A Pain in the Ass Year
A lot of things happened in 2k18!
At the beginning of the year, I participated in an industry tour for the first time. I joined a business plan class for two days. There was a Dota 2 tournament at my university. I got a team and we joined the tournament. I started using Twitter. And, there was the Super Blue Blood Moon event on Jan. 31.
Then, I was busy attending uni classes and a Japanese class. After uni, I had to attend a Japanese class at another place and came back late to the hostel. Since the hostel’s door closed early, I had to run in order to reach in time almost every day. When I reached the hostel, I ate, took a bath, and did chores. After that, I had to do uni’s work: assignments, presentations, and tutorials. It was very tiring but I passed through them. In our uni, we had to choose our specialized major when we became a fourth-year student. Since I took BIS major, our seniors made BIS major welcome feast for us. They decorated the room beautifully and bought donuts and cakes for us. On Valentine’s Day, I was seriously ill and couldn’t even get out of bed. I vomited everything I ate and I also got diarrhea. You can’t even control yourself when you are sick. I rested for a few days. Then, the sports season came and I played chess. “One wrong move and you will be doomed” and indeed I was doomed.
My friends and I went to cheer for our third batch football team, Alfa. At that time, I felt empty and lost. When I saw how Alfa was playing football, how they were fighting to win the game, and how my buddies were cheering for them, my spirit was lifted. I wanted Alfa to win the game so badly. I cheered for them till my voice went out. Although I was not playing, I was eager to win. Since it was a match, there were winners and losers. Our team lost 0:2 to juniors. When the match was finished, we complained a lot and blamed the other team (lul). The vibe, the spirit, the feeling was very high and great back then. There is a Myanmar saying, “Winning or losing doesn’t matter. Competing does matter.” Yes! Competition is necessary for your spirit to be lifted.
I wanted to make good use of my weekends and I was interested in swimming. I searched for swimming training with a good rating and even persuaded my friends to join me. Finally, one friend joined me and we attended the training together. On the first day, we were told to walk in water like walking on the ground. We didn’t understand well so we walked as we like. We made mistakes and got scolded. We were told to do leg movements like kicking and then to take deep breaths and put our heads underwater. Then, we were shown how to land. A few days later, we started swimming.
When practicing swimming, our coaches held our hands and took us from one side to another side of the pool. We only had to do leg movements and landing at first. I tried landing many times but I still couldn’t figure out how to land well. I made a lot of mistakes and was always left behind in the middle of the pool. I got scolded a lot and every time when I got scolded, I gave the coach excuses to cover my inabilities. When I gave excuses, I was scolded even more. I was speechless.
Then, we moved to the next step. Our coaches didn’t hold our hands anymore and we also needed to move our arms. When I tried swimming moving my arms, my balance was lost and my body rotated. I always pulled the cloth of the coach in front of me. He got impatient. One time, in the middle of the pool, when I tried moving my arms, my body rotated and I pulled the coach’s hand, but he pushed me away. Since I still didn’t know how to land well and my balance was lost, and I was near-drowning. Dirty chlorine water came into my mouth and I was struggling. I didn’t know how but I managed to stand up. I then walked to the side of the pool. I was angry and thought the coach was too cruel.
The coach scolded me, “Pulling, pulling, what are you pulling? Imagine you were swimming in a river for survival, what are you gonna pull? There will be no one. Do you want to complain about your situation? There will be no one who will listen to your excuses. You are too dependent. There will be no one who will save you except yourself. If you can’t swim, you will drown. You aren’t afraid of water. You don’t have any phobia or allergies related to water. The depth of water is only 6 feet. Even kids around you can swim better than you. What are you afraid of? There is nothing to fear.”
