21 Before 21

Here are 21 thoughts I’m having right now before I turn 21. Don’t judge, they’re kind of random. 

1. I wish I didn’t feel as much. When you feel as much as I do, it’s hard to keep it all in. 

2. And when you are in an environment like I am, you end up letting it out to the wrong people. 

3. As I’m typing this, I’m listening to Alan Walker’s ‘Tired’ and I want to cry. 

4. But I can’t because there are people around in my bunk. I don’t really feel like talking to anyone. It’s been a long day, I feel emotional and I am tired. 

5. It’s not like anyone here understands me, anyway. 

6. When people make you feel like they are tolerating you as opposed to appreciating you on a daily basis, it can be quite damaging to your morale and soul. 

7. How is it only Tuesday? 

8. I start off my days feeling so full of happiness and energy and positivity but by the end of it, I am drained. 

9. I met up with some Poly classmates-turned-friends yesterday. It’s funny and interesting how even though not everyone is able to make it each time, I get to see at least two or three different people every time we meet up.  

10. As we were hugging goodbye, I felt emotional. Some of them wished me a happy birthday in advance yesterday. I didn’t think they would remember. 

11. Speaking of my friends, I really miss them. And as much as I wish I could go back in time, I need to acknowledge the fact that we’re all doing our own thing with our own plans out in the real world and I need to remember that moving forward and progressing is a good thing. 

12. Sometimes I wish cameras were filming everything so my friends could see what exactly is happening on my National Service journey. Maybe I can’t convey everything I experience in words and so they don’t get how I exactly feel. 

13. I hope tomorrow is a good day. I don’t expect a lot. I just want it to be significantly less hectic than any day last week or this past week. 

14. My shaky hands are acting up. I’m not sure if it was hunger, my anxiety or something else. 

15. I have a little less than half an hour to finish up this list before getting back to work and I’m only two-thirds through. 

16. Australia is coming up. And I really hope it’s a break from all this hard work (I would like to think I’ve been doing in camp) and overthinking (I know I’ve been doing in camp).

17. I have a new episode of Bigg Boss Tamil to watch but I doubt I’ll have the time or energy to do so tonight. 

18. I wish I knew the time of my birth. That would be the official start of my birthday, no? 

19. I know I will bounce back from whatever I’m feeling right now. That’s just how I am. Especially since I’ll be working with someone who has little to nothing to do with why I am feeling the way I am right now – for three hours – I just have to be ‘normal.’ 

20. I have to be up early tomorrow though. But I’ll pay my dues. I believe in karma. And I don’t mean like bad things happening to bad people but more of good things happening to good people. 

21. Am I stuck up for thinking I’m a ‘good person’? 

This was an unexpected and spontaneous post. So until next time… 

PEACE OUT. 

In My Head

852110236_13448670704630895532.jpgThe past three months have gone by pretty quickly and I love how it is already April. I did spend quite a lot of the time being in my head trying to figure things out. As much as I try to keep my sensitive and insecure moments to a minimum, sometimes I just cannot help myself.

But before I get to writing about those deeper moments – which are mostly in camp – I will start with the highlights from the weekends – when I am out of camp.

In February, I attended Jamie’s play, An Absolute Turkey and in March, Shaf’s play, The Illusionist. Now, I have told the both of them this – if our lives were a reality show, the ‘competition’ between the both of them over whose play is better would have been a driving force for drama the entire season. HAHA.

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Post-Show Happiness Pt. 1

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Post-Show Happiness Pt. 2

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Post-Show Happiness Pt. 3

But no, in all seriousness, it was fun supporting the both of them. I feel like they both stepped out of their comfort zones – in different ways – and it made me proud, sitting there in the audience, watching them and being there with a flower or candy bouquet after the show. I hope to see them in action again soon.

The All In! Young Writers’ Festival was held in March too. I only attended one screening of a few short films including, I Love You More, a short film that I was involved in producing as part of a group project for a filmmaking module over a year ago.

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Forgot to mention that they were both late.

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But it’s okay, I forgive ya’ll.

