Tag Archives: Education

I am my own woman

marilyn

As a woman, the world we live in is full of stereotypes, expectations, and unfortunately limitations; limitations that are hidden from us in society as best as possible. But those limitations are to be challenged. There was a time, as late as the early 20th Century, when women were not allowed to vote, nor be allowed to receive an education. Growing up, I thought that men and woman were equal in this world, that I had the same opportunities and quality of life as the boy sitting next to me in class. But then I think of all those times in PE class, when I’d kick some poor boy’s ass in sport, and his friends would make remarks such as, “You got beaten by a girl.”

The progress of equality is nowhere near where it should be. I am lucky that my parents migrated from the Philippines, for a better life for my brother and I. I am a daughter, a sister and a friend to many girls who are just like me, that is, trying to find their place in the world. I may not know what career I want to have in the future, but I have a sense of what kind of woman I want to be – beautiful, strong, and independent. I want to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves. There’s a long road ahead of me, and I’m sure it’s full of challenges. However, if there is one thing I am sure of, it is that, I have a bright and colourful future ahead of me. Or at least, that is what I keep true to my heart. If you are a woman, no matter what age, race, or religion, I want you to challenge these limitations; for I have never met a woman who is not strong. Live the life you want to have.

In the words of Ghandi, “to call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior.”

Fall seven times, stand up eight

I’m sitting here in my study room, my lectures notes, textbooks, highlighters and pens scattered on my desk. I think it’s human nature to lack motivation at times. As they say, life is a rollercoaster – filled with ups and downs. Or I could use the metaphor that makes everyone laugh, that is, life is like a rock – it’s hard. I really want to do well in my final exams this semester. I want to prove to myself, that I’m no quitter. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, just as long as you get up each time. Fall seven times, stand up eight times.

These 2 subjects I have final exams for are no ordinary subjects. They are subjects that I failed. It took me a long time to comprehend and accept that I failed not one, but two subjects. Sometimes, I would tell people, “I failed a subject”, ignoring to use the plural, ‘subjects’. Through time, I have learnt to accept that, “it’s ok”. Uni students have their fair share of failed subjects. Some just brush it off, without a care. While, others reflect on why they failed and learn how to conquer their weaknesses. I’d like to think I’m the later. For the longest time, I kept going back to that moment when I checked my final marks for that semester. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. In that moment, I think I had what you call a premature ventricular contraction, meaning my heart stopped for a moment. Ok, so I might be exaggerating just a little, but it felt like I had stopped breathing. My stomach dropped, and I felt like I was at my lowest. The word ‘fail’, followed by ‘fail’ again, just stuck to me. It was all I could think about for a while.

I used to dwell on the past a lot – you know those ‘should’ve, could’ve, would’ve’ thoughts that linger in your mind. Those thoughts are a waste of time. “Don’t think too much,” I tell myself. I’m learning how to use those past experiences as motivators. For tomorrow is a new day. Look ahead. Keep trying, and most importantly, never give up.

To keep my sanity in the midst of exam preparation, I exercise. I managed to run 5 km in 47 min this evening, and each step I took made me feel stronger, more in control of my life. The best feeling is after an intense workout. It’s because I know I didn’t give up half way through the session, despite feeling like it was ‘death’. And secondly because I know I’m making progress to becoming a healthier me. While, I’m not at my ideal weight, I feel like all the hard work is paying off gradually because others have been telling me, “You look healthier” and “Have you lost weight?” It keeps me going! One day I know I’ll feel comfortable in my own skin when I’m trying on clothes whilst out shopping. I’ll feel confident in my own body. I can just picture the moment when I check the tag of a piece of clothing, and it’s in my ideal size. I’ll take it off the rack with a great big smile, knowing that I worked hard to get to that size. Success doesn’t happen over night. It’s a process.

As my favourite quote goes,
It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness – Seneca.

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