2015 started off alright, but it did not end with a bang for me.
Now that 2016 has made its grand entrance, I honestly hope that it'll be a better year for me - academically, emotionally and physically.
It was mostly recipes that I experimented with before the flight out from KL. Due to some family matters, my time in the blogosphere was limited, hence the sudden shortage of blog post.
I don't know what influenced me to arrive two weeks earlier in Adelaide than the fellow international peers, but here I am, in the residence, thinking what I'm going to do until orientation time. Since I had the excess time in my hands, I embarked on a couple of food reviews here in Adelaide while discovering the favorite joints to hang out in.
Chinese New Year arrived and passed without any thought, even though it landed in the middle of my orientation. I know a lot of my friends were scowling that this is the first time they had to celebrate CNY away from their families, but the prospect of that has never affected me.
It's not due to my religion that I no longer celebrate the festive season; it's just that I outgrew the whole celebration.
And I'm quite happy with that decision.
It was my first day as a freshman. I was not nervous, but I certainly wasn't ecstatic either. I've trained myself since CPU to keep an open heart and mind towards the academic environment around me. Plus, I just wanted to remain low under the radar and focus on the important matters (having a healthy balance between life, friendship and studies).
It was encouraged but not compulsory for us, the newbies, to attend the introductory lecture for Foundations of Law. I'm glad that I attended it because I was able to meet the lecturers (a shoutout to Adam, Alex and Matthew!) who would be guiding us for our first year.
While I slowly weaved through campus life and started to gain ground, the caffeine habit that I thought I kicked after college graduation returned. There were multiple occasions when I was drinking flat white at 9 am (Contracts seminar) and cappuccino at 1 pm (Contracts lecture) on Wednesdays.
To make matters worse, I had to tackle being homesick and emotionally drained at the same time.
I don't remember living a life during this month. It was such a fuzzy period that I struggled with completing the contracts assignment during the autumn break.
There's a month plus before exams. As my friend remarked, time really flies. On one hand, we're attending O-Week and now, we're being propelled to face the finals in confusion. I guess you could say that we were used to CPU's grading system, lol.
I wasn't too elated when the examination timetable was resulted. Sure, I should thank my stars that I didn't have to sit in the exam venue for torts (the reason was later explained by my tutor), but the idea of pulling an all-nighter was a little too much to handle. The only other time when I had to work late into the night was due to the script preparation and memorization for the English & Drama Festival (and that was by choice).
Winter began to roll around, snagging with it the sunshine. I wasn't too sure if the emotions I felt were a direct result of that - or if I was really turning insane with the workload.
No matter how much we wanted to avoid sitting for the exams, we couldn't. The only way of getting around it was to deal with it. *sighs*
Something must be wrong if I was super excited over the torts exam, contrary to my previous feelings. As if that wasn't insane enough, the second exam was an early morning one. I wasn't fully prepared for the paper, but I just wanted it to be done with. (I pity my tutor if he was the one who marked my exam paper. I wasn't fully prepared to tackle the questions and I'm sure it didn't sound coherent to him too.)
The last exam was in the afternoon and because it was the wintry season, the sun couldn't wait for us to complete the paper before saying adieu. Contracts was such a struggle that I didn't have much time to rest the aching fingers from tightly gripping the pen. Two parts with five sub-questions in 3 hours will definitely not fetch perfect results from me. I didn't have the extra time to review my answers for any last-minute correction. It was like, it was game over at exactly the moment I wrote a full stop.
It was an opportunity to catch up with those closest to me and the adult friends too. As this post hinted, those who have been with you through thick and thin are the ones to keep for life.
Just as when I thought that I could attain the missing pieces of me from those places, the plan backfired. I was more miserable than I expected.
The places that I visited coincidentally held the memories that I did not want to face, but somewhere in my subconscious, I was also aware that I cannot avoid it forever. Had I known that it will land me in this emotional mess, I should have forced myself not to associate the bittersweet memories there.
And because we're all camera shy, the pictures are edited to mask/protect (depending on how you look at it) our true identities.
These are the only two pictures - even after being filtered - that I dare to upload online.
I remember being somewhere on the North South Expressway en-route to Johor Bahru, taking a coffee break with an acquaintance when I stumbled upon the exam results online (and to my bestie's countless messages about it). I was heavily upset with myself as I could've attained a higher score for foundations, but why wouldn't my brain cooperate with my heart to accomplish that?
