Friday, October 28, 2016

Halfway Mark

It’s that time again, sigh. No, no, don’t get me wrong. I’m not whinging about the exams. With the completion of the final test for Indo-Pacific Foreign Policy, this signals the end of my sophomore year. It means that I’ve endured half the battle, which hints that I need to hibernate to regain the mental and emotional energy that was lost in the process.

Don’t judge; I’m crawling my way through the Administrative Law revision and the fact that I barely understood the first 3 weeks ain’t helping me either.

Freshman year was alright; it was fun and games while I struggled to find my footing in law school. When I voiced my desire to pursue a degree in liberal or creative arts, my relatives continuously expressed their disapproval with the number one question being whether I’m able to secure a job uin the field of my choice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m alright with reading law. The part that bugs me is the feeling that I didn’t receive my fair share of the pie. No one in my family is a law graduate, so I never knew the pros and cons of law school until I landed head first in a pool of… sharks.

Oh, boy, did I just write that?!

Did I just compare all of the law students to sharks? *facepalm*

The idea of doing law may resonate with some students, but let me tell you that you’ll have to think thrice about boarding this ship. I’m speaking from my personal experience here and as everyone’s experience in law school is different, feel free to disagree with me. It’s a dog-eat-dog place where you’ve to be cautious of everyone around you. Things will be murkier when you’re an international students who is unaware of the presence of the elites. To be honest, I never expected that I’ll run into kids from private schools. I was already under so much personal and academic pressure that it was tough to deal with them. It took me an entire semester and the winter flight home before I could handle it. But hey, at least I found myself a couple of good friends along the way to smoothen the creases that crept up in my academic journey. One of them is graduating next semester and I’m not sure how I’d react when we see each other in person for the last time at the ceremony. One thing’s for sure; I’ll have to convince myself to maintain a happy smile and to instead send him off with a hug and my best wishes.

Thank you (you know who you are, lol) for allowing me to stumble upon this song. It is a good motivational song for me because it reminds me to bite the tree bark in persistence. Life may throw crazy lemons and expose you to stinky people, but, at the end, success will be waiting to greet you with a truthful embrace.

Monday, October 24, 2016


I’m not sure what to take from the dream because this has never occurred in real life. I'm not sure if it's me or not, but, after stewing on it for a while, I noticed that the dream has a slight flavor of love. Oops!

Maybe you, my readers, can help to give me some inputs as to what this dream is attempting to tell me.

I dreamt that my History mate and I arranged to meet up somewhere before we joined the bigger group waiting at the restaurant. It was his first time in the town, so I volunteered to bring him over to the final destination. He broke into a wide grin when he saw me walking towards me and we exchanged a long hug. It was in the middle of a public place, but it was neither in Adelaide nor in Darwin, where he is located at now. It was somewhere that I don’t recognize in real life. He dragged me by the wrist when we saw salespeople in the distance and insisted that we head to our final destination through another route. The bunch of other colleges mates were elated to greet him too. When we made ourselves comfortable at the table and I retrieved my diary to record our next hangout, one of the mates complimented on it and asked where I purchased it from. So, I told them that it was gifted by one of my former lecturers for my birthday.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Memorable Songs - Part 1

After almost three years, I still can remember the events attached to this song. Someone dragged me to the back of the Mac Lab during our mutual break and made me listen to this song. It was his favourite song and he used to continuously listen to this. He totally forgot that he left his MacBook Pro in the room and messaged me with panic in the evening when he couldn't find it in his backpack. Since my History class was in the first period, I threw my bag in the room and rushed to Mac Lab. The laptop was still safe. He treated me to lunch at the nearby cafe to thank me for my efforts (?).

Ah, the first time I was exposed to this song was during HUO 11, where the lyrics connected with me emotionally. Tears welled up in my eyes to the point where I was silently sobbing, embarrassing myself in front of my group of friends. My History mate caught wind of it (I think he heard me sniffling and saw me swiping at my eyes) and silently offered the entire packet of tissue papers to me. As if I wasn't insane enough, this song accompanied me on the Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Perth.

I usually avoid listening to this song because I'll be still caught up emotionally.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Life goes on

Before I start today’s post, I’ll have to extend my thanks to all of the law students who emerged from their hiding places to cast their ballots for the recent LSS elections. Regardless of the candidates you’ve chosen, you knew that to get your voice across the table to the representatives, you had to vote. This is an important principle of democracy.

To my campaigners and fellow candidates, it’s been an awesome time working with all of you! Although we weren’t accorded the opportunity to bring our plans to fruition and celebrate our success with a bang, I’m sure we’ll be able to cross paths or even catch up with each other somehow.

To the winning team, congratulations on your success! It’s been a hard-won fight. I wish you all the best in making law school better - not only for studies, but also a place where students can bask in each other’s company in between tutes.

