2016 may have been an absolutely horrendous year for many people, but for me, it has been the most challenging, rewarding and unforgettable year of my life thus far.
In high school and for most of my Uni life, I’d been hesitant to try new things. I was afraid of failure and embarrassing myself so I thought if I didn’t bother trying, then I couldn’t fail, right? In 2013 (first year of Uni) I sat back and relaxed while my peers applied the heck out of societies as subcom members. I thought ‘well, it’s ONLY my first year so there’s no need to be so worried about my career right?’ The truth was, I was too afraid of being rejected because I had no leadership/teamwork/time management skills whatsoever to talk about from high school. The only thing I was proud of doing in 2013 was going to BSOC’s ski camp, where I met a bunch of people who have since shaped my Uni social life.
In 2014, I realized the severity of my lack of participation in Uni societies. My friends were applying for internships at renowned firms and at 18 years old, they received multiple offers to said firms. Meanwhile, I was still too chicken to admit I had issues that needed addressing. In my second semester, I applied to become a marketing subcommittee member of Project Hope, a not-for-profit organization that raised money to assist disadvantaged children in rural China. I’d heard that almost everyone who applied got in (don’t quote me, but truth is everyone from my interview did get in) so I thought the chances of me being accepted was extremely high. While I admit I was disappointed in the lack of actual work assigned to me as a subcom member (there were simply too many people in PH Marketing), the tasks I did complete helped me significantly in future interviews/online applications.
In late 2014, Amy and I decided to start the Real Estate Society. For Amy, Real Estate was her ‘career passion’, but for me, the society was a way for me to catch up to where the rest of my peers were at in terms of career progression since I felt I was lagging behind. I thought it would be an exciting venture for me as I’d never done anything like it before and it would force me to stop being so afraid of trying new things.
In 2015, I stepped out of my comfort zone by applying for GAP and the intensive one week program gave me a peek into the life I’ve always wanted. [Did I mention as a clueless 3 year old, I wanted to be a teacher and/or business woman? A teacher because I liked having people listen to me while I gave instructions HAHA and a business woman because on TV they looked so polished, well spoken, respected by everyone and seemed like they were conducting important business all the time.] Obviously my reasons for wanting to enter the corporate world have changed and my passion for teaching has intensified for other reasons but it felt good to be able to fulfil those dreams of mine, ya know?
In 2015 I also applied for a few internships but unfortunately I was rejected from all of them. I was at a pretty low point in my life in early 2015; I had gone for a director interview for a society and completely bombed it. Now I think back, the questions were standard but I stuttered, rambled and had a mind blank after every question. I was ashamed of myself and too embarrassed to do anything about it. I was truly terrified of interviews from then on.
After submitting a bunch of online applications for various internship roles, I was invited to complete psychometric testing online. My self-esteem and confidence plummeted again after doing those. For weeks I felt stupid and incompetent. 90% of my penultimate year friends/acquaintances/people I’ve heard of/seen around received offers while I was struggling to progress to the next round. Deep down however, I was slightly relieved as well because I didn’t think I was ready to face more rounds of interviews.
Sometime in March/April I decided to do something with my life. Late 2014, I had the idea of applying for exchange but after reading the instructions online and realizing how much time I needed to dedicate to research/filling out forms, I dropped everything and forgot about it. I was lazy and wanted everything to be handed to me on a silver platter. In 2015 however, I decided to just go for it and booked an appointment with someone from the Exchange Office. Not going to lie, I thought about giving up again but the night before the deadline, I spent 3-4 hours researching different Universities in Canada and matched up courses. I didn’t tell a single soul I was applying for exchange for fear that I would get rejected.
Once I received my nomination email, I gradually opened up to my friends and family about exchange. I wasn’t 100% sure I’d get in as a nomination from UNSW didn’t guarantee an offer from UBC. My official offer from UBC a few months later was a wake up call for me. I was going to spend a semester abroad, in a country with no friends, no family and I only had myself to depend on.
Hopefully my life would change.
And I’m proud to announce my life did change.