Never forget the beauty of Time

Too many people have been blaming the passing of time for their woes and unhappiness, so I have written something that gives a different perspective. Maybe we have been too caught up with time that we have forgotten how to enjoy life. So take a moment’s rest and enjoy this poem!

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Time is not evil.

Time is the great conjurer of life.

Time nurtures beauty.

Time holds mystery.

Time crafts mountains, glaciers, rainforests.

Time brings lovers together.

Time heals wounds.

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Long ago Time found Man.

Man was cold, hungry and dying.

Time pitied the creature.

She gave him a part of herself.

She taught him intelligence.

She taught him power.

She taught him creation.

Man created the clock.

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Through the clock,

Man learned Time’s secret.

Man saw her leave.

Man wanted more of Time.

Man wanted all of Time.

Man grew bitter and hostile.

So she hid from him.

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Man destroyed Time’s trees, lakes and mountains.

Man killed her snakes, rhinos and monkeys.

He slew her frogs, possums and crocodiles.

He enslaved her fish, chickens and horses.

Man forgot beauty.

Man forgot patience.

Man forgot happiness.

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Now Man remembers Time by his clock.

Every morning he wakes to its chime.

But the clock is not like Time.

The clock does not feel.

The clock does not create.

The clock only takes life away.

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Editor’s note: Please understand that the poem is very unpolished right now and is nowhere near finished; I have so many more ideas to improve this piece but I have exams coming up very soon, so I’ve lost hold of “Time” as well! Anyways I hope you enjoyed reading it and remember, think about the message: Do you listen to Time or to the clock?

#dailypromptchallenge

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Help Comes Slowly – A short story

“Slowly!” shouted Augustus, “my feet must be handled with the most delicate care, by the touch of no less than angel hands!” He sat there, leering, his peels of fat, oily skin rolling down the gold-gilded face of his lectus. A wreath encircled his forehead, decorated with coins and jewels. Crouched on the floor, scrubbing furiously at his yellow, rotting toenails with an industrial-strength file, was a middle-aged woman with wispy black hair trussed up in a bun, grey at the roots. Dressed in an unflattering purple tank-top and grey, floor-length trousers, she mumbled several inaudible words through her white, surgical face-mask.

The blaring tune of God Save the President sounded from a black telephone. Groaning, Augustus swivelled and rolled his humungous figure like a dancing walrus until he reached the phone receiver, almost knocking over three penholders made of lemon-scented mahogany.

Today is speech day Mr. President! The people expect you to tell them how you are going to cure their illnesses, end the food-shortages, fix border immigration, end the drought and give every man and woman one million dollars!

Augustus let out a ferocious burp and smacked his thick, cherry lips before replying, “Slowly, my dear Francis, slowly. Great change does not happen in a second, heck not even in a few years! Call me again when the Earth spins around the moon, and then all will be done”.

Deep down one thousand metres beneath the asphalt in an underground banana factory, a tall man sits rubbing his bony knuckles against each other. Wrapped around his feet are the bodies of two freshly-slain snakes, the ones only found under rocks of lava in the outskirts of the Caribbean. His office tiles were made of black diamond, a very peculiar kind sold to him by a Romanian stone mason. Rubbing his smooth, slimy skin over the mineral enabled him to go weeks without any food or drink, and he loved nothing more than lying naked and spread-eagled on them for hours on end.

The office door thunders and is thrown open. A man stumbles in, gasping and coughing before falling face-first onto the ground. The sleeves of his shirt are rolled up to his elbows and his armpits are stained with perspiration. His throat manages only a dry raspy whisper, “Serpius, when will I get my promotion?”

Serpius smiles and narrows his eyes, “Slowly! How now young man, hard work will get you there. When I was young, my father taught me that the best things come slowly! Now hurry along, the machines need tending…”

In a small quiet village, where the houses are made of straws and the ground is made of burning red clay, a young boy lugs a bucket of water back to his hut. The filmy, grey liquid swashes and swirls out of the container as he walks. A lonely pair of tattered brown shorts lay flimsily around his little thighs. His rich tan skin is dry and the soles of his feet are cracked from his trip to the waterhole.

