To live or to life.

I always get inspired most to write when I actually have assignments due. But these are the times I actually think the most about life. Yknow Life? Like why do we invest so much time for a future that is not definite? Why do we lead a life where its such a rarity to do something you actually love? Why is life like that? Who made it that way? And why do all of us conform?

I was debating these questions in my head in a long train ride back from London to Nottingham. After an eventful Easter break where I delved myself to living. I took a long deep breath of life, and let go of all responsibilities. We’re still lucky, you and I (assuming that you’re students as well), we get long breaks of holidays, mid sem break, exam break – we get it all. In Malaysia we’re lucky enough to have a hella lot of public holidays. But what is it about life that makes it so hard to live sometimes? Why can’t everyday be a holiday? Why wasn’t life fixed that way? Weren’t humans the one creating societal routines? Maybe I’m just going waaaay deep into this, but it made me realise the importance of having a future career that would make me happy. That wouldn’t be such a drag or a task to wake up to. Not necessarily a holiday everyday, but enough for me not to want to quit.

I haven’t really been motivated to do work, or study. I was so goal oriented in Pre U and so determined, I don’t know where that all went. Was it a short term goal that I had? Was my motivation only external rather than internal? Amirul calls it the Second Year Syndrome. It’s when your motivation is at a slow decline, and you consider dropping out due to forgetting the purpose of why you’re taking the degree. It’s exactly what I’m feeling! (not the dropping out part I would be slaughtered by my parents). I forgot the purpose of studying Psychology. I haven’t seen the wider picture, I don’t have a set goal of what I want to do with my degree. I mean there’s so many routes you can take. Let’s list the options.

  1. Continue to Masters (which is still an open field) I can either :
    1. focus on Special Education Needs
    2. focus on Autism or Down Syndrome
    3. focus on developmental psychology
    4. study for marketing (I’ve always been interested in marketing )
    5. counselling?
  2. be a researcher in Malaysia
  3. Work in HR?
  4. Work in Marketing?
  5. Find a route to becoming a psychiatrist or a psychologist

I don’t know which I should take. The easy route is HR or marketing. But I want something bigger than that, I want a purpose in life. To help others, an individual or a group of people on a greater scale – thats why I took on Psychology. All of this vision was blurred away and hidden behind the pile of assignments and revision I had to do. I need to find that intrinsic motivation that got lost along the way. I want to make a difference – that how I want to mark my life. It doesn’t have to be big, start small maybe it’ll grow. But with how Malaysia fails to see the importance of mental health, I aim to change that. I want to do so much, I want to help so much. But one by one Alina. Let’s graduate first. Pray for me.

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Balancing Life

Life has been heavy for me. I am taking too much load than I can actually carry, but it’s making me feel productive, makes me feel like I’m doing life right. I haven’t had the time to blog, because I haven’t had the time to even reflect on life. This is the update of how 2018 has been so far – ALL THE WAY IN MARCH. Great job Alina.

In the span of 3 months, I have…

  • Done my first sem exam of year 2 and also gotten the results back!
  • Got a job as a waitress at a Korean Restaurant in my area (Anyeong!)
  • Training to teach primary kids introduction to Psychology
  • been working on my Lab reports and Essays (sighhhh)
  • finished watching all the episodes of The Good Place (highly recommended guys) and Queer Eye
  • Been missing waaaaay too many morning classes – thank god for lecture recordings
  • Been jotting down my day in a diary everyday
  • Visit Sheffield for the Sheffield Malaysian Games
  • Made great new friends from class
  • build an ugly snowman
  • went to London only once since I was there last in Jan!!!! So proud of myself.
  • participate in experiments for extra cash

I barely have time for myself lately. I’m really trying to push this productivity streak but i know that my limit is a 4 day full  (11am – 6pm) productive day. My fuel runs out and then I just binge watch TV shows. With all these tasks I haven’t realised how fast time flies until now as I’m writing this up. I only have 3 more months here ! Then I’m flying back for my sisters wedding and final year in Malaysia. 😦 Nicolle and I have been talking about balancing grades and soaking up all the experience of the exchange. I barely have a balance diet, how am I meant to balance life holistically?! Sometimes I feel like I can only do one at a time.

I believe in the triad of life – Mind, Body and Soul. It’s honestly so hard for me to balance them all. I have been focusing on my mind most lately, I have been doing things that exercises the brain. Constantly gaining knowledge, focused so much doing work and studying this year. I neglected my body. I eat food thats fast to grab when I’m on campus (dem panini’s tho.) It’s never a wholesome diet, I’ve shift my perspective of food to be something to fuel my energy now rather than something to enjoy. I have that little of time.

Going down to London for the weekend was me readjusting my triad – and focusing on my soul. Do something for your soul, something to keep you happy. I don’t know bout everyone else, but when I’m upset my whole system crashes. I really follow my emotions which is a bad habit. But when there’s a tsunami of sadness crashing over me – system failure. I would just stay in bed all day long, I would eat only at 4pm and not even do anything but watch puppy videos on Instagram. I refuelled my soul but also burnt a hole in my wallet. (I’m a very impulsive character, if I crave something best believe Imma buy it even though it’s gonna cost me 3 meals. I just spoilt myself with all the things I was craving that I couldn’t get in Nottingham) Made me really happy though.

After the load of work is settled is Easter Break, I’m really excited for that. I hope to catch up on all my work and also go on holiday if my wallet allows me too (pray for me guy). Funny how I really wanted to go back when I was here at first, and now I really don’t want to. Time flies so fast when you’re focusing on day to day tasks. So yeah guys, balance your life. Find your priority – mind, body or soul. Because mine is Soul. If I’m unhappy or not at peace – crashed system. So you do you boo, find your balance.

