Wrapping Up Year Two

Dust swirled every­where in the wake of a pile of dusty foolscap paper meet­ing the floor — the per­fect con­coc­tion for a good, long sneeze-a-thon for the rest of the day. I waited, expect­ing the worst. Nothing.

I sighed, relieved; and at the stack in front of me wait­ing to be sorted. I gave pro­cras­ti­na­tion the fin­ger and started rum­mag­ing through what’s to throw and what’s still needed — sorted in four piles. Num­bers, for­mu­las, work­ings — must be Math 3. Free-body dia­grams, graphs and excel sheets — off to the Machine Dynam­ics 2 pile. Before long, I was speed­ing through the pile of notes, tuto­ri­als and lab sheets I shoved under the study table the day I fin­ished my final exams con­clud­ing Year Two — two months ago.

Every­thing writ­ten on those papers now felt dis­tant. Every time I paused a lit­tle longer to exam­ine the scrib­bles of work­ings and cir­cuits, mem­o­ries I didn’t want to asso­ciate with again come float­ing back. Long, cold and silent nights spent cram­ming for the finals into the wee hours of the morn­ing; whole after­noons spent on one or two math prob­lems; walk­ing into the exam­i­na­tion hall the next morn­ing drowsy, ner­vous, and grossly under-prepared; and then that wave of utter ter­ror as I look down at the ques­tions blankly, head drip­ping pro­fusely in cold sweat.

I'm Done

I’m Done

Life­less dig­its and grades on my com­puter screen stared back at me three weeks later, mir­ror­ing the utter dis­ap­point­ment that was my Semes­ter Four final exam­i­na­tion results. Star­ing at them was me, equally life­less. Suf­fice to say, I was look­ing at my worst results yet, two years into my degree.

As the dust set­tled, I began to see how this might just be a fit­ting con­clu­sion to Year Two. A hard slap in the face was what I needed to kick me out of over-confidence and under-preparedness. Because my final two years in degree demands of no such reck­less­ness. With Year Three kick­ing off tomor­row with a whole new slew of intim­i­dat­ing sub­jects, only time will tell if this high-price of a les­son was worthwhile.

Hit­ting the bot­tom of the stack, I labelled and stacked the use­ful notes back together before shelv­ing them prop­erly with the rest of the pre­vi­ous semester’s notes. The floor where I was work­ing on was empty once again as I picked up the last pile of notes — the ones to be thrown. I watched as the pile descended into our to-be-recycled paper box, stir­ring up another plume of dust.

This time I smiled, as I shelved all my wor­ries and uncer­tain­ties of the past, shift­ing my gaze towards Year Three.

by shenghan in Life, Varsity on 22nd August, 2010 at 11pm, Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 11:38 pm GMT +8


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  1. 2 more years to go? Long jour­ney ahead… hahaha… actu­ally if you are grad­u­at­ing soon, I would love to offer you a job at my cur­rent com­pany as a web designer. You are very tal­ented in design­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy as well you know (kind of miss your project 365).

    All the best in your studies ;)

    • ember said

      Wow, I’m really flat­tered, Dennis.I hope you’re aware I’m not a design stu­dent; but very much a full-fledged engi­neer­ing stu­dent, haha. But really, thank you! I know, my heart sheds a tear every time I think of Project 365 and how lit­tle I’ve been upload­ing pho­tos lately.

  2. Siong Huo said

    Bro, don’t worry about the result. Result isn’t the main con­cern in study. The ana­lytic and prob­lem solv­ing skills are what our lec­tures wanted us to learn. My result wasn’t very good too but I really enjoyed hang­ing out with you and oth­ers. For me, that’s more mem­o­rable than the final results. Don’t worry too much about the result. Just try your best. =D

    • ember said

      Thanks man. You’re right, it’s the com­pany that counts. You guys were awe­some and still are!

  3. I know it’s well into Sep­tem­ber already, but I wish you the best of luck in your entrance to your third year.

    Beau­ti­ful web­site, by the way! You present an amaz­ing atten­tion to detail!

    • ember said

      Thank you, Maria! It’s never too late for wishes. :) I’ve stum­bled upon your site before, and the detail is noth­ing com­pared to the quick job i’ve done on this redesign-overdue blog of mine!