"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

small town girl

Now Playing: Rambling Man by Laura Marling (let it be known that I was who I am)

I got my uni offer a few days ago, and several hours, a lot of swearing, lots of stupid questions and a massive headache later my sister and I got my uni timetable sorted.

I don't need a number to tell me how much I'm worth, but my ATAR was 95+ and this year I will be starting my Bachelor of Arts majoring in English & Cultural Studies and Anthropology & Sociology at the University of Western Australia. I will also be studying a minor in French.

You know, that does sound pretty cool. I'm really unbelievably excited for uni. I can't wait to jump in head first, fearless, and begin again. I've put a lot of thought into what I want to do and a lot of time and energy into doing what needs to be done to get to where I am now. I'm very proud of myself. Both my grandmothers didn't receive any formal education and I hope my mother and sister and I are making them proud by taking advantage of the opportunities they could only dream of when they were my age.

But, one of the downsides of going to a school like Perth Modern School is that sometimes it's hard to feel good about yourself. No matter how well you've done and how proud you are of yourself, there are always so many other people who are so much better than you. It's starting to walk the line between 'humbling' and 'ego-bashing'. A lot of alumni are going interstate and overseas and I can't help but feel a little jealous. The course that I'll be doing this year has quite a low ATAR cutoff, at least for Perth Mod standards, and compared to all the flashy universities in exotic countries it's really nothing special.

But I know it is the right decision to stay in Perth, for now. I'm studying overseas at the moment and whilst it's fun it's also pretty hard. The food is pretty crap. I miss my friends and family. I miss the comfort of familiar things, of a familiar language. Living by yourself means a thousand different distractions from having fun, or studying, or even getting in some zzz's. I really want to do well in uni, and I know I can't really do that whilst I'm writing a shopping list for the next time I take the trek to the nearest shopping centre two train stations away, or worrying whether the washing machine is going to explode because I pressed the wrong button. I'm only sixteen - over here people are shocked that I'm in uni, because in Korea sixteen is only a middle school student; someone who hasn't even started high school, much less uni. I've still got a lot of growing up to do. I still need my moments curled up on the couch that is older than I am with my puppy. I still need my mum.

And I'm not just 'settling' for UWA. UWA is a very prestigious school and I am honoured to be studying there this year. If I were living elsewhere I would seriously consider moving interstate to come to UWA, because for what I want to do it really is the best in the country. All my friends who are studying law and engineering and PPE are going all across the country and the globe to chase their dreams, and I couldn't be happier for them. But for me, my dreams started in Perth. This brief moment of doubt, of envy, hasn't taken away the unshakable feeling that I'm doing the right thing, that I'm taking that first small step in the right direction.

I don't feel like I'm limiting myself by not stepping outside of my comfort zone. If that was the right thing to do, I'd have the guts to do it. And I don't want people to look down on me because on the surface my tertiary education plans aren't so glamourous, or because they expected more from the kid who can write. Good things take time, and from little things big things grow.

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