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So I listened to ‘thank u, next’

Courtesy of YouTube

I’m glad you you’re reading this article. Here’s my personal prediction as to why you may have done so:

You love this song. Or at least you’ve heard about it. It is, in my opinion, a true hit.

Or:

You are excited for some spicy drama. Maybe this piece will be about a 21-year-old college student getting over her ex (or many of her exes, under the assumption I have one or many in the first place). That’s somewhat cliché, but it’s nonetheless very good stuff. (Clichés, in my opinion, are cliché for a reason – they are just that relatable and true that people want to overuse them. Novelty isn’t everything, you know?)

Whatever reason you came for – perhaps it’s neither; perhaps it’s the end of Week 7, and you’ll take any opportunity you have to procrastinate (and that’s fine, too) – I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad for the following reasons:

  1. Yay. More readership. Read The Daily. I love The Daily.
  2. I love it when people listen to my story. I love hearing theirs in return. It’s a way for me to make new friends. It’s a way to express myself. It’s a way for me to verbalize my thoughts.

So here goes.

This past week – for a number of reasons – was pretty challenging, emotional, stressful and difficult for me. At many points in the week, I was not okay.

(Surprise! In my personal opinion, again (as is this entire piece, but it seems like people often confuse opinion from fact these days, so I feel the need to constantly clarify), as much as people like to pretend that it’s not okay, it’s okay to accept that we, as humans, are sometimes not okay. And that’s perfectly okay, too.)

And how did I react to not being okay?

Well, as a human being: I was emotional. I felt emotions. So I became emotional. It’s pretty intuitive, in my opinion.

I also tried to make myself stronger physically. I’m a strong believer that the mind and body works in tandem. Virginia Woolf said a lot of smart things, but, in my personal opinion, this is perhaps the quote that best shows why she’s so brilliant:

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Truth. Right there. Truth. The mind and the body aren’t separate – as the medium is the message and perhaps the message is the medium (again, personal opinion – one of these opinions is Marshall McLuhan’s), these two things are not mutually exclusive. They are all what makes us human.

Anyway, I spent a good amount of time at the gym on Friday to make myself stronger again (I’ve sort of slacked on my exercise regimen this past week, so I think my muscles are dissolving; don’t quote me on this, though, because I’m not entirely sure if that’s how physiology works. That’s just how I felt.)

I also watched “Good Will Hunting.” It’s a great film. There are many nuanced messages that I think deeply resonate with much of our own lives. (Again, in my personal opinion).

And I talked to people. I talked to people who I – by my own intuition and human feeling – trust to give me energy and genuinely respect me for who I am. I asked them, “How do you make decisions? How do you trust yourself to make decisions? How do you trust yourself to believe what you believe? How do you learn how to compromise? Should you compromise?”

Basically: What is life?

I also talked to people that I didn’t know too well but appeared to be committed to their values. I asked two Mormon missionaries why they believe what they believe. I am not Mormon nor do I know Mormonism’s ideas particularly well. It seemed to me, nonetheless, that these two men were doing what they do because they believe what they believe. I was curious.

Here are several things I learned from my various conversations. Some of these words are borrowed from others. (Feel free to let me know if they are yours; I’m happy to give you credit.)

  1. Belief is a choice. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not – you choose to believe what you believe.
  2. Information is asymmetrical. That’s something we must accept; when we make decisions we can allocate resources (time, other perspectives, research for context) to support our decision making process, but alas, it is up to us to trust ourselves to make our own decisions based on the information we have at the time.
  3. Truth is not contingent on the majority. Truth is sometimes equivalent to the majority’s view, but never contingent.
  4. Sacrifice is another word for compromise – it is compromising for those you care about.
  5. In order to get going after you fall, you have to assess where and what it is that hurts in the first place.
  6. Every decision has a risk. Sometimes that risk is failure.
  7. Failure is data.
  8. There is often a price to committing to things you value. Especially if that is being genuine and sincere. (There is a price to writing this piece; I can tell you more about it once the piece is published.)
  9. Believing in something comes from time, intent and sincerity.
  10. Just because you lost something doesn’t mean you should give up on the others to come. That’s not fair – to you and also to them. You’re missing out. So will they.
  11. Sleep is great. Food is great. (I think this one’s my original idea, but we all know this, so it’s probably not original.)
  12. While you must think for yourself and believe in yourself to think for yourself, you are not alone. It’s not you against the world. (In fact, as someone who is trying to do things to help the world, if anything, it should be me and the world. Together.)
  13. Sometimes, you don’t know what the ideal scenario is unless you go through the non-ideal scenario and realize you are not happy with it.
  14. Sometimes, life catches you off guard with scenarios that you don’t expect.
  15. Intuition is not random. It’s based on experience. In other words, put yourself out there (especially when society is so forgiving towards you – most people are willing to accept the things you do because, “It’s okay, you’re in college”), so that you can get more experiences to add to your intuition.
  16. Trust your intuition. Trust yourself.

But the most important thing, I learned – an addendum that I would like to add to this long list that perhaps Ariana Grande forgot to explicitly state (I don’t blame her, her song overall captured many important things. This point is something that I, too, initially forgot because it seemed so obvious) – is that everything is going to be okay, because I have all these people that gave me their time, support, love and all of the words above. They are who keep me going. Despite all the challenges, tests and points of questioning I am thrown in life, I keep going because I am thankful to have the care of these loving people in my life.

It seems to me that we live in a world where questions are often confused with challenges. Opinions are often confused with facts. Self-love is often confused with narcissism. And thoughtfulness is often confused with overthinking.

I tweeted this earlier, and I’m sharing this with you because (a) I think it drives home a message I wish to convey and (b) I would love to share more ideas with you: Twitter (at least so far in my experience) seems like a good platform as long as I remember to not forsake nuanced dialogue for the character limit (hence why I used the “thread”). Follow me if you shall.

Despite my rough week, I made it! I’m here, writing this piece for the (in my opinion) best student paper on campus and thriving. I went through many stereotypically “worst possible scenarios” this week and yet I’m still here. To quote Ari, “That shit’s amazing.” I am amazing, and so are you, dear reader.

Thank you to everyone who helped me and continue to be there for me. It is my personal recommendation that you too reach out to people you care about as you’ll be surprised to see how much you can learn.

Here’s to all the best for all of us. I believe in us.

Let’s do this. Together. Happy Week 8!

Thank u, next!

 

Feel free to reach out to chat with Inyoung Choi at ichoi ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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