by Jolyn Low

Finals are starting in a couple of days which means a couple of things:

  1. Its going to be over in 8 days
  2. I am going home in 2 weeks’ time
  3. I have officially completed the first semester of my degree, with 11 more of these across 4.5 more years before I graduate and become a vet hehe

The thing that I’ve been struggling with the most in recent times is with what I feel of home. Having moved abroad and experienced life in another place, I’ve been debating the pros and cons of life in Singapore and where I am. I am not adverse to extending my stay; yet I miss home dearly. I miss the comfort and familiarity of my home, my fast-ageing dog, the convenience of getting around and the food. I probably miss the people and the life that I had built back home. It was comforting having a support net and an easy route. This is not to say that I don’t feel at home here; I do. But I really do want to treasure what I have before I throw myself into my studies and my work. I don’t know if I will be going home that often in the later years. I don’t even know if my dog will remember me or be around when I finally get back. But I’m pursuing a dream – isn’t that worth these sacrifices in the end? 

I will be 24 when I graduate, a year older and a year or two later than many of my peers. I’m afraid of being left behind. It is inevitable, I suppose, as I am on a different road and I was a little slower deciding to take a chance. But this is eons better than being stuck going through the motions of a double degree that I found mundane in a field that I am mediocre at. Some days I really question the relentless chase of getting a degree. Is it relevant and necessary? Can I touch my heart and say that I genuinely WANT to study? Will I feel extremely self-fulfilled at the end of this journey? I really do think and hope so. 

I’m feeling quite stressed out because I’ve been struggling to study and I have 3 days of consecutive papers which sucks. Now I know that I will definitely ace one paper, but I still worry about not hitting the mark (aka getting a HD) for my other subjects. Call me an asshole but yes, GPA is important to me. The fact that I’m paying so much for my education has made the stakes so high. This isn’t even considering the pressure of having to do well because everyone else is fighting for a spot in my course. I feel threatened and afraid that I’m not keeping up or as desperate as them. I’m assured of my coveted spot but I worry about making it through the years because yes, people do actually drop out along the way. I don’t think anyone can truly understand this fear – thousands are being paid for every single unit and I cannot fail. I literally cannot afford to – not when so much is being invested into my (and collectively, my family’s) future. It doesn’t help that I’m the eldest. First child syndrome sucks. 

You, reader, might perceive me as lucky for being able to pursue my dreams. But you do not feel the palpable tension in the air in every single class, the frustration of managing expenses and investments, nor the desperation of needing to make it through these five years alive. I do not regret my decision to take this path. I just really needed to express all the things that have been plaguing my mind. Every single time I cannot recall a word, I panic. Even something small like the spelling of a word stresses me out. I fear not being good enough. But I need to give myself credit – for being one of the 30 who got in from all over the world. Am I not worthy of my spot and more than capable of getting through this?

I am. I would know the amount of effort I had put in before my A level exams and to get to where I am today. I would know the hours spent crying because I felt worthless and useless for not being able to get into a course I could have settled for in Singapore. I had gone through hell and more, convinced that I was lacking and worthless with a bleak future despite having a string of As that I thought would have opened the door.

I cannot be more grateful for having had to go through all that last year. I have survived 100% of my worst days so far, what are a few thousand more?