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  • Alina Goh

There won't be a better time than now.

As I entered my 4th year in university at the start of this academic year, it dawned on me that it really is my last chance to take up and explore new things before I graduate. I have always been worried about not being able to cope with my studies and end up putting things aside, and that has become my regret. So here’s me telling you what I missed, hoping that it’ll give you the courage to grab hold of whatever it is you want to do.

Why I put things aside...

Growing up, I generally enjoyed being involved in different activities. However, the thing with picking up a new sport, learning a new language or taking on leadership roles, is that it takes time. The thought of juggling both schoolwork and external commitments seemed daunting to me, especially when I saw how tired my friends got from their heavy commitments. I didn't want to crumble under the pressure or compromise my studies. Fear crippled me. I decided to take it easy instead, thinking I could simply just postpone whatever I wanted to do for when I have more time in the future.

What happened then?

“More time” never came.

With every semester that passed, the workload increased.

During the Pre-COVID times in my 1st year, I overloaded in Semester 2 and was involved in 2 Freshmen Orientation Camps while doing Special Term.

In my 2nd year, I took on heavier modules in Semester 1 and by the time I was in Semester 2, I realised that I never got to learning Japanese - something I've been wanting to do for years. Before university, I thought it would be perfect to take it up during my time in NUS 'cause you know, why pay more to learn it outside when I can learn it with what I'm paying for tuition? Yet each time I planned my modules, I ended up leaving LAJ1201 for "another semester" when I would have a lighter workload which never happened. You might think, Year 2 Semester 2? There’s still enough time to learn Japanese before graduating right? Mmm… yes and no. I did take it up that semester but I never continued, again because I was waiting for when I had “more time”.

I’m not saying I shunned all non-academic related activities and spent 100% of my time on schoolwork. No. I stayed in a residential college after all, and there were many events held, some of which I had higher involvements in. My 2nd year was especially hard for me because of that. It was exhausting and reinforced the idea that I should wait and only take up certain commitments when I have more time instead. So I waited, and my 3rd year went by without amounting to much.

Now that I’m in my last year, it really feels like everything is about to end :’) It has made me reflect about how I have spent my time in NUS. University is supposed to be the time for exploration, the perfect time to take up and try new things, for me at least. I guess I did take part in different activities here and there, but there is so much more I wish I had done - minor in a language, join a dance CCA, join a sports CCA. I’m trying to make up for it this year and it has led me to sign up for many activities, CNM Types included.

Final Thoughts

I’m not about to bore you by telling you my life's worth of regrets *disclaimer: there are many. * This article may not be relevant to you if you are not the type to procrastinate. If you are like me, with many things on your bucket list that have been put aside for "a better time", then I hope that reading this pushes you off the fence towards the side of doing whatever it is you are hesitant of. If you are waiting for a sign, this IS the sign.

Because really, there will never be a better time than now. There’s no guarantee that it will be better in the future and if you keep waiting and waiting, who knows how long you’ll have to wait for. Don’t be like me and wait till my last year. In life, having regrets might be inevitable, but I’d much rather regret doing something than regret doing nothing.

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