My 2009 self.
My 2009 self.

It’s finally May, and graduation is just around the corner. Few days from now, we’ll be bidding farewell to the walls of the laboratory, saying goodbye to our white unique uniforms/lab suits and to be honest, I never really imagined I would end up graduating as a medical technology student. 

In fact, my 2009 self kept on dreaming that I’d be seen in television doing news reporting, or learning politics and basic laws of the land. Definitely, my 2009 self does not have an idea what kind of adventures and misadventures he is up to. 

So here are 10 lessons the James (2014) would like to impart to James (2009) and those other similar people out there. 

  1. It’s okay to shift courses. I thought I had always planned my college life well, so well that my 2009 self had already set some deadlines for each phase of my life. College. Boards. Masters. Med School. It was smooth sailing, till I got bored, and eventually hated the fact that I chose my former degree over so many opportunities that were laid for me.Breaking the news to my parents was definitely not a piece of cake, it was not like a walk in the park either. I’ve kept on asking myself whether it is really what I wanted or if I’m ready to get pushed back for another year, but you have to have that courage in order to get what you really wanted.Yes, you may get pushed back for another year, but if it’s what you really wanted then it’s all going to be worth it thus the adage, “Nothing worth having comes easy”. Mind you, in college, it doesn’t matter that much how long you have obtained the degree, or how many years it took you to finish it, but what matters more is the quality and the quantity of the things you have learned and potentially apply in the future. Remember, you’re making your life in college.Nota bene: Even if you shift, you should have a game plan.
  2. Make many acquaintances, but choose your friends. As what I’ve earlier said, it is life that you are making in college and whether you like it or not, your friends, the very people whom you are close to will surely influence the way your life will go. So choose your friends wisely because part of your success in the future, part of whoever you will become in the future, part of whatever you will achieve in the future, you owe it to them.
  3. Remember to take a break (especially for Velezian Medtech students). Remember the famous saying, “All work and no play makes John a dull boy”. It’s true. Undeniably. You see, you are already worn out because of the many exams that your teachers give, and if you decide not to take a break, to have fun for a while, to loosen up, it will make things worse. So have a break once in a while.
  4. There will be mistakes, setbacks, frustrations. The world ain’t perfect, always bear that in mind. You’ll make a lot of mistakes, but that’s okay. They’re not really mistakes if you learn from them. 🙂 Allow one experience to unfold into a another one. Learning is a continuous process, it doesn’t end.
  5. Grab opportunities. Learning is not limited within the four walls of the classroom, it goes beyond it. Last year, I was one of the lucky few students that were sent to Japan for the JENESYS 2.0 Program of the Japanese Government. After how many rejected applications, I received the golden ticket exactly a year ago. It was a life changing moment because it made me learn about different culture, different traditions, different technologies, different people, things you can’t or won’t learn in the classroom.And believe it or not, learning beyond the four walls of the classroom makes learning itself a holistic one. It does not only purely focus on the academic side, but there are other aspects incorporated as well.
  6. Fall in love (Shit! For real?) Scientifically speaking, according to Abraham Maslow, it’s one of those “needs”. I don’t really want to elaborate on this matter.
  7. Stay in school. But don’t stay in school for too long. Remember the game plan that you have, whether you shifted or not.
  8. It’s not the school that dictates brilliance, it’s YOU who dictate brilliance. At the end of the day, the school is there to teach, it’s still you who’s responsible how to process what has been taught, how to apply it, how to learn from it. Otherwise, it’s a wasted knowledge if you don’t learn from it, if you don’t apply it.
  9. Affirm people, prove your detractors wrong. You should learn how to thank people, you should learn how to affirm them. Thank your teachers either by saying it verbally, or making a note for them, or go back to the old days by writing them a letter. Do it also to your classmates, intern friends, other school officers. These people are going to help you reach the summit of success. For your detractors, prove them wrong. But don’t gloat. Don’t boast of what you have achieved. Let your success be your noise.
  10. Remain a student, never become an expert. I always tell this to people whenever they would ask me what advice I could impart to them. In this kind of world, where there is a stiff competition, where the only objective people could think of is how to become experts, only few of us realize that once you become an expert, you cease to learn. Contrary to that, when you remain a student, learning goes on, and on, and on. So be humble, and always remain as a student. 

So go ahead James of 2009, make the most out of your college life, because it will only pass once in your life. 

2014 Self.
2014 Self.



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