Learning to embrace what you have, and take on the world

I’ve been staying in school till late, partly because being tired leads to lower efficiency rates, and also because there’s just so much work to do. But hang on, I’m not complaining. 

For the longest time I’ve wondered what life would have been if I got into NUS Law. I was overly involved in CCAs, ballet, and perhaps church commitments as well such that I did not do as well as I expected myself to. I missed the cut off for NUS Law by one miserable point and wasn’t even granted an interview. But hang on again, I’m not complaining. Despite being silly enough to decide on a whim not to apply for discretionary admission and hence rendering my CCA records in the eyes of many as useless, I do no regret making those commitments I did in IB. 

I look back now and ask myself if I would have given up the life I had in IB and the various commitments I had if I’d known for sure that I’ll get an extra point or two should I do so. 

The answer is a definite no. Loud, and clear. 

It wasn’t perfect, I didn’t exactly like my class, but the lessons I learnt through my IB life, the struggles I faced as a result of my commitments which in turn produced the tenacity, resilience and strength in me which will stay with me for the journey to come, are far more valuable than just that one or two points. 

Given, it is easy to say so since I did manage to get into SMU Law after all. To the eyes of many, it is in no way a failure. 

But hey, everyone has different definitions of success, different expectations of themselves. And when they fail to achieve those expectations, the brunt of the fall is equally hard and painful. There isn’t a proportional scale of comparison for this, and it is very much subjective. With regards to how rational it is, it really isn’t for anyone to judge. 

A person who got a B instead of an A may feel as terrible, or much more terrible than a person who scraped a C instead of a B. The expectations of the former isn’t ridiculous, although the latter may think of it to be so simply because it didn’t make sense ( or feel good) to see someone grieving over what you would have rejoiced. 

In fact, ask any of the SMU Law students, and the majority would tell you with a tinge of self mockery that we’re NUS rejects. 

It isn’t within my capacity to comment which school’s better and it isn’t my intention to do so anyway. But I’d say that both schools do look for different types of people, and while a handful of people do meet the criteria for both, it’ll also be worthy to keep in mind that SMU interviews a larger group of students as compared to NUS, when they have a significantly less number of places in the Law faculty. I’ll leave the conclusion with the regards to this, to yourselves. 

But ofcourse, the benchmark for any student who wishes to study Law ( or perhaps any other courses ) would be to get into NUS. Getting to choose between both would be the best case scenario, but it’ll definitely be less of a disappointment not getting into SMU, as compared to not getting into NUS. 

Be it the prestige, or the ( I’ll willingly admit) really cool law campus in NUS, NUS Law is akin to the green light of the Great Gatsby for us teenagers aspiring to enter law school. 

When I think of university life, I’ve always envisioned myself in NUS. The months leading up to university interviews/ admissions, I was thinking about how wonderful hall life would be. I was thinking about how wonderful having such a large campus and the freedom of such empty fresh spaces would feel. 

As a matter of fact, I got pretty excited thinking about studying in NUS Biz ( by that time, I knew that I didn’t make the interviews for Law and I didn’t want to get my hopes up for SMU Law). 

To cut the long story short, I got into SMU Law, and as much as it was a difficult decision, I decided to pursue what I’ve always wanted to instead of giving it up for the university life I yearned to have. 

I wouldn’t ascribe to the saying that university life is what you make of it to be, because there are limitations, and very real limitations indeed. 

I’ll never know what hall life is like, or experience rushing for cross disciplinary classes held in another faculty. I’ll never know what it is like to have that prestige of an NUS Law student. I’ll never know what it is like to join rag. I’ll never have cheap, good canteen food either. 

And for a good four years, I have to resign to getting out of bed extra early and returning home a little later because I take nearly an hour to get to school. 

But hey, for the third time, I’m not complaining (: 

I look out of the library windows at night and I see the never ending stream of lights from the stream of cars heading through the cities. I see the various tall buildings light up amidst the background of darkness. I see the lights of the SMU buildings through the various glass windows and everything, every single thing throbs of life and vibrancy. 

I see the street lights and they infuse within me a sense of drive and joy. It feels as though its aligning me to the heart beat of the city. 

There was some night festival going on a couple of weeks back on a Sunday night, and I felt the same vibrancy as I stood outside the library across the SAM as the lights flashed and the music throbbed. 

And I realize that amidst the struggles and the things I’ll most probably never get to experience, I do love my campus, I do love my school. 

As much as I’ve never envisioned myself here, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else right now. 

I can’t imagine myself doing my law mods in a lecture style instead of a seminar style. 

Readings are tough but I love what I study and that makes a whole lot of difference. 

I may not experience a full campus life, but the campus life I have right now is one of its kind. It is so unique, right smack in the middle of this city’s vibrancy, and it contributes no less to this vibrancy as compared to the extent it is influenced by it. 

I still dread the long MRT rides home, I’m still worried about mid terms like any other student, I’m still trying to cram hours of reading whenever I can. I still struggle to get out of bed ( as I always have), and sometimes when I wake up in the morning and its dark I do question myself in mockery why I didn’t choose NTU instead. 

But in the strangest way possible, I am happy. 


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