Sunday, April 29, 2012

Senior Portraits

Disclaimer: all pictures below were taken by my friend Chris Pham, a wonderful photography hobbyist as well as a photographer for the Daily Trojan.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Senior Fountain Run

A dozen scrapes and bruises are my relics from Fountain Run 2012, a senior tradition at the University of Southern California. It is held on the last Thursday of class every spring semester - a day when seniors literally "run the campus". It was a crazy event highlighted by hordes of drunken seniors running around and splashing through all 29 fountains on our campus (aside from the ones that campus authorities strategically blocked off). I don't even want to think about how disgustingly vile and unsanitary the water in the fountains were. The smartest thing I did that night: wearing closed toe shoes.

In the Gerontology Center Fountain.
On top of the 125th Anniversary Fountain.
Standing in front of the Inverted Fountain, which sadly, was blocked off. 
Running through the Hahn Central Plaza Fountain.
Climbing the School of Social Work Fountain. 
Last picture in front of Tommy Trojan.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Football players just sat down in an organic chemistry lecture.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Delta Delta Sigma 2011-2012: End of Year Banquet

I'm uploading this right now because, let's face it - anything and everything sounds more appealing than studying for the EXSC 406 lab final. I'm thoroughly sick of reading about lactate threshold, glucose regulation, and the effects of caffeine on exercise.

All pictures credits below go to the historians of our pre-dental society.

I stood on the edge of the patio of the fourth floor of the Westin Bonaventure Brewing Company, gazing at the busy streets of downtown Los Angeles. I glanced back at the patio of the Bonaventure to see, not only the members of my pre-dental society, but also a year of accomplishments and experiences to be celebrated on that wondrous night.

"Congratulations, you made it," I thought to myself as I looked up at the skyscrapers that enveloped me, "everything turned out more wondrously than expected".
My last year in the pre-dental society has finally come full circle. From the bitterness of defeat during executive board elections last April, to coping with being a second year vice-president during the fall, to finding out that the President of our pre-dental society was leaving us for the spring , to dealing with a depleted treasury because the former president spent an absurd amount of money on scrubs (his completely impractical presidential campaign promise last year was free scrubs for every member of the club...), to taking full control of the club as the Vice President and winning the respect of the executive board members, to orchestrating a seamless semester for our pre-dental society, and finally to our end-of-year banquet.

This past year with the pre-dental society has been nothing short of a crazy carnival ride. But in a way, the challenges have instilled in me a newfound confidence - that I can successfully lead an organization. All you need is a little bit of luck, improvisation, planning and a ton of moral support from people who believe in your abilities.

And the lesson I learned about popular elections: spend time imparting your brilliant future vision on the electorates rather than boring them with your past triumphs and accomplishments. As politicians would probably attest to, promise the people 110% and only deliver 10%.  I jest, I jest... 

I'm excited to leave the organization that I've been apart of since my freshman year on a high note after a whirlwind of a year. And I sincerely hope that I've been able to make a positive impact on the pre-dental society as a three-year executive board member.

It took four years as an undergraduate to finally claw my way from the bottom to the top. And just as I've finally managed to ascend to the top, it's time to move on to the next great phase in my life - dental school.

I wish the successive executive board the best of luck as they forage through a new academic year with the pre-dental society. With four returning executive board members, they will have the experience and foresight to learn from the tumultuous experiences as well as build off of the successes of the past semester. So I hand over my reign, fully confident that the new executive board will bring the organization to greater heights. With great delight and a twinge of sadness, I bid adieu to a monumental chapter of my life.

Song of the Day
Both Sides, Now - Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Acceptance to the Dugoni School of Dentistry



The admissions coordinators are on the other side of the phone, congratulating me on my acceptance to the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry. I hang up the phone and smile in disbelief, a wave of elation washing over me.

And then the happiness died, like a popped balloon.

It seems as though every four years in my life, I am faced with a life-changing quandary about whether to stay in Southern California or move to Northern California. Four years ago, the decision was between the University of Southern California and UC Berkeley. This time around, the choice is between the University of Southern California and the University of the Pacific.

In both cases, the seemingly smarter and less expensive choice was situated in northern California. My brain tells me to moves to northern California yet my heart implores me to stay. It's a bitter game of tug-of-war, of which there is no winner.

If history prevails, I will be a Trojan for the next four years.

Though this time around, the decision to stay in Southern California comes with full support from my parents (who are practically TELLING me to go to USC).

But somehow, I will always be wondering: am I a complete idiot for turning down an offer from Pacific?

Song of the Day
Tallulah - Allo Darlin'

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Story of My Life Right Now

My life this week:
  • Monday - EXSC 406L final research project (paper + presentation of research)
  • Tuesday - EXSC 300L final research project (paper + presentation of research); "Pregnancy and Exercise" research paper
  • Wednesday - HP 401 paper
  • Thursday - "Pregnancy and Exercise" presentation

Story of my week (courtesy of PhDcomics):

Friday, April 13, 2012

After a Thunderstorm

Rain is a rarity in southern California and for good measure. It has a tendency to severely disrupt normal day-to-day functioning.

