2016 Resolutions

2015 was a crazy year.

2015 Recap

The IB exams were intense. In the last few months prior to May, I broke through my personal high of coffee. 3 instant Nestle’s a day. Not too shabby.

The lack of exercise also gave me periodic hypoglycemia. No kidding. Where you literally feel lightheaded after that sugar crash after lunch.

But that’s not forget the 2 years.

2 years of assignments, projects, bros’ bonding, jokes, memories, were great preparation for University. I embarked on a diverse combo of classes: Biology, Economics, and History. Of which I dropped my original Chemistry class for History. Interest in both, but initial low scores brought me to change. Turned out History was an amazing choice I would never regret. Expands your horizons immensely. So much “truth” today are so-called. And with a good teacher, and lifelong mentor, what more can you ask for?

University Life

Passion lies in nutrition, entrepreneurship, and psychology. Because of my eczema solution-able discovery, nutrition has become a lifelong attachment of my soul.

Fortunately, I was accepted into the University of Hong Kong for Science. I can then major in Food and Nutritional Science. This is orgasmic. I mean, just the thought of me getting accepted into what I am crazily passionate about, even after 1 semester, I still get this reflexive burst of excitement.

Evaluation of University Life: Semester 1

University life is interesting. That’s not a weak adjective.

If you don’t know the existence of light, you don’t know darkness. If you don’t know the existence of heat, you don’t know coldness. They are relative terms made possible by comparison.

Likewise, if you don’t know university life, you don’t know how deep you were trapped in the well of the frog.

The realistic world, the practicality of human interactions, the societal ladder systems, the balance of life, and prioritizing commitments that make you brain-stuck.

I want a reflective evaluation of life so I’m going to use a framework.

college triangle simple
The famous college triangle: sleep, social, school.

Oh no, it’s not THAT simple. These 3 S’s are butt-hurting. Because you go so many levels narrower.

How's this for reality?
How’s this for reality?

De-exaggerate into:

  1. Health
  2. Career (GPA, experience, projects)
  3. Social (friends, family)
  4. Entertainment (hobbies)

I base this categorization on the foundation of happiness and meaning (purpose? passion?) of life. In intuitive priority order:

Commitment 1. Health

Poor health undermines doing anything else so it’s priority.

Less do I worry on this because Nutrition is my soul. Eczema manifestations also a helpful gauge. However, I will selectively eat non-nutritious junk foods for social reasons though I feel no attraction.

Diet is one, physical activity is too. I am already part of a hall whereby my sports commitments will facilitate health goals. On non-training days, I consider myself running. It’s amazing. Brightens up the rest of your day (if morning run).

Oh, and poop well. Constipation is a key indicator for GI health, and GI health is a key indicator of the rest of your health. Trust me. I learned it the hard appendectomy and IBS way.

Energy-wise, exercise counter-intuitively ups your energy load. Sleep-wise, I am a coffee addict.

Commitment 2. Career

Career is crucial, because you will realize how short time is during college. Yes, explore everything. Join everything. Sure, but never forget when the time bomb triggers, you’re naked in the world of job-hunting bloodshed.

No money, no lunch.

People tell me I am lucky to be able to learn what I love in college (nutrition), with almost all courses I actually enjoy (and Korean as a 4th language), and feel innately motivated to work (no longer considered work if passionate) towards career development.

Some of my career goals:

  • Establish a nutrition-focused health clinic with doctor-patient relationships.
  • Master the art of public speaking, rapport building, and human interactions.
  • Develop a personal and brand image of genuine authenticity because I believe ultimately, this is what separates one from the noise.
  • Recently reading on medical futurism, I may pursue food-focused technological developments. Other ambitions like WHO goals may be too ambitious.

In short-term, I am constructing a project of spreading awareness of a solution to the dreaded eczema. Book is in process.

College-wise, can graduate with GPA 1.0. But need higher for hall stay and studying abroad (conflict… the experiences are worth it). Otherwise, I learn what I love.

Personal growth wise, read blogs. Learn from experts. But apply in your own life and adjust for context. Also, read books often, be it on personal development, on entertainment, or career academia. Make daily reading, even just 10 pages, a daily habit. Check out my reading list.

Commitment 3. Social

No university experience, no realization of the convenience, simplicity, innocence, idealistic, calmness, of high school life.

Doing group projects, having lunch together, etc., these are common experiences that naturally facilitate bonding. In college, it needs to be deliberate, for good intentions of course. Camps, group projects, organizing hangouts, time sacrificing/prioritizing.

Quick advice: initiative, commitment, authenticity.

People don’t come to you, so increase your opportunities (so-called “luck”) by exploring different fields and events. Persistence yields. Genuine compatibility is true indicator for happiness.

Family-wise, nonnegotiable commitment.

Commitment 4. Entertainment

Passion, hobbies, interests, recreational activities fall under here.

I have interests in various faculties of knowledge. Psychology, business, pedagogy, history, programming (I made games before, I’d say it’s more of an invention joy).

More importantly: Explore. Time is short. Try before you reject. Here’s a personal food example, I used to get this disturbing reflexive saliva burst in my mouth just hearing “pineapples” or “kiwis.” I ate fewer than 10 times my entire life until 18.5 years old. Now? They are my favorite fruits. (Yes, there is a nutrition reason, mind you…)

But time requires prioritization. Hence, my primary calling. (You’ll hate me if I talk nutrition again.)

Mixing with social, I’ve been planning a Hong Kong Experience Bucket List. My friend recently asked me, “Harrison, can you recommend me some places to visit in Hong Kong?”

I froze.

So my experience plan will: 1) enrich cultural knowledge, 2) foster social bonding, 3) have genuine fun.

Concluding Pickings

Immediate brain pickings.

Experiential learning. Google “regrets” regarding the topic of those who have already went on your path before and share. They say you learn best from mistakes. Here it is. Opt for negative learning. Facilitate making of mistakes. Learn from mistakes, move on. Forgive (others and/or yourself) but not forget.

Live the life of yourself. Time is too short for living under the expectations of whatever of someone else – common message across life regrets. Speak up. Can’t please everyone. Learn to say no.

Be authentic and genuine. Nothing beats honesty. Trust is the core of human interaction. But concurrently supplement yourself with social techniques. Story-telling, public skills, humor, understand power relations.

Organize, plan, execute, reflect. Use a calendar. Formulate to-do lists in advance. Don’t trust your memory for everything. Execute immediately. Time-blocking is a good technique for time management. Reflect on time use and value of such, ask yourself “why”? Why should I do this in the first place?

On emotions and decision-making. Make important decisions early in the day, ahead of time and not under stress. Emotions distort willpower and cognitive function at night. However, emotion is not bad and is necessary for interpersonal social skills. Important decision, project, work? Do it few days ahead, sleep over it. Let your diffuse mode clear your mind. New ideas may arise.

2016 here I come.