In my last post, I included a link to a Google Form where I asked for suggestions on what I can write about between now and up until graduation (or even after graduation), and so here’s my first post for my pre-graduation series [and no, I’m not making it a full legit series of blog posts, because I will always forget and leave it halfway through].
“How much has your life changed in the last 4 years since the very first day you arrived in States ? =)”
This question is perhaps one of the biggest things people would ask anyone who spent all or part of their undergraduate years studying abroad, and one that someone should definitely spend time to look back and reflect on their life and how much they’ve changed and grown. I’ve been thinking a lot about this too for the past couple of days, considering how I will be speaking at the UW-Madison International Student Graduation Celebration in May (a week before my official graduation commencement), so I really need to take some time off to figure out my speech and everything.
For me, thinking about this question has been a journey of rediscovering myself, rediscovering who I am, what I am passionate about, what I want to achieve in my future. I started out as a super excited pre-business student, ready to take on the world, ready to climb up the career ladder, ready to join the big leagues. I was laser focus, I was determined to be different, I was super sure of myself and how my four years of college will be the best years of my life and that I will be able to make huge impacts and be recognized for my talents and achievements.
My freshman and sophomore years were spent by taking part in different student organizations on campus, like the b.Line Undergraduate Magazine and the Business Badger Professionals. I was actively seeking out new challenges, taking on new responsibilities and exploring all the possibilities. Being in a new place was like coming up for air – I felt relieved and saw it as an opportunity to create the Syaza Nazura that I want to be, the Syaza Nazura that I believe will inspire other people and be remembered for the things that she achieved.
I was also super focused on my studies [well, relatively speaking], and I fall down flat on my face quite a number of times every time a quiz score or exam results was not up to my expectations of how I should become. I tend to compare myself to my classmates, to my friends, to my seniors, and I have that nagging voice in the back of my mind saying that, “You’re Syaza Nazura, this is a disappointment, you should be better than this, why are you so stupid?! This is such a disgrace, you’re a disgrace, what happened to you?”
I can’t say that the nagging voice has stopped. It’s still there. I still hear voices that kept on telling me that I should’ve done better, I could’ve become better, that I screwed up my life halfway through college and now I’m nothing. College and real life definitely hits me right in the guts, and as I meet new people and explore the vast world, I realized that I’m not all that I thought I was. I’m nothing. I’m just a tiny human being, one out of billions in the world. I’m a nobody, an insignificant part of the world, and me failing to live up to my expectations is nothing to the rest of the world but myself.
I’m ordinary, but, hey, that’s OK. I can live with that.
I stopped comparing myself to others, stopped worrying about how “s/he has better GPA than I do”, stopped thinking about “what would people think about me?”, stopped trying to fight about “who has the better resume”, and ultimately, I stopped blaming myself for being who I am supposed to be. I stopped blaming myself for taking my time, I stopped blaming myself for giving myself time and space to do what I want to do, I stopped blaming myself for not being the Syaza Nazura that I thought I could become, the Syaza Nazura that people expected me to be.
I think this is perhaps the biggest change I observed in my life for the past four years I’ve been here. I stopped looking for external gratification, and started to think about fulfilling my dreams and passions. I think this is probably one of the reasons why in the past few months, I’ve spent less time on my social media (I’ve uninstalled Facebook and Twitter from my phone in an attempt to stop oversharing my life to people) and to stop the need and feel to ‘fish for likes’ from people.
This blog post perhaps didn’t answer the question how people expect it to be answered (i.e. oh, I’m definitely more open to new ideas, I’ve been more financially independent, I’ve travelled to a lot of places so I’m more culturally aware and open, yada yada yada), but, hey, I get to choose however I want to answer it, no?
So, this should be it for now. Until next time, feel free to suggest me more things to write about by filling up this extremely-short-that-you-can-finish-it-in-20-seconds form.
Stay awesome people