When the coach was scolding me, I was holding my tears. When he saw me holding my tears, he became soft and didn’t scold me anymore. He said, “Come again”. I swam towards him. When I moved one of my arms, he supported my other hand so that I won’t lose my balance and I reached the other side of the pool. At that time, I realized that it was fear that is preventing me from doing great things. I noticed its existence in my heart. As soon as I realized its existence, I ignored it and tried landing many times. I failed a lot and dirty water came into my mouth and I coughed. After a few tries, I became comfortable and finally, I was able to land with ease. Then, swimming became easier for me. I swam from one side of the pool to another. Sometimes, I landed in the middle of the pool. I felt there was nothing that I should be afraid of. I felt I got freedom. I swam like a fish: freely and happily. I felt, “If I can overcome the fear in my heart, I can conquer the world”.
When I look back at what is that fear from my current view, it seems nothing at all. Maybe I was afraid of getting hurt by some invisible things. Maybe I was afraid of drowning and dying. Maybe I was afraid of pain. I think suffering is the main cause. You don’t want to suffer. A resistance called fear takes place in your heart, and you don’t do what you should do anymore.
Lately, I was busy with uni’s projects. There were 2 reports, and 3 projects (testing tools) at hand. We were a team of five members and I was the team leader. When it came to how we build teams, since there were 35 people in our class, the teachers told us to be a group of 5 people with whoever we want. People with good grades form a group of people with good grades. And others form groups with their friends. I got a group of three people(friends) and I needed two more. I asked two people who left out to join my group.
I looked at my team’s condition. One is a total freeloader. Let’s call her F. Another one needs me to talk a lot just for her to do some basic work. Let’s call her BW. There were only three people who would do the actual work. When it was time to do the work, I asked my team to meet at our uni on weekends. Nobody came to the uni except me and one of my friends. Let’s call her May. Then, May and I discussed splitting our tasks. MIS report was for another friend of ours. Let’s call her C. Software tool testing was for me. Database NoSql tool testing was for May. Another project was about the testing tool for ERP. Since ERP is a broad concept, all three of us decided to work on it together. The deadline for the remaining report was still far away.
The deadline for the MIS report came first. It was two days before the deadline and I asked C whether she had finished the report or not. She answered me that the report hadn’t even started yet. I was speechless. I asked her several times before but the answer was still the same. The next day, she didn’t show up in class. I started to know her ways of doing things. We didn’t trust her anymore. May and I discussed it and I took responsibility for it. I remembered I was still up till 4 am to finish the report. The next day, I woke up late but the report was on time.
C said she would do the Software tool testing which was my work to cover for not finishing her work. She told it several times. The deadline for May’s work and ERP project was coming near and we wanted to focus on those projects. We also thought that she might have her own problems and we should give her a second chance. We agreed for C to do Software tool testing. From that day on, she didn’t show up at uni anymore. A week later, May and I discussed the bad situation, and the work she took came onto my shoulders.
During that time, there were only two members who are pulling the team and the workload is too big. May and I had to work all day while the others were having a good day. May and I resented C for her lack of responsibility. We resented the other two for hanging out with friends, taking selfies, having good days, and acting these projects were not their business. Since we knew the other two’s condition, we didn’t talk much and most of our resentful emotions were focused on C. We had angry and resentful days.
We asked BW to be the presenter for May’s work since we were focusing on ERP. May’s work, testing tools for NoSql, was smoothly finished. Then, the ERP project came, and we used Odoo software for testing. There were many groups which gonna give presentations and thus we had to wait for two hours to reach our turn. When it was our turn, May opened her laptop and ran Odoo. Odoo’s home screen showed up and suddenly the laptop shut down. May and I were like “Ohhhhh nooooooo” and “Nooooooo plz no”. Installing Odoo on May’s laptop was already a very difficult process. Odoo couldn’t be installed on my laptop because of some port problems. It was like thunderstruck our heads. Teachers said, “This group can’t show their presentation now. Another group comes”. I thought, “We have to wait for the next two hours? no plz”. When another group was preparing to show their presentation, we restarted the laptop and tried running Odoo. This time, Odoo showed no problem. We requested our teachers that we wanted to give the presentation. Teachers allowed and I was the presenter and May explained and showed the steps required to perform in testing Odoo. Only after the presentation finished, we were able to sigh.
