Category Archives: Life of a College Student
Wow, that was a creative title.
But yes, I spent Thanksgiving weekend out of town, and left my laptop charger behind. I’m absent-minded like that. Being without a laptop wasn’t bad at all because I don’t have anymore papers to write, but I’m glad to have it back. No more trying to pass time between classes by taking short naps on the library tables!
I had an amazing Thanksgiving. I really do have the best host family I can ever ask for. It makes me happier that we share the same love for food. This year, I was careful with my portions, but the food were definite huge temptations!
Exciting news! I hit the 8-mile circuit time in my daily workouts!
So I celebrated the only way I know how – by ordering a Domino’s small pizza and having it with mimosas. I rationalized the pizza by telling myself it’s small, and has chicken, pineapples, black olives, and spinach on it. Healthy, right?
This semester has seen me trying to be less hobo and more presentable. I didn’t think my employers would appreciate me working in sweatpants, which is what I’m more inclined to wear on a cold day. I love these boots! I got them for $20 from JCPenny on Black Friday. They’re comfy, in-style, and I didn’t have to wait in a long line for them! The scarf and cotton leggings were $5 each from Aeropostale, and the long-sleeve crew was $5 from JCPenny, all bought on Black Friday. Gotta love stylin’ on a budget!
The University of Oklahoma had a game last weekend. Parking was $25. The guy gave me 1-hour free parking because I’m a “pretty Asian girl.” I’ll take it. I’m quite sure he was at least 55 years old, which made it more hilarious.
But as a result of the free parking pass, I got to eat at the Crimson and Whipped Cream bakery in Norman. The coffee was ‘meh,’ but the food was drool-worthy. I ordered the Nutella crumble. Also tried my friend’s apple crumble, and it was equally yummy.
I love cooking. If I could be anything I want, I’d be a chef. If I could be anywhere I want, I’d be in culinary school.
I tried the Hello Fresh service for the first time this week. 1 week’s service costs $59. You get 3 meals for 2 people. I bought it off Groupon for $39, and used a $10 off coupon. Total OOP was $29 for 1 week’s service/6 meal servings… which is cheaper than eating out, but more expensive than cooking my regular meal prep stuff.
What I got in my box…
So far, I’ve cooked 2 meals.
The Brussels Sprouts were the best. I’m not a big fan of them, but after tossing them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and baking them in the oven, they had just the right amount of crunch and flavor. The maple-balsamic glaze was also very good. I think the thyme did the trick. Sadly, I accidentally put too much salt in the mashed squash. 😦
This meal wasn’t a favorite. The slaw had too much onions in it, and the bread had a weird taste. The chicken was alright, but I would have preferred if it had called for baking, instead of frying. Thinking about all that oil made me cringe.
Gross. I know.
I’ve been doing 5-mile workouts everyday! In kilometer language, that’s 8km.
I love working out. It makes me feel better about my body. I feel healthier, less sluggish, more confident.
It also gives me a goal. And my ultimate goal is 10 miles everyday. I know it’s doable, but it’ll probably only happen next Spring. Baby steps, baby steps.
My favorite post-workout treat is using the foam rollers. There’s just something about massaging those aching muscles with the roller that is so relaxing.
I killed 4 miles last night in the gym after my work shift ended at 8pm, and here’s why.
I haven’t had Qdoba since the summer. And I caved yesterday. Because it was cold. I was hungry. I was tired.
I got my usual of taco salad with picante ranch, cilantro rice, brown rice, fajita veggies, grilled chicken, corn salsa, fiery habanero, spicy queso, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and cilantro toppings. All for $8.03.
That also added another 10 points in my Qdoba Rewards card, which already has 1 free meal on it. You get 1 free meal for every 100 points, and Thursdays are double points day.
My stomach and body hated me with every step I pounded in the gym. But who cares? The food was goood! No regrets.
Last fall, I started a “eat healthy” streak. No more daily Chick-Fil-As, lots of salad, well-portioned meals… you get the idea. And I found out what a saving grace cheat meals are.
This semester, I’ve been meal prepping. I’d cook a large batch of a healthy, balanced meal on Saturday or Sunday, and then take it with me to campus everyday.
Weekends, however, are devoted to eating a variety of other foods. That usually means one cheat meal where I go out with my roommate to some food place on our “food bucket list.” It’s always worth it, and I have more time to workout in the gym on weekends anyway (at least that’s how I rationalize things).
All that to say… I had a cheat meal last week, and cheat meals are what keeps me sane during the week. Heck, if one cheat meal isn’t enough, I have 2! Or 3!
Okay, maybe not 3, unless I’m feeling extra adventurous about working off those unneeded calories… which never happens.
Have you ever had that moment when you look down at yourself and think, “What in the world am I wearing?”
This morning, I thought it would be a great idea to wear my pink Uggs because the weather was chilly. And then midway through my morning, I looked down, and realized I was a walking Barbie. All I needed was blonde hair.