Wiping his brow he steps into the hut. He drops the bucket in the middle of the room and runs over to his father lying on the ground. He feels his forehead with his tiny palm and rushes back to the bucket, pulling out a dripping towel and wrapping it around his father’s forehead. His father tries to muster a smile but moving his jaw bursts open sores at the back of his throat.

The boy sinks down to his knees and leans his head on his father’s stick-like body. “When will you be strong again daddy?”

The father grasps the boy’s hand and holds it against his sunken cheeks. He parts his lips and his entire frame shudders at the effort,

 

“Slowly, my son, slowly.”

 

Hi there!

Firstly thank you very much for reading through this long, saddening and slightly humorous story, I appreciate it very very much.

What do you think? I’m trying to improve my writing and creativity skills so please give me any constructive criticism you have!

This is just a first draft I wrote, but I enjoyed writing it so much and I would love to see how I can improve it.

#DailyPromptChallenge

 

 

 

 

Does individuality exist?

 

Try and relive the last time you’ve disagreed vehemently with someone; how angry and confused you felt, leaving you thinking, “How on Earth can they seriously think that way?”.

At that time, you witnessed first hand how immensely we are shaped by our connections with the people, objects and environments around us.The saying, “you are what you eat” not only applies to food, but to everything you see, hear, taste and feel. A sensory experience which your mind uses to attach memories and preconceptions to.

An airplane trip to southern China and the first thing you’ll notice stepping out of the airport is the intensely hot, musty air. At the entrance, private cars, buses and taxis fill the street lanes, painted with flaky, distilled colours. Grumpy-looking drivers wave their ashy cigarettes frantically and honk at the passengers throwing their luggage into the boot of the car. The pavement is dirty and soiled with a grey liquid; dilapidated residential blocks spring up too closely like dominos; and a slightly rancid smell of seafood wafts around the food-stall of a lady whose bare fingers definitely should not be touching the food.

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But to a boy living in China, these things are his fondest memories of home. The hot air, grey skies and thirty-story apartments are what he grew up with. His father worked as a taxi driver and earned just enough for the boy’s family to survive. To this boy, his father’s grumpy face is the sign of a hardworking, dutiful family man. On the way home from school one day he stops by a dumpling stand to bring home a treat for his little sister, handing over the little money he had left to the lady with the dirty finger-nails. He pulls a box of cigarettes from his pocket and lights one up, the way he’s seen his father and his friends do it. Everyone smoked, and it seemed okay.

Walking past the airport the boy sees a woman dressed in a clean, sharp blouse and high heels staring at him with wide eyes. He walks past her bemusedly, wondering what strange, foreign land she had come from.

Your lifestyle and your decisions are extremely – I would even say completely – dictated by the way you are educated and raised. One set of experiences can hold completely contrasting meanings for different people.

So this begs the question, is any of what you do of your own independent choosing? Your favourite food, your preferred colour, the sports you enjoy, the studies you undertake; are you really making a decision to like these things or have you been adapting to the environments around you? Are you even in control of your choices?

If all that you know and all that you do have been learned habits, do they hold any real significance or meaning? Could our very identities be the products of someone or something else’s influence?

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DAVID FOSTER WALLACE: Why liberal arts improves your mind and your life

Below is an audio recording of the late David Foster Wallace, a renowned American essayist, novelist and philosophical thinker, presenting the commencement speech at Kenyon college to the class of 2005. Here he discusses the value of liberal arts, deciphers cryptic and off-putting cliches about the course, and explains why taking the course may be the difference between life and death as an adult.

His main premise is that liberal arts isn’t a wishy-washy, useless, dead-end subject, and it certainly isn’t beneath other degrees in importance; liberal arts teach you how to CONTROL the way you think.

Wallace uses anecdotes and didactic analogies to convey his point concisely and humorously, far removed from the usual formal, uninteresting jargon employed by the aged, monotone professors.

The way he perfectly described my own picture of the human mind astonished me. Having recently come out of a very tumultuous period of wildly depressing thoughts and philosophical pondering, I came to the conclusion that the human mind is very powerful and overwhelming, and therefore must be contained and directed in order for a person to function. This, as Wallace explains, is the purpose of liberal arts.

I won’t explain too much because I don’t want to spoil all his enlightening perspectives by conveying them in my inferior, uninteresting manner (editor’s note: the words of this line actually took me 5 minutes to think of).

