Archive | December, 2010

my new life plan

8 Dec

Here it is, I am publicly “announcing” my temporary departure/derailing from the 19 hectic years of schooling. Let’s be honest, this is a freakishly long period to belong to one type of institution (although many different schools…), and this is a much needed break anyhow.

I will be doing an internship in Hanoi, Vietnam with UNICEF from January until April, and I’ll think about what I will proceed to after that soon. I am almost childishly excited about this opportunity. I first thought about doing this not-so-typical thing (for me) at the beginning of my grad school life. I had a very difficult time due to many different things, but mainly because of the overwhelming feeling of “burnout.” I woke up every morning feeling like someone was choking me and did school work like a machine part that has to operate every day without any particular reason or purpose, only knowing that this whole “thing” about life system may fail once I stop in order to think about what I was doing. I was devastated about who I was becoming of.

I simply needed the reason why I had to do this. After all, it was my decision to continue my education, and it was my life that I had to make choices. But what was that thing about choice when I was afraid to get out of the privilege of being part of a “good kids’ institution,” like, studying hard, getting good grades, going to a good university… basically obtaining acknowledgments on my “talents” of being able to please others? I needed my reason that didn’t involve such superficial elements that don’t do too much good for my mental health.

So I decided to stop for a while, with one semester, 3 classes and 1 “thesis” work to do in graduate school. Many people have said, “why don’t you just suck it up and graduate?” Yes, they may have been right, but the thing is that I wanted to do something that consists of entirely my decision regardless of what other people say. And I did.

Some people have asked me how I feel about it. Do I feel uncertainty? Do I feel afraid at all? To be very honest, I feel a little bit of every human emotion.  This feels more like my snorkeling experience last week, to be exact. I went to Phuket with my friend Ambar, and during our tour, I got to do snorkeling which basically drops you in the middle of the sea with the goggle set and a life vest. I am terrified of water, not to mention being left alone. So I got some help of a tube and a guy who is a helper on the boat. At first I didn’t even know how to breathe so I got to drink awful amount of the sea water. The goggles weren’t adjusted well so the water kept coming into my nose plug thing. The inner surface of the goggle was fogged up a little so I couldn’t see much, although I was too busy to float on the sea rather than looking into the beautiful ocean.

But after I got used to the water flow and breathing method, adjusted the goggles and cleared the fogs, I tried to swim and look into the ocean. I got to see something that was so beautiful that I probably won’t be able to see if I only feared that the water will get me and I won’t be able to survive. Although still hanging on to the tube and the guy leading me, I actually got to see what is there under the water, on the other side of the world that I had feared so much about. At some point, I was let go (ok, still holding the tube but no helper), but I still swam my way back to the boat, still enjoying the way water felt on my body and the view that was so incredible and can’t be described in my simple words. Of course, I’m still scared of water, but I had a moment where I thought I could be friends with it.

It’s the same with my new life journey, I suppose. I’m a bit scared about it, always scared of the unpredicted and the different and the loneliness that always comes along with it, but once I try to break the wall that is mostly established by my self-protective mental mechanism, I think the barrier is only half as big and I will be a much better, content, different person, peeking into the other side of my life on how it could be so much more beautiful, harder, challenging and fulfilling. I think I can become friends with the unknown, because that is what will make my life a stronger soil for a better me.

I may be making it sound like a grand journey, but I had to get my thought process through, and after all, this was a big decision for me :). So why won’t you celebrate this with me, wherever you are, my friends!