It was nice that this project brought me, Dalene and Minyi back together a year later. (The other group members, Rachel, Sherlyn and Chels couldn’t make it.) I held off from re-watching the short film leading up to the screening because I thought that seeing it again after a long time during the screening would make it more ‘special.’ After the screening, we had lunch where we gave each other life updates and rehashed certain things that happened back during our three years in Poly. We also did some window shopping so it was some simple fun.

Later in March, I also attended a secondary school reunion with Azfar, Rosydi and Gina. It was hosted at one of our schoolmate’s house. Although I really appreciated the invite, I was hesitant and reluctant to attend from the get go. Secondary school just does not bring back the best of memories for me – I did not really fit in and back then it was quite a struggle. So it was a last minute decision to attend.

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I think it has been close to two years since the four of us were last together?

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I hope not another two years go by before we’re together again. *Glares at Gina*

Rosydi and Azfar could totally see how nervous I was on the bus to the reunion. And honestly, I would not have attended the reunion if they were not attending with me. I think it was just the uncertainty as to who was going to be there and how they were going to act that made me nervous. I knew Gina would be there too and since she has not been the easiest person to meet up with, seeing her there – though she showed up two hours late – was an added bonus.

The three of them were able to interact with these people that we had not seen in forever pretty easily but for me, it was awkward. Of course there was the typical army talk with the guys but none of the girls I used to be close to were there. (I believe that the invitations did not reach everyone… Oops.)

I also feel like I have evolved from who I used to be back in secondary school and so these people who did not really know me on a deeper level back then – to begin with – did not have much to say to me and likewise I did not have much to say to most of them either. After all, I was quite the wallflower for a bulk of those four years.

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At least I won’t have to worry about FOMO now.

I cannot really say that I regret attending but at the same time, I cannot say I am glad I attended either.

And last night, I attended Fifth Harmony’s 7/27 Tour concert after buying the tickets way back in January. I was lucky that Khairul – a friend that I made during the two month Signals course after BMT – was willing to go with me.

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Gotta thank the concert buddy for groovin’ along.

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April may have only just started but this concert is most definitely a highlight. I found myself letting loose as I sang and danced my heart out. It was totally worth the wait and money and the girls were gorgeous! I felt really happy when Normani noticed and reciprocated my wave. If life was a reality show, attending this concert would have made for a perfect season finale.

In between all these key events, I think I have been doing an okay job at balancing my weekends with meet-ups and ‘me’ time. I think there was only one weekend where I contemplated between going out and staying home but I decided to go out anyway.

Life in camp has been generally alright. I tend to forget how lucky I am to have ended up in this camp and unit, in terms of workload and location. But finding my place and people, is still an issue.

A new batch of about 20 Signallers came in a month ago – a larger amount than expected. I took a genuine interest in getting to know most of them because we would have to decide who to keep with us after a two week ‘orientation’ programme – the rest would be posted out to different ‘departments’ within our unit. And since I would be working with whoever stays until next May when I leave, it was an important decision too.

We kept about a third of them. It was exciting having new people around. They were people who were easy to talk to and did work. But when you look at the big picture, the newbies did not exactly shake up the office dynamics like I had hoped.

For a start, I still feel like I lack a true confidante and ally in camp. You know, that one person that I can complain and vent to without worrying about what I said being repeated. And also the kind of person that I can make eye contact with and smile when something happens in the office because we both know that we are thinking the same thing.

I miss having that kind of connection with someone.

So I end up bottling things up in camp. Occasionally, I do let things slip because I can only hold so much in. But then I question if I should have said anything at all because I get asked if I have ‘anger issues’ or am told that I am ‘oversensitive.’

Do not get me wrong. I am still able to be myself in camp. I disturb and annoy almost everyone around me. And this is an indication that I have reached a certain level of comfort around these people. But there are different layers to every relationship and with these people, it is most definitely on the surface.

It doesn’t help that they do not really get me. I am a lot of things but these people know me best to be ‘annoying.’ I can own that but it does get exhausting when that seems to be the only word people associate you with – even if lightheartedly.

For now, there are only about two to three individuals in camp who I ‘trust.’ It being really easy to rub me the wrong way could be one reason for this low number. But I guess, there just is not that much in common to forge strong bonds over. And with everyone on their phones most of the time, there is barely any attempt at conversation to find common topics either.

