Within the span of eight days… so much has happened. I don’t even know where to begin or how to feel or how to process everything. A small part of me doesn’t know that all of this isn’t like one ridiculously long dream. Something feels … surreal about these past eight days that it very well could be a dream for all I know.
Thursday I finished college, finally. After three long years I AM DONE DONE DONE. College was such an arduous process… an intermediary step before I could begin my life. But college spurred on so much mental and emotional maturity for me that I’m so grateful for all the experiences. Graduating was probably one of the most stressful things… ever. imaginable. In between studying, taking finals, crossing my fingers for good grades…everything went wrong.
I changed one of my English courses to P/NP as opposed to letter-grade. What I had forgotten was that that English class was the last of my requirements for my English minor. In a minor, you cannot receive P/NP and still have the course count. So Thursday (my LAST day) I *realize* this… and PANIC all the way to the English department. As the course did not count, I had to find a course I took that qualified for a VERY SPECIFIC requirement (literature spanning from 1700 to 1900). Luckily I took a Comp Lit class (meaning out of the English dept) that probably just barely qualified for that requirement. I didn’t find out until Monday morning that everything with my English minor checked out. Luckily, my Asian American studies minor was totally fine and that went through smoothly.
But then… I call the Office of the Registrar because I received an email that I did not qualify for graduation. Again, this is on Thursday. By Thursday, I had already subleased my place, packed everything, etc. I call the office at about 3:30… and the Philosophy dept. representative says I’m missing a course… I had taken my last Philosophy class three quarters ago… My head was seriously just spinning. I felt stressed beyond belief. There was no way I had miscalculated. I had taken SO many Philosophy courses there was just no way I didn’t qualify. So in a panic, I go visit the actual Philosophy department. I got there at about 3:45. There are no appts after 3:30. By that point I couldn’t even breathe. I tried to stay calm while the secretary in the office tells me that I can make an appt for the next day. 9am. Bam, I make the appointment. But Friday is the LAST day of school… If I wasn’t going to be able to figure it out by then… I would have been kinda screwed.
And all of Thursday I was running on 2 hours of sleep from all the stress, anxiety, and just EVERYTHING.
After that I went home and kinda … didn’t know what to do with myself. I think I paced around my house for a few hours. I couldn’t even get myself to finish packing. I was on EDGE.
9am, Friday. I talked to the Philosophy dept counselor to try to petition one of my many Philosophy courses to qualify for a requirement in which I supposedly was missing a course. It went smoothly. From there I knew everything was just sort of out of my hands. There was very little else I could do. So I went to run errands I needed to finish before leaving Santa Barbara. Then I received an email from the Philosophy department stating that I don’t need to petition because all my requirements have been met. By that point I didn’t even know what to believe or what was going on. So I called the Office of the Registrar again and the Philosophy rep. tells me she made a MISTAKE. My graduating was at stake and there was a mistake??
Saturday: baby shower
Sunday: little cousin’s birthday party
Monday. I was not able to fit everything into my car when I left SB on Friday. So Mom and I drove up to SB in separate cars to get the rest of my stuff. It takes a few hours for me to finish packing, etc. By 7:30-ish we get on the road to drive back to LA… but I got on the freeway first and failed to realize that my mom was not behind me (she had pulled over because one of her doors was open). I was driving in the fast lane on the freeway and I had been driving for about 15 minutes… when my rear right tire blows out. I heard it give out, but before I could brake, before I could pull over, my car was dramatically swerving to the right. My first thought was emergency light so any cars behind me or to the side of me can figure out something’s wrong. It was night time, I couldn’t even *remember* where my emergency light was. My hands never left the steering wheel. I tried to maneuver my car back into my lane to try to pull over. That was my goal. I never really had TIME to panic, to feel fear, or anything. I didn’t even know if there were ANY cars behind me or to the side of me. In an instant, as I tried to regain control of my car, my car spun around, facing oncoming traffic. But my car hit the center divider and my car completely flipped over. The thought never crossed my mind that I was going to die, or that I might get severely injured. It all happened so quickly.
I was stuck in my car. By the time the car stopped crashing my car was still on. And the music was still playing… which was really awkward. I was carrying so many bulky items in my car that I feel so lucky that none of them hit me, which could have been bad/knocked me out/etc. I turned off the music (lol) but I was thinking to myself: “where the hell is my phone?? I need to call my mom.” My phone was in a random bag, thrown in as an afterthought, before I had started driving. Just as I turned off the music, my car shut off. I don’t think I would have remembered to turn off the ignition if my car was still running (which can cause an explosion if gas leaks). I think I was in my car for no more than a minute. Everything literally happened so so so quickly.
