2015, Au Revoir

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With an amazing conclusion of 2015, here’s hoping that wishes do come true x

This marks the beginning of the end, and yet the closing of this chapter will lead to an amazing 2016 ahead. This post, while being unable to encapsulate all the moments of 2015, will hopefully be able to document the significant happenings through the year; memories unmentioned will still be etched deeply in my heart 🙂

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The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open.

Do it. Throw yourself.

School.

2015 took me through a hell of a rollercoaster ride in terms of my studies. I started the year as a Psychology undergraduate, and as I’m typing this post, I conclude the year as a Social Work undergraduate. People may think that I’m crazy for changing my course of study when I’m already in my third year of university life – but this is a decision that I wouldn’t regret. I’ll admit that there have been (many) instances where I think about the what ifs, and reminisce about the times in Psychology.

Yet, this first semester as a Social Work major marked the happiest sem I’ve ever been through. Stepping out of the Psychology sphere, I realised how … depressed I have been, trudging through lectures/tutorials, even studying for finals back then was such a torturous journey that I dread every sem. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting Psychology down – I truly respect all Psych majors, for they are able to achieve & excel in a course of study that I’ll never be able to excel in, I get drowned in the competition. Pretty glad that I managed to complete all the core modules in Psych though 🙂

Looking back, my university life has been playing so many tricks on me – so many twists & turns, from pre-uni decisions till now. But like I said, no regrets 🙂 This sem’s Social Work modules have been interesting, looking forward to the subsequent modules in the coming semesters. Gonna attempt to be more studious than I have been this year (lol), and diligently attend all my lectures/tutorials from now on. Going to start my first placement in Social Work next summer, looking forward to a meaningful time, and a meaningful career ahead.

Because after all these, I think I’ve truly found where I belong.

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As you start and end your day, be thankful for every little thing in your life. You will come to realise how blessed you truly are.

CSC.

Life in CSC has been, pretty amazing & completely insane this year. From being the Vice-Chairperson of YR, to taking up the Sec-Treas role in C.A.N. XII, and currently the Vice-President (Regular Programmes) in CSC’s 14th Management Committee.

Rebranding from Youth Rangers to Youth Beacons was a bittersweet thing for me – PRVP Youth Rangers accompanied me through tough times, we battled against all odds and when we thought that things just kept getting worse, a miracle happened. Youth Rangers taught me so many things, it really isn’t easy heading a new programme – no past references to fall back on, everything was experimental & such. RVP Youth Beacons holds the hopes & wishes I have for this programme that has so much potential to continue growing, to continue impacting the lives of a really special group of youths whom I hold dearly & closely to my heart 🙂 Tuesdays were made tremendously better because I get to spend time with ’em youths, never thought that I’d feel so attached to them, but I am. Witnessing their smiles & happiness as they fooled around with each other, really warms my heart.

I must have been insane to sign up for C.A.N. XII in Jan/Feb. But this insane choice gifted me with a summer that was, although busy & stressful as hell, a meaningful one. C.A.N. XII broadened my perspective in many ways, allowing me to really appreciate how diverse and how disparate the lives of Singaporeans can be. No regrets joining C.A.N. XII though it burned all the weekends in June/July haha, looking forward to joining C.A.N. XIII …. as a volunteer hee. C.A.N. XII also reunited me with a senior from NYGG; it also gave me so many friendships that I’ll treasure dearly 🙂 C.A.N. XII taught me to think from different perspectives, to always consider one step ahead, and developed me to be a better volunteer. So glad that my friends came down to volunteer during C.A.N. Distribute, fulfilled my wish of volunteering alongside my friends (and also for them to witness/understand what I’ve been busy with my entire summer haha).

And finally, VPRP. When I first started volunteering in CSC, the thought of eventually ending up as the VPRP was a ridiculous one – a thought that I wouldn’t even have bothered entertaining. How ironic though, considering that I ultimately ran for this position, survived a gruelling elections that drained the hell out of me haha. The journey in 14MC has been quite an … interesting one so far? Interesting is probably an understatement. 14MC gifted me with friendships that I know I’ll treasure for life as well 🙂 And it allowed me to grow & mature as a leader, and pushing me out of my comfort zone constantly. I’m not someone who particularly enjoys, or is even comfortable with chairing meetings, but no matter how much it distresses me, I’ve got to do it. Which is why I’m thankful for all the moral support/encouragement from those who know the stress I have while assuming this position, even if I don’t show it often.

