2017 in review

photo_2017-12-15_14-34-57The journey
In January I discovered I could draw watercolour stuff. That sparked a journey of art, and commissions. I realised art was a way of expression and de-stressing and thus #distressdoodles developed. As it grew, so did my confidence in my own art.
The semester had great modules, I enjoyed particularly History of Film and Renaissance. I found joy in learning, especially in History of Film. As someone not accustomed to movie watching, it seemed like a strange thing to watch all 18 Marvel movies for a paper and in the end writing on something that was not part of the whole deal, Doctor Strange. The module gave me new perspectives to research on and also made me a Marvel fan, going deep down into places where I’d never ever have gone. At the same time, Renaissance brought me back to interesting places in the past, where I found developing a certain liking to Andrew Marvell and Christopher Marlowe. It was interesting. The GEM I did sent me to DC Universe where the presentation on Arrow allowed me to watch multiple seasons of it (heh), and even Visual Culture sent me to ArtScience Museum to figure out technology and art and write about space and time. Gilby’s 2201 gave me a certain foundation in doing the things I liked, Greek mythology and Genesis/John were familiar and yet new places for exploration and understanding. I spent so much time in research in all the places I found myself satisfied and contented in. I realised I didn’t want the semester to end.
My 21st was a happy and special time where I met friends who I hadn’t seen in a while, it was a day of warm hugs and smiles and laughter. I’m always thankful for those who made it possible, the RMJ gang who went extra miles for me and my family. I pushed it up a month earlier than my actual because it was the people that mattered, not so much the date.
Work came next over the summer and it was trying for me mentally. I used photography to cope with the pain and struggles that came my way as I faced old demons and also discovered new ways to help myself instead of always relying on people to pull me out of my down state. I also figured out what I liked and what I did not like, what I liked in work environments and what I did not like. I was forced to do certain things outside my comfort zone that tested my resilience and I’m thankful to God for grace. I wouldn’t have made it through without that. I’d like to thank God also for the people who made things easier when I found things hard, for those who were bros, for making me believe in loyalty, sincerity and love again. Thank you also for those in church who taught me how to survive this period and for aunty Reb who brought me around town to eat, who accompanied me when I was a scared little child.

July was the wildest month of the year. Bayern came to Singapore, I had multiple camps, Commencement 2017 and FASS Guardians. Bayern’s trip to Singapore was one heck of a week, it was crazy, I slept minimally but I had such a blast. I think those experiences couldn’t be captured with photos, watching them live for the first time in 11 years, meeting with friends and those who also were on the same side, as well as meeting the players and legends themselves. That was really amazing. I felt like I went to Munich.

Commencement 2017 was bittersweet, I watched a whole batch of seniors that impacted my life so deeply, graduate and move on to the working world. I felt sad that they were leaving but happy that they made it out of the system finally on to paths and to things that they were happy in. Adulting is never easy and as the year continued and as the struggles continued, I’m thankful they are friends because I could be a part of their journeys and being able to be there for them sometimes made me really glad.
August opened a new semester and a new mini chapter in the book of uni life. Joining boxing and kayaking was physically and mentally a challenge for me. I started year 2 with the goal of serving and year 3 was to hand over. Looking over, I regret nothing. These two comms brought joy, and heartwarming feelings. I think it was just a special feeling to be refreshed with such sincere friends surrounding me. I looked forward to seeing them every week, they were the breaks from the mundaneness that the semester brought. The semester was tiring, the modules were exhausting and to be honest, boring, except soci theory and writing which opened a new world for me. This sem I met a prof that kinda changed my perspective on a lot of things. Two profs actually. One inspired me to try things I wouldn’t have done and encouraged me so much I started to believe that it was possible to do something I thought impossible. The other prof made me face my fears of writing and approach it with new lenses and a tad more bravery. Both of them carried me through the semester with somewhat more confidence especially at a point in university where I thought I couldn’t go on anymore.
In November I discovered Operation Broken Wing and a new world of social work x fitness. I look forward to more on this journey and I am so thankful Lionel approached me to join the team in the capacity I could 🙂

 


