An Open Letter

A digital journal

And with that, my last hope goes away. I can’t say I was surprised, but it still hurt. I feel like over these last 4 years at college so much has changed in my life, yet I realize more and more how I’m still the same. Rejected from all colleges I wanted to go to, and still an insecure, self-loathing person. To be fair, not all is a waste; I know that this right now is just my depression trying to romanticize the idea of feeling miserable, and wanting me to have an incentive to end it all.

I guess there are good things to it too, I at least have made some more friends that aren’t graduating immediately either; and I do think I would have been miserable doing a PhD, but still it hurts pretty fucking badly. At least I have myself to be able to vent to through this blog. Is it bad I’ve considered using chat GPT to try to emulate a supportive friend?

Either way, I just want some good news to come along and break apart this shit month. Blow after blow. At some point I just want to sit down and give up.

Throughout my life since a child, I wanted to do a PhD. But after some experience with research, and rejections, I’ve been really reconsidering it. I’ve gotten this far because I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing, but I realized that I don’t enjoy research; because I am no longer inherently good at it. I’ve gotten so used to being good at things, I’m not in love with the journey but rather the destination. I don’t think I can unlearn something I’ve known my entire life soon enough, and so a PhD will most likely be miserable for me.

A big reason I’ve wanted to do a PhD is because my dad has always said it was good, but everyone I’ve talked to reinforces its probably not for me. I want to work in industry, I like the idea of being a software engineer, I don’t really want to do research as much. I don’t really want to be a professor either, so getting a PhD isn’t really too useful.

The only issue is this plan has been something I’ve accepted as fact my entire life, so now it’s like I’m thinking about the future for the first time, and I’m afraid.

I’ve been a firm believer that good days follow bad ones, and bad days follow good. In my life all of the best days I’ve had have often been ruined by something bad, making a good thing lead to a bad. My way of coping with this is believing that it’s balanced. After a stretch of bad days, something good happens.

Recently I got rejected from UC Berkely for MS/PhD program, and it really hurt me to realize I let myself down, by not realizing I needed to do more. I’ve gotten rejected from every internship I’ve applied to, and I’ve been telling myself it will be ok because last summer at Meta I did great, and had the highest praises from my mentor. Yesterday I got a voicemail saying they had a quick update for me, and I was hopeful thinking that they would give me a return offer; and they responded today telling me I was denied. I was hoping this would be the good news that came after the breakdown I had after the Cal rejection, but I guess the bad times continue. All I have left to wait for is Stanford’s MS program, but I’m confident I am going to be rejected from that too, meaning it’s just going to be 3 devastating pieces of news back to back.

On top of it, my mom who I’ve mostly cut out of my life is now sabotaging my medical appointments, since she has access to that and has controlled that from me; but at least I can finally take over that and she no longer has power over me.

Honestly, I’m just tired. I want things to stop, and thankfully while I don’t want to die right now, I’m exhausted. God, I’m tired; please let me rest.

I kinda realized that I never have pushed myself to do something that I wasn’t inherently good at, I’ve never tried to challenge myself. For games, I’ve always pushed for a rank I knew I was 100% able to get without a doubt, but I’ve never pushed myself to a limit; I was thinking about a friend who recently hit diamond 2 in league, and they were someone who was struggling to hit diamond in the first place. I realized that their effort over time got them the rank they rightfully are now at, while I’ve just skated by life, without ever really pushing myself for something I didn’t know I could do. I really should get over this and push myself.

Life is a lot like a mandlebrot zoom, as you go through it you see some other places where you think “wow that would be beautiful, I’d love to see how that point looks later on”, yet you continue with your point. The farther you get the more beauty you see and things you would have never expected. Same goes for life, where its easy to think “I wonder how my life would have been different if I xyz”, but I think its important to remember that the path you are going on right now is equally beautiful and deep.

We didn’t win, we got 9th out of 50 teams. We were the 6th highest school because of our place, and only top 3 go to the north America competition; but god damn do I feel amazing. Even though other people have had training and sort for this, just going into it for fun I managed to get so far (with the help of my team), and I was able to solve the hard questions which put us above the other teams. I feel so empowered even though I lost, and I’m so glad I did it.

I know that it’s wrong to think, and ultimately unhealthy, but watching romance shows or seeing the random thing that reminds me of my original goal makes me yearn for that connection. I’ve spent the last few years focusing on making sure that my life is happy without the promise of a relationship, but I can’t shake the notion that once I find that person, life will be much better.

I know that it’s bad, but I can’t help but day dreaming when times get rough, almost like a drug. It’s incredibly easy to just fall into the soft promise of a warm relationship that will satisfy the niches I struggle to fill with platonic friends. I need to not fall victim to hope for a miraculous cure, and rather make sure I am happy with myself without depending on another person for that.

It never fails to surprise me how once I sit down to write something, my brain clears. I’ve had sparse moments where I realize something I’d like to notarize, yet the second I get a chance to write something here it all vanishes. I don’t know if it is because of my memory, or my dopamine circuit being out of whack, but it leads to some strange feelings.

On one hand I feel sadness looking back at a dead flame of something I was motivated to do, but on the other hand I’m partially grateful for the transience of thoughts. I think life would lose a bit of it’s charm if every moment was perfectly recorded; in having this inherent temporality living in the moment has all that much more meaning.

But a part of me does envy those creators who are able to consistently create something from their thoughts and put it out there for others to see. That persistence is something I admire jealously.

I’m a firm believer that good days can only exist due to bad days. The 20th bite of a food tastes the same, but that first bite tastes all the richer due to the stark contrast to before it. Our highs are defined by the lows. So in that virtue, I wouldn’t be able to feel happy without feeling sad first. In some sense, this is liberating since it gives a reason to these random days of sadness, or these engulfing lows. At least this way with this world view there’s a reason to feel this way.

But on the contrary, doesn’t this imply that suffering is unavoidable, and that there is nothing you can do to alleviate those bad days; for if you do it takes them at the expense of the good ones?

I just came back from a 5 hour programming competition, and my team won first place. We are planning on going to regionals now, and they are over the moon; but I’m just unhappy. I somehow was happier before the competition, and winning it I just feel apathetic. I want to attribute it to the fact my mom didn’t want to take care of hash for the one day since she is working on Friday and Monday now at a library, but regardless I hate this feeling. I wish I felt happy or enjoyed this moment rather than whatever this is.

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