Blessings of friends

A friend is someone who helps you enjoy your life when you’re at your best, helps take care of you when you’re at your worst, and is there everywhere else in between.

Or at least, a close friend.

Let’s say that your personality is an ocean, and the people you meet are boats. When boats are built, they are first tested for their integrity, the ability to float. Some boats pass this test, and others simply take a dive. Pun intended.
Now, pretend there is a boat with a lot of great features. You really like this boat, would like to see it sail the oceans forever. Unfortunately, as soon as this boat touches water, it sinks. Well, now what? You really like the boat, but what are you going to do? Change the composition and the size of the ocean to accommodate? Change the boat with respect to the ocean?

Well, since the ocean isn’t going to change, the logical answer seems to be to change the boat…

But I’m sure you know how persistent people can be when asked to change, and
We still try to keep those boats in our life.

For any relationship to be successful, there needs to be mutual appreciation and a somewhat equal aspect of recoprication (Both participants should be taking equal initiatives to make plans, as an example). If one or both of these conditions are unsatisfied, one will find his/her relationship unsatisfactory.

When I was younger, I remember trying to be everyone’s friend. Growing up, I’ve met people with whom I’ve had and have great interactions with, and I’ve met people with whom I’ve had not so great interactions with. Growing up, I’ve learned a lot.

No matter how kind or friendly you are to someone, that someone will never be obligated to treat you the way you treat him/her. You can dedicate all your time and energy wanting someone, but never once will that someone be required to want you even the slightest bit back. Take time out of your life and help someone who asks for it. Generally, that someone will thank you. For some, unfortunately, that someone will bite the hand that feeds. Others,

That someone will go for the wrist.

Should a relationship similar to what’s described above be observed in the wild, that relationship would be labeled, “Parasitic”. One gives more than s/he takes, the other takes more than s/he gives, and the amount that is given and taken does not balance each other. If it helps, try thinking of this quantitatively.
Person A and B have 100 “kindesses” each. Person C and D also have 100 kindnesses. Every interaction A has with B, A gives ten kindesses and asks for ten. B, similarly, gives and asks for ten. A and B, throughout all their interactions, will always have the same amount of kindesses which they started with.
Now, let’s say C gives ten and asks for ten, but D only gives five kindnesses.
C is slowly running out of kindnesses. Hmmm.

Humans learn through experience, and let’s pretend C is a relatively smart person. C recognizes that D isn’t giving C ten kindnesses, but C still wants to be friends with D, so C changes the number of kindnesses C asks for. After a while, C’s original ask of ten becomes seven, to see if D can try to meet C in the middle.

In my experience, if D does meet C in the middle, then C changes the amount C gives to the number that D gives because that is essentially what the relationship has become.

If D does not meet C in the middle and continues to give only five kindnesses, then it’s only a matter of time before C faces reality and decides to drop D. Our “relatively” smart C becomes a truly smart C.

The amount of time it takes, however, can have severe effects on one’s life. Or maybe I just had some poor luck.

There was an individual this past semester who seemed to enjoy spending time with me. This same individual would also need help sometimes. Me being me, I’ll help those who ask, no questions asked, so I did what I could. Soon, the help which was being requested became more and more demanding, and the appreciation I was receiving was, well, wasn’t.

In my past, I accidentally removed a person from my life — a person I saw almost every day — and I know how it can be awkward and not pleasant things can be when I’m in the same room with that person. That was something I didn’t want to recreate in college, and so I tried what I could to make this relationship more comfortable for me.

People aren’t required to say thank you when they are helped, and nothing says that I can’t make the decisions which facilitate my best interests. If something is holding you back, stop holding on to it.

As hard as it was, I dropped him/her.

This experience showed me how significantly people can affect each other’s esteems and lives, brought me awareness to a new kind of relationship, and also showed me who really matters in my life. Showed me the people who would listen to my ramblings on the troubles I was having. Showed me the people who only wanted the best for me.

Showed me my friends.

Vivek

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Dangerous girls

Don’t misbehave with people in relationships or their boyfriends might come after you.

Just cuz there’s a goalie doesn’t mean you can’t score tho.
Inappropriate. Don’t be disrespectful.

Vivek

Bad decisions and wonderful distractions.

