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So today’s daily post is revolved around the theme “Pursue“.

So I pondered a bit, and realized that I don’t have a definitive end-goal that I am pursuing.

If you’ve read my past post “Lifestyle(s)” (if not that’s totally fine), I mentioned that I am a cadet of one of five service academies in the U.S. Many people often perceive cadets as young mature adults who have a clear-cut, envisioned plan for their future. Some do, definitely. But most, including me, are just in it for the ride and doing the best we can with what we are currently tasked with.

Therefore, I am pursuing to be the best at what I am currently doing. Being both a student and a military member. I want to strive in my academic studies and eventually go to graduate school.

School is and has always been familiar to me. Sure, I despise the late nights where I stay up studying for exams or writing up laboratory reports, but these times remind me of my civilian life in high school. And most of my accomplishments in life came from my achievements in school, be it good exam grades, good papers, good reports, etc. etc.

I am also pursuing to be the best leader possible. I always thought leading was easy because you just told people to do this and that. But I learned that that is not leadership. That’s management. Leadership is not only being able to tell people what to do, but is more of influencing and inspiring. True leaders gain the respect of followers through hard work ethic, compassion, knowledge, and confidence.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Pursue




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There’s nothing more I want in life than to be exposed.

Exposed to nature. The vibrant shades of green blending in with the clear blue sky and the chestnut brown dirt. The crisp rustling of trees speaking to me in secret. My skin, electrified by the cool breeze that runs through my entire body. The fragrant fir, pine, cedar, balsam, and birch trees that intoxicate me as I gently touch the leaves and branches with not a care in the world. I could almost taste the alluring fragance that Mother Nature offers. All five senses in wonder.

Exposed to cultures. I have been traveling with my family ever since I could remember. Every single place I visited, has allowed me to become more worldly and to step into a new set of customs and mannerisms. We are all humans and I think we should all embrace each other. No culture is perfect, but we aren’t either. There is something beautiful to be learned from different heritages, and this reason is why I love to travel. The more we are exposed to other cultures, the more compassionate we become. And the more compassionate we become, the fuller the life we can live.

Exposed to people. I want to be transparent and let people not only see the pretty, but also the not so pretty sides of me. Life is too short to be living behind a mask of facade. We should all be the rawest version of us possible. We were all born with different likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. I want to strive towards who I truly am, and not let others mold me into the way they want me to be. There’s nothing more perfect than being imperfect.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Exposed




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Lifestyle simply refers to a way of living. I, however, feel that I have three different lifestyles due to my unique set of circumstances.


I am currently a cadet at one of five service academies in the U.S. I am therefore a part of the active military force while also receiving training/education to eventually graduate as a commissioned officer along with a Bachelor of Science. I had to adjust to a completely different lifestyle, being under a strict set of rules while in uniform. I realize that my actions do not only reflect myself, but also the service academy and the service branch itself. I am much more aware of my presence, my words, and my actions. In short, being in a military service academy has made me ‘grow up’ a lot faster as I do not have the freedom as civilian college students do (no partying/drinking/frats/sororities here).


Service academies are extremely competitive to get into. Not only do you have to have a stellar GPA, but you also have to be

1) physically fit (~90% of cadets have high school varsity letters, ~70% were varsity sports captains, and at least 30% of my classmates play at a college level).

2) involved in leadership positions (such as being president of a club, boys scout/girls scout, sports, etc).

It makes sense that the requirements are so stringent. Service academies pay for your entire four years of a first-class education (no college debt!), provide you with a guaranteed career as an officer (which makes pretty good bucks), and you get all the military service benefits (car/house loans, free healthcare, pension, store discounts, etc.).

That being said, being a student at a service academy can be challenging! Everyone is intelligent, talented in something, and has great leadership potential. You are also given a class rank where you know exactly who is #1 and who is at the bottom. It is very transparent here, which is helpful for me because I get competitive!


Lastly, during the six weeks of break I get (three weeks for winter break, three weeks for summer break), I get to (somewhat) revert back to my old self. I will never be that same person I was before I entered into a military service academy, but, still, it is nice to just relax with my family and friends. When I am at home, it is like a safe haven. It is funny how quickly I adjust to the home lifestyle once I drop my luggage and bags and just sit at the dining table with my family. I pick back up where I left off, and there’s no better feeling than spending quality time with the family that I cherish so much. Being away for the vast majority of the year makes me value them even more than I already did.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Lifestyle



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None. Meaning ‘not any’ or ‘not one’. I realize that I actually use this word more in idioms rather than by itself.

Second to None – to be better than anything or anyone.

  • I use this idiom more in terms of saying phrases like “this food is second to none!”. But this idiom can definitely be applied in terms of people. Rather than striving for being second to none, I think we should first try to be the best version of ourselves. Instead of constantly comparing yourself to others, let’s strive to be the better person than we were yesterday, last week, last month, last year.

