Friday, July 29, 2005

Reflection on Michigan Days

I told myself I have to write down my thoughts on my undergraduate days as soon as I graduate from the big house before future incidents influence what i really felt upon the end of my 3 yrs of ann arbor student life. Well, it turns out that i'd have to wait another 3 months (because of the europe backpacking and china youth program) after my graduation to finally sit down with a cup of Pokka green tea and think about what has passed me by in the past 3 yrs. i shall attempt to write this in the most coherent way i can but given the amount of things i wanna say, i doubt this will come off in an orderly fashion...

Prior to Michigan:

Identity insecurity:
i was filled with apprehension and excitement much like most of us who's never gone overseas to study. Well, strictly speaking, this is the second time i have to do this sort of overseas education since I've already gone through a rather tough time adjusting to life when my family migrated to singapore from HK. That was tough because i don't speak mandarin nor english...but a least culturally speaking, Singapore is as close as it gets in terms of lifestyle to the one i used to live growing up in HK. US is a different story. To be frank, even though i never say it loud, i think i used to suffer a sense of ethnic inferiority (is that how u spell it?) before i flew off to michigan. I mean, from the ads and movies, everything beautiful and powerful seem to have donned a caucasian skin. And I was wondering how can i fit in, and eventually excel in this new environment.

Music vs overseas education:
Besides this internal glamorization of anything western, i was at the crossroads of deciding what i really wanna do with my career. Usually this decision is only forced upon fresh graduates, not incoming freshman. But i'm glad that i was compelled to think deeply about it when i was offered a contract by BMG Asia. The contract itself isn't all that great, but its potential to lead me on a completely different route (pursuing music) has driven me to think hard about what i want to do with my life. I know i'm fortunate enough to be in this position of dilemma, choosing between becoming a rock star (of course it's more of an illusion but hey, bob dylan aint all that pretty) and a scholarship to study overseas. At one point I was ready to give up the scholarship and try out music. But given the vehement reaction from my folks (they wanna disown me if i do that), i turn the other way. So i chose a path that's much less romantic than what my usual i'd-live-my-own-life self would prefer. But the decision has a huge impact on my following 3 years in Michigan. It really gives me alot of motivation to excel in Michigan. I wanna do great things in Michigan, in return of the passion i have to give up (of course i still play in gigs and stuff in Ann Arbor..but that's still not a rock star haha).

Away from home:
Another thing was of course being away from my family. That's made easier for me since i've practically lived away from home after serving in the military for the past 2.5 years. The most agnozing thing thou was that i'd have to face a long distance relationship with my best friend-turned-gf now that i'm going overseas. Both of us had our doubts and i'm so glad that eventually we held out those 3 yrs (much to her credits actually) and now we're officially engaged. i think i'm the luckiest man on earth. anyway, things doesn't look all that gloosy back then and i was definitely thinkin alot of how we're gonna last thro my overseas days.

No more aerospace:
Another impt decision i made prior to coming to michigan is that i've changed my mind about my major. i know i'm still gonna work in engineerin field but i know aerospace is not for me. i found out from my 1 month attachment to ST Aero that i wont need a aerospace degree to do aicraft maintenance and that it's really a pretty narrow field. I think what I really want is to learn to fly a plane, not how to fix or even design one.

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