Sure, they bond over playing the same mobile games. And so it would be a lot easier if I just downloaded this game and played along. But I told myself back in secondary school that I was not going to change just to fit in and I still want to keep that promise to myself. Call me stubborn or difficult but I am not going to do something that I would not normally do just to get by.

There are also other things that have happened or been said that got the wheels in my head turning. But at the end of the day, I know I can’t let what people think, say or do affect my spirit. It is just hard to remember at times especially when there is no one in your environment to remind you of that.

So I am going to try to care less and not add up the nothings into something. I know it is not going to be easy and I will probably be in my head again by the end of the week – after all, it does keep me occupied. But I will be working on it. Whatever happens, happens.

Fifth Harmony sang in their song, ‘Brave Honest Beautiful’:

“Don’t go and waste your precious time with all that nonsense on your mind.”

And this reminder is why I feel like the Fifth Harmony concert is a perfect finale.

Until next time,

PEACE OUT.

The Dreaded Next Chapter Pt. 2

I’ve told you everything you need to know about my internship. And you already know about some of the post-internship decisions I had to make. So this post is more about the things that are going to happen – whether I like it or not – before the current chapter closes and the next one begins.

Picking up from where I left off, I started tearing when I read the date on my enlistment letter because I was feeling a mix of fear and sadness. I was afraid of the unknown. And I was also upset that I had just two months before everything changed for two whole years. I revealed the news to some friends and I also told my Dad about it. However, it was the chat I had with my older brother that night that gave me a renewed confidence that I will be just fine. My brother basically answered any question I had, based on his experience. He told me to break up the two years into smaller portions and that made me realise that for now, all I need to worry about is the first two weeks of confinement because after that, at least I should be able to head home every weekend – unless there’s a twist.

I’ve been trying to prepare myself mentally and physically but it hasn’t exactly been easy. I feel conflicted between spending the two months working out as opposed to lazing around while I can. So far, I would like to think I’ve been doing an alright job at balancing both. And I hope that keeping that up or doing better will make me feel more confident and comfortable in the days leading up to my enlistment.

I’ve always known that it’s not going to be easy and that’s why I’ve been dreading it. I mean I’ve never been the fittest and it’s going to be tough keeping my emotions in check. But I do look forward to seeing myself change for the better throughout the next two years. I just hope that I don’t lose what my friends call, a ‘killer’ smile in the process.

“I’m stronger than you think and tougher than I know.”

The next thing that is going to happen whether I like it or not is graduation. And before the graduation ceremony was the graduation show – DTVM Awards – which literally happened two days ago. It’s a tradition for every class to put up a performance at the DTVM Awards. In Year 1, my class put on a skit. In Year 2, we hosted a game. And now, in Year 3, we filmed a music video parody. Although, I was initially against the idea of filming a music video because of the amount of time and energy we would have to invest into it, I’m glad we ended up pulling through. Because looking back, it wasn’t just a music video that we created, it was memories too. I can’t wait for us to look back at both the music video and blooper reel in years to come and cry and laugh in equal measure.

“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

– Jim Valvano

It was during the process of filming the music video that I started to wonder how anything else that is to come can possibly top the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had over the past three years. I’ve laughed, I’ve thought and I’ve cried over the past three years enough to feel complete. And I definitely feel like DTVM is something special that I will always have with me.

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The cast of the music video in our #Kidzania outfits. (Missing Shantel, Sam and Eunice)

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#ThugLife selfie.

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#Flannel selfie.

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#BusinessFormal selfie.

I was expecting to cry during the video montage of the past three years, at the DTVM Awards but it was taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture that got me emotional.

“And yes, I know we all love each other but the fact is the glue that holds high school friendships together is high school. Being around each other everyday, seeing each other in the halls, whenever something is up we don’t have to do any work to talk to our friends about it; they’re right there. As soon as it takes effort, we get lazy and then we forget and then we just move on. I don’t want to fade away.”

– Tina Cohen Chang (Glee)

The recycled quote above sums up my sentiments perfectly. Over the three years, we have all found our immediate circle of friends. And I’m sure we’ll all do a great job at keeping in touch with the people within that immediate circle. What saddens me is the thought that we won’t make the same effort to keep in touch with the people outside that circle who we still consider our friends.