Since the work, Software tool testing was on my shoulder, I had to work up. At first, we told the teacher that we would give a presentation about Usability testing. But, when I searched for tools for Usability testing, we have to pay if we want to use them. I tried searching and testing tools many days both online and offline but no tool was convenient for us. It was the day for us to give the presentation. I explained my team’s situation and the difficulties I was facing to the teacher and she allowed us to give the presentation the last. The time to deadline extended a bit and I changed the title Usability testing to Data-driven testing. May helped me a bit.
A week before the Software tool testing presentation, C showed up at uni. We didn’t talk with her anymore. She also didn’t come and talked with us. There was a big tension between us. We called her phone number several times before but she never picked up and blocked us. We talked about projects in our group chat but she never looked at them. Since she treated us this way, we also decided to ignore her.
It was one hour before giving the presentation. We still had some problems when testing the tool. I was trying to fix the problem. C came into the room and sat on a chair. Later, she said she wanted to be the presenter. I thought, “Want to take all credit?” and I said, “No need”. Then, she threatened me, “I will go tell the teacher that I wanted to be presenter yet, you don’t make me one”. I told her back, “I’m not afraid. If you tell the teacher, I will also tell her about your irresponsible acts.” May pulled me and told me not to make rash actions. May also told me, “Let her be the presenter. It is not good for us to draw teachers in our problems.” But, we had a fight. The first time in my life I had a fight with a non-family member.
C insisted on being the presenter and blamed me for not making her one. I told her angrily, “This project should be done by you from the start but you don’t give a fuck about it and it became my workload. We gave you several phone calls before to inquire about your condition but you never picked up and even blocked us. Do you think we are so free and happy to call you? And look at the way you treat us, we also have pride, ya know? And Your Fb account always shows active but you never looked up the conversation we talked about for projects. You ignored the whole thing. May even cried for three consecutive nights while talking because of your irresponsible acts. Now, all the work is done and want to take credit?”
She replied angrily, “Do you know? I was too sick that I had to stay in bed and couldn’t even move. My throat was also hurt and too painful when I tried to make a sound. I had to say in bed all the time. I was too sick, ya know? I was too sick.” She replied as she was not wrong. “You were too sick and couldn’t make a sound, so you didn’t pick our phone calls. You didn’t want noisy sounds, so you blocked us. It’s okay. But you were active on Fb all the time. Why didn’t you send a text explaining your conditions to us? Why? Only if you send a text to us, we will be able to understand your conditions and we will feel more pleasant about taking your workload. Only if you send a text to us …….” I told her and I remembered those resentful emotions I felt and tears fell from my eyes.
In a conflict, everyone thinks they are right. As for C, she thought she was sick and she needed to take a rest all day. In her view, she was right. As for me who had to take all her workload, in my view, I was right. When we fought, I got the upper hand because “I took all her workload” is the truth. And I got a lesson, i.e. the big difference between a social friend and a professional (work) friend. If you want to know about a person, you either lend her money or give her some work. She will show her true colors.
After a terrible fight, she took my place, the presenter. She gave the presentation but when it was time to show steps for testing, she was talking nonsense. I had to charge in to take care of the situation for not going bad. But, the teachers didn’t satisfied with our work and we needed to show them again. C said that she would do all the work for it. A few days passed and when we asked her about the project, she replied, “Still trying”. On the day to show the project again, she didn’t show up but May and I had a backup plan. We showed the stuff that we tested. The teachers were satisfied and finally, it was finished. It was lunchtime. After we ate lunch, we decided to went back to the hostel since there was no class. When we were napping in bed, C gave a phone call to May saying, “I reached university now.” May replied that everything was finished. I told May to ask her about her work. She replied, “Almost finished”. I thought, “As expected!!”
There was one report left. “I leave this to you. Whether you do or not, I won’t give a fuck anymore.” I said. As a group leader, I knew that I shouldn’t say something like that but I was both physically and emotionally tired. May also left the report to them. C, BW, and F finished the report.
