What does it take to win?

I’ve grown to become who I am today by conquering fear, depression, suicidal thoughts and a lot of adversities. Just when I thought I was unbeatable in every aspect of my life, something hit hard right in my face. I had a wonderful time during my study at The University of Manchester, but I was also being forced to swallow the bitter pill that says “Hard work doesn’t really correlate to good results.” Now, before the “study smart, not study hard” comments flood into the comment section, let me clarify one thing: I appreciate the knowledge and hence I don’t take any shortcut, no matter how attractive the reward is. Perhaps ‘any’ is an overstatement, but in my 2nd and 3rd year, I did rely a lot less on the ‘external resources’ and worked harder to solve the problems on my own. One could say that I don’t care about my result as much as most of the other students, and while I have to admit that is true, I also have to say that I live by my own principles. I simply cannot abandon my principles for the sake of better marks.

Whenever I told my dad about these, he would always tell me that academic result is not everything and that my attitude is the key to success. While I strongly believe in what he had told me, my academic result is indeed everything I have so far. I was originally enrolled in the MEng Chemical Engineering course at The University of Manchester, but somehow I got sick of the education system which sometimes doesn’t really reward students who have worked hard for it. Therefore, I have decided to end my study at the BEng level, which means that I’ll graduate one year earlier in 2019.

Back to the question, what does it take to win? Staying for another year to complete my MEng is certainly not the winning way. Even though there is the likelihood of me achieving a First if I continue to pursue the MEng level, it simply doesn’t excite me anymore. I think that all great things which had happened in the past were the fruits of brave decisions made by visionaries. I do have a vision of who I’ll become in the future, and it definitely has nothing to do with engineering.  For once, I hope I can make my own decision to be the kind of person I want to be in the future. I love dealing with people and managing a company. At least when I’d come across a challenge in business,  working hard always guaranteed a great result. Although it can get quite subjective in business sometimes, metrics can be easily measured unlike some of the course units at my university which are highly reliant on the supervisors assigned to you a.k.a. luck.

I’m definitely not the most talented engineering student in my course but I’m definitely one of the most hardworking one. So, to be able to ‘win’, I must take in more skills and knowledge out of my own discipline. Luckily, I just so happen to be kind of gifted when it comes to memorising stats. I’m very sensitive to figures so I can easily spot the error made by the other people provided that I’m familiar with the background information of the data (Ben Shapiro 2.0??). I’m also very interested in history so you can bet that if you’ve mistakenly reported the war casualties which I’m familiar with by the magnitude of 10, I’ll be the first one to point it out. “Magnitude of 10! That’s easy!”, you might think. Well, Enrico Fermi who was one of the scientists involved in the Manhattan Project approximated the explosion yield of the Trinity Bomb and his result was barely in the range of 10 times the actual value and his achievement was considered by many scientists during his time as extraordinarily spectacular. He was able to do it because of his proficiency in physics, but I’m able to make my judgement because I’ve stored a lot of information in my brain and therefore I have more resources to assist me in the process. Now, how is that even applicable to my life? To answer this, I’ll have to brag about my dad. Just by having a glimpse of a piece of land, he can approximate the height of the wall which has to be built to prevent flooding or landslide to be around 1-3m from the actual height, the number of houses which can be built on the land and heck, he could even approximate the capital of investment required to complete the project. When you’re a property developer and you could somehow identify all these data within a few minutes, it’d be quite difficult for a sweat deal to slip past you and you’d even know which project is the best to go for so the project which you’ve chosen doesn’t incur an opportunity cost on you.

Winning is easy. Just do whatever you’re good at and don’t assume that you can do everything as perfectly as the other people. Everyone has a good combination of skills which makes each of us unique. My dad, despite how omnipotent he might seem, is not really a charismatic person. I could have talked more, but I know he’ll be reading this blog so I should stop here. *insert cheeky face* While ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ has its own merit, it’s not entirely true. It’s meant to reprimand all those people who have no perseverance in trying to master something before getting into another entirely new field. When it comes to problem-solving, having more skills under your belt often proves to be more advantageous as you’re more capable of dissecting the problem differently compared to the other people and solve it from a different angle which would otherwise not be possible if you’re technically a ‘master of one’.

