23 & A Quarter

Who knew UCLA would kick my ass to the point where I would be off the grid for so long. However, the work was all so worth it. Did I have a handful of panic attacks? Of course, it’s a given at this school. Do I love it? ABSOLUTELY.

Although so many things have happened, I sometimes forget to acknowledge how mentally challenging its been. My first quarter at UCLA. Seeing kids mentally breakdown publicly with no shame. Losing my ID card and wallet multiple times, then bolting back  to find them. Thinking somehow being late to class would get me pushed out of my spot. Having no clue what a course reader was, and having to figure out where they were sold (there’s this sketchy shop in Westwood that sells them and I have no clue how it’s even part of the school). Figuring out what a Discussion was, and they’re essential to your already long lectures. Filling out a bunch of random forms so you don’t get frozen from enrollment on certain dates, on top of your schoolwork. Discovering that athletic events are hard to attend when you’re trying to get good grades. Discovering living life in general is hard when you’re trying to get good grades. I remember, there were so many points I actually felt trapped. Even thinking about UCLA made me sick to my stomach.

I know what you’re thinking, “You’re being over dramatic, Kat.” That’s the thing ain’t it? Nobody really knows until they experience it themselves. I attend one of the best schools in the world. I should be grateful, and obviously I am, but there’s a huge difference between admiring the school from afar, and being a student there. It’s tough. Then, add the pressure of the prestige and high expectations. It can be suffocating.

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So, what happened? Well, I made the best of my situation. UCLA is beautiful. Even when there were days where I wanted to punch the school’s face (if it had one), it was beautiful inside and out. I remember when I was walking out of class after a tense conversation with my professor (he wouldn’t let me retake a quiz and I was pissed) and I was thinking the most negative things about the university. Then, the sun started to set near the Powell library. Guys. It’s like cotton candy and fluffy Dole whip decided to magically float and dance together in the sky. And the fountain in front of the stairs, where that view of the sunset was the best, began to glisten with pinks and blues from lights installed. The buildings and halls looked more like beautiful castles than classrooms for students. No matter what mood I was in, I couldn’t help but think how beautiful and lucky I am to be here. Or the sculpture garden. Nothing beats listening to music through your headphones, strolling within this sanctuary of unique pieces, and finding a spot in the grass to lie on. Time moves so slowly, and your troubles melt away.

Until, you get up and grind again. Midterms, finals, and projects are hard but not impossible. If there’s any transfers reading this, it’s hard to be a freshman trapped in a junior’s body. Make your life easier your first quarter. Take easier classes because it’s gonna be hard still. It’s ok to only focus on school your first quarter. If you have to work though, less school work is essential (bruinwalk.com is your best friend, it’s the same thing as ratemyprofessor.com so find those nice professors). Having trouble making friends? Go to the Bruin Transfer Center or even Holly (on-campus housing for transfers). They’ll have events where you can mingle with your fellow transfers (trust me, my solid group of friends happened because I did this). You will get through it, and you will make friends soon.

Finish one quarter, and you’ll feel so much better as a student. Also, you’ll know what you can and can’t handle (adding more classes, starting an internship, volunteering, going to sporting events, etc.). You know how much you should read, you know how you should study, and everything starts to fall into place like it did in community college (or at least that’s what my case was, every transfer has their own background).

So guys, I am 23 as of last week and have finished my first quarter at UCLA. I’ll share more stories soon, until then, talk to you later.

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The Home Invasion?

Preface

I know this piece may seem darker than past material I have written. I am usually an optimistic individual who tries to see the best in situations. However, there is bad in the world that needs to have light shown on it because it should be fought against and stopped entirely. A little over a year ago, I attended a lecture that discussed the meaning of consent. I went with my friend, Krista Apardian who you may know from one of my blog interviews. All I  knew about this lecture was Planned Parenthood hosted it. I wanted to support the organization and I thought this would be useful. Unsurprisingly, it was! I found myself not being the best at asking for consent when I am interested in someone. For example, when it came to hand holding, touching, and kissing I was not very vocal about asking if I could proceed. Thanks to that lecture, I find myself way better at checking with my partner. Anyways, there was an analogy that stuck with me during the lesson. The woman who was leading the discussion explained how law enforcement tend to victim-blame sexual assault survivors. This shows when police ask women or men questions about the assault case. She related to how a sexual assault case should be handled similarly to a house break-in/robbery. It was as if a light bulb went off in the whole room. That analogy made so much sense, something was physically and morally taken away from you. The security and confidence of your property was stripped from you. You obviously WERE NOT ASKING to be robbed, or in this case assaulted. That idea made so much sense to me. Until, she asked a volunteer to come up so she can show the difference between interrogation for house robbery and sexual assault. Let’s just say the example didn’t quiet live up to the potential. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great lecture and I would encourage everyone to attend it. I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Shit, they could’ve done so much more with this.’ Therefore, I wrote what I wish they said during their example of what a house robbery interrogation would sound like if it was handled like a sexual assault report. Trust me I could’ve kept going, but if any of you have any other add-ons or think I missed anything important, please feel free to comment below!

