Misery (Maroon 5) Violin Cover

As part of a multi-stage plan to let go, to stop wallowing in misery over the closing of a beautiful chapter, I opted to busy myself with creating another violin cover. 

Four days later, this happened. Below is the video description:

To cope with end-of-year blues, I found it only fitting to cover this aptly-titled yet misleadingly upbeat classic. The result? Fruitless brainstorming meetings, treks around the neighborhood in the summer heat, filming on the side of a busy street, reacquaintance with good old windows movie maker...basically, much more misery, but also many more laughs.

I hope this video is just as fun to watch as it was to make. Special thanks to George Liu for his patient camerawork. Credits go to Jo Phel for the instrumental.

It's summer, I'm halfway done with college, and it's time to move on. Adventure awaits.

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Nothing Gold Can Stay: Fuzzy Cardi + White Lace Dress

spring outfit college style
spring outfit college style
spring outfit college style
Cardigan, F21 | Button-down, thrifted Ralph Lauren | Dress, Kohl's | Boots, Tommy Hilfiger | Necklace, Macy's
Photos by my brother

The sad music was too much to bear.

Amid the hum of bustling travelers, animated conversations, and enunciated flight announcements, all I heard was the melancholy tune playing in the background. I couldn't quite catch the words, but I got the idea--it was something about loss and love.

With my head nestled against my boyfriend's shoulder, quiet tears began slipping down my cheeks. We were sitting together in relative silence, cuddling--one last time.

"Why do they have to play such sad music?" I asked, barely holding myself together. 

He looked down, noticing my tear-stained cheeks for the first time. When my eyes met his, I began sobbing. 

"Lily," he pulled me closer, "Try not to think about it. Think of all the happy moments."

I hugged him tighter, attempting to quell the brewing maelstrom of emotions. I followed his advice. I thought of our sunrise expeditions, our piercing banter, our food dates. I remembered our multi-phase quest to complete the 36 question game. I remembered laughing over funny films and episodes of classic TV shows. I remembered looking into his joyful eyes that were the color of the night sky, and seeing my own reflection. I remembered our late-night conversations about everything. I remembered waking up in his arms, doused in the sun's morning glow. 

My breathing became controlled again. The flow of tears ran dry. We sat reflectively until it was time for him to board.

In the quickly-dwindling line, we embraced. I didn't want to let go, but it was time. With a kiss and one final "I love you," we bid an indefinite goodbye. As he entered the jetway, he turned and waved. I waved back, mouthed goodbye, smiled sadly. And with that, he was gone.

I'd long since dreaded the end of spring semester. Discovering that I'd been accepted to go abroad for my entire junior year was such a bittersweet blessing; on one hand, this was a dream come true, but on the other, this meant leaving my friends become family in the class of 2017--possibly for good, as they would've graduated before my return. My boyfriend was no exception.

According to social psychology, we often overpredict how upset we'll be after future negative events (you can read more about affective forecasting here). I wished that were the case here. For the next few days, I was an emotional wreck, triggered to tears by the most irrelevant happenings (thanks a lot, aggressive lady at a retail store).  

For years, I've dreamed of having a cohesive group of friends. For as long as I can remember, my closest friends never meshed, sometimes actually disliking each other. For years, I've dreamed of being in love. For as long as I can remember, my sentiments went unreciprocated. 

This year, I found just what I had always dreamed of. And I left it--because I dream of more. 

I'm leaving because I dream of attaining a degree of fluency in French that requires immersion unavailable in the US. I'm leaving because I want to discover even greater academic challenges at Oxford. I'm leaving because I've always wondered what else is out there. I'm leaving because comfort stifles growth, and the intimidating welcomes it. 

I will miss my crew. I will miss the deep warmth of being with someone. I will miss the year where Amherst finally felt like home. I will remember it all fondly, holding it close to my heart as I embark on my next adventure. 

These goodbyes may be indefinite, my sophomore year may be over, nothing gold may stay--but the resonance will continue to live if we fuel it. One chapter has closed, and it's time to begin living in the next.

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Life Lately: I Want to be Everything

traveling, wanderlust, US passport

Many college students dream of studying abroad for one semester. 

For me, one semester didn't seem like enough--I wanted two.

Over a month ago, I announced that I would be spending some of the 2016-2017 academic year abroad in Bordeaux, France. I omitted a crucial detail: namely, that I wasn't sure when I'd be in France because I was waiting patiently (okay, in agony) for another study abroad decision. Due to math major requirements, this decision would likely determine whether or not I'd be away for a full year.

Last week, the suspense was broken. I was accepted to study abroad in Spring 2017 at Hertford College, Oxford University. Provided that all the logistics pan out, I will be spending 10 months living and learning in Europe. 

I have everything I wanted. But I want more.

I can't help but feel wistful as my close-knit friend group prepares for their year ahead on-campus. I can't help but feel wistful as we banter over dinner, cause a ruckus in the common room, comfort each other in times of academic distress. 

It's hard to believe that a year ago, I didn't even know these people. It's hard to believe that within several months, they could be strangers again. Even worse, when I return for my senior year, the majority of the group will have graduated. 

I want to be with them, and I want to be abroad. But I can't.

We will have to bid farewell prematurely, and that will have to be okay. I remember feeling just as wistful as a high school junior when my senior friends graduated. But this time is different. This time, I refuse to be swept away by change--I will initiate it. An invaluable opportunity awaits--and who am I to reject the enticing, albeit somewhat frightening, call of adventure?

The most resonant connections will find a way to live on. In the meantime, I will strive to maximize the month remaining with my family away from home.

I want to be everything--I want to be a supportive friend, a faithful daughter, an accomplished student, a strong runner, a helpful math TA, an effective orchestra section leader, an active blogger. But sometimes, something has to give. I'll be here and there between now and the end of spring semester, well-occupied with the frenzy of work and end-of-semester errands. 

I am going to try to be everything, all while acknowleding that I'm human. After all, this is the essence of me, Lily, a very imperfect idealist. 

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Nostalgia: Floral Leggings + Cozy Cardi

Cambridge, MA
college style, spring outfit, floral leggings
college style, spring outfit, floral leggings, jump shot
college style, spring outfit, floral leggings
college style, spring outfit, floral leggings
college style, spring outfit, floral leggings
Sweater, Yoins | Button-down, thrifted Ralph Lauren | Leggings, Burlington Coat Factory | Keds, eBay| Necklace, Love Nail Tree

For old times' sake, I squeezed a short swiming workout at the MIT gym into our packed two-day Boston trip schedule. 

My favorite city hadn't changed much in the nine months I'd been away. It felt funny to train again in the same gym where I'd completed important summer triathlon workouts. It felt funny to eat food again at the vegan cafes I hadn't stopped raving about. It felt funny to stroll along the same bustling sidewalks. It felt funny because so much had happened, but here I was again. 

I'll remember last summer fondly, for the weekend expeditions to Boston, for my resonant job as a indoor cycling instructor and RA at Explo. I'll remember it fondly especially in the months to come, because a while back, I decided not to return. I burned my ships, just as explorer Cortés did when he reached the Americas. With no means to return home, the necessity of success was all the more pressing. 

Like Cortés, I wanted to see what else was out there. I wanted to know if there was an opportunity that fit my interests even better, that could push me to grow even more. Despite completing countless internship applications since January, it's almost April and I still have no concrete plans for the summer. I have no time for regret, and no desire to wallow in pity. My ships are but wisps of smoke and ashes, and I have no choice but to press on. 

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