To win, you just have to be open-minded and appreciate all forms of knowledge. It really teaches you to be creative and be optimistic amidst the odds. Even if you can’t actually use some of the knowledge in your everyday life, knowing more does make you more fun to talk to, ain’t that right? 

Abel

Reasons Why I Love Living in a Share House

During my fresher year at my university, I stayed in a flat. We had a common room in which we used to hang out whenever there was any event. We also had a shared laundry room. I managed to get to know a lot of people in my first week. It was all nice chatting with people from different countries but this blissful experience did not last until the second week of my stay. The common room had become so dirty that I had to lift my foot for each step I walked in the room. The laundry room was so full that I had to dry my clothes in my room. Worse, bottles of milk in the refrigerators leaked, releasing unbearable odour each time I opened the refrigerator door(s). For the rest of my stay, my fresh groceries spent most of their time with rotten food. When I moved out in September 2017, I could even find food which had already expired in November 2016.

First month living in my hall, I had already decided that I had to move out in the upcoming semester. I simply couldn’t stand this anymore. All those nights of my indirect marijuana intake due to flatmates smoking them in the corridor have to come to an end. At that time, little did I know that my future housemates were the most awesome people I could have ever meet in my whole life. Below are a few reasons why I prefer living in a share house:

  • Develop your sense of responsibility

When I first moved into a share house from a flat, there was no longer someone to take care of the cleanliness of my kitchen and bathrooms. No one will replace all those used toilet paper rolls for us. We had to make an inventory list for our share house. It might sound a little bit intimidating at first, but in the long run, you are going to become more self-reliant and responsible. Personally, I feel that living in a share house is the first step towards adulthood.

  • Build a family-like friendship with your housemates

Living far away from my country, it feels good to have a group of people celebrating festivals such as Chinese New Year, Christmas and Mid-Autumn Festival together with me in a foreign country. My share house also has a really cool dining area in which we always invite our guests over to have dinner together. It also helps me to broaden my network of people, helping me to get to know all those people who I would have never met throughout my university life. Occasionally, we’ll organize a trip to visit other places in the United Kingdom.

  • You’ll be more motivated to try on different things

Throughout my stay in my share house in the UK, I was more willing to try out different kinds of dishes to impress my housemates. They also gave me the motivation to do things which I would not have done otherwise, such as going as far as Tokyo to have my internship. They were always there to give me support whenever I felt lost. Having them around me gives me the energy to take on more difficult challenges.

  • I loved the diversity

Since we were all studying different courses at our university, our skill was one of the things that I enjoyed the most. We had an architect, an electrical engineer, two chemical engineers and a pharmacist. For a curious person like me,  there was always someone who could answer my questions, though my pharmacist-to-be always returned my question with 10 more questions. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed talking to every single one of them and if you’re reading this, I want to thank you for being with me in 2017-2018.

  • Greater exposure to different cultures

Let me be honest with you, sometimes it can be quite difficult for you to blend yourself into a group of people with a similar cultural background. Guess what, staying together in a share house could very possibly solve this problem for you! Ideally, you wouldn’t want to stay with a large group of people who have already known each other for a long time because you might be left out in conversations and group activities. A group of 5-6 is ideal because it offers diversity and also leaves everyone plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with each other.

BUT there is still something that I want to tell you. My experience could be highly unique and you might or might not experience the same thing when you move into a share house. Despite that, you should open yourself to other people. I wouldn’t say I’m an introvert by birth, but I am definitely not the kind of people who talk much. But, I’m willing to take the first step to approach other people when deemed necessary. I wouldn’t have known my best mate at the university if I didn’t initiate a conversation with him when he was alone. It still saddens me whenever I think of my graduation next year because we’ll be separated. Nonetheless, I wish you all the best if you’re moving into a share house! It’s going to be exciting despite occasional tiffs 😉