Dear No One,
How have you been? It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other. Around this time of year, I’d usually be writing a letter to my younger self to reflect on my actions and achievements. However, as the past few months have provided me with more than enough time for introspection, I felt it would be far more productive to talk to you for a moment. I actually also wanted to share something with you. It’s quite a big confession, so hold on to something. Studying International Studies was not my first choice. Up until my final months of secondary school, I was convinced I wanted to study English. It wasn’t until I attended an English Language and Culture student experience day that I realised how boring the study was. (No offense to all the English BA students!) The weeks leading up to the end of my secondary school were tumultuous for several reasons and having to find a new bachelor’s degree to study did not make things easier. Due to personal reasons, I could not take a gap year, so I desperately signed up for a bunch of experience days and prayed I would like at least one of the studies I would come across. Low and behold, I discovered International Studies and fell in love with it. I made myself a promise, I was going to do my best in this BA, but if I failed it, I was going to fall back on plan B: getting a law degree. Two years into IS, I had to retake my language course: Japanese. Dropping out and studying Law did cross my mind, but I ended up choosing a different path. I decided to expand my time studying International Studies with an extra year and enrolled in a summer programme at a Japanese language centre. The courses took place in Tokyo and before I knew it, I spent a couple of months in Japan over the summer. My language skills greatly improved and that following semester, I passed my exams with ease. Due to taking a fourth year, I had more time on my hands and I was able to invest that time into extracurricular elective courses, BASIS committee work, and a part-time job. Those efforts paid off, as I was able to attend courses about international diplomacy, I was given the role of Editor-in-chief of BAISmag and I was given more responsibilities at my job. I am so incredibly thankful to be in this position. After reflecting on all of the twists and turns that have led me to where I am now, I learned something important that has helped me through most of quarantine. As this will be my last Dear No One for a while, rather than making promises about how things will be better next year, or trying to give you advice on how to live life to the fullest in quarantine, I want you to leave you with that important lesson:
Nothing will ever go completely according to plan, but everything will turn out a lot better than you could ever expect… and even if they don’t turn out great, you will still be okay. Just remember to keep working hard, keep looking for the silver lining, and keep breathing. You got this.
Sending you lots of love and support (even from a government requested minimum distance of 1.5 metres),
P.S. If you’re struggling to cope with the curveballs 2020 has thrown at you, don’t hesitate to reach out to the university psychologist.