Lit teacher 

I went to teach refugee kids last week Saturday, and it was such a life changing experience. I went in there, with no teaching experience other than memories of teaching my cousins and friends during Alevels. Thanks to Hari, who nudged me with a “go on – teach” and nothing much else – I did. I stood up infront of all 9 kids with a marker in my trembling hands and introduced myself after they all stood up to greet us “Good Morning Teacher”. 

They all just stared at me after that. Each beady eyes, blinked right at me after every few seconds. Waiting for a direction, waiting for a command. I realised being a teacher requires a lot of thinking at the top of your toes moment. I stood there with Khadijah (we were in it together), began with a long “Sooooo……. we’re studying English today”. Slight lift in tone stretching the end syllable, questioning my own command. One of the students gave us the book they use, and we flipped by a random page and thought okay this seems simple let’s start with this. That was my teaching plan. #litteacher. Get it ??? Lit – literature but lit??? I bet they would’ve laughed.. 

After skipping pages and teaching 3 chapters of English and fractions for maths, the kids kept asking if they’ll see me next week. I WAS SO TOUCHED. They wanted to see me again. Or maybe the just wanted to know what week to skip.. Nonetheless, it was so satisfying when they said “I got it.” Especially when they started with arched eyebrows, scratching their head with their pencil. I tried to apply as much psychology as I could – Vygotsky’s Scalfolding methods. Methods of teaching ADHD kids (even though they weren’t, it’s just to keep their focus on me) and operant conditioning (Skinner). 

I’ve always found it selfish to not share your knowledge. It was an honor to be able to teach these children, and share the slight percentage of knowledge that I have. Generally, I’m a blabber mouth, to the point that if I learnt something new I would tell the first person I see after that and pass on the knowledge. Not necessarily teaching, but I always have this need to tell – OTHER PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THIS TOO! Kinda feeling. Trust me, after 33 months of my blabber to Amirul, he can graduate with a Psychology Degree too once I’m done. 

These children’s age varies from 12 to 14 years old, mostly from Myanmar. And they’re learning primary 3 up to primary 6 work. It’s upsetting, they have so much potential just not equal opportunity as others. Everyone deserves the right to education. Being brought up in a family where education plays a huge role – (my dad working for the higher education sector in the government). My dad has always taught me the importance of knowledge. It’s the only thing you have that no one else can take away from you. And for others to not have the same opportunity to acquire knowledge as I have ? Makes me grateful for my upbringing and the opportunities I’ve been handed on a silver platter. These kids, they pay RM 20 ringgit per month, for this education and which frankly should be free. Education should be free and to all. But for this foundation called Blue Skies, to gather volunteers every Saturday – our efforts are just a stepping stone.

 My dad has been working for decades in the higher education, and day by day I hear and see people complain about the Malaysian Education System – the local universities standards not being of quality. The lack in facilities, and complaints about lecturers being boring. The main aim of the government is to provide opportunities for all the children in Malaysia to be able to attend higher education. Education for all, no matter the social status, and opportunity. Everything else is secondary.

Let’s leave with a note my dad once advised my brother when he first got Mi’qael – the most important thing you have to provide for your children, is their education. It’s an investment for their future. Start up the bank account, the moment the child is born and you won’t regret it. 

Q & A #1

I have a friend, Alia Soraya, an aspiring living the dream fashion journalists who would pop up out of nowhere in the group chat and bombard us with random questions. I thought, I would publish this one. Make it a Q & A series, interesting no ?

  1. What’s your philosophy in life?
    You are not truly living unless you’ve changed other lives.
  2. What was the best phase in your life?
    My gap year phase. The search for  myself phase. 2016- the whole year was a phase. Discovering my style, my individuality, my self confidence, my skills, myself. 
  3. What was the worst phase in your life?
    The cringe worthy year of 2011. When I was 15? Thinking I’m an adult when I truly was not. Obviously. Wearing clothes that didn’t fit me, trying to conform to a group that I myself didn’t understand. The year I was running away from who I truly was. 
  4. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?
    Getting a tertiary degree was never a question, having education be the most important aspect of life was what I was taught. But at this age, 21 this year.. my younger self would’ve expected something far greater than just studying. Like Justin Bieber was famous at what .. 16? Malala won a nobel prize at 17? What have I achieved? I just wanted something greater to do.. well I saw myself doing something much greater than this.
  5. What makes you feel accomplished?
    The feeling of not knowing the time and realising it’s time to go home to head to bed after a long tiring day.
  6. Would you ever take back someone who cheated?
    No
  7. When do you think a person is ready for marriage?
    Once they’ve truly fallen in love with themselves and is willing to share that love with someone else. 
  8. Who is that one person you can talk to about just anything?
    Amirul
  9. Do you judge a book by its cover?
    Yeap, literally – I like minimal book covers if not artistic ones. Or old looking ones. People – I start judging once they start talking. It’s like judging the blurb.
  10. Are you confrontational?
    I’m confrontational if i believe that’s the best way to handle the situation.
  11. Do you believe in second chances?
    Hopeless romantic in me – yes. Realist in me – no
  12. What did your past relationship teach you?
    Don’t be blind. You’re worth much more than that. He ain’t all that.
  13. What do you think about when you’re by yourself?
    Why am I alive… why is my soul put into this body… why this body… why can’t I stop eating