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“College has been a series of bad decisions and wonderful distractions.”

The first time I shared that statement, it was shared as a joke. Some time passes, I put some thought into what I said, and I realize that it may be less of a joke and more of something else.

Decisions aren’t innately bad. Decisions are just exercises of one’s (hopefully) best judgment at a given time in a given situation.

Decisions have consequences, however. Not every consequence is beneficial. Sometimes one hurts others. Or others hurt that one. Even yet, maybe that one hurt him/herself.

As said earlier, I had a tough time moving into college. Part of the reason why was because I was questioning myself.
In respect to me as a student, I felt that my lack of seriousness in high school was a bad decision, as I had to get serious as soon as I could or I and my academic and career futures would suffer. Amongst other thoughts.
In respect to me as a person, I felt that the rate that I was meeting people and making friends wasn’t up to par with most everyone else. That I was behind, that I was having trouble, that I was maybe antisocial, I was wondering why I didn’t try to be more social in my early years so that I would have had the necessary experience and ability to be social now.

Truly, it seemed as if my life was essentially spent making bad decisions.

The only bad decision I made was deciding to compare myself to others.

I could go on and elaborate on why one shouldn’t compare him/herself, what this gesture can do on one’s esteem and personality, when comparing one’s self can be fine etc. but that would stray from the theme of this essay. Maybe another time.

[To summarize what happened after realizing the above, for those interested: the rest of my semester was fine, I realized what I wanted, did what I could to get what I want, basically had an experience which I was generally happy with. Until finals. My happiness took a hit after finals. College is tough.]

The idea that should be taken away is that one will have a generally bad time if s/he feels that s/he isn’t doing what’s right. Which prompts a new question.

“Were you in a state of perpetual unhappiness? Depressed? Did you ever enjoy yourself?”

Oh yeah. Definitely. There were times when I was in joy, and there were times when I was

Wonderfully distracted.

For a person to be distracted, there has to be something to be distracted from. Another place where attention should be given, but isn’t. When I was in class, or while working on homework or studying, I felt like I was doing that which I should be doing. I’m a student, a student learns, I am making efforts to further my education. That sounds good.

That quickly became unsound. By believing that participating in the college and academic progression was the only way to do my duty as a student, failure to study or not doing as well as I’d like on a quiz or test would lead to feelings of displeasure. Ideally, studying more, staying on top of schoolwork, and just doing what I needed to and a little more would ensure that I would enjoy my time in the classroom. Until I stepped out of the classroom.

This is probably just me, but outside the classroom, a student is no longer a student. S/he is now just a “person”. I could be meeting my duties as a student. Was I meeting my duties as a person? Was I being who I want to be, being who I am to the best of my ability, taking the steps necessary to bring myself closer to who I want to become?

Those questions made me feel like school was getting in the way of what was truly meaningful to me. “These As on my assignments and the ideas I’m learning aren’t making me a better person, they’re just distracting me from my genuine pursuits and interests,” I thought. I want to go to my dance practice? I can’t, because I have an academic commitment. I want to go spend some time developing my relationships with the people I care about? Not happening. I have homework due soon. Man, fuck.

This class I took, LAS101, can be thought of as a “How to college” type of course. One day in this class, we were given blank schedules and told to plan out each and every hour of the week. This was the first time I ever did something like this, and ohhhhh myyy goooodnesssss it worked so weeellllllllll. I learned how to use time properly and efficiently, and by making time to do my work, I found that I had more time later when I wasn’t doing anything. Time which could be spent developing myself. I had so much time, I found out, that I was even able to devote one hour every Sunday evening solely to “bullshit”.

[That one hour proved to be completely insufficient. Maybe I’ll share why later.]

Life was good again. No, life was great. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, getting my work done as a student, growing and learning as a person, I felt like I was doing an all-around good job.

Then,

Some time later,

A few trains of thought passed by.

In my major, going to school and doing only the bare minimum is not enough to succeed — at least, in respect to my goals and desires. Experience is the selling point of any future computer scientist in the workplace. Internships, personal projects, languages and frameworks one is familiar with, the more the better. I didn’t know this until deep into my semester. As far as I was concerned, I was doing a dandy job.
Not exactly, it soon appeared.
The good time I was having, it soon disappeared.

