Cliff hangers 

So I’m fairly certain that everyone knows how much I love the water – that is: to be by the ocean, to walk by any body of water, to photograph seascapes/waterscapes/landscapes.  Because of this, you’ll often find me at the beach, by the harbour or strolling down the coastlines of Sydney; by myself (I guess that’s another thing most people know about me – my love for solitude). This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of doing what I usually do, but this time with one of my best mates. It was definitely a wonderful day (but tiring)!

I wasn’t intending to shoot that day, but here are some quick snaps for y’all.

Cheers,

A

dsc01286-1w

Processed with VSCO with k2 preset
He took me to the damn South Coogee Stairs of Death!!! One day I’ll be fit enough to not feel like dying going up them,  one day.
dsc01278-1w
Not sure which one I enjoyed more – the coast or catching up with this guy
Advertisements

Sucker for the romantics

I’ll always be the girl who finds absolute joy in bawling my eyes out while watching a solid romantic (drama or romcom) movie and tv show. I know, it sounds pretty damn lame and pansy-like of me but I am definitely a sucker for the tearjerkers, the ‘aw’ moments.

Watching lovey dovey shows and films give us the ability to feel ‘in love’ without actually being in love in real life. It enables us to feel butterflies in our stomachs when in reality those feelings are hard to come by. It let’s you believe in chivalry, sweet gestures and traditional courtship, even if both are a rarity in today’s world. 

Being able to cry it all out. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m a crier. I cry easily. I cry easily, but I am also a ‘tough gal’ on the outside. I’ve put up walls around me to deceive outsiders of my actual emotions. I put on a brave face even when all I want to do is cry. Watching a dramatic show or film makes me cry – thus letting me cry out all the pent up cry-worthy moments lately. It makes me feel better. 

Outside of film and tv show contexts, I’m still a crier and a firm believer in chivalrous behaviour. I believe that there are still mothers out there teaching their boys how to treat women right, and with respect. I believe that even in the world where online dating and cyber encounters are prevalent, that you can still meet ‘the one’ in a cafe, a mall, the beach, somewhere spontaneous or even ordinary. I’m someone whose heartstrings get pulled when something serendipitous occurs. 

The downside to being a sucker for the romantics is that it makes you more vulnerable to disappointments. You watch these shows and movies and believe in all these beautiful things but when you are out in the real world, you realise how fictitious most things are in these films. To imagine a dialogue go one way but end up another, emits some level of frustration. 

For me, as lame as romantic comedies and tv dramas are, I enjoy them. I enjoy them because I believe in romance and let’s be honest, our love life in the real world will never come close to those we watch on our screen. 

[I’m sorry, this might be one of my worst posts but I am in bed typing this on my phone and I’m half asleep. Hope it makes sense!]

Diligence + Perseverance = Luck?

[This has been sitting in my drafts for months now {yes I mean drafts on my previous blog}. So apologies if it’s not as cohesive as my usual posts]

People tend to refer to my situation as ‘lucky’.

  • “You’re lucky you managed to land a job in the industry before you graduated”
  • “You’re lucky you work for a good company”
  • “You’re lucky you scored a permanent role so quickly”
  • “You’re lucky you have your own car, your own place, you’ve been to x, y , z….”

Don’t get me wrong – I am absolutely grateful and undoubtedly blessed.

My issue lies with the fact that none of these things came easy for me. I did not have a job handed over to me on a silver platter.

I have a $60k HECS debt because I chose to fast track my degree and had to go through a private institution for my first year. (as opposed to a typical degree of maybe half of that cost)

I pulled all nighters, lived off coffee, deprived myself of sleep – all of which I did to ensure my grades were maintained at high standards.

Those same grades are what got me to the interview stage for my internship.

The nerves I had on my interview day were inexplicably the worst nerves I’ve ever had (to this day). I sustained a 1 hour-long interview without embarrassing myself.

I scored the 12-month internship.

During these 12 months, I lived the intern life. The lack of confidence. The phase in anyone’s career where you essentially have no credibility. The struggle in transitioning from the university world to professional world. I coped with the stress, I faced my fears. I took the plunge and worked hard to impress everyone. I employed work ethics which my mother taught me. I put 210% of myself into everything I did. I ran to uni every second night after work and attended classes on Saturday – I juggled work and study.

