The easier way may not be THE way
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The easier way may not be THE way
Jan 3 · 4 min read
Since young, I have been interested in food — the way our body reacts to food and the chemistry among the different nutrients, and how dishes can be improved by mixing fat and sugar etc. I secretly wanted to join the Food Science and Nutrition course available in the polytechnics. However I followed the dogma that A level students would find it easier to enter into any university, so I did just that — I enrolled myself in a junior college. However, I gave up halfway as I was not excelling, and I found myself lost.
As my mum was an accountant, she advised me on the perks of her job, how it was a safe and sustainable choice, as every company would need someone to do their finances. Moreover, it was easy. She assured me that studying accountancy meant that I would never have to worry about finding jobs in the future. With that, I registered for the ACCA, a path to becoming a Certified Accountant. Then, I got a job as a full-time Accounts Assistant, where I did full sets of accounting and generated reports, and I thought that this was it, I had my future planned out. While I did not think it was one I would really enjoy, I thought it would at least be practical, easy and sustainable — until I joined the MAD At Work programme at Bold.
The workshop brought us through this segment where I was asked to draw out my 3 alternative life pathways and for me, naturally, all 3 pathways were different versions of the accounting world, such as i) taking private A levels in business to get a recognised finance degree, or ii) completing my ACCA and then interning at recognised companies, or iii) studying in Australia.
However, my course mates noticed how I seemed really bored, even as I described my 3 options. They called that out, and asked if there was anything that I actually enjoyed?
The question led me straight back to Nutrition. My mind flashed back to how I always saw myself in Nutrition. I recalled the moment I has seen nutrition student interns back when I was at my first job as an accounting assistant in a medical company, and I yearned to join them in their experiments. There was the time I stumbled upon this ad for an online nutrition course, and feeling really sad to pass up the opportunity, telling myself I ought to concentrate on my accounts studies instead. Even in the moment when I had chosen to give up on my A Levels, I found myself in regret, telling everyone how I really should have gone to the polytechnic and taken up my Nutrition course instead.
I guess this is what my heart has been telling me all along. I already knew what I wanted, but I avoided it because I just could not stand the thought of starting all over again. I felt like it would have been a complete waste of time, if I had to rewind and start again. At the point, the course again gave me a new insight: this was a “gravity problem”; time had passed and just like gravity, there is nothing anyone can do about it. And I came to realise, that nobody said I had a deadline. I was the one who had set this false timeline for myself; I was just blaming time and my bad choices.
After much deliberation, I decided that I was going to do what I really want, despite the longer journey ahead. I don’t want to delay any longer. Now I am excited by the fact that I may even be able to find myself a fulfilling career — not just a job which I do to make money. With a career, I get to love what I am doing; I’d be willing to spend longer hours on it and even If I don’t gain anything tangible from it, I don’t think I would mind at all. This, i realised, will be a sustainable way of living out my work-life over the long term, rather than forcing myself to do what I do not enjoy, just because it is easier in this short moment.
My takeaways from this workshop would be:
1. Peers are really important in helping you discover what you want, as you may lie to yourself at first.
2. There are no deadlines in life, just deadlines you set for yourself.
3. Taking the easy way out now, is not equivalent to what will lead to a sustainable lifestyle over the long term.