November 10, 2014


The Imbalanced Life

I’d like to share some thoughts out loud which is from a conversation with a friend when riding the subway at night. I apologize for the lack of blog entries. It’s been some busy months. I do plan to talk about architecture school struggles, but I would like to publish my feelings through the wet and cloudy autumn I am in.

I do too many things and bite off more than I can chew –I struggle to find a balance. This is what I have been feeling recently. Coupled with the chilly weather and the longer nights in this part of the world, my enervating mood and fretfulness flared up last week. I occupy myself to the point that I do not even have any free time to myself (or to do some blogging). This is the imbalance that I constantly struggle even outside of architecture school: To seek that balance in your life and to indulge in the moments of respite without guilt.

During this hiatus from architecture school , I am still figuring out what could I have done better in architecture school to avoid the pain and failures that I went through in undergrad. The anxiety, the perfectionism continues to haunt and traumatize me to this very day. To cope, I have taken a deep interest this past year in learning improv comedy as a means to explore what else is there besides “Architecture Me” and have replaced it with “Improv Me” outside my 9-5 work life. I got so engaged and dedicated to architecture and poured my heart and soul into it only to fail and struggle in architecture school. I don’t want to find myself in my 40s realizing that I hustled most of my energy to career and school to the point that I have no life at all.

I do feel that working hard and trying to be the best at improvising has put me under setbacks. I am not doing good scenes, I am getting into my head, and I self-loath each time I feel like I did a spectacular scene. I guess there is this frustration of “when will I get better?”  As well I get disheartened when things are not going as scheduled in my planned life.” It goes to the point that I find excuses of why I failed and point outwards as opposed to within when feeling frustrated.

Similarly, I realize that I am running into the same problem when I begin a new hobby or want to learn something new – I get really into it and pour my heart and efforts into learning something and trying to be the best at it and to the point that even my passion becomes a chore that is stressful to do. I put too much pressure on myself in where I should be in terms of progress and feeling disappointed when I am not there. I recall that some architecture students would consider me as the dedicated one in school. Sometimes I get naive that hard work, to the point of burn out, will raise a phoenix from its ashes. I have not figured out yet how to “work smarter, not harder” which is why I use brute force to overcome a hurdle. Does working hard really do much? Does it truly help? From my recent experience, in learning something else besides Architecture, it is showing me the same result but more explicitly.

This past week of exhaustion serves as a reminder for me to find ways to live a life and enjoy it. It reminded me that I need to chill out and reflect and enjoy doing other things. I’ve lived a stressed out life in architecture school where I would punish myself by depriving myself of a life. I had friends that were able to relax and have fun. I didn’t entitle myself to fun for fear of feeling behind and going nowhere. I need to find ways to have a life and try new things – it doesn’t mean giving up. It means taking time to step back and get a picture. It does not mean to avoid or escape the pain of growth or failure. It means giving compassion to yourself in trying your best. It means getting your life back.
For now, this is how I’ve felt this past week and hopefully this will pan out into something positive. Till next time.

To my younger self...
1 year later: Reflecting on Stress & Architecture School

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