Yet in spite of my distaste for rain, I love gazing at the sky after a thunderstorm in Los Angeles. It is ethereal. The powder white clouds painted upon an electric blue backdrop pierces through the sky normally smothered by a veil of gray haze. Purity descends upon the city and refreshing calm washes over.

The downpour outside has trapped me inside my apartment. Grocery shopping is simply not going to happen in the rain. And while there is an alarming dearth of food in my fridge, the rain has provided me ample time to sit and think. So I contemplate and attempt to clear my mind of, well... him.

They say that I am the most level-headed and non-emotional girl you will ever meet. That is, until I fall in love. Then I become almost manic-depressive, alternating between periods of highs and periods of lows, playing a constant game of he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not. I spend my free time analyzing every word he has said to me. Thoughts spiral through my head like a whirlwind - does he like me? Does he not like me? Are we just friends? Is there a spark? Is he ambivalent about our relationship? Is he kissing other girls? Am I playing too hard to get? Am I too obvious? Is he a gentleman? Is he a player? Or worse, is he a secret psychopath?

And just as the rain outside ceased and the sun shone through, my mind became clearer. While playing "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia on repeat, I've finally come to my senses. This is probably just a Vegas fling. I can't possibly like a guy of unknown character who has the opportunity to meet hundreds of girls every night. Rationally, I can't expect him to reciprocate my feelings.

It's time to collect my wits and return to normal before finals roll around. There, I'm done.

Song of the Day
Torn - Natalie Imbruglia

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

5 Terrifying Things I Will Do If I Like You

From the Thought Catalog. WOW... this is EXACTLY what I've been doing for the past four days...
Even though I consider myself a relatively sane, stable person — more or less — it’s undeniable that if I have decided to pursue you romantically, I pretty quickly lose all grip on reality and become this foaming-at-the-mouth bridge troll who just wants to follow you around everywhere. It’s not my fault! It’s just that you’re so pretty, and so great, and I’m just trying to romance/charm you with my relentless stalking. As a matter of public safety, these are the things you should probably get ready for if you should become a target.

1. Follow you around on the internet with a magnifying glass

If we’re having a conversation at some point and you start talking about that time in 2003 when you went to that summer camp and broke your leg falling off the dock into shallow water, and I’m like “Oh my god YES that was hilarious,” despite the fact that we’ve known each other for a total of 4 days and you’ve never mentioned that — don’t panic! It’s just that I’ve been spending the past 4 days poring over every link that Google can conjure up for your name, and I found a Xanga you used to keep before you realized how absurd that whole website was. I simply forgot to turn that switch in my mind that says “Don’t mention all the terrifying knowledge you’ve collected about him, keep up the facade of being coy and attractively hard-to-get.” When I mention a cousin of yours you’ve never told me about, it’s only because I’ve been combing through your Facebook friends because it’s one of the limited things I have access to without actually adding you. And when we finally do become Facebook acquainted, and I ‘like’ something from four years ago, it’s only because my sunday was spent rummaging through your photo albums like a crazy hoarder looking for a nice spoon in a junkyard to add to her collection. Don’t be afraid, I just want to know everything about you without your permission. This is romance.

2. Analyze every word that I get from you until they have absolutely no meaning left.

A Nobel Peace Prize to my friends who humor me while I sit there, phone in hand, asking them for the forty-fifth time in an hour what “I’m kinda tired tonight, think I’m gonna stay in ;),” could possibly mean. The thing is, if I really like you, I will all but hobble out of my house with pneumonia and a broken leg if I know you’re down to go hang out. The idea that someone would just willingly be like, “I’m a little tired” and let the opportunity to spend the whole night making out and laughing at each other’s jokes is absolutely incomprehensible. Even if we’ve seen each other literally every other night that week, I’m probably going to go through every stage of grieving at that text message, and were it not for a friend holding me back, would likely tell you that your winky face “can go f-ck itself” out of rage. Of course, in the morning, I’ll realize how ridiculous that whole episode was, but in the moment I’ll go through about 100 potential meanings behind that sentence, all ending in you sleeping with someone else at that very moment while making fun of me to your friends and cackling at the moon.

3. Send incredibly spastic text messages.

Here’s the thing about any text message you receive from me when I’m really into you — it did not just fall out of my fingers like delicate, feminine shooting stars and float to you on a cloud of wit and composure. No, no. If I actually managed to get something to you resembling a recognized human language, it was after about 50 attempts at creating something with the perfect combination of humor, intelligence, levity, and charm without even a drop of the sweaty desperation I’m actually feeling. This is generally the progression of one of said texts:

“Hey, I had a really good time last night, too. The movie wasn’t so bad, either. I feel like Johnny Depp is finally hitting his stride with more dramatic films — he’d put out a couple weird ones lately. Anyway, give me a call when you want to do something again. xo”

No, too serious.

