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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Stepping Into Adulthood : The Realization

As a child, I always fantasized about graduating and growing up to be an adult. I was full of hope that I'd be doing so many great things in the real world. Adulthood meant being in control of your life, no? 

Fast forward to 2016. About three weeks ago, I graduated. I had also started working for an MNC by the time I received my scroll. I finally drove out of my housing area with no supervision for the first time in 5 years that I have gotten my driving license. While all these exciting events unfolded, reality hit me. I was an adult. This is it. The real world, its demands and challenges. To be honest, as dramatic as this may sound, I am pretty nervous about growing up. There are way too many articles online that puts out many contradicting opinions. At one point, I started realising a few things about transitioning into 'The Big Real World'. Here's my list of realizations :

1. You are a newbie. It is okay to stumble.  
On my first day at work, I was careful to not sound stupid or incompetent. I was focused on every piece of information I came across because I felt insecure being an amateur all over again. As weeks passed, I gave myself a break. I learned that it was okay to be wide-eyed when something new happened. I now ask more questions than I would have in the past. Now, let me tell you, this is a major step, especially when you have spent 23 years of your life maintaining a 'know-it-all' personality. Telling myself that it's okay to stumble feels like two large sandbags have been lifted off my head. 

2. You start worrying about money.
I am 23, and unfortunately, I have a student loan debt that has already started terrorizing my inbox. PTPTN, ladies and gentleman, is every non-scholar's gate to heartbreak on payday. Different people might suggest different things. Putting off the payment is not at all an option. I decided to sign up the 'Direct Debit' from my salary, because honestly, I could use that 10% discount. You start weighing between what you want, and what you can afford. A couple of years ago, I would've confidently declared that I'd pay RM250 a month to adopt a tiger cub under WWF once I started earning. The reality is that I just spent an hour earlier today deciding if I really wanted to commit to a RM100+ telco plan monthly. 

3. You are not in a 'Who Lives Better' contest.
This is especially a hard reality slap. You can't help but notice when a peer buys a luxurious car, or when another posts endless pictures of their lavish vacations. It may take you an extra year to buy that plane ticket, it is okay. Your starting salary could be lower than your peers, it is okay. What matters is that you don't let these things stress you out. Live your life on your own terms, at your pace. It's good to set a personal target that really matters to you, and work towards it. There's no pressure to imitate others. 

4. There isn't any specific guideline to survive adulthood.
Our lives differ in many ways. As many articles you read online, as many people you ask, each one will give you different tips. What you can really do is get these information, process and digest what is relevant to you. There is no textbook that would help you score an A+. There's destiny, planet alignments, resources, chances, people you meet. It's way too complicated to derive into a fixed formula. You're probably rolling your eyes, you already knew this, didn't you? 

Few things that you could really do is to be in control of how you respond to life's events, and to create good opportunities for yourself. You got this, girl/boy. 

5. It's the perfect time to find yourself.
If you gave me a technical topic that I am unfamiliar with, chances are that I could write you a 1000 words essay within 3-4 hours. Contrarily, give me an entire day, and I'd produce the lousiest, most cliche'd 'About Me' essay. I have not changed the bio-description of this blog since 2008, when I first wrote it at the age of 15. 

Recently, I pledged to myself that before I turn 25, I would be able to write a description of me, without having to work my neurons way too much. In short, I think I need to really get to know myself and my stands on different things. 

When I started writing this piece, I erased and kept looking for the right first line. I am amazed that I got this far, really. So, what matters is that you accept this transition. You can't run away from the emails, paperwork, loans, and in short, responsibilities. There is no right and wrong paths, there's only your way of life. In this entire write-up, whenever there was a 'you', it's really me telling myself all these things.

P/s: I am glad that a dear friend triggered me to start writing again. I would have continued the hiatus otherwise. Thank you. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

9 + 1 Things To Do Before Leaving UTP

Long long long ago (well, not when T-Rex was the King of the Jungle, I must say) , I read a quote somewhere that said 'The biggest of regrets are mostly the things that we did not do in life'. This may not be the case for all of us, but some of us would rewind back in time, thinking about our school days and the things we could have done. 

So, I have a list of things that I think one should experience or do as a UTP-ian, some very cliche ones, some, my personal wants. Here it goes :

1. Take a Picture at the Entrance   
This one screams 'Mainstream', but really, 10-20 years down the road, we'd all look back at that one picture, and smile. And to all the cool kids who don't do mainstream, you can always be creative with your pictures. :P 

[Photo Credit: Thanendran]

2. Go Kayak-ing at UTP Lake + Use Sports Facilities 
How many campuses have lakes, like seriously? We have one that even has kayaks. This one is still on a rain-check for me. Some of us probably have never been to the courts, or pool. It's a shame that we all pay the facilities fee and some of us *clears throat* have never been to the pool since 2011. I pledge to at least make use of the jogging tracks this semester. 