In short, 

here’s some thoughts on the things I tracked for myself in this year

  1. Fitness journey – I started to run this year, from not running to actually writing 5km without stopping that’s a pretty decent result. Also maintaining at 45 kg and ending the year at 45 is an achievement for me. I picked up and balanced weights and functional dynamic training alongside boxing and kayaking. I have been pretty active this year despite all that was happening so that’s really good.
  2. Confidence and mental state – I nearly lost it many times this year, it doesn’t help that it’s getting harder and harder sometimes to keep my sanity with everything that crumbles and threatens to crumble around me. But thank God for church, for His grace and for all those who kept me in check and kept checking on me to make sure I took care of myself. To all those who dropped little encouragements here and there, you are loved, you never know how your comment may have been just so needful.
  3. Discovering what I was good at and being okay with the fact that I was gonna be stuck in something I’m not good at. I think I found out I chose the wrong major. When I started a sociology module and discovered I was good at it and also I found out that I was good in factual and evaluative thinking rather than what I was currently doing, it was a bitter pill to swallow, especially knowing that I wasted time and energy and mental strength all these years to convince myself of something that I knew wasn’t meant to be. It was painful to know that what I really loved, literature, I wasn’t gonna be good in, or even do a Masters in it, possibly. But I had to learn to come to terms with the fact that sometimes life doesn’t go the way I want it to and maybe that’s what God wanted me to learn all this while.
  4. Found a family in boxing and kayaking – it is a family. I haven’t had such happiness with circles in school especially when the academic year started on a not so pleasant note. As mentioned above in the ‘Journey’ section, it’s not often after you end your day exhausted, you will still go to find a group of people and spend time with them unless they really are special. These two bunches are special and I am blessed to have met them. Conversations and HTHTs as well as learning through common experiences are things I wouldn’t have traded for anything else, and here’s to all the bonds formed and to be formed, I’m excited.
  5. Becoming a senior myself and passing on and watching other people grow – year 3  was meant to be handover year. It was in a way, in that I taught people under me, whether or not from positions of power. I realised just knowing things and being able to get them done in the most efficient way does not make you a good leader, but teaching others and empowering them to do what you can do and more, that makes you a good leader. I learnt through failure and mistakes how I can help others grow and when I see them growing and thriving and being way better than I was, I am thankful for the opportunities given to me. I want to continue to coach and to help, in any capacity and make a difference in people’s lives.
  6. Somewhere in the middle of Y3S1 I transitioned from @distressdoodles to @esthertiq. More information regarding that can be found here, but for now, I am grateful that change happened, and also I did not break as I expected to, one breakdown a semester. This semester it was plain madness, there was madness in school, at home, everywhere, but God kept me sane through His Word, His love and those around me who were there for me.
  7. Dealing with loss. I lost friends this semester, for various reasons. I didn’t know how to be okay with it, I lost a DG that met every week, I gained another, but it would never be the same. I lost certain other friends and I still grieve over those friendships. Yet I know that life happens and somethings you do not go after them because everything does have a lifespan to it and sometimes life carries you on and you got to go with it. Yet whatever it is I am always grateful for experiences and people who have shaped my life in one way or another, for better or worse, I have matured and grown.

Lastly, here’s the thank you list that I’m gonna start to do yearly
God is at the top, always. I would have never made it without His abundant grace and strength poured out for me in so many ways, more than I ever would have imagined and believed. He helped those around me, and opened my eyes to understand that as well. Thank you God for holding me through the tears, fears and joy. I am blessed to know my Saviour is there, powerful and holding my life together.
  1. Deanna – thank you for being a brain dump, an essay proof reader, a fashion consultant, a feeder, and most of all, a sister.
  2. Oli- for being by my side, for hearing all my rants, every single day, for throwing chocolates at me, for showing polar bears in my face and for warm hugs
  3. Esther Ng and Naomi – you have no idea how much you both mean to me. Esther thank you for being a partner in school with me, for lunching with me, for those MRT conversations, for being honest to my face telling me things that are hurtful yet necessary. Ohms for being there. I cannot do uni without you both.
  4. Xiuwen – baobei!!!!! You were the miracle that happened, the friend and daughter I never imagined I’d have. I am so thankful you are in pubket and marketing comm with me. Thank you for being so compatible with my work style, for being a friend over everything else, for hearing my random comments and for trusting me with life’s problems, and for aimeeeee hahaha ❤ I really love you a whole load I hope you know that.
  5. Tham – broooo, thanks for being the other half of the boxing VPs. This sem was special cause you were part of it as well. HTHTs and honest transparent convos, I can’t ask for more. Connection is real brudder (*insert bad laughter here*)
  6. Rennes Michelle Jedi – babesss, this semester was tough but I am proud of you Michyyyy, and Rennes and Jedi. It was hard on all of us individually but thank you for being there for each other, especially for Michyy, and for Mich always caring for others before yourself. Im proud of you Renn and hope you enjoy disney. Jeds this sem kinda sucked a lot and you’re tired and all but I hope next sem will get better and that you’ll smile a lot more because you deserve it.
  7. Ivan – I did an insta dedication post for you, but you were the bro that made me believe in the fitness journey, and in loyalty and friendship, especially in a critical time where I didn’t know if I could believe in it again. You made it count and picked me up when it was really hard to. Thank you once again for showing me perspectives I’d never have seen on my own.
  8. Miss Nat – thank you thank you thank you, for everything. teacher, mentor and friend :). If I make it out of university alive you’re invited to my graduation in advance.
  9. Gaomin – thank you mom for speaking truth when I don’t wanna hear it the most, for telling me to rest, for being the pause button in my existence so I breath.
  10. Erinna – I love you a lot, for warm hugs, for your honesty, for the trust and for the friendship. Your presence brightens my days very much.
  11. Yenjie – thank you for sending me home, for the HTHTs, and for always going over and beyond for the club, for ZR and for myself. I am very thankful for you, really really thankful.
  12. Derek – thank you for being proud of me.

