5 Months Left

This winter break has been so nice because its bee just that: a break. A break from lectures, homework, friends, my house in Tacoma, poorly made meals (by myself) and everything. But its kinda scary that with only one semester left: aka 5 months. That deadline is coming up so fast that it makes me not look at this break like a break anymore.

Its a time with no distractions to figure out what I’m doing next semester. For some they’ve already figured out they want to attend grad school- they’ve applied and they’ve heard back and are deciding or waiting to hear back, they want to attend a postgrad fellowship program- they’re waiting to hear back. Basically most people on those paths know when they’re making a decision about next year or they already have. Me, I could’ve been on the second path but basically I’m looking for a career and jobs post-undergrad.

The first semester was kinda a weird time because I couldn’t apply to jobs that had immediate openings or that starting in Jan 2017 because I would still be a student, but I still looked at a lot of companies and organizations just to get a feel about what I want to apply to, how and when to do so. Upon thinking about what my major is and what I want to do I realize its just like applying for college again but way more scary. Every company is different, every location is different and at this point they aren’t necessarily catering to graduates but real people and I’m competing with other real people for these jobs. I can’t take a nonchalant approach to applying for jobs as I did for college because I need them more than they need me. So now my break has turned into future planning because getting a job is the first step. Then there’s finding somewhere to live, feeding myself, getting transportation and then actually moving there.


After four years at UPS and countless “homes” mentioned in Ron Thom’s Convocation speeches I think it’s safe to say I’ve found a home at UPS. A home with my friends, with my sorority, with my major/department, with my lab, with multiple communities.

But I can’t forget the first home I came from the one where my parents raised me, where I grew up and where I decided to make Puget Sound my home! I’m lucky enough to still live in the same house I grew up in for 18 years, that I have my parents, siblings and friends still around to celebrate the holiday season with over break. I know not everyone is so lucky and I’m always grateful for how lucky I am to call Hawaii home <3

I remember the feel of my bed and my pillow,

I remember the pressure of my shower spray and absence of shower shoes,

I remember the drive home and to high school,

I remember the neighborhood Korean restaurant and the owner remembers me,

I remember overheating in my high school classrooms

I remember seeing a day fly by without doing anything but chilling in bed

I remember accidentally stepping on my dog’s poop in the yard

I remember anytime I venture outside it’s likely I’ll run into someone I know

I remember those cringe-worthy moments from high school when I see an acquaintance

I remember my favorite channels on the TV


I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen.
—Exodus 10:3–6

So apparently the Cellar is closed for the winter now. Considering the recent state of the C-store shelves, one begins to understand why.img_1426

See, here’s what appears to have happened. We have all these students who are on meal plans. Surprisingly, not everyone’s estimates of how much they were going to eat this semester turned out to be accurate. Sure enough, we ended up with plenty of students who needed a way to burn some excess dining dollars. Combine this with the C-store’s food supply, which was meant to satisfy the student body for the duration of a semester and no more, and the results are evident.

I suppose this is symbolic of how the campus is starting to empty out now. People are leaving for vacation, roommates are saying goodbyes, and the Wi-Fi has mysteriously become slightly more reliable. Even the air has lost its warmth – it now bites and tears at those parts of us that we foolishly leave outside of our coats. Soon the Diner will stop accepting our meal plans at all, but I will be gone before then. Vanished to a mysterious realm cloaked in fog and battered by wind, not too far from the forges of steel wings. That is to say, I will be remaining in Washington.

The class lists for next semester certainly aren’t empty, though. A month from now, the campus will be reborn. Not everyone who left will return – just as not everyone who showed up in August is still here. We may be seeing some new faces around campus, though. If the wrinkled trio of Fate so decrees, I may even end up with a roommate who isn’t imaginary.

A State of Being

Growing up in Hawaii I didn’t think my 5’4″ stature was out of the ordinary, most people were of similar heights-taller and shorter than me. But coming to UPS and joining the men’s crew team (a sport that traditionally has athletes up to 7feet basically, the taller the better) I realized how short or vastly different my height is compared to many people. I should’ve known when I actually can and do shop in petite sections of stores that I am petite.

Often times I feel like because I’m petite, in height and weight, and female that people often assume certain things about it. They assume I’m going to be accommodating, that I don’t need much space, that I’m probably quieter and smaller person means smaller personality. While some of these traits may be true of some petite people its not true for others, myself included and the size of your body doesn’t mean people can assume certain things about you.