Personally, this has helped me incredibly in deciding what studies I would like to pursue at university. Despite the opinions of others that you must choose a subject that brings in a great salary, most of the time doing what you love is more important. A salary isn’t able to quantify the amount of enjoyment you receive from your learning, or the unseen benefits such as a positive mental attitude, or the boredom and depression caused by being stuck in a job you hate.

In my opinion, being enriched in your mind is far more important than having physical wealth.

Advice: Overthinking

Discovery Challenge: A Piece of Advice

Pondering the chaotic, murky, volatile state of the world around you and the thoughts inside your head has a way of transforming fickle, temporary annoyances into real, catastrophic disasters. Liberation enslaves the mind – discipline frees it.

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Never overthink things. You don’t have an obligation to solve all the problems that exist in this world, and you don’t have the time either. Being profound and introspective is good, but you need self-control.
Realise that worrying accomplishes nothing and in the time you stress, you can do things that are actually important to you.

You are not alone either – everyone goes through a phase when they complicate the thoughts in their head and feel confused about everything. Have faith that if others can overcome their distempered minds, you can too.
Never doubt yourself and never become engrossed in trivial thoughts, because at the end of the day, “we are all just itty bitty people with itty bitty minds in an itty bitty world in an itty bitty universe” – D-trix.

 

Beauty: Intelligence

Honestly I love youtube. Maybe a bit too much, especially recently, now that my trial HSC is coming up. But I’ve been watching videos, and one video by a youtuber named “SunKissAlba” titled “My Plastic Surgery Story” put my problems in a new perspective.

Her video explains how as a teen she was bullied by the boys in her high school because of the spots on her face, and felt the need to reshape her body into an image of the celebrities and models whom everyone admired and idolised. She devalued herself and was never content with her body shape or looks, and considered plastic surgery as a route to gaining acceptance and popularity. It’s quite the traditional story of social pressure on teens.

For me, however, the story could not be more different. Attending an all-boy school with a powerful academic presence, there was not only no need to alter physical appearances, but an active stigma against it. Around the school there was an unspoken opposition towards those who expressed a difference or individuality through their clothing and a correlation between fashion and a lack of intelligence.

For that reason I never concerned myself with improving appearances and felt superior to other teenagers who engrossed themselves in the trivial, self-degrading matters of beauty and fashion.

But little did I understand that even at a respected, educational institution there were different social pressures exerting their influence on me, with the same debilitating effects of stress and low self-esteem.

While in the world of “SunKissAlba”, people are taught to idolise the perfect breast size, height, weight, facial features and complexion, in my world, students are told to strive for the top exam marks, academic prowess and studiousness.

I was never forced to reconsider my perspective of my bodily image, but I was made to assess my mental aptitude and compare myself to the highest performing students. I never hated the size of my legs or the shape of my face but I wondered if mental capacity and memory retention were signs of success in life. I laughed at being told how I should look, but mourned at being told how I should think.

These pressures are the two sides of the spectrum that makes up a human; the body and the mind. As a society we often recognise the dangers of curating an image of physical perfection, but fail to understand that seeking mental excellence is harmful too.

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Found from “TheClassySister media”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alone

 

Results have come and passed, back to good old normal me, right? Please tell me that’s right.

Walking around school I feel empty, like a cicada shell. It makes me wonder when was the last time I had a strong, stable friendship. Someone I could depend on and have fun with, and never fear them leaving or distancing themselves from me. Probably in primary school. Most people smile at me and act friendly, saying hi. Even the occasional conversation. But it never lasts more than that, and even then I know I’m not really a good friend, just the bloke that everybody sort of knows. It dawns on me that I was always that person. Everyone I formed friendships with became just another friend at a moment’s notice, groups of people shifting around me like days on a calendar.

In year 9, I joined the rugby team and happened to be quite good at it. After that, I became closer and closer to the people on the team, and some even looked up to me as a player. I learned the language and colloquialisms of my group and finally thought I was in a place where I could stay.

A year passed and I was happy. But my insurmountable ego and self-righteousness got in the way. My friends happened to be extremely smart, and within an academic school, this meant that a hierarchy was formed. I was among the least academically proficient in the group, but fortunately due to my athleticism and decent reputation, I was spared from being the butt of their jokes. However one of my friends wasn’t as fortunate, and he was routinely picked on. In fairness, he was quite despicable in his actions, often littering and swearing, somewhat deserving the treatment. But as days became weeks I truly felt sorry for him, and defended him. This put me on slightly worser terms with another one of my friends, let’s call him Paul.

