Go through hell.

First Semester of Sophomore Year.

The last six months have been unprecedented with both good and bad experiences. Going into my second year of college, I now faced the challenge of getting into my major. It turns out getting into Berkeley is only a small part of my academic “battle”.  

From the beginning of the semester, I had anticipated a heavier work load and a greater deal of stress but was not prepared for the onslaught of assignments to come. I found very quickly that this semester was nothing like my first year of college. It was as if someone had taken the dial for “Difficulty” turned it a complete 360 degrees in the opposite direction.

Upon completing this semester, I realized that I had worked harder than I have ever before. The most frustrating part was thinking – rather truly believing that I was hopeless. That despite grinding every day for four months, that I would be beat out in a very competitive environment and not admitted into the field that I have been so passionate for.

It was around this time that I began to reflect on my confidence in my abilities. I began to realize that no matter what grades I got, no matter what the professor told me, no matter what my diploma says on it, I define who I am, what I do, and what I believe. As simple as that sounds, I began to solidify my passion for computer science and believe that no arrangement of words on a piece of paper could change that. Despite being flooded with an abundance of new information this semester, I believe this to be the most valuable lesson.

As grades were released, to my amazement, I had passed with the scores that I was aiming for. Suddenly, something that seemed so useless and a waste of energy proved to be worth it. The greatest part of passing wasn’t the grades itself but the remembrance of the frustration during the course and now the final result. I had beaten the giant beast that had knocked me down so many times in those previous months. Knowing this, I’m willing to do it again.

North America Zoroastrian Congress 2014

As a Parsi, I often am distant with the religion and at times question some of the religious practices. Nonetheless, I was very glad I attended this year’s Zoroastrian Congress. It was exciting to meet new faces that shared similar backgrounds to me from around the world. I met some really incredible people and formed strong friendships in such a short period of time. It was a positive experience for me that made me appreciate the community and collectiveness of my religion. I guess you could call me “ZoroProudKurush”.

Consumer Electronic Show 2015 -> Hoover Dam -> Grand Canyon -> Los Angeles -> San Diego

Immediately following the congress, my friends and I attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for the second consecutive year. We took two more members than we did last year and the experience was different in many noticeable ways. For starters, we had a great hotel! We stayed at the Plaza Hotel, a nice place for its price. What was great about this year’s convention was the fact that we had a car and did not have to rely on the taxi schedule (Sad that Uber is still being blocked in Nevada). Because of this, we decided to make a completely spontaneous and impromptu trip to the Grand Canyon. Although the four hour drive through the dessert was rather long, it went by quick with the great crew I was with. The trip to Arizona was well worth it. The Grand Canyon is by far the most magnificent, beautiful, and remarkable scene I have ever laid my eyes on. If you have not been to the Grand Canyon, I highly recommend you make a visit sometime in your life. Words can’t adequately describe the beauty of this remarkable Canyon.

We ended our trip by traveling back to Los Angeles and down to La Jolla and Oceanside, San Diego. Unfortunately, we were met with some tough weather and didn’t get to truly appreciate the great city of SD. Although wet, I did enjoy experiencing the meditation garden.  For those in the area, I’d recommend experiencing the nature there. The atmosphere was very calm and relaxing and much needed!

The last six months have flown by faster than any time span I can remember. I’ve learned and gained many amazing experiences, many outside the academic field. As cheesy as it sounds, believing in yourself and having faith that you will succeed is a crucial aspect of success. I’ve also found that, at times, impromptu trips are the best. And that the Grand Canyon is definitely something I want to see again. These experiences have led me to be more confident with myself and the future. I look forward to tackling future beasts and exploring new lands.

I’ll end this entry with a quote that got me through my tough semester:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going” – Winston Churchill

 

Today I turn 20. Tomorrow I turn 40.

Today I turn 20. Tomorrow I turn 40.

Today I start the third decade of my life. Twenty years seems like a long time. In fact, it is. But it’s also a short time. A very short time. The fact that time itself can have both long and short qualities is unique. Time is abstract. It follows no rules. Its value is infinite.

Take money as an example. With any currency in the world, the smaller the unit, the less value it holds. A quarter is more valuable than a dime which is more valuable than a nickel which is more valuable than a penny. Never will a penny have the same value as a quarter (this is the value the government puts on it, not what the item is made up of). This idea that a smaller unit is not as valuable as a larger unit is almost universal. There are a few counterexamples, of which the value depreciates as you increment the unit.

