Saturday, August 29, 2015

Thoughts that Count: Young, Free, and Graduated [Part 2]


[22 october 2013, 12.42am]
Rainy night with a roll of thunder.

and so I heard the thunder rolling in from far,
like a bowling ball slowly moving its way through the gutter.

it's forty-two minutes past midnight as i'm penning this. 

time cruelly steals away the memories and joyous moments I treasure,
time flies while you're having fun, not.

Over lunch today, with a friend, we chatted and lamented at how it seemed almost yesterday when we stepped into uni as a freshie, a happy and confused freshie roaming around campus.

Now, all I could describe my campus life, is zooming to the library to get notes printed, zipping past crowded corridors to get to classes, attempting to chiong tutorials and skimming through notes during breaks, passing by the vending machine to grab a sandwich and sitting by a quiet corner in the library, furiously typing the keys on the keyboard away.

A mundane routine repeated over and over.

It really is ironic when I say that I love and will miss being a student, no matter how badly I feel happy about actually graduating already. 

Somehow, I feel so used to adhering to deadlines, completing assignments, finishing readings, to even stepping out of this comfort zone to face the working world.

Scary as it seems, everyone tends to describe the working world as a terrible place, somewhere that robs your joy. 

Passion. Career. Can there be a fusion of both?
Do something you love and you'll never work a single day in your life, they said.
Easy as it sounds. I too wish I could. And if I could, I would.
Who wouldn't?

My dream? 
To wake up each morning not rushing for work or school, but having the time to see the world pass each day, interacting with different people, creating beautiful things, finding fulfillment. 

There are way too many successful stories that pop out recently, of creative individuals who step out of the mainstream working world to craft out their own job, or should I say passion.

And me? Not even near. 

Photography by good friend, Kenneth Tung

Well, that was something I penned down two years back, while struggling to finish my second last semester in university. If you can relate to that whole chunk of mental diarrhoea, you are most likely facing this situation right now or have just graduated victoriously out of that phase. Congratulations on being one step closer to the "actual thing". You know how they say that all these years of education woes conclude when you finish it all and receive that piece of certificate that you've been waiting years for? But the truth is, that is just the beginning of something.

The toughest phase that every graduate has to endure and get over, begins during their last academic year all the way till one year after their graduation (be it having or not having a job). The struggle is always there.

What kind of jobs do I like? What jobs out there are suitable for me? Which is the highest paying job? Should I go for a job that I enjoy but pays lowly or a mundane job but pays? Why am I doing something that has no relation to my degree at all? Why is it that all companies require minimum years of experience when they are meant for fresh graduates? Why didn't I do internship when I was back in university? Why are my friends getting higher pay? My job is so boring, like really boring? 

I've been through all of these frustrating thoughts and here's some advice from the graduate-with-one-year-experience:

1. Rationalize and list down the things you are good at and skills that you have acquired. 
(be it big or small).

2. Search through your heart and list down the things that you enjoy doing (a lot a lot). 
They might not be things that you are good at.

3. Match up these two lists. Are there any similarities? 
If yes, good for you! Would you be satisfied and fulfilled if you were to do it for long? If no, don't worry. Is there something that you can do to pull the differences a little closer? By taking up courses, trainings, doing internships, self-learn?

4. Once you have found a match, consider the monetary benefits. 
No matter how much satisfaction you get from doing what you like, you need to make sure that your survival needs are well taken care of.

5. If all else fails, you have to make some compromising. 
Some might even give in to the mundane but high-paying jobs so that they can afford to chase their dreams and passion in the future. Most importantly, know what is more worth your time and effort.

Anyone can pursue their passions and dreams. I strongly believe that everyone is good at the thing that they enjoy the most. It's just a matter of time. With passion comes perseverance comes enjoyment. And when you are doing the thing that you enjoying the most, that is beautiful.

It is very common for you not to be good at anything at this point in time. You might be just averagely good at some things here and there, but that's okay, that's where everyone begins. The more crucial point is where you go off from there. Look not at the obstacles and disadvantages you have, but think of the opportunities and possible ways for you to make it work instead.

Everyone takes a different amount of time to reach their optimal point. It takes time, and when the time is right, according to God's perfect planning, it will happen. So just keep going, keep moving. It is a baby step, but at least it is a step forward.

If this post has spoken to you in some way or another, you will probably find some insights from the previous post: Young, Free, and Graduated (Part 1) too.

Lastly, here's a quote that I really hold close to my heart and may it inspire and encourage you when you are feeling lost and frustrated.

"Never let it be said that to dream is a waste of one's time, for dreams are our realities in waiting. In dreams, we plant the seeds of our future." 

Love, Quans

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