Core

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Today marks the start of the seventh week of placement, and I figured it’d be helpful to pen down some of my thoughts here hmm.

The past 7 weeks haven’t been easy – I’ve been challenged in all aspects, times are hard, they haven’t been the easiest yet, and I keep falling back into the cycle of self doubt & uncertainty of capabilities. I’ve treaded through the darkest paths, and while I’m able to come out of it, all it takes is just one tiny push to relapse all over again. I get it, it’s all about learning & the curve is steep, it’s about being pushed to our limits & realising they are way further than you thought. But what if you’re pushed during the times when you’re standing at the edge? What happens then?

And yet, while being clouded with all these unhelpful thoughts (lol), placement seminar today helped clear my mind slightly:

I used to think that I am very open with my values, my beliefs & my opinions. But am I really? Getting people to be at their most vulnerable – that’s what we do, don’t we? To get them to be vulnerable enough to share their honest thoughts, and that’s where the change process kicks in. That’s where we connect with them, we intervene, that’s where we progress along the helping process. But who are we to ask for the trust of people to be vulnerable in front of us, when we can’t even be open, vulnerable & honest with ourselves? There’s just so much room for improvement.

Something that we always worry about is whether there’s a goodness of fit between us & our jobs as Social Workers. But if there doesn’t seem to be a good fit – what’s causing the discrepancies? Is this where we say, “perhaps I’m not cut out for this profession?” No. At times when we are at the lowest, when we wonder what’s our purpose in this, when we doubt we’re able to live up to the “expectations”, when there isn’t this goodness of fit, take the time to examine the situation. What are the factors that causes this misfit? Are you going to work on them, or are you just going to accept them & choose to leave the profession?

“Therapeutic use of self” – something we hear so often in our work. But while we try to increase the fit between us & our jobs, are we merely trying to match ourselves to the role/stereotype of a social worker? What exactly makes a “good” social worker? Are social workers people who seem to have this halo over their heads, able to solve everything & any problems in the world? At this rate, matching ourselves by becoming who we are not – will only lead to the eventual burnout.

& today, we were told to think of who we were, what is our core as a person – de-roled from our selves as Social Workers-to-be. What are our values, abilities, our skills, our beliefs, our life experiences? What can we bring to our profession then? The importance of knowing ourselves as individual persons has always been emphasised. But today, I think I got to find out about myself a little more. To accept my vulnerabilities, to accept my flaws, to embrace my strengths, and to know what I can give.

It’s all about management. Managing our workload, managing client’s expectations, managing agency’s expectations, managing expectations of self. And more often than not, managing the expectations of our selves has always been the hardest – we’re far too harsh & critical of ourselves. Being emotional vs. feeling emotions; feeling compassionate vs. burning out, these are all things that help shape us.

It has been overwhelming, it still is, but with hope I’ll persevere on. Saw this quote in one of the interview rooms at work, and it’s my new mantra so I’ll end my lengthy post with this:

In every heart lies the strength to pull us over the bumpiest trails.

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L’appel du vide

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Whenever, wherever; perhaps someday, things will slowly fall into place. Till then, all that’s anticipated shall be mystery. By then, all that’s left might be broken shards.

Haven’t had the time to update endlessparadigm for a while, and it is with utmost regret where I’ve to make a confession ……. I’m typing this while attending a lecture that has lost me since the beginning. This semester, I aim to work harder & take my studies more seriously, but with a higher commitment to studies meant burning out waaaaay faster than I’ve did before.

Fell into a slump for the past week albeit it being week 3 of the term only; but picking up bit by bit & catching up. Headed to the library for a short study session yesterday, which proved to be more productive than I’ve been since school started, so at least I’m heading somewhere (finally) 🙂

Reflections & deep thoughts. These are aspects that I’ve been interested in, but after certain encounters recently I realised how dangerous they can be if not dealt with carefully. For it’s one thing to be able to self-reflect, to engage in productive discussions about topics not commonly treaded on – for they provide new insights & new perspectives. Undoubtedly it’ll make life more meaningful. But what happens from then on? How do you ensure that people, while having a negative outlook in life, still strive for improvement & not just accept it as it is? I’ve seen for myself, people who end up being so pessimistic due to the clarity of their perception of the realities in the world & it’s just so … upsetting to witness.