Also: my phone’s Otterbox is pink. #AllPinkedOut
Is “pinked” even a word? Who cares?
Starbucks is having a BOGO on their holiday drinks. After workout, I took a quick shower, and drove sans makeup to the town’s Starbucks to grab a couple drinks and a chocolate croissant. Their chestnut praline latte hits the spot!
Also: I had the barista put my drinks in a carrier. Everything was fine as I drove back to campus… until I turned the last corner, and the drinks fell over!
They barely spilled. And coffee smell in the car is great.
It’s the little things in life like post-workout treats that makes my heart happy.
Now, if only the coffee will help me power through the 12-page paper I have to write before tomorrow…
This evening, I signed my first house lease… ever. Never in a million year did I ever think that I would one day sign a house lease in the US. As the house owner explained the terms of the rental contract, and I wrote out my check for the security deposit, I felt the familiar sense of panic and unsureness rising in me. This was the same panic and unsureness that I felt when I…
…arrived in the OKC airport one August evening in 2013 and wondered if the person who was supposed to meet me would be able to find me because I wasn’t wearing an OBU shirt.
…navigated opening a bank account, buying a new cellphone, paying taxes, etc. all in a different country with an unfamiliar currency.
…realized that the tuition and fees listed on the OBU website deceivingly did not include many other hidden costs and that I might possibly have to take out a student loan.
…sat in front of my financial aid adviser, and she curtly told me that there were no scholarships I could apply for even though I had a perfect GPA, and then took away a loan form I had filled out because I “wasn’t supposed to have it.”
…walked back to my dorm room after that meeting and started crying on the way.
…spent days agonizing over where I could get money while a fine was imposed, adding to the amount I couldn’t pay, because I had not paid the tuition bill in time.
…got into a mad scramble to find somewhere where I could spend the summer of my first year in the US in.
…took the public transportation in Atlanta, GA alone, and found myself at a dark, deserted train station where a mentally unstable man spoke to me as I ran up the endlessly high escalator as quickly as possible so that I could exit the station.
…took on job after job just to pay the bills, while refusing to go into student debt because I know there’s a possibility I might not be able to repay the debt since finding a job while on an international visa is a huge challenge.
…got accosted while walking on campus in the night alone because the possibility of being attacked in a foreign country is a very scary thought.
…am unhelpfully told that it’s okay if my GPA can’t get me more scholarships because in the end, the 4.0 will look good on my resume.
…become terrified at the mere thought of driving when I used to love driving so much back home.
…have to carefully plan my grocery lists and meals so that I can eat balanced meals, while also saving as much money as possible.
…went to the Southwest Airlines website and booked myself a flight ticket back to OKC from GA.
…taught myself how to pay my bills online and enroll in auto-pays.
This list only contains things I can think off my head now. But my point is this: no one told me that although leaving my teen years, becoming an adult, and doing adult things in a foreign country by myself would be a daunting and frightening experience, it has also taught me to be strong, independent, and responsible.
I’m not going to lie and say that there aren’t days when I see my roomies come back from a trip home with sack loads of groceries bought by their parents, and I don’t find myself wishing that my parents are here to buy my groceries for me. Or that I don’t wish that my mom is here when I have to pack up all my things at the end of the semester or year, and I find myself staring at my possessions, amazed I have accumulated so many things, but also wondering at the huge task of packing all of them up.
But even when these times happen, I am fully aware that people go through different stages when they leave their parents’ home. For me, it meant a complete “cut-off” without the opportunity to return on long weekends or holidays. This complete “cut-off” has been torrid at times. There are days when I want to curl under my blankets and forget about “being an adult.” Then again, there are days when I feel proud of myself for how far I have come and the progress I have made since August 2013.
No one said that “being an adult” is easy. But it’s going to happen for everyone… eventually… at some point in their lives. Mine came sooner than later. And as I sit back and feel the panic and unsureness about whether I’d made the right decision to rent a house, I realize that this is just one speed bump in my life. There has been many others before this, and there will be many others in the future. Because after all, “being an adult” means making decisions with consequences, and living and learning with those decisions.
This year was one of my most eventful years ever. Here are some of my favorite memories, pictures, things I learned, etc. Enjoy a sneak peek into my life this year, and here’s to a New Year filled with new adventures, friends, and an unforgettable journey. 🙂
Being the 3rd wheel or 5th wheel almost everyday. This happens when 2 of your best friends get boyfriends.
Learning how to say goodbye because when most of your friends are internationals, they’re most likely not going to be in college all 4 years with you.
Traveling to places I never thought I would be able to go to.
Starting and teaching an ESL class over the summer.
Working 3 on-campus jobs to pay the bills. This meant learning how to be responsible, to manage my time and finances well.
Knowing that friends I can always rely on are invaluable.
