A dilemma.


Most of you must have already known by now that I'm admitted and intending to pursue Architecture in university as well as my planned long-term career in the future. And again, you probably know me well enough (if you do) to know that architecture has never been something I wanted to do or even thought of doing. So why did I decide to take it? You may wonder.

You might believe that there's a strong and good reason behind that reason, but the truth is, I don't know myself. I've always been interested in medicine and surgery and I've liked it so much that no other courses have ever crossed my mind. All my life I grew up thinking that I'd get what I wanted, as long as I was capable enough and worked hard for it.

But growing up, I began to realise that you don't get everything you want in life. You just don't. People may tell you that nothing will stop you from chasing after your dreams as long as you're determined enough to work for it, or tell you that you shouldn't not chase after your dreams, but they don't tell you that it doesn't work for everyone. Is life ever fair? I guess not.

It's easy for someone else to say "just do something you love" or "just choose any course to study" because at the end of the day, what they are offering is just an advice, not a decision. Ultimately the choice is still yours - whether or not you heed their advice, it's still up to you.

I was enrolled in Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences in UTAS and was offered a spot after my FSP year but I rejected and changed it to Environmental Design, otherwise known as Architecture. Why did I pick this course then? Also, why did I even pick Biomed in the first place if I didn't want it?

When I first enrolled myself into Foundation Studies, my goal in mind was to work really hard, get a full GPA score, sit for an iSAT test to get into medicine, pass it and enter med school. At that time I wasn't allowed to study medicine because my mum strongly opposed to it (due to financial circumstances) so I picked Biomed because I knew I could still change it at the end of my FSP year. So when I started FSP, I picked subjects that I knew were eligible for medicine. I took Chemistry and Math.

I knew it was a selfish desire to aim for medicine because I knew my mum would never approve of it, but as much as I knew how impossible it was, I can't deny that I really, really do have the passion for it. Every single time I passed by the medical building in the city, a part of me would die inside because I knew that it would always remain a dream. Every time there was a new drama about doctors and surgery, I'd instantly jump up and the next thing I know, I'd be downloading every episode and watch them. I love watching medical based dramas so much because I've always aspired to be a doctor and a surgeon.

June came last year and it was actually the time to study and sit for the iSAT test that I was intending to take, but by then I had already told myself that I wasn't going to take it anymore and that medicine should never be my end goal any longer. So I gave it a miss.

Soon, it was the end of the year. Results for the test came out and most of my friends who took it didn't make it through. Only one did. I started regretting not taking the test, and I contemplated if I should take the next one over the course of a few days.
But eventually I didn't because the test was only available in Melbourne and Singapore, and at that time I was still studying in FSP and didn't have any breaks or whatsoever to fly anywhere. Nor did I have the extra time to study for the test because it was a hectic period for us and we had lots of assignments before the upcoming final examinations. I pondered long and hard, and eventually didn't because the test itself would require quite a lot of money and I thought: even if I passed, would it be able to change anything? No.

I eventually did managed to do as well as I wanted, and got the full GPA score I aimed for, but it all came to a naught.

Then it was time to make a final decision for my university course. I wanted to get out of Biomed because I knew I wouldn't enjoy being stuck in a lab my entire life or even doing anymore lab work in the next few years because if you've ever studied with me (especially science subjects) you would know how much I HATE lab work. I dreaded lab lessons so much when I took Chemistry in FSP that it was really a pain in an ass even when I thought about it. Worst still, UTAS even changed Biomedical Sciences to Laboratory science, making it even more lab-based (and more gross) so the idea of taking Biomed was totally out.

Other than medicine as my dream and running my own business as a second dream, I had another passion for writing. I mean I still do, don't get me wrong. I do love writing, and I do love blogging and taking pictures. So for awhile I did consider taking Journalism and something media-based because I could see myself being an editor, a travel writer or a blogger in the future. At least it was something else I enjoyed doing, even though I've always seen it as a form of leisure rather than a career. And I did consider and thought about it long enough that I had my mind settled on Bachelor of Arts -- and then I did my research and consulted various university course lecturers to know more about the course.

I thought about:

  • Bachelor of Arts (either 1 major and 1 minor / 2 majors) - I thought of taking 2 majors: one in journalism and one in either tourism or social sciences. 
  • Bachelor of Social Sciences (2 majors and 1 minor) - I thought of taking my majors in Social Science and Journalism and minor in Psychology or tourism.
  • Bachelor of Arts & Science (combined degree) - This felt like the safest option since I didn't know what to take. I mean I've always been a Science person because I love science but arts has always been in my favour, if you get what I mean. Like I prefer studying science but I do better in arts, if I put in the same amount of effort that is. And also, it is a very general course and thus it felt like the safest bet because I could venture into a lot of different careers after I graduate and not worry about not the eligibility and requirements of my future career.
  • Bachelor of Science - I thought about this only because I didn't know what other specific course to take in the science field.
  • Bachelor of Environmental Sciences, Architecture - Truth is, I've never thought about this until my friend suggested and I thought "maybe I would like it". It has never crossed my mind because it's such a unique course (I'd say) since it doesn't belong to specifically Arts or Science. And because I never took it, I thought "Hey why not, I might like it!"

For a period of time, I was really set on the idea of taking Arts (humanities, don't get confused between that and drawing) because I knew no matter what, I wouldn't hate it. Unlike science, arts do not require so much thinking and analysing because it's more on the matter of understanding, memorising and expressing. I thought hey, it might be a good break from sciences since I've been taking science all the way since I was 13, and maybe it's time for Arts don't you think? And also because I've always felt that humanities was a little easier than science since it didn't require that much brain juice, so I thought Bachelor of arts might be a safe bet afterall. Also, if I do end up taking Journalism all I have to do is write a lot right? And maybe while doing so in the process, I might get to improve my English as well. It's a win-win situation!