2018 goals 

  1. I want to grow in the understanding of the Bible, in love for others, and in compassion for those who do not have what I have, I am very blessed and I want to love like I’ve been loved.
  2. #roadto50kg – weight goal
  3. #roadto21.1km – fitness/training
  4. #estherpades – for adventures out of NUS, it’s university and beyond now
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SC3101: Social Thought and Social Theory

Module code & title: SC3101 Social Thought and Social Theory

Grading: 10% Class Participation, 3 short papers (40%, each 13.3%), finals 50%

Lecturer & tutor:
Lecturer: Dr George Baylon Radics
Tutor: Jamie/Prof Radics

Prof Radics is wonderful. Have I ever mentioned how amazing he is? He’s patient, answers every email sent to him (with a whole host of explanations, sometimes), and is always ever ready for consultations despite his busy schedule. I appreciate his teaching style, as he incorporates examples relevant to the world and to us in his lectures.

Tutorials under him are great, he explains the questions in the tutorial worksheet and gets us to give and find out the answers complete with the page number so that not just us but everyone benefits. Furthermore, if the answers given are either too soft or unclear he will repeat and elaborate on it so everyone gets it.

What it’s about: the three main thinkers of sociology, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber – their perspectives with regard to society, economy and religion. It’s very factual and you get to go a step further to compare them to each other (if you wish). You also note the relevance to the contemporary society

Assignment workload: Readings mainly. One assignment per each third of the sem – week 3, 7, 10. Finals is a huge percentage

Thoughts about the tutor: – 

Project workload & question/theme – 

Readings: A lot, kind of was okay for me as I am a literature major. But for those not accustomed to readings this would be quite a killer. It’s not so much the length which is hard to get by but on top of that it is not easy to understand, especially Marx.

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): 50% weightage. The paper has section 1 and 2, section 1 is a compulsory analytical question worth 40% of the overall, 2 questions choose 1 to compare all three thinkers. Section 2 (60% of the paper) has 9 questions choose 3, shorter answer (I wrote 1-1.5 pages), more factual and less evaluative and opinion based. Not very tough, if you studied you can answer

Recommended if…you are a major in soci this is a compulsory module. Or if you’re interested in the theories and concepts behind social theory. It’s a theory module not an application module for you soci-interested people looking for application mods.

