September 15, 2014

Things I Realized Are True Just After Graduate School


If you know me personally, there were times where I could be a tad too stoic and not flexible. Not with others usually, but more on myself. I'm also less of a risk taker, a trait which I still have problem to get rid of even up to today. Because of my lack of 'gut', there were times it made me lose out on something important. I still remembers the time just after SPM and I was very confused about the selection of program that I want to apply.

Being a product of a 'science-stream' boarding school, I never even considered career path outside of that route. I find spending my whole five years of 'youth' away from home will be such a waste if I choose something that is completely unrelated to my field of study.

Little did I know how wrong I was at the time.

Although I've always known that I have a strong interest in subjects like History and Languages, at that time I find it absolutely nonsensical for me to apply for courses related to that area. It's like I've been pre-programmed by the people around me that the only well paying job in this world are something that at least have Biology, Chemistry or Physics as the core.

 Therefore, in my college application form, I only applied for Science related programs.
Because of that, despite getting a fairly good result (no C's and below) in SPM, I failed to get to any Science related course. The funny thing was I didn't even get any offers even to other courses than one I applied. 

In the end, my only option was to enroll into Matriculation program. And oh dear, I was absolutely oblivious to how much this program shattered my confidence in study. My friends who received similar SPM result with mine were off in 'better place' like doing IB or A-Level preparation programs. Some who were a bit more clever has already picked their path, doing programs that they love despite have nothing to do in our original science stream. Some did art courses, some took language courses.

Matriculation is a very promising place to those who want a second chance of pursuing studies in Science. For example, if your future plans have one of these career in mind (eg: doctors, veterinars, biologist, pharmacist).
 Matriculation program will definitely help you.

Unless you're like me. 

Although I love Biology (or any subject that requires memorizing), I always have problems to understand technical stuffs like Mathematics or Physics (sometimes Chemistry). And you have no idea how hard the Mathematics were in Matriculation for me. That doesn't help with my perfectionist personality. I tend to feel down when I don't perform well in one area, and that ultimately makes it worse since it made me unable to focus even on my 'good' subject.
(I have no comment over the Accountancy program since I have no experience with it.)

A bad or even 'so-so' Matriculation result definitely affect my degree application. Although I've realized that Science stream is not my best forte anymore, but because of my Matriculation result, I can't even choose to pursue Law or even English. I blame it on my stupidity (or probably naivety) of refusing to apply for them in the first place right after SPM despite my best friend's suggestion. I guess she knows me better than myself on that time. If I did follow her advice, my SPM result was more than enough to give me a chance.

But I didn't.
And well, let just assume it all becomes ancient history.

 In the end, I still have to choose Science related course because seriously, I had no idea what other courses provided in the choice list are about. I mean I might know something like 'Multimedia Computing' or 'Mass Communication' or 'TESL' but there was no way I would know about 'Professional English' or 'Sains Gunaan'.
Let's be honest, unless you have someone you know who actually took the course, it'll be quite hard to find out what kind of job does these courses offer after we finished the degree.

 Although the offer I got for my degree major is something I choose (probably the last or second last choice), it's still wasn't completely based on what I love. I choose them because they have a more promising job opening. Even though my degree wasn't completely hellish, but it wasn't all sweet either. I was struggling to catch up with those who took Diploma, along with the fact how 'manly' the course was to me. It was definitely full of technical things which is up until now my biggest Achilles heels. Seriously guys, if I have one advice to offer if you actually have something in your mind that you want to pursue which not exactly falls in Biology, Physics, Mathematics or Chemistry; getting a Diploma first is not a bad thing at all. You could at least learn all the basic first, and won't be as clueless as I was.

Most of the lecturers assumed that we already learned all the basic terms in Diploma so there won't be time to explain them all over again. I remembered how we were struggling to understand about the 'OSI Layers' and stuffs as we tried to catch up on the explanation in front. I'm not trying to complain but taking the Diploma on first hand definitely gives a few head start for you. (I'm saying this based on my experience taking degree in Computer Science areas).

Well, those were my experience, and in my case, some of the setback leads to another setback, and in the end shattered my own confidence about my own ability. And that was my poison.

 After a fairly good performance in school, a few mistakes due to lack of guidance during choosing my course and probably adult's opinion, I ended up under performed. I won't even start on how much that affect my health and how much stress I was under. 


Fortunately, even with all those ups and lots of downs, I actually managed to finish up my Degree in Data Communication and Networking, and now just waiting to graduate. To be honest, I'm not really looking forward to it either because deep deep down I know that I'm still not satisfied with my own performance. 