“Hey hey, I had an awesome time, too! Did you like the movie? I’ve been thinking about it all day — Johnny Depp was pretty good I think, I haven’t seen a movie with him I’ve really liked in a while. Anyway, call me soon. :)”

Ending on a smiley face is international code for pressed.

“Heeeey. I had a nice time last night, too. :) That movie was ridiculous — Johnny Depp is like a cockroach, he will never go away. Pretty sure he would survive a nuclear blast specifically to keep making sh-tty Tim Burton films. Anyway, call me sometime.”

Maybe he likes Tim Burton — can’t take the risk.

“:) I had a great time, too. Also, Johnny Depp is starting to look like a melting wax statue of Johnny Depp. Call me.”




4. Imagine a future with you when I barely know you.

It’s really nothing personal — I mean, it is, but it’s not only with you. Anyone that I’m suddenly feeling overwhelmed with emotion for, and to whom I ascribe all the qualities of husband material even if I am not sure he fully possesses them yet, is subject to my creepy imagination. I’ll just let myself get lost in a sea of potential futures, vacation houses, children’s first names, trips to Istanbul and Martinique, and towels with monogrammed initials on them. It’s just that everything is an open book, a blank page, and filled with so much possibility — don’t ruin those precious moments when I can project all of my hopes and dreams onto you without ever telling you about them because you would trip over your own feet trying to run away from me. I mean, even I catch myself and realize how creepy I am. I’m like the emotional equivalent of the homeless man leering at breasts in the corner of the bus while swigging from a bottle of whiskey. “Yeah, that’s right, I bet you’re goal-oriented but caring. I bet you’d make a great father. Oh, yeah.” If I could stop this, of course I would, but it’s clearly not an option at this point so just let me imagine what you’d be like with salt-and-pepper hair.

5. Including your exes in my ugly rampage of stalking/fact finding.

It doesn’t matter if she was a crime-fighting philanthropist who spent her spare time dressing up in comic book costumes to go entertain sick children in hospitals — I will hate her. In fact, if she actually does have credentials that good, I will probably hate her more. Who does she think she is, that little goodie two shoes? She is so pressed to look like a good person, it’s not attractive. Plus what is she even doing with that brown hair? Who even has brown hair anymore? What is this, 1896? Not to mention her school…Yale? Lol, what do Harvard and Yale students have in common? They both applied to Harvard! Dumbass. Theoretical mathematics, what a dumb ass major. She really needs to get her sh-t together, it is just unattractive. And of course, as any good friend knows, their job for the near future will be to look at pictures of said ex with me and agree with how lame she is/find faults in even the most awesome thing she does. Don’t get me wrong, ex-girlfriend, you’re probably pretty awesome and once I get secure in this relationship, we may even come to like each other — but for now, you are literally the incarnation of the devil and to even briefly accept anything cool about you would be sacrilege. You know how it is. TC mark

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What Happens in Vegas...

He approached us as we exited the Marquee, offering free drinks and entrance into the Bank Nightclub in Bellagio. It didn't take much to persuade three girls who were scavenging for free drinks to follow him. It certainly didn't hurt that he was cute.

He was only 23 years of age though he looked quite statuesque in his finely pressed black suit. He had recently graduated from Dartmouth and was investing his time on a start-up business while promoting for clubs in Vegas as a part-time venture. He was half Chinese and half Polish, though he looked like a more Asian replica of Daniel Grayson from the hit series Revenge. At the end of the day, his soft looks, gentlemanly demeanor, and his charming smile won me over.

They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Yet it's been less than twelve hours since we last bonded over a cranberry cocktail at the Bank Nightclub and I am itching to text him, to hear from him, to see him just one more time. I suppose there is a world of difference between reality and fantasy. My roommate, the ever pragmatic one, has been consistently reminding me of how foolish it is to dwell on a guy who I met for an hour at a Vegas nightclub.

"He's a club promoter," she reminds me, "he sees a ton of hot girls every night and probably makes out with a different girl every week."

The rational part of my brain understands perfectly the logic that my roommate is attempting to impart on me yet my emotions are in overdrive at the moment. You know, the moment when you meet someone perfect and you fall heads-over-heel for the person. The moment when you feel the adrenaline rush, your heart beats on overdrive, and a stupid loopy smile is permanently plastered on your face. Four months ago, I swore that I wouldn't fall in love  again since the pain of a failed long-term relationship was too much to bear. But I simply couldn't help myself.

I wish we had more time to sit and converse last night. I wish we had more time, away from the booming top 40 hits/electronic music playing over the speakers, to get to know each other better. I wish that I could have spent the whole night with him. And I sincerely wish that I'm not being delusional in hoping that our time together wasn't simply a case of half-drunken lust.

Is it completely foolish to believe that our thing was special and that he isn't wooing a different girl every night? Is it insane to hope that the encounter will blossom into something more? Is it completely irrational to hope that what happens in Vegas does not have to necessarily wilt and die in Vegas?

Song of the Day (the song that is playing in my head every time I think of him and our night in Vegast)
Dancin' Away With My Heart - Lady Antebellum