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 5/5

Expected grade: A-

Actual grade

What doing a pullup taught me about life

I’m a small girl, a weak girl. But pullups taught me incredibly much about life.
  1. THINKING IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. You start by believing it is incredibly ridiculous about the thought of ever crossing the bar. You watch videos and you’re like how do people manage to yank themselves up. It’s like life. Some of the most daunting things seem impossible and for a long time they will continue to do so. You watch people do and convince yourself you cant do it, you forget that God is the one who gives you the strength to do life, to finish that essay, to reach out to that person, to make peace with that family member. The thought of trying doesn’t cross your mind because you’ve internalised how hard it will be and you can never imagine it can be done.
  2. Growing the seeds of belief. Digging yourself out of your resigned state and starting to believe you may actually be able, one day, far away but possibly so. I watched fitness videos and I saw 16 year old girls, just like me do it and I thought wow maybe it’s because they tried and they definitely somewhere. It’s like how we see others do well because they trusted God for something and we’re like wow okay maybe it works. Seeing others try is faith provoking. So let me tell you that if you try, it creates a cycle where you inspire others (I’ll come back to this later). This part of the process is the hardest. It’s the hardest, it’s even harder than actually being on the bar. The battle isn’t so much physically but mentally, you need to convince yourself. This part no one can be a part of, it is all you that you need to convince yourself to go do what God wants you to do, or what you know you should but are just too afraid to try.
  3. Convinced? Stage three is where you start trying. You hang on the bar and you feel the weight of everything (your body weight + gravity) all on your arms/shoulders. When you start trying, the pressures don’t come just from inside you (your lack of belief) but also from the external. Everything will try to bring you down, the time won’t be right, you’ll be tired, people will reject and diss  what you thought were your good intentions and this makes you start to believe less as the days go. Worse part is the bar is so high, literally. You see standards set and you know the only standard you have is your own convictions and beliefs and yet you can’t help feeling small and inadequate. But you grip the bar anyway and that’s a start. Good on you.
  4. You keep pulling, against all the odds you pull. I pulled for months, I tried so long and I just couldn’t bring myself over the bar. I stopped for 2 years because I went back to stage 1. You’re gonna fail countless times, you’re gonna try until you’re exhausted. There’ll be days you sit there and cry because life has taken everything out of you, opportunities passed you by, you wasted some. You get rejected by companies you applied jobs for and passed the many stages of interviews only to fail at the final hurdle. Your parents don’t value you, your friends don’t either. You feel how tired you are and you get going deadlines work school family church social life everything just overwhelming,  crumbling on you. You want to give up.
  5. Helplines come. After all that time, my best friend told me to try using a resistance band. It reduces the weight you’re pulling so you can cross the bar easier. It worked wonders, not so much for my body but for my confidence. I actually crossed the bar. Life throws you helplines. Be wise and listen to them. They come in advice, scolding, hugs, many many forms, sometimes not forms you like. But listen. They make the difference between you succeeding and you failing. One more thing, don’t get super reliant on them. After a while I realised I could hit 10 pullups with the resistance band. When you’re going good with the helpline, it becomes time to get weaned off it.
  6. Crossing the bar? Stepping on the floor. Looking up. All the advice of everyone I’d talked to ringing in my ears, I grab the bar. I pullback my shoulders and I begin the pull, I clear half the distance between my head and the bar, and somewhere I hear half my mind tell me oh no you can’t, and another half just say go go go go. Who you listen to determines whether you cross because at this point (and actually the rest of the time) it’s not a physical thing, but mental. At the start you may have been physically weaker but there’s no reason to be now. I’ve trained. You too, you’ve come this far. Uttering a silent *God help me*, I listen to the half of my mind that tells me to go and I pull. And suddenly I’m clear of the bar. I see my chin cross it. And I finally understand what it is to succeed. It’s small but it’s a victory. It’s a personal victory from my fears. You too, you gotta listen to the side that tells you to just go and obey it. The helplines that pulled you along/up won’t be there forever. You’ll have to clear the bar on your own, your life and race is yours. You can train with people just like you can run life’s race with people but in the end your race is your own to brave through the nightmares, the doubts, fears and tears. But take heart, you will clear in His timing.

I used to be afraid (now not so much) // My leadership journey in NUS so far

DISCLAIMER: This post is gonna be a reflection post on my leadership journey in NUS. It contains my experiences and mine only (it does not apply to everyone), neither is it a one size fits all kind of thing. Feel free to take the advice, but also know that it is from MY perspective.


I think I used to be afraid of position names. I still am, except, this time it comes with a sliver of courage, which is something experience (bad and good) gave me. I was afraid of position names because I used to think that it was a bad thing if I could be in a position and not have the ability to fulfil my role which would lead to letting people down. Slowly, as I took different positions, I realised that I not only was able to lead well in that role (thank you God!!) but I also surpassed my expectations in terms of what I was capable of. This is not to say that I didn’t fail. I freaked out countless times, especially with a fear of public speaking, I didn’t know how to phrase my words properly (I still have trouble with that), in that I do not know how to be diplomatic. I’m more of a get-the-job-done person, many times without considering the interpersonal relationships and dynamics of people that are intricately linked to the task at hand. Anyway, here’s a few lessons I learnt after taking on about 5-6 different leadership positions in Uni, from Subcomms to Secretary, I’ve kinda tried most stuff, including currently being the Project Director for Guardians.