None of your beeswax – none of your business.

  • I have not heard this one in a while but this idiom was quite frequent in my household before I departed off to college. Me: Mom, what were Dad and you talking about? Mom: Jess, it’s none of your beeswax.

None the wiser – not knowing any more in spite of events or exposure to facts.

  • I am pretty sure we have all experienced this before in high school / college (unless if you’re an absolute genius). For instance, I once sat in on a Black Holes lecture from a teacher on campus. Did I know what black holes were? On basic terms. Was I much more well versed in black holes after the lecture? Not really.

None of the above – not one of the possibilities mentioned above.

  • This idiom is much more seen on paper rather than heard in conversation. This multiple choice answer is one that I, along with many of you, almost always believe this choice cannot be the right choice. Unfortunately, some professors enjoy this choice (i’m talking to you Dr. M!).

Jack/Jill of all trades is master of none – a man/woman who is able to do a lot of things fairly well but does not have time to learn one thing extremely well.

  • I am definitely a Jill of all trades. I have always sort of floated into different interests growing up (sports, drawing, writing, cooking, photography), but I am not stellar at any of these. But I don’t think you have to be great at something to love it. For instance, I’m a novice cook but that does not stop me from looking at recipes/videos online and wanting to get better at it.

via Daily Prompt: None

– J



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We tend to give ourselves less credit than what is due when it comes to how much control we have in our lives. We often want to control things that are out of our reach. On the other hand, we tend to believe that we are incapable of controlling things that are in our reach. But once we are able to sort what is and what is not in our control, at least some stress/confusion will be alleviated.

Things we can’t control:

  1. Weather. As much as we like to think that weather corresponds with our mood, it is all Mother Nature’s doing. No control here. (as much as I want the weather to be more consistent instead of alternating between sun and rain for the past few weeks)
  2. People. Sure we can try and nudge people towards how we want them to think but at the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs.
  3. Time. Regardless of how fast or slow the day seems, time is always ticking forward.
  4. Past. We can rewind the past in our heads as much as we want, but the beginning, middle, and end will always remain the same. The past is important to reflect back on, but it is important to stay in the present and look forwards, not back.
  5. Traffic. One thing I do not miss about California is the god-awful traffic on the I-405 N. As much as we would like to fly by all the green lights, we know that red lights are inevitable on days when we are in a rush. Again, out of our control.

Things we can control:

  1. Manners. Smiles, thank you’s, how are you’s, all can turn someone’s day around. Being polite is never overrated.
  2. Physical well-being. Food intake, exercise, and alcohol consumption are all in our complete control. Just think about how hard your body works each and every day. Treat your body right. Also, being healthier leads to a happier mindset.
  3. Preparation. Whether it is for a presentation, exam, trip, or cleaning the house before guests come over, preparation is the key to success. Like I always say, there is no such thing as over-preparing, but there is definitely such thing as under-preparing.
  4. Stress. Stress can actually be a good thing, contrary to popular belief! I like to approach all potential stresses as eustresses (positive stresses). I try my best to perceive stressful situations as opportunities for good outcomes.
  5. Money. Set up a savings account. Log your spendings and see where you can cut down expenses in. Do not over-treat yourself (because at that point it is not really ‘treating’ yourself).

via Daily Prompt: Control

– J

Sports are Important


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I have always thought of sports as a side-hobby or a stress reliever. It was not until I went to college that I truly understood the value of individual/team sports. It has taught me so many valuable life lessons which, in turn, lead to self-transformation. Below are the different sports I was greatly involved in and what transformations/life lessons I have gained from them.

Taekwondo (Middle School – High School)

Taekwondo (TKD) was the first sport that I was ‘officially’ a part of. I, of course, have played a myriad of sports during my elementary and middle school days, but this was my first sport where I had a set schedule and showcases (equivalent to games, races, regattas, etc.). I was involved in taekwondo for three years and reached the junior black belt level.

TKD is a form of martial arts originating from Korea. ‘Tae’ means “to stomp or trample”, ‘kwon’ means “fist” and ‘do’ means “way, discipline”. The etymology describes it fairly well – essentially it is a martial art form that focuses primarily on kicking techniques along with fist movements.

TKD was a great sports catalyst for my reserved demeanor because it forced me to get hands-on with different people and perform moves on them that could potentially harm them. There was a certain new trust that you had to develop quite frequently.

The sport also required me to perform a series of movements and block breaking in front of the headmaster, instructors, and family/friends. I became more confident.