The only upside of all the major downs I've faced, is that the internship that I did to complete my degree actually makes me to gain back a bit of self-confidence. Lucky me, I did programming as intern rather than my major, and I was able to perform well. So despite to fully enjoy my post degree freedom, I'm now stuck doing programming in the same company I did my internship (not that I'm complaining though).

But, I'm still wondering if this area really is for me because occasionally there were times where all I wanted to do is to sit down in front of my laptop and starts writing, not codes but real stories, thoughts and ideas.

cr: chibird tumblr

 And since I'm still on a crossroad of choosing either to grit my teeth and continue this path I'm taking now or to just take a risk and start doing something I actually love, I have a few thing on my mind that I would love to share to you so that maybe I can be of help to some.

It's actually the things I realized are true just after graduate school.


1. Choose Passion Over Trends.

At the age of 7-12, I'm pretty sure all the jobs we had ever considered range between doctors, policeman, firefighters, scientists or lawyers. Then in high school, the choices are mostly the same with a bit more specialization like Surgeon, Pharmacist, Biologist etc. And most Malaysians tends to think that the only (or most probably) culturally respected and monetarily worthy job it is either to be a doctor. Being brain washed since like forever from literally everyone, it was a huge disappointment to me when I found that my result wasn't up to par enough to apply for Medic school because well, I wasn't a straight A's student. Little that my 17 years old self knows how many other openings there were for me if I was to rely just on my SPM result. That not being able to apply for Medic school is not the end of the world. I should've realized how much I love History and go to apply for Law School instead, or that how much I love language that I should apply for one of those language programs.



2. CGPA is NOT EVERYTHING, but It's Still Something.

Yes, it's kind of confusing but this is what I realized. I was very down when I think about how bad my pointer was. Although it wasn't low enough to get me kicked out of school or bad enough to force me take special camp for low achievers, I'm still mad at myself over how much effort I gave versus how well I ended up doing every time. I was too focused on others achievement that I forgot that the only person I should be comparing to is myself. Am I good enough this time? Have I done it slightly better that previously? I also should've known that pointers alone is not enough to give me a promising job. What good would it do if you only did well on paper and theory but can't do the real thing? But at the same time, you'll only get the job opportunity if your resume is attractive enough on job hunters. Like me, you have no idea how bad I was on my programming paper that it came as a shock even to myself that I was able to handle programming when I was an intern. It gave me a new perspective and thought me to not underestimate myself because life is full of surprises, and probably has more if I have good grades. 


3. Don't Let Your Peers Achievement Makes You Feel Down

Your parent is probably one of the reason you feel the need to compare yourself to others. Everyone is unique and their journey in life is not the same. You might cross path once in awhile, but to completely compare your own achievement with others is not very wise especially to your self-esteem. A healthy competition is fine, but if it starts to make you feel worthless , it's better to stop immediately. One of social cause of depression relates to your interpersonal relation to others, and comparing yourself with others without a strong base is a dangerous thing to do. So what if your friends have better job? What we see are just a fragment of someone's life. We'll never see everything underneath so why bother making ourselves feel so down? To be honest, this is one thing that even I have problem controlling until now. It's not easy to not compare yourself to others even when the more you obsessed on that, the more it becomes bad on you.


4. Find Things You Love About Yourself

Based on my readings here and there, the best way to boost your self esteem and confidence is to find thing that you love about yourself. Just like how harmful it can be to compare yourself to others in negative way and makes your self feel like such a let down, doing the opposite actually gives positive effect. Not to boast, but by finding every little thing that you love about yourself that others might not have, not only boost your confidence, it actually promotes a healthy mental health.
  I'm actually focusing on self confidence and self esteem because it's actually play a key role in not just interviews, but also in your daily life. (Not that I'm always confident all the time, but I tried my best) .


5. Be a Risk Taker

If you have something in your mind that you want to pursue, that's not just a 'in the moment of recklessness' thing but still need you to take a risk, and it's something you love. I say, take it. Because all I know that its better to choose to do something you undoubtedly love but have to face some risk with it rather than sticking to something 'safe' but eventually you'll end up hating. Because to be honest that is an even greater risk. Really, I know it because I've faced it.


cr: fitisheaven


You see, I hear about all of the things above all the time, but I never cared enough to listen. I can't understand why by not comparing yourself to others might actually help you grows better. I've had such a competitive life in boarding school that I haven't got the chance to learn that slow learner or even slow achiever is not actually slow, but rather, they have the pace of their own. On the other hand, a bit of competition once in a while and in moderation is still very important so we never forget our goal.
 

Some might not believe how much I was struggling during my Degree life, and how that still affect some of my future plan, like getting a Master Degree with my 'so-so' CGPA. But I believe I'll find my own path someday.

And because I also believe that we are all different individuals that will find our limelight, sooner or later.  

Till next post, toodles~! ♥ใƒŸ

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