3. Go to the Library and Spend Some Time There
Our IRC is probably the most magnificent library building in all of Malaysia (scratch that, in .., I don't know SEA?) I bet my fat arms that every one of us was enthused looking at the library during our EduCamp days. Fret not if you don't want to study there, you can always do other things like ; chilling on the beanbags, read online newspapers, look at the UTP model building, admire the F1 cars in display, read online newspapers, buy snacks from the new vending machine OR you could just snap pictures. Just go!

4. Go Cafe-Hopping
By the time we become final semester students, most of us might not frequent the cafes for food anymore. We prefer eating out, or when we choose to eat in UTP, we have that particular cafe that we go to, order a particular menu. I think this could just be a fun thing to do with friends who we keep promising to catch up with. Don't miss the ones in Pocket C,D and near HTEC. We might actually discover a favourite while on the hopping spree. 

5. Go for a Night Walk
For this, it is best if you go with a friend or two at least. Walking around UTP alone at night isn't the safest thing to do. Be ready to get mosquito bites. Campus does look beautiful at night with lights. You can have good conversations going while you walk. Mind over matter approach for those who lack stamina like myself. :P

6. Attend or Be a Part of Chancellor Hall events
Convocation, final exams, exam slip collection and voting does not count in this context. Attend events like Euphonious, ICN, UCRN, Ensemble of Gamelan. In final semester, it's probably too late to join an event as committee. But you can attend, at least. The crowd cheers and noise is definitely worth the experience.

7. Leave a Surprise in Your Last Room
By the end of the semester, we'd all be excitedly packing to leave UTP for good. We'll all be relieved. Leave a little note of encouragement (with a chocolate, maybe?) in your room for the new tenants. It'll put a smile on their faces. Just a small gesture would do no harm, right?  

8. Watch Sunset by the Lake
Of all scenic views of UTP, this one definitely is high on my rating. One of the few times I went for a jog around the lake, I've seen very beautiful sunsets. I have this weird liking towards clouds. UTP's floating mosque is also one of the significant architecture in UTP. In the evenings, it looks especially picturesque. 

 [Photo Credit: Thanendran]

9. Make Peace with People

While you're in your final semester, try to make peace with people (both with people whom you have wronged and people who have wronged you). You don't have to forcefully make friends with anyone, but just let the negatives go. At least when you're both attending a wedding of a mutual friend in future, you don't have to find a far away table to sit at. We've survived 5 years stuck in a jungle, I think there's no point of forgoing friendship just because you were not invited for a photoshoot. Keep calm, yo. 

10. Shout by the Lake
So, this is the plus one that I have always been wanting to do. There's a back story to this, as you can see below. I finally did shout by the lake last April. Arvin, Thinesh, Sarvish and I, we even took a video of us. The video however is nowhere to be found. 

How many of the items have you done? Do tell me more about other things on your list. :D

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Until We Meet Again - May'11

This Thursday, when I go back to campus, things will be different. Majority of the May'11 batch have unofficially graduated. With the busyness of exams, packing and graduation clearance to-do's, many were too busy to even feel the emotions of farewell. It all seemed a little too fast, and rushed. 

This time, when they all packed their bags and said goodbyes, it wasn't a 4-month long semester break, it wasn't like we all came back after internship. This time, it was 'Goodbye, keep in touch okay?', with a hinge of longing and lots of hope. 

Years back, on my last day of SPM, I never really thought of it all much. Questions like, 'Will we all be in touch? Will we text all day like we used to?' didn't seem even necessary. Younger version of myself so innocently believed that my close-knits and I will be BFFs and stay in touch, like in the movies. This time, however, the emotions came down terrorizing me. So bad, that I just wanted to come home, and not watch them pack and leave. I'm not usually the kinda person who texts my friends frequently (my scores for outings/messaging would be so bad that I might  fail the Friendship test with negative scores). 

So, here are some messages, for the persons I cherish in UTP (in no order of preferences):

To The Girl Who Steals My Water:
Thank you for being one of my most trusted persons in recent years. Yes, you can definitely give yourself some credits for making me know the existence of a comb. I foresee a very quiet semester ahead without you being there for me to spill out words to. You're the sister I never had (and now my mother likes you too, she'd probably adopt you and dump me elsewhere). I wish I stole the gold belt from you earlier. And like you said, it's not a goodbye, just a see you again. 

