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2014 to 2015

Happy 2015! It was surely one heck of a ride in 2014, and I can't say that I enjoyed it entirely. Nonetheless, I believe that it was a year meant for re-configuring things in my life to pave the way for bigger and better things. *throws confetti*

On that note, I would like to say I am officially signing off of LiveJournal. It has been 11 years since my first LJ entry, and I really enjoyed sharing my thoughts and feelings here whenever I needed an outlet. It will be interesting to look back and see how much I dared to share. Even though this seems like an end, I will be writing again somewhere online. Perhaps about design and art? Or creative storytelling? I haven't decided yet, but don't miss me too much. ;)

Cheers to the new year, and hope that it will be a great one for all!

False hope: it's tough out there.

I was an ambitious, confident child when it came to school. I seemed to have this fire in me, and coupled with my stubborn nature, I was the type that worked hard to impress. If someone tried to compete with me in academics (and yes, someone did openly challenge me before), I'd have this 'bring it on!' attitude and reel in the victory. I secretly believed that I was smarter than a lot of people. It didn't help that throughout my whole education, the high-achievers were always rewarded and repeatedly told that if you do well in school, you most certainly would succeed as an adult. So, I felt like I was on a good track. I loved to participate in class and answer as many questions as I can, and I'd beam in the delicious feelings of knowing the answer and being right. I consistently earned grades from high 80s to 100, and my report cards were proof that I was awesome. I won a few awards, such as 'best academic student' in my class, and I had no doubts about my future. I mean, that's all there is to it, right? Get amazing grades, and you will get a great job.

I reached high school, and there were a lot more classmates like myself. Determined, smart, ambitious...but I managed to stay in that crowd. I wasn't the obvious name that someone would spout off if they were asked, "Whose the smartest in this class?", but I was still happy with my grades.

University came, and I received an early acceptance and scholarship into the program that I wanted. Out of thousands of applicants, they only accepted around 120 people into the program each year, and I got through all the stages with flying colours. To me, it was further confirmation that doing well academically means continued success in everything you do.

It was then and onwards that things changed. As I met more like-minded people and eager beavers more intense than me, my confidence was gradually decreasing. A lot of people were better than me in the field that I was studying. It was tough to keep up, and I felt like I was completing projects just to pass rather than try and earn a near-perfect grade, like I used to do. I retreated into a shell full of self-doubt, and I was truly humbled. Don't get me wrong, I didn't crash and burn. In the end, I did graduate and got a job in my field. I was really happy that someone wanted me, and I felt like maybe a glimpse of my awesomeness was still there.

Fast forward to today, and even though I've built up a pretty good portfolio and had the opportunity to work on many different projects with different people, I finally realize that the promise that you'll be super successful if you are book smart is so misleading. Employers do not look at your school grades to determine if you are talented and skilled. They interview you to judge you on your personality (how well you can converse), your skills (based on concrete examples), and how you promote and present yourself. School grades are almost worthless during a job hunt, unless you're going after jobs that do place an emphasis on that. But for the most part, it doesn't matter anymore that I was an A+ student and have several academic awards under my belt. People who I might've 'beaten' in school are probably kicking my butt now when it comes to advancements in their career. Why? Because they have other skills that are desirable in today's market now, such as knowing how to form great relationships with people. Or, they know how to sell their skills and experience. Whatever it is, I know that I cannot depend on my report cards anymore and tell employers that I was highly regarded by my teachers. Sure, school may have honed my ability to focus and work hard, and from that I do have a strong work ethic. But I feel like I was lied to, in a small way. If only I knew, I would've spent more time working on my communication and presentation skills, and connecting with people to form a good network. Instead, I had my head in the books and believed that I will stand out in the crowd someday.

So, if I got a chance to go back in time to meet that ambitious and determined girl, I would tell her, "Sandra, stop being cocky! Grades aren't everything!" They're still important, but it won't guarantee you career success. I definitely learned that the hard way.

What an odd year

I call 2014 an odd year so far. Maybe because it has been a year full of changes, and I was never good with change. Regardless, I am trying to deal with it and I do hope that the latter half of the year will be better for me.

It's funny how things happen. I can say that I am very happy because I found a person who loves me for who I am. :) But at the same time (and unrelated), I've become a more stressed and anxious person. I wonder if it's an accumulation of things in the past that have finally caught up to me and is wearing me down now, or that I'm just getting older and fearful?

I don't know what the point of this entry is, but I know that when I do write in here, it's usually because something is bugging me. I hope by next year, I will be in a better place than today.

In the words of Dory the fish, just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

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Images/graphics designed by: Sandra K.
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