Leaving My Comfort Zone

25 Sep 15

After helping the seniors pack stores for their 6-week Midshipman Sea Training Deployment (MSTD), we were secured from Changi Naval Base at 5pm. Took the shuttle bus to Tanah Merah MRT and planned to go straight home. I was deciding whether to take MRT all the way (via Circle Line) or go to Bugis and then bus straight home. Eventually I went with the latter.

Just before the train reached Bugis, I called Kenny. Asked him where he was and if he was free for dinner (I was hungry and he studies in SMU, which is near to Bugis.) He was with Bun, on their way to Refinery, a Cafe in Lavender, near church. I decided to join them. After all it’s been a while since I’ve met Bun so why not catch up.

It was a chill conversation. We discussed about GAYA 2016, and how Bun was going to pursue a part-time job with the company she intern-ed in. She was in her 4th year and Kenny his 3rd year in SMU.
Refinery is a nice place, ambience wqs excellent, food was pretty tasty. It served western-japanese fusion cuisine. Price was terrifying though. About 4 dollars for a stick of Yakitori. So we concluded that the visit to Refinery was just to, as the Indonesians say, wash our mouth (cuci mulut).

We planned to go to Kopitiam or McDonald’s to fill our belly, but we passed by this new Cafe called AEIOU, which was in the same row of shophouses with The Refinery, and decided to check it out. Ordered just desserts because none of the main course sound appetising.


We then suddenly brought up the topic of studying overseas. And the subject, yep it was me. So the conversation went something like this. K is for Kenny, B for Bun and M for me.

K: Mid (Their nickname for me), are you gonna apply overseas?

M: Not really, I got a place in NUS, Asia’s top Uni. Why add the hassle?

K: Dude are you gonna limit yourself to this? If you go overseas, the opportunity it will present to you will be so diverse. You’ll meet many more international students, new culture and experiences. Just go for it! If, say, you managed to go to MIT or Caltech or Cambridge etc. I would be the proudest friend. Ever!

B: Yeah bro, since you got 4 A’s for your A Levels, applying overseas shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Besides, you have an almost-confirmed scholarship already. (This is a long story, maybe I’ll describe it some other time in another post.)

M: Yeah I know but…..


Buts, buts, and more buts. After about 5 minutes, I realised how much of an imbecile I was. The opportunity was right in front of me. I just have to take a step.
But I keep making excuses.
But I was lazy.
But I was comfortable with what I have now.
But, but and but.

After about 15 minutes, they eventually made me agree to apply for next year’s intake. Pinky promised. Sigh. I was uncertain, but I was elated. I was grateful. Grateful that I have friends to push me further. To always take the next step and have my best interest at heart. Thank you Jesus for them.

I went home and concluded that I will be applying to US, UK and Swiss.

US: MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Caltech
UK: Cambridge, Imperial College London
Swiss: ETH Zürich.

Honestly, the one I want most is ETH Zürich, in Swiss. Because:
1) Swiss is the homeland of Rösti.
2) Swiss has one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
Last and definitely not least,
3) German is an extremely sexy language. Hehehe

I just made my Collegeboard and UCAS account this week. Gonna start intensive studying for SATs and German Language Test. I need at least a C1 qualification by Feb 2016. It’s gonna be a tough fight the next few months, but I know that it will all be worth it.

This post is dedicated to Grace Bunardi & Kenny Koesoemo. Thank you for this conviction. I will try my best and if I do get an offer from any of the aforementioned Unis, I will ask you to read this post, and understand that you have made a difference. 🙂

They say that people’s biggest regrets are not actions, but inactions.

“The journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

2 thoughts on “Leaving My Comfort Zone

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