Seeing my friends as extremely smart, knowledgeable individuals with sporting prowess made me idolise them. I looked up to them, but I not only wanted to BE them, I wanted to BEAT them. I studied hard, and watched as my marks inched up, slowly but surely. In my mind I crawled up the ladder of the hierarchy, establishing myself as someone who would be so intelligent and successful, he could never be the source of a joke.

However Paul was so much better than me, in everything. He won scholarships worth thousands of dollars to be taught at educational institutions. He was one of the best players in the rugby team. He was respected by everyone for his knowledge. He was consistently a top performer in academic competitions and ranked at the top of my school. Everything about him seemed surreal. He was very clever in his arguments, choosing to speak only about things he knew he every little fact about, and was one hundred percent certain of being correct.

One day I somehow earned the nickname of being stubborn. It was completely friendly and said jokingly, but it stuck. During an argument with Paul, he brought it up. I was infuriated, angry that someone could tarnish my reputation after I had spent so long building it up. I stopped laughing at his jokes, I stopped being so friendly towards him, and he sensed my anger. Slowly but surely we grew more and more distant. I tried reaching out to him and he did as well but in our self-righteousness we always came apart the next day, unable to forget our disputes. We tried being nice and gave compliments to each other but they were never accepted in earnest.

During a tryout for the state rugby team, I injured the ligament in my left knee. Myself and two others, including Paul, progressed to the next round of tryouts, but I was unable to play rugby at all. The same year Paul made the school first grade team, while I was unable to play, nursing my knee. Just like that I floated away from another group of friends. Without the sport that held us together, I was an outcast in the rugby group.

However I refused to accept this. I was not about to lose my last group of friends so easily. I worked intensely on my leg to return to full physical health in time for the next year’s first grade tryout. I went running in my local park, I went to the gym two times a week, and trained at home with plyometric and weight-bearing exercises. It was working and I was back on my feet in time for pre-season rugby.

As the season progressed I worked harder and harder, both at training and at home. I found I was still faster than the majority of my teammates and was once again considered one of the better players. I was in the friendship group again, and though there was still an uneasy tension between Paul and I, I didn’t care for anything else. The team went on three day camps, trained together and supported each other through hard times.

But just as the official games were commencing, I tore my ligament completely in a collision at training. I lay on the ground screaming for a minute before I clenched my mouth shut so I wouldn’t appear helpless and in utter pain. As the hurt in my leg subsided, I smiled at my teammates to show them I was alright, but inside I felt more pain than ever. The friendships that I had formed over the past two months would once again evaporate, and this time I couldn’t recover, not with a completely torn ligament. Every training session that I would be absent from, I would be forgotten more and more. In the group huddles. At the games. At the camps. On the bus. I lost my sporting prowess, and with it, I lost my friends.

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Artist – Unknown, Artwork  – Unknown

Dark: Thoughts

I’d have thought finishing exams would cure me of my jumbled emotions. I felt so confused, completely carefree with not one worry for the future, and the third set of my internal examinations just around the corner.

During those weeks, my night became my day, and bed-time became my free time. I stayed up entire nights, days in a row, snuggled under my blankets and watching video after video on youtube. I remember thinking that I acted so irrational because of the stress, and I would be back to normal first thing after exams.

But how wrong was I.

The week following exams I was on edge, finally having time to reflect on what I had done. I had barely studied for an entire set of exams, and now it was going to bite me back in the ass again. I slept better though, and almost enjoyed life, but I still didn’t give one thought to studying.

The next week back at school I received my maths results. 38/60. Horribly sub-par and almost below the average of classes two levels below mine. Definitely the worst I had done since year 7 and the worst in my class. I pat myself on the back sarcastically and reminded myself that I didn’t give a damn about exam scores, they didn’t define me. But deep inside I didn’t believe one word of what I said.

I looked at my class-mate who I usually beat. He scored ten marks above me. He asked me how I did and as casually as possible I say my mark. He laughs and tells me not to kid with him. I show him my mark and his eyes widen with surprise, and consoles me with sympathy. I almost want to vomit at his pity, but I manage to ignore it.