I know we went six months without seeing each other everyday during our internships. And that little gathering we had in the middle for Christmas felt special, for that reason. And now every time we see each other, it doesn’t really feel like anything has changed other than time having passed by and us knowing that graduation is approaching. All I’m hoping for is that we try to keep the bond that we now share even if we get busy and even if it isn’t as convenient as it once used to be and even if we have new friends to fill that void.

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I want to walk down a real red carpet with these people.

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The #ILoveYouMore Team.

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The #WeAreTheMob Team.

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With Shaf, Chels and Jamie. (I hope the official photos turned out better.)

I want to be there in the future, to hear about the new TV show they’re developing or about the cover story of their magazine or about a event I can attend to show my support. I know it will take some time for all of us to get there given that we will have to spend three to four years in University or three to four years climbing up that hierarchy in this industry but I know we’ll get there.

I still have some time before my enlistment and I’m sure I’m bound to feel nervous the closer I get to it. There are a couple of tiny things I wish to accomplish before I enlist. I will try my best to use my time productively while still allocating time for lazing around and doing nothing. It’s going to be just fine. I’ll be just fine.

“The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety.”

– Deepak Chopra

Until next time,

PEACE OUT.

 

The Dreaded Next Chapter Pt. 1

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Since I last wrote a blog post, my internship ended, I contemplated extending my stay at my internship company, figured out university applications, received my National Service enlistment letter and participated in my final production as a DTVM student.

Let’s go in chronological order, starting with the end of my internship.

The last few weeks of my internship wasn’t any different than before. I still had transcriptions to complete and documents to scan for the main project I was attached to but the to-do list was getting shorter and shorter as my final week was approaching.

On days where I was not needed at the office, I was needed to help out on shoot for another project. I must say that I am glad I got the chance to work on both projects. It allowed me to compare certain aspects of TV production as the size of the crew and my job scope for each project was slightly different. But of course, on my final few days, the things I had to complete for both projects came to a head. There was so many things to settle and I thought back to what one of my friendly colleagues told me.

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A selfie taken after the shoot with friendly production crew members.

“People like us will never have an easy last day. We’re too responsible.”

I didn’t believe her at the time but it turned out to be true. I don’t mean to flatter myself but I have to give myself some credit for always providing a certain quality to the work that I am tasked with. So it took longer than expected but eventually I managed to complete everything.

With that being said, I have to thank the friendly colleagues who made my 22-week internship easier. They treated me like one of their own and made me feel so much more comfortable at work. During my final week, they treated me to a farewell meal and in return, I wrote them cards as my humble way of thanking them for everything. I owe them a lot more than just cards and I hope that I will be able to give back to them somehow, some way, in the future.

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Here are the friendly colleagues who made my time so much easier.

As cliche as it may sound, I definitely feel like I have grown from the internship experience . It was not easy having to adapt to the ‘real world.’ I even felt uncomfortable and uneasy at times. But like The Biggest Loser host, Bob Harper, said, “I think that growth happens when you are at your most uncomfortable.”

Now, before I could close this internship chapter for good, I was presented with an offer to prolong the chapter – at the very least – until the end of May. I considered the offer because the project was something I thought I would enjoy working on. I discussed it with family, friends and colleagues and ultimately chose to do what I felt was best for me – taking the break that I have earned.

I have been looking forward to this break forever and I would be sabotaging myself by committing to another three months of work with only a two week break in-between the end of my internship and the start of the new project.

I felt good about my decision for about 36 hours into my break until I noticed everyone around me either working or extending their internship or knowing exactly what their next step was going to be. It made me start looking for something too. I estimated my enlistment date to fall in August and that meant I would have at least a six-month break. I could see myself chilling at home for about two to three months but finding a job after that would leave me yet another small window to rest before enlisting. Eventually I just told myself to take a chill pill and surprisingly, this was one of the times I actually listened to myself. And I am so glad I did as it turns out I am not enlisting in August. (More on that later.)

