When I was younger, I used words such as “girl” and “cat-lover” when asked to describe myself. But these words never seemed quite right; never truly managing to convey the essence of me. Nowadays, I prefer to think that it is impossible to truly capture ourselves in words on paper because of our complexity – and the fact that I’m always changing. I am not the same person I was before I came to Singapore, nor the same person that I was even a couple weeks ago. Every experience I have had has shaped me a little bit so, over time, the accumulation of these little changes means that I am a different person. When I was younger, my favourite colour was pink, and I spent my time doing gymnastics and cooking. I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. Now, my favourite colour is green, I play volleyball four times a week and love to read. Worst of all, I detest science. This evolution seems redundant; because of course people change over time. But when it really comes down to it, I am near to a completely different person. I act differently, I speak differently, I definitely look very different. And likewise, I am aware that what I want now I will probably have no interest for in a few years. I am slowly finding out who I am right now, and that’s a slow process.
But while I do not concretely know what I want in the future and probably won’t for a while, I do know that I want to be confident in myself and be happy with the choices I’ve made. However this can only come in discovering who I am and what my true values are. And honestly, I have no idea who I am and what I truly value. Until I am put into an uncomfortable situation where my values are tested, I will not know which of my ‘values’ are actually most valuable to me.
When I was first told that I would need to write a personal statement, I was hesitant to start such a daunting task. I told a friend of my concerns, and she told me: “Millie, you think too hard about things.” Upon further consideration, I saw that my friend does have a point. One key defining characteristic is how someone thinks. Personally, I love thinking. I always have a book with me, and as such, I do spend lots of my time contemplating ideas. I read both fiction as well as non-fiction, which helps me cultivate my thinking on a wide range of topics. My love for reading has also nurtured a love for stories in me – which is seen in my love for English, Theatre, and History. In these subjects, I take great delight in communicating my ideas clearly through discussion and writing, exploring nuances and implications on a deeper level to widen my understanding. In fact, I have a blog which I update whenever I have a piece of writing to share. Most commonly, I write short, powerful short stories. I love experimenting with words to try and convey a message or emotion in such a short space. It’s like a puzzle – finding the perfect word that shows just what I want to show. It’s a process that always manages to calm me down, and I relish finishing a piece of writing that I’m proud of. Even though I’ve learned that sometimes you are surprised by how life turns out, I know that this piece of me will not change, and I hope to be able to develop my passion for ideas and stories with my career and university choices.
But I also have lots of struggles regarding my passions. I discovered volleyball last year, and now I play at least six hours every week, even though perhaps it is not the best thing for me in terms of my time-management. This had previously been an area of great difficulty for me. In middle school, I would spend hours and hours on a task that was supposed to take twenty minutes, not letting myself submit anything that wasn’t up to my standards. Of course, this led to a lot of requested extensions and a permanently exhausted me. In middle school, this was not so much of an issue, because I had the time to spend on those projects and assignments. But in only my first year of high school, I simply do not have the time to spend so much time on such mundane tasks. Now I try to be more efficient, and I’ve worked a lot on letting go of my need for control and trying to accept that not every piece of work I do is going to be amazing and outstanding. I feel like I have come a long way both academically and personally in this sense. I’ve worked through some personal struggles, learning to accept that I do not need to be perfect, and learning that it’s okay not to be okay. I do not need to be in control of everything to be happy. In fact, I’ve found that acknowledging that you do not have control actually makes you happier, and ironically, makes you feel more in control.
So in the past few weeks, while drafting this personal statement, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I do not know what I want to do with my life and my future. People often ask me about my career aspirations, and I feel slightly ridiculous when I honestly say that I have no idea. In our society where young children aspire to be bankers and lawyers, some of the more unconventional careers are often ignored as potential futures. Whereas I am not ruling anything out, I look forward to exploring all the different opportunities for me in the future. I look forward to discovering what I love to do and spending my whole life doing it. That’s what life should be about.