Comparing to the past when I was the YR VC, I’m proud to say that I’ve definitely broken down waaaaaaay less times. Because I realised, that if volunteering is supposed to make me happy, why am I letting the stress get to me? I’m still learning, there are times when I still doubt myself, and the past month has been hell of a journey of soul-searching & reflecting. I need to learn to be less hard on myself, and accept the fact that there are circumstances which are simply beyond my control. It’s tough, I might still make mistakes & wrong decisions along the way, but I’ll learn. To take things in stride & hopefully make the best of my remaining term not only as the VPRP of CSC, but also as a volunteer with the heart to serve.

For these little things, affirm my passion & interest in volunteering.

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Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Life.

I’ve had less time for myself this year despite being out & about doing things that are meaningful to me. Nevertheless, I’m still glad that I had some opportunities to indulge in hobbies that calms me down 🙂

After practicing Chinese Calligraphy for 12 years, I’ve finally gotten down to appreciating English Calligraphy. ‘am amazed & utterly in love with the pretty typography/calligraphy seen online (especially Tumblr), and for someone who’s a sucker for quotes, practicing English Calligraphy makes me really, really happy. Nowhere near perfection, but as with Chinese Calli, I’m sure there’ll be improvements along the way with constant practice hee.

Friendships wise, I’ve reconnected with some old friends & its pretty amazing. Just this past Christmas, a youth from my volunteering days back in JC whom I’ve lost contact with sent me well wishes 🙂 It’s amazing & an incredible heartwarming moment, & so glad to know how much he has progressed in these years.

& because of my busy commitments this year, it has indirectly opened up my eyes to see which friendships are the true ones that are worth keeping. Friends who don’t get upset/angry with my (super) lag replies that are mostly about me complaining how tired/burnt out I was. Friends who were there to give me advice & provide a listening ear regardless of how late it was, friends who went the extra mile to stay up just to make sure I was okay. Friends who made plans with me & trusted me enough to share about their issues. Friends who just wanted to hang out, because we can. & friends who remember the little things, thank you.

For friendships that fell through the cracks this year, all I can say is that it was a huge pity that they ended. For those with or without closure, I remember all the special moments shared. There are friendships that I’m reluctant to let go of, but life works in ways that I’ll never comprehend. Because once the trust is broken, no matter how hard you try to piece the broken pieces, you end up as the one who gets hurt. Maybe this time, I’m done trying. Perhaps, it’s time to let go.

Turned 21 this year, just 5 days ago. Turning 21 means more responsibilities, turning 21 officiates me into adulthood. Turning 21 & celebrating the moment with my loved ones & friends made me so, so happy 🙂 Special thanks to the two chinggus who went the extra mile to help me with the planning, pre-prep, and for everything during the party itself. Thank you for all the heartfelt wishes, be it through handwritten letters or text messages; I’ve read all of them well 🙂 Thank you for the repeated affirmations of the life decisions I’ve had to make this year, thank you for appreciating the friendships we share as much as I do.

There have been too many what-ifs & could-have-beens this year. Leaving things as status quo at the moment, shall see how it plays out in the coming year. No time nor room for regrets, every step I take is a direction that I’ve been destined to head towards to, and while I’m in control of my destiny, I believe that I’m meant to be where I am.

Setting my NYR soon, but I’ll take that offline instead since it’s a tad too personal. Hope that everyone has had a fulfilling 2015, and took the time to just think through the happenings of the year 🙂 Congratulations, no matter how good or how shitty 2015 has been for you, we have all survived the year.

Thank you endlessparadigm for journeying with me through this year, documenting the little events in my life. Wouldn’t have traded for a different 2015, but here’s hoping that 2016 will be a year filled with more smiles & laughter 🙂

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365 new days ahead, 365 new chances. I hope what you’re finding for in 2016.

2016, bring it on. I’m ready for you.

Shiaowei x
31 Dec 2015.

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Souls

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There is no person in the world who is made to handle every punch that’s thrown at them. We aren’t made that way. In fact, we’re made to get mad, upset, sad, be hurt, stumble & fall. We aren’t supposed to be able to handle everything.

But sometimes, just sometimes, things might get too overwhelming.

x

Tangled

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The whole world is not supposed to love you. And that is not something you need to strive for either. If you try too hard to be something that everyone loves, you will forget your essence, the very part of you that makes you yourself. Please stop breaking yourself into thousands of pieces to fit others all the time. Instead, let yourself be loved by those who love you despite your flaws. Instead, appreciate the love of those who know you best of all.

x

Empire

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And isn’t the point of things – beautiful things – that they connect you to some larger beauty? Those first images that crack your heart wide open & you spend the rest of your life chasing, or trying to recapture, in one way or another?

*clears cobwebs away* Hellooooo endlessparadigm we meet again after a relatively long hiatus.

