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Wow, I’ve finished my first year in graduate school. You’d think that I’d know more about brain science, but I really don’t. After all those hours spent in class and freaking out about tests and reading countless papers, I still feel so damn clueless about everything. Is it possible to feel like you’ve learned so much, and yet know so little? Yes.

I’ve spent so much time worrying whether I’d survive my first year that I haven’t had time to really breathe. But now that I’ve passed my pre-qualification exam, which basically demolished whatever illusions I had of my intellect, I’ve suddenly found myself with free time. No classes, no tests, and all this time to sit and think about my future for the next five years. So naturally, I freak out. The other day found me sitting alone in the break room trying to clear my head, catch my breathe. Because I am terrified. I’m also excited, yes. But a part of me is also beginning to see all the uncertainties in my life, my career, my faith, and my relationships. Despite how much I enjoy my work, feel secure in my faith, or cherish my relationships, there’s always a part of me that questions if I chose right. Am I doing what I should be doing? Am I where I’m supposed to be? Am I becoming who I am meant to be?

I’m turning 25 this month. When I was in high school, I didn’t think that I would have these questions when I’d be 25. I thought I would know exactly what I want and know exactly how to get there. But then again, I also thought I’d be tall, sexy, and intelligent. Haha, I guess I should be more disappointed.

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I haven’t seriously spent time in the kitchen for awhile now. Making this tart reminded me how much I miss it. Even when the flour flies all over the place, leaving streaks of white on my clothes. Even when I am left with a mountain of bowls to wash in the sink. Even when the dish doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would. I still love when everything comes together in the end. It’s those days where I bake for no reason in particular, other than because I simply want to, that I do my best and enjoy the most.

Maybe, I need to remember how to do science for no reason in particular, other than because I want to.

Berry Goat Cheese Tart from Pastry Affair

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I love waking up late on a Saturday morning and spending time in the kitchen.  Last week, we bought some rhubarb because neither of us had ever heard of it before.  Originally, I had wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, but muffins would only take 15 minutes to whip up and make a perfect breakfast companion.  The other half of the batch were used to make drinks.  My favorite–mojitos.  The fresh taste of mint and the clinking of ice cubes is perfect for backyard lounging.

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This is my favorite picture of the morning.

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We mixed our drinks into milk jugs and poured them into glass jars.  Drink mixing is a sloppy business.

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I love the cheerfully red strawberry and rhubarb sauce; the left  The muffins were a little iffy to begin with since I had to use strawberry flavored yogurt instead of plain; but they didn’t turn out too sweet at all.  Maybe a little on the soft side because I added a little more rhubarb than the original recipe called for (they secrete liquid).  Definitely best eaten on the same day.