In the time since I last posted, I’ve been swept up in schoolwork. Nothing too heavy, really. Just a language here, a playwriting class there. It’s all been really enjoyable, and I’ve been busy collecting ideas and developing them, conjugating French verbs, Google-translating my Chinese essay (maybe I shouldn’t let that one out)….

This semester is shaping out well, except for that one glitch that forced me to take only four modules, instead of the usual five. EL2202 closed one of the four tutorial classes due to a smaller intake of students. And it just happened that the slot they closed was the only one I could actually attend and that didn’t clash with my other classes. Since the system couldn’t register me for its tutorial class, I won’t be registered as a student. And by the time they informed me of that, the period for module-bidding was over, and so I’m stuck with only four modules. Which means I’d have to take Special Term. Again. Not that it’s a terrible thing, just that I’d have to take five modules next semester to satisfy my Major requirements (and you know the timetable’s going to be a bitch to negotiate) and I’d have to find one module to take during Special Term to fulfil my last Unrestricted Elective requirement (hopefully, they’ll offer Japanese or Korean language modules then, otherwise I’d have to take some boring-as-hell science or business module – I can’t even contemplate that horrific notion).

Yes, CORS is a bitch. Why universities don’t extend the bidding period, or construct an entirely foolproof online module-bidding system, I don’t understand. I’m not the only one who’s experienced that problem. My friend from French class was forced to drop a module for her Major too. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous.

Anyway. Guess I’m stuck with four modules this semester. And only one of it has a final exam; the rest rely on continuous assessment. For playwriting, our final and only play takes up 80% and class participation 20%. Which is why I have to make this play good. At least I know where I’m going for now.

Okay, let’s rewind and start from the beginning of this semester. The first playwriting class saw Huzir asking us what we had done since EN2271, Introduction to Playwriting, and what was going on in our lives now so that we could channel all that into our play. And I realised it seemed I didn’t have much of a life outside of watching dramas, writing my novel and swimming. But the thing is, I’m not unhappy. In fact, I’m pretty happy where I am now. Is this me being complacent, so ensconced in ignorance that I feel no compulsion to stick my head out or – pardon the cliche – step out of my comfort zone?

Routine, I realise, is comforting. And it can also be a crutch. It’s what we fall back on when we are afraid to live, afraid to get hurt. But for a writer, it is stifling. It makes our lives stagnant. But I’m just too used to it – being alone, being spontaneous, being emotionally independent – that I don’t see the need to rely on activities to meet new people. Maybe that’s the problem with being an only child. They’re too used to playing by themselves, going everywhere by themselves that they don’t think they need other people. They hold people at arm’s length and it takes a long while before they decide to invest in a relationship. And if you don’t commit to a club or extra-curricular activity, university doesn’t make it any easier. After every semester, you hardly see the people you had gotten to know last semester. So the people you sit next to in class are more like temporary allies rather than real friends. We’ll come together to work on a paper or project, and after that, thanks for your contribution, see you around. And that’s all you do, see them around, say hi and move on. University can be a lonely place despite the number of people and activities in it.

I know I sound like a downer. But that’s probably just me. University isn’t half bad, really. You get to meet different people every semester, learn different things, think about things you never gave a second thought, and be taught by really intelligent and passionate lecturers. Everything there feels so alive I’m excited to be a part of it nonetheless.

I’d go on, but I think readers (the handful of them) might vomit at any further sanguinity. Right now, I’m simultaneously watching ‘The Snow Queen’, writing my play, writing my Chinese essay (30% of final grade) and listening to ‘Secret Garden’ OST.

Speaking of dramas, ‘Secret Garden’ is one of the best I’ve ever watched. And while I was initially disinclined towards Hyun Bin, the male lead, his performance in the show has made me fall for him. I’ve been replaying the song he sang in the show, ‘That Man’, and the instrumental OST for ‘Secret Garden’ for one and a half weeks and counting. Which is why I’ve been looking for his older dramas like ‘The Snow Queen’ and ‘The World that They Live In’ to watch.

Maybe I’ll stop before I start gushing.

To make a really awkward change of topic, I’m turning twenty-one in exactly two weeks’ time. The thought is more depressing than exciting. I’m about to bid my youth goodbye. No more acts of defiance (not that I’ve ever been a rebellious kid), or whimsical behaviour that can be excused or tolerated, and no more freedom from responsibilities. In a year’s time, I’ll be graduating, and I’m not even completely sure what my next step will be. I know I want to work in the publishing industry. I want to help aspiring authors publish books, or contribute to Singapore’s literary arts scene in whatever way I can. But that’s all just in theory. How to go about doing that practically, I haven’t got much of a clue other than interning at a private book-publishing company (I’ve been researching on some possible companies). Typical arts student, you might, say. All talk, no action. All ideas, no logic. Still, I’ll take comfort in the fact that I have a heading now, at the very least. Which is more than I can say for myself at the same time last year. Maybe some of us will never know whether what we want or what we’re doing is right or will pay off.

This has been as upbeat as I can be. Till next time.

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