For the loved ones back at home comment

To mummy, Deborah and Sharon,

We have laughed together,
We have shed tears together,
We have all seen dark days,

And we have all seen good days.

Through thick and thin,
We have had only each other's hands as our lifeline
Each other's shoulder to cry on,

And each other's presence to find solace in.

Now though we are miles apart,
We are still ever close at heart,

And may our physical distance
Serve as means to make our hearts grow fonder,
And love one another ceaselessly.

There may be an end to every physical distance
But to the love and bond that we share,

May it continue to blossom
Into a perpetual journey of love and affection.

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10 lessons that I learned from this semester comment

Every now and then, there is always a bag of lessons to take back especially when it is almost the end of a semester. As finals are drawing near and now that it is currently study week and post-assignments and mid-term tests, I thought to myself that I could finally catch a breather. I thought I could also spare some time off to reminisce on the current semester.

Here are some things that I had learned:
  • Passion is a huge deal
 In the sea of students here in my campus, only one thing makes a student stand out evidently. It steers them to keep rolling in the right path, gaining momentum each time. It serves as the best form of intrinsic motivation. And that my friends, is passion. Having passion in what you do is really a big deal because not even forced enthusiasm can equate to the bountiful returns of doing something with genuine love and enjoyment. I can affirm this from a real-life example. I have a friend A and a friend B. Friend A finds genuine enjoyment and delight in her studies which mainly deals with programming and mathematics. Friend B enjoys the maths, but not the programming but she is very hardworking. Friend A gets involved in various club activities and yet manages to ace her quizzes,tests and assignments with flying colors. Friend B had wanted to do another course prior but for some reasons ended in up in CS. She gives all her best and you can see from all her efforts that she is really making herself to like the course. She studies hard day and night, arrives early to class and does all her homework. An A student though she is, Friend B is no where close to Friend A's achievements.
  • Passion and enthusiasm don't necessarily equate to one another
From the previous point, we can see how passion somehow surpasses enthusiasm. But what if I told you that passion alone does not do the trick. I have another Friend C who talks of her passion for programming and writing. But in doing so she inevitably short-circuits gratification and therefore complacency sets in too soon before she could even carry out anything that could get her close to achieving what she wants. She has the passion but does not put in the right amount of effort or enthusiasm to get the job done. Being successful therefore is getting the right mix of passion and enthusiasm, as one can say.
  • Hobbies and shared pastimes bridge differences, and often wins over anything else
Imagine you have a two classmates, one is a typical introvert and the other is outgoing, smart and helpful. You get closer to the latter. Now, say you had initiated conversations with the two of them and got to know more about each of them over time. You find out that the former have more in common with you than the classmate you were closer with initially. You get closer to the introvert but at the same time not getting any distant with the extrovert. As time passes, at one time you're in a group project with the introvert and at another time you're grouped with the extrovert. The introvert does not do much of the job, much of the work is left to you and another groupmate. You feel annoyed. However you are a lot at ease when you're working on a project with the extrovert because she's smart and is sure to get the job done. After all the group projects and as more time passes, you find yourself closer to the introvert whom you had once abhorred for a while during a group project. And sadly but surely, you also find yourself growing more distant with the extrovert. From what I had learned, having a common ground weaves stronger bonds.
  • Not all who are smart actually have good attitude
 I was working on my Assembly programming last week and I had not understood a couple of things the lecturer had thought. Naturally, I called a friend to come teach me. My friend was giving me a full walkthrough the whole lecture when really all I had needed was just a touch up on certain concepts I had missed. But I let him lecture me anyway because I didn't mind. And why not, I thought to myself. Just then a guy from another class entered to see his friend apparently. But what he did was walk around and make fun of other students. Including me. He was sneering at my friend who was teaching me. He was making fun of how I had managed to 'not understand' a simple thing. He was a very clever guy, from what my other friend had described to me. But he was infamous for his rude remarks about other people. Really, what a waste of genius.
  • Do it for the gain
 Do it not for the recognition but for your personal gain, and for the gain you give other people. I was assigned a job to design the logo and other promotional materials for an event by my society. It was a daunting job of having have to redesign and make edits each time. Initially I kept telling myself to give my best as I saw it as a way I could display my creation and gain myself some name. But at the end of the day I realized that I had learned so much along the way, things I never knew I had not known. And that mattered more than any name I could get myself for the work I have done.
  • Groupworks are harder than you think 
