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a new chapter

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Three days from today, I will be leaving Singapore and flying to Los Angeles. I will be living in California, USA for the next four years beginning next week. Just writing that gave my fingers and palms a tingling sensation, brought on by several mixed feelings. I feel many intense feelings, all at the same time altogether.

I will arrive in the city of Angels next Monday. I am flying to California, my home for the next four years because I will be doing a bachelor's degree in liberal arts. I will be studying at a liberal arts college - Soka University of America - situated among the beautiful mountains of Aliso Viejo in Orange County.

This school was recommended to me by a teacher of mine from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. When I was a student in that institution, I took Spanish lessons and my Spanish teacher was an American girl from Boston, Massachusetts. Although my studies in Spanish were short-lived due to my premature departure from the school, I kept in touch with my teacher and sought her out for advice when I was researching liberal arts education in the States and deciding upon schools to study at.

I was a tired, lost and clueless seventeen-year-old who was also a school dropout. I was tired from doing things I didn't love doing, lost because I couldn't find myself, and clueless because I had no idea what to do or where to go. And I also dropped out of school, which could be the best or worst decision of my life, depending on how you see it.

I guess I could call myself a rebel and a nonconformist. But like I've mentioned before, I wasn't finished with education - and I wasn't. I left school because I wasn't in the right place and I wasn't doing the right thing for myself. I wasn't doing something I loved and was passionate about, and so I left school to find myself.

And I eventually did. I found myself. I discovered what I loved, realized what I wanted to do, and figured out how to do it. I decided I was going to pursue my education in the States and I was going to further myself. I wanted to learn, I wanted to learn so much. There is so much to read, so much knowledge to acquire, so many lessons to take, so much to grow and so much to learn. I can't quite adequately describe it, but I have a never-dying passion towards learning. I've always been curious and interested to learn and I could never see myself stop learning. I see myself learning everyday in life; life is learning.

I'd initially contemplated studying in New York since the East Coast is arguably more renowned for the arts, but I was pretty sure that I couldn't live without warmth. I enjoy the cold occasionally (I mean yeah, snow's fun for like a couple of weeks) but I don't think I could be very happy without the sun. I'm not a fan of Singapore's humidity as much as I enjoy the perennial sunshine (especially in the summer months when the trees and flowers and plants are blooming bright and crisp, looking fresh and golden), but I prefer warm weather than the cold climate. Just recalling my time in Europe during winter when my feet were drenched in wet, melted snow in my boots repulses me greatly. I'd rather have my clear blue skies, sunsets and warm days spent by the beach, thank you.

Anyway, I applied to three schools in California besides Soka University, including one in downtown LA; but this one accepted me (thank God). I don't wish to boast about the school yet, but just looking at photos of the school makes me feel like the luckiest bastard alive. The school looks like a damn castle, it's located in mountains and it's a fifteen-minute-drive away from Laguna Beach. (How fucking cool is that? This place sounds like Hogwarts and it looks pretty amazeballs.) But that's not why I wanted to study here - well not mainly why anyway. There are several reasons, but one of them is because of the values and missions of the school. I found the values and missions of this school aligned to my beliefs and principles and it felt like a perfect fit for me.

Of course, I don't know for sure, but it just feels like it's right. It's just a gut feeling so I'm keeping fingers crossed this is a right choice. I'm just really excited to be able learn and grow and I am incredibly thankful for it. This is an extremely great opportunity and I'm so grateful for it.

Beyond the excitement though, I am also feeling many other things rather intensely (what's new? hahaha). I am so incredibly afraid, god you have no idea how scared I am. I don't think I've ever been so afraid of anything in my life. I'm so nervous and scared of so many things. I fear I won't finish this, that I will fail, and that I will be disappoint my family, my friends, and most of all, myself. This will be the first time that I'll be living alone. Who will I go to when I'm scared and alone? And then there are other things that are possibly more frightening to me... like making friends (the horror!). But I know it's a good kind of fear so I'm not complaining.

I'm going to miss home awfully, and I know it. I haven't left, but I'm already missing my best friends and my family dearly. My sweet sisters, my mother and my friends. Oh I'll miss them so much. I'm so afraid, but I know I will be fine because this is for the best. This is a new chapter of my life, and I'm ready for it.