Walking to my next class I feel nervous and vulnerable, seeing people walk past me with their exam papers, seeking out people to ask their marks. One of my friends in the lower classes walks past me. We often competed to see the higher mark and I routinely beat him by far, at the point where I teased him about the differential. Now his mark was ten above mine as well. He seems worried about his score and tells me that he should be able to get two or three marks more, not caring how I would react. I quickly turned and walked away to my next class.

I felt like I couldn’t show my face anywhere after my dismal performance in the exam. My academic future was slipping away and I was, as far as school was concerned, a failure.

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Artist- Unknown, Artwork – Unknown

 

 

 

 

Mind: Fuck

I wonder if the invention of the internet was a good thing.

At least, is it good for the younger generation, exposed and vulnerable to the world around them?

Of course the web has facilitated technological advancements, learning, discovery, entertainment and much more, but could this be too powerful for those who are inundated with it at a young age?

Now it is through reflection that I am pondering this, not by some outdated, anti-technology, tin-foil hat ideology.

Recently I began spending more of my time during the day watching videos, and sleeping later and later into the night, staying up to absorb all kinds of media and information. Youtubers, singers, pranksters, celebrities, news, economics, sports, global crises, environmental issues, conservation, psychology, humanitarian crises, and music are just to name some.

But it wasn’t the content itself that was the problem, it was the emotions and reactions that resulted.

By having such boundless access to every corner and crevice in the discovered world, my brain was able to consume an endless stream of information.

Watching my favourite personalities on youtube made me laugh and fill up with admiration, but more importantly it drove me to search for more videos so I could continue living in their exciting, colourful, fun-filled world.

Videos about rivers becoming landfills, toxic sludge spilling out onto coral reefs, red alert health risks in China, plastic outnumbering sea life, political subterfuge, presidency elections, terrorist threats and attacks, domestic violence stories, prevailing racial discrimination, the gender wage gap, homeless living conditions, rape and masculine culture, war and violence, and world hunger and poverty compose the most minute portion of media covering global issues, but each and every one attacks my moral conscience and fills me with a strong sense of injustice and defiance, compelling me to find solutions.

When I see stories about inventors creating costless saline lanterns, doctors with new bandages that stem major tissue wounds, entrepreneurs, charities, philanthropists and governments fighting to amend problems in society, the economy, and environment, I feel a deep sense of respect, pride, happiness, empathy, awe and a light tingling sensation along my back which is more powerful and inspiring than anything else in the world.

With a torrent of different feelings, emotions, thoughts and ideas, I feel myself freeze up in my chair and continue to click on new videos, prevented from closing my browser by my moral-righteousness and curiosity.

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Sensory Overload” – Artist “Dehydrating”

But this had all been fine, I was able to live my life without too much distraction from the internet for a long time, until today.

Today I learnt of the death of Christina Grimmie, shot dead by a homicidal man, assumed to be a fan, right after her concert.

Her passing, at age 22, came as a shock to many, but for me, I was completely stunned.

I had first heard of Christina Grimmie around five years ago, and had chanced upon one of her songs on her channel.

Like many young youtubers beginning their career her videos were recorded in her small, cosy bedroom with a slightly muffled microphone and low quality camera.

Youtube was definitely a very intimate and sincere beginnings for aspiring pop singers, so I was surprised but hopeful when I saw that she had auditioned for the Voice.

Coming third in the competition, she soon gained recognition for her bright and bold voice, and I was overjoyed to see someone I watched on youtube and felt a personal attachment to, bring her talents into the great world of mainstream music.

And just as she began gaining traction in the world, performing at venues, acquiring a larger and larger fan base, writing new music and spreading her songs throughout the world, this young, modest singer was killed.

Her career was ended. Her life was taken away from her.

The young girl sitting in front of her camera in her small, cosy bedroom would have never guessed that five years later, she would die.

 

The horrible injustice of her passing shook me greatly.

How could a youtuber, someone in this perfect image of life, who created their own lives, showcased their incredible talents, and whom millions of fans come back day after day to see their videos, just be gone? How could a bright, bubbly personality just fizzle away? How could her voice, so strong and so brave, be silenced? By a nutty, homicidal idiot? These questions remained in my mind and in my conscience without me asking them.