Now that the elections are done and dusted, it’s time to focus on the exam revision for Administrative Law and complete the essays that I’ve left on the backburner. Let me tell you, concurrently juggling between 3 different citation methods ain’t fun. Maybe I’ll give you the context so that you’ll be able to get the drift: I almost cited a sentence from my World History textbook for my Canadian Law essay in the APA format when it should be in footnotes.

“To accomplish much you must first lose everything - Che Guevara”

It was during our hourly break that my eyes landed on this quote hanging from a portrait outside our tutorial room. I was instantly attracted to it because it spoke volumes. Not to mention, success always come with a sacrifice - whether at an emotional or psychological level. An example of this could be the pursuance of studies abroad. I’m not going to name names. I know a former friend who desired to stay back in the home country to study, but the family insisted that he fly half a world away to pursue his degree. Another example would be arriving at the decision to do something (read: opting to swap arts electives for Criminal Law) at the expense of something else (read: the expedience of more stress).

Can I say that Che Guevara’s words can be applied to our campaign team’s defeat? Yes and no. It’s not that we didn’t play hard - heck, one of us even went to extreme lengths to introduce the dinosaur mascot under the baking sun. If it hadn’t been for the wind and extreme heat, trust me, I’d have lost the hoodie and turn up in a shorter dress… with full make-up. It’s a fact that we need to learn from the mistakes we made and approach the campaign, should all of us are interested in participating next year, from a different viewpoint. I admit, we definitely failed to engage the students and understanding their thinking and what they desire during their time in law, even if it means compromising on some policies. Most law students are enthusiastic about the after exam parties or the exquisite Law Ball, but we could’ve factored in those students (like myself) who wouldn’t willingly attend those events. Kinda ironic, huh? I campaigned for the Activities Representatives and love planning activities (such as Law Ball) yet would never be present in all of the events, lol.

Most of my friends - and some in law school - were disappointed that we didn’t win because they know what I’ll be able to bring to the table. Here’s the catch; my position on the hierarchy wouldn’t allow me to succeed based on popularity alone. To add salt to my little wound, it’s more of the connection and less on the policies that will secure the votes. I guess that answered my nonchalence towards the defeat. I arrived for the 2nd day of campaigning with the weird feeling that we better be prepared for our loss, but what I didn’t expect was the large difference in tallies.

Hey, there’s always next year - if I’m in the physical and emotional state to have a second shot at campaign again.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


“This is it.”

Those were the three words that she sighed into the air when she arrived at the heartbreaking decision to do it. It didn’t shatter her heart as much as she thought it would, but, even in the back of her mind, she knew that it’ll threaten to derail everything that she arduously worked for. With a stone heart, she signed the papers and began laying the foundations for a new life. The decision couldn’t have arrived at a better timing - two years ago, it would’ve pained her to accept such a proposition. Two years later, she’s now a grown child with her own mind and capable of making her own decisions. It didn’t help that she was at the stage where she wanted to throw in the towel.

She slipped into the queue of fellow passengers at the boarding gate after the preliminary process of checking in and clearing customs were completed without a hitch. She fiddled through the contents of her backpack and found the item she was after: a laminated A5 photograph of the three good friends standing in front of the decorated Christmas tree at Forrest Chase in Perth with cheeky faces.

I know you guys will kill me when you learn of my plans, she thought as she recollected the memories made from their group vacation interstate, but it’s for the better. You’ll learn to appreciate each other in my absence. The truth is, I’m tired of hiding behind this smiley facade.

She knew that she should’ve discussed with them about her plans to transfer the remaining years of her degree to Perth if she honestly regarded them as family, but she reminded herself why she engaged in such a risky move. It wasn’t because of any ex-boyfriends or stalkers that led to the desire to start afresh in another place, a place that was familiar yet foreign. It was these two, the friends whom she came to appreciate and adore during her time on campus. The spark, which threatened to burn brighter than a campfire, will embroil them in an awkward and messy situation that could possibly lead to cracks in their friendship. Her departure signaled the best option for not only herself, but for them both.

Tears stung her eyes when she read the handwritten message at the back of the A5 photograph.

Two sugar canes, one potato.

“I’m the potato because I look like one. You two are sugar canes because you are lean and lanky,” was the explanation given. It made sense to her; while the girl had a well-proportionate figure, she and their good friend could do well with a couple more pounds added to their frame.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Replacing FOMO with GOMO

I was approached by Eventbrite not too long ago to help contribute a post on the dangers of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and how GOMO (Getting Out More Often) should instead be encouraged. FOMO is defined as the action of compulsively checking for updates and messages for the fear of missing out on the juicy details from your friends. As a young millennial who struggles to maintain the perfect balance between academia and personal life, like everyone else, I’m familiar with the first-hand experience of FOMO. I’m one of those people who will fight tooth and nail to remain indoors in the residence, but will, more often than not, be compulsively hooked to social media for updates. It’s a slight overstatement for me because I don’t leave my social media accounts open 24/7 a day, waiting to be the first one in the know, but I’m sure you get the drift?