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Home Invasion?

“Miss, were you under the influence the night he robbed you of all your riches and peace of mind?”
“Miss, is your house decorated in any provocative exterior that could attract a robber to steal from the inside that is rightfully yours?”
“Miss, are you sure there wasn’t any prior interactions with the thief that could’ve led him to think you wanted your treasures to be wrongfully taken by him?”
“Miss, you said you sometimes keep your backdoor unlocked, are you sure that didn’t insinuate you wanted the home intruder to break in?”
“Miss, was the face of your house and roof made-up to encourage him to violently force his way inside?”
“Miss, were the blossoms of your flower beds showing? Trust me, this is important to know for this form of crime.”
“Miss, when you saw him and interacted with him, at any point, did you give him consent to enter your home?”
“You said you had a few glasses of wine before he broke into your home, are you sure your memory isn’t skewed from the alcoholic consumption? You know you didn’t confuse anything with your interaction from being a little intoxicated?”
“Do you think maybe the way your house is painted is a little showy, and maybe that’s why it happened?”
“”Miss, did you actually use words similar to ‘No, I do not want you to rob me.’?”
“Well, if you didn’t use those words, how did you tell the intruder you did not consent for him to come inside? Did you physically show you didn’t want him to rob you? What did you do physically to show you didn’t want him inside your house?”
“Miss, are you sure you made it obvious to him you didn’t want him inside your house?”
“Alright miss, well you’re free to go back to your home and we will hopefully get back to you soon about your police report.”
“Don’t forget to lock all your doors and be more thoughtful on how your home looks to others, especially at night when you’re alone.”

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Community College is Over, and Summer is Here!

I officially finished Orange Coast Community College. This place has taught me so much about my major, general education, and myself. I remember the first time I ever set foot on the campus, I was given a tour led by a former OCC Women’s Tennis player. My high school tennis partner and I were recruited to play for the team. I joined community college because it was the best option I had for an education at the time, and I wanted a second chance at my college education. I got accepted to a few good universities, but none that really peaked my interest. Furthermore, I gained so much more from going to a community college than I ever thought was possible. Without OCC, I would never have been able to get into UCLA. Especially in their Communication department.

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If you are in high school, in a university that you hate, a single parent who wants a different career path, a veteran who wants to return to school, or anybody who wants to just find what they want out of life, GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE. It will hopefully change your life for the better, like it did for me. The best part, you can be involved as little or as much as possible there. For those who are in community college and are having trouble making friends, join a program or club. While I was at OCC I was part of the Women’s Tennis Team, the Honors Program, DSPS, Sigma Chi Eta Communication Honors Society, Honors Student Council, Speech and Debate Team, and Green Coast Day Committee. I met so many people and made great connections that I know will have for the rest of my life. Those people have inspired and motivated me to become a better student and better individual. You want to plan a community wide event? You are totally capable of doing that with lots of help if you have a club or student government backing you! For example, I was able to host campus wide events such as Why We Love OCC and Green Coast Expo, which I will always proudly boast about due to their successes. Financially struggling? Community colleges are known for offering financial aid and even handing out their own scholarships that you can look into! Have kids? Community college will probably have resources where you can drop off your kids until you’re done with classes. It’s pretty amazing.

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Now that I have finished singing my praises for community college, specifically Orange Coast College, it is time to move on to bigger and better things. Summer. You are a true blessing in my life. I am finishing this blog post in England. I will get into more details of my trip once it is done, but I hope my readers are enjoying their summer as much as I am already. Just wanted to write this blog post to share my appreciation for my community college since those institutes don’t receive the love they deserve,  and wanted to keep you guys updated that more posts are coming once again 🙂 .

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In the meantime, here’s a photo of a flock of geese that all were eerily staring at something…. We still don’t know what they were looking at.

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Having a blog for a year.

Just renewed my domain. Weird to think how much can change in a year. A year ago, I had no clue what this blog would bring me. I only did it because I wanted to pursue my passion for fashion. Then, possibly transition to something I’ve always wanted to do. My end goal for this blog,

Getting people to tell their story. Personally, my favorite form of entertainment is personal and real stories. Great examples of this work is Humans of NY, StoryCorps, and Strangers podcast. I absorb that material like a sponge. There is seriously some things out there you cannot write. Might as well get the best stories straight from the source, am I right?