Last night I flew home after completing all my in-person finals (I have a lab report and essay that needs editing calling my name still). I always choose a window seat because I’ll have a view (even if the view is pitch black darkness and the wing) and can sleep against the plane. Being a smaller person I don’t take up all the space in my airplane seat and the person sitting next to me decided he could take up some of my space. He either didn’t see I was uncomfortable or decided he wanted more space and just took it, making me feel uncomfortable and moving away to take up less space. Maybe there was something I should’ve done differently. The conversations I’ve had at UPS made me think about social consent, respecting and learning about peoples boundaries,

Being in college and at UPS changes your perspective if you’re open to learning more than inside the classroom. The most growth happens when we have conversations with others to learn about perspective, loss and supporting others. If there’s one thing UPS has definitely taught me, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Especially with others you don’t know, don’t assume stereotypes about them and think about how

Who Dares Somethings

I had my first final this morning. It wasn’t quite as big a deal as I’d been made to expect. We were allotted two hours for the test, and I was only there for 70 minutes. I feel fairly confident about my result, but that is little cause for rejoicing. I expect that my other two will be more challenging yet. At least I’m not taking Chemistry. Anyway, I can’t justify complaining too much, because I barely studied at all last weekend.

There are a lot of ways to not study for finals. Netflix comes to mind immediately. So do partying, socializing, reading unrelated books, and digging into the dregs of your Steam library. Hibernation is also a feasible option, and one that can also reduce the strain on the coffee maker at Diversions. There are also a lot of dangerous ways to not study for finals, but I will leave them as an exercise for the reader.

So what did I do? Notice that the Ludum Dare Game Jam happened to be the weekend before finals. Apparently I decided that spending 48 hours developing a video game is preferable to safeguarding my grades. This was a little isolating at times, as I wasn’t fighting quite the same fight as everyone else. On the other hand, I also had a very easy time finding playtesters. This decision might bite me later, but I still think it was worth it.

Now I have a new problem. It’s currently the Ludum Dare judging period, so I’m supposed to play other people’s entries to get feedback on my own. In other words, I now have a semi-legitimate excuse to play video games when I’m supposed to be studying. I’m not sure what the solution is here.

A Different Kind of Finals Week

This is the fall semester of my senior year. Senioritis has definitely kicked in. Especially this semester for me, finals is something totally different. As I’ve mentioned all semester, this one is varied in the classes I’m taking, the learning style, the homework commitment, and examination of said learning.

My FINALS breakdown:

2 takehomes

1 presentation & report

1 lab report

1 ethics paper

1 research presentation

I don’t have a single final cumulative exam this semester. Not one. And that’s pretty unusual for a science major, like super unusual. As I only had one class give out exams: Molecular Biology, its not too surprising that I didn’t have a final exam. I’m not sure where I stand on cumulative exams except it seems kinda unreasonable to ask us to memorize or know every single thing we learned this semester. And I know our professors aren’t actually asking us to do that but when ALL the material we went over could be covered during the exam then yeah it is asking us to know everything, every little thing.

I feel like takehomes is such a vague term for a exam that it could’ve been anything: a 10 page essay on a very specific hard prompt, many short answers, data analysis or some other kind of paper. Luckily my two takehomes follow in the latter: “shorter” prompt long response answers. The only thing is both takehomes have two prompts EACH making four takehomes actually. But that’s not too bad in the bigger scheme of things when during past reading periods and exam weeks I was cramming all the material for my exams.

What finals really comes down to is what is most important and interesting to me. Which final is coming first and do I need to prepare for sooner? Which final comes last and may get put on the backburner because I’m working on another final? Which requires the most time? How long can I procrastinate working on the final-paper or exam? And lastly when do I need to finish said final by?

I think these are all questions students face, and everyone may answer them differently but one things for sure, when I graduate in the spring I’m definitely not gonna miss taking finals.



Snow Day

Tuesday morning, it snowed. It snowed early in the morning, and did not last past noon. If we were in a snowier state, this might have been a relief, but here we were mostly just disappointed. I figured that was going to be our snow season for the year, ignoring the weather forecasters’ better judgement.

Yesterday’s snow did stick. It was the liveliest night the campus had had in months, as people rushed out of their dorms and houses to enjoy the rare weather and procrastinate on studying for finals. I remember walking past the tables of the Oppenheimer cafe, each one converted into a construction site for a gingerbread house. Shortly afterwards, I was walking along a campus path sipping my hot chocolate. It was then that I witnessed the events which I will now relate to you:

The men stood erect in the snowfall, spaced out at positions in a semicircle around the library entrance. They were dressed in heavy pants, coats, and gloves. Each one had his own pile of ammunition. The rounds were carefully compacted into approximations of spheres and each and every one of them was as cold as death. Each man shuffled nervously, waiting for something. A group of four women stood off to the side, chattering as they awaited the moment when each man would spring into action. I was there too, but this was not my story. I waited. I observed. They spoke:

“Where is he?”

