The first week of school has come and gone, and I’m officially in my 4th year of university. It’s (almost) my last year and it feels entirely surreal that I’ve been through so many different modules, programmes, experiences, social activities, etc. that are so very Singaporean and also very much my own (cos I’ve always believed myself to be the maker of my college experience). It’s weird because when you’re actually learning a particular subject and working on a project, it feels like nothing can be more important, and that finishing the work would take so much of you. But then when you look back with the distance of months or years, it always seems so easy. And short-lived. Our relationship with time is strange–it’s definitely more of a timey wimey wibbly wobbly mess.
In any case, being back in school was just all-round weird after so many months of work. I absolutely can’t wait to learn and absorb and think critically and engage with the world on that level again. But it’s also odd because my working experience was so fulfilling and its coming to an end was nothing short of surreal.
I remember thinking sometime in the middle of work that when I finish my short-term relationship with public relations that I’m going to write a list of things I find hilarious in PR language and basically the style I’ve adopted for the last few months. But as I reached the end, I only felt sentimental and pre-nostalgic, like I was going to miss everything, even when I was still there. And that it would have been judgmental and terrible of me to make fun of the very things I did and the very person I had become in those months.
The truth is, I can say all I want about the principles of PR and how I could never love it long-term because of the self-serving nature of the profession (and how it definitely involves some neocolonial elements in our local context). But it all boils down to the people. I ended up bonding with my boss, liking my colleagues and caring for my clients. It’s all about the people, and I loved the people. And, so, I guess my experience taught me a lesson: to never base my decisions and loves on generalisations and abstract principles. An industry can be like this, a profession can be like that, but ultimately it’s about the people you work with. And it’s about holding yourself up to a high quality of work because you respect both yourself and the people who hired you.
While I gained an immense amount of satisfaction and became rather good at my job, I still wonder about the PR profession. I’m certain its effects on my personality were not permanent, and that’s great because I’m not ready to fix myself yet (in more ways than one.)
Work was tiring in an everyday kind of way; the weight it bears on you seems imperceptible and rather possible to take on at first, but once you realise it is a marathon you’re carrying that weight into, you’re too late to get out. Sounds very pessimistic, but I guess that’s just the way it structures modern life now, and which is why I believe it is very important that the weight is borne out of something you love, or at least becomes a part of you. I hope that in 1.5 years’ time, I can come back to this platform (or another one) and let you know that I’ve found a few of those weights I would carry to the ends of the earth (you know, both in terms of work and my personal life.)
But, back to the mechanics of life… Because I had basically no break between work and school, I have been trying to reclaim my life as a couch potato by breaking my laptop (and eyesight) with too much TV and comics. My brain had been rejecting any active creative thought, and I think I need to get on that horse again soon. So this post is a reminder to myself.
Every day I marvel at the fact that I’m probably already an adult. It’s odd because I’ve felt responsible and sensible my whole life, but just as I’m rounding the corner on adulthood, there’s never been a time where I’ve wanted it the least.