I thought I’d tell you the story of my journey to Laidlaw College. Get the tissue box ready, it’s pretty sad.
In 2014, I became sick. I was mentally unwell. It’s hard to believe now that I used to be suicidal. I used to want to die. I used to believe that I would by the end of 2014. I know that I believed that because I remembered what it was like, but I can’t connect with the person I was in 2014. I don’t know what she was thinking or how she felt during that time. I only know that it was a dark time.
I once heard or read somewhere that having depression was like having a dark blanket over you. I think it was like that for me. I lived in the dark. No one understood me and my thinking-though logical to me-was deeply irrational.
It’s funny because all throughout my teenage years, I never had a problem with depression or suicide or having too much pressure on myself to do well. I had no school groups, no extra curricular activities and no homework (almost never). But in the last year of high school, when I was “almost an adult”, that was when my brain flipped out.
I guess it was the pressure of suddenly having my whole life in my control. I had to take care of myself. I had to depend on myself more than on my mum. I had a lot of options and didn’t know how to decide. If I made one wrong choice, that was the end of my life.
I won’t give you all the details because it’ll be too much in one post, but I failed Level 3 NCEA. In 2015, I was both lucky and unlucky to be given a second chance at Level 3. This meant going back to year 13 for one whole year. The good news was that I passed Level 3 NCEA. The bad news was that I still think back to that year, and think, “was going back worth it?”
I still don’t know the answer to it. I’m glad I passed, but couldn’t that have been done in less than a year? I don’t know. By the end of 2015, I still wasn’t confident to go to uni. I wasn’t in a good headspace. It was better than 2014, but not good enough for the pressures of uni. I had a gap year and during this time in 2016, went to Australia and Singapore. It wasn’t completely a holiday-I went there with mum to see family.
One thing about where I was at in life, where I was expected to be at that age, and family members with good intentions, is that it doesn’t equal a relaxing holiday. It’s hard to live in a world with people who see the immediate. They see what’s in front of them with no imagination of what’s ahead. I knew great things here ahead of me but at that time, I needed to rest and wait.
But, after the holidays, the Netflix and the nothing, I was bored. So, I decided to enrol myself in NZMA, in a retail Level 3 course. Everyone thought it was a waste of time but I had a vision for myself. It was a vision I couldn’t share with anyone because they’d think I was a day dreamer. As Asians do, they would look at the probability, the cost, my skill set (or lack of) and crush my dreams. I couldn’t let anyone do that.
I didn’t need anyone to tell me I was no good or that I couldn’t do something. I already had enough doubts of my own to deal with. So, like a secret, I held onto my vision, hoping against all rationality, that this was something that could actually work. The course was for 20 weeks, so you could say it kept me busy.
In 2017, I enrolled in Retail Level 4. This was a much challenging course because I had a different tutor. The layout of the course was totally different. I still passed but didn’t learn much. Hopefully that’s not true. I hope I learned something from that. Who knows, maybe one day I can be a tutor there (and re-learn some things).
I was supposed to then enrol in level 5 Business Diploma, which sounds a lot smarter than a certificate, but I decided against it. A new season had arrived and a new passion grew inside me. I wanted to be a primary teacher. I wanted to go to a christian place so I put the two keywords together in the Google search engine and clicked on the first link: Laidlaw.
So thus, began my journey to being a student at Laidlaw College. That’s the very short version of my story. One thing I learned from all these years was that everything that happened, even the bad, all led up to the person I am and where I am now.
What my family members didn’t understand was that, there is a time to work and a time to rest. After graduating school in 2015, it was a time for me to rest. This is something my family probably still don’t understand. I still can hear what they said, echoing in my head, “What are you resting from? You haven’t even started work.”
But for some reason, somehow, I did need a rest and I’m glad I listened to my body and not to “reason. It’s like that saying by Jim Rohn; “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. Guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
Despite all the nagging, the scolding, the lecturing, I needed to keep to the direction that I knew was right for me. I needed to listen to myself and not be swayed by popular opinion. And as much as I love my family, I’m glad I listened to myself and not to them.
Word of advice: Sometimes we need to rest. We don’t have to be working 24/7 to need a break. It is the rhythm of society’s heartbeat.