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Capping College: A Reflection of Undergrad & Post-Grad Life

Milestone Accomplished: I have finally had my GRADUATION CEREMONY!

Photo of Kat with flowers in her hand, cap, gown, and sash on, smiling with "College of Letters and Science" background
December 10, 2022: The Day I Walked the Stage <3

This past weekend’s commencement for me has been nothing but unreal, magical, and incredible. Coupled with my current, unique experience of feeling on the cusp of two phases (post-college and pre-grad school life), I am trying my best to savor every moment and make the most of every opportunity that comes my way. Sometimes, I most definitely have times where I do forget to take care of myself and honestly check in with how I am doing, but that’s why I have this blog: to keep me accountable for being my own best self, and to also help others in reaching their own best potential. Through my words, thoughts, reflections, lessons, and insights, I hope to cultivate brain fuel for personal actions that serve YOU. With this blog reaching almost 2 years since its birth, I hope your presence in my journey has supported you in planning to fully live for yourself.

Plantifullylivin = Plan to Fully Live!

To be able to finally put my cap and gown on and being done with this piece of my academic career has injected so many feelings of accomplishment. It is a milestone to have completed college in 3 years, all by switching my major. Given the shortened amount of time in college, I feel that I was rewarded by finally following my heart and listening to my intuition.

Photo of Kat smiling while making a heart sign with her hands at the UC Davis arboretum
Follow your heart, listen to your intuition. <3

It is a privilege to be able to have gotten this far, and I could not thank my friends and family enough. Simultaneously, they were my rocks and shining gems that helped me shine. To memorialize their impact on me, I had my family sign and decorate my lovely graduation cap. More noticeably, I had my students in my current job as a program manager sign their names, to gratefully acknowledge my impact on young lives when I am off to grad school. Their enrichment and liveliness has been my fuel to keep on going with my higher education.

Beofre and after photos of Kat's cap being blank, and being colorfully filled out afterwards with her student signatures and family signatures
A big transformation!

At first glance with how it turned out, I thought the cap looked so chaotic and distorted. But on second thought, I appreciated and admired it. The messiness of it all represented the joy from the professional and personal connections of my existence: my students and family. I embraced the chaos from a place of acceptance, rather than despising it with a degrading lens. Even better, the day of my commencement happened to be the most rainy and windy storm I have experienced in a while. 40 degree weather with rain falling sideways because of the forceful winds created and transformed my cap into this:

Photo of Kat's cap after the storm of commencement day - still colorful but more fainted parts on it
The aftermath of my cap's survival after the rainy and windy storm of commencement day!

I found it amazing how the drops of rain from the commencement storm had actually dried up to become imprinted within my cap. It elevated its look from a sharply colored one into an abstract watercolor tainted design. Instead of the previous look, the rain added a layer of depth and dimension.

Ultimately, I see how my enhanced cap decor revealed many lessons I have learned along the past 3 years of my growth in college:

  1. I have literally and figuratively braved the storm! Over the years, I finally faced my fears instead of running away from them. I cultivated courage to express myself and my emotions, because I knew that life is too short to hide what is important to you to the important people around you. By finally noticing, recognizing, and attending to what has hurt me, I now leave space for what better serves me. To distinguish between the two is a journey that is so hard, but so worth it. Going through it is how you grow from it. (Note: this by all means does not mean I have everything all together because perfectionism is unrealistic and a trap towards never being satisfied.)

Grad photo of Kat smiling within a #UCDAVISGRAD frame, text: "Leave it to us! ...We got this!"
Forever trying to face my storms :)

2. During the rainy storm, my cap looked thin and felt fragile. As it dried up though, it became sturdier and displayed a cooler design! Therefore:

Time fades the bitter parts of life, and allows for better healing as pain subsides. Every negative experience that has left you a temporary harsh wound, will eventually lessen as a slight sting, until it becomes a permanent scar. Collectively, all of these negative experiences happened to you so that it integrates itself into everything you create for yourself. When you prioritize your true self, your inner wounds offer the wisdom to support you with who you are bound to become.

3. As mentioned before, I first thought my cap design looked overwhelmingly chaotic and unsynchronized. Then, it turned out cuter and meaningful than ever. In this light:

Take a look at the bigger picture and you will see how much more beauty there is to be grateful for. How easy it is to refocus your energy on what you admire and appreciate. It does not cost a dime to be grateful for what we have; yet, we often forget to look at how free and freeing that can be. We get so caught up in the minor details of living, that we do not realize how great of a job we are doing. Whether that be in your actual career, home life, or social life, you are doing great.

4. Back to the rainy storm: Life would be so dull and boring if there were no challenges. There is no lightness without darkness. The darkness makes lightness exist and brings color, depth, and dimension to every experience.

5. Lastly, change is a wonderful thing - it shows how much you have learned, grown, and evolved. If you were the same person you were 3 years ago, there would be no zest and nothing to look forward to. Life is all about the decisions and choices and the actions we put into fruition through intention. After all, your thoughts do not control you; you control your thoughts.

Your thoughts are seeds for every action you plant. Your flowers and plants are your impact on others. Your plants and flowers eventually create a beautiful garden, which becomes your LEGACY.

Photo of 2 vases of flowers on Kat's kitchen table, with her cap next to it and a necklace given to her by her mother.
These were flowers and a necklace from my family, as well as flowers given to me by a parent from my work as a school program manager. So incredibly rewarding! <3

How are you going to grow your garden, your legacy?

Start today. Start now. Whether you're still a student in school or college, or are fully adulting, it is never too late to start growing. Doing better. And building up that beautiful garden of yours.

And no matter what, don't give up.

Life waits for you. Plan to fully live.

As always, I send much love and light to you all; thank you so much for reading and joining along with me and my journey. <3

- Kat <3




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