are Alvi (a sophomore) and Diana (a senior, majoring in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies). Alvi is from my Introduction to International Relations class, while Diana is from my philosophy and social theory learning community.  The ways these two ladies impacted me are why I’ve been feeling so inspired and actually motivated  lately – and also, I’m thankful to have met them and have them as part of my story.

Alvi is … downright lovable. I can’t help but laugh whenever we spend time together because she is so adorable and funny. Anyway, last Wednesday before class, Alvi and I spent a few hours in the cafeteria eating and talking. The Honors course selection meeting had also happened that day, and the two of us had gone thanks to the marketing tactic of free pizza. Our conversation made its way into discussing professors who had presented their learning communities and courses, and we happened to get really into talking about the Asian Cinema and Bollywood Movie Learning Community. Being the artsy- poli. sci orientated person I am, I said “I definitely wouldn’t consider taking that course” since it had “nothing to do with my major” and “it would be a waste of time”. Alvi, on the other hand, didn’t say anything right away. She was quiet for a few seconds and I was worried I offended her; but then she said, “I think taking that learning community would be SO COOL.” Knowing she was a Business Major, I asked Alvi why. Her response blew my mind away, “Don’t you think it would be so interesting? I want to take courses that make me think!”

So, Alvi’s words may not have been the most jaw-dropping or time-bombing, but they hit my brain, hard – like my brain was the target for archery and Alvi aimed it at the innermost center circle perfectly. It made me feel completely shallow for what I had said about the course previously, and it also made me review and reevaluate my drafted schedule again. I wish the … force … or more accurately, the THUMP on my brain I felt when Alvi said “I want to take courses that make me think” could be shown or felt in some way through this post. But alas, I hope my words sorta made you feel it.

Alvi’s attitude whenever I see her (but so much more sweeter).

As a senior, Diana is busy and has better things to do than help a freshmen study for Sociology. Our study session wasn’t something that I had in mind – in fact, she was the one who brought it up. It was before the start of philosophy one day, and I was telling her how I had some difficulty understanding and connecting concepts together. Out of the blue, Diana then says, “Well hey, if you want we can meet up sometime when we’re both free and then talk more about what’s confusing you.” And our sociology study session before my midterm exam rolled from there. I’m so thankful that Diana and I had that review session, and especially how she brought her textbook and it was a GOD SEND! Diana’s stories of her college experience at Pace reignited my inner competitiveness, ambitions, and goals; and now, when I feel like procrastinating, I’ll remember everything Diana said to me and force myself to work it.

After Diana told me about some of her college experiences, this was the quote that popped into my mind.

Hence, here ends my list of things I am thankful for. I didn’t go over the necessary basics of life (such as food, water, oxygen, and other material things), but I hope you know I’m not that forgetful to think about them in my head, and I thank God for their existence every single day – I’m thankful for Life everyday. I’m going to end this abruptly since this post is longer than my usual ones and you need to get back to your loved ones.  But I just want to thank you, my awesome-beautiful-handsome-lovely readers for following my blog and being here with me for the journey. It means so much to me to have you follow or comment!

Take care, and have a heart warming, relaxing  Thanksgiving ♥


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