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I guess that would mean I need to dive deeper into who I am and tell my stories as well. What’s the point of giving a space for encouraging those to reveal their life tales, if you are too afraid to do it too? I wouldn’t say I am wise, nor am I strong. I try to act those things but I know I can only make that character real for so long. I have had some crazy experiences though. Traveling to different countries starting at the age of seven, still learning to love myself and body everyday, accepting there will be those who you love that will be your enemy someday, losing control of your body and how to cope once the nightmare is over, becoming someone you would hate if you ever met them, the difference between “love” and “in love”, understanding you shouldn’t push those away who will show you what there is to love about yourself, and even more.

The purpose of this blog post is to make a public statement. I will still post interviews about people’s clothes. The whole point of that interview bit is if I compliment people on their outfits, I should get to know them better for rich style could also mean rich personality. However, I shall begin transitioning people telling stories about themselves. It could be their happiest memory, their worst memory, their most embarrassing story, if they only had a year to live what would they do, etc.

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I am starting anew because I am moving on to bigger and better things. I have already been accepted as a transfer Communication major student to Cal Poly SLO and UCSB. We’ll see what UCLA and Berkeley decide at the end of this month. Until then, stay tuned for more material. Thank you to whoever has followed my posts so far, I hope it has been fun and entertaining in some form 🙂

i love you most.

a few weeks ago,  three interactions made me realize something.

the first one, my boyfriend.

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i was leaving his place to go eat dinner with my family. this relationship is probably the most mature one i’ve had yet. i have a key to his place, i have a toothbrush there, and some pieces of clothes lying around. my home away from home. not only was our union random, but the way it started shoudn’t have been that easy for us. and we definitely should’ve been more cautious going into it. but we weren’t, and everything happened so organically and nothing felt rushed at all. our big foundation was we had plenty of time, when rushing was always my biggest worry due to past problems. and he completely understood. we have fun doing the most basic things, from watching Drake and Josh on the couch to grocery shopping at Sprouts. there’s never a dull moment. anyways,  he walked me to my car and he held my hand until we got to my vehicle. i turned away from Hermia (yes, that is my car’s name, in honor of Midsummer Night’s Dream) and looked up at my big friendly giant boyfriend to be kissed quickly by him, “got ya!” stealing kisses is his specialty, so are silly voices. he tells me to have fun and he’ll see me soon. as he walks away i say love you. he responds i love you more. i shout back i love you most. he shakes his head side to side as he yells back No!

the second one, my mom.

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i was leaving the restaurant where i met up with my mom and dad. we ate Persian food, the culture my dad descends from and I am half of. we had a lovely time trying this new hole in a wall, to the point where we plan on having this be our new place. they had tender steak kabobs, perfectly cooked rice, and the spices mixed well to satisfy any foodie. my dad left early to go on a walk, while my mom and i stayed behind for some hot tea. we talked about her tennis match and the rest of my day. it was peaceful and comfortable. of course, a few jokes and teasing were added to make light of the mood. i am known as my mom’s twin, clone, the blondes. whatever fits the day, i am always paired with my mom. and who wouldn’t like to be? i love my mom. thus, when we parted ways to our cars i started to holler at her i love you. she responded i love you more. i curiously shouted back i love you most. she laughed as she responded No!

the third one, my best friend

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i was driving back to my boyfriend’s because I accidentally left my textbook behind. i decide to call my best friend who now goes to school up north. we met through our college tennis team and we were inseparable. we went through a period where we carpooled together to school, even though she and i lived a huge gap of time away. that’s when we bonded the most. we lip synched to songs we showed each other, with too many of them being claimed as our songs. when she left, it was hard for us both. phone calls remained our consistent connection, and we would talk long enough that the distance didn’t matter. all that mattered was we were still there for each other, no matter what. to bring this all back, she answered and we fell into our old habits of jokes then telling each other what we did today. i pulled up to my boyfriend’s house and told her i had to go. i sadly said i love you. she insisted i love you more. i confidently confirmed i love you most. she giggled and shouted from my phone’s speaker NOPE!

why am i sharing this? because, there are points in life where you feel unloved or alone. i have definitely felt like that in my life. at this point however, i have created strong relationships with people i am truly grateful for. i have felt in the past people taking advantage of my compassion, and when they would say they loved me, i knew it didn’t compare to how much i cared for them. i have cut those people out of my life and others should too. it does get hard because those emotional drainers realize how important you were to feed their idea of themselves, so they’ll say/do anything to keep you near. if that is the case, watch out for yourself and stay strong. because one day, you will find yourself surrounded by people who live closely by your moral compass. and another day will come, when your wholehearted love will be met with theirs evenly.

From Cambridge to OC

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Nobody tells you how scary it is before you actually study abroad. It’s such an exciting adventure, woohoo. Once you make that deposit, that commitment, there’s no going back. Now, you have to pack and be smart about your surroundings. I have not left my house for so long. No, I do not live under a rock and obviously I go to school, work, and other extracurricular activities. However, I have never been on my own since 5th grade when we had a camping trip  with my whole class one weekend. Even that doesn’t count, let’s be honest.

