17/10/2018 Something different, some reflections

Results do not define me, but rather strike me with room to grow and prosper.

End-of-year exams just ended, and my results were… disappointing to say the least. But upon second thought, this was not an unfair representation of the scarce efforts I put into my studies for the past two months. I was contented with nearly missing an A for philosophy, and limited my learning experience to within the classroom. I was not reading external material to facilitate my individual learning process, was too lazy to strain my brain with long-winded journals. Instead, I went under hibernation, both mentally, intellectually, and eventually, physically. First thing upon reaching my dorm room was to binge on YouTube for one hour straight; there came a period of time when I had to channel all my neurons to make the slightest sense of the mumbles in a philosophical text. I tried to reach out for a change, by prompting myself with small weekly challenges in a journal, mingling with peers outside my circle, and doing yoga and jogging regularly. But these could not stop me from retreating further into my comfort zone, to let numbness devour my confidence, self-control and senses. While preparing for intra-school reports and conferences for my immunology research project, hysterical thoughts ballooned in my mind: when is this going to end, when is this going to stop. I prided myself over my newly-discovered talent — wringing poems out of my hormonal fluctuations, self-loathing introspections, and fleeting inspirations. The chance to perform shone a ray of serenity into my chaos, but still I collapsed into disorder. I lost my purpose, my motivation to grow and progress, and the sense of novelty in life and the invaluable eudaimonia I managed to grasp in the first semester.

Perhaps I was tired. I yearned for a rest that my time and schedule did not seem to have permitted. However, what I did not realise until recently was that to take a rest is not to hide into my comfort zone, but to step out of it, to engage with the external world and knowledge that truly excites me, and to turn my talents into strengths through persistent practice, trial and error. I feel the force of natural selection upon me and I thrust my chest back at it.

The skill of thorough, clear and sophisticated written communication and argumentation, to go beyond absorbing towards synthesizing, evaluating and producing knowledge, is essential for me as a blogger, an aspiring biologist, a person in academia, and someone that aims to bring knowledge and happiness into communities across language, socioeconomic and cultural background. To achieve and sustain this skill requires lifelong learning, and demands actions for change from now on.

As part of the effort, I will start reading, researching, synthesizing and critiquing science research journal articles and philosophical texts, and write monthly blogposts here. If you have other opinions or would like to have an intellectual discussion with me on the topic, please leave a comment below any future posts or contact me via email. Constructive feedbacks are the most welcome. This is a learning process for me and hopefully you as well, through which I hope to build resilience, perseverance and confidence in my academic pursuits.

Thank you!

Have faith in the magic of time,

Islina

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