Happy Lunar New Year everyone!
School just started two weeks ago, and I told myself to update the blog more frequently, so here I am using the Chinese New Year holidays to pen down a thought or two.
Last semester was filled with feelings of uncertainty because university felt like an entirely different phase of life: more freedom is bestowed upon us, yet that also implies a real test of one’s self-discipline, time management and adaptability – not to mention personal challenges from moving into a Residential college for the first time. It was a period of exploration and reflection, accompanied by occasional self doubts, breakdowns and burn-outs. They ended up in a mixture of great epiphanies and sustained confusion towards big questions – which was fine, because these questions wouldn’t be worth the dialectic efforts if not for their complexity and meaningfulness.
Nevertheless, I do feel that I am growing more accustomed to my new identity as a college student. There is also higher sense of comfort and confidence as I navigate my way around university life – though it’s a rather different case for my real-life navigation around the campus LOL.
So, looking forward, I hope to continue my path of self growth, and here are some goals I’ve set for this semester:
- Self care: Sleep more regularly, exercise more frequently, and take “productive breaks” if needed.
Refer to this blogpost for why this is a rather important goal to me!
- Stepping out of my comfort zone: engage in more extra-curricular activities
It happened that some opportunities for extracurricular commitments this semester were rather tempting to me because they involved things that I love. Also, after dropping two of the tuition classes I used to teach, it seems like semester 2 is an appropriate time for me to step out of my hermit shell in university and to enjoy a more bustling campus experience, so I am giving those commitment opportunities a shot.
Apart from this two reasons, I’m not going to lie – another practical reason would be to build my portfolio so that I can secure internship opportunities for the following summer vacations – which are really important to my plans for career exploration haha.
To be frank, I didn’t sign up for commitments last semester partly because I used to be quite wary of organising activities and of leadership commitments for their often bureaucratic nature, but I suppose things in university can be quite different from that in secondary school and junior college, and from my observations thus far, so let’s see how it goes!
- Self discipline and tenacity
The big question about our purpose in life has always been bugging me. Since A-levels ended and I had more freedom, I have been pondering a lot about this. In the end, I realised that a lot of things in life require structure and routines – the exact reason why we have social norms, laws and implicit rules in our society, and perhaps also the reason why I slumped into sustained periods of indolence when many of my routines were removed alongside the completion of A-levels. Yet, these structures also seem to restrict our self-expression and self-exploration, moulding us into seemingly homogeneous individuals that conform to societal standards and expectations.
So, what is the right balance?
In my search for the answer, I discovered the importance of self discipline – dedicated and active commitment to our goals is key to this journey of self-exploration. Given that these goals are our compasses in life, not having the discipline to carry out plans would imply a dangerous state of passivity; of drifting along with whatever our circumstances present us with – often with the risks of straying away from the path we originally wished to tread.
So this semester, I hope to be stricter on myself in sticking to the plans and goals that I have set for myself. Though sometimes hard work does not yield satisfactory results, and delaying short-lived gratification (such as spending time on social media) can be difficult, I still hope that I can put in more effort to inch towards where I want to be in the future. Regardless of my endpoint, I hope to enjoy a process that leaves no regrets. Here’s a quote that I really like:
Every exemplary individual experiences a period of silent perseverance – a period of time where one puts in diligent efforts, but receives no returns.
We call this – “anchoring”.
I resonate with this quote a lot, not because I want to be successful or outstanding (though perhaps yes, in my own definition of success) – but because the idea of developing a sense of patience for long term personal growth and a sense of fortitude/resilience against adversities sounds exactly like what I envisage in my desired future self.
So, here’s to a new start, and to making strides towards a better self!