Learning how to be open-minded, to think for myself, that it’s okay if my opinions differ from others’.
Making mistakes and learning from them.
Taking the time to Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or Viber family and friends hundreds of miles away. It takes effort, but my favorite times are when I can talk to my best friends living halfway across the world.
Creating memories and living spontaneously because I don’t want to think, “What if…?”
Learning how to grade homework at a college level and finding out the key differences between students who try and those who don’t.
Sticking with a job even though I hate it because paying the bills is more important. Calling people and asking them to donate money to the University isn’t exactly a fun job, but the fun part is laughing over the bad calls after shedding a few frustrated tears, of course.
Discovering how much I love cooking and crocheting.
Finding out that hard work pays off, and no matter how much I talk about dropping out of college…especially right before Civ exams…, I’m in it for the long haul.
Getting the balance between eating healthily and working out. Both pays off, and isn’t difficult with the right motivation.
As a college student, I’ve learned to appreciate bargain meals that are easy to make. My friend, Sarah Blankenship, made this dish for me once, and I wanted to try making it myself since it’s a simple, but tasty dish. I made some modifications to the recipe she gave me. I thought I’d share my modified recipe here, along with the price of the ingredients.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Total cost: $2.34
1 cup pasta: $0.20
1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom/chicken: $0.34
1/2 cup milk: $0.16
1 can tuna: $0.78
1/2 can corn: $0.34
1/2 tablespoon flour: $0.01
Dash of cayenne pepper: $0.02
Shredded mozzarella cheese topping: $0.50
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Boil pasta in a medium sauce pan.
3. While pasta is boiling, combine the condensed cream of soup, milk, tuna, and corn in a casserole dish.
4. Add flour to the mixture to thicken it.
5. Add boiled pasta into the dish.
6. Add dash of cayenne pepper into the dish. This is optional. I added more just because I like spicier food.
7. Mix everything together.
8. Top casserole dish with shredded mozzarella cheese.
9. Bake casserole dish in the oven for 35 minutes.
And… you’re done! Easy, right? There’s plenty of meat and veggies, and some carbs. Although the servings is listed as two, it depends on your meal portions. I tend to eat smaller portions, and this dish is pretty filling. For me, one such casserole can last 3-4 meals.
If you decide to make this dish, let me know how it went! 🙂
Here’s the truth – I’ve been feeling restless and antsy. I’m jaded from school and work. Most days, as I trudge back to my apartment after a long day of classes, homework, and work, I think of the “what ifs”. What if I don’t have to work to pay the bills? What if all I need to do is focus on school? What if I have my friends with me instead of hundreds of miles across the oceans? What if I’m more outgoing? What if I transfer to a cheaper college? What if…? What if…?
As always, it’s not long before my conscience starts pricking me. I hear it telling me to be grateful, to appreciate the opportunities I have. In my mind, I know I should appreciate them. There are many girls my age who would never get a chance to go to college. But my heart is reluctant to be grateful. My wanderlust tugs on my focus, and I want to leave the monotony for greener pastures.
I spent yesterday working on my American Studies paper, and today was spent working on my Western Civilization History paper. After a day of sitting in front of my laptop, poring over books, and churning out pages, I was frazzled, restless, and tired.
I took a walk. The drivers, lone biker, and people who walked past me probably thought there was a deranged person on the loose in campus. My hair was wet from the shower I had just taken, and I was clad in a hoodie and blue-spotted pajama pants. To complete my odd outfit, I was wearing blue socks with my Birkenstock-like sandals. I could have easily won the Most Unfashionable Award. In my defense though, all I wanted to do was walk. It was 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and I couldn’t be bothered to dress up.
I walked to Stubblefield Chapel, just down the road from my apartment. As I sank down on the bench just outside the gazebo, I felt even more restless. I wished I was back in a city, where everything was loud, a hive of activity, and there was always something to do. I forced myself to put aside my cellphone, felt myself relaxing, and breathed in the cool air.
I felt calm, contented, at peace, and accomplished for the first time in a long while. As I sat and observed my quiet surroundings, I realized that contentment and gratitude was something I had to be purposeful about. Unless I wanted to continue walking around feeling as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and constantly worrying about grades and money, I had to surrender. I must refuse to allow the cares of this world to drag me down. 10 years from now, I don’t want to look back and regret my college years.
Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 
So the next few pictures is about me being grateful. And the next few days will be about me being contented.
Ironically, after I returned to my apartment, I saw a message my uncle posted in our family WhatsApp group. It was a picture with a quote by Max Lucado that was so apt as it echoed what I’m learning now.
When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now? — Max Lucado
P.S. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did bump into someone I know on my walk. To my embarrassment, as I was walking back, I saw a familiar figure. I was hoping he wouldn’t recognize me in the dim lighting, but unfortunately for me, he did and waved. Lesson learned – next time I take a late night walk, use sweat pants instead of pajama pants.
 English Standard Version