Students were preparing for the water festival. They wanted to include DJ but the rector was against it. There was a student-rector conflict (It is normal here). On the day of the water festival, we only played with water at first. We played pranks on each other. It became noon and no water was left. Organizers took in a DJ player and our seniors, final year students, took the initiation to dance. All juniors became passionate and participated in dancing. Our student council president rented a fire engine from the fire station. The fire engine reached our uni and water came out from its pump. It was like a rainy day and it was very cool. We moved and danced along with the DJ. It was very fun and we were so happy. It was one of the best memories I ever have. I started to believe, “After a hurricane, comes a rainbow”.
The exam for the first semester was coming. We got ten days for private study. I wasn’t able to focus on studying. I hang out with my friends and we even went to University Swimming Pool to swim. We had carefree and nice days. Well, it was exam days. I was fucked up. It became one subject one night for me. I reminded myself, “You can walk straight through hell with a smile”. I abused my brain but my brain never let me down. When the result came out, I was somehow managed to get good grades.
Yayyyy, it was the holidays. I returned to the countryside. I got into a big fight with my eldest sister. One month passed and I came back to the city. The second semester started. C didn’t come to uni anymore. There were only 34 students left in our class. I remembered something she said back then, “I am planning for studying in the UK”. Whether she went to the UK or not, it was not our business anymore and it was not nice meeting her anyway.
This time we had three projects and one report. Two projects could be considered very big because we had to develop ourselves and the other is tool testing. The teacher told us to make four groups of six people and two groups of five people. Since various things happened in the first semester, the teacher wanted us to form a group by picking a random number. Nobody liked that idea and they only flocked together with their friends. I told May that I didn’t want freeloaders. May replied, “We only have these people. If you don’t want them, who are you gonna choose?”. I sighed. Outside of the room, May was complaining about what had happened during the first semester to another friend of ours. Even tears came down from her eyes. That another friend of ours felt sorry for us and gave us a hand. She also had some problems with her team. Now, we had me, May, Hsu, BW, and F.
One of F’s friends was in another group and that group rejected her. She asked us to let her join in. I thought, “More freeloaders? No, thanks” and I rejected her. She showed a sad expression and might think that I was a cruel person because I hurt her feelings. I experienced once and knew the consequences. If my decision was wrong, my team would suffer and it would lead us to misery. I don’t want to see my team members cry. Sometimes, leaders have to make difficult decisions which will lead many people to hate them.
It was time to work. We had to attend classes daytime and work on projects at nighttime. There was no private time for us. Sometimes, I thought, “Why do we have to do all of those? For what and why?” We had to develop a project for big data with Java or PHP language. We had a discussion. Since I had prior java experience a bit, I chose java(J2SE) language. As for the system, we wanted a system with a small scope. Thus, we chose the Exam Result Analysis System using MongoDB. The teacher said that we only needed to show “select, insert, update, delete” functions. Although I had no time for proper study, I took the JLPT N4 exam and MCPA FE quiz. I continued to attend JLPT N3 evening class after uni.
There was also another project we had to work on in parallel. I don’t know about computers but we became very efficient in parallel processing. We had to develop a project with J2EE. The teacher who taught the subject discussed it many times with each team. Since I wanted to focus on time functions, I discussed with my team and chose the title “Antique Auction”. We drew a use case diagram, ER diagram, class diagram before start coding. There were many flaws and we had to redraw several times.
I developed an interface for the java project. May and Hsu coded for the connection between MongoDB and the system. Hsu coded the select function, May coded the delete function and I coded select and update functions. We asked BW and F to prepare datasets for our system. There were many errors — compile-time errors, run time errors and we had to retry several times. Sleeping at 2 AM became our routine. During those days, we had no fun and too tired but when the code worked, we were so happy and we shouted too loud that the whole hostel could hear our noises in the middle of the night. The hostel forbids making noise at night.