  1. School is a safer and friendlier place to learn from your mistakes. I’ve always been very thankful for school. It’s the one place where you can screw up and have people actually teach you and tell you what went wrong without them having your head chopped after that. In the corporate world I’m sure that’s not just not the case, but also out there if you made a mistake, it could potentially cost like thousands or millions of dollars for the company. I guess I’m always thankful for mentors, seniors, people who give you advice especially with regards to leadership positions. I’m not saying you cannot get this out there in the working world, it is just that in school, it’s different, you can actually ask questions for things you don’t know with less politics, less people breathing down your neck, etc. It’s kinder, friendlier, of course this is not to say there aren’t politics, but, if you really hate it, you’re also free to leave an organization. I suppose it isn’t that simple to walk away from a job.
  2. Do things well in your term, give your best, LEAVE A LEGACY. You’re not gonna be serving in that term forever, pass on things well, don’t do a slipshod job. I get super annoyed every time people pass on stuff (whether materials, or their legacies) and it’s like crappy. Like a crappy event that was previously hosted, or a crappy attitude or whatever. Don’t do it halfheartedly, I mean you got elected/chosen/selected/whatever into that position because you said you wanted to do it, so do it, dammit. Do it well, don’t leave crap for people to pick up. Having said that, bad experience has also taught me that people will always leave their crap for you to pick up, then the onus is on you to create a good event, run a position well, do things to the best of your ability, then you (and your exco if you have one) will do well. I learnt this especially from my time in ODAC, the seniors did well, so well and there was so much that was learnt from them. My batch that served were tremendously talented as well as responsible and hardworking, they toiled super hard to create great events. I learnt much with them because I watched how they worked intelligently and honestly. So when we passed on everything to the next batch, they had much greatness to inherit (lol), no seriously, they inherited great things and we also made sure we attempted to select the best people so we could carry these things on. I’m still proud of them (hehe).
  3. Good communication is key. Be honest, yet tactful. I am still learning this. Two years, about 6-7 CCAs and I still have not mastered this art, yet I can say I have improved much. Communication breakdown tends to lead to failure. It seems very cliche to say this but seriously, a dearth of communication tends to lead to shit happening everywhere. Internal politics will result in external events failing, one cell believes they worked harder than the other cell, this results in crappy feelings and angst against another party, then leading to vendettas of people against other people, blah blah blah… I’ve gone through that and it wasn’t a pretty sight. So communicate, learn to air your feelings, sometimes it will be more painful than other times, especially if you’re on the side of blame, but I can say that it is better to deal with people telling you your mistakes in a straightforward and direct way than it is to deal with bitter feelings and unspoken tensions and fake diplomacy. Good communication also ensures people in the team know what is going on, they feel involved, not left out, and everyone wants to feel involved and part of the event/team.
  4. You need a good combination of diplomacy and efficiency. Usually you do this by combining the P/VP personalities, or at least in the Pres cell you should have a combination of both kinds. This means that you have to have task-oriented and people-oriented personalities. Too much of one either results in unhappy people while the job may be done, or happy people and no job done, or slow job done. Diplomacy is super important, you need someone who can talk to people, persuade, convince, and also elicit actions and responses from people, whether your fellow exco, participants, etc. Some people have both efficiency and diplomacy, like an individual I worked with and am friends with for two years. But others like me do not, I can really work but I don’t have as much skill/tactfulness in speaking to people. Have both personalities and those who lack part of the duo also sometimes do learn slowly. Having said that, it is not that these are the only two things needed in good leadership, but they are extremely crucial. Other factors however, do count.
  5. Learn the ropes of different roles in organizational stuff in NUS. Proposals, Admin, how to deal with OSA, how to book venues, how to email people using PDPA guidelines, how to handle addresses/a torrent of them especially in large(r) events, how to deal with manpower issues, logistics, catering services, vendors, marketing. Everyone of these usually is a different cell in a committee but it is good to get to know them. I think it is good that people try different things to learn. I joined logistics, admin, manpower, publicity, before I applied for VP role in a club. I think that’s very useful because it gives you finally a bird’s eye view over situations and in events you know where to get what done and how to get it done. It seems like a trivial job to print posters but there are things to learn there too. Ask questions, try different roles and learn from those who are in it already, it doesn’t hurt to learn more things and be able to help others who may suffer from the same problems in future. Also, knowing different cells and their roles actually makes you very marketable, it makes people want you because you know stuff and you can do stuff and even if you’re not doing it directly, they know you will be an asset to the club. Never hurts to be needed/wanted.
  6. Lastly, learn to deal with higher ups – whether OSA, CCA advisors, or even if you’re in a Subcomm, learn to deal with your pres cell. You need to learn to work under authority and with authority. Instead of feeling inferior, know your position and then excel in it, sometimes exceed expectations (haha). Make yourself an active and integral part of whatever you’re in. Learn to deal with higher-ups by befriending them and working with them, if you have issues with them, try and voice it out nicely (and if it doesn’t work, find another way out or ask for help/alternative suggestions). The higher-ups usually don’t cause trouble unless you do.

    Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to drop your comments/disagree. 🙂

Don’t despise the day of small things

little victories.jpg

It’s the little things that count, and this semester, I learnt to be proud of, and thankful for the smallest things. They’re little on their own but if you put them together, they’re not so little after all.

