I flew home for a week in November, slightly over a week into my new job, for two reasons — because it was my birthday, and because I was about to graduate. Going home this time was the best trip I have had to date, because I had plenty of time to spend with my loved ones, and because I knew that I was about to go home to say goodbye to an incredibly significant chapter in my life.
I had been looking forward to graduation (literally!) since I first started studying in university, but during the days leading up to it, I felt indifferent simply because I had just started my career and was grappling with the long hours I had to put in, but I’ll save that for another day.
The day came, and I had to wake up at 5am for the ceremony. Everything went by in a blur. There were so many people there, so many eyes on me as I approached the stage… And I received my mock scroll. Three years of hard work, literal blood, sweat, and tears were all condensed into one piece of paper.
After the ceremony, I parted ways with my friends and it hit me — I was a superstar for a few hours that day, with my first class honours degree in a field I am passionate about… And the next day, I had to fly back to KL to a job I was struggling to get used to, and a life without my family by my side. It was then that I realized — all along, I was dreaming of an idealized version of adulthood. This is what life after graduation was like. Difficult and lonely.
I had a deep craving for independence, to go out and pave my own path, and to create my own legacy… But I honestly did not expect it to be this difficult. Some days, I wish I had taken the easier route, but strength and resilience come from adversity… Or at least, that’s what I tell myself every day.