I couldn’t and I still can’t believe how someone like that could just be gone so quickly, wiped out of existence.

It made me feel confused, worried and tore at my sense of reality.

It’s hard for me to enjoy anything or learn anything with a cloud of her death over my mind.

I feel like I have to put my life on pause, and wait for this moment to pass. But ignoring it is a violation of my ethics, to simply brush under the rug the loss of a beautiful person.

Maybe it is dangerous to have so much knowledge at the tip of our fingers, at the touch of our hands. Perhaps the internet is too powerful for our empathetic minds.

R.I.P. Christina Grimmie, I hope you keep making music in the afterlife or post-existence you are in. You’ll be sorely missed. You were gone too soon.

Update: Rip all 53 Orlando shooting victims and I feel so devastated for the 56 other injured men and for their families. Let this kind of madness never happen again. This is all too tragic…

 

Same Way

Alot has been on my mind recently. As I sit here writing my thoughts out on this blog, I have less than thirteen hours before my next English exam. I had finished most of my essay last week, but because of the looming presence of exams I felt something I have never really noticed before.

I felt scared. Yes. Scared of an English exam.

I, someone who holds hard work, perseverance and dedication above all else, and has no doubt that he can do whatever he sets his mind to, genuinely fear the outcome of the exam.

And because of my fear, I put off finishing my essay for more than a week. Now I have less than thirteen hours to finish and memorise.

But that’s not what scares me. Not even the outcome of the exam scares me much. What I do fear is stepping into the examination hall, picking up the pen and knowing in my heart that I would not be able to perform well. That I would fall under my expectations, and in the eyes of others I would be lesser.

Where I go to school, how well you do in your exams dictates your popularity, your confidence, your ability, your character, your personality, your ethics, and most importantly, your happiness.

And I have always listened like a keen puppy, lapping up all of the environment and attitudes around me.

I look at those who are “smarter” than me and idolise them like my favourite sportstars, and to those who aren’t, I don’t spare their potential a second thought. I gauge people’s worthiness on their examination marks, simply because everyone does.

Since year 8 I have believed this. From that year, I worked as hard as I could.

Every exam was stressful and painful, but I reaped the rewards of my efforts. My intellect was growing, but so was my perception that people were only worth their exam mark, because their mark was proportional to the amount of effort they put in.

Every year I struggled and struggled to improve and placed myself under incredible stress. Seeing others beating me would make me depressed. Receiving marks lower than others made me think of myself as an underachiever. Receiving a higher mark only further indented this notion for the next time I got beaten.

All the way through high school. Even up till three weeks ago. I participated in this crazy competition, this zero-sum race where the top of the ladder were hailed as gods, “unbeatable”, “on another level”, “geniuses from birth”, which meant those on the other side were “dropkicks”, “idiots”, “lazy”.

Never once did I consider what I was putting so much effort into. The whole time I exerted every last bit of energy I thought only of the marks I would receive, and like a poor addict sitting at a slot-machine, I gambled away every last coin in my pocket. In return I got a few hours of happiness.

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Floating Aces” – Artist Unknown

I never realised that my joy never came out of what I studied. The joy came purely from the number on my report card.

Of course I did enjoy parts of my subjects. I loved learning the formulas in maths, the philosophical teachings in english, the analysis of language in latin and the complex inter-relations in the functioning of a society in economics. But I never really had the chance to enjoy them for what they were.

Every subject I chose was never based off interest, it was based off performance. As soon as I received lower marks in one subject, I dropped it for another.

The most devastating thing to understand was that this type of race was completely futile. I was feeling tired, depressed, anxious and angry because my rank was not first. Not once did I pause and think – “Where is this going to take me?”. Until now. Nearing the end of year 12 I can see so blatantly that the entire education course was never meant to facilitate the learning of individual passions and desires. No. It was made to fulfill the general needs of our society.

The government needs intellectuals, politicians and corporate officials to keep the Economy running, so engineering, medicine, commerce and law are set at the highest marks. There’s no time for humanities such as art, philosophy, history, drama, music or languages. They’re shoved under the rug and heavily discouraged, only for the extremely promising and talented. Personal growth and happiness is never considered; financial and economic growth is all a human needs to survive.

And so I am stuck in this awful predicament, with quite possibly one of most important exams coming up that will dictate my life – or not.