It has been an interesting & fulfilling (though hectic) December holidays so far. Midway through the month already, mixed feelings about having to head back to school when January creeps closer till it arrives. Many events have happened in this hiatus, and (regrettably) undocumented on endlessparadigm, but definitely etched in my memories 🙂

It has been (and will continue to be) a month of giving, totally embracing the spirit of giving haha. Each volunteering session has concluded with positive takeaways, and the recent volunteering experiences in YB & GAW was no different. The immediate gratification received upon witnessing the happiness & enjoyment of ’em beneficiaries really warms the heart, and continues to affirm how volunteering is not just us giving, but we are on the receiving end as well. I’ve been reminded to enjoy/appreciate the little things in life, the happiness derived from accompaniment of friends, and not take them for granted. More often than not, it’s how you perceive a situation that ultimately determines if you end up happy or otherwise.

I truly believe that everything that we do & everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts & not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.

Today didn’t exactly start off on a good note, honestly don’t remember when was the previous time I cried this badly till I hyperventilated haha. But I’m thankful it became much better along the way, had so much fun exploring an area that I’d rarely venture into. Finally tried watermelon soju, but it wasn’t as nice as I hoped it’d be – might be because of my high expectations prior to trying it though!

Alright time to wrap up this post, hopefully my frequency of posting will be higher from now on whoops. So glad for December holidays, because I finally get to play the piano & read more books, two things that I really, really enjoy. Perhaps it’s my form of escapism, perhaps it provides an alternative reality.

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And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.

x

Heartbeat

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We’re all scared most of the time. Life would be lifeless if we weren’t. Be scared, and then jump into that fear. Again and again. Just remember to hold on to yourself while you do it.

Had a fun time with (part of) 14MC for MC Photoshoot earlier today 🙂 Really excited and hopeful for the term ahead with 14MC, it won’t be an easy path, but at the end of our term, hopefully we will all be able to look back and have many fond memories etched in our minds/hearts for the rest of our lives 🙂 Glad that I’m given the platform to pursue something that I’m passionate about, hoping that everything will work out eventually. Things have been made easier with a bunch of fun people to work with, I’ll definitely be at a loss without all of their guidance & advice. May 14MC be more bonded, serve CSC well in our various positions, be more active as a volunteer on-the-ground, and have fun while we’re at it 🙂

Received the results of my (one & only) midterms, glad I didn’t screw it up despite studying for it only the night before. Perks of it being a psychology-related social work module, and that it was an MCQ test haha. Need to start mugging for finals soon after all the submissions are over; 3 submissions this week + 1 next week, can’t wait to have the time to fully concentrate on finals! Rather determined to do well (or at least decent) this semester, especially since it’s my first semester taking social work modules hee. Social work studies have been really insightful thus far, and it opened my eyes to many details that I’ve overlooked in the past. May the subsequent modules of social work in upcoming semesters be as fulfilling as this semester has been 🙂

Normality is subjective – it’s a social construct, and it’s perceived in different ways, from different point of views, depending on how you define it to be. What constitutes actions/thoughts that are supposedly normal anyway? Been doing quite a bit of soul searching amidst the busy days, trying to understand what I truly want and what matters more. It’s unhealthy to harp onto things/thoughts that don’t deserve any attention, or even contributing to the sadness faced for that matter. Sometimes it’s inevitable to clutch onto those memories in hope for a reoccurrence even though we know it’s not going to happen. And over-reliance is a big no-no.

But then I realised – you can’t find someone who will fix you. That’s not how it works. You’re supposed to find someone who inspires you to fix yourself. Not someone who thinks all your flaws are perfect, but someone who challenges them; someone who can tell you that you can rise above the past and learn to love & trust again. No one will show up in your life with the magic words to chase the demons away. But one day you will meet someone who will make you want to fight them off yourself, because they deserve nothing less than your best.

Being positive doesn’t mean pretending everything is okay all the time. It means acknowledging your feelings & realising that you have the power to overcome any obstacle. It means realising that although you can’t control your circumstances, you can always see the silver lining. There is always a silver lining.

Late nights serve as an apt time to craft such thought-provoking posts, enjoying the peace & tranquility that only nights can provide. Alright back to socio-cultural theories in social work assignment, hoping to complete it before sunrise haha. Productivity level needs to increaseee haha.

P.S. Really a sucker for flowers & helium balloons, so pretty omg hahah okay till the next time x

Presque Vu

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You know what I think we are most afraid of? Not knowing. Not knowing whether it’s all really worth it. Not knowing if you should give up or keep fighting. Not knowing why you do the things you do; not knowing the purpose. It’s like when you were little and you touch the stove and get burnt because you didn’t know that it was hot. Not knowing has always hurt us, from the very beginning.