Some of the kids I’ve met are incredibly talented, very well-versed in computer science. These kids I’m sure will have no problem getting their careers off the ground. As for me, however? I’m a fucking blank slate. I have nothing to show, not much I can do. I felt very behind, very immature, and, as I always do with any dilemma I face, I sat down and thought about how I got here and what I should do next.

There are distractions, which are just little things that take one’s focus away from what’s important, then there are other distractions. Wonderful distractions.

“Why are some distractions wonderful?”

When one is wonderfully distracted, that person doesn’t know that s/he is currently distracted. That person is more concerned with the happiness that his/her life is putting out. The wonder. That person feels wonderful.

The issue I was facing now was that I felt that my previous actions weren’t enough. Although I was meeting my duties as a student and a person, I wasn’t doing anything to advance my prospective career as a computer scientist. Part of me was still behind, and irrespective of the progress I’m making elsewhere, I will still be behind in an industry where if you aren’t the best, you have no chance. Or at least, that’s how it has been advertised.

[Also, being behind is perfectly fine. One cannot be proficient in everything. Just develop yourself the way you want, with the skills you want.]

Regarding this, what I did isn’t as important as what I learned. There will always be people ahead of me, people not as far as me. People with greater levels of development, people who might find some guidance useful. People to learn from, people who are ready to learn. Take away the people, and what’s left? You are. You are what’s left. Your personality, your experiences, your thoughts, your goals, your desires, your ability,

You.

If you have goals, that’s great. Now you know where to direct your energy, where to find purpose. A place for your actions, a place for you to do. Which, honestly, is all anyone can do. Do. I know that there are others who are currently more able than I, for whom my goals will seem much easier and probable to accomplish. My goals aren’t their goals, however, and that won’t stop me from doing what I can. I do what I can, and I’ll do what I can, because that’s all I can do. As long as I direct my time and energy where they need to go, then I’m sure I can bring all my dreams to fruition, with plenty of time left to enjoy myself. Life is long as fuck, but an inability to see exactly how it will play out can understandably lead to a lot of unhelpful stress and self-deprecation.

Which is still fine. Even if you hate yourself, and are completely worried about everything, you can still do something. Just do what you can, because that’s the best thing you can do.

Vivek

Positive reinforcement

When one sets expectations for something, one states that s/he will only be satisfied should the experience meet or surpass one’s ideas regarding whatever it is s/he’s interacting with. Which,

Also means,

That one is creating plenty of opportunities to disappoint oneself.

This conclusion was something I thought I knew. No,
This was something I definitely knew.
I just didn’t know the extent of the power of setting expectations. Until recently.

Hi, I’m Vivek Bhookya, and I would like to share that yes,

I,
Vivek Bhookya,
Finally went on a real date with a real stranger.

[“I would like to thank my family, my friends, everyone in my life, everyone I’ve ever met, the people who believe in me, the people who believe less in me, my actions, my past, every incident that has resulted in this happening, the universe, the…” – A friend.]

Now, considering that this would be the first time I ever did anything like this, and also keeping in mind whom I am,

I naturally set myself up for a not-so-pleasant time.

When I’m going to experience something new, such as joining a new club, picking up a new skill, becoming a part of a new environment, I try to find a substantial amount of information from those who have already been through what I’m going to go into to try and figure out how my initial interaction will play out. This is done through research, asking around, reflecting on my past for anything even tangentially similar, etc.
After I feel like I have enough of an idea of how my near future will turn out, I

[One of my more-apt abilities is being able to discard and look past the “noise” in my mind to create a somewhat instantaneous interpretation of my present situation. For example, if I’m talking to someone I’d prefer not talking to, I don’t mind ignoring my feelings and thoughts for the time being to just focus on the conversation happening then and there to minimize any awkwardness or displeasure from my side and maximize the quality of the interaction. This is something I can say that I’m good at. What did I do here, then?]

did that which I wasn’t good at. I set expectations for how this date would turn out, and more disrespectfully, for how the other person would most likely behave.

“Vivek, you just had a bad date! It’s no biggie, there are plenty of other people you’ll meet, plenty of other dates you’ll attend, you’re fi-”

Let me tell you what exactly this seemingly small gesture does.

