I’ve been getting a lot of raised eyebrows and silent emnity from some of the Singaporean seniors of UMich. Perhaps what most of them are thinking is how this guy can be so idealistic till he buys his own domain name and names his blog with something as hokey as The Michigan Experience.
It’s true that I’ve never been to Ann Arbor and thus I don’t know what living there is really like, but going overseas to study at a place like UMich is literally a dream to me. It’s perfectly fine if you have lots of negative vibe towards my enthusiasm, and it won’t alter the way I treat you from everyone else, but maybe I should just share a bit of my background and reasons for my zeal.
Firstly, I’ve been wanting to go overseas for more than 4 years. I was so adamant about it that me and my ex-gf used to quarrel a lot over it because she wanted to stay in Singapore. As I was about to graduate from Junior College, a big decision was upon me – leave Singapore for good or stay and do my National Service.
Even though I wanted to go, my parents convinced me to stay and so that is what I did. If anything, NS did serve to increase my resolve to study overseas, because in these 2 years plus I was miserable at heart. Yes right now I’m focusing on the downsides of serving the nation.
I was a virtual zombie when it came down to daily work. The routine was brain-numbing: I’d wake up at 5:15am and only be done at 8pm earliest. Some days I was so physically exhausted that I’d just plunk on my bed immediately after dinner. There wasn’t time for anything else; all my passions and interests fizzled. All the musical skills that I picked up in the last decade was decomposing to ash and I’ve only just started to pick up the pieces again.
The kind of people you deal with in the Army can be really barbaric. In my place of ‘work’, everyone looks out for themselves, a place where selfish is king. To get things done, you have to shout and holler. And I’ve even been hit before for miscommunication. When I look back at all that shit, I am so blessed to have made it through unscathed and moving on to something much better, doing things that I have a passion for.
I forgot to mention I didn’t meet a new girl in those 2 years too. Those were times when I felt dead, and now that I’m starting to feel alive again, I’m being criticised for overdoing it.
Secondly, my parents are paying a lot of money for me and I’m really grateful for that. I want to make the most out of it and most importantly be happy for them. Also, unlikely everyone else, UMich was the only overseas school I applied for because it seemed to be the dream place that I wanted to study in. I prayed every day after submission that I would get in, and I thank God that I did; my paper results are okay but they are obviously no where close to a scholar’s.
What’s more, I had to let me heart shatter into a thousand pieces before leaving this place. I’ve come quite a long way to get to this point, so I will not let anyone dampen my spirits.