Time has really flown past really quickly this semester, it’s already mid-week of W10. The past few weeks have been busy with meetings, projects, assignments & what-nots. Sometimes the fatigue takes its toll, while other times, it just makes life seem more fulfilling. Whatever it is, I feel the growth – I’ve really learnt a lot in the past months, be it in terms of studies or enhancing aspects of my volunteering journey.

Successfully completed our first VW event as 14MC on Monday 🙂 Bottomline, the volunteers who came for the event shared that they had fun, and that’s the most important thing isn’t it? Thankful for the MC’s efforts from the pre-prep phases to the actual event itself, and post-event clearing up. There’s so much more that we can do to improve, but we all learn from our mistakes & we need to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes anymore. Happy (belated) 13th Birthday CSC, thanks for being a club that feels like home 🙂 & for letting me see what I truly want in life.

Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one in the world who’s struggling, who’s frustrated, or unsatisfied, or barely getting by. But that feeling’s a lie. And if you just hold on, just find the courage to face it all for another day and someone, or something, will find you and make it all okay. Because we all need a little help sometimes. Someone to help us hear the music in our world. To remind us that it won’t always be this way. That someone is out there, and that someone will find you.

Till the next time x

Goodbye Lullaby

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It was real. Somewhere between the stars, the lights, I discovered that what we had was real. For a long time I wondered if, while walking by my side, you ever saw it that way, that we had every chance to make it. I saw each footstep we left behind being absorbed, disappearing instantly into collecting pools of water that erased all evidence of us being there. I wondered if the words I spoke to you were more like our footsteps, or the rain; if they covered up the scar of words that foot stepped across your heart, left by those who tried to walk the same uncertain path before me, or if they joined them. I stepped, I spoke, I stopped, and your words fell like rain.

It’s midway through week 8 of school and it has been really, really tiring. Staying up till almost sunrise just to complete assignments, prepare for tutorials, finalise materials for presentations. I really need better time management, and to learn to take things in stride, for currently I just feel so overwhelmed with everything on hand. Typing this post at 3am, as a midway break before I continue trudging through my assignment (yet again).

And recently, I keep getting the question of how I’m coping in my new major, whether I’m regretting the switch, etc etc. I don’t regret I really don’t 🙂 In fact, I’m so appreciative of the many chances for experiential learning, be it NHS or just mere social agency visits. It allows for a step into the sphere of reality in this field, something that theories will never be able to compensate for. And yet it gets upsetting hearing the stories/cases shared, to know that there are so many people out there who require help and assistance – but at least by having a case opened for them, there’s that glimmer of hope. And there are those who fall through the cracks, which results in the inability to receive as much help as they actually need. Hopefully policies will be improved to be more inclusive hmm, but then again there are the pros & cons attached to every decision made.

Increasingly I start feeling the sense of helplessness, the muffled cries of despair; things that you’d have comforted me for in the past, but no longer the present. I hate it whenever I catch myself thinking that I could turn to you to share the details of my life that I used to share – it used to be so natural, and now all that’s left is the sense of void. It’s like this wall built up even higher than before, I don’t even dare to let my thoughts wander there anymore – the hurt’s real. I guess the closure will never be there, because all I’d really want to ask is, “What happened to us?” but I’m afraid of knowing the answer. It’ll forever remain a mystery that’s unsolved, which is a pity because of … well many reasons. I’m just naive to think that promises hold.

On a happier note, I’m glad to be bale to spend time with our youths again today 🙂 They really are my happy little pills – when I was sharing about the programme with a fellow Social Work major, she commented “you must really enjoy your sessions, I can hear the happiness when you’re talking about your youths”; nothing can be more true than that. Our youths will always hold a special spot in my heart – and I hope they will all grow up to pursue their dreams that they shared with us, to be able to attain the freedom and happiness that they’ve always yearned for.

& thank you A for meeting up for lunch earlier this week, it was a much needed break from the insanity faced throughout the weeks (although we aren’t exactly very sane whenever we meet up haha); & thanks Y for the frequent random topics in our chat that always helps to make the long train rides seem much more tolerable. & most importantly, sorry to anyone who felt a certain hostility from me in chats – trust me the fault is entirely on me, the past few weeks haven’t been easy to get by and it’s really getting to me. The last thing I’d want is for any misunderstandings to occur because of my lack of replies (again), or the fact that I don’t sound as “enthusiastic” these days haha.

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Sometimes I can’t help but to wonder, all these trade-offs, are they worth it? x