The beginning of second semester started off alright, I reckon? I was satisfied - for once - with my schedule as it was not as taxing physically, but it involved a climbing eyesight.
As the weight of the three courses crept up on me, that's when my health nearly took a beating. The warning signs were there (loss of appetite, emotional and physical exhaustion, intense stress), but I shrugged it aside and did not deal with it. Things didn't get better either. The caffeine habit became worse as I began replacing lunch with at least a regular cup of coffee.
I can almost hear someone saying, wah, orang ni nak cari pasal ke? (Translation: wow, is this person looking for trouble?)
It was time for the spring break, but it was not all fun and games for me. Although it didn't leave me with much of a break, I'm grateful that we - Group 13 - used it to seal the loose ends spanning from the case log.
In addition to that, I had to concurrently tackle an International Law comparison essay on Senkaku Island/Diaoyu Island. I'm rather relieved that the lecturer chose this topic (instead of the South China Sea dispute between China and the rest of the Asian countries over the ownership of the little island).
Learning from the mistakes committed with Law and English, I worked late to ensure that there was an equal contribution to both International Law and Property Law.
It was a crazy month indeed.
There were three assignments moving at the same pace, and I'm unsure how my bestie and I even survived the intensity. The case log wasn't much of a worry as we were nearing the end, but unlike me, I left the final details to another group mate to handle. Basing off the past experiences with Husky and Carol, I knew what would happen if I didn't let someone else take charge of the formatting and arrangement.
Now that I look back, tackling the research essay was a major obstacle because of the time factor and topic familiarity. Then again, we weren't familiar with the other three choices either. As if that didn't break us emotionally and mentally, greeting us after the completion was the simulation.
I swear, I almost banged the wall in anger and misery. I don't like the idea of having one assignment after another, but I am in no place to vent about it.
Didn't I face a similar situation with History and World Issues where both assignments were due at around the same time?
Inasmuch as I was not looking forward to another round of exams, it's a must if I want to move on and eventually graduate from university. I almost blew up for the property law take home exam, and I'm still surprised that I didn't get a minimum pass (50%) for it.
No, I didn't have much of the confidence to attain a credit either.
As for the last exam, which was public law, I almost threw in the towel, but had to force myself to relax and remain calm. (I eventually discovered the reason behind the pre-exam jitters later that night, dayum.) I remember being shocked when I saw the final grade: I was 2% away from achieving a bare credit! Like, really?!
I knew I was answering on autopilot as I do not remember anything from the paper... and tried to avoid talking about it with course mates.
I was ready to vacate the exam venue after that. I didn't care if my friends were waiting for me; I needed to be alone on the ride out to convince myself that I did my best amidst the silly/stupid mistakes committed.
As our flights were a fortnight later, we ended up organizing a farewell ice cream session in a gelato shop near campus. I figured that it'd be for a long while before we would meet up again; we were flying out and returning to Adelaide at different dates. I didn't mind meeting up after the summer holidays, but I guess my bestie had other plans up her sleeves.
When my course mate later sighed that he feared that he didn't do as well as he hoped for during our farewell ice cream session, I had to will myself from shaking and letting the fear/nerves reveal itself. Or even worse, tear up over my mistakes.
You'd think that I enjoyed my time home, but as the results day was after my birthday, I didn't have the heart to celebrate the end of my freshman year.
Yet, when the special day rolled around, I did something that would leave Papa Carrie shaking his head and Mama Carrie rolling her eyes. Our friend was shocked of my antics too, and let's just say that it was a great time (that we almost went for seconds) amidst the travel hiccups from the seafood village.
I'm sure the mens rea and actus rea must have fled the building when I purchased the flight tickets to Brisbane. Who in their right frame of mind would leave for another holiday a day after a night flight?
I guess only me?
I wasn't even able to run that many errands as I wished. The reason boils down to me sleeping for 13 hours on the night of my arrival in Adelaide (and woke up at almost noon the next day). Anyway, it's a lesson learnt.
The Brisbane trip didn't do much to soothe my emotions either. In fact, I didn't want to be involved in the festive spirit of Christmas (although I intended to visit Southbank for the decorations). As someone who's a regular Churchgoer, it is not a good sign (and I'm sure the parish priest will be shaking his head with horror and worry).
A close friend from Taylor's - though from a different matriculation program; I'm from the Canadian side and she's from the Australian side - flew in from Melbourne to visit me over the Christmas and New Year break.