In March 2006, I finished my stint with the army. I was so happy. Any dude here in my shoes would have been too because it was a long couple of years serving in the military.
In June 2006, my dad died. It fucking hurt. There was so much pain and regret.
In August 2006, I enrolled into my local university, one of the best there is out there in the world (National University Of Singapore.)
For my first semester, I didn't give a flying fuck about anything.
I didn't want to make friends.
I didn't want to do anything remotely fun.
Most of all, at that young age of 21, I was already going through an existential crisis. I mean, my dad, a person I grew up did just die.
I questioned so many things.
I'd go to lectures and classes and ask myself constantly, "Who the fuck cares about this shit? Why does this even matter?"
As a result, I didn't study and flunked almost all of my modules.
I did so badly to the point that I got a warning letter saying that if I don't buck the fuck up, I'd be kicked out the following semester.
And that didn't even scare me.
I am sorry, this is not exactly an inspirational article. But here are some takeaways anyway:
1) Be prepared, for when you think things will get better, it won't
I hated the army. Military life didn't suit me. Almost all dudes here hate it. After two years and getting out, it was a huge weight off our spiritual shoulders.
One would think that by default, life would be more awesome after that.
But then for me, my dad died.
It was like, "Wow the last two years were shit, but at least he was still around."
That's life I guess. Chaos Theory. You just have to be prepared because everything is always unpredictable. Let go of the past and move on because time keeps moving forward whether you like it or not.
2) Life truly doesn't stop for you
It'd have been easy to think that I had the "right" to be existential and downright depressed, henceforth excusing me from the hardships of society, but that's bullshit.
No one is going to hand you a gigantic silver platter to lay down and rest your weary head.
The only thing to do is to keep rolling with the punches at your own pace.
3) There are people who care
Thankfully for me, somebody took notice.
I took a module on southeast asian history back then. I was failing by mid-semester.
The professor wrote me a personal email and asked me what was up.
I curtly replied my dad died and so I basically didn't really want to care.
He said he was sorry and offered to tutor me for a session.
I took him up on his offer. It was the ultimate crash course. He compacted everything and told me what to study. I brought up my grade up from really-shit to not-so-shit.
I remember writing him a thank-you email and he said what I did was really great, that I managed to ultimately pass.
I guess when you think your life is filled with darkness, someone outside, in their own light is actually watching. If you'd open your eyes a little, things won't be so lonely, that means to say, if you can't find your own light, then look at others'.
4) It's only studying
Academia is what it is.
It's only studying.
However tough you think you have it, just crack the books. I am being blunt here because school is but a tiny phase in life.
Get over it, then get ready for more wonderful shit out there.
I eventually graduated myself.
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