When it was time to add datasets into the system, BW finished her work well. When we looked at F’s datasets, there were many mistakes. “We gave the format but couldn’t do well, huh?” I thought. Sooner, we heard that her datasets were prepared by her friend. She let her friend who didn’t know the flow of our system did her work. Oh, wait, she also never joined our discussion and didn’t know the flow of the system. We asked her to redo. Her friend redid and it went well this time.
We asked BW to be the presenter and prepare slides for herself since we started coding. It was one day before giving the presentation. Late at night, we went to BW’s room(hostel) to ask about the slide’s condition. She said that it was not even started yet. We were too busy with our codes and when we heard that, we really wanted to punch her in the face. I asked May to go to her room to guide and support her. May came back with an upset face saying that she didn’t want to deal with her anymore. I had to go myself. She complained and gave me excuses and insisting that she would do the slide later. I looked at the great work she was doing. All she was doing was browsing over the internet. I ignored her excuses and asked her to open PowerPoint. I told her about the system and what should be included in the slide. I arranged everything for her. She started to prepare the slide and I went back to test our codes.
It was 30 minutes before the presentation. BW was not still here. May gave her several phone calls begging her to be on time. I said to Hsu, “The situation looks bad. You need to be the presenter. Read the slide now”. BW didn’t show up. Hsu gave the presentation and I explained the system. BW showed up a few minutes before finishing the presentation. It was finished. May didn’t talk with her anymore. Well, it was her who ruined the relationship anyway.
Some people initiate and do work themselves. Some people do work when they are told. Some people don’t even do when others beg them. Some people have thrivingness within themselves. Some people understand the word “Responsibility”. Some people do nothing but take things for their own granted. When leading, people who have thrivingness within themselves are the best people to deal with. When you give them tasks, they do them beautifully. Sometimes, you don’t even give them any task yet they do it themselves. Their thrivingness maybe their reputation, pride, greed, and so on but they do their jobs well. For people who understand the word “Responsibility”, if you explain things well to them or sometimes you beg them, they will do their jobs well. Sometimes, you need to give up your pride if you are a leader. The last type of person is the one who gives you a headache the most. For them to work, you need to use force. Well, people will hate you Mr. leader.
I heard other teams also faced with the credit problem. Some put an act while some do the work. For people who did the actual work, they felt unfair. Since society doesn’t give a shit about processes involved to produce the desired outcome, actors can act and speak like they are trying very hard when everything is done. Because of this, actual doers felt lost of motivation, upset, injustice, disappointments, and started to see the world from negative views.
Although we hadn’t started coding, we had to give the first seminar for the J2EE project. We discussed and did everything as the teacher who taught the subject told us. On the day to give the seminar, I was the presenter. Many teachers came to look at our projects. When I was explaining a slide, they asked me a lot of questions. When we moved to the next slide, they did the same. Because of my limited knowledge, some answers that I gave back were wrong. At that time, the teacher who taught the subject scolded us, “I told you guys not to do like that but to do like this, haven’t I?” several times. Her scolding had a tone that we were so useless that we couldn’t even do something she explained so well. She didn’t let me speak, and she continued to explain things. When I tried to utter a word, she interrupted. I felt too angry and upset that I asked May to continue giving the presentation and I went back to the side. At that time, anger overwhelmed me that even tears came out of my eyes and those teachers saw it.
The seminar was finished. We did everything as she told but what she said in public is completely different. She treated us that way. We felt betrayed and back-stabbed with a sharp knife. That evening after uni classes, I went to attend the Japanese class. Some workers were rebuilding a destroyed part of the road. They were digging up mud and threw those mud onto a small truck. When I was passing by the road, the mud they threw hit me. My hair and my clothes became too dirty. From the start, I was sad and now I became angry at my luck, “What the hell! Haven’t I unlucky enough?”