At that time when I was thinking about Journalism, my mum reassured me one thing: that it doesn't really matter what you take/study in University because what you do in University might not be what you're actually working as/for in the future. Most people don't end up in the career that they were supposed to. And after consulting T (a friend), he told me the same thing. That his mum also studied Journalism but ended up working in another career field. It didn't matter because her degree gave her the language power she then earned for her future career and also the knowledge she needed for it. Someone also once told me that university isn't just about education, it's about honing your skills and teaching you what you need. It's not about making you smarter, it's about making you knowledgeable. It's about the process of learning, not winning.

But because I also had a hard time choosing the subjects I should major and minor in, I was again stuck in between Arts and Social sciences. There were a few subjects I was interested in: Journalism, tourism, social sciences, psychology and criminology. Now thinking about it, majoring in English sounds not too bad an idea. Maybe I should. Growing up, I also realised how important the power of language is. As much as I want to be bilingual and know how to speak and write other languages, I believe there's still a lot more English has to offer; and I doubt there would never be a time I can confidently say, "I'm good at it.". But ultimately it doesn't matter whether I'm good at it or not, because in the eyes of others I may always be "just ok" or "not too bad" and ultimately ultimately, I just want to be good in a language, enough so that I can be able to fully express myself in words.

Ok I digress.

AND so I was saying, I was stuck between Arts and Social sciences and I didn't know how many majors I should take because I knew the less majors I took the less toll it would have on me (because I wanted extra time to work part-time after classes as well), but at the same time I didn't want to take the easier route because you really do reap what you sow. If I just take more subjects and work harder, I might be able to see more results. Yeah that kind of thinking, you get me.

Enough said because eventually I chose Architecture over all the humanities subjects I thought of taking. So here's the question: WHY ARCHITECTURE?

The most apparent reason I had back then was: because it's more worth it to study Architecture overseas rather than to take Arts. As silly as it may sound, that was the reason why I decided to go for Architecture in the end. Because humanities is something that can be easily done in Singapore and in local universities, and architecture isn't. Since I'm already spending so much money overseas, shouldn't I choose something that is more worth it at the very least? 

You may think it's foolish but really, I know and have felt the burden of being financially incapable and also in other words, I know what it feels like to be handicapped. Not literally, but when you're crippled with so many limitations in life. I thought like, if I'm already going to do it, why shouldn't I make a braver decision, and choose something that would be more worth it in the long run?

People may smash me by telling me that I'm too foolish to choose to do something I don't even have the passion for, but honestly I can't even ascertain that because very honestly, I don't even know whether I would like it or not. BECAUSE I MIGHT!

Because architecture is something I've never done in my life, and because it's something new. I can't be certain. I can't confidently say that I will like it, but I can't say that I won't either. People are bashing me and telling me that I shouldn't take something that I don't like because "it's a waste of time and money" but how do you know if I'll like it or not?

I mean, I can't be standing up for myself at this point of time and say "I do like it" and "I know what I'm doing" because as uncertain as I am, I don't trust myself enough to believe that I might like something I've never done before. You never try until you know, right? And as much as I dread the day that I tell myself "I really do not like this" and that "I should have listened to others", a part of me tells myself this: You gotta still try first.

Just like you, I really dread the day that I tell myself "I really do not enjoy doing this" and that "I can't do it any longer". In fact, I dread it more than you do. What if I really hate it? What if I really do regret it? What if others said were right?
And I fervently pray that this day would never come.

But even if it does, I hope that I would have the courage to always, find a U-turn or another direction I can head to instead of repressing my feeling and holding on when I know it's already making me miserable. And I hope that I would always have the courage to say "It's okay, let's start again" when I find myself reaching a dead-end or hitting rock bottom.

(Even so, hitting rock bottom isn't always a bad thing. It can be a solid foundation on which you can rebuild your life.) (Yes, this is me trying my best to be positive.)

I'm officially starting University in another 17 days. And 17 days before I start my uni life proper, I'm now stuck in this huge dilemma, thinking whether or not I should: 1) Continue architecture; 2) Change my course and do something else like arts/sciences before it's way way way too late; 3) Give up on university and return to Singapore.

I hope the last choice never happens because I left for a reason. And if I ever return home for good, I have two choices in mind: to open my own business or to work as an air-stewardess for a few years so that I can have enough savings for my studies in the future. I've always been overly-ambitious when it comes to starting my own business and I didn't realise this until recently. Starting my own business and opening a fully vegan cafe has always been something I REALLY wanted to do apart from being a doctor/surgeon, but I've realised that I'm too inexperienced to handle it all on my own for now. Perhaps in the future when I'm more ready, more skilled and more mature for it, and most importantly when I'm confident that it would definitely be successful.

This post has been too much of a long rant, so pardon for that but I really needed to get some things off my chest. And boy, do I feel better now after this word vomit. 

I really am unsure of where I should go and what I should do now, and as much as I want to ask others and hear their opinions, a part of me feels like maybe it's time I should listen to myself instead of others as for now. Because everyone would have something to say, and if I asked everyone I would probably end up more conflicted than I am now.

It's time to refer to this saying in a post I've once shared before:

 "Let go of the belief that you have everything figured out right now. That you have to know exactly who you want to be, exactly what you want to do, exactly who you want to have a life with. Be okay with the fact that you're going to go through life feeling blind and unsteady and never fully sure of what you're doing, because that's how it's supposed to be."

I really needed to hear this.

It's okay to be unsure. It's okay to be stuck and lost sometimes. As always, I should believe that life will always have a way for me.

Because I know it does.

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