I took this chance without even checking with any of my friends if they were willing to take the leap with me. None of them had the time or money to do it. Thus the cherry on top, I was going to study abroad at University of Cambridge with a group of people I’ve never met. Sure, we had a few meetings beforehand and a few classes too. Unfortunately, the tension and discomfort was still overwhelming for all. To my surprise, three out of the twenty-eight people who were going knew each other. We were all on the same boat.

July 2nd- departure day. My boyfriend and I get to LAX, and I leave with a worried, heavy heart. I get through security and we do not board the plane for another hour or two. At that moment, it was as if a light bulb turned on for everybody. We were all doing this together, it’s time to REALLY get to know each other.

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Cambridge is amazing. The scenery can make you stop what you’re doing and lure you to enjoy things you forget about everyday in California. There is more green than urban life. The livestock grazing in fields is astounding. Even the rain was so welcoming and delightful to be caught in. The best part? Getting to share those moments with my fellow classmates. We all knew we were experiencing something special together.

We stayed in flats at a complex called, Cromwell Court. The school we attended at Cambridge was named, Sidney Sussex College. Then our classroom was known as the Coach House. All three of these places, will always have a special place in my heart. I’d wake up in my own flat to go downstairs to wait for my friends in the central part of Cromwell Court. We would head to Sidney Sussex to either eat in the mess hall or use it as a short cut to grab some take-away from the local eateries. Later, we would  walk through Jesus Green (one of the biggest and most unbelievable parks I’ve ever seen) to make it to Coach House in time for class. It was a spectacular time.

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I was able to travel to London, Paris, and Amsterdam. When you take the first step to travel outside of your country, you kind of get the hang of doing it. You feel like a real adult and a lil’ adventurer. London wasn’t my favorite, but the history of it is incredible. Then, Paris definitely kept you on your toes since pick-pockets creep on the streets wherever you are, but it does not discredit the beautiful culture of this place. The food was fantastic (Croque Madame is a must), the Louvre contained breathtaking pieces I was so excited to appreciate (“The Raft of Medusa”, “The Olympia”, “Mona Lisa”, etc.), and the historical sights were so grand and beautiful in scale (Eiffel Tower & The Notre Dame). As for Amsterdam, it had to be my absolute favorite so that needs to be separate from this blog post for I have too much to say about it.  The transportation all around in Europe is so much more convenient and better for the environment. I envy that my country hasn’t transitioned to using bikes, trams, trains, and buses as often as they do. The produce and everything seems to have the sole purpose of benefiting the citizens.  Their lifestyle, I wish I can be part of it for the rest of my life. I really would love to move to Europe. Specifically, Amsterdam would be a great place to live.

By the end of this trip, the different countries were not the only things that enriched who I am. There were the people who were with me. There were those who challenged my patience, and I learned there were some battles worth fighting and some worth letting go. I learned people you think were certain ways were completely not what they appear, and people who seem to have dispositions have a past that influences their being. They made me laugh, they made me cry, they made me appreciate who I was. They inspired me to be more than the titles I have back at home. My creative side seemed to return with a will to not give up what I love to do most. I ended up writing a poem about every single one of them because they made that much of an impact on my life. Now that I am back, it is pretty obvious it won’t be the same. Luckily, my memories will never change because nothing in my life can make me see this experience as less than happy, ever.

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Where the hell have I been?

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I am not going to lie, I have been pretty absent from writing on this blog. I will call myself out on that. Sometimes, taking care of yourself in real life is more important. My blog became one my last priorities, something I hoped going into it would never happen. Furthermore, what were my priorities that came before my blog? I will tell you but it won’t be in order of importance. I needed to focus on finals, my boyfriend, and everything in between before I descended into studying abroad at University of Cambridge.

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Yep, you are getting a blog post coming from the UK. I am currently sitting in a room full of people who I barely knew 3 weeks ago. Now, they are the family I needed more than I knew during this whole experience. This group of people I am traveling will be the only people who are experiencing the same exact events and walks I am dealing with during this adventure. There are people who I love, there are people where we can’t seem to get pass our differences. Either way, I am having the best time. I had to prepare getting here and I have to absorb my time here while I still have it. THIS was one of the big reasons why I’ve been missing. Had to make sure all of my ducks were in a row before I left, and had to make sure I was enjoying my time here without isolating myself from great people who are here.

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To the people who ever are debating about whether they should take the jump to study abroad, DO IT!

P.S. I plan on doing separate blog posts focusing on certain topics (why you should study abroad/my experience, my boyfriend maybe ;), etc.) but for now I wanna claim my presence is back!