Anyway, this year I learnt something the hard way. Being in different positions, different stages of life, really provides each individual with a different dominant perspective. These perspectives, when met with different views, clashes frequently & the outcome isn’t pleasant. I used to feel the need to explain myself all the time, to get people to understand why I’m thinking in a certain way – but this year, not anymore. Not everything requires an explanation, not everyone deserves an explanation. Because people who understand, will eventually understand. And those who are resistant to accept other viewpoints, will merely brush off explanations as excuses.

Alright it’s time for my next lecture, till the next time (may it be soon) x

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.

Silence

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Here’s to the kids who try their hardest to be good enough for everyone; who spend hours reading random quotes to find the right one; who listen to the same song dozens of times because the lyrics mean a lot; who deserve so much more than they get and are willing to fight for it; and whose wish upon a shooting star was wasted on someone that will never care.

Time check: 4:08 am.

Decided to take a breather from my assignment & just draft up a random post. Slowly trudging through my 1.5k word assignment for Public Health mod, and I have over a thousand words already yay (: But I’m still relatively far from done which probably means I’m going to have to spend time cutting down on words later ugh. Why must word limits be so strict, why are they limiting it to 1.5k words when I have more to say? And by cutting down on my work, it’s going to decrease the extent to which the words encapsulates my thoughts & stuff. But I’m just really glad it’s going to be done soon, considering how it’s due in approximately 14 hours (okay less than that) or so.

Wake Me Up When September Ends is currently playing, how apt a song this is now … so drained (but not sleepy though), can someone wake me up after September ends instead? Wouldn’t it be nice to just get to sleep a little longer than I should, because I can and because I want to. Really love this song, hooked onto it even after so many years. Many lovely songs discovered via Spotify, noted all of them down & really can’t wait to download all of these songs soon (: Recent fave song = Big Girls Cry by Sia, really worth the listen (click on the title haha I added the link already!) I think Sia’s voice is really unique, only heard 3 of her songs (Chandelier + Big Girls Cry + Eye of the Needle), but all 3 really caught my attention so … I’m definitely going to check out more of her songs when I’m more freed up!

The past few weeks have been really stressful with frequent mental breakdowns & what-nots, I’m so sorry to everyone around me who had to witness my … vulnerable episodes. But I’m okay now, & strong enough to deal with all the stress in my life (: So I’m fine, thank you to those who’ve showed concern in one way or another. I might not have expressed my gratitude well, but these little actions really mean a lot to me, more than you can ever imagine (‘: I guess it’s the reasoning of thoughts that helped me clear my mind a little, and to look at the realistic (yet slight positive) side of things. No point excessive worrying about things anyway, not like all the worrying or freaking out will change anything in reality.

Recess week is coming up soon, just one week of school between me & the pseudo freedom yaaaay. Finally won’t need to wake up before 8am every single day for lessons, I can’t begin to emphasize how much I’m NOT a morning person (actually me being awake now kind of shows it right haha). Recess week will be filled with loads & loads of mugging + meetings + meetups, x fingers I will be able to plan my time properly! Can’t wait for study dates during recess week.

In these two days, I genuinely feel as though my life is starting to creep back upwards, back to how it used to be (: I don’t want to lose myself because of all the shit that’s happening, so I’m glad I’m starting to see my old self again. I really miss the daily trolling of people at random times, or just blabbering nonsense to anyone anywhere anytime. Because that’s just who I really am (:

I’ve gained a new perspective recently as well. I don’t exactly think people change, but rather they form new masks that override the previous ones, which then makes it seem like they changed. People are just layers and layers of masks, showing different personas to different people who they meet in their lives. & it’s hard for people to see through these masks, so it makes me feel vulnerable when some can just tear these masks off me so effortlessly hmm.