“I don’t know.”

“He should have come out by now.”

“When he does, block the door so he can’t take cover inside.”

“I told him not to come out.”

“Oh come on!”

“I was joking.”

The door opened.

“Fire at will!”

A man dressed in heavy pants, a coat, and gloves was shocked as the first volley of snowballs arced toward him. He recovered quickly. No one blocked the door, but he did not run back inside. He turned to his right and rushed away from the killzone, shielding his face with his arm. Snowballs shattered on the ground, on the walls of the library, and on the man’s coat. They did not stop him. He rushed past one of the ambushers, and made a break for the grove of trees nearby. Two of the ambushers tried to follow, but the snowy ground proved treacherous. One caught himself right before he fell onto a bicycle rack. The other was forced to pivot his feet in the style of a braking ice skater in an effort to stay upright.

“I don’t think you guys won this one,” I said.

“We didn’t. He got away,” one of the ambushers responded.

“Why did you let him get away?” asked a second to a third.

The snow continued to fall. The campus was alive.

Illuminate the Night

In my last year at Puget Sound there will be many, “_____ for the last time.” But there’s still room for, “_____ for the first time.” For instance, I went to Zoolights for the first time. Zoolights is an animal light display held at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Scattered around the zoo are different light installations of all the various kind of animals.

Since this event is held at night, you won’t be able to see the animals because they were in their indoor cells. With a couple of exceptions, like the camel-rides and in one of the indoor displays we were able to see a sleeping tiger. However, the aquarium is still open, so while you warm up you can gaze at the different species of sharks, fishes, and my personal favorite, jellyfish.

It’s honestly a spectacular light installation. You can’t help but smile and awe at all the brilliant displays illuminating against the night sky. I’d highly recommend going to this if you haven’t gone yet. This event will run through January 1st from 5 – 9 pm. I would also recommend checking the weather ahead of time and to dress for the weather aka bundle up. When we went, it was a chilly and windy 28°F.

Tacoma Narrow's Bridge

Tacoma Narrow’s Bridge



Mt. Rainier, another "_____ for the first time" I'm looking forward to.

Mt. Rainier, another “_____ for the first time” I’m looking forward to.

Signs (Pt. 7)

A cat watches me walk back to my house against the wind.

“Can you take the trash out?” my friend asks. “Tomorrow’s garbage day.”

I look at the white bag choked around the rim of the trashcan. It’s full. I put my backpack down, undo the knot, and pull up the bag.

I walk to the street and open the lid of the bin. I look inside. Someone once told me to be careful when I open the lids of trash bins because rats sometimes feed on leftovers inside. I drop the bag into the empty bin and close the lid.

“Did you eat?” my friend asks back inside.

“No. I’m going to make ramen.”

I fill a pot with water and put it on the stove. I pull a packet of noodles from a drawer, tear the packet, and empty the noodles into the pot. We watch the noodles unfold.


“Do you want an egg?”

She opens the fridge and pulls out two eggs. I open another packet of noodles and empty them into the pot.

“Isn’t you know who graduating soon?”


She cracks the eggs and lets the yolks spill onto the pan. I stir the noodles in the pot. Steam rises from the water. I open the window over the sink.

“It’s raining.”

“You got back at the right time.”

I pull two bowls from the cabinet and place them on the counter.

“I can cut some vegetables,” I say.

“No, I’ll do it. I don’t trust you.” She washes green onions in the sink and dices them. The smell of the onions mixes with the smell of the rain outside.

I turn off the burner and empty the pot into the two bowls.

She picks up a handful of diced green onions and drops them into the bowls. She waves her hand in and out of the steam, and the steam hugs her fingers.

“Are the eggs ready?”

“Yeah.” She scrapes off the eggs and slides them onto the noodles. I carry the bowls to the table. We talk about time, and meaning, and smallness.

Signs (Pt. 6)

“I’m going to miss her,” I say as we walk home in the rain, our hands in our pockets. I wear a hood. She doesn’t have one.

“Did you say goodbye?”


I trip and step in a puddle on the road. Water leaks through my shoes. She helps me back.

We walk under streetlamps. The lamps light the sidewalk in vague circles. I hear cars one road over, but there aren’t any on this one.

“When does she leave?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

“And that’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“No more?”

“No more.”

The sky screams. A plane flies over us from behind. It passes over the streetlamp and disappears into the clouds.


I turn.

“Look.” She points to the streetlamp.


Back two steps. She points.

“What am I looking at?”

“The rain.”

I catch the rain off the light of the streetlamp. White lines falling in and out of sight, like snow.

The roar of the plane is like an echo and fades as we watch the rain falling in the light.