More about Junior Year. It turned out boring.
First some background. I loved Sophomore Year. I’m not entirely certain why. But it was good for me. Just, getting to know people more, growing more, a bunch of other stuff. Serra was great also. I dunno, people talk about how Serra had this bad rep as being a Christian dorm but I think that year was pretty sweet (especially compared to Serra senior year).
Like, the first floor dynamic was pretty cool. I’d say there were only two rooms in which I didn’t talk to people. Actually, that’s not true. Just one room and another guy. But I at least said hello to everyone else. Everyone was pretty friendly with each other. And the first floor made that Valentine’s Day calendar for the women of the other floors which was hilarious. It was supposedly a gift to them but it was really for us – it had all these pictures of us and listed all our birthdays. Great stuff.
I think the whole dorm got along pretty well, although I can’t say for sure. It helped that we were almost all sophomores. There were a bunch of Christians and most of the rest were from Arroyo so they all knew each other. So I loved it. Just, everyone got along, there were lots of great people, always someone to chat with, late night was nearby, lots of good things.
I also remember that the ski trip was awesome. For some reason that represents the year to me. It was well organized, literally everyone got along, no one was inconsiderate, everyone pitched in, and it was extremely comfortable. Just a good time had by all. In contrast to senior year in Serra. That was terrible. Everyone hated the Christians, with good reason. Totally fractured dorm. And again, the ski trip kind of epitomized things. Poorly organized, everyone was inconsiderate, no one pitched in, and it was tense the whole time. Ugh. I dunno, maybe I’m reading too much into the ski trip, but to me the quality of the ski trips those two years summed up the quality of the dorms those years. And sophomore year was great.
The other years (frosh/junior) the dorms I think were pretty tight but I was a complete outcast in both.
So getting back, that’s one reason why junior year was so hard. Just, frosh dorm life wasn’t good for me (example: I was in the stall on my floor one day around April and the guy next stall over says, “Who am I talking to?” And I say, “Danny”. And he pauses, then says, “I don’t know you.”). Sophomore year was much much better, so things were looking up. But then junior year was worse than frosh year. I knew 0 people in the dorm besides Charlie and Eddie. Talk about an isolating experience.
Anyway, it had been a good summer previous until the end. To make a long story short, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It’s a long story, but she’s fine now, if you’re wondering. But it was hard then. I hate talking about it because I feel like a wuss. Just, other people you and I knew went through far worse and did far better. But it was just hard for me.
The worst thing about it was that it happened at the very end of summer. Like, she started chemo about a week before I left. That was traumatic. My sister was already at school, and I offered to stop out a quarter or something but of course my parents, being Asian, would have none of that. So they sent me back to school, even though I didn’t really want to be there, and wasn’t there, emotionally, for a while.
Maybe that’s why everything got to a bad start – dorm life, small group, other stuff. But yeah, it was not a good time. This is actually the event that got me crying again. Just, the first time I saw her in the hospital bed, dunno what happened, but even with everyone telling me I had to be strong for her, I totally lost it and went out to the hallway and bawled like I was 2. And since that day I’ve cried regularly since. It’s like some barrier broke.
Anyway, it was a hard time and the worst part was feeling like no one cared. At least, I don’t think people really understood. It’s hard enough being out in Yost and feeling isolated. It’s worse when all these depressing negative thoughts and emotions are pouring through you. I’m not sure what I was looking for. It wasn’t sympathy or attention. I’m not sure what it was. But whatever, all I know is that I felt really alone.
Side note. I’m not very good at reaching out in friendship, but there’s a deliberate reason for that, and it’s not laziness. If by circumstance we’re forced to spend time together I’m good at becoming friends, I think. But I’m not good when just becoming friends requires one to go beyond circumstance. And again, it’s not laziness – it’s deliberate.