Say there are two students, and each has to write a lengthy paper regarding the same topic. Student A knows everything there is to know about this topic, and student B has just become aware of its existence. How would the students feel about their assignments?

For A, no sweat. Easy peasy. A could put this essay off until the day it’s due and finish writing it with plenty of time to spare. Meanwhile, B is freaking out, wondering where to start. Why hasn’t s/he heard of this before, why did s/he only hear about it now? Does B even have enough time to become

Familiar

with the topic?

The more familiar one is with something, the more comfortable one is with that something. That’s a truth. The obvious reason, now, is that A is comfortable because A is familiar with the topic at hand, and B is absolutely uncomfortable because B has no familiarity. What exactly does this mean, however? Well, try to think of the way one behaves around close friends, and how that same individual would behave around strangers. In most cases, the behaviors would be drastically different: with the close friends, the person isn’t afraid of expressing him/herself to his/her fullest, not feeling like s/he has to inhibit any part of his/her personality, truly behaving in absolute accuracy to that person’s personality; in the latter case, the person may behave in a constricted manner, not using every opportunity to share his/her thoughts for uncertainty on how the recipient may respond. Imagine this statement with respect to a circumstance where two strangers are trying to get to know each other — like, say, a date — and it’s easy to see that already the rate of familiarization will be a little rough.

“Vivek, that’s why people go on multiple dates. They create more opportunities to learn more about each other. A single bad date is only that; it will not necessarily predict the outcomes of future encounters.”

That is right. That, however, is not only all that is right.
Additionally, there is still more to be discussed regarding the capabilities of preconceived notions. Which we will discuss now.

“Self-fulfilling prophecy.” A condition which can influence one’s behavior to ensure that this prophecy becomes realized.

Expectations can be thought of as prophecies. Sure, yeah.
A person enters a da-

I entered my date with expectations regarding its course of action and how the other person would behave. I have already set myself up to be disappointed with approximately all the possible results I could experience, because life usually never goes exactly as planned. Let me now incorporate the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy into my situation. By having an idea of how this interaction may turn out, my actions and behaviors during the interaction were not necessarily true of whom I am as a person. Rather, my actions and behaviors were of a Vivek Bhookya trying to create in reality what he had thought. Trying to create the experience he thought he would have, instead of immersing and enjoying it as it unfolded. Acting and behaving with the intentions of eliciting desired responses from the other individual, instead of letting her show me her true personality. Sure, she may have shown me her personality, but it definitely wasn’t in response to mine.

That’s not fair.

That’s not very respectful.

If I’m going to ask someone to open herself up to me, I best only respond by doing the same for her. What was supposed to be a no-stakes, no-consequences opportunity to learn more about this person I see in my dorm every now and then became a half-assed, illegitimate “instead of telling me about yourself, tell me what I want to hear about yourself” conversation.

Every failure is only the opportunity to learn. When one learns, at least in my case, one improves and understands slightly more about him/herself and the world that s/he lives in. Everything said above I learned recently. That which I learned recently has broadened my scope regarding the application of the initial statements in this writing. I now see how to apply not only the theme of this writing but other truths to other parts of my life as well.

As for how the date really went,

During it, I was essentially really confused the whole time. Basically,

“This isn’t going how it should? Should it even be going the way I think it should?” “Why is she talking about that? Isn’t this meant to get to know more about each other? Wouldn’t it be in our best interests to discuss our personalities and lives?” “Does she even consider this a date?” “What the fuck is going on? How did I end up here? Why is college so fucking hard?”

After I looked back on our time with a completely open mind, no expectations, reflecting in a way that I’m good at, it was honestly a pretty nice time. We did learn more about each other, we had some fun, the conversation was really flowing and enjoyable, I’m genuinely glad it happened and I would definitely like to meet her again, this time properly. Whether or not she’ll let me meet her again, though, isn’t something I can answer.
¯\_()_/¯.

At least, in the end, I did learn more about someone after that date.
Myself.

Vivek

Welcome back.

The last time this blog saw a real post was around the time I was approaching AP tests in high school. I wasn’t too pleased with what I was doing with myself at the time, but you can read all about that in ‘Unsatisfactory‘.

Is it appropriate to revive this blog with a response to my closing statements? Maybe, maybe not, but I enjoy the sentiment.

