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A brand new year...

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

It's the first day of 2023

One gif on my phone read...

365 days ahead

365 new chances

Happy New Year!

Each year gives us a chance to start life on a clean slate. We can either choose to let the past hinder us or we can work at moving forward. It is also for some, the opportunity for new beginnings in different aspects of life.

Many people have asked me what I plan to do after my PhD at NTU is over. My response lately: "I don't know. I'm not worried". It's ok not to know. A lot can change in a month, 6 months or a year.

I find myself surprised at my own response because I used to be a worrier and always wanted to plan far ahead. It's not that I never worry anymore, just that I worry a lot less than before. I realise that always wanting to plan way in advance gives me the illusion that I am in control of my life. In reality, I never was from the very day I was born. Three major incidents in 2020 have reinforced that - the job layoff I experienced in 2020 in Dallas-Fort Worth, the Covid-19 pandemic and a PhD application that didn't work out. My life took an unexpected detour and I ended up in NTU in 2021. I also ended up having to re-think and change my PhD topic. I had thought my life was going in a particular direction but the layoff changed all of that. As you can imagine, I felt very confused in this transition period.

When I got into the PhD program, I worried about accessibility. I wondered how I would survive as a deaf person because the situation of sign language interpreters and accessibility services in general is dire in Singapore. However, I have passed my QE and things have fallen nicely into place in ways I didn't expect despite the uphill battle advocating for access in my first semester. So, I'm much more relieved and relaxed now although it doesn't mean I can put the brakes on my work for too long.

The past year although challenging in its own way has allowed me the space to process my grief and heal from all the major transitions that took place the past 2 years. It has also resulted in me loosening my grip on life in general and learning to go with the flow. I've become acutely aware of how temporary my life is. Now, I really see the importance of taking one day at a time and enjoying the present, instead of always looking too far into the future. As I write this, I am reminded of Matthew 6: 34 (NIV) which says " not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own".

I am aware that this stage of my life as a PhD student is not permanent. It will pass. Therefore, I want to make the most of each day and this period as much as possible. Although the demands of the PhD program are keeping me busy, I'm enjoying the flexibility of having my own schedule as well as the opportunity it affords me to broaden my network both locally and abroad. As Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NLT) says: "To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God".

Although I have an inkling of how this year will pan out, I do not really know what lies ahead

So much to look forward to... 😊

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