…23 & Totally, Completely & Utterly Lost

“In these times I don’t, in a manner of speaking, know what I want; perhaps I don’t want what I know and want what I don’t know.”
Marsilio Ficino, The Letters of Marsilio Ficino, Vol. 3

I think by now I had made it pretty clear that I am very very anxious about this year. 2015 is, AND going to be a year full of changes; going for teaching practical, finishing uni, graduation and stuff. I will finally have to face the ‘outside world’, as people would call it. And I’ve been sluggishly dreading this since the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

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I’ve been trying to explain to people what I’m feeling. But I was struggling to find the correct word to describe it. I’m not sad or mad or anything. I think if I have to describe what I’m feeling in one word, it’ll be “ambivalence”.

Ambivalence noun am·biv·a·lence \am-ˈbi-və-lən(t)s\ 

:  simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action <ambivalence which is expressed in behavior by alternating obedience and rebellion—G. S. Blum>

In the last month or so, I’ve been quite depressed. I believed it to be the deadly concoction of post-practical trauma and having too much time on my hand. I’m not good with contacting that emotional place in my soul. I prefer to run around doing stuff, one after another. So when I get some free time, I start thinking. A. LOT. And thinking, for me, never ends well. Because when I get so deep in my thoughts, it’s like all hell break lose. I became a total mess for like days and days. It’s just horrible. And ugly. And horrible. And really horrible. It’s not pretty and I don’t want anyone to see it. And it is very hard to articulate it to other people. Especially when it is all a giant pile of mess in my own brain, and I can’t untangle it and sort it alphabetically or according to size and colour like I would do with my clothes and books.

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I’ve never felt more lost in my life. Perhaps because I’ve never been in this position where I have to decide on something that could possibly change the course of my existence. I’ve seen a lot of articles and stuff talking about being lost at 23. I never knew what it really meant and how it would really feel like. But now that I am here, I finally get what the fuss is all about.

23, for most people, is the age where you have to start making decisions. Big, important decisions about your life. It isn’t as simple as it was when I had to choose between going to Matric or Asasi. Or to study local or overseas. Or what course to major in. Those decisions seemed so trivial now.

So I’m gonna try to list down all of the thoughts that have been plaguing my mind and putting me in this hazy, confusing maze, making me squirm like a fish out of the sea.

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Thought #1: Do I want to become a teacher or do I not?

I grew up in a family with lots of teachers. Most of the females in my family are teachers. So growing up, teaching is the only profession that I’m familiar with. It sounds like a good option. You get a decent amount of money, lots of holidays and only have to work half-day (not true). And plus, you will never get fired.

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When Bahiyah and I both went on our internships (mine is called teaching practical), we both got a glimpse of the ‘outside world’. And we often talked about  our experiences, comparing notes on how each of our worlds are. And by the end of my teaching practical, I started to question if this is really a career that I would want to pursue. I do enjoy teaching. Very much actually. But I don’t enjoy the the working environment and culture. I’m not sure if I would like to spend the next 40+ years of my life working in an environment I’m not happy in..

Thought #2: If I do become a teacher, can I fight the crowd?

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I know a few teachers who admitted that they are happy with their job. And I have to admit, it is quite discouraging. But part of me still wants to teach, so if I do decide to become a teacher, can I stand my own ground, do my own thing and not be affected by my surrounding? It’s not gonna be easy.

Thought #3: If I don’t become a teacher, what should I be?

We are all humans. We grow up and once you’ve reached a certain age, society expects you to get a job and start making a living. And that is also what I expect of myself. I want to get a job and start earning money. But the question is if I don’t become a teacher, what should I be? And where can my TESOL degree take me? And how and what do I have to do to achieve my dreams?

Thought #4: Should I or should I not pursue Master’s?

I have already applied for a Master’s degree in Linguistics and English Language Studies in USM. Whether or not I’ll get in is a totally different question (but let’s ignore that for the moment). [Note: I got in]

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But not knowing what I really wanna do in my future is making me question if the course I’ve chosen would be the right fit for what I might be doing in the future (which I do not have any idea of at the moment). What if it is completely useless? What if I spend the next 1 1/2 year of my life for nothing?

Thought #5: Should I wait and try to get into a university overseas or should I just go to a local uni?

It is my dream to do my Master’s overseas. It is something that May and I talked about a lot for the last few years. But trying to enrol in a foreign university is no easy task. The tedious application process. The overpriced TOEFL exam. The tuition fee. The proposal. And the list goes on. My main and first obstacle is the price I will have to pay to sit for a TOEFL exam. It is too expensive for me. It is like the giant boulder blocking the rest of the road.

Then it’s the fee. I could try to get a scholarship. But in order for me to do that, my application needs to be accepted first. And for my application to be accepted, I will need TOEFL to apply. The vicious cycle…

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I don’t know how to end this post. I can’t make a clear conclusion since I do not have any answers for any of the questions right now. But hopefully, a few years from now, I will be able to look at this post and laugh at my confusion. Hopefully.

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