Summer of sixteen was a great time. The weeks leading up to move-in day were nothing short of hype. I was hyped for college. I was hyped to learn what I’m genuinely interested in. I was hyped to take the first step to becoming an adult. I was hyped for the independence.

I
had
become
that,
which
was
Hype.

If I knew how my first semester was going to turn out at the time, I probably would have felt something different.

I spent the first few weeks wondering why I didn’t spend more time in high school applying myself, for if I had, I probably would have been in a much better position academically. I wondered why I didn’t find an interest in my major long before I did, because if I had started exploring and practicing computer science at a much earlier age, the experience gained would have set me apart from my peers. I wondered what I was doing at a world-renowned university, questioning why I didn’t choose to go to a lesser school where I probably belonged and would have had a much better time at.

“What am I doing here? What am doing here? What am I doing here?”

A lot of time was spent dwelling on, essentially, why my life turned out the way it did and not in a way that some of those around me would have preferred to have.

“Why is my dorm so fucking quiet? If I was in another dorm, my social life would be a lot better.”

“Why are the showers so fucking small? I had the decision to pick any dorm, with any sized showers, and I chose this one for my roommate and myself. Fuck.”

“Man, the food here is ass, but if I don’t eat, then I can’t live and learn.”
“…Does a human really need food?”

To summarize.

A few more weeks of this ungrateful and miserable mindset go by, and I find my journal one day. I don’t remember why I decided to read it, but I remember how I felt afterward.

I felt bad,

Because I was disrespecting myself and everything that’s happened to me. My life now is a direct consequence of my actions in my past. Things could be better. Things could be worse. My things were the way they were, and I am completely responsible. If I was unhappy with my life and the way it’s going, then that means I’m unhappy with who I am as a person and everything I’ve stood and stand for in my past and now. I’m not unhappy with myself. Not even. I’ve been given countless blessings and gifts, and I chose to ignore them solely because I felt that my life didn’t meet the qualifications of the people I was meeting.

Those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.”
Dr. Suess.

I felt powerful,

For my mind was cleared of everything but that which mattered. Reading my journal reminded me of my values and who it is I really am, and having this “hard-reset” was — not an exaggeration — life-changing.
If you wear glasses, take them off, and look around. After some time, put your glasses back on, and think about what you see.
That’s the best way I can describe the shift in my perspective and mindset. I was distracted, listening to the noise around me, letting it fill my head. I read my journal, and it’s as if I have direct control to every aspect of my life. I want something? I know what needs to be done to get it, and I know what I’ll be sacrificing in the process. I want to extend a part of myself to someone or something? Easy. I’ll respond to everything they put out. Someone needs help? I’ll do what I can. I’ve done what I could before, and I’ll do what I can now. I’ll take care of you. This is who I am. This is Vivek Bhookya.

Now, does that mean that the person in the earlier part of this story was not Vivek Bhookya, not me?
Not quite.

That was me. I’m the person I discuss in every part of this writing. I did all the things I did, had all the thoughts I had.

[Did some questionable things, had some questionable thoughts too, but they’re for later.]

The difference, between the two states, was the place where I was putting my energy and time.
At first, when I was still trying to figure out how to do college, I figured that the “right” way was the way that the other kids discussed. That move was dumb as fuck, but I learned a lot, and I’m grateful it happened.
What’s right for one isn’t necessarily right for another.
I get back in touch with my Self, and I realize what I wanted out of my experience, and the way to do college that I thought was “right”, was to use the opportunities here to further my learning while developing myself as a person.

That was about midway through the semester. As for how I feel now,

College has been a series of bad decisions, wonderful distractions, dangerous girls…

…blessings of friends, appreciation, love, support, and guidance.

The food got a little better too.

Vivek

[
Bad decisions and wonderful distractions
Dangerous girls
Blessings of friends
Appreciation, love, support, and guidance
]

Hi, I’m Vivek Bhookya.

I’ll be taking this site.

Reason being, I don’t want to go through the trouble of making an entirely new blog, and “Bonafide Grade Hustlers” sounds dope as hell.

Now, for the time being, I’ll be the primary author, but we’ll see if any of the other members who helped start this site would like to contribute as well.

Expect to see a real post in a week or two. College is tough.

Vivek