As I was catching up on my weekly readings of the various blogs today, I came across one of my Pinkie's entry about her past decisions, particularly in regards to studies, how it affected her life now, and some of the regrets that she may have.
Something that I can definitely understand.
My choices in education had been really unorthodox, to say the least. I guess it all stamps from this inner need to gain the best possible set of knowledge for me to fulfill my dreams.
Right after my 'O' levels, I knew I wanted to take Mass Comm. But my Dad thought that IT was a better choice. It was the period of the IT boom, and IT was where the money's at. And although I knew he would not force the decision on me, I decided to take up IT, partly because it seemed like a good choice and also because like any good daughter, I want to make my father proud.
I hate... hate... HATED IT. The programming, the networking, all of it! None of it made sense to me! Two semesters into it, I felt like I was drowning in a deep, dark, crazy binary pool of 1s and 0s that makes absolutely no sense. What 1+1=0???
*pause to eat a mouthful of pineapple... nom nom nom*
The more I struggled with IT, the more I thought about Mass Comm. I wanted to switch courses so badly, and I told my Mum exactly that. I told her that I was really struggling just to pass, and this was not the fantastic poly life that I had envisioned when I decided to drop one subject* in secondary school so that I can have a fighting chance of passing my Maths, which I suck at, and get at least a decent enough L1R4 for poly.
*An example of how much my parents trusted me. By dropping one subject, I was really at risk of not being able to even go to poly, but somehow they believed that I can do it. Such courageous parents!*
*pause to eat another mouthful of pineapple... YUMMY! Does sweet pineapple dance...*
I always remember the day when I had an argument with my Dad and I ran out of the house in tears. My Mum came after me and we were standing in this void deck, and I told her that the pressure was just too much. I was so worried that I won't even be able to graduate with a diploma.
My Mum, in her sometimes annoying calmness, said, "Have you really tried hard enough? Can you at least make sure you get your diploma? Then at least you have a form of security. After that you can look at other options."
Somehow, her treating me like an adult and discussing it with me, instead of my Dad's yelling and fist-waving, was a much more effective form of encouragement that I promised her there and then that I will finish the three years.
Of course Mumsies would come to regret her words, because gawd knows how much of her money I wasted in my quest to "find my true passion". Wahaahaha!
And so I soldiered on, somehow managing to find a combi of modules that is remotely interesting to me (making websites). Although I had to graduate a year later because I had to retake two electives. And just FYI, I was able to choose non-programming electives to replace the two disgusting programming modules that I failed and I ended up raking in A and B grades, so I am really not a bad student. I just need to have proper English to read, not some mumbo jumbo where it is okay to have different types of brackets as part of the language. At some point, you simply WILL lose track of how many types of brackets you opened and forgot to close (NO! GETTING 3456789 ERRORS WHEN YOU ONLY HAVE ONE BUG IS NOT ALRIGHT!)
But of course the story does not end here.
After poly, I again found myself at crossroads.
I know that it was both my parents dream that I get a degree, something that they were not able to do. But what should I study?
I knew that my Dad wanted me to continue with IT, because it seemed like such a wonderful idea (men are surprisingly forgetful when it comes to drama), but what I really want was something more related to performing arts, particularly the technical aspects. At the same time, I had strong misgivings because it did not seem feasible to study that in Singapore as it was 2004, Esplanade had not been built, I had never seen a local production before, and I thought the only theatre in Singapore was Kallang Theatre. The arts scene was so much more ulu than it is now (this was 7 years ago, okay! WAH, so long already!)
So I decided to take a year off to work and decide what I really wanted to do. (All the cool girls in the movies do that!) And in that time, I did send in an application to an institution in Canada which offers a very comprehensive course in technical theatre, with elective modules in performing arts. And I was accepted.
But I did not go.
I guess when I am really old and people ask me what was my greatest regret in life. It would have to be this. I could have had the uni life that I had always wanted, still dream about sometimes, in an ang moh country no less.
And I don't even know why. Maybe it was cold feet? Maybe the weird expression on my Dad's face when I told him I am interested in theatre? Maybe something in me that felt that I would never survive being alone out there? It's all fuzzy to me now, but somehow I just did not go.
In the end, I guess practicality won out over possible passion and I decided to take up a Mass Comm course here because it was something that I had always wondered about. The "what-if" card that was a much safer choice.
So it's not really that bad. I did get what I want too. I even played cheat a little and took up a Literature and Psychology course just to see how I would fare in a study-intensive program, but I got lazy. And that is just among the many, many different path of learning that I have attempted throughout the years.
And now here I am.
I wouldn't say that I got the best education, if you really must do a comparison. But I do think that I at least got an interesting package. Although I hated IT, I am currently the most IT-savvy female in my group of friends. Haha! Not the best of points for womankind but it's still something! Every lesson I attended before gave me something that no amount of studying might give others. Knowledge and self-awareness. What I can and cannot, like and dislike.
And I know that I will not stop here, although I am quite done with books for now. But learning never stops. I foresee that I will constantly be picking up new interests and develop new passions. Who knows? Someday I might even get a crazy idea to become Dr Moreen.
*finishes pineapple... SLURP!*