Starting my internship two weeks earlier than everyone else meant I finished my internship two weeks earlier. I think these two weeks were crucial for me to figure out my university applications. One of my closest friends from secondary school, Azfar, has been urging me to think about it forever but I always put it off. Thereby, these two weeks came in handy for me to figure it out and actually complete the application process – which was pretty tedious. I ended up applying for NUS’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) as well as NTU’s Communication Studies as my top choices.

I attended the NTU Open House hoping to be excited by the prospects of studying there (just like when I attended the SP Open House) but it turned out to be pretty dull. After sitting through three talks, I didn’t even want to attend the NUS Open House, the following weekend. As of right now, I am still leaning towards NTU but there is one important factor to consider and I’ll worry about it when the time comes. (Oh and thanks Azfar for helping me out when I was bugging you to help me check everything. I really appreciate it!)

Now, moving on to National Service. I was out with Chelsea and Shafna after watching Zootopia when I received a text from Rosydi about how he received his enlistment letter. When I found out that he was enlisting in May, the wheels in my head started turning. I couldn’t wait to return home to check my letter box, just so I could clear any anxiety I had about my enlistment. Ideally, I would open the letter box to nothing that was addressed to me but of course, when I checked my letter box, there it was.

I still had a little hope. My enlistment date could still be much later than May, right? So I dashed to my room and slowly opened the letter to find out I was enlisting on May 18 2016.

It wasn’t long before tears started streaming down my face.

(I’m ending this instalment of “The Dreaded Next Chapter” here because I’ve gone beyond 1000 words and this is Minutes with Aravind not Hours with Aravind. But I think I ended it at a pretty dramatic cliffhanger, eh?)

Until next time,

PEACE OUT.

Coping & Adapting

I was about to continue marathoning episodes of either How To Get Away With Murder or Keeping Up With The Kardashians (so technically, I would be Catching Up With The Kardashians) when I received a WordPress notification thanks to Nica who followed my blog with her new blog.

I realised it had been quite a while since I read up on what my peers have been up to. And it didn’t take too long for me to read up because only two of them had actually updated their blogs since I last checked. But yes, after reading Nica’s blog post about her resolutions for 2016, I felt motivated and inspired to craft a post myself.

I haven’t really given much thought to what I’m going to do different this year so I’ll just give an update on what’s been going on.

Life as an intern has been pretty stagnant with the exception of the sudden lows that occur when I mess up or make certain discoveries about how things work in this industry. I recently finished reading The Devil Wears Prada after a friend recommended the movie to me – knowing how I felt about being an intern – and an article on MTV.com recommended the book because, “One of the your first internships or jobs is bound to feel like it’s destroying you as it builds your resume. Read this and realize you’re not alone.”

Although I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the book when I started reading the first few pages (there were way too many fashion terms), I am so glad that I gave the book a chance because it definitely helped me better cope with my internship. There were subtle similarities between how the protagonist, Andrea Sachs felt and how I feel sometimes when it comes to work. That slight relatability made me feel better.

Sidenote: And now that I’ve completed The Devil Wears Prada, I need to find another book to read. I was debating between MockingjayCrazy Rich Asians, Actors Anonymous or if I should continue following Andrea Sachs’ journey in Revenge Wears Prada. I definitely need a book to read as a productive use of time on the journey to work and back home from work.

To be honest, at this point, after how everything has played out, I just feel so over it. I don’t think anything amazing is going to happen over the next five weeks of my internship – not that anything amazing has happened over the past 19 weeks. Just the same ol’ same ol’.

Anyway, something else mention-worthy is the Christmas gathering with my Poly friends that felt pretty special. Of course, we missed a few people like Jesleen, Sherlyn and Eunice but it was nice sitting around sharing stories, talking and laughing. It was similar to how we would congregate at the CASS tables during our breaks in-between lessons – just that this time, we didn’t exactly have assignments to be thinking about nor were we distracted by our laptops and phones (for the most part). Sure, some of us had the fact that there was work the next day on our minds but I would like to think we all missed each other’s presence enough to be as present as possible during this gathering.

I hope to see some of them this coming Saturday when helping out at the SP Open House. I am already looking forward to it and I’m hoping this will keep me motivated to get through yet another week.

I have just another five weeks to go before this internship chapter ends. It’s going to be okay… Right?

Until next time,

PEACE OUT.

“I think life is just a big con.”