The reason is this: I’m hypersensitive to getting in the way. It makes no sense, except in my mind. But yeah, I’m super hesitant to becoming better friends with someone, or even getting to know someone better, because I feel like I’m kind of taking them away from their other friends. And I hate that feeling. So, a lot of times, I consciously keep myself at a bit of a distance. That way I don’t feel like I’m impeding on someone’s territory. I’ll reach a certain point, but that’s it.
And I don’t think it’s laziness. Because sometimes, it takes more effort to maintain that distance than not to. And what’s happened in the past is, say I was good friends with someone, and they begin to become good friends with someone else. The easy thing to do would just be to have the same friendship. But in the past I’ve been deliberate about staying out of the way of that friendship so as not to impede it, and I’ve let my friendship with them kind of fade, again to stay out of the way. It’s conscious and deliberate work, and not always easy, but because of my hypersensitivity to being in the way, I’ve done it.
Why am I bringing this up? I think it’s because I’m asking myself why I didn’t reach out to people, if that’s what I needed. And that’s the reason why. Just, by junior year, you’re kind of a little more settled in who your friends are and with the friendships kind of set like that, I didn’t want to impinge upon it by forcing myself in. This probably makes no sense to you but yeah, that’s how my mind works.
Anyway, it’s not like I was constantly thinking about my mom being sick, but it started me off on a bad time personally. Like, I’d say a big theme of my junior year was spiritual weakness. It was not a good year for me spiritually at all except maybe in retrospect. It was hard.
The biggest problem I had spiritually was doubt. Which I guess is the biggest problem. It’s funny. I’ve written about this before, but I distinctly remember sophomore year thinking how I was glad that I’d reached a point in my spiritual life where I’d never doubt again. Uh, wrong. Just, junior year was filled with all these horrible doubts that I pretty much had to work out on my own. And that was really hard.
There’s one thing I do remember that helped me a lot, again, something I’ve written about before. But one big problem I had was that I had no idea how to pray. Do I pray what I want? But aren’t we supposed to pray God’s will? And what if what I want is not God’s will? Then I can’t rightly pray it. All I can pray is God’s will be done. But what kind of a wussy prayer is that? It doesn’t seem at all like the bold, faithful praying in the Bible. I was just paralyzed.
So I asked Pastor Dave about it. What he said was, always pray for what you want. Be honest before God – that’s important. And if it’s not within His will, trust that if you pray faithfully, He’ll change you. I could go on about this forever about how it’s kind of deep and all the implications but the important thing is, it was really encouraging to me because it allowed me to start praying. And I think that’s when things started to turn around.
Anyway, I’m a lot more humble about my spiritual condition now, I think. Just, I can’t ever be so arrogant to think that doubt is beyond me. And, it just helped me I think understand grace more and a bit of what it means to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. So in that sense I “grew” so it was good to go through. But it was painful at the time.
There’s other stuff about that year that I don’t think I’ll write too much about. But that part wasn’t bad that year. Just more… weird. That’s the most accurate word. Anyway, there’s a lot of guilt with that too. When I look back, guilt is a big part of junior year. That’s probably not good.
Uh, already wrote about FiCS so not much more to say about the year. The thing that’s weird about it is, of all my years, that’s the one that’s most a blur. It’s just a fleeting moment in my memory. And I’m not quite certain why. I don’t exactly regret the year, because most of it, I didn’t really have a choice about so it couldn’t have been any different. I actually don’t know how I feel about it, just that it was hard, especially spiritually, and having to lead two things didn’t help at all.
But even as hard as it was, it wasn’t bad. If you saw me that year, it’s not like I was down all the time. I don’t know, for the most part I’ve had a charmed life and I don’t think my life has ever been bad, so there’s not much to complain about. It was still a pretty good year. Just, by far, the hardest ever, before or since.
One last random thing. After I ditched being pre-med junior year, I started getting incredible grades. I’m not sure what that means. Partly I think I confirmed that I chose the right major. But yeah, it’s strange that that happened.
That was boring.