At the end of my internship, not only did I bag 12 months of industry experience, but I got offered a job to stay. I was lucky that my team had room for another FTE. 

I then survived the awkwardness of salary negotiations, only to find out from my sisters that whatever I was getting was actually pretty decent. (Although I would have been happy with the minimum salary to be frank, because I knew nothing about what was ‘good’ and what wasn’t).

I signed the contract and threw myself into the ‘real’ work life. I continued with the balancing act between work and study. I took on more units to decrease the amount of years I’d need to complete my degree. I continued to put 210% of myself into everything I did.

Another 12 months went by and I managed to finish my degree. I was also offered a permanent role in the same team I’ve been working in for the last 2 years. Of course I accepted and again, continued to put 210% of myself into everything I did.

The journey I’ve been on to get to where I am today and achieve the things I’ve done definitely hasn’t been easy. From the outside, it looks like it has all been smooth sailing, but it’s definitely been a challenging roller coaster – this is why I don’t take references to ‘luck’ too lightly.

The one major thing I can attribute to luck would be the fact that I was lucky enough to have hardworking parents who took a risk by migrating to Australia, to give us a better education, a better opportunity. I owe a lot of my achievements to my parents – none of these could’ve been done without their hard work.

Bottom line is that I’m a firm believer that everyone, anyone who works hard will get what they deserve. All the work you put in, eventually will pay off. Let’s not diminish the value of diligence and perseverance by attributing others’ lives to luck, because let’s face it – they couldn’t have gotten to where they are now without putting in the hard yards right?

One year | Looking back

I’ve never posted about this time of my life, with the fear of saying something I might regret; predominantly due to being in the heat of the moment. Considering the time that has passed, I figured it’s time I shared some of my experiences from this, as it is quite a major turning point in my life. It is by no means a re-hash of this particular time, but in order for me to move forward, I need to step back and reflect on what I’ve learned over the last year, reflect on the overall experience rather than the darker parts of this time.

. . .

June 24, 2015; a day I’ll never forget. A day which not only marked the beginning of a rental contract, but a day which signified new beginnings and independence. This time last year, I was a terrified 21 year-old who kicked off the day, business as usual, but ended the day with a rental contract and new keys up my sleeve.

It’s worth calling out at this point that the months prior to moving out were not the best months of my life. I honestly thought that life has gotten to an all-time low and I needed to take control of my life – I needed to find a way to enjoy life again. (Don’t get me wrong, my life wasn’t a complete wreck – I was on track to finishing my degree and had a great job… the emotional/mental aspects of my life however, were not in the best shape.)

When I moved out, I thought that some of the pain I felt would be alleviated considering I’ve physically taken myself out of the situations which triggered it. I never would have thought that the move would merely make it worse, that it would sever ties with those I held close to my heart. Months went by, but I kept trying. I kept pushing my way through the emotional boulder which has lodged itself between me and forgiveness.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what on earth I’ve done and whose fault it was to begin with; and my answer for you is it doesn’t matter.

. . .

I have had quite a treacherous journey in the last 365 days. The emotional stress and hardships I’ve endured over the year have definitely put me to the test; but these are also what has made me the person I am today.  And here are the two key things I can attribute to this particular moment in my life.

Resilience

If I was to tell you what it is I learned the most throughout the last year, it would be resilience. It sounds like an easy concept, ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties’ (Google definition), but it is a tough skill to master. The strength required to pick yourself up from your lowest point is enormous. The ability to carry on with your daily lives (whether it’s work or study or anything else) even with negativity clouding your judgement, consumes all your energy. The need to hide behind a facade of perfectionism even when your world seems to be falling apart becomes taxing.

But you see, the more you go through challenges in life, the more you learn to deal with it. You not only learn how to come to terms with it, but you learn who you become under certain circumstances, which enables you to adjust accordingly.

Bravery

As a person still transitioning into the adult world (otherwise known as ‘adulting’), there have probably been hundreds of new experiences I’ve had to throw myself into – especially if I count all the way back to filling out rental application forms! I used to be an incredibly timid girl however somewhere down the line – maybe (just maybe) the fact that I now live on my own and have nobody else to bail me out on ‘scary’ situations, has forced me to tackle things head on.

