Student Page

A new milestone

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 25, no. 3 (July 10-23, 2012): 12.

There are moments when we wish that nothing will change but realize we have to continue going forward. I have had such moments twice in four months.

I had just graduated from high school: took my final exams, received my diploma and took the last high school pictures with friends and teachers. I had spent six years in that school and I found myself reluctant to leave which was ironic considering all the times we thought/screamed “Hallelujah” when summer came.

I guess after all that time my high school was familiar plus it was where I experienced a lot of my firsts. My first dissection of a pig’s eye, my first detention, my first taste of Indian food, my first prom, my first cultural evening, my first assembly skit, my first food fight, my first exam, my first choir performance, my first chocolate log, my first experience with a sewing machine, my first French movie, my first yearbook story…

Well, life goes on and to be truthful, I wasn’t sure if I could go through French classes and exams all over again.

After exams, I started worrying about what was going to happen. What should I wear to my university interview? What will they expect? What should I say? Will any university accept me? What will I do if they don’t accept me? What if I fail all my exams?

These questions nagged me day and night. I recall nightmares in which my university letter came in the mail and it had ‘REJECTED’ stamped all over it along with a long list of reasons why they refused me which mostly consisted of ‘too stupid.’

As it turned out, I received acceptance letters from my first- and second-choice universities. I was so happy and my parents were so proud.

Then I started worrying about what was going to happen. Would my classes be interesting? Would I like my professors? Would I pass my classes? The university is so big, how can I not get lost? Could I handle the pressure? Should I stay at the dorm? Would my roommate be nice? Would my classmates like me? Would I mess up in my first class?

The questions just kept on coming and it made me dread my first schoolday in September and it was only June!
But just like before when I graduated from high school, I knew I had to go forward. Besides, my parents would have a heart attack (more likely kill me) if I stayed with them for the rest of their lives.

I’m a university freshman now and to answer my pre-university worries before: most of my classes are interesting, some classes I regret taking (philosophy), my professors are fair though there are a few to whom I cannot bring myself to fully listen, I passed my first semester’s classes, I hardly get lost now, I’m handling the pressure so far, I have no dorm room nor roommate, I made friends, and I did mess up before my first class by enrolling for the wrong subject but I fixed it in the end.

When all is said and done, I’m glad I did go forward. (The writer is Tsinoy living in Hong Kong – Ed.)