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“One day, Sabine just said to Hector, ‘I think life is just a big con.’

Startled, Hector asked, ‘What do you mean?’ (That was what he always said when he hadn’t been listening properly the first time.)

‘Well, you’re born, and straight away you have to rush about, go to school, and then work, have children, and then your parents die and then before you know it you get old and die too.'”

–    Hector Finds Time by François Lelord

It is important to me, for me to have time to do the things I love and enjoy even when I am ‘not supposed to’ have the time. These things include spending time with friends and family, getting my daily dose of reality TV and sitcoms, reading and sometimes even lying around doing nothing.

I understand that time is not one of the luxuries of life but it saddens me that we all have a whole bunch of things to do that we keep jumping from one thing to the next as the list keeps piling on and on. I guess, I have always been aware of how fast time is passing by but this book that I started reading recently, the past few months and the thought of the uncertain future have just given me a whole lot more to think about. That is why I decided that it is finally time to write a blog post to sort of help clear my mind.

It has been nine weeks since my internship at a production company started and after a slow start, the past few weeks have been passing by pretty quickly. I think week nine is the most comfortable I have felt at work – thanks to some friendly colleagues. But what I am trying to point out is that it took me nine weeks to adapt to this new environment and before I know it, there is going to be another change in environment and I am totally unprepared for the next change.

I have had my fair share of ups and downs the past nine weeks. There were times when I was extra anxious when tasked with something new or when I realised I had messed up. I was trying so hard not to make mistakes that I failed to realise that this is the time for me to make mistakes and learn from them. I would call that ‘revelation’ a turning point as I have been feeling less anxious ever since. (Keyword: less)

As uncomfortable as I feel at times, I give myself credit for going out of my comfort zone. I might complain and disagree with how certain things are done but I am learning from the experience. I mean, I do need to find something to write about in my logbook and surprisingly this requirement has been helping me filter out lessons that I have learnt each week.

“I am in the TV industry but I have no time to watch TV.”

The above quote was something a colleague said in a casual conversation. At first, I did not make much of it but soon enough, it got the wheels in my head turning. It made me wonder if this is really what I want to do. I know… I know… this is such a cliche thought at this point which is exactly why I am not too worried about ‘the future’. My plan is just to see how the rest of my internship goes, talk to people, get their opinion and do some research myself to help me figure things out. (If you’re reading this and you can relate, then let me just tell you that I am sure we will find our place and solve the puzzle eventually. No rush.)

Don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was signing up for when I picked ‘production’ for my internship – ‘long hours, no sleep and constant work’. I am aware that the way I work may not be ideal for me to be interning at a production company but I just believed and I still believe that there are more ways than one to get things done. However, being at the bottom of the hierarchy, I totally understand that I can’t have things my way. So, at the end of the day, if this is really what I want to do, I promise you that I will put in the work and slowly but surely climb up that damn ladder.

“My fear of heights won’t stop me from climbing the ladder of success.”

Until next time,

PEACE OUT.

“Okay the only way I can describe it is…

“Okay the only way I can describe it is… It’s like I am walking through a forest… the whole time. And for the most part, it’s fine, it can be beautiful, peaceful even but you always know that at some point, you are going to come across these parts of the forest that we don’t recognise – dark corners that you didn’t know were there but well you always kinda knew they were coming. Does that make sense? And that’s when the world gets scary and that’s when you can lose your way. But because I’ve got great mates and people who make me strong and remind me that well even when I hit those dark parts of the forest that I’ve just gotta keep walking. Just keep walking and I’ll be okay… I’ll be scared… But I’ll be okay.”

– Rachel Earl (My Mad Fat Diary)

With literally just a week left before this school semester comes to end, I am having mixed feelings. This semester, just like any other semester, has had its ups and downs but what makes this semester different is that it would be the last semester spent in school. I guess I’m just anxious about what comes next. There is a lot of uncertainty. I knew that the time would come eventually but there has always been a buffer period which has been getting shorter and shorter, every time I think about this chapter ending.

I know change can be a good thing. It keeps things fresh and exciting. However, it has always been difficult for me to deal with and accept change even though I’ve experienced it plenty of times. But like Rachel Earl said, “I’ll be scared… But I’ll be okay.”