Term 1 again!
Back in Warwick for yet another year! Starting Term 1 for the second time, I felt a slight sense of nostalgia as I saw the freshers scurrying around to get their administrative issues settled and get used to university life. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the hustle and bustle of living on campus, with something or another happening every single day. But living in an off-campus (Canley) accommodation has its own perks too: from having dinner with housemates, to inviting people over for potluck parties and visiting other houses once in a while, it's another experience altogether that I wouldn't replace with living on campus.
Within the first couple of weeks back, we had the Scholar's Welcome Reception at the Oculus. While it was great to meet the other international scholars along with Iffah and Hayati, the real highlight of the night for me was listening to a Warwick Scholars alumni who was invited down. Zeenat Islam, currently a highly successful barrister, was sharing with us her experiences in Warwick as well as her journey after she graduated (she's currently working on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry). Seeing her satisfaction at fulfilling her dreams was inspiring as it reminded me of my own. It also reminded me that dreams do come true, but only when coupled with hardwork and determination.
The rest of my autumn term was spent focusing on juggling academics as well as my societal commitments. First of which was AIESEC - as a Vice President, I had to assist with the recruitment of new members as well as the multiple other activities throughout the term. In the middle of the term, I re-evaluated my priorities as well and after thinking long and hard, I decided to run in the elections for the Local Committee President of AIESEC in Warwick - being elected as the President after a gruelling selection process (in which I was running against a highly worthy opponent) was highly rewarding. As grateful as I am for this experience, it has taught me to truly appreciate the support system that was there for me at every step, and to give back to those who need it more by helping them grow as people.
With regards to Singsoc, work has begun on production and rehearsals. While initially it was a challenge, we managed to source for solutions to the problems we faced and decided on the next course of action! Now that rehearsals are in full swing, everything is in motion and I'm really glad to see that our efforts are paying off and that we see a production being formed in its entirety, a beautiful thing.
While it might have been a challenge to balance both AIESEC and Singsoc commitments alongside academics, I ensured that it did not hinder me from enjoying my term at Warwick. Having never celebrated Halloween in previous years, I decided to make a change this year and dress up for a halloween party.
The similarity is uncanny, I know. I would not have done this if not for friends who were naturals with face paint and volunteered to help me out. Coupled with a wig, some red contact lenses and dark clothes, it was a great way to celebrate Halloween for the first time ever! This December I also spent winter in the UK. While I missed home tremendously, I managed to visit the Christmas markets in Birmingham, Newcastle and London and and absorb some of the Christmas cheer. The warm company of friends in these places always left me satisfied and ready to face the next cold day.
However, it was not all gloom and doom - I made plans to travel to France, Geneva and Ireland with friends for a short period, just to experience the beauty of these different places. My journey to Tignes, France was on a skiing trip with Singsoc! Although it was my first time skiing and I had to cope with the steep learning curve, I can honestly say that it was the best experience of my life. The accommodation was great, the food was better, and of course I'd be lying if I said my time out on the slopes with friends was not the absolute best experience.
Geneva, famous for its chocolate fondues and precision luxury watchmakers, did nothing but appease my appetite, both for good food and for beautiful architecture. It was also in Geneva that I saw snow fall for the first time in my life. I will never forget how ethereal an experience it was to be standing there amidst all that soft snow falling all around me and being speechless at the beauty of it all.
In Ireland, I visited Dominic, a friend from JC, and went on a roadtrip with him to various locations in Dublin and Belfast as well as the Causeway Coastal Route!
We even decided to watch the musical "Aladdin" at the SSE Arena in Belfast and had bought tickets. However, as time went by, we came to realize that it was not a musical but a pantomime instead, and a highly entertaining one at that too! It was truly a journey full of joy and laughter. Being here for New Year's Eve, I also decided to spend it with the other Singaporeans who were also on campus, and it was truly a sumptuous dinner and a fulfilling evening.
Taking some time out to reflect on 2017, it is crystal clear that I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime in being able to study in the UK and to experience all these amazing things, as well as to teach and learn from those around me. The experiences and the people that have been a huge part of my personal development this year have given me more motivation to be better and to do better. Looking forward in the spirit of New Year's Resolutions, I want to show my appreciation more to the people around me. On this note, I shall end this blog post and look forward to a great time in Term 2.