This first semester was hard. Being a wife and navigating the various identities as a pharmacy student, wife, and family provider is difficult. Let alone in a pandemic. It is such a delicate balance to try to juggle.

Pharmacy School.

The death of an immediate family member resulted in so much internal despair in my mental wellness and relationship. Something was going to give and take. I felt it in my marriage, work productivity, and schoolwork. As a Hmong woman, there is such an immense amount of pressure to give all of yourself to your family. It can easily warp you, take over your studies, and alter your capacity to focus on your own dreams, goals, and aspiration. There is a sacrificial undertone embedded in Hmong females beginning in childhood: your family over everything and anything else. Everyone else’ needs before your own.

There were a few times this semester, I just had to say no, but for the most part – I am exhausted. I am tired. I am burnt out. I need an emotional break. I need a vacation, which is essentially impossible right now. A bug infestation destroyed thousands of dollars of bedroom furniture, which has left me on an air mattress on the living room floor since October. The retightening of the COVID restrictions on Southern California further exacerbates the mental fragility so many of us are teetering on. California is burning, my soul is burning, my wellness is burning. I can’t shop, work out in a gym, there are curfew imposements, dining out is barred. I am left with a keyboard, this blog, and a mask. What is the toll, this pandemic will have, on our mental wellbeing for years to come?


It is so hard to be a wife, peer, colleague, leader, advocate, and doctorate student. I once asked a former MD classmate how she juggled it all, and she responded, “You can’t be great at everything you do. You’re going to have to be okay with just being good at some things. You’re going to have to be okay with doing just enough.” I reflected on these words often this semester. What were areas I could settle in being “enough”? I chose to be enough in: cleaning, tidiness, household chores, and cooking.

It is my hope that I never have to experience grieving, a bug infestation, and a pandemic all at the same time again. This semester was the perfect storm. I felt like I was going 100 mph in a hybrid 2007 honda civic, straight into a brick wall.

I could not quite find the words the past month(s) because I fell so far behind in school, and I was incredibly overwhelmed with catching up. But I am fighting on, taking care of myself, and remaining resilient. It is in our moments of darkness that true character shows.

A whole lot of love,

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All photos, writings, poems, and opinions are my own.

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