I finally finished this semester so now I have time to write! My New Year post is quite late, but hey, better late than never, right?
But first, a little rant!
I also wasn’t able to blog often because there were so many things going on, and I actually wanted to permanently shut down my blog because I felt like I only knew how to write about myself, and there was literally nothing interesting going on so I couldn’t really post anything.
All of the negative things combined gave me the urge to isolate myself from everyone, including my blog friends, because I thought these things only happened to people who were lazy and incapable of achieving great things; I was embarrassed of the thought that I was turning into one of those people and I didn’t want anyone to see that side of me – that was how bad it was. That’s why I feel an even greater need to reflect on the previous year and not only think of all the lessons I’ve learned, but also remember all the good things that happened despite the shitty ones.
Life in general
I’ve learned so many things about myself last year. Studying abroad and living away from family really forced me to become independent. And since I moved from the school dorm to an apartment, the responsibilities just increased tenfold and I learned what it really meant to manage a household. I thought I already knew a lot from living in the dorms but it’s really different when you don’t have resident assistants and other people to help you!
Learning how to cook was one of my major accomplishments in 2017. I had to learn how to cook so that we don’t starve and so that we don’t have to settle on eating fast food every day, which is not very healthy. Plus, this is a huge feat for me because I used to be scared of fire, but I was able to overcome it. I’m not very confident about my cooking yet so I still don’t share it with people outside my circle of friends, but it’s edible so at least that’s a good start. Haha!
I’ve also discovered the wonders of physical activity in 2017. I started exercising because it helped me cope with stress in school. For me, it was a bit difficult to get started because my health condition does not allow me to just take the plunge and do whatever workout I wanted. I first had to consult whether the workouts were safe and suitable for me. But once that was settled, it felt really good to exercise! During the last 3 months of the year though, I stopped because the schoolwork was just flooding in, and I didn’t even have time to eat healthy and take care of myself. I have to work harder to get back on track in 2018!
Most importantly, last year I’ve come to realize how important my family and friends are to me. For the most part, I am an emotionally independent person and I don’t like bothering other people with my problems, but I’ve come to appreciate the smallest things that they do for me. I guess it’s true that even if you have friends and lots of company in a foreign country, at some point you’re still going to crave the love and affection that you can only get from home.
The earlier parts of the year were disastrous for me in terms of academics. You all know that I’ve had so many negative things to say about the last Spring Semester. If you’re following me on social media, I know you’ve seen some of my rant-y posts about schoolwork and how stressful everything is. But now that I’m reflecting, I’ve realized that the courses I took during the 2017 Fall Semester were all wonderful, I really regret focusing too much on the difficult parts and not appreciating the great things I learned in class.
Throughout my academic career, I’ve always been a risk-taker; I’ve always liked the thrill of picking difficult professors and challenging courses, even though there’s always the risk of tarnishing my transcript with the odd low grade. Last semester, I took yet another risk and signed up for a course on Geomatics, a course that [seemingly] doesn’t have any relevance to my degree. After all, what do satellite imagery, geography, and land surveying techniques have to do with economics?
Well, the decision to take this course was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.
It turns out that geomatics was not a standalone discipline, and it could be applied to so many fields, including economics! In fact, the course material in my Geomatics class helped me get through the topic generation phase for my thesis. I’ve explored several topics throughout the semester but I couldn’t find something I really cared about. Then, one day in class, we discussed a certain geomatics technique that was demonstrated in class as a mapping tool, then I figured that it would be ideal for analyzing a certain economic phenomenon that I learned in another class. And just like that, I had a topic that I was truly interested in. Of course, my knowledge still isn’t as extensive and I still have to learn a lot of things regarding the technique to really make it work, but I’ve never felt this excited about a project in a long time.
I still didn’t blog very often in 2017 (I really resolve to try harder this year!) but last year, I was finally able to share something that I’ve been hiding from people for the longest time:
It all started with a Timeless Thoughts post about our family jamming sessions. I originally wanted to write that entry without any accompanying media, but I figured that it would be weird to read an article about music without… well, music XD Since I couldn’t find video or audio clips of my family members singing and playing the guitar, I just uploaded clips of myself singing and hoped that no one would bash me.
Now, I think I’ll share more of my singing if I get the chance. I know I still have so many things to work on but honestly, this is a huge thing for me because I don’t really share my singing with other people. I’ve never been confident about my voice and the insecurity is starting to build up again after I found out I had vocal nodules because I don’t feel like I’m recovering quickly enough. But seriously, the comments are keeping me from completely succumbing to the insecurity and making me appreciate my voice even more, so thank you, everybody! I love you all to bits!
I didn’t realize that I’ve been to so many places during the past year, but apparently 2017 was actually a great year for me travel-wise! I mean, I wasn’t able to take longer vacations because of schoolwork, but I did manage to squeeze in a few short trips in between! Besides my trip to Taichung and Cinsbu, I’ve also gone to other places in Taiwan such as Kaohsiung and Keelung. I was also able to explore more of the Philippines as well!
Here are some travel highlights!
I swear, my fandoms kept me alive and sane in 2017. I’m so glad that the past year gave me the opportunity to watch my favorite artists’ concerts. Until now, I still can’t believe that I flew back to the Philippines just to see my favorite artists perform live but I’m happy I did it. Those concerts definitely brought some life to my gloomy semester!
Last year, I also got the chance to become closer to the people I met through my fandoms. There were some people whom I only knew but never really got the chance to bond or talk to; 2017 gave me new friends and I really cherish that <3 I hope this friendship lasts for a long time!
Things to look forward to
2018 is going to be a great year, but I also know it will be full of challenges. The challenges will primarily concern my thesis and remaining coursework, but I have to stay positive because I am looking forward to graduation! I have to graduate this year and I am claiming it!
I also look forward to more travels this year. It doesn’t always have to be a full-scale vacation, so my travels would focus on short trips and finding hidden gems. I intend to start by exploring more of Taipei because, hey, travelling is one of the perks of being an international student and it would be a shame if I don’t go out and explore what Taiwan has to offer! Besides, I’ve realized that it’s difficult for me to constantly work day in and day out, so taking breaks is totally necessary and contributes to my overall well-being.
Finally, I’m looking forward to learning more things not just in school, but also outside as well! For the past year, I’ve seen learning as a chore and I have forgotten what a privilege it is to be here, studying and learning things that I never imagined I would get the opportunity to learn. For 2018, I would like to invest in myself and learn skills that I’ve always wanted to learn, not just to jump-start my career but for my personal development as well. Again, I am taking a huge risk this semester and am planning to enroll in a class that would really challenge my expertise. There’s a little doubt and nervousness there, of course, but I’m mostly excited about the things to come.
Here’s to a great 2018 and I hope your year started out right! 🙂