Earlier this year, when I penned a post (here) explaining my decision to further my studies in Singapore, I did it with the intent of providing myself with some form of closure; that I was finally moving on from all the doubts and contemplations. Yet, in retrospect (and as many astutely highlighted), the commentary was a weak attempt at self-rationalisation – of justifying my choice to remain here – instead of explaining why I didn’t even try to submit an application for admission to a overseas college. The expressions were contrived, and the entire essay sounded too mechanical.
But it’s clearer to me now; it was fear, with different permutations. Fear of rejection and failure; fear that I was not good enough – or going to be good enough – as my counterparts, intellectually; fear that my results – in the academic and co-curricular spheres – were far from stellar; fear that I couldn’t quite measure up; fear that I was not good enough for a scholarship award; fear that I had no direction and ambitions, hence justifying my uncertainty over courses and colleges; fear that…
My biggest lessons from this entire experience? Don’t be immobilised by these fears, don’t be so hard on yourself all the time; give yourself a little more credit and faith. Always contemplate and seize opportunities, give yourself options, and don’t be afraid of failing (because at the very least – as clichéd as it may sound – you know you’ve tried).
My biggest regret thus far – and damn, feels really good to get it off my chest, beyond my circle of close friends – is not to have tried submitting applications for any overseas universities, and I knew it wasn’t about whether I would have received an acceptance; it’s the notion that I will never know whether I was ever good enough, competent enough. I will never know if my fears were justified or not.
From this point on, I’m really moving on. I reckon feelings of envy and admiration will persist (I suppose I’m simply engineered with a curious predilection to compare with others all the time), but now that going back in time to make amendments is not an option, I have no choice but to move stoically forward. The past three weeks in university have been quite enlightening as well, meeting individuals who had – in spite of sterling offers to enter the greatest education institutions in the world – consciously resolved to remain back at home: my degree will never be as prestigious, opportunities not as broad, but my pursuits – academic-scholastic or not – have not been, and will not be, that shabby either. But we’ll see.