Here’s 25 little victories this semester:

  1. Being punctual for class. God knows how hard it was to (actually show up) and be punctual for class especially when the going got tough
  2. Attempting to eat healthier. (YAY!)
  3. Keeping coffee intake to ONE cup a day – for those people who say I am a coffee addict, now you know
  4. Not cabbing to school at all this semester. SAVING ALL THAT MONEY
  5. Learning how to save a few bucks a day
  6. Learning NOT to be guilty for being tired and then pushing myself doubly hard to deal with my weak, inefficient self.
  7. Planning essay submission such that it was one essay per week, not 5 per week (12/13).
  8. Walking away from friendships that caused me pain (congrats to me!)
  9. Shopping less
  10. Spending more time with my family, going home before 9pm almost every night.
  11. Doing more readings than last semester
  12. Doing readings not for assignments but for interest’s sake
  13. Gaining enough confidence to wear a midi dress (and other things that I thought was not my ‘type’ of attire).
  14. Maintaining my composure in tight situations and not lambasting people who I had issues against.
  15. Sleeping 6 hours (or more) a day (with the exception of one day in the semester)
  16. Finishing a notebook planner – like reaching the end of the book and not dumping it halfway
  17. Very actively participating in church stuff 🙂 yay
  18. Learning and honing a new skill/interest in watercolour
  19. Selling my own creations and learning to believe in the power of art and that I can make something that make people smile (thank you friends who have played a part in this)
  20. Making time for people who matter. Loving harder than ever.
  21. Being okay with being alone and happy on my own
  22. Drinking enough water (almost everyday)
  23. Reading my Bible almost everyday
  24. Hanging out more with my dad before he left for missions
  25. Quitting things that were not worth my time. and not being guilty for it.

A Christian student in college

 

Most people have their timetables empty when they come into university. Slowly with every fair that they go to, whether it is faculty events fairs, CCA fairs, sports fairs, etc., it starts filling up, first the weeknights, then the Saturdays and Sundays (perhaps) and then the slots where they don’t have lectures, and it gets more and more. Not everyone does this, but mostly, people prioritize academics, social life, and some, sleep. As a Christian student, we all know in the back of our minds that we come to college, wanting to first pull ourselves through as well as bring Christ to those around us, (some of us of course have this conviction deeper than others).

So we enter school (me included) and I started out Year 1 with the vision for myself that I would enjoy everything I do and do it all to the glory of God, for Him, not for myself. Sooner or later, this changed as I found that other things seemed to have taken over the  top of the priority list, my next social gathering beckoned while church events and quiet time took a backseat. At first my conscience was slightly disturbed, but I suppressed it, telling myself I would get my priorities in order when it was possible and that now was not the time. This repeated itself all semester and by the end of semester 1, I was burnt out and tired, happy but perhaps superficially.

I thought through this in semester 2 as well as in Year 2 Sem 1 and as I entered my second academic year I realised what a failure I’d been because I put God together with my to do list. Perhaps it was not that I did not prioritize Him, but that He was just another thing to tick off the list. In that sense it was as though if I could not finish the task, I could always push it to the next day or the day after. By His grace I repented of this in Year 2 and here are therefore some lessons I learnt.

  1. God is not part of your priority list, He should be independent of it

God should be ruling your to do list. How I arrange what I need to do for the day, week and month should be regulated by my attitude towards God. This means that we should allocate time to seek Him, quiet time in the mornings or nights, and not do it only when it is convenient for us to do so. If He really comes first, other things can wait.

  1. We are often stressed that we cannot finish everything we have to do.

That’s a problem I face all the time and still do. I figured somewhere along the way that the reason why I face this problem is because I never truly and fully believed that God is the God of the impossible. If I said He is Who He is then I should believe it – and that means to trust that if I go for that prayer meeting instead of allocating that two-hour slot to finish another 500 words of my essay, He will help me to complete it. I say this not meaning that we should leave our work to the last minute and expect Him to complete it for us, but that if perhaps practically, we are conflicted whether to go for a church meeting or do a piece of work instead, try putting Him first, try having faith in Him, and He promised He will be faithful and never fail us.

  1. Do all things not half-heartedly but with all that we have, not for ourselves, but for Him.

God tells us that He wants us to do everything we do with our whole heart. Whether it be relationships with people or academics, or any other task we sign up to do, we should not do it with a nonchalant attitude. This is because we are the living testimonies for Christ and for the Christian values (that we possibly claim to uphold). Furthermore, the way we carry ourselves with relation to work also is a way to share the gospel – the best proof is our lives and our attitude toward work. The Bible says we should do everything as unto God and not to men.

