When I was home, I dug through my shelves for my NUS Freshmen Package to find my Freshmen Guide (a book) to NUS. It was so nostalgic. I actually still keep both my freshmen guides from UM (University Malaya) and NUS (National University of Singapore). It was funny to receive offers from both these universities at the same time, which were long time ago regarded as sister universities.
So many things have changed since I was that fresh, curious, and hopeful undergraduate-to-be. So many aspirations dulled by the not-so-charming reality. There were so many new discoveries I've found here, so many lessons learnt, and my insolence humbled.
I wanted to be an engineer, little knowing what an engineering course would really be like. So all my top choices were engineering. NUS offered me Chemical Engineering. UM offered me Biomedical Engineering. And NTU (Nanyang Technological University in Singapore), offered me Materials Science Engineering too. I picked NUS, more for the school rather than the course I was offered. I was alright with any course that didn't sound like mechanics, electronics, programming, or medicine.
In Year One, I was thrown into a unknown world with seemingly unbounded freedom (I was kind of cooped in the house all the time before this, partially a result of my own choice and self-censorship). In this freedom I experienced and learned many things. There was freedom to do activities I'm interested in, to sleep as late as I like, to study as little or as much as I liked. I lost myself in this freedom, for everything seemed so important. Keeping friends, joining hall activities, bible studies, and mugging (which was rather behind the list till exams came). I lost out in the academic competition but gained lots beside. It was a tremendously exciting experience I have always cherished.
I always wondered what it would be like if I went into UM. Everything would be easier, I would have needed a loan (the price was less than half of NUS') things would have been comfortable (albeit a slightly higher crime rate in the vicinity). It would have been so different. I could have gotten a first class degree easily, graduated respectfully, found a job with no difficulty. Being in the cream of the crop instead of consistently looking up to others and wishing I could have done better, like now.
There's this thing called 'the will of God' that many of my brothers and sisters like to use, especially during some turning point of life, like choosing a university. 'Pray that I choose a road that is God's will for me', we say. The will of God. And last week during Bible study, Justin touched on what is the will of God. The will of God is people be saved, sinners repent, and live sanctified lives, and people know the love of God, as well as be open to the knowledge of Jesus' saving grace. Such is the will of God that we were searching for. It does not pitifully limit itself to the case where some young lady with an STPM certificate in hand wonders whether the 'will of God' is to lead her to some university where a comfortable job lies ahead and eventually she establishes herself in society in some respectful manner or other. The will of God has God in the center of it, not us.
It is by God's grace I have gone so far, and gone through so many blessings besides. Many times I have drifted from Him in this foreign land, full of its temptations and pressing needs. I have learned to cherish time and give up things I want to do/have, but I can't afford (same goes for shopping sprees). It is really difficult.
One of the greatest blessing here, I feel, is our Friday Bible studies, which have really challenged my heart, and kept my priorities in check. I wish I could deal better with my priorities, even now. To be brave, and to step out, and serve; as well as think about people. But I am still timid in heart, and dare not even write about an issue that I felt so against in my blog... fearing my views unfounded; and wondering what implications it might bring. But even so, our Bible study discussions have taught me the great responsibilities of being a Christian, not to see God as trivial, and to know God as He really is. The depth of the discussions is something I will never get in my Youth Fellowship at my home church - where I still feel now, improvement is wanting in this area among the youth, though many times, they have surprised and encouraged me with their demonstrations of their strong yet simple faith. One day, I pray, I will be able to be courageous enough to step up and fully live out my life for God. As for now, I still need your prayers, and I shall work towards what I want myself to be.
My internship attachment starts on July 5th, which is two weeks away. I do take time to warm up to new things, but I pray for a blessed journey ahead, where I could be God's light in His own special way, and be a blessing to my new colleagues, as well as be a good testimony to the Lord. Yes, the harvest fields are plentiful... and though soil in some places are not as good as others, you never know where each farmer finds his own niche.
Now as my friends, and many new undergraduates to-be, just like I was, are excited about their university life, I think back about mine, as well as wonder about theirs. May they fare better in rising to challenges, knowing what things are important and which things are less. May they put God as their top priority in all they do, yielding Him all their first fruits. I have told my university stories many times enough. Now I'm awaiting for new chapters in my life to unfold, new stories to tell.