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Take the Path Less Travelled. It’s Less Crowded Anyway.

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I’m sure by now, most of you know that I’ve successfully secured my internship with Pathlight yesterday. I expected myself to feel happier than how I’m feeling right now, but it’s a bittersweet feeling for me because of several reasons. I don’t know why I am penning this down, but this is probably how I am dealing with this cognitive dissonance I am experiencing right now, generating downward counterfactuals to justify my decisions, to no one frankly, but to myself. Perhaps, when I read this 5 years later, I’ll curse and swear at myself for making the wrong decision for the wrong reasons, but at least, I’ll know that this was really what I wanted at this current moment. Screenshot 2014-04-18 13.01.32 Firstly, I’m most likely accepting this offer over the 2 summer school programs I’ve been offered. I remember myself feeling more exhilarated and excited by the offer that Stanford made to me over the summer. I know, I’ve received a couple of messages from friends asking why the hell did I choose this over Stanford, because it’s Stanford, enough said. Don’t worry, I’ve been asking myself the same question too. I can already imagine myself being in America during summer, having the time of my life, visiting places, traveling, looking up my buds, and making friends with people there. It just sounds like a perfect escape from the crazy life here in Singapore.

Letting go of opportunities like these have never been more difficult, I guess, I have my priorities and reasons. Secondly, after withdrawing my HSBC internship in Hong Kong, Vineet’s PA emailed me personally to ask if it was a miscommunication because he really wanted me to go over for the internship over the next sem. I don’t know why this made me really sad, and started doubting my decision because this is something, which many people would die for, and it’s an overseas internship by such an established corporation and it would definitely raise my value after I graduate. I started doubting myself, whether I was just scared, scared to do something different for once, afraid to step out of my comfort zone, and afraid of being all on my own. I thought about this, really hard, and realized that, even though this would raise my value, but it would be raise it in a different field. If you’ve known me for a while, you would know that I have always wanted to work in the medical field. I don’t know if that’s what people describe it as a calling, but that feeling I get whenever I’m working in medical setting, it feels almost at home. Right now, I am not considering going into HR, and this internship would probably bring my value up in this particular market, but since I am sure that I would definitely regret if I do not go into clinical practice, why bother?

Lastly, Adidas is considering me for an internship as well for the HR position, and they are waiting for my reply to agree to an interview. Again, this was something which I applied for and thought that it suited me perfectly because hey, what are the odds for you to work in a sector where both your only interests in life lies — psychology and sports? This internship definitely sounds more fun and amazing than pathlight, not considering the type of benefits I would get, but for the same reasons as above, I’m giving up on this.

I’ve been traveling a bit over both of my summer holidays, experiencing things that I’ve never experienced before, learning about myself and learning about life. However, this summer seems different because I’ll be staying put, working, instead of playing and having the time of my life when I have the opportunity to. Trust me, as much as the internship sounds awesome, it sucks thinking about how I could have been traveling around and YOLO-ing, especially since this would be one of the last summer breaks I would ever have in my life.

Some people spend their lives searching for experiences they never had, living the sights of the world and be blown away exploring places beyond one’s wildest imaginations. Some people live to give what they have to the world to make the world a better place, in their opinion. Some people live for the academic pursuit, to uncover the mysteries of life, because the challenges define them. I wish I could do all of this in my life, but I’ve only got one life to live, and to make sure that if I die tomorrow, I’d still smile and say, I’ve lived a good life.

Of course, in life, we make great decisions, as well as not so great ones. We may beat ourselves up over shitty decisions that screws our lives up. But, these are just experiences in life that shape us, which make us so sure of our life pursuits, which keep us rooted as human beings. Life’s unpredictability ensures that we will never know the consequences of our decisions, what might deem right to us now, may be the worst mistake we’ve ever made in our lives. That’s life for you, and there’s nothing we can do about it, because life is a consequence of a crazy mix of confounding variables, and this complexity is the very essence of life. As I said, I don’t know if I would regret this decision, but I would make sure that I make the best out of this experience because I know it will bring me somewhere and steer me on to the better track in life.

Right now, as much as I want to be an explorer, a lover, an athlete, a scholar, above it all, I just want to be human. Everyone has their own definition of what it means to be human. To me, being human is learning to explore humanity in its own right. I want to learn to love the perfections and imperfections of humanity. I want to meet people, all kinds of people. I want to empathize and live their lives. Hearing about the experiences that parents have with their children with autism, the simple joy, the struggles of their daily lives, have always made me intrigued by how the tiniest activity to us such as maintaining eye contact with the people we interact with, is potentially a milestone for a child with autism. It hurts me to listen to parents talk about how they are unable to spring a hug on their child because it’s not part of the routine, and it might upset them. It breaks my heart to learn how they worry about their child’s future, not in the same way as how your parents or mine do. Our parents worry if we would fall into the wrong company, they hope that we would be successful in life, they wish for us to be happy. These parents with autistic children, worry about how their children deal with things we take for granted like interacting with people in the future; they’d be proud if their child is able to live one day without throwing a tantrum, and could care less if they top the class in school or not; they worry about their child living independently, being able to look after themselves, and not if they earn only $500 a month.  They can live with the rude stares and gossips that people direct at them when their child acts out in public, because they know that they love their child like no other, and do not wish for them to be different.

I admire such love, and I want to learn to love, unconditionally. I want to learn to interact with these individuals with autism, I want to learn to interact with all types of people in the world, because to me, interaction is the very basis of all human relationships and living with people. To me, only by learning to appreciate what’s innate to mankind, learning to accept the perfections and imperfections of life, would I then be able to appreciate what’s created for and by mankind.

I guess this justifies my decision, to myself. It may not be the wisest decision, it may not be the best decision, but it is something, which I want most right now.

At the end of the day, I know I would say, I’ve lived a good life. & that’s all that matters.

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