  1. Our standard should therefore be not men’s standard but God’s.

In a society where GPA/CAP/any form of academic grading seems to take the priority, determining our future and life, it is hard to look for anything outside that box. It is essential to always remind ourselves that we belong to Christ and that God is the ONLY one whose opinion matters. Ultimately, if we have done our best, we leave the result to God. At the same time, when failures come our way, it may be that God wants to teach us lessons through it and in a way, no one’s expectations and standards can impact and affect us to a really great extent because He is the most powerful God. We serve a God who controls all the world, do we believe that our grades and our lives are in His hand too? So, all the time, but especially when we feel that we are thrashed because we have not been able to live up to the expectations of the world, ourselves, family, anyone else for that matter, remember that it is God’s expectations and His favour and love toward us that count.

I hope that as Year 2 Sem 2 starts, I will remember these lessons and that we all together will become a blessing to someone else, to many others :’).

Studyblrs; what are they?

I started on this journey in Year 2 Sem 1 because truth be told, I was attracted to the aesthetic side of it. It was much later that I appreciated everything else alongside the aesthetic. I’ve always been a stationery and notebook hoarder and it is a pain for anyone who follows me to Muji to see me croon over the pens in all their varying colours and shades.

So here are some common questions when people hear about ‘Studyblr’s.

1. What is a studyblr?

You know this microblogging site Tumblr? Tumblr (currently owned by Yahoo) – is home to many communities of different interests – football (and the different clubs), Marvel, DC, Doctor Who, etc. So some of these communities incorporate the end of the word ‘Tumblr’ into their community. Studyblrs are therefore a combination of a community of people who love studying/learning/school and are on Tumblr – there you go, Study-blr!

2. Who are the people on Studyblr(s)?

There are all sorts of people on Tumblr who have blogs on studying and nice notes etc etc. The age ranges from high school to postgrad studies. The community is home to many who love studying – literally. We are (a little too) obsessed with making nice notes, bullet journaling (which will be discussed in another post), and sharing resources. People are generally very nice and welcoming and it is no surprise that the community has grown very fast. Personal style is very encouraged and people are often bouncing ideas off each other which creates a very diverse and yet original environment.

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3. What’s so good about it?

A lot of things – there’s a community of people who understand you, the worries of 3am late nights and school problems, you get people who are amazing enough to create resources (we call them printables!) and others who create a collation of bases of resources (also known as #masterposts), you pick up languages and learn where and how to study them online, there’s 100++ different note taking styles which you can adapt as your own, tips and tricks on productivity, reminders to take breaks, be nice to yourself and not murder yourself studying, and so many more. It sets up a very nice place to be a student in and you learn from other people how to improve yourself academically and even otherwise. Best of all, you make new friends. Here are some screenshots.

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Just a screenshot of what you find when you google ‘masterpost studyblr’

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here’s a screenshot of free printables from @theorganizedstudent

4. What do you need to do to be part of the community?

All you need, really, is to start a tumblog – and follow people – find people, search for ‘studyblr’ and follow according to your fancy. If you don’t know how to use Tumblr, it is simple. Go to tumblr.com, sign up and then follow the instructions onscreen. Maybe start with a first post introducing yourself and let people know what you do and what you’re interested in. Then go reblog some posts, like some posts that you fancy and maybe go talk to people very PM or comment on some posts. Slowly ease yourself into the community.

All it takes is to start with your first post. Then you’ll get in slowly.
The most important thing to note is that – your pictures and posts DO NOT have to be like everyone else’s. They may all look roughly similar – cup of coffee, notes, laptop, scattered stationery… but actually everyone has their style. I personally like to post pictures of nice word headings I did and stuff.

5. You’ll see certain common stationery that tends to pop up in more than a few posts, and they’re actually used by quite a few people because they’re good. Here’s a list,

  • Mildliners by Zebra
  • Muji plain pens – 0.38 and 0.5
  • Sharpies
  • Tombow Pentel Touch Sign Pen – it’s a brush pen if you like fancy header.

The point of studyblrs are to encourage good studying habits – taking nice notes, bullet journaling, good time management and more. You can always start today! 🙂

6. Recommend me blogs to follow!

Here are some:
http://theorganisedstudent.tumblr.com/
http://hexaneandheels.tumblr.com/
http://hermionegoals.tumblr.com/
http://studyshu.tumblr.com/

There are others but here are 3 starters.

