And finally today, we leave the campus through the school gates for the last time as official schooling J1s; just like that, this first school year in JC I had been so fearful of has come and gone. I think carefully about what I have been through in this first school year here and it all passes by my mind in a flash, some images more vivid than others. On this last day of school, it appears to be appropriate to be thinking back on this school year and what it has meant for me.
When I flashback to this time last year, I remember I had been fearful. Beyond fearful, I was terrified. I had thought over and over about the infinite possibilities in JC– this terrifying new environment with triple the number of people I’m used to in a batch and a campus so big it was seemingly boundless. I remember verbalising the worry I had about the thousand and one things that came to my mind when I tried to articulate the uncertainties I had toward this new experience, and this included a horrifying ‘Worst Case Scenario’— this worst case JC experience I imagined for myself was a mechanism for me to accept the endless possibilities that came with donning the new school uniform and being in this new community of people. I remember developing it into a story of some sort: one with a beginning, which starts with me stepping into this school; all the itty bitty details about the people I’d get to know or people I may lose; then the climax, where everything that can go wrong goes terribly wrong; and finally the end, where I leave this school worse off than I came in. (By that I think I mean, demoralised, beaten and hurt) And coming to terms with this story, had helped me come to terms with the then impending reality of entering JC.
But now in hindsight, not only did practically the opposite of this worst case scenario materialise, the very real problems I had experienced were nothing like what I had expected at that time. In the end, there were so many ups and downs, so much laughter and tears, blood and sweat; all of which, I couldn’t have imagined or foreseen in that time. I have tried so many more things, and forgone so many others; and in the midst of all this, there has been more continuity than I had expected after all. To today, the things I have enjoyed thoroughly, found passion in or the things I have felt deeply for, or kept close to heart have remained. I continue to attempt everyday, to treasure the people around me more and try to be the best version of myself. Until today, my heart skips a beat when I watch fashion shows online, do community service, read non-fiction, enjoy art exhibitions or listen to buskers play covers of music. And after this year, the beliefs that I have once written about seem to only have been reinforced strongly by the new experiences I have been through. I am still attending the same festivals and visiting the same fairs, still trying to find time to be alone and still being obnoxious in talking about what I think. I guess sometimes we exaggerate the effect certain experiences may have on us and fail to realise the continuities that string our life experiences together with common threads of beliefs, values and sometimes people.
But no doubt, I can definitely identify changes– one of which I could identify, is that this year I have been an advocate. In the initiatives led and the advocacy teams found, in shaving and in publishing on this site; it’s like being in the same vehicle driving on the same road but taking a new seat within the vehicle. Your view changes a little, perspective increases and I guess your horizons broaden. Yet you know, that until you keep trying every seat in that vehicle, and until you find the courage to hop over to another vehicle, or maybe travel by foot sometime, can you really have an eye-opening view of the surroundings and circumstance on which the path you’re taking is built within. So if I think about what this year’s experiences has thought me most about, one of the lessons would be taking chances.
The most unexpected decisions I have made or micro-experiences I have managed to be a part of: from Youth Corps Singapore, to the fruitful trip I had to Cambodia in June, and to the opportunity to be back on stage during Dramafeste 2014; I try to find the underlying reason I have been able to be a part of these and I think my answer is chance. It was letting things take control for once instead of carefully planning every minute, and signing up on (sometimes) impulse and letting my heart do the thinking in that instant. I have to continue to learn that the uncertainties largely outweigh the possible certainties we can have about everything that happens everyday and as scary as it feels, there are some absolutely beautiful experiences you sometimes get out of letting chance take control completely.
And so here’s my plan this holidays: to leave more things to chance.