It’s 11.02pm and it’s pouring out there. There’s a mahjong game going on in my living room. Some days I love the noise of the shuffling tiles, but today’s not one of them.
Much has happened since I left my last post- I’ve been kept busy every night thinking about whether this is what I truly want to pursue… They said to dream big, they said to walk your own path and leave a trail instead of walking in the tracks of others, they said to not lead your life for others, they said that there’s only one life and they said that there’s only so many tomorrows. And so I’ve applied to study at the UK. Today’s 20th September, the much dreaded date when I first attended the higher education briefing in July. It’s the deadline for the Cambridge application. There was so much to do: the “Personal Statement” which sounded frankly ultra foreign because I slept in the auditorium briefing……… what’s new. The “Predicted Grades” that I was dreading so much because my report card was far from outstanding… out of the 15 or 20 or how many letters in the results slip I don’t know there’s only one A that finally came after 2 years 2 bloody years spending my entire holiday reading my thick stack of Geography notes. And would it actually improve within a span of 2-3 months? I highly doubt so.
Oh, you wonder. Why would that deadline apply to me, right? Because what the heck I actually applied for Cambridge. It makes me slightly embarrassed to tell people this- what more when Mr Chua asked the exam venue “Who is applying for Oxford?” yesterday everyone just giggled and laughed in their own seats, and in my head I was so thankful that Cambridge applicants didn’t have extra application forms to fill in. I feel like I’m clearly overestimating myself and my capabilities, I’m far from a genius, I get so amazed when people reveal their mathematical solutions to me in ways I’d never expected to do it (P&C specifically wtf how can anyone truly master this shit), I feel so small whenever I read model GP essays……… um wait what who got 21/50 for an essay early this year? Was it me? I’ve marveled at the ways people write Geography essays because they deliver so much within that 20-25 minutes… How will I ever be capable of that before As? I’ve googled again and again about “Are there dumb people at Cambridge” “Who is good enough to get into Cambridge” “Should I go to Cambridge” “Will I stand a chance at a Cambridge interview?”, I’ve asked countless people about whether I was just “wasting my time”, “wasting my money” or “wasting my slot” because 1. my predicted grades may not necessarily get me there, 2. 80% of people do not make it through the interview and goodness, it’s an ACADEMIC interview. “Is nature natural?” “Are fair trade bananas really fair?”, 3. I might not even meet the conditions that they offer me ultimately, AAAA? Really… are you seriously capable? I’ve looked at my Personal Statement tons of times that I started to feel like I was writing a pile of rubbish, and I felt so defeated in the last few days leading up to the submission because there were so many problems SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS and I wasted such a large chunk of words telling the admissions office nothing. Nothing about myself, nothing about my passion and nothing about what drove me to pursue a degree in Geography. Was it the fact that it was my only A the last examination? But I got an A for Chemistry before too……. ok that will probably be the last subject I’ll pursue. And so I can’t even be sure about whether I’ll get into the rest of my choices and much less Cambridge at that. Oh god.
But I’ve decided to go along with it because there’s no harm trying, and in the event I fail to make it there I’d gag and laugh at the fact that once upon a time I was actually brazen enough to tell people (oh look) that I applied for Cambridge / oh wait, to actually APPLY for Cambridge! It’ll be worth the 30 + (possibly if I secure an interview) 130 pounds right? With regards to Geography I really think I’d enjoy reading up on Population and Globalisation and all the associated detriments it has brought to the world, how our development gap serves to get wider and wider, but I’m not too sure on the practicality of such a degree. What can I do when I return to Singapore with that degree (IF, I ever get into any of those UK universities I apply to)? Umm… join NParks? Or NEA or URA or any of that governmental organisation that doesn’t sound much of an appeal to me? Geographers study the occurrence of things and specifically their spatial differences and distributions, who’s gonna employ me when I tell them that the only things I know are the backlashes of China’s one-child policy?
And so I’m scared of growing up. I’ve made so many decisions this year, I’ve taken so many leaps of faith, I’ve attended the RSAF Women Seminar only to be faced with provoking questions on whether I should enlist and apply for the SAF scholarship over and over again (once again, do I stand a chance amidst all the hopefuls out there?) Truth be told I don’t really know, I’m too afraid to come to a decision. The lady regulars mentioned to us that “You must have a clear definitive goal of why you want to serve, take your time to decide, because at a point in your career you’d definitely be wondering if you made the right decision”, I guess that may hit me when I’m doing things like digging the shell scrapes or running my 5th or 6th 2.4km in a week I don’t know. And then there’s the uncertainty of the prospects of such a career- what if I don’t make it? Let’s be realistic: am I going to “hentak kaki” at my rank because of my inability to lead and excel in a military career? I need to feed myself too, I am practical, I am realistic, I am clearly aware of my need to be financially independent. Will I ever end up feeling like I’ve wasted those years of my life in a career where I’ve done nothing but live off disgruntled taxpayers? If my results actually manage to make it at the very end for the scholarship I stand a chance of having one of the most meaningful careers with the best educational experience I can ever receive (how many people can boast of an overseas education really?), but what if I finally realised this isn’t the path I’d like to take? My father jokingly asked why I’d apply for a scholarship because “he’s rich enough to send me overseas”, I brushed it off lightly without thinking because I don’t want to impose yet another financial burden on my parents. I am going to pay for all the application fees and interview fees myself- well it merely serves to make me work harder because I am paying for my OWN fees and it’ll be an absolute waste of my OWN money if I don’t perform to the best of my abilities and study for the interview. They’re coping with a new business with bleak prospects (which are honestly getting really better heh I am happy), and the least I could do for myself was to work hard for the education and experiences I yearn to receive. All these decisions I have to make about my future seem so near yet so far- I’m afraid of the distant future but yet it’s incoming and I have to make a decision for myself before I’m swept up by time, before I miss all these deadlines and all these potential opportunities that I may stand to receive.
I guess the only way through it all for me to widen my choices and stay open to the opportunities is to study, and this clear need to do well has been the propelling force driving me out of the house everyday to study at Starbucks. I’m thankful for my subject combination and the fact that I took both Geography and Economics, because these two subjects can keep me seated on a chair (apart from toilet breaks) for 10 hours straight- it’s honestly intriguing to review content and realise that there are new things to uncover again and again… After so long, I finally realised that I favour the Humanities so much more. I honestly enjoy these days at Starbucks (the baristas are a bonus heh they are so friendly :)) and I think I might miss all these after A Levels are over.
Okay this has been very much of a verbal diarrhoea that I haven’t had in months… it’s been quite long since I let my thoughts lay so bare. I wonder if anyone is still reading this space given my inactivity, I am honestly clueless as to why my site stats still manage to show up in double digits. I’m tired and I don’t feel like proof-reading anything, good night. And it’s still raining.