 If you're a student, it is not uncommon to hear some of your friends say that they prefer individual assignments over group assignments. You might share a similar opinion. Well as for me I share in such thought. While in most cases we see the hard part of group works centering upon that one member who does all the job, well let me tell you that that's only one part of the story. The untold part of the story is that there are some members who genuinely want to help but are super clueless about what they should do. And this is bound to happen especially if there's lack of communication among the group members. Bottom line is, communication is vital in every group work. Do yourself and your team a favor and spare the blame game and start some real discussion instead.
  • Basing your diet on wholly wholemeal is actually unwholesome
 So for the record I had made a drastic decision to go on an anti-rice diet, with whole grains comprising my main diet; a decision which I would soon come to regret. After a good 6 months or so I happened to stumble upon an article which claimed that grains diminish your brain size and hence your IQ. Now you would call me a fool for buying into that article too soon. Coincidentally however, I happened to read that article during a time where I had found myself in one of my lowest points, performing below my average performance. So yes, I might have been silly to be too quick to believe in that article but I think I had good enough a reason to warrant for a turning point, which did do me good in the end. When I was back to eating rice, I felt fuller and snacked lesser in between. I was also more contended and didn't lash out too often in midnight cravings for some ungodly snacks. Keeping track of my calories, I found that I did a better job in keeping unwanted calories a bay when I ate rice instead.
  • Blood is thicker than water
 While friends may come and go, it is your family who will always be by your side. A few weeks ago, it was somewhere mid-semester when my mind felt besieged by so many assignments, upcoming tests, and event to-do's. I was overcome by anxiety and could not direct my focus properly on the tasks at hand. It felt like my mind was descending into a spiral of chaos and discordance. It got too much for me at one point that I felt like pouring out to someone about my state of mind. But I just could not confide in any of my friends to do it. Crying only exposes your vulnerability and you don't want to seem incompetent especially in a competitive environment, I thought to myself. I rang my mum and as soon as she picked up the line, I felt like my heart just leapt in joy. I bawled out the whole night to my mum over the phone and sure enough, with her kind and consoling words I felt lighter, as though a huge burden had been lifted off my heavy mind and heart.
  • There will always be people who are better than you
 No matter how hard you try, there will always be someone who is better than you. As a matter of fact, there will also be someone who is less better than you. Genius can be said to be almost ubiquitous in my classroom. In my first semester and in the second half of my current semester, I had tried to be in the top tier of my class but soon realized that I was drifting farther away from that elite. I also realized that my classmates in the top tier had different schedules and theirs mostly comprised of studying 24/7. I learned that just like them, I had my own fields that I excelled in and there was really no room for envy. There shouldn't be. He's unique. She's unique. I'm unique. And you're unique. In any case, I learned to be comfortable in my own skin and love what I do best. Be happy, be you.
  • There is no need for haste for love
 To put this into perspective, let's take an analogy of making an apple pie. You're hungry. In scenario 1, you give in to your hunger and rush to make the apple pie so you could sate your hunger as soon as possible. The end product is a mediocre-looking, half-baked apple pie that tastes awful in the inside. You end up feeling not even anywhere close to satisfied. You dump your apple pie in the trash, call yourself a fool for waiting so long, and drive your car out to get an apple pie from a nearby bakery. And then there's scenario 2. You're hungry but determined to get a good apple pie. You look up the best recipes and find one and add your own experimentation to it. Your first try does not turn out very nice. You give it a second try and this time it's beta version. You experiment and make more improvements to the previous pie and at the end you have the most delicious apple pie you've ever tasted. You relish every bite of it and you're proud of your mini accomplishment. You go on to brag to your friends about it.

Okay maybe I went too far with the apple pie analogy. But you get the point. There's no need for haste for love. There will come a time where you'll find a person with your kind of quirks, someone who will love you for who you are and someone whom you'll cherish and love too in return.

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How the Internet has positively impacted today's youth comment

 The Internet has no doubt revolutionized the lives of every man, woman and child since its advent in the 1980's. With increasingly growing popularity, the Internet has easily claimed a vital part of every household. The Internet has long endured accusations for a certain drawbacks that humanity has endured from its usage. Despite the highly subjective nature of the topic, there is an ongoing debate about whether the good outweigh the bad. Boon or a bane, the Internet has witnessed a larger impact in the youths of today. While there is a downside to the Internet as there is in almost every man-made thing, it is good to acknowledge the good that the Internet has brought to our younger generation; our potential assets of the future.