The first thing I heard was: “Can you hear me?” I yelled out yes. I couldn’t see where the person was. They asked a few more times. I said yes again. Then I said, “I can’t open the door.” I looked out my window and there were so many people standing out there willing to help me. At that moment I could not remember how the hell to open the door. Since the ignition shut off I thought, “I can’t flip the switch that unlocks it” because I have never used the manual unlock. But someone pointed to it and asked if I could get to the manual button. I felt around for a while and found it, and got the door open. I took off my seatbelt. And then two people helped pull me out. They asked me if anyone else was in the car, if I felt okay. A young blonde woman held my hands as soon as I was out of the car. My whole body was shaking, but I am not sure I would have realized it if she hadn’t held me. She asked if she could pray for me… I said yes. I think it meant more to her than it did to me to pray, but I always appreciate it when someone wants to thank God or has good thoughts in mind. About five cars had pulled over to help me, even a car from the other side of the freeway, going north-bound. I was so incredibly grateful for everyone’s help.
The police, ambulance, and fire fighters arrived so quickly, it was amazing. I got out of my car without a scratch, without a bruise, not even any pain from the seatbelt. And I’m so lucky my airbag did NOT deploy because that probably would have been the most damaging. A few minutes later, my mom’s car pulls over and she comes out of the car bawling, in hysterics. I think she expected me to be crying and to be completely honest I wanted to but I held back. I couldn’t really process everything… it all was just so… sudden. Literally before I knew it I went from driving and singing along to music to being stuck in my car upside down.
One woman consoled my mom, who could not stop crying. I sat near the center divider and just waited for the police to be ready to take the statement and whatnot. My first question to them was if I had hit anyone else, if everyone else that had stopped was okay. And then I felt bad for causing horrible traffic. It sorta became a blur. The police took my statement. And then they got me off the freeway in one of their cars to rejoin my mom (they had asked her to exit the freeway and wait for me). The cop car had to crash my car even further to get it a bit more out of the way for the rest of traffic.
Everyone was so nice, and all I can say is I am so thankful and so grateful. I lived that car accident without a single scratch. People die in car accidents for much less than what I went through. The outside of my car was completely totaled but the inside was completely fine.
My mom of course called the family. Since there was no space in my mom’s car for me to ride along my uncle drove over to SB to pick me up. It was so… UNREAL. I remained calm the entire time and my mom (hours later) started saying I was like Dexter or something, as a joke. I didn’t really demonstrate much emotion. I mean… it was so overwhelming I couldn’t even react. Everyone just sort of took it for calm. My whole family was crying and they were all on edge.We got back to LA sometime after 11.
The jokes my brother and I made were light-hearted or whatever… but that’s just to make explaining the situation a little less tense and overwhelming. I haven’t really talked much about it and don’t really feel I need to. I don’t know how/why I survived and escaped without a single scratch. I don’t think I want to question it. I mean there are jokes I can make, but ehhhh… it’s just a bit much.
Tuesday. Went to the towing company to go get my stuff from inside my car, including my phone. Literally everything was in my car.
Wednesday. Job interview. I was so nervous. The whole process took about an hour, and at the end of the hour I got the job. Holy crapppp, I have a job starting January 3rd/4th!!!! I find it a little hard to show much emotion but I’m sincerely excited. I don’t know how to react to very much after Monday. I still feel sort of … like all of this just isn’t real.
Thursday. Flight to New York. My vacation finally begins!!!
After Monday I honestly feel like a fragment of me died. Like there’s a small part of me missing. Or it’s as though one of me died. And I’ve entered some alternate universe and in this universe I didn’t die, but I did in another. I know how ridiculous all that sounds. Life goes on, and I demonstrated that by still going to my job interview and landing the position. And now I’m flying to New York. There just hasn’t been a moment to BREATHE and BE, silently. Everything is so non-stop and … overwhelming. From graduating, moving, almost dying, starting a career path just days after graduation, to flying to the other side of the country.
I don’t even know. I feel like crying might absolve the brewing tension within me. Crying would solidify and make real everything that has happened these last few days. But for now, I’m floating in this surreal reality. My brain just feels so overworked and overstressed and like I’ve been on constant alert. I think my brain is going to have to take some TIME to process what all of everything means.
I know I’m on the brink of so many new things… but yet I came so so so close to the end of my life. And the one question I keep wondering about is… what would have happened if I had died? It’s sort of like knowing there’s an alternate ending to a movie, but there’s absolutely no way you can see it. I don’t even know…!
Okay okay okay. Vacation time.