To The Mister:
The only good thing that is bound to happen with your absence is my weight loss. :P On a serious note, thank you for being my alarm despite being late at least 6 out of 11 times. I am truly glad to temporarily release you from stress due to my carelessness of leaving my stuffs everywhere and panicking. Also thank you in advance for all the labour you're about to do next semester. :D I have no doubt that you'll hearten me whenever workload piles up and organize my priorities. That'll be my acknowledgement for you in my dissertation. 

To The Girl Who Abandons Her Clothes: 
I have to confess. You are one of the two persons I wrote a note to, simply because I did not want to ever say it all in person to you. One, because I'm too cool for that, and two, you're not so cool for tears. :P Facebook told me that you had 'love at first sight' on me. I am sure not going to deny that, because *duhhhhh* what more qualified source to prove your one-sided love. I also need to add, I'm in desperate need for a destination wedding. I have great hopes on you, please don't let me down. And yea, I love you, just a little bit. 

To The Girl Who Has Bad Destiny with my Shoes:
Oopsss. Joke, laugh, no? :D When you came to say goodbye the other day, I was not ready. Like really, after you left, it struck me, you're leaving. Not so dramatic, because I'll bug you again with CGPA calculation and lots more. hehehee. But I wish I hugged sweaty you tighter, and say goodbye without *clears throat* button badges. Thank you for being genuinely caring towards me. I have you on my Buddyz, hopefully that'll come handy so that I won't rot and die next semester. Virtual hug now, pwish? :D :D 

To The Boy Who Eventually Became My Favorite Third Wheel:
I know that's not a very amusing tagline (obviously meant it for the irony of it. heheee). Yes, I have known you since our earlier semesters, but somehow we only started talking a lot in recent semesters. I really do like listening to your opinions about things, and when you make conversations. Believe it or not, I once thought of a little project collaborating with you for blog posts (have I ever mentioned this to you?). I somehow find it oddly interesting that you always order different food in places that we go to, unlike the rest of of us and our predictable choices. I really think you were worth a mention here, because you're one of the few people whom I enjoy talking to. :D

To The Girl Who Twinned Me, Almost:
I never got the chance to bid farewell to you. You're one of the very few people who have been a constant throughout my time in the jungle. Thank you for that. You're the one who always wish me luck for quizzes, tests, presentations and everything! I think you probably never missed any of it. I've not done the same to you, not even half the time. :P I'll think of you whenever I calculate something and get the wrong answers in my calculator, because you always seem to get it right. Let's see if we end up twinning for convocation! :D

To The Boy Who Severed His Ties with Me (Two Weeks Ago):
Yes, despite the fact he cold-heartedly told me that he will not bother about me next semester (reason shall not be revealed here), I still am a nice enough person to write him something here. :P Thank you for all the tough love, sarcastic comments and wisdom you impart me throughout the two years we've gotten close. It's a shame that your coaching skills has not prevailed any results whatsoever. Don't you dare abandon the plant you named after me! I'll still see you around, so not much sentiments over you. Plus, now that you're a UTP 'employee', I am sure your modesty will be at its worse. :P 

To The Girl Who Wore The Invisible Cloak:
You went missing on my radar this entire semester. But yes, understandably so. You're also one of my constants since Foundation. We probably had more time in hand during our times attending meetings together. I am really glad that we had that last minute mini catch up before I left. I wish you all the strength in the world. And, I'm so very proud that you've turned from a minion to a composed person before your presentations.

To My First Friend in UTP:
There's very low probability that you read this, but I want to write it anyways. You've been one of the nicest person I've came to meet in UTP. I never made the 'Vel Vel' festival back in your hometown, the one we always spoke about. We rarely met, especially with different majors now. But whenever we did, we hugged, had quick catch-ups, wished each other well. It's a bummer that we never got to bid farewell properly. I'll definitely hunt you down for a picture during convocation. Wishing you all the best darling. :D 

To My Sister Wife:
Yes, I will see you next semester. So, this is just excerpt of the note I never wrote and attached with the Toblerone. :P In weird ways, I find you to be the male version of myself. Really, the thought has crossed me more than I'd like to admit. I trust your judgement for series selection which will help me keep my sanity next semester. As much as I used to dislike you for being my romance-spoiler, I came to enjoy your presence these days. Oh, you're booked, for kayaking and all other things I have to  cross of my list next semester. :D

And finally, to everyone else. Some of us may have been seasonal friends, lab mates, group mates. We may have gone to lunches, dinners, suppers together. I wish every one of you the best in your future endeavors. May we all leave UTP as better persons than we came in 2011. Till we meet again. Adios.