I am genuinely in disbelief. All the clichés are true: It really does feel like it was just yesterday that I started university. Just like that, four years have gone by.
The first question that came to my mind was, Do I have anything to show for these four years? I think, and I hope, that I will get a fancy piece of paper that shows that I’ve earned a degree (results would only be out on the 22nd of June). I have produced two dissertations: One on the computer modelling of human skin, and another on the operational and financial feasibility of electric vehicles for a commercial fleet.
Okay, sounds like I have at least accomplished something, academically speaking. But what else have I done that I could be proud of? I have met plenty of new people; I have competed in a couple of debate competitions; and I have travelled parts of England and Wales (not Scotland, unfortunately), as well as parts of Europe, India, Indonesia and the entire Peninsular Malaysia (except Perlis. Sorry, Perlis).
So among these, what am I proudest of? Honestly, I would say that the thing that I would remember the most is the camaraderie that my friends and I have built over these years. I do miss the times that, back in USMC, we would all be camping in the library every single day. We did our assignments together, and we went out for meals after that; every Thursday night, we would play futsal until 2 in the morning, then drive out again to McDonald’s or a mamak. Then during the weekends, we would explore the rest of Johor Bahru. Then during New Year’s Eve, we would take the bus down to Singapore, then spend the night of the streets to wait for the first bus back.
All these may not sound like much, some even sound really stupid. But, I have to say that these experiences were very much enriched by the fact that these were shared experiences. We worked hard through university together; we had all our meals together; and we made the best out of our time in university together. The feeling of such real connections really does beat many other experiences in my opinion.
I was watching this TED talk on, what might be a controversial topic for some, Why Veterans Miss War. I am in no way equating university life to war. I am also not undermining or promoting war, but I would like to draw some parallels that might be interesting and relevant to my university experience. In the talk, it was argued that veterans miss war not for the violence, but rather the camaraderie and the bond that soldiers may share with each other. They train, eat, sleep and fight alongside each other for long periods of time, and the resulting relationships that have last a lifetime. I feel that, in a way, that’s how I feel about my relationship with my university friends.
And now, this stage of our lives is coming to an end, and we shall soon shall go on our own separate ways. It’s sad, but I guess that this is a necessary part of life. But definitely, I will always cherish these moments. It was good fun. Hope that we would remain as tight-knit as we all embark on a new phase to our lives. See you all on the other side.