Missing Blogger

In my last post, I wrote a post about being calm even though I had two midterms on the same day. And then I stopped blogging for almost two months. Despite the message this blog sends out over the first two sentences, I’ve just been busy. Life catches up at the worst of times and you fail to stay committed to things you care about. But I’m home now and I feel like writing.

So let’s do a recap.

I was halfway through my semester when I last posted giving midterm after midterm. Nothing relieves stress like knowing that you are only in the first midterm season and the second one is well on its way. My midterms went as they always do. Not as good as I wanted them to but enough to allow me to kick off my shoes and relax afterwards.

Air Quality and Hydrology projects gave me great insight into what these fields might hold for me if I do decide to go one of those ways. The Air Quality project was about preparing an Emissions Summary and Dispersion Modelling (ESDM) report for an actual facility. With a combination of AutoCAD, air modelling software, meteorological data processing and a whole bunch of complicated words, this project was perhaps the most challenging of them all. But completing this project gave me immense satisfaction. Not from a job well done, but from a job done. While not effective, this ideology helps one keep up with the pace.

I ended up dropping Economics. While I am to be blamed about not giving it the attention it deserves, I found that course a wee bit overkill. I will have to take it later on and this might even result in an extra semester but I knew that this course would only hold me back. All in all, some regrets about not sticking with it, but I’m only human. Kudos to my peers who stuck with it. You’re the real heroes. 

I got offered an 8-month work term at Coca-Cola Bottling Ltd in Brampton as a manufacturing development co-op student. Now, this is neither the finest job out there and nor do I fail to notice the presence of the word “bottling” in the company name. But, neither of those are important to me. It’s my chance to build relationships, develop competencies and give it my everything from day one. So, looking forward to that.

But apart from academia, I learnt things about myself that were very wrong. I learnt that I judge people too fast. And this cost me a friend and a broken moral compass. I suppose we all like to think we’re doing the right thing when we’re doing it. We find what reasons we can to justify our actions. But, that doesn’t make them right. Nonetheless, I messed up and I’ve spent every day since working on myself.

That’s pretty much it. Exams. Grades. My first work term. And a lesson to never forget. If I had powers to go back in time, I’d chuck them down the drain. This semester and the good and bad in it was for the best. I’ve made my peace with that.

Merry Christmas! 

A gift!

It is 7:24am. I have been awake since 4am. I have a midterm at 1pm and I have another one at 4.

It’s gonna be a long day ahead.

I often find myself in situations where I’m maybe 15% through a long day’s work and already wondering how I’m going to get anything done. So what do I do? I roll around in bed wondering why my life is so hard life. I picture all my friends doing their third revisions as I learn concepts for the first time. And finally, I blog about it.

As efficient and well-thought-out as this process sounds, it’s really not. But today, half-way through my early morning introspection session, I wondered why I’m wasn’t scared of the two midterms I have today. Theoretically speaking, I should. They count as a part of my grade and I’m more than a little behind on my work. But I don’t feel anxious or scared to write them.

I find this feeling to be a gift.

I am lying in bed, relaxed, comfortable and typing this blog when I should be studying because I refuse to let this long day get the best of me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not avoiding my studies. Nor am I criticizing those who are already well-prepared. I am simply fine with my current state of being.

Now, this comes at a price, of course. I will need to study very diligently for the next 4.5 hours. Probably, I might not do as well as I could have. But, I am blessed with the ability to stay calm on before a long hard day knowing I will make it. I see my colleagues study all the time. They ask me questions about concepts I haven’t gotten to. And as I fail to answer them, they feel scared for me. And then go back to preparing for battle.

I could do the same. Actually, I can’t. I do not have the physical or mental capacity to push myself over the edge for an exam. Maybe because grades are not my idea of achieving something. Therefore, I am unburdened by the pressure to constantly fuss over every percentage and free to learn at my own pace. By the grace of a higher power, I am blessed with a family that understands this feeling.

Now, this blog isn’t an excuse for poor grades. I usually end up doing okay and quite well, sometimes. But I am gifted. Gifted with the ability to stay calm in the face of a storm. And so far, I’ve always come up on the other side safe, sound and proud of myself.

 

When no one is looking

There was once a young man who was going through a bit of a financial crisis. He would spend the little money he earned, living an extravagant life he couldn’t afford. One fine day he turned up at his long-estranged parents’ house.

The mother took him in gladly, but the father took caution and wished to test the man his son had turned out to be after leaving his home for “better prospects” almost a decade ago. Not long after, the son approached his father with a business proposal. He asked his father to fund his venture and see his money triple in a year. The father agrees and takes the son into his study, where he unlocks the family safe with the son watching. The son is amazed at finding a huge amount of money in there and gladly takes the amount he needs.

But that night, as the son lied awake in bed, he could not help but think about the safe. About how he could always use some extra cash and how his old parents had no need of all of that money. He sneaks into his father’s study and finds the safe to be open. “The old man is getting too old”, he mused. He took as much as he could carry and once again, left the house he was born in, for “better prospects”.

The next day, the mother was horrified at what her son had done. But the father calmed her down and said, “That money went towards a good cause. I now know what kind of a man my son has grown to be. A man without integrity.”

How do you define integrity? Have you ever defined it? Let me help you.

Integrity is what you do when no one is looking.

In it’s purest form, it is a test of your actions when the world is not there to watch, judge or criticize. I don’t know about you, but my childhood was one of discipline as I waded my way through six years at a boarding school. It was made sure by someone that I took complete care of myself right from making my bed all the way to managing my studies efficiently. There was approval upon success and a scolding for every stumble. In short, I had someone making sure I grew up to be a responsible person. They tried their best.

But now as I live away from home in a city almost half a world away, I find myself to be free of constant supervision. My parents can not tell how I live my life now. Some of my friends envy this. I find it to be a burden. A heavy, yet a necessary one.

As I write this blog at 6:11am right now, I have no need to wake up early or go to school or do anything, to be honest. But because it is what I am supposed to do, because it is what my family entrusts me to do, it is what I must do. No matter how many alarms it takes.

When you find yourself in a situation where the only person aware of a decision is you, believe me, that is the toughest place to be. At that moment, “you” are the only one you can disappoint. But make the right choice and you will find a deep satisfaction like no other.

And here’s how. Most people that believe in you, be they family or friends usually hold you in a high place in their minds. They believe that you are a good person and that you will always do the right thing without bothering to find out whether you actually will. All you need to do is to become the person they already think you are.

If you take anything from this, take this.

A person with a whole lot of nothing to show for, but his integrity intact, has done quite well for himself.

-Harry