Now that I’m no longer that young (don’t let my facial features fool you, I’m actually older than I look), I realized that the degree of GOMO will change with age. Why not jump at the opportunity to GOMO and experience life while I still have the opportunity to do so and balance the stress spanning from the degree I’m pursuing (yes, it’s capable of inciting mental harm if I’m not careful).

The message of this post is to replace the FOMO with the habit of GOMO (within financial limits, obviously!). There are wonderful benefits in GOMO while treating yourself with your hard-earned cash on memorable experiences. Believe me when I say that there’s more to life than being attached to your phone screen or the social media accounts.

First and foremost, you only live once

Instead of spending most of your free time to Netflix and chill, why don’t you embark on an adventure around your suburb? Maybe check out that newly-opened cafe that you’ve been longing to patronize but never had the time to do so? Or, maybe, donate to the fundraising events organized by charitable organizations and concurrently volunteer with them. No amount of words can describe the satisfaction of volunteering as it allows you to understand life from a different perspective.

Attend music festivals/concerts

Do nothing but eat, live, and breathe the ambience. There’s nothing more satisfying than to exit the auditorium on an all-time musical high. It cleanses your emotional wellbeing and accords a better mood.

Take a well-deserved vacation

After giving it your all in your studies or career, it is undeniable that your mind, body, and soul will need a break from all the earthly stress. There are many ways that you can plan a vacation within your financial budget. You can save up for a luxurious holiday (that should include a spa therapy) interstate or abroad or a quick getaway in your city, discovering the hidden gems that you never knew existed.

If you’re heading for a holiday abroad, it may make the trip much more memorable because you are exposed to the local culture and way of life.

Hope the above tips will help you to eradicate FOMO or at least lower its intervals in your life! It’s not an exhaustive list; it’s just enough to get your juices flowing - and you’re more than welcome to come up with your own list. If you need help finding cool events in your area, you can use sites like Eventbrite to find and create your own events to help make your own list!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Let's pick up the pieces and continue with the journey

You’d be forgiven for thinking that I left all of the work on the backburner to enjoy myself during the break. While I originally intended to balance the backdated readings with movie nights, it didn’t come to fruition because I fell under the weather right after I returned from a little getaway up north. It threw every other plan I had out of the window as I was in bed, nursing a fever, sore throat and back aches - yet I felt well enough for grocery shopping and the weekly obligations. I’ll chalk it up to the lower temperatures combined with the exacerbation of sleep deprivation due to various factors, one of which is assignments.

Taken in Fancy Burger, Synagogue Place, Adelaide

I can’t complain much because I have a bucket load of matters to deal with now. With the exam schedule comes the gaping truth that all of my final assignments are due in the same week as my Administrative Law exam (yes, you read that right!)

Talk about the timing!

On the bright side, my holiday starts at least two weeks earlier than my legal peers. I don’t mean to gloat or shove it down anyone’s throat, but I want to keep an open mind about it to calm the anxious nerves. Administrative Law has loads of legislation to understand and stew over it… and truth be told, I’ll have to start the revision and practice as soon as I complete the draft for my Indo-Pacific Foreign Policy final essay - or I’ll be screwed big time.

So yeah, summer break will be the time when I’ll truly allow my body to slide into hibernation mode to recover abroad - where it’ll be easier and tougher to contact me. I mean, chances of me leaving most of the social media accounts on hiatus are highly likely due to some undisclosed reasons.

No one likes being in bed the entire day; it doesn’t matter if you’re under the weather or not. I remember purchasing “The Best of Me” from the bookstore a couple of years ago and my heart ached after reading it. It was as if Fate had other plans and boy, it did. Amanda was dealt a second blow without any advance warning after not being afforded the chance to carve her own path at life.

You’ll have to watch the movie to understand my inference, but I must emphasize on the difference between the film adaptation and the book at the end. In the film, Amanda was on the phone with her son while at work, whereas in the book, the mother and son were back home, debating whether to file the medical application to investigate the shocking news.

What struck a chord with me was Amanda’s confession that “I had so many plans and I don’t know what happened” (44:15). The reader response lens drew the relevance to Amanda because I’ve asked myself this - from time to time. The original path that I envisioned myself on when I was in Grade 1 included a double degree (Law and Creative Writing). It slightly changed when I started high school with the inclusion of a postgraduate in either field. Shortly after I enrolled in college and embarked on the university preparations, I dropped the idea of doing a double degree because I knew that the stress will shorten my life before graduation and left the option of postgraduate at Fate’s hands.

Oh, the rest of October will definitely test my patience and endurance. How am I to complete all three assignments in one piece and still survive the 2.5 hours exam on the last day of that week?
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