Monday, January 28, 2008

Summer After Junior Year

recounting my experiences during the summer after junior year...during my senior year


i had just gotten off the phone with the morgan stanley dude. FUCK, i thought, i fucked that one up. it's over now, it's over.

for several days after finals, instead of going home, going to london with the rest of my family, instead of going to myrtle, i had stayed in my kilgo dormitory, watching people leave. even most of the seniors had left for a little bit to get away from duke for a bit before graduation.

i remember tearing in front of the computer because i didn't know what to do with my life. my parents were constantly on my case on getting an internship for the summer, it was supposed to be big, as all my sister's friends were claiming. they kept saying, i told you so, in their constant pleas that begged me to stay premed. they had failed with janet, she was gone off to do some fashion shit, that crazy girl. who's going to make this $160,000 education worth something? not janet, that's for sure. a family can only have one burden on its resources. it's your responsibility doug. bring home the cash.

shit just wasn't going right, this wasn't how college was supposed to turn out was it? where was my super duper band that was supposed to be rocking? where were the fun college nights that i was supposed to remember? not only had i failed at having fun and doing what i thought was fulfilling, i failed at getting what i was supposed to do at duke, secure a job, a safe lifestyle. i had been clutch all year, getting stellar grades, that didn't seem to matter now to my parents, since i couldn't come up with the deal clincher, the job. even the tech can only deal with so much pressure.

i had trained with jason, trying to learn the ins and outs of java before my interview with morgan stanley. a last ditch effort to get some sort of respectable internship, i had gotten a miracle interview with a guy who thought i could program in one of their departments. but it didn't make a difference. i was destroyed in the interview. they asked me what the properties of an independent vector was in linear algebra. they asked me all sorts of algorithms i had no clue how to solve in C. in fact, the only question i thought i got right was that i knew the difference between a class and a struct. this was it. it was over. my summer was officially done.

the room was pretty empty except for some shit steve had left for me to store, that lazy bastard. sigh, i wish i smoked, i thought, as this would be one of those kick back and smoke moments like you see in the movies. i thought of how my summer was going to pan out...what was going to happen? would i stay at home all day listening to the mind numbing complaints of my mother everyday as i woke up at 2pm? would it all work out in the end?

all i knew was that the summer had one start, in chicago, illinois, at the scouts.


after throwing in my two bags and guitar in the trunk of the taxi, i finally started to relax. relax, doug, 4 months of summer to think about. i vowed that this summer, i was going to enjoy it.

"take me to mcclurg court."

it was getting darker in chicago, and there was a long road to the scout's. geetha, the scout's sister also in med school, had asked me how i was getting to their place, to which i half jokingly, half seriously replied, "are you kidding, i'm taking a taxi, obv." coming off a vegas trip where me and the scout were living like kings, it was easy to view subways as a thing of the past. little did i realize, it was almost 45 minutes to the scout, which resulted in a 50+ taxi fare. but it was easily worth it; i'm still not about to lug three pieces of luggage onto the damn L.

i met with the scout at the base of his new residence, an apartment near the northwestern medical school. after a requisite unhomosexual man hug, the type where you give each other a high five and slam towards each other with extra emphasis, we went up to his apartment. he informed me on the way, that we would be going to a club with some of his undergraduate friends (they were still there for senior year, since he only had 3 years of undergrad in the 7 year med program) and that i needed to get wasted. no problem, i needed to get some stress off my chest.

after meeting up with his friends at the club, things were pretty cool. one of his friend, known as the khan, was buying up drinks for the group left and right, and i couldn't refuse, buying him a round as well. drink after drink, i couldn't remember how much i had, except that i drank a whole bottle of beer from drinking so much (significant, because i hate the taste of beer) and something that tasted absolutely strong and disgusting according to scout later on. i had one mission, and that was to get drunk enough to pay back the scout (other story of how he got completely destroyed at duke) and to forget about getting stressed the fuck out.

before i knew it, i was on the dance floor, in the middle of a circle, going absolutely wild. i bet i looked terrifically drunk, which i was, and was definitely over extending my body physically. finally, in a moment of genius, i go crazy enough to start banging my head against the wall, on which a security dude promptly ejected me. scout followed me out, to which i could only sit on the curb, and stare at the floor.

in my drunken stupor, i recanted my life of the past 8 years to the scout, saying all sorts of random shit that didn't really matter anymore, grudges i've held onto, regrets i've accumulated, and girls that rejected me. all this made me realize that my life had been a waste, and that nothing fulfilling was coming out of it. of course i had been fortunate, i was wealthy, going to a good school, etc. but despite all that i felt cheated. part of it was being a selfish little bitch, and part of it was a nagging feeling that somehow, the script was wrong, something else was supposed to happen, and that i was WAITING for it. waiting for something to hit me in the face, for me to discover an opportunity to just follow something.

finally, the scout convinced me to get some food and go back to his place. as he started to play some high stakes poker online he ignored the fact that i was on his floor just flailing my arms as i watched the light rotate in my dizzyness. just thinking about the night, i finally drifted off into darkness....

summer 2005.

i was on my ass, playing some poker online, playing some qualifiers here and there ever since bobby won his seat to play in the world series. my mom, upon seeing me with no job, no future, no life, and playing poker all day was infuriated.

she sat me down for a talk. she told me, she wanted me to be a doctor, that my career path in economics was going nowhere fast. and i couldn't blame her. i didn't have an internship, i didn't have a clue what i was going to do when interviews came up first semester senior year and i had nothing to show for it. she wanted me to be a doctor. the economy could shut you down at any point, but a medical license, that guarantees you safety. security.

i just couldn't picture myself doing that though. taking the route so many others like me had done before. my friend bobby was not finding med school too hot. i just didn't want to think about the future.

she told me about how hard her life was in this country, and how long it took for my dad to find a job in the states, applying to hundreds of places before he finally caught a break. she was annoyed that i wasn't looking constantly for jobs. but i was. i was emailing like 10 places a day, trying to get anyone to hire me, talking to whoever i could. but no one wanted this dorky asian kid with somewhat better than average grades. it seemed like i was applying to college all over again, except this time, i didn't even have stellar statistics or an ace up my sleeve.

that summer however, turned out to be the best summer of my life at that point. a point where i was relaxing and reflecting on how my life was shaped in the past 21 years. it was a time where i was going to decide what to do. las vegas was a great time, exciting watch scout play in the world series, and chilling around new york, eating out, watching entourage, playing video games, it was sublime. last year was a time i enjoyed the company of my friends, somewhat worried about the future, but somehow reassured that whatever happened in the end, it didn't matter.

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