An education

Life is like a game of Tetris:

Apart from being a fine game, Tetris is also a perfect mirror of the human condition. For a while the game is entertaining, and we seem to have mastered it and are having fun. Then, something goes wrong — a rash mistake, or an unfulfilled wish, and we’re fighting to repair the damage, but we’ve been thrown off-balance, and everything is piling up. Blocks that were once orderly and harmonious are jumbled and filled with holes, and our cup is on the verge of running over. There’s always a point at which we stop planning for the future, and realize that we don’t have one — all we can do is cling to the present and concentrate, focus our minds on what it’s like to be alive, to play the game, before it’s all over.

You were waiting for a four-by-one block that never came.

Sometimes we resist to the bitter end, moving blocks left and right without thought or care, just to hang on, and sometimes we accept the inevitable and pull the blocks down to us, smiling inwardly at the great joke. The rest is silence.

I found a great analysis of Tetris and just thought I’d share it here since it’s too long to post on Twitter wtf.

By the way, I’m home!!!! For good. Forever. It feels so foreign and weird…I still feel like I’m on my usual summer holiday, and still feel like a college student. I guess it’ll take a while for it to sink in.

My parents were here for my graduation and they really were my personal photographers the entire time. Shanshan’s parents had THREE cameras with them and they would use ALL the cameras everytime. So I have about a million pictures to vet through before I can post them up!

But what I have so far:

Aileen and I before the Laurel Parade

My white dress from H&M and the beautiful yellow scarf given by our alumnae!

My best friend Shanshan and I. I don’t want to think about not seeing her for a while and that it’s the end of us being in college together, because if I do I know I will not be able to stop crying. I was very lucky to have someone like her throughout my 4 years in college cos she’s one of the very few people who completely understands me and is extremely supportive of me T___T

Laurel Parade, one of our oldest and most beloved traditions. Graduating seniors will all wear white and will carry the Laurel chain (the chain of green grass thingy), signifying a link that brings all of us together, and we’ll carry it to our founder’s grave.

And then we’ll gather and sing Bread and Roses, a song that supports international women suffrage and appeals for gender equality and women’s rights.

I cried while we were singing that song, it was so beautiful T___T then I looked around and saw everyone crying too T__T Now I really don’t regret going to a women’s college that takes activism so seriously.

Men in kilts performing before the parade

probably my absolute favorite part of the parade! the school spirit is so strong because hundreds of alumnae actually came back for reunion! this is the class of 1961, which means they’re all around 70+ years old!

there was also someone from the class of 1931, she was 102 years old!

the feeling of having so many people cheer you on during the parade was indescribable. Especially when you see the look of pride and recognition on their faces, it was amazing.

The night before graduation, we have another ceremony called the Baccalaureate. It was basically a more personal event where we had our Dean wrapping up our college life. She said soooo many quotable quotes that night, and everyone was tearing quite badly too. She talked about uncertainties, and fear, and anxiety upon completing college and finally going out in the real world. It was so…relatable and so real which makes it scarier.

Graduation!!!!

We were all given a sunflower each :)

Our president insisted on hugging ALL of us when we received our degree. She also congratulated each and everyone of us when she hugged us, damn nice!!!

I’m happy to announce that I received my degree without falling on stage because I chickened out and didn’t wear high heels wtf. Everything is in Latin, I only recognized my name here hahah

Treated myself to a huge ice cream hoho

The next day, I packed all my 4 years in college in 4 suitcases and left my second home.

As the bus gained momentum and drove past my college, I got quite emotional for the first time upon graduation. This picture describes my feelings perfectly. In a blur, scared, excited, unsure, sad, very sad, glad, hopeful. I don’t know what’s in store for me after leaving a place that has changed me tremendously, a place that I was only beginning to really love and be comfortable in.

Thank you Mount Holyoke for making me the woman that I am today.

Thank you for teaching me how to think critically for myself, for nurturing the principles in me that I never knew existed, for being patient and kind when I didn’t quite get the point of a liberal arts education at first, for never giving up when I doubted you.

But most importantly, thank you for showing me that education is never a means to an end, that the pursuit of knowledge is lifelong.

We don’t go to school because we need practical knowledge to help us in our jobs, we go to school to gain knowledge that will help us make sense of the world and our place and roles to play. The past weekend was a culmination of this realization. One of my favorite professors, in his final lecture to us, told us this:

“Look at the person on your left, and the person on your right. In a hundred years, they will both be dead. We spend our lives worrying about things that are in the present, things that are transitory and are insignificant in the greater scheme of things. Spend your life thinking about things that are eternal, not temporary. Spend your life thinking about things that will matter 100 years from today, things that mattered 100 years ago and will continue to be important.

Your education has not ended, in fact it starts right after your graduation. Think about the everlasting effect of your existence, read the great books, read because it matters. Your education starts when you start learning about stuff because it matters and the only questions that matter are why are you here? what’s the purpose of your life?”

This is only an excerpt of some of the most inspiring speeches I’ve heard. Someone else talked about the roles that women should play in the society and urged us to be the women who pave ways for changes and the women who play critical roles locally and globally.

Our commencement speaker talked about the importance of the liberal arts education and how it’s getting underrated these days in pursuit of more material gains and knowledge. She spoke about the role of the humanities and art in democracy and in a more holistic society and I couldn’t have agreed more.

I was never a big fan of the humanities and art, and sometimes question my decision to be in a liberal arts college. Why am I not learning more practical skills? skills that can be applied in my jobs in the future? It wasn’t until I realized at the end that that’s not what education is all about, at least not to me. I can go on about this for maybe another 10 pages or so, but I just got home and I need to eat all the Malaysian food that my stomach can take!!!

The end from the college student Suet. It’s time to be a big girl now.

“Go forth, make a difference, be the change you want to see, change the world”