Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Apply, deny, and move on

Well, it's that phase of life again.
That time where you start defining yourself on a single sheet of paper.  Neatly aligned, perfected margins, though minimized breaks between lines so you can type as much as possible.  You tailor, you proof, others read, you revise and the process continues until you're sick of reading you're gloating and accomplishments.  Yet, if you believe that you've represented yourself in the best way possible, you're on track.  Attach, cross your fingers, and hit send -- because nowadays most employers prefer the efficiency and sustainability of electronic applications.  Then, reel backwards with spirit fingers and a rush of adrenaline, relief, and uncertainty, mentally begging the powers that be to shed favorable light so that you're offered the job, internship, or admission (what, does no one else do that?).

It's like senior year of high school: the all-too familiar process of applications.  It's anxiety-inducing, throwing yourself out there; for judgement, for their decision as to whether you're worth something or not-- worthy of their employment, at least.  Occasionally I wish that I was a Buddhist monk living in Laos with an active focus on existing the present, because all this future-pushing is nauseating.  Especially today, in a world that thrives from innovation, initiative, and staying ahead of the curve.  It's frustrating and disappointing too, because all of three of my major potential plans for the summer are now down the drain.

Rejections can be rattling.  A few years ago, the college application processed consumed me.  Mainly, I think, because I had basically worked seven or eight years towards the 'dream' school.  Even then I was infuriated that somewhere, heartless admissions officers could discard my transcript that I had dedicated so much of my life to in one glance because numbers didn't fit the bill.  Well, not all schools are like that.  Fortunately, I still landed at my dream school although it wasn't the most academically rigorous, and I learned     a bit more about the people and processes surrounding college admission (assuredly complex).

The point is, it sucks to be told that we aren't good enough.  I love the idea of setting standards for ourselves, but reality tends to pin us to the standards of someone else (and society for that matter).  When these expectations aren't met, it's a difficult realization, sometimes a condescending sit back down and wait your turn.  I'm just here to remind me, you and everyone else that a rejection isn't a judgement of your character, nor a testimony of your self-worth.  Just because you were not the right person for them today doesn't mean you won't be the right person for someone else another day.  Heck, if the world isn't reacting, you could carve your own niche and watch others flock your way.  You are intelligent, you are capable, and the things that you do matter.  Regardless of what a cordial e-mail (or even better, a typed letter!) reads, you are still awesome at life.  Okay, so maybe this was more of a pep-talk for me, but really; put forth your best, wallow if it doesn't work out-- though only for a moment.  Keep the vibes positive.

So I'm back at square one, vigorously applying for internships while I'm still in a familiar location (because I have the feeling that moving to China while render me a bit busier).  As I stand back up in this battle for recognition, acceptance, and experience, I'm not only reassuring to my parents that I have a regard for the future; it's a vague reassurance to myself that there are always more things to come, and an assertion to the world that I'm willing to take it on.


On a more fantastic note from the weekend, my parents and I visited the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota!  I have fondness for aquariums, as I was vaguely interested in pursuing marine biology growing up.  My dislike for the technicalities of science clearly swayed me otherwise, but I'm still enraptured by the marvels of the oceans and seas.  It's like... who needs to find new planets and galaxies when we already have an entire universe encompassing 70% of this Earth?!  According to Discovery News, two-thirds of the planet's marine species still remain unknown.  Though what I was able to see, touch, and smell at the aquarium was utterly captivating.

Clown fish + anemone = quintessential oceanic harmony (symbiosis). 
Jelly fish that look like they're defying gravity in a space shuttle (it was a thin glass tank)!
The other-worldly, chameleon cuttlefish.  I once saw them on t.v., and in real life they're just fascinating.  Most of them in the tank convened in the corner, all the same sandy shade.. it's cuttle time!
More jelly fest.
Sea horses!  There were also sea dragons.
Another alien cuttlefish caught from behind, it's fins fluttering and propelling away.
You didn't think I'd leave out a manatee picture, did you?
Mote Aquarium has two of this big boys, born in 1984 and '87.  These thousand-plus pound floating, drifting mammoths (actually, an aquatic relative of the elephant) consume 150 pounds worth of lettuce a day, plus treats like carrots, apples, celery.. by far my favorite vegetarians.  Oh, and one of the mantaees was the one who squashed his nose against the tank glass.  They're so cute it hurts.

 Mote is unique in that it is one of the few remaining research marine centers in the U.S. that not affiliated with a university and independently funded.  At $18 (discounts for children and seniors), you have access to the main aquarium building that presents the various marine ecosystems of Florida, a huge shark/ray/fish tank, an interactive tide pool (I poked a few starfish and sea cucumbers), trainings and shows that are more tendered for children but informative nonetheless, a bird sanctuary, and a turtle-dolphin-manatee rehab and care center.  This visit reminded me of how spectacular the world is (and how little we know, along with how much we need to do to protect it).  And my day continued, irradiating a bit more curiosity and joy.  If you're ever in the area, go there.. rr any aquarium for that matter!  It might reignite your inner Jacques Cousteau, or Steve Zissou

Listening: "Flamingos" by the Fruit Bats"

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