However, time is the only thing where the most single unit can be considered as valuable as the largest. Stripping away the economic potential, the value of a second is just as valuable as a collation of seconds. A minute can be as valuable as an hour, or a day, or a year. What we make of our ‘collation of seconds’ is what determines the worthiness of our time. What one does in a year might be possible in a month. What we do with our time is far more important than how much time we have left.

Which brings me back to today. Today, I have completed two decades of my life. I’m getting older but still am very young. I’m half as old as a forty-year old. And a forty-year old is half as young as an eighty-year old. Elementary school, middle school, high school, college ­– what seemed like such a long time is only a mere fourth of my life.

In the past year alone, I have learned and experienced so much. My first year in college has taught me to cook, clean, love, hurt, learn, and live in ways I had not known before. I’ve met many interesting and unique people from all around the world. I’ve learned information about subject matter that I am passionate as well as others that I didn’t know I enjoyed. All in a year. Imagine the potential learnings of the next ten.

This last year has had a huge impact on the person I am right now. Just a year ago, my beloved godmother fell and broke her hip bone on the Hawaiian Islands. This was the first time I had to see someone suffer and could not do anything to help. In retrospect, this experience taught me to appreciate the time I still have with her. Unlike time, health is not infinite. It’s precious and limited. The harsh truth is it won’t last forever. As a result, my perspective of life changed.

On the topic of health, one of my most feared things about college was my body’s well-being. I knew that I would get sick and that no one would be tending to me for the first time ever. But what I feared was my breath. Asthma has followed me throughout my life like a shadow on a body. Frankly, I was scared how I would react when my first attack would hit. Having a bunch of inhalers around me can only do so much. What I learned was that my asthma was a physical limitation due to my mental congestion. Of course my breathing gets impaired with common physical triggers, but what I learned about myself was that my breathing ability was directly related to my mental clarity. When I feared things, my breathing would take a hit. As simple as this sounds, it was a real epiphany for me at the time. As I began to worry less, I had less severe and frequent breathing troubles. I learned health is very much connected to the mind. The stronger the mind, the healthier the body.

One of the most perspective shifting experiences throughout this past year was the end of my first relationship. Unlike most in society, I did not enter into personal relationships at a young age. I didn’t do so until the senior year of high school. The first personal relationship experience was a new feeling and unlocked emotions and thoughts that I never knew I possessed. As a result, I began to learn of another aspect of my body and my life, my heart. While my mind and body regulate much of my academic and health status, my emotion and subconscious is guided by my heart, the emotion dictating system of the body. Comprehending these feelings was a new and joyous experience. Having a partner to share a glimpse of my life that I kept cut off from the rest of society helped me establish trust and connect with people on a deeper level.

As college came around, I met the other end of the coin with my relationship. The sweetness and joy experienced was contrasted with hurt and confusion. The newness of the situation left me in a period of daze. I was forced to accept a position I was not comfortable with, a position I had thought I had once wanted, a position I thought I was okay with. The end of my relationship gave me reason to take a step back and assess my experiences over this past year(s). In doing so, I realized that I had made mistakes. A lot in fact, and that there were things I regretted. For a while, this ate at me. I felt a hole in my life, as if I had suffered a phantom limb. I had lost something very dear to me, a friend and a companion.

I cannot change the mistakes I have made in the past but I can use them to guide me towards the future. I will not make the same faults I did with my future significant other. I have always learned best through failure. And I continue to learn and apply changes to my active life. I am smarter than I was a year ago. I am more experienced.

However bittersweet these experiences, I learned much about love. While most people say they know what love is, I am not afraid to say that I don’t. I felt as if I didn’t know what love is. By no means do I suggest that I do know what love is after one relationship, but I have a better understanding of it than I had before. Consider love as a program. At its first creation, you think it’s such a fascinating creation. But after a while you realize there are bugs and that the program is complex. You call that version 1.0. And as you experience more and learn more about love, you update your program. It isn’t important that you figure out the whole program at once. What’s important is that you figure out to create a stable version for your program. At that point, you have learned what love is. Love is defined through a coalition of experiences.

With this new perspective, I look back and realize that my first relationship was absolutely great. It was not perfect. The fact that it wasn’t makes it so much more human and enjoyable. If given the chance, I would change how I did certain things in the past but I have let go of the regret that had once consumed my life. My experiences, both good and bad, define the person I am today.

In just the last year, I’ve learned much about my health, mind, and emotions. I’ve been places that I’ve never been before and shared experiences with some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. This last year seemed like such a long period of time yet is just a fragment of my life. Yesterday I was 19. Today I turned 20. And before I know it, tomorrow I will turn 40. Time is running and we need to keep up. So the question is, what are you going to do with your time?