Saturday, April 16, 2005

Which Year Are You In?

Which Year Are You In?

Last semester I was pretty lucky in that I needn't have to do any projects. I just had 4 term papers to do. This semester I've to do 6 papers and 3 projects. I was supposed to do a 4th project but me and my project group mate ultimately split to do individual papers instead due to conflicting time schedules.

I was having a project group meeting this morning with my fellow mates from HY2242 Singapore Military History. This is a very interesting collection of group mates as this group was allocated by out tutor on grounds that there should have at least one history major in each group and no 3 life sciences major should end up in the same group. My group comprised of 4 arts students, me a European studies major, a year 2 history major, a year 2 political science major and a year 3 psychology major. They all sound very zai. Actually, if you choose to want to do a Farrell’s module, you should be quite zai. Unfortunately, I'm an exception, but this is another matter.

Since they all sounded pretty zai, I started asking them about their field of study and which year they were in. Then I realised that I'm the only year 1 among them. I'm the freshie, the greenhorn, the blurblock. Then this below conversation took place between me and my group mate:

jal: So, which year are you in? (after finding out that he's a year 2 political science major in the field of international relations)

group mate: year 2. you?

jal: I'm only in my first year.

group mate: First year only?

jal: Yup...

group mate: So it's first year second semester? (diaoz... then he realised his sheer stupidity of that question) Yea, I mean, I suppose so.

jal: So, this is your second year second semester la? (haha... for the fun of it)

then came the bombshell...

group mate: You don't look like a year 1.

jal: (shocked) Why?

group mate: Well, you can tell a year 1 student one, they look very (paused and sputtered thinking of an appropriate word but unfortunately not able to do so), well, they look very year 1. You'll look different when you grow older.

jal: And you were saying I don’t look like a year 1?

group mate: Ya, you look seasoned and more laidback.

jal: Which year did you think I was?

group mate: second year

Joan's face had this "okay..." look.

Okay... This is not the first time I’ve heard people say I don’t look like a first year student. Even during Oweek when I was a councillor, I've my freshies thinking I was older. Oh well...

Either I look old, or I look well fitted into this sort of university lifestyle.

I'd like to say I look well fitted into this sort of university lifestyle. Although I'm a very blur person who until recently never taken bus B or C, I'm in a nice little comfort zone around my arts faculty. I zip around my faculty with such ease that you might have thought that I'd lived there for ages. I know quite a bit of shortcuts around the faculty. I think I'm able to manage the culture shock that some people might have encountered when they first arrived here. I'm quite okay with angmo teachers around and I can understand them clearly. I'm quite living the life in university, taking things easy as things go by. Maybe it's this sort of ease and relaxed attitude that I put up that make me look more seasoned.

But then again, I think I might also look older than my actual age, which is a contradiction among my closer friends who think that I look younger than my actual age.

Maybe it's the attitude that I put up. With people I'm not so close with I'm very guarded about myself and I'll tend to put up a tough front like some power woman. I do so mainly to protect myself. I've to give people the impression that they can't mess with me, if not they'd have messed me up. With closer friends, I'm less guarded and I can forget to use my brains sometimes. People see me more like some blurblock, airhead, bimbo, yup... Something along those lines. This might make me look younger than what I'm really. That's why when I show people pictures of my sister, they usually guess my sister's age to be older than actual. Once, one of my friends even guessed my sister to be older than me.

I won't say I do mind people saying me to be old because of all the circumstances I've been through, I must say that I've aged quite a bit. That day I was chatting with a friend online and we brought up the topic of our first online chat together, so I looked back into my chat logs and dug out our first chat. As I read through it, I realised that he hasn't changed much in his tone of voice and his writings, but I've aged terribly. It's not about my style of writing since I've been writing like this all this while, but it's about how I put my words across. Like me teasing him, the way I tease people is different. Not how different but there is a sense of a larger vision of the world in how I sound. This is really called growing old.

Old or young is no longer about numbers, it's how you feel in your bones. I feel old, so therefore I've aged. That's how sad life is now.

I won't say I don't want to feel old cos I know somethings just can't be helped. Although it might be nice to always be that little girl by your father's side but as time passes, things change, and you grow old. I think this is why I like to refer myself as this little girl. As some of you may have noticed, I like to refer myself as such. It's not really because I really think that I'm young but maybe it's because I know that I'm no longer young liao that’s why I hope to still maintain some youth by calling myself younger. If I don’t make myself sound younger I like to make other people sound older, calling them uncles aunties. It's not really that I find them old or find myself young, but more so is that I want to make myself seem younger than what I think I am.

I think it's pretty selfish of me to do so, but what can I really do about it? I don’t know. Maybe I should put it in such a way that I've no idea what to think.

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