2020 started off great. I was looking forward to having an amazing year at USC and was excited about my classes. However, just around the time when spring break was starting, a global pandemic hit. I was excited about going on a trip with my friends, but instead of going to Mexico I packed my bags to go home. Little did I know, that was the end of my time at USC. Now much time has passed by, I have come to learn some things about myself.
Initially when I went home, I still had hope that I would be able to finish the rest of my sophomore year on campus. I thought that I was just enjoying an extended vacation back home, spending time with my family. However, as summer drew closer, every day grew to become the same. Time seemed to drag on and I could see no end to quarantine. In May, I decided to make a list of things I have always wanted to do, but never got the chance to do. Here are some of the activities that I embarked on in an attempt to try things that I never had the opportunity to before:
Since I had so much time on my hands at the start of quarantine, I knew that this was the time to get into the best shape of my life. I have always put off working out, using my busy schedule as a convenient excuse not to do it. I figured that making an effort to work out during quarantine would be a good way to improve my daily schedule. Studies have shown that working out increases dopamine release, which in turn can help increase our feelings of optimism. I started off with a few times a week and kept to a routine, focusing on how I felt after to help motivate me to keep going.
Finding a new hobby
At the start of quarantine, I didn’t have much to do and I felt constantly bored. I decided to go on Amazon and bought a paint by numbers. With some practice, I was able to create my own masterpiece, even with my limited artistic talent. I enjoyed spending hours on end painting and felt a sense of accomplishment afterwards. I now proudly own art that I created myself, and it is hanging on my wall.
When I need a good laugh or a moment to escape the hardships of reality, I always rely on sitcoms to cheer me up. A sitcom is a comedic TV show that typically focuses on the funny day-to-day interactions of a group of characters. With most episodes being around 20 minutes in length, it’s very easy to mindlessly continue watching your favorite characters and enter their universe. Sitcoms are usually packed with ensemble casts with diverse personalities that create relatable content. With good chemistry, a sitcom show can gain popularity for their loveable characters or for just being straight-out funny. For a non-native speaker, watching sitcoms is also a great way to improve your English as they typically contain jokes with references to American culture or customs. Over the years, I’ve seen a countless number of sitcoms and wanted to share two of my favorites with you all!
The premise of New Girl begins when Jessica Day, played by Zooey Deschanel, goes through a bad breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Spencer. In the pilot episode, she moves out of her shared home with Spencer and moves in with new roommates Nick, Schmidt, and Coach. Thus, she is the “new girl” in the apartment. Jess, is a quirky, offbeat teacher who is seen as a dork by most. The show mainly follows her life adventure of relationships and work. Nick Miller is one of Jess’ roommates who dropped out of law school so he could work as a bartender but he has aspirations to be a writer. He’s apathetic, socially awkward at times, very sarcastic, and struggles to share his emotions. I consider him to be the rock of the group because he provides stability for the craziness around him. Schmidt is another roommate who lived with Nick in college. He’s a funny character and in my opinion has amazing character development throughout the show. The third roommate is Ernie but he is better known by his nickname: Coach. He leaves after the pilot for undisclosed reasons but makes recurring appearances throughout the show. Due to this, his character lacks a bit of depth but he’s generally a force of good in the show. Following the pilot, Coach is replaced by Winston Bishop who is Nick’s childhood friend from Chicago. His facial expressions and love for his cat are some of the most entertaining moments on the show. In my opinion, the on-screen chemistry between Nick, Schmidt, and Winston is one of the key factors to the funniness of the show. The last member of the core gang is Cece: Jess’ best friend from childhood. Her character seems a bit stuck-up in the beginning but as the show progresses, she becomes more and more loveable. All in all, this hilarious, feel-good show features a cast of characters that’ll show you what real friends look like.
How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother is one of my favorite shows ever and actually the first sitcom I finished from beginning to end. It is packed with comedic content but is a deeper show than most initially anticipate. The show follows Ted Mosby as he tells his children the story of how he met their mother. Ted Mosby is an architect who believes that he will eventually find “the one”. He is a romantic and constantly entangled in all sorts of drama in his love life. His best friend is Marshall, who he roomed with in college. Ted and Marshall’s friendship is something that I really admire in the show because they are always there for each other. Marshall’s wife, Lily, is a kindergarten teacher who can be the most loveable in the gang but also the most aggravating at times. The last character in the group is Barney Stinson, who is a wealthy serial playboy. He is another one of Ted’s best friends and has numerous catchphrases. Initially, he’s the most “immature” out of the gang but he transforms into a character that is loving and caring. He is my personal favorite out of all of them. This is a another great show to watch if you like shows focusing on groups of friends. It is packed with a lot of relatable content: first cars, relationship problems, financial hardships, childhood traumas, embarrassing situations, etc. All of these components make me feel more connected to the show.
I recently moved to California this past August, and one question I have been asked consistently since arriving here is “What is your zodiac sign?”. I had heard of astrology before, but I had never gotten much into it or discussed it with other people until moving here. Although many people believe in astrology, it is widely criticized as a pseudoscience as there is no scientific evidence suggesting there is a strong correlation between the day and time you were born and your overall personality. After all, what makes you unique if your personality is determined at birth? Does that mean that the baby who was born in the hospital room next to yours is just like you?
While astrology is a very popular topic to discuss in one’s personal life, in the workplace, people sometimes use personality tests to discuss different personality types. One of the most common ones that you will probably take at some point, if not already, is called the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI). It is a personality assessment that was developed in the 1940s by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs. The test was based on the theories of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who was a follower of a very famous psychoanalyst you’ve probably heard of named Sigmund Freud. The MBTI test published online is a list of about 90 questions, and once you are done answering them, you will be categorized into one of 16 different personality types. There are 4 main traits, and the different combinations of them are what make up your MBTI. Your answers to the questions determine whether you are an introvert (I) or an extrovert (E), intuitive (N) or sensing (S), feeling (F) or thinking (T), and judging (J) or perceiving (P). If you are an introvert, you are more likely to enjoy spending time alone than your extroverted counterparts. If you have the intuitive trait, you are said to rely on your instincts and ability to draw connections from seemingly unrelated topics, whereas people with the sensing trait are more practical and rely on the data in front of them. The third trait measured is based on how you make decisions- if you rely more on impersonal, logic-based criteria, you are thought to have the thinking trait, but if you tend to take into consideration how others will feel, you are thought to have the feeling trait. The last criteria measures whether you want a more neat and orderly life (judging), or whether you are more flexible and spontaneous, and don’t mind some disorder (perceiving).
This test is used in a lot of professional settings because companies use this information to build better teams that communicate and work more effectively. But it is not a definitive science either—neither Isabel Briggs Myers nor her mother Katherine had formal training in psychology, and they based the test off of the research of Carl Jung. Psychoanalysis has been thoroughly disproven in recent years because there is no concrete evidence of its main theories, such as that your unconscious mind and things you experienced in early childhood create irrational fears you have today and determine the actions that you make.