And if there is anything I learned from this sport, it is balance (both figuratively and literally). On the literal side, balance is very important when executing the various kicks (round-house, flying side, axe, hook, etc…) because your whole weight is shifted to one leg in which your foot grips the mat for stability. There also exists a balance between offense and defense. Being too offensive leaves open ‘weak spots’ that can be taken advantage of, whereas being too defensive leaves your opponent unscathed. Figuratively speaking, balance is required to feel whole and complete. TKD made me feel like I had another aspect in my life other than school that I could devote my time and energy into. And each belt promotion made me feel accomplished, a different feeling from, say, acing a test.


Water Polo (High School)

There is a good chance that you have either never heard of or do not know very much about this sport. Well, it was not until I arrived on the east coast for college that I realized how localized water polo is. Water polo was a primarily California-centric sport, but is quickly gaining traction in other states such as Florida, Connecticut, Georgia, and Illinois. But to quickly describe water polo, it combines the playing style of basketball (drives, setting picks, center, working to get inside), soccer (goalies, penalty shots), and hockey (physical aspect, penalty box). A typical water polo game is split into four quarters of 5-8 minutes (depending on level of play) with two-minute rest intervals between quarters and one five-minute rest interval at half-time. These times do not seem long, but trust me, one quarter can feel like an hour of an intensive workout at the gym.

For someone like me, who did not learn how to swim till I was 12, water polo was a very counter intuitive sports choice. As a high school freshman, I yearned for a team sport and something that challenged me other than academics. Water polo was one of the few non-cut sports at my high school and I have only heard good things about it so I thought to myself, why not? There was nothing to lose.

The first few months were absolute hell. I thought I was crazy for diving head in (literally and metaphorically) for a sport that (1) I had no prior experience (2) I was not a great swimmer (3) I did not have close friends in. But once I started to get the hang of things, it was the most rewarding accomplishment for me at that time.

Water polo taught me how to focus on the present. It did not matter what the score board was or how the last play or quarter went. What mattered most was what the current situation was and how I can improve in each 30-second or less play. It did not matter if my team was winning by a mile, losing by a mile, or tied with the other team. The scoreboard will adjust accordingly depending on how you approach each and every play in the present.

Water polo also reminded me the importance of support. Some of the best feelings I experienced was from an assist from me for my fellow teammate to make that awesome shot in the goal during a game. Or even during practice when I helped someone learn a new skill or helped someone improve upon their skills. I was gratified just as much as in helping others as in my own accomplishments.

Lastly this sport made me become more aggressive. I feel that this word has a negative connotation with it, but I mean aggressive in a good way. Water polo forced me to get into physical contact with multiple girls, all for a bright yellow ball. But hey, at least my only physical contact experiences were confined in water polo? Haha. No, but honestly, aggression is needed in life in order to energetically pursue your aspirations, whatever they may be.


Rowing (College)

Ah, rowing. One of the most primitive sports that have successfully carried over to modern day. Out of the three sports (spoiler: this is the last sport!), this sport is definitely the most graceful from an outsider’s view. The seemingly precise movement of each oar as it cuts into the water and to exit simultaneously is breathtaking. Also, there is no other feeling than being in a skinny racing shell and feeling the boat surge forward with the cool, crisp wind blow across your face.

But rowing, out of the three sports, required the most amount of physical energy out of me. Rowing has ingrained in me a sense of endurance. It is not for the faint-hearted. I think of rowing as a piece of painting. The blood, sweat, and tears put into training is like the stages of trying to envision and create art. It can be frustrating at times but the more you move forward, the more confident you feel in your craft. And finally, the regatta is like the finishing touches to a painting. The finishing touches can either help or hurt all of your previous progresses. But if executed properly, a masterpiece can be created, or in the rowing world, you can win gold.

To the outsider, rowing seems graceful and perfect, but just like any painting, it is far from perfect. Up close, there are a multitude of errors occurring with each stroke (propelling oars into the water) from every single person in the rowing shell. Each person is not only pulling their own weight but also is adjusting with inevitable mistakes from others. Rowing is the epitome of teamwork. You have to learn how to work in synergy or else it will not work no matter how much you want it to.

Lastly, rowing emphasized accountability. Every person in a boat shell is crucial for practices and regattas. If one person was late to practice or was sick/injured for a regatta, then the entire team cannot practice or compete. Being a rower also means you are now responsible for yourself for the sake of the team. Of course accountability applies to TKD and water polo as well, but especially for rowing, a lack of accountability cannot be made up for. No one can just “fill in” because of the different technical aspects of each seat and of the different synergies made with certain rowing groups.

If you have made it this far and have actually read everything that I had to say, you deserve a pat on the back and a cookie for listening to my ramblings on a topic that I thought would be much more brief. But all in all, SPORTS ARE IMPORTANT! If you are currently thinking about endeavoring into sports, DO IT. And if you are already involved in a sport(s), I am sure you related to at least one of my anecdotes. And for people who used to be in sports, I hope that you reminisced and reflected on your own experiences.


– J