Love these late night thoughts, although it’s relatively incoherent & rather nonsensical. Kind of sucks that nobody seems to be awake for me to talk to. So this is a random shoutout to all night owls, feel free to text me if you need any chatting buddy on late nights like these! Glad for that short 0.5h chat with my awesome angel just now at 2am, sorry to have kept you awake when you were preparing to head to bed already whoooops.

Many many people around me these days are feeling really down/overwhelmed by every single things in life. Seems as though things are crumbling down for most people … but cheer up, stay strong alright. Things WILL get better. It’s okay to be weak & break down at times, because like what someone told me, crying makes you human. So long you are able to stand up after, you’ll be more than just fine. It’s okay, it’s alright, eventually we will learn how to survive. After all, haven’t we being doing that for the past (insert your age) years of your lives? (: If anyone needs a listening buddy, I’m just a text/call away.

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But miracles take time to happen. They wait for you to feel worthless and then when you’re about to give up, they come knocking at the door and sometimes they come as humans.

I’m counting on this, please don’t disappoint this time alright. Okaaaaay I better continue on my assignment, jiayou shiao!

Till the next time x

2013 in words.

“In January I adopted the motto “I am gonna make it through this year even if it kills me” and I would just like to applaud 2013 for trying its damnedest.” 

Time is ticking, Happy New Year’s Eve to everyone! I’ll be lying if I said 2013 has been a good one, because despite all the happy & gratifying moments I’ve experienced, 2013 was generally hell of a year I’ve experienced. Comparing the me in Jan 2013 and the me in Dec 2013, undoubtedly I’ve changed quite a bit. Morphing into someone with changes in terms of personality & perspectives on things like friendship and other things. Sidenote, this is going to be a really general post!

This year I felt a lot

This year I laughed a lot

This year I met new people

This year I left old people

This year I loved a lot

And I cried a lot this year

And I experienced a lot this year

And I changed a lot this year

And that change is the most valuable thing

2013. The year where I first stepped into the (somewhat) real working industry, by working as a temp admin assistant @ MND-BCA. Waking up early to take the train to work was insane, considering how we had to squeeeeze with the working crowd and survive the train ride all the way to Tanjong Pagar oh my gosh. Approximately 1h15min to get to work every morning, then working the typical 8.30am-6pm kind of life. It has been a good exposure, and it made me realize how important it was to find a job in the future that I am truly passionate about, such that I will be willing to wake up early every morning & look forward to going to work LOL. But with all that said, so thankful for PDMD to have taken care of me so well despite being just a temp admin there (: And for always chatting with me & checking to see if I was too bored at work. It’s the people who make such things much more enjoyable, and my first working experience for approx 5 months or so, ended on a really good note (:

After working the standard office life, I have gotten myself another responsibility. Currently a tuition teacher, teaching math & chinese hee (: It’s a huuuge responsibility imo, these kids have pinned their hopes on me to help them improve in time for PSLE in 2014. Thankful to have seen how my tutee has progressed so much and the big improvements in their results, it makes me feel so heartened, and a reassurance that hey, I’m actually really able to help them! Aiming for nothing but an A* for both math & chinese in PSLE, because I have that much faith in my tutee. Teaching is really such a joy (‘:

2013 is a defining year. It defined who, or rather it has subtly guided me into making decision of my future path – by finalizing my uni/major choice. I remember how unsure/skeptical I was of what I want to apply for upon receiving my A’s results on 1 March 2013. I’m going to say for sure, now, that I know I haven’t chosen the wrong major (: I’m contented to be in NUS FASS, albeit it wasn’t my initial choice (or rather I was torn between this & another choice that … doesn’t serve any significance anymore). With this, I remember the few months where I was literally freaking out over potential offer/call for intv for my other choice, and all the friends who have been there to encourage me with all that insane worrying going on. Maybe I’m not destined for that path, yeah sometimes thinking back I really wonder why I didn’t get any news since the cut off grade was waaaaaaaay lower than the cut off grade for NUS FASS hmm. But it’s fine (: Because being in NUS, being in FASS, has gained me exposure to a whole new level of excitement and experience.

