Friday, September 9, 2011

Of Gambles and Payoffs

The semester just ended and it brings with it the completion of my three year diploma. Its a cliche but I can't help but reflect back on the past three years that, looking back now, passed by rather swiftly. I consider these three years a major milestone in my life and career, one that I learned the most from and one that has influenced me more than any other.

Freshmen Orientation Week - October '09
Three years ago at this time I began the diploma with a lot of apprehension. You believe that a person as old as nineteen is expected to at least have a vague idea of what he or she wants out of an educational program; especially when there is a lot of promises and hopes at stake. Well I did not. At the time, I was already in college wasting my time. It was the uselessness of that which served as the inspiration to not be useless anymore. I was conscious of learning this fact the hard way. As for the diploma, I didn't really know what I wanted to get out of it other than what was covered in the curriculum. I was rather naive, I must admit when it all began in October of 2008. All I wanted to do at that time was to get past the first year properly and see what the future in Singapore held for me. I would be walking a thin line for the next one year.

Did I forget to mention the fun I was having? - Christmas '09
Come October 2009 and my life changed for the better the moment I stepped onboard the flight to Singapore. Ever since then, there has been no turning back. I was beginning on a clean slate. In Steve Jobs' words, "You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart." The next two years have been the most amazing ones that I've ever had. It has been an adventure about which I can go on and on and on, but I'll save that for some other time. Being in Singapore made all the difference to me and I cannot be thankful enough for the opportunities this country has to offer. I got everything that I wished for and there were some other things that just completely blew me away. It was here that I actually began to do 'great work' because I was doing what I loved. The teachers who taught me were some of the best I have ever come across. Some of them were industry veterans who were the best people to turn to for seeking valuable advice. Something that I noticed about some teachers was that the ones who were the most respected and dedicated are the ones who completely erased the line that separates a student and a teacher. It is this tiny group of individuals that make all the difference in a student's life. The rest just impart information, nothing else; barely even knowledge.

The extended family with the teacher who made a difference!
Now that this wonderful journey comes to an end, I can look back and cherish the many fond memories that have come to form the basis for my life here. There is also the wonderful friendship that I have formed with many of my peers. They are some of the most talented people whom I have ever worked with and I owe them a lot. I was lucky that things worked out well for me. But there were a few people I know for whom things were not the same. All it takes is one mistake - one momentary lapse of reason - for everything to go horribly wrong. Overall at a personal level, I understood the value of commitment and the meaning of responsibility very deeply. I will take these as two important lessons that I learnt outside the classroom. If there was one thing that I remember kept me inspired (and still does) is Steve Jobs' famous "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish..." speech and you will soon recognize where some of the references I made in this post comes from.

As I wait to begin work next week and get ready for life post school, I can't help but think about the anxiety that looms over me. This time though its bearable and normal because the future now seems a lot clearer than before. I got what I was looking for, if not more, in terms of the wonderful time that I was seeking. My gamble had paid off well. It could not get any better than this...