Upon graduation, I took the road less travelled and that… has made all the difference.
1. Budgeting-Managing your Finance.
I grew up with my dad drilling me and my sis on credit/debit, no he’s not even an accountant but I remember being 10 and learning debit means money coming and and credit means money going out. I’ve also tried really hard to keep track on my finances and I remember being all proud when it tally but that will last one week tops cause after that the numbers will start to not add up again. I cannot remember the amount of times I tell myself “It’s okay I’ll record everything down next month” but truth is that never happened, because I never really find the need to do it.
That all changed when I travelled and had to learn how to survive in both the States and Egypt with my limited cash.
2. Blood is thicker than water.
Just admit it, no one has a perfect relationship with their family members, we fight, we bicker and we have cold wars but being out there, away from them, you’ll eventually realise that they are the people you fall back to when you have a bad day.
Not sure in which direction the sun sets, need someone to proof read your email, not sure to put in the garlic or the chicken first or when you have an ant situation – calls dad.
In need of some advice and a dose of postiivity – calls mum
Need to rant because the world is a shitty place- calls sis.
And that is when you realise how often you take them for granted.
3. Adapting – like a chameleon
When in Rome do what the Romans do. And this is very very true. No matter where you go there is always something different, be it cultural, language, religion or lifestyle. Learn how to adapt, I’ve seen so many people failing to adapt to the environment and hating the place altogether. And it’s such a shame really because the most extreme experiences makes the best stories. Like how we had to shower at an open area with camel staring at us? (So we showered in our swimsuit) but that was an experience we can never forget.
4. Sometimes, not all you see is true and not all you hear is real.
Social media is pretty much our modern day, 8pm breaking news.
And more often that not it shows the best side of things, despite not being the case for some.
Unfortunately, this is the same for media, broadcasting stories that favours certain parties. But how true is it? No one but the person who posts this video/status/picture/tweets does.
So before you judge, ask. Before you assume, make sure it is the truth.
5. Taking yourself a little less seriously
If it’s something that won’t bother you 3 weeks later, then it’s not serious. Or even a better one, if you can’t remember this 1 year from now, chances are it’s not a big deal. I realise a lot of people take too many things too seriously, especially yourself. A lot of us thinks that we should live up to a certain expectation, and guess what – we do, our own expectation. This is your own life, so live the way you want to live it. Not your parents, not your friends, not your uncle and aunties who sees you once every year during CNY and not anyone else’s. I’ve seen so many people who try hard to live up to other’s expectation and it never turns out well. Even if it seems great on the surface, and when things go downhill – the blaming game starts.
It is like that famous line, we have one life and the last time I checked, no one gets out of it alive. So have fun, live life and try to make the world a better place, even if it’s not for yourself may be for someone else.
6. You ALWAYS have a choice.
As an economic student opportunity cost is one word that I will never forget. Not because I read hear my lecturer says it 10,000 times in a class but because the concept itself is true. There is always something you are forgoing to reach to another, it all depends on your choice and how much is something worth.
I cannot count the amount of time where someone came up to me to tell me how they wish they can do what I did. And guess what, they could but they just choose not to – and that is the reality of it, you made your choice and I made mine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a wrong choice or whatever but a choice is a choice and each choice leads to a different path.
Things that I hear from countless people in regards to work:
- You're later than everyone by a year.
At the end of my career path, I really doubt anyone would actually care if I worked 40 or 41 years.
- What if you can't find a job when you return? Because competition is high and a new batch of students are now out in the field?
There's always a new batch of students out in the field. Competition is always going to be high. How you potray yourself out there makes all the difference.
- What if no one wants to take you in because you're off your game(labor force) for so long and all you do is enjoy and have fun on your vacation.
First thing first, I am not off to a vacation where I stay in a five star hotel, sipping my mojito while watching dolphins swim by. No, I was under a work and travel program which implies I am going to be working and going for a social volunteering program is most likely the furthest thing away from a "vacation". Also, might I re-iterate that these two things that I went on actually helped me score several interview sessions.
So the conclusion of it is, it's great that people ask these questions because you have to make sure you know how to answer them. If you can't then you probably need to re-think your whole gap year idea. But if you have great reasoning and back-up, what's stopping you eh.
7. A little kindness goes a long way
I remember when the temperature was about -8 degrees; I was walking back, cold and alone back to the student housing area in Wisconsin. I’d prolly survive that walk but when I was offered a ride back (it was on the way)—I took it albeit being hesitant for a minute or so.
Anyways, what I’m trying to say is just that – do whatever you can to help another in need. You don’t even have to go out of your way to do that, may be just a smile or a kind gesture or you know give someone a ride if it’s on your way.
8. Follow your Heart
Truth is, 99% of the time what your heart tells you is right. Instinct is like that imaginary compass built in you and if you can't trust yourself – what makes you think you can trust anything or anyone else? Of course Im not saying that you should be self-absorbed and be all me, myself and I. But when you’ve got that gut feeling that something is wrong, trust that gut feeling.
Also, do that thing you want to do – whatever it is be it backpacking to a foreign country, trying that new food around the corner, getting that girl or guy’s number I mean what’s the worse that could happen? Nothing—which is happening for sure if you’re not doing anything.
9. Importance of Support System
It’s not the destination; it’s the company that makes all the difference. You can be the best place in the world but with no good company, it wouldn't mean anything. Also, countless of times in my travels or work where I just want to sod it and go home but my friends kept me from getting that plane ticket and arriving home the very next day. There are times when things will be rough and having that group of friends who is there for you, believe in you and the things you do is really really important. And I cannot say enough how grateful I am for the support system that I have.
10. Just do you.
In the end, we’re all just trying to find our place in the world. What is good for me may not be enough for you. So who’s to say who’s right and who’s not. So don’t worry too much about things, if you’re like me in your 20s, just out of uni and is still confuse about what exactly is your mission in this life is. I just want to tell you it’s okay. It’s ok to not know, it’s ok to be confuse, it’s ok to feel really depress on days when things are not right as long as you pick yourself up the very next day and do what you’re suppose to be doing. It’s ok to still have dreams and pursue it – actually I’ll even applaud you on it as there’s too many realist, too little dreamers and even less dreamers who works towards their dreams in the world today. We’re young and this is the best time to do what you really want to do. “But what if I fail?” “But what if you didn’t?” So yes, just do you and the rest will fall into place.
I hope after reading you're inspired to do what you want to do in 2017. So get that pen and paper, start writing down your resolutions for the next year.
Also, wishing each and everyone out of you Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.