Personally I have enjoyed the time in the community very much and I look forward to new studyblrs being set up and people introducing themselves. It’s very nice to see ideas being shared on such a platform and it’s a very positive thing to have students from all over the world collaborating and sharing ideas and motivating each other!
Here’s a shoutout to my Singapore studyblr friends – @literaturistic @motivatedmeepguin @studyshu

Enjoy yourself, and PM me if you have any questions or think I can help you in any way!
Also, visit my studyblr here 🙂

Credits: Most pictures are not mine, they belong to the rightful owners and creators on tumblr.

 

 

My Story (Part Two)

My story part 2: (Part 1 here)

This is written as part of a RockTheNakedTruth campaign, founded by Cheryl Tay (@cheryltaysg) to help people love themselves and deal with their pasts with community support!

It’s really hard to explain or even start to think about self love in this day and age. It’s very easy to say we’re not affected by the people around us when we are, and we know it, deep inside. My bullying story isn’t an uncommon one, neither is the other side of it – recovery, uncommon. Being a kid who was thrown down when it was the time where people dug and searched for their identity, I suppose it was much later that I got the chance to find mine. I got so used to putting myself down that it was nigh impossible to understand self love. At first, the victimization came from outside, then slowly I internalized it and I convinced myself that I was not good enough, that I needed some sort of beauty transformation, that Instagram-girls were one sort of beauty and had some grace/glamour that I coveted but would never attain. I unconsciously always reminded myself that girls with ‘airport runway’ chests and skinny figures were ugly and I believed that stereotypes were what drove the societal standards forward and that if I wasn’t a stereotype conformist then I had no way to fit in or be seen as part of society’s popular kids. I learnt to put myself down and every time any compliments came I’d fend them off, thinking that I wasn’t worth any of those. Till this day I still fight these fears, though to a much lesser extent.

It was in J2 when I was introduced to the world of lifting that I began to discover what strength was, literally and figuratively. I got hooked, to prove a point. I wanted to prove that small girls could achieve something, but that wasn’t self love, that was bitterness. I was angry and I wanted to make a statement, I still cowered whenever I heard words used for bullying. Bullying never ended. When I was skinny and bust-less I was shamed for that. When I started hitting the gym the comments became “wow so small hit the gym?! Can lift or not sure cannot la” or “small girl grow muscles very ugly can act like girl and look like girl or not don’t try be buff!”. I came to realize along the way that people are gonna shame you for everything, and that me proving a point by hitting the gym was not beneficial for me because I didn’t exactly feel motivation from within, I just did it to get back at haters. That’s not self love. I learnt, very gradually, that your only competitor is yourself. I looked in the mirror at the gym and I saw people lift heavier, they were much stronger. I realized I could not compare myself with them because the basis of comparison is different. I chart my own fitness path and improve based on how my body works. There’s no point comparing your strength with someone who’s already larger and stronger than you to begin with, you’ll never be happy because you’ll always be behind. Furthermore, if you’re going to continue and complain about what you DON’T HAVE, instead of taking what you HAVE and push it to higher standards, making yourself proud of who you’ve become, then you’re never ever going to be satisfied. It’s one thing to not be satisfied and want to improve, but it’s another thing to base your standards on something impossible and kill yourself both physically and mentally wanting to achieve/reach those standards.

I also learnt that self love is to be kind to my body, to sleep when needed to and train regularly, also to eat properly and most importantly to maintain a positive mindset. I can’t stress how important it is to maintain a positive mindset. I used to be a person who gave up easily, once things got difficult I walked away because I was too scared to deal with them. But I learnt to face them squarely and not walk away, yet also balance this with the ability to let go. It took a long time for me to learn to take compliments, but slowly I am learning that when people say something, say thank you. My confidence has grown and I am slowly growing in strength and maturity to appreciate and love myself for who I am.

The breakthrough did not come instantly. It’s been 4-5 years since the long spell of bullying has ended but the scars are still healing. I’m thankful for all who’ve patiently walked with me in the journey, hugged me when I cried, taught me how to smile and say thank you to compliments and not awkwardly react because I didn’t believe it. Thank you for teaching me what confidence is and for helping me grow as a person.

#RockTheNakedTruth #ROCKloveSG

Why do you do this? It’s not ‘you’

Disclaimer: I’m writing this based on my experiences and mine alone.

For a good while in my secondary school days, let’s say because of a bad experience, I hated girls. I didn’t wanna be like them. I detested everything that they were, because I felt I was not that. Secondary school was when girls grow, in every way possible, especially in the physical aspects, and I seemed to have been left out. I did talk about that more, here, but any way I grew to dislike feminine characteristics. I didn’t know how to dress also and I was a pretty socially awkward (and loud) person at the same time. Also, from young, I loved football and sports and it was always easier for me to hangout with the boys than with the girls.

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