The Big Move

/ Friday, August 29, 2014 /
It's been a little over a month since I've moved to Perth! While it doesn't seem like such a big deal for those who've been receiving their education overseas ever since they were young, or those who are more than familiar with travelling abroad, regardless for business or pleasure (Carlsberg reference!), it personally was a big deal for me. Allow me to expand on that.

Poly education, done. Next up is Uni(?)



Plans after Graduation
After graduating from Temasek Polytechnic, I, like every other hungry Singaporean student, applied earnestly to the local universities. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get into the courses I wanted. Tough luck.

(I'm know that some will rant about about how it's unfair that local uni standards are crazy high, but I think that the high standards are there for a reason, and I respect that. The universities have to be stringent about the 'quality' and the academic abilities of their students. There is a meritocratic system in place, and to me, it makes sense.)

Moving forward, I was just about ready to pursue a degree in business at SIM. There are indeed many people who take up business degrees, simply because:

Business degree = more career choices + more time to decide on career choice

For me, I was okay with studying business because I could still possibly pursue a career in areas which I'm pretty interested in, like marketing, or even back to communications.

While applying to study business at the University of Buffalo (in Singapore at SIM), I'd also applied for a scholarship, which was awarded by the University of Western Australia (UWA). The scholarship presented the recipient with the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Arts, with a major in Communications and Media Studies.

I was more than all right with taking either of the pathways. They both sounded exciting and I was looking forward to embracing this new chapter in my life (<< sounds so corny hahaha).

A few weeks later... (this was around late June/early July this year)
I've had my documents verified by SIM, and was patiently awaiting a response from them. On the other hand, I wasn't betting too much on getting the scholarship as I knew that there were quite a number of students from my course who were vying for it as well. Students who were more capable than me, that's for sure. My parents were aware that I'd applied for the scholarship. They also knew that taking up the scholarship meant that I'd be pursuing my degree overseas. Even then, we didn't give too much thought into that, really.

Much to my surprise, I received a phone call from one of my lecturers a few days later. My lecturer told me that I was the recipient of the scholarship. I responded with steady Yes's and Thank You's, only letting that crazy info sink in a few minutes after hanging up the phone.

"....Oh shit."

Yep. Oh shit.

Next thing I did (naturally) was to call my mom and deliver the news to her. She didn't say much. My guess is that she was pretty shocked and needed time to process the information too. Real panic started to kick in when I realised that the school term for Australian universities start around late July. That meant that I had less than a month to get my shit together. Shit. Was getting real. (Pardon my affinity for the word 'shit'. It was the most straightforward way to get the point across.)

Many thoughts were running through my mind:

"Am I leaving for real? Where am I going to stay?"
"What about my family? What about my friends? Who do I call when I need help?"
"I'm going there alone. Will I be able to adapt?"
"Am I ready for this?"

I had so, so, so many concerns. As you should know by now, I'm very much a worrier. With this big move, it meant that I'd have to do without:
  • my closest friends
  • my family and my loved ones
  • my bed. MY BED!
  • the wide variety of real good, accessible and affordable Singaporean food (this really is a crucial factor, i'm not joking! I have to travel a good half hour or so by public transport to have McDonald's! #firstworldproblems )
UWA's extremely photogenic campus

The next two weeks involved lots of frantic calls to various family friends and schoolmates, seeking advice on studying in Australia as well as emailing Temasek Polytechnic and UWA back-and-forth to clarify the issues and doubts I had about going over to Australia to study. I'd been on an exchange with UWA two years ago (read about it here), where I had a brief experience of how it's like studying in an Australian University, but I never thought that I'd actually be pursuing an education overseas.

Getting through the administrative work was a nightmare. There were health check-ups to go through as well as documents to fill up before flying off.

missing my dearest friends
Before I knew it, my beloved friends from Beatty, Temasek Poly and TPEYEC were at the airport sending me off. My parents accompanied me for the first few days in Perth to help me sort out my accommodation issues and other matters before leaving me here (for good).

Perth's beautiful.
Over a month in, and I still am very much in shock about the fact that I'm alone in a foreign country, pursuing my degree. There are times where I feel pretty indifferent, but there are also times where I am in awe of what I (literally) see before me... how Perth is so beautiful and how much has changed in a few weeks.

I am very thankful to be given the chance to pursue my education overseas, at none other than a prestigious university like UWA, and this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I honestly feel that I am undeserving of such an experience, but nonetheless, I still hope to do my parents proud and do Temasek Polytechnic proud.

I'll check back and share more about the units and the student life here at UWA soon, I promise!

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