A few days passed with stress. One day, my friend from KE major gave me a call saying that both she and I were chosen as candidates for the coming YMAC youth development program which would be held in Singapore and we needed to take an interview. I went to the notice board to look at the news and I found that May was also selected. I heard that the student affairs department selected those candidates by looking at English marks from the first semester and chose students with the highest marks from each major. We took the interview but both May and I were not chosen. It was my third interview. My friend from KE major who gave me the call and a junior were chosen.
JAIST university from Japan offered fourth-year students from our uni a field study program to study with them. If we were chosen, we had to live in Japan for two months. We needed to prepare a proposal and take an interview. More than 80 students applied to the program. I was one of them. I prepared the topic “Smart City” as my proposal. It was time for the interview session. I met a Japanese professor from JAIST. The professor was always smiling. He seemed very warm and caring. He asked me a lot of questions. While interviewing, when he detected that I had the wrong idea about some concepts, he explained to me carefully and corrected me. I still remembered that he asked me, “In your opinion, what kind of cities is called smart cities? Like Singapore? Boston? New York?”. I quickly replied, “Tokyo is one of the smartest cities, too.” Actually, I have never been to Tokyo. I just spoke something that would probably make some sense. He explained to me carefully that he lived in Tokyo for more than forty years and living in the countryside now. Tokyo may be one of the smartest cities but he didn’t like the environment, etc. After listening to his explanation, I thought, “I’m doomed.” In front of a person who is well-experienced and possesses broad knowledge, your lies will only make you look funny. Based on my answers, I already knew that I won’t be chosen.
We had to continue discussing the J2EE project with her. When we went there, she called me stubborn and didn’t let me speak a word. Sometimes, I do what I believe and don’t listen to other people’s words. I know I’m stubborn but why didn’t she let me speak? I felt upset and didn’t go there anymore. Well, if you are not acknowledged and cherished, you lost motivation. I heard from May and Hsu that she treated us that way because she didn’t like other people scold her students so she prevented that by scolding herself first. Whatever her reason was, we knew what we felt.
In class, she came to me, and then I had to participate in the discussion about the project. After talking about the project, I complained about my team’s situation. She told me to use the reward-punishment approach for members who didn’t help with the project. I thought, “Reward? Punishment? Should I persuade them by telling them that they will get high marks if they do the project? Should I threaten them by telling them that they won’t get any marks if they don’t do the project? Ridiculous! They are people who never care about marks and grades from the start. If not, they won’t be repeaters.” She scolded them a bit. BW acted like it was nothing but F cried in the toilet.
When F came back into the classroom, her eyes were red. I was with her(teacher) listening to her words with a small face. May and Hsu were standing beside me, looking at my situation, and laughing at me. She(teacher) told F, “Don’t cry too much. I’m also afraid of karma.” and F’s tears fell down again. At that time, as long as I remember, we (May, Hsu, and I) never had eye contact with F. That night, F posted a status on Fb saying, “I know that I have no skill. I know that I can’t do anything. But, laughing at a person who is crying, isn’t it too much? And that made you so proud of yourself?”.
At first, I didn’t know what had happened. May and Hsu came into my room and showed me her status. At that time, I said, “Wow, a waste is speaking up waste”. I was rude because I was angry. I wanted to solve this problem face-to-face with her since she dared to write something like that which mean she could bear to take consequences. May and Hsu pulled me back and told me not to make rash decisions. After discussing a bit, we decided to take no action. We were too tired to deal with stupid things and decided to focus on the project. And we let F successfully ruined our reputation not only between our third batch friends but also between her second batch friends.
When we discussed her case, we became to understand a bit about human nature. She might see us as the source which led her to be scolded. When she was scolded, insecurity within her awakened and caused her to feel sadness. The sad emotion overwhelmed her and she wanted to take some actions which would probably lead her to feel comfortable again. Then, she decided to respond by attacking the source, us. And the most efficient and easiest way to attack someone without weapons is the rumor tactic. If the source which got attacked couldn’t control their emotions well and attack back, it would lead to endless wars(keyboard wars here). To prevent that kind of situation, one party needed to stop. No one will notice but the party which can control their emotions well will win the war because human beings also have a feeling called “regret”.
