keeping the dreams alive

Bye bye 2010. Bring it on, 2011!

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I have been putting off this post for a few days, mainly because I honestly don’t know where to start from. It’s been one hell of a year – honestly, a trough, and toughest year I’ve had in life so far. It’s been also such a remarkably strange year that I was actually considering getting a tattoo last week. However, that idea was scrapped when I decided that any other physical pain for this year will be insane.

2010 will go down as the year of many firsts and strange happenings. I’m trying to keep this recap short since there really isn’t much point in remembering the sad stuffs. But, trust me, I’ve learnt a hell lot from 2010.

January – June

July – December


2010 has been a year of self-discovery, many firsts and strange happenings. There were months where I actually felt really depressed, a feeling so unfamiliar, something I haven’t felt in ages. There were other times when I honestly wanted to give it all up and go back to work. People who knows me well enough knows that I am a rather determined and independent person. So, to be wanting to give up and to be feeling home sick are “words” that aren’t in my dictionary. How strange it was. But, I’m glad I’ve reached a point where I’m at peace with myself.

Work for the past four years have occupied so much of my time, so much so that I hardly had any free time for myself. I didn’t have time to think about what would I do with myself in my free time, because there were none. Going back to university gave me some free time, mainly because you can’t be working on your PhD 24/7.

In the first half of the year, I found myself struggling in many aspects. I was trying to get used to Canberra and the quietness it offers, to establish new friendships and with the coursework in general. Coming from Singapore that got really crowded over the years, the quietness Canberra offer is something I took a long time to get used to. I wasn’t used to having empty streets on weekends, or even weekdays. I struggled with trying to find true friends that I could relate and talk to, and not the ones who talk about university and economics 24/7. That saw me hanging out with the med students, especially Mushi, that I am so thankful to have her as a good friend. The coursework was tough. The math was tough. I did no differentiation in the years I worked. So, I was in for a shock, and that supplementary exam definitely came as a shock to me who was used to having good grades in university.

I got close to A, which I shouldn’t have on hindsight. He offered me much laughter, but eventually much tears. But, I did realise that only your true friends and your family will stand by you. At the end of the day, you got to hold your fort. I got many worried when I popped a few too many sleeping pills, even the ex-colleagues. I am thankful for awesome friends I have in Singapore, and the new ones I’ve made in Canberra. While I may not be close to as many in Canberra, I know there are many who do care about me in Canberra. I suppose I will have to think carefully before the next leap of faith.

The first half of the year also saw me going for my first counselling session in my life in February, but ending them in May, because they made no differences. If that wasn’t an indication of a struggling me, I don’t know what will be. I was indeed struggling, and was finding it tough. The counsellor understood how I felt (the loneliness, the switch from work back to university) in a way. But, at the end of the day, the friends and my own will snapped me out of that downward slippery slope.

The second half of the year was way better in all aspects. In terms of coursework, I specifically chose subjects that were assignments based, but yet tough to a certain extent. Those were the best choices ever made. I hung out with a group of PhD friends that made life much better, even though I was staying in the PhD room for even longer times. We worked on assignments together in the PhD room, and I felt like I was learning something finally, because the lecturers I had for my subjects were way better. I even did way better as well.

In the second half of the year, I realised how much more I like research than coursework. That’s why I am doing a PhD! I enjoyed my research subjects very much. I also learnt that I am actually a rather good presenter, according to my lecturers, which came to me as a shock. I guess MTI did help me in that aspect.

But, the second half of the year was also one of many accidents. Being careless and having a run of bad luck could do that to you. I met with two accidents in my car, one of which when I wasn’t the driver (of which my insurance ratings still went from 1 to 2. Ouch!). I had a total of three points taken off me and a hefty fine, a few parking fines, lost my iPhone 3GS, dropped my iPhone 4 and got it replaced, lost my student card twice, parking station card once, and the list actually goes on.

