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#72 Juggling A Gazillion Things To Do

November 17, 2010

I have been hiding under a rock for long enough. Well, under this rock where I still have my regular supplies of Gossip Girl, Hellcats (I know, don’t start) and Big Bang Theory. A gazillion things are waiting to be done, and I know I can’t hide anymore, so here I am now.

Who knew that senior year would entail so much more tasks, responsibilities and expectations? Between having to take classes to clear graduation requirements (so I can graduate on time), researching for the final year thesis, applying for jobs, attending career fairs, thinking about the future, actually DOING something about the future (i.e. research about postgraduate options, doing the GRE etc), talking to seniors and professors about the possibility of extending my academic career etc… and of course trying to maintain a meagre social life, I am just about to go crazy. I wish somebody handed us a long to-do list, a guidebook, anything… Anything to forewarn us that it would be quite so very gruelling, where things are thrown at us from every imaginable corner and we are expecting to catch and toss ’em right back.

Honestly speaking, I am not caught completely off guard. I have been religiously reading blogs written by tons of my predecessors, I have heard seniors who have gone down this same road lament and bemoan about the intensity of senior year, I have seen people crash and rise from the ashes. But nothing is quite like experiencing it myself…

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#71 Senior Year Resolutions: Doing It Right Before Graduation

September 14, 2010

As college students we tend to be a little dependent on someone for every aspect of our life. If we live at home, we depend on our mom for the homecooked meals and not having to worry about the rent or paying for staying on campus. If we live on campus, we depend on our roommate and classmates to wake us up for that 9am lecture and ensure we make the deadline for our assignments. We depend on our professors and academic advisors on tips to survive the classes and consultation to get that A, we depend on our girlfriends to stop us from binge drinking on a stressful weeknight and stay away from boys we shouldn’t be fraternizing with. The irony is, we thought we were going to be independent since our first day in college, but in the end, deep down inside, we are still the same person, relying on people around us to make things work… and sacrificing the chance to train ourselves to think for ourselves, and to be free from unnecessary obligations.

Most of us, after the third year, have acquired the legal rights to engage in many activities that our grandmoms will blush and condemn if we utter them aloud. Yet, it is not surprising to still see college students feeling tied down because of the ‘rents or fear of expecting too much of their very bright futures and to have a mind of their own!

Here’s a few things you’ll need to learn to let go and do if you haven’t already:

1. Don’t feel guilty about not calling your parents/mom/dad every day or once a week.
I know some people who get calls from their parents a lot. Sometimes I feel a twinge of envy because it means that someone at home cares for them and love them enough to check up on them regularly. But it gets annoying after a while if you are bogged down with endless deadlines, project meetings and you have a social calendar to attend to.

Plus, when you are on that date with the gorgeous man from that Cultural Anthropology class, you don’t want to pick up a call and go, “No mom, I’m not binge drinking, I’m going to classes and I will use protection.” It’s kinda off-putting; just imagine if it were your date saying that to his mom!

2. Ignore the urban legends that you won’t last with a college sweetheart.
Enough is enough! Stop perpetuating myths about how people always change after they graduate and will therefore not last with their college boyfriend/girlfriend. Many people find love on campus and in fact it’s the best place to hunt for very eligible and intellectual men without emotional baggage.

3. Love what you study, stop obsessing about the career for a minute.
Breathe. Yes, breathe, calm down, and don’t let the obsession of finding the perfect career deny you of the opportunity to love and discover what you truly have a passion for, in academia that is. It’s perfectly normal if you feel like you are soulmates with Kierkegaard, Sartre, Foucault, Weber and Kant, and wish you could talk to them and have their autographs. This is great! Even if nobody really understands you when you talk about them when you meet other people who don’t share your love with these intellectuals. It might very well be the last time you can indulge endlessly in this, so enjoy being a nerdy student while it lasts.

4. Graduate on time.
ATTENTION all seniors!! You should have done this long ago if you haven’t, anyhow it’s way overdue. Do check what classes you need to attend to graduate on time, or early if you are bright and illustrious as you are. Hanging around for an extra semester when all your peers have graduated is neither cool nor wise. Even if it means you are delaying the need to get your ass out there and find a job in the dismal economic climate right now. I’m now struggling with a heavy workload to clear as many classes as I can, but a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do!

Graduating on time not only reflects that you managed your college career and curriculum well, it gives you ample time to begin your first career on the right foot, or if you don’t plan to work, start your Masters degree or your gap year on a satisfying note. And the best thing? Taking that long-awaited graduation photo with your classmates on Graduation Day…easily the biggest milestone in a college student’s life.

5. Think about what you want to do.
It’s nerve-wrecking, having to think about the future on top of the final year dissertations that we are currently slogging our asses off for. But nevertheless it’s important to start exploring the options, if you haven’t done so already. After all the summer internships and meetings with a career advisor, it doesn’t hurt to talk to seniors who’ve graduated before you, trawl the depths of the Internet and check out what interests you enough to make it something you will feel worthy of waking up to every morning for the rest of your life.

