Catching a glimpse of a better self in 2020

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:

  1. 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! 

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

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