 It is first worthy to note that Internet access has placed knowledge at a greater disposal to our younger generation. In today's world, education can be considered the most unfair advantage a person can have. There has henceforth been a large number of educational websites mushrooming around the Internet with hopes to educate the general public and very especially, our younger people. There are a great number of websites like Khan Academy, Stanford Online, Edx, Codecademy and Coursera which are dedicated to offering education at free of charge. Moreover, for those who wish to take their learning game a level further, there are paid alternatives like Udemy, Treehouse and Skillshare which offer a more interactive classroom-like experience, albeit with a low membership price. Judging from personal experience, online courses that I have taken have proved to be more of a complimentary supplement to traditional classroom learning, and not much a means to replace classroom learning although that can be the case in some instances like distance education in certain university programs. Put concisely, it can safely be said that the Internet has routed many paths to nurture the literacy rate among youngsters.

Living in the e-commerce era, the youngsters of today are no exception from generating a revenue of their own. Social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have proved to be effective tools in engaging and building an audience in addition to aiding in promotion and publicity of goods and service. From personal recount, I have seen a number of young girls who had turned to Facebook and Instagram to promote and endorse various products, most of which fall under the cosmetics category. This could be a cheap and convenient way to earn some side income, provided they have a large follower base. And then there is another acquaintance in my following list who uses her Instagram account to push in posts into her followers' feeds about pre-loved items that she's ready to part with. These are only a few examples that I could name from my own recount but we can see all around us how youths are stepping up their game in generating a revenue through online means; from Vlogging via YouTube to selling products through making use of Facebook and Instagram.

With an increasingly fast-paced world, there's a growing need for convenient means to stay connected with one another and the digital world is precisely doing just that, working its way to making the world we live in a "borderless" place. The revolutionary breakthrough that social media has brought about since its advent have paved the path for our younger generation to stay more connected. This change has also made possible for them to network and thus exchange valuable information with one another. Take for example online forums and Q&A websites like Stack Exchange and Quora where our young, curious and budding youths can have their doubts about a certain topic clarified through their peers, or any experienced person in the topic at hand. I like to call this 'casually networking'. In addition, although the traditional pen palling is now termed obsolete by many, it has not completely gone off the facet of our human lives. In fact it is not a surprise that there has been a modern variation to traditional pen palling, in that emails are sent instead of posting mails. There has been a great number of young people who have taken interest on online pen palling as seen roughly from the demographics in a popular pen pal website, InterPals Penpals. There is also a website named PenPal Schools that connects students from across the globe, to exchange and learn about a new culture, or even learn a new language through a native speaker.

There is therefore a great deal of benefits that the Internet can take account for. If the young people of today can utilize the core power of the Internet for a greater purpose, the Internet can be one of the many ways they could realize their ambitions or even contribute to a common good. If utilized wisely, the Internet could also prove to be a powerful tool in fostering meaningful relationships to educating the minds of the younger generation and possibly changing lives for the better which could have otherwise been more challenging without the Internet.

P.S:/ I know this is a little late. I had pledged to write an essay a week initially but my schedule proved to be too rigid. I had written the first half of this essay a week ago and promised to publish it but then again, due to time constraints, I never had the flexibility to resume it. I am glad to say however that this is my first piece of essay that is over 800 words! Huzzah! Looking forward to producing more lengthy pieces like this.

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The dark side of love comment

I was on my usual detour through my Quora feed and came across this post by Katie Birtles. I find this post very poignant and beautifully written. Here's the excerpt:

What is the dark side of falling in love?

A child who has stopped asking for his mother to tuck him into bed at night.
One day they will no longer need you
A teenager who buries his beloved dog, a faithful constant who grew up beside him.
When you don’t want to go, but you must leave.

A young woman who falls out with her high school best friend, grieving the void that is left.
Even the strongest bonds can crumble.

A man who aches as the one he loves runs away with another, leaving him to wonder where he went wrong.
The cutting, barbed pain of rejection, insecurity, humiliation and unfulfilled dreams.

Or the cornered lover who must admit she is no longer in love with the one she never wanted to hurt.
The unrelenting guilt and regret that eats away at you.

An elderly couple who must watch each other deteriorate through the years, eventually forced apart by Death.
Unavoidable, cruel, inevitable, callous loss.

The dark side of falling in love is that, in one way or another, it will break your heart.
To love is to suffer.

- Katie Birtles