So here’s a couple more things for you to mull over… and while you mentally note them down, I shall sit back, relax and enjoy the Gossip Girl season premiere. (And then I start worrying about the future again, of course.) ♥

#70 Vive l’été!

May 5, 2010

So here I am, on the eve of my final paper for my final, about to experience academic doom descending upon my head and all I can think about is what I’m going to be doing for the summer.

5 countries, 4 cultures, 3 months, 2 bags and 1 adventure = Summer 2010.

Kicking off my summer with a bang will be visiting the man in my life in Sydney. I really love what the city has to offer, the breezy weather, the sassy people, the trendy night scene, a really hip yet laidback culture, and of course the greasy cuisine. And to get in touch with our inner sophistication, we’d be doing the requisite Sydney weekend trip to Hunter Valley wine region and hope that we won’t have to nurse a hangover afterwards. Je ne peux pas attendre! In any case I’m excited to be back again.

I received my Indian visa two days ago, which means that I am good to go for my internship. And just maybe… I would just run out and buy some more socks, just in case. A backpacking circuit that would set my heart pumping and my wanderlust soul on fire around Southern China, Laos and Thailand would round off the summer with aplomb.

Jumping onto the bandwagon of the Shanghai World Expo hype is part of our itinerary…after all, visiting the Bund during its construction really did pique my curiosity enough for me to visit the Paris of the East again so soon. So with the exception of Chinese culture (which I must say I’m not fully attuned to either), I will have new cultures to embrace and hopefully a couple of interesting phrases to pick up on the way.

My attempt at minimalist travelling will also mean that I have to pack really light this time round — the heels and the hairdryers and the trashy novels will have to stay home, limiting myself to two bags, which will eventually be full of bangles, boxes of Darjeeling tea and traditional garb from India. I will also learn, for the first time, to deal with living in a town free of the creature comforts that an urbanite like me is used to and find out if my body can function well beyond 3,000 metres above the sea level in the Himalayas.

And all of that will culminate towards one big adventure…be it good, bad or funny. Oh, summer, how I love you so.

Now, if you would excuse me, I would like to extricate myself from this reverie and finish up my revision for tomorrow morning’s exam.

Movie Review: Elvis and Anabelle

May 2, 2010

Long before Serena met her Dan, the beautiful blonde princess and the raven-haired moody homeboy combination has already graced the silver screen, if only just briefly. It seemed like this is a winning formula for a bittersweet (and somehow tragic) love story.

A lot of us watch Gossip Girl and know her as the gorgeous Serena Van der Woodsen. But before she shot to super stardom, she was cast in a little-known independent film that didn’t make it to theatrical release. She is Anabelle, a beauty queen who snuffs it during a pageant, and meets the thoughtful mortician’s son on the embalming table…

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#69 Junior No More

April 16, 2010

It is this time of the year again. When you watch fellow students say goodbyes to a chapter of their lives they cannot wait to get over, but would only dream of reliving again — college. When you watch some of them sigh in relief for the brief respite in the form of summer holidays before launching into another challenging year of waking up for 8am lectures and churning out 5,000-word essays on tight deadlines.

It is the time of the year when I sit down and look back on everything that has gone down in this academic year, and reminisce on where I was just a year ago and be amazed by how much has changed (or not) in 52 weeks of university life.

A semester ago, after a debauchery-filled school term of study abroad, I launched myself into a studying frenzy powered by my renewed hunger for nerdom and armed with brand-new shiny highlighters to dive into piles of journal articles and photocopied book chapters. Realizing that gouging on academic material did nothing for my passion in geography and my learning curve, I slowed down a little this semester, okay a whole lot, and tried to find a way to live in peaceful harmony with college life…

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#68 So, Where Will You Be Going for Your Summer Internship?

March 13, 2010

It’s that time of the year again, for the procrastinators, at least. You just waved February goodbye, scrambled to finish a couple more essays, hastily flipped through your lecture notes and sat for your midterms (which you were sure it’s gonna flop big time but would end up okay anyway), and then it’s suddenly mid March. WHAT, wait a minute, allow me to digest that information. It’s halfway through MARCH already??? It seemed like yesterday when I penned down my new year resolutions for 2010 (truth is I’m still on to the first draft).

In less than three months, summer will roll around…and you think, oh yeah it’s fun times ahead. For college students like me who are in their penultimate year, it would be more like stressful times await. Especially when every lunchtime conversation consists of a question that starts like this…

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#67 Confessions of a College Waitress

March 8, 2010

I could have been paid $50 for two hours’ of teaching some kid how to solve mathematical equations or how to write a high school essay. Instead, I took a plunge into the deep end of the intense working life by signing myself up to be a part-time waitress, for nearly the same wage but a whole day of hard labour. And boy, just two weeks on, and I am already having mixed feelings about my job.

When’s the last time you were served by a waitress? Does her job seem effortless to you? After a few days on the job, I have newfound admiration for these people (waiters too) who slough day and night at the restaurant. Being a college student, I understand and regularly suffer the stress and hard work of having to juggle many activities and assignments at once, but nothing prepared me for the mental and physical exertion that being a part-time waitress entails…

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