Rumor will weaken its strength as time passes. If you want to destroy a rumor, you can prove it with your actions. Different people have different values. Different people speak different conversations. Only people with the same value can connect well. Everyone thinks they are right from their own perceptions. I noticed, “Only people who can’t do things well will criticize others the most. They will talk like you ruined their life.” Sometimes, some people keep quiet and don’t respond to criticism. It doesn’t mean they aren’t capable enough. It means they have big hearts.
In life, people meet with many other people. Even if you touched their shoulders by accident on road, if fate doesn’t allow us, you won’t become their friends. Everyone has their own problems. Even though they have their own burdens, some people offer to share other people’s burdens with them. They are family and friends. Some people may live in a person’s life only for a passage of time but some people try to live with you forever. They come and leave but they teach us lessons. Family and friends are the most precious things in life. You will not communicate with them all the time but when you need help, they are always ready to give you a hand. In life, if you can’t share other people’s burdens, then don’t be a burden to them.
I overslept and went to Uni late. In class, May gave me the news that our Java project had been chosen to show at an open campus event. I said, “I don’t want to do it anymore.” At first, May and Hsu were happy because the project they worked hard for was chosen. When they heard I said that way, I knew they became very disappointed. I explained, “Our project has been chosen for open campus means we have to rebuild the system from the start. Our system only has four functions and it’s not enough. We have to add many more. And there is still the J2EE project on hand. J2EE project’s teacher also wants us to be at the open campus event with her project. And we are now in this kind of situation: not enough human resources (only three people)+do not have required skills (first time using J2EE and little experience on java)+no alternative choice+limited time+work overload+pressure+stress.”
At that time, I was sick and impatient. Well, you were sick but you couldn’t even take a rest. I wanted no more work and wanted a break. May said, “Since they already chose us, what can we do? You can’t complain to them that you don’t want to do it. You have no choice but to do it.” May and I had small conflicts. I was saying that I didn’t want to do it anymore while May continued saying that we had no choice. There were silent wars between May and me. Finally, we decided to give up the J2EE project for the open campus and we divided tasks. May and Hsu took the J2EE project while I took the Java project.
The student affairs department informed me that I was selected as a candidate to represent UIT in the coming ‘Youth Track Future China Global Forum: Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ ceremony which would be held in Singapore. Other universities allowed many students to apply for that program. Our uni chose only me. I felt excited and I researched about that program. I found out that most people who would attend the ceremony were people with important titles such as chairmen, CEOs, and ministers. And they gonna discuss sustainable economy for ASEAN countries. I felt very proud of myself. I even read many economic books and analyzed current situations happening in Myanmar in order to be able to discuss with them.
JLPT N4 result came out and I didn’t pass. Well, it was one subject one night. The day for the ceremony which would be held in Singapore came nearer and nearer but there was still no reply. I asked the student affairs department whether there was a reply for me or not several times. I checked my mail almost every minute. There was no reply. It was the day when the ceremony was held. Only at that time that I realized that I was ghosted. I thought, “Every interview I tried failed. N4 exam? failed! And now I am ghosted? Is luck playing with me?”. I turned 20 years old in the middle of conflicts, stress, pressures, and failures. On my birthday, I went to the pagoda and made a small deed. I realized, “Life will never go the way you want! If you plan something, you should have the ability to act according to the situation or should have plan B, C, D, E, etc. You shouldn’t be too optimized about yourself. You should hope for the best but prepare for the worst!”
It was open campus day. Many projects which were developed by students were displayed. Many outsiders visited our university. The prime minister and other important government officials attended the ceremony, gave an opening speech, and gave a tour to look at projects. I still remembered that I had eye contact with the prime minister. We were busy explaining our system to visitors. One visitor who got interested in our system said, “If you want to continue the project, I can give you funding.” and he gave me his business card before he left. I was stunned by his words and thought, “Wow, for real?”