With that said, my first semester as a university student has officially ended! It started off really well, with arts oweek 2013, ConspirARTSy’13! Happy to belong to A4 Aiumph, possibly one of the best OGs I’ll ever be in. Memorable (in a good way) start, happy to have made new friends, considering how socially awkward I am with strangers. Results aren’t up to expectations, so it’s a promise to myself to work harder from next sem onwards. For one, I’ll need to make sure that I diligently attend all lectures & tutorials (and actually pay attention, or at least attempt to). Kind of looking forward to school starting, but at the same time I still wanna enjoy my holidays, ah wellllllll.

Among all these new experiences/life-changing decisions in my life, I am thankful that old friendships are still going on strong! Don’t want to mention names here, but those who matter so much to me will know/feel it (: And perhaps receive a personalized message when the clock strikes midnight tonight hee. Haven’t decided if I’ll be hardworking enough to do that buuuuut, I’ll try my best. Really thankful for people who keep me sane through tough times, friends who make me feel the love & feel so touched, friends who are there for me because they are willing to. There’s a saying where friendships that last 7 years will last for a lifetime. But no, I don’t believe in that. Because I have friendships that haven’t lasted for 7 years but I am more than sure that they would be friendships for a lifetime (‘: So thank you to all these friends out there!

Last but not least, this marks the first year (and a few days) where I have been an Inspirit! Never in my life would I have imagined being whirled into this whole kpop saga, but I’m not regretting anything. I’m thankful to be an Inspirit, for Infinite! It’s amazing how I’ve been exposed to so many kpop groups by my sis for the past few years and none caught my eyes/heart, and it’s even more amazing for how I actually became an Inspirit, just from one reality programme that I watched for an hour because the sis was watching. Maybe this is really Destiny (‘: And thank you to my dearest Inspirit family for fuelling my fangirl heart + having someone to spazz with all the time! Apart from being an Inspirit, I’m a part time Babyz. So as of 2013 I am glad to have been to the concert of both my bias groups (with Infinite as the main of course). 8 Aug 2013 for BAP concert, and 5 Oct 2013 for Infinite concert. I’ve seen my two bias groups in real life how fortunate *o*

But being sensible, I know that fangirling has taken up a lot of my time and effort. From now on, studies will be of priority! I’m not saying that I’ll stop being a fangirl because I know that is technically impossible, but I’ll dedicate more time studying, and making sure that I don’t compromise anything just because of kpop, because it really isn’t worth it as much as it has brought me a lot of fun & happiness in my life this year. I’ll learn to be more sensible from now on, always prioritise (:

In 2013, I had experienced a fair share of tears laughter happiness sadness, all emotions possible. Didn’t think that I would have survived it but hey looking back, I did it. Everyone did it. If you’re reading this, you did it as well, so give yourself a pat on the back. One of my new life motto is to always be optimistic. If you can’t change things, try looking at them from a different perspective, make yourself happier (: Bad or good, life still goes on. Used to post new year resolutions on my blog but as I grow older, these things get more personal so nope, no more posting ’em here.

In 2014, I hope that everyone around me will be happier. Happy with their grades, happy with their relationships, happy with their lives. Sincerely hoping that I’ll make 2014 a good one, and a meaningful one. No more procrastination, no more lack of priorities, no more regrets. I’m going to plant cherry tomatoes on 1 Jan ’14, the most hilarious yet meaningful birthday present I’ve got this year from my two best FASS seniors/friends/inspirits! (Maybe I’ll post about all the birthday surprises etc that I’ve gotten some time soon) Can’t wait to plant my cherry tomatoes, hopefully they will grow well! Life will get better eventually, it always will. Cherry tomatoes, may we both grow well together & experience the upcoming happy days in 2014!

New year, new book, new resolutions, may it be a good year ahead! (: This will be the last post of 2013! May endlessparadigm see happier posts in the new year ahead. Goodbye 2013, thank you for being in my life, but it’s time for you to go. Because 2014 is coming in 10 hours’ time.

2014, bring it on. I’m ready for you.