This week, Facebook updates of my friends has mostly been occupied by a former junior in college, who updated her status frequently and put up photos of her class assignment. It was a class I had taken and thoroughly enjoyed. That really brought me back fond memories of college… And then I realise: it’s been about a year since my last official class in college.
I have stopped studying for almost a year now. Studying in a classroom environment sense, that is. I don’t believe one ever stops learning in life, whether they want to or not. Anyway, yes, I am no longer a student for nearly a year now… it certainly doesn’t feel that way.
Have I grown? Am I different? I suppose I have, since I only recently posted something about growing. And I suppose I am different than I was. Then, I was sulz, a girl who’s reluctantly ending her formal education, in love and about to embark on a month-long trip. Now, I am sulz, a girl who has been working for more than half a year, having a part-time job on top of her full-time one and about to embark on her first self-funded, four-day vacation to Bangkok. (Well, the Macau trip was self-funded too, but from the leftovers of my study loan.)
Then, I was afraid of the world because I had so little worldly experience. I was full of anxieties about my inadequacies and afraid of relying on myself because I don’t trust myself and what abilities I had. Now, I feel less afraid of the world. By no means has that feeling gone away, but I learnt that I can do things. Perhaps not as well as others might do but I can do them all the same. When I first started my current job, I was so scared I couldn’t cope with the workload and pressure. Now that I’ve been working there for almost half a year now, I’m doing okay. I may not be as good as some people have been at the job, but I don’t think I’m all that awful at it either.
When you leave your comfort zone, you definitely grow. A lot of my experiences out of college haven’t been pleasant, but now I feel I am different because of it. I feel… empowered. Having a job means I have to work to earn money. And seeing that I am capable of earning money makes me feel valid. Having been through some difficult moments last year and reflecting on the way I chose to handle them, I see that the very reasons they were difficult moments was the fact that I had to do things I didn’t want to do in order to get myself out of the situation. I had to quit my job for the first time and I cried handing in the resignation letter, because I felt so guilty for leaving, despite how unhappy I was working there. I ended things with a guy I had romantic feelings for because I wasn’t getting what I want out of that relationship, and I wasn’t able to give the kind of support he needed. There was a point in time where I regretted doing that because I still had feelings for him despite what had gone on between us. But I know, and even knew then, that what I did was for my own good.
Now, I can tell you that I don’t want the guy back, the way I used to before at one point. I can also tell you that I don’t want to go back to college. Not because I don’t miss it – I do, I miss the friends and lecturers and classes and laughter and mental stimulation – but because I know if I do go back to college now, it won’t be the same. What I’m looking for belongs in the past. I am free to reminisce in nostalgia, but I can never have the same thing I had in college. And I can definitely tell you I don’t want the job I quit back. Even though it was so near my home and parking was free, I hated the banality of the job and I didn’t fit in with the people there. I also hated walking to and from my car because factory workers would be harassing me each time I pass them. That was so not my dream job. (And neither is this current one, but my dream job is out there, I just know it!)
Wow, I really have grown.
Sideways, that is.