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When Things Shape Your Identity

Brandon's Bulletin
Hello everyone 👋
We’re in a really strict lockdown where I am (Ontario, Canada). It’s really sad to see how many cases there are and how overloaded the ICUs are getting — I just hope that everyone realizes the gravity of the situation and acts accordingly. It’s times like this which really reinforce my pursuit of a career dedicated to helping others…
This Week’s Work ⚡️
  • Surviving Exams — Knocked out my organic chemistry exam (eeks, not feeling too good about that one) and my plants & society exam (did pretty well woohoo) over the past three days. 5 more days to go…
Next Week’s Goals 🎯
  • Survive More Exams — An evolutionary bio one, genetics, and psychology exam all on the menu this week. Just gotta push through and then I’m officially done 2nd year…that’s crazy to me wow!
  • Plan Summer 2021 — With lots of uncertainty surrounding what’s gonna happen this summer, I’d like to still put a list of priorities together and some actionable steps to accomplish those goals.
The Dispensability of “Things” 🏆
Ontario is on lockdown. A very strict one too.
Over the course of this year, one lesson that I have been repeatedly taught is to never expect things to go the way you plan them out. Taking COVID-19 as an example, the vaccine rollout personally made me more optimistic that there would be a reduction in cases — both wildtype and variants — to eventually lead to a summer where we could safely gather with our friends and family after almost a year and a half of household metapopulations.
Nope.
Several of my friends were incredibly hopeful to resume their summer 2020 internships this summer: COVID said nope.
Some of my subscribers were hopeful to come to their university campus for the first time during the 2nd semester this year: COVID said nope.
This kinda got me thinking of how dispensable things really are, things such as internships, opportunities, experiences — the majority of what (I feel) students base their “worth” and “identity” on.
At the very least, this pandemic has been a truly humbling experience, making me find out what really matters to me. Is it really that research position that I’ve been gunning for, or that leadership experience in Fiji/Tanzania that I was supposed to go to? Were those the “things” that defined who I am or what people thought of me?
Not gonna lie to you, prior to the pandemic it was. It was all about trying to be the one with the largest funding, best research position, most “stacked resume” which defined my perception of my worth to someone else. It’s a toxic ideology which I fear that too many of us adopt nowadays.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned throughout this pandemic is to really focus on the how’s and the why’s driving the what’s — that’s what should shape our individual identity
It’s a challenging concept, especially when we’re institutionalized into a culture where we highly regard those who obtain the biggest and best internships, experiences, recommendations, connections…things.
Being conscious is the first step. Being self-aware of this mindset for me really allowed me to question what really matters, and what I really should be focusing on. For me, that’s (i) trying to help/inspire/mentor others, (ii) always learning and discovering, and (iii) staying true to my values and faith.
It’s a true struggle, but we’re all working through it. If you’d ever want to chat about this with me, I’d love to sit down with you and talk about this. Just shoot me an email ([email protected]) and we can set something up.
If this helped you today, consider sharing it with someone! Maybe they really need to hear this as well. Thanks a lot for tuning in today :)
Cool Bio this Week 🦠
👷‍♂️ siRNA induced silencing of SOD1 gene mediates ALS symptoms — A one page review on the clinical implications for RNA-interfering technologies towards Amyloid Lateral Sclerosis that I wrote for my genetics class. Feedback is very, very welcome :)
Quote of the Week 💭
“Your core values are the deepest held beliefs that authentically describe your soul” — John C. Maxwell
Video of the Week 🎥
I really appreciate you for being a part of The One Percent today! If you are enjoying this newsletter, I’d love for you to share this with a friend or two by hitting the share button below. I’ll see you back here again in a week’s time!
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Brandon Yu
Brandon Yu @brandonoliveryu

Becoming better in public and sharing weekly learnings throughout my personal pursuit of ikigai.

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