There was also my birthday party themed “Alice in Wonderland”, when the birthday girl (me) didn’t come dressed to theme. But, I was happy to see many who turned up for me. There was Floraide (the flower festival in Canberra) that Tag and I went to when we had enough of our TED assignment in the PhD room at 8pm. There was also Telstra tower that we visited after our exams in November. That was fun, and honestly the first time we had time in 2010 for something fun in Canberra.

The second half of the year was also one with health scares. I made multiple trips to the GP in the university, to the gynae, scanning centres, and blood tests (7 test tubes in Canberra, 1 in Singapore). I came back to Singapore last month, had my operation and am currently recovering well. I am thankful that my health seems to be gradually back on track at least. Being stressed out can do that to you, particularly when I don’t have a clear health record in this aspect to start with. That was my first operation in my life, apart from Lasik.

In 2010,

I became so much more sociable and going to more parties than I ever have been to in my life. Living in college does that to you. But, I am thankful to be living in college. It helped made living in Canberra bearable. I can’t imagine how life would have been if I was living off-campus. 2010 saw me drinking a lot (yes,by the wine bottles), something I haven’t been doing since 2006. While it was good to get my alcohol tolerance up, it wasn’t that good to be drinking that much. Fortunately, I wasn’t drinking a lot in the second half of the year at all, and I like to keep it that way – ability to drink, but not drinking all that much. 2010 was also the year that I realise I actually like dancing to music to take the stress off me.

Academic-wise, I realised that I am somewhat different from my PhD friends. I still remain true to my ultimate aim of doing the PhD – learning and getting to that final destination (that isn’t quite academia). Over the year, I realised that I am not someone who can talk about Economics and academia 24/7, perhaps because my ultimate aim isn’t something in academia. I like to be able to talk about a variety of topics, and not be someone who can only talk about Economics. I suppose that somehow makes me a strange PhD student in Economics. But, well, everyone is different. 🙂 I am at peace with how I am as a PhD student.

2010 has been a year that saw me value Singapore, family and friends a lot more. There were many new awesome friendships established. I am thankful for the new friends I’ve made in PhD and at Burgmann and the old ones in Singapore that stood by me. I honestly wouldn’t know what would have happened to me without these people. These people saw me through much tears and laughter in 2010.

Travelling wise, it was such a huge contrast from 2009. In 2010, I did no travelling, apart from the weekend trip to Sydney to visit Jo and John, and the two trips back to Singapore. I had no “bandwidth” to travel at all, considering how I had to cancel my Brissy trip three times thanks to coursework and the health.

Health wise, I think it’s pretty obvious everything went down the slope. I was actually very fit at the start of the year, being able to run a 10km in about 55 minutes or less. That was the fastest I ever went. But, at the moment, I haven’t ran in a few months. I can’t wait to get started again next year. Then, there was the operation, which I am hoping there aren’t going to be scars. And, weight-wise, at some point in time in June, my weight actually went up by 6kg or so, thanks to stress and energy drinks.  At the moment, I am around 1.5kg up from the weight I was in January. Of course, between October 2009 and January 2010, my weight went up a few kg. But, on the overall, I am pleased that I haven’t gained much weight in 2010, even though it’s been a difficult one. 🙂 I am actually confident of getting the weight down a further 6 to 9kg in 2011. So, I am thankful indeed.

Strange matters wise. Plenty. Apart from all the accidents/incidents, 2010 must have been a year of one of the strangest conversations I ever had too. In the earlier part of the year, I had a cab driver telling me I am the most beautiful woman he had ever met. That was totally creepy and I was obviously dying to get out of the cab as soon as possible. That conversation remains etched in my 2010 memory bank.

Resolutions wise, I wouldn’t even bother reviewing it this year. There is a first for everything. I pretty much did not accomplish most of my resolutions. A new list will be up in the next few days. I like having goals to keep me on track 🙂
So, that was it. My 2010, somewhat in a nutshell. It’s been one hell of a year. Bring it on, 2011!


Written by Jasmine

December 31, 2010 at 21:55

Posted in 2010, Goals, Photography

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