It is that time of the year again, where all people from all walks of life sit quietly to think about the past and ponder about the future ahead, the present left behind for the moment. As I sit on the carpet in front of my laptop to craft out this post, there is an aura of solemnity, an ominous sense of anxiety mixed with excitement at what is to come, with a hint of nostalgia when realisation kicks in that all that is left of this year are lessons and memories.
2016 – The Good, The Bad, But Nothing Ugly
The year 2016 has been a year of new beginnings. Ever since I left my previous company, I had the opportunity to travel, delve into different projects and explore various interests that I had previously put aside. Starting up a business, entering university, getting involved in various student clubs and attending various events and workshops are just one of the may things I tried to squeeze into my schedule in the past year. There were successes and there were failures, but my mind had expanded to see so many different possibilities and perspectives that I had never even considered before because of these activities.
Success is so easily overlooked by ourselves especially when we are constantly thinking about what we should do to improve ourselves for the next year, but it is nevertheless important to reflect upon it and give ourselves a good pat on the back where we have done well to be reassured of our strengths.
There are a number of things that I am proud of myself for achieving. Getting my article published by Vulcan Post and going viral among the internet community is one, it gave me a great boost of confidence in my writing skills and reassured me that I was capable of creating good content that people would value. Another success would be stepping out of my comfort zone to join (and get selected) for organising committees in student clubs and camps. I had never taken on such large projects before, not even during work, and holding such positions comes with huge responsibility. It is a worthy challenge for me to take on next year to learn and prove myself. Finally, I am happy for getting a decent GPA which could possibly get me a scholarship if I maintain As and A-s next semester. It showed that despite the entire juggling act of studies, extra-curricular activities, family, friends and work, I managed my time well and could excel in what I chose to do.
My relationships have improved considerably this year because of the way I interacted with them. Instead of venting my anger and frustrations at my loved ones, I chose to be appreciative, loving and understanding instead. Not only did I feel more bonded with my family members, but my own sense of happiness increased overall as well. There is one quote from a friend that I always have etched in my mind: We treat our friends of few months like kings and queens, and yet never do the same for those who have loved us unconditionally throughout our life. How easy it is for us to take for granted the people who you assume will always be there for you, to love you and hold your hand forever if you let them. But life is short – these happy moments can be gone in a flash and we would not know what hit us. As cheesy as it sounds, learning to appreciate makes my heart so much fuller and leaves my mind with the fullest capacity to focus on my work.
Low self-esteem always comes back to haunt me time and again despite having so many small successes of my own. Thoughts like “I’m not good looking enough” or “I’m so fat nobody wants to talk to me” or “people would dislike my assertive personality” constantly surface my mind, especially when I am faced with social situations that places me in a really uncomfortable position or when I learn about yet another aspect of my weaknesses.
I have gained 6kg in the past 2 years because of work stress and being on the verge of anorexia. At the point of where I was lightest, I felt the happiest because of all the compliments I was getting for how I looked. Now that I put some weight back on, I had become a lot more self-conscious with my body, especially on days that I do not work out. It is a very unhealthy obsession that takes up a large amount of attention that could very well be better used elsewhere. However, knowing the fact that I can never be as physically attractive as other girls does not stop me from trying. It is also one of the key reasons why I got so passionate about fashion at an early age.
It is also slightly heartbreaking for me to not get accepted by certain people due to my personality or appearance, but it is just something that I have to learn to live with and know that I cannot please everybody.
The only thing that I am sure of about my lack of confidence is that such an attitude would lead me nowhere, and worse, prevent me from reaching my full potential. Such thoughts must be left behind as I enter the new year.
2017 – Where do I need to go next?
2016 helped me rekindle my love for fashion and realise a possibility that I can be successful in pursuing my passion. The more I get to know about fashion, the more I see that there is so much more to learn about the industry. However, despite the fact that I love fashion, I can never leave behind my insatiable curiosity and enthusiasm for business. Reading about businesses and entrepreneurs clicks so much easier than reading about artistic influences on designers and photographers.
Entrepreneurship is something that I have wanted to do all my life, but with constantly changing reasons. When I was six, I started selling things to my classmates simply because I needed more pocket money. When I was 14, I saw my dad having to deal with the suffocating politics in the corporate world, and was determined not to be controlled by anybody like that in my life. When I was 18, my boss told me that ‘entrepreneurship’ is the only road to quick and massive riches (put in a very nice way). Now, at 21, I wish to venture into startups because I want to make a change in Singapore’s fashion industry. The only thing standing in my way of doing so is my complete lack of understanding and experience in the industry I wish to change. How could I change something that I do not even know?
Thus, upgrading myself for the next four years to pursue my dreams would be an essential start.
Goals and Action Plans
2017 would be a year of learning and exploration. The first three months would especially require a hell lot of discipline and time management – 5 modules in uni, 2 extra courses in NAFA, organising Kidleidoscope 2017, blogging, coding, exercise, family and relationships and work will all come together to become the ultimate test for myself to see if I am capable enough to excel in such circumstances. I would probably take up an internship and join other CCAs if time allows in the year to come while upgrading my own skills.
- Maintain a 4.0 GPA for all subjects – finish assignments 3 days before due date, revise each subject at least once a week, clarify pressing questions immediately with teacher
- Prepare for scholarship with Charles and Keith – find out opening dates, update resume and portfolio
- Join Cognitare
- Join Conjunct Consulting
- Successfully liaise with 6 partners to fit 200 participants for Kidleidoscope
- Join Scarlet Org Comm
Personal Development and Side Projects:
- Finish 24 books – 2 books a month
- Finish Freecodecamp Front End Development Program by 1st June 2017
- Finish FCC Data Visualisation Program by 1st Dec 2017
- 1 blog post per week, 200 views per post
- Fashion magazine internship – marketing / editorial
- part-time work in luxury / fast fashion retail
- Gym 3 times / week, Muay Thai 2 times / week
- Eat and drink real food
- Improve communication and bond with family members – family dinner once a week, say I love you every day, always say thank you
- Encourage boyfriend to do well – date once a week, study together min. once a week
- Meet prominent people in the fashion industry
Those are many goals I have listed down, all of which leads to two long term goals: to study a Masters at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, then help the Singapore fashion industry gain prominence in the fashion world. Of course, these goals are not going to be achieved all within the same time span, but requires motivation and discipline to stick to it nonetheless. It is slightly nerve-wrecking, a bit scary, but a whole lot of exciting just thinking of what is in store for me. After 2016, I think I am up for the challenge.
2017, I am ready for you.
Happy New Year everyone!