On 24 July 2019, I graduated from the University of Warwick with first-class honours in Politics and Sociology! To think 3 years has flown by is surreal. – I felt so honoured and grateful to be celebrating my graduation with fellow friends and family. Without their support, I would not have come this far and the day was as much about celebrating their support as it was celebrating my success. I wore a traditional dress called ‘baju kurung’ as a homage to my roots and wider community back home, who have been pivotal to my success.
My family, including my immediate family, 2 aunts and 2 cousins, came down to the UK to witness my graduation. For most of them, it was their first time coming to the UK and I enjoyed showing them around my home for the past few years. While they enjoyed the sights of London, there was an unfortunate heatwave occurring during that week with temperatures soaring up to 38 degrees Celsius on some days! I brought them to local iconic sites like Portobello Market, Hyde Park and Bicester village.
It was a proud moment to celebrate with my friends as well. While it was a joyous occasion, it was also bittersweet knowing that we would be in different places in a few months. I definitely will miss having the luxury of showing up at friends’ houses in a moment’s notice. I also got to exchange some graduation gifts with friends. My aunt had kindly ordered some custom-made cookies to celebrate my graduation. I received some goodies like chocolate from Ecuador and Indonesian treats, which I enjoyed thoroughly! I even went to my favourite Asian restaurant afterwards to bid a proper farewell. I'm friends with the owner and it was bittersweet saying goodbye to the restaurant, which has been a major source of comfort over these few years.
In all honesty, graduating with a first-class degree was no easy feat. I experienced a myriad of challenges this year, which tested my patience and endurance. Over the Spring break (March & April), I was juggling 6 essays while experiencing some health issues. Mid-way through the break, I decided to seek medical help as I was at my wit's end. While I was thankful there was an explanation behind my condition, all the medical appointments were quite disruptive to my routine. I also had to be mindful of making sure I was taking care of myself. I’m thankful that I had a great support network to tap on to get me through a tough time and remind me to take care of myself.
Upon my arrival in Singapore, my mum greeted me with flowers! I also got to see the new Changi Jewel after seeing countless people post pictures of it on social media. Since I’ve been back, I’ve taken time to catch up with beloved friends and family. Moreover, I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with my supervisor from my internship last year and meet some alumni for career advice. I’ve taken time to reflect on my university experience this past few weeks. – I’m immensely grateful for the opportunities the scholarship has given me and the trust the trustees have given us. As one of the pioneer recipients of the scholarship, I’m honoured to have been picked as it means the trustees saw potential in me. I hope to be able to be in a position to give back in the future too, not merely financially but knowledge-wise or giving other people access to opportunities.