Despite the challenges I faced pre and post moving out, I am still extremely proud of the person I was 365 days ago – for being brave enough to give it a go. For being brave enough to face all the uncertainties ahead of me, with some level of certainty that all of it would be at some sort of cost.

. . .

I know I avoided delving into the detail throughout this post – I’m sorry. I wanted to share my insights and what I’ve learned, not re-hash the issue(s) and relive it all over again.

– a.

The road to discernment | A graduation post

[Originally posted on May 02, 2016 on my website. Copying it over onto this one for archiving.]

As many of you know, I officially graduated from university just under a week ago. It was a great end to my university life and I am looking forward to what’s in store for me from here on in. 

In light of a truly significant and memorable milestone, here’s a little rant about the (my) road to discernment. If you had asked me if I’ve always wanted to work in the Information Technology sector, my answer would be a big, resounding ‘no’. It’s interesting how we end up where we are and I guess this is my reflection on the last 4 years of my life, encompassing both my university life and the first couple of years of my career.

I do hope I get to help someone by writing this up – some things just really need to be said, and consequently need to be heard. 

-A

. . .

As kids, we are often asked by adults, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’. A doctor. A teacher. An author. An astronaut. A police officer. A superhero. It’s likely we’ll change our answers every couple of months (years if you’ve really got your life figured out), but we definitely knew what we wanted to be (at that particular time).

We enter our high school years and we pick subjects which we think are the building blocks to making our childhood dreams come true. Somewhere along the way, for whatever reason(s), our mindsets shift from pursuing our childhood dreams to…

  • Working towards a more attainable goal because the road to our childhood dreams seems treacherous.
  • Letting our parents dictate what we should be doing instead
  • Following our older siblings’ footsteps
  • Simply doing whatever we can to achieve a decent HSC mark and figure it all out later
  • Disruptive, unproductive anxiety — that is, being unable to focus and do anything because we are way too overwhelmed by having to figure out our plans for the future, right now

In our final years of high school, we get bombarded by the media, our teachers and family friends about just how important your UAI/ATAR is. We do everything we can to do well — our parents send us to tuition, we spend hours in the library, we pull off all nighters. We make it through to the HSC exams and anxiously wait for the results.

We get our results, the digits which apparently dictate the rest of our lives. For those lucky enough to have obtained the required ATAR result, they’re stoked. For those who didn’t, our career prospects have all of a sudden been limited by what we could choose based on what we’ve received. We went from having the world at our fingertips, to having only a handful of courses that we can actually get into.

We receive our university offers and commence our first year of university — the year where we’re forced to take all the generic subjects in our field, regardless of whether or not we like it. Many of us stick it out through the first semester, or maybe even the first year, with the hope that we’d gain enough credit points and we’d do enough to boost up our grades so that we can switch to the course we actually wanted in the first place. The all nighters we pulled in high school get worse, we might even sign up for some more tuition.

We move onto second year, perhaps enrolled into a different course or maybe we continued with our first choice and we move through our university life — that is, back to back all nighters, huge amounts of group work, reports, presentations and essays.

Before you know it, you make it through to the end of your degree (hopefully unscathed) — and it’s graduation day.

Graduation from university is a huge milestone in itself but I think that the greater feat lies with the fact that we’ve managed to get to a point in our lives where we’ve discerned what we actually wanted to do with our lives — perhaps on purpose, or maybe by chance. We’ve gotten to a point in our lives where we’ve acknowledged the things that we’re not good at, but also discovered our strengths in the process. We’ve gotten to a point in our lives where we are simply a step away from kicking off our careers (for some of us, this is already in-flight by the time we graduate).

I think that in society, we fail to remind the kids, the high school and the university students that you don’t have to know what you want to be when you grow up straight away. I don’t think that as a kid, as a high schooler and as a university student, we are encouraged enough to not be afraid of failure, wherein if we don’t get into the course we want, it’s okay, there are other ways. We are not taught enough about the long and sometimes difficult road to discernment, wherein sometimes what we thought we really wanted to do was not for us and that the field of study we’d actually enjoy was the last thing we expected.