The Road to Graduation

By Christina Kim - February 25, 2019

I graduated last Saturday, my second graduation to be exact.
It all still seemed surreal to me and I have no words which could truly express how I really felt about the whole experience and the event in general.
It came and it went, and apart from the scorching heat of the day (I think it is almost 40 degrees Celsius), I could really not describe my feelings about graduating for the second time.

Of course it is a happy occasion, a historic moment of pride and one that speaks of the effort in getting to that point of graduation. There is no doubt about it, but I am referring to the experience and the way it affects me, beyond the excitement and exhilaration that surrounds it all. I was baffled by how I was not even nervous nor excited in the weeks leading to the day itself.
Some may attribute it to the second time, but I know for a fact that there is more than meets the eye.

A year ago, or a year and a half ago, I deliberated on going for my postgraduate studies and a major decision revolved around the course of pursuit. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in information technology and worked in the engineering area thereafter, and a postgraduate degree in those fields would usually be the option, for most people. Alternatively, I could also consider a non-related degree but one that could help my corporate profile tremendously, such as a MBA, or one that is related to operational and people relations. I was unsure, albeit the many possibilities staring at me right in the face.
Then all of a sudden, an idea that was totally unrelated to all the options came to my mind, and I found myself signing up for the course and got my offer from the university shortly after. It seemed like an impulsive act at that time, yet I stuck with it, and after paying my fees, I know that there is no backing out anymore.
(Of course I can still back out, but I know I do not want to).

It is a whole new world, a world that I have always wanted to explore at the back of my mind, a passion that had always been kept hidden to make way for the many more that have seized the front spots, which now finds it way to the front and became the new journey I was to embark upon.
I remembered feeling excited yet also in dialogue with myself, "Am I sure? Am I ready to do this? It has after all, been a while".

Going back to school after a while and taking on an entirely different course from my original path can be a rather daunting one, I am sure many would agree and when I took that path, I am aware of that. Yet it was not fear nor doubt that I felt, but rather, of hope and anticipation as I wait eagerly for my lessons to begin.

While it seems like a different chapter or course, I, however, did not feel that way at all. It was like going into a familiar zone, but getting to know it all over again. It is like bumping into, or looking up an old friend from yesteryear, but reconnecting and trying to know more about this friend. As soon as my lessons start, I found myself immersed in its world and was soon filled with an insatiable hunger for more and more. I attribute it to the environment and the wonderful people I have met in the university, my professors and lecturers, who mentored, guided and inspired me in so many ways they could not have imagined. I could not thank them enough, they may think I am being courteous, but I really mean it with every word I say to them and with every breath.
Every one of them has enlightened me in so many different ways, and they are just my guiding stars, shining so brightly on the paths I tread upon. They have filled me up with the vast knowledge that I would never have imagined and taught me the limitless possibilities and perspectives of everything. 

The most interesting part of it all is the more I learn and know, the more I realised I need to learn and yet to know about. There are times when I feel like this crazy hungry animal, thirsting and just ravenous for more and more knowledge. Then as I dive my nose into the piles of information and treasures of knowledge before me, I started wishing that there is more time in a day and that I could just cram everything in so that I could fit in even more.
I just could not be satisfied.

I was anxious about my grades, my performance too, but compared to my undergraduate or even earlier school days, I realised that it is not all about the marks or that final grade that only matters. Of course they are still important, but I find the learning, the joy of learning and the way that knowledge shapes us is what truly defines the academic or the learning journey itself. One can be a straight As student but know nothing about the sentiments of the learning or perhaps was never even enriched with the whole learning process, and to me, that defeats the whole purpose of learning.
It it true one should pursue their passion and a field that they feel strongly about, for it is when their eagerness, interest and potential are truly unleashed.

I am not an expert in my field yet, no, far from it, despite pursuing my studies for a whole year. I enjoyed my learning journey, yes, and I have been enriched by this new knowledge which has now seeped into every inch of my being. I cannot imagine my life without it now. At the same time, I also feel as though I am still so ignorant, so small in the huge world which is filled with the knowledge I have yet to acquire. Despite the further studies, I found that I have way further to go.

The daunting experience disappeared in no time, and in its place, it is an exhilarating one. I went back to school, went through the ups and downs of learning new things, struggling with the deadlines and academic requirements, but similarly, also rediscovered myself and reignited an old passion almost buried for decades.

Perhaps my nonchalant behaviour toward my graduation this time, is not because it is my second time but rather, because I did not want to see this whole journey end. In fact, I believe that graduation is never the end, for it is the real beginning of a whole world of possibilities out there. 
Graduation is just a momentary farewell, but it is a big hello to welcome the big world I am about to meet again.

My postgraduate journey has been nothing less than an enriching one and definitely an enjoyable one. If there is anything I would like to share on, it is definitely about learning.

The learning is not only about the subject, but also about learning itself. The main lesson and my advice about learning is, always begin with humility. Don't carry that baggage of knowledge we already have and be full of it, but put that down, empty it if we have to, and reset our minds to start from ground zero. If we cannot accept that we are dummies to the new knowledge, we will never be able to embrace and be filled with it at all.
That is the biggest lesson and also mistake most make when it comes to learning new things. I let go of all my previous knowledge, my experiences and past achievements and became the new student, ready to soak my new knowledge in.
This is perhaps the most rewarding part of my journey, that there is more I do not know than I know.

As I celebrate my graduation, I am looking forward to that whole world of possibilities out there right now, knowing that there is a lot more that I could learn and take on. 
There are things that I definitely already know in the world out there, but there are also so much more I do not know, that much I do know, and guess what, I am fine with that.

Thank you to everyone who have supported me on my journey, to my loved ones, my lecturers/professors, and my comrades who have been through the thick and thin with me.

*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.

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