We didn’t continue our project because we knew that there were many flaws. Every year, our uni produces many flawed projects like ours. Only a few projects reach the stage that can be put into use. Since those projects can not put into use, why do we have to develop them? We have to give our time and energy. We have to deal with stress and pressures. After projects are done, nothing happens and we have to store them on our hard disk or delete them. What’s the point of developing them anyway? Oh, wait, if you don’t work on projects, you won’t get any marks. Instead of forcing us to engage in projects, why don’t they ask for voluntary choices? If students are interested, they will automatically join. Then, we can produce well-developed projects and put them into use for a better society. Everything we do here in an academic environment is for getting good grades. What’s the point of having good grades? Well, people don’t look at your skills, talents, abilities, personality. Rather, they look at your marks because marks are transparent while others don’t. And you are judged by your marks. There is something wrong with this system but no one wants to change it anyway.
Before private study days, there was an event for giving a homepage to teachers and for awarding. I(part of a team)got first prize in the MCPA FE quiz at the university level. During private study days, I was obsessed with the Founder of Diabolism, a BL web novel. It was my first time reading BL novel but I fell in love with the plot and characters. It was so great. Exam days came and it was one subject one night like usual. Mathematics overwhelmed me because there were three books I had to study while I had no concepts about it in my brain. Well, math is always a pain in the brain. I memorized problem types and steps to solve the problem. Exam days were finished. When the result came out, I got an A (80–100) in math. I thought, “Wow, for real? Are questions too easy or am I too smart?”
Holidays came. I felt bored and unproductive. I became uncomfortable when I was unproductive. I thought of many ways to make myself productive and I started writing. At first, writing was very difficult for me. I needed to know a large pool of vocabulary and grammar structures. Although I knew that my vocab range and grammar was still not enough, I decided to write anyway because if I was waiting for my perfect condition, nothing would happen. And I needed content to write. For proper content, I needed to study and it made me became lazier. Since I know myself the best, I decided to write my experiences and thoughts. Writing is a way to think out loud.
I took the FE exam. FE exam is important because it will decide whether you can apply for an internship at a foreign company or not in the final year. There are Japanese and Vietnamese companies that accept internship students from our uni. Because of my desire to live in Japan (I love anime. I love Japan), the first time in my uni life, I started studying before the exam was one month away. But, I failed. At that time, I felt that my world was crushed. I had some expectations for myself. When a person puts some effort into something, she starts to expect things. When life doesn’t go her way and her expectations are not met, she starts to feel negative emotions (disappointment or upset or sad) within her. For example, you are taking selfies. You expect yourself to look like a beauty who can downturn a country. When you look at images and see the real you who don’t reach your expectation, you feel super disappointed. Acceptance plays a vital role here. If you accept things as the way they are, your mind will find peace and you can plan for a better future.
After a one-month field study program, it was time for uni again. We became final year students. The teacher let us pick random numbers for project groups. I was in a team with people who understand the word, “shared responsibility”. All I needed to do was dividing tasks and working on my shared tasks. I felt relief. Because of my mismanagement in the usage of my monthly allowance, I faced some financial issues. I had to borrow money from my friends. I had to beg because of some pieces of paper. I was amused by the situation I was in. I became to understand why people throw away their morals when hunger(desire) strikes in.
I was watching three series almost all day. I was enchanted by them. They are Three kingdoms, Qin’s moon and Game of Thrones. While I was watching them, I felt amazed by the plot, creativity, acting, and many other brilliant factors. I even thought that my life is worth living by watching them. Yes! you should live a worthy life. My right temple was in constant pain and my right vision became blur lately. I became impatient because I couldn’t see things well. Because of the constant pain in my right temple, I pulled my hair near it for reducing pain. It worked and I decided to cut my long hair. I checked my eyes condition. The slender didn’t change but power increased. I bought a new eyeglass.
I had an appointment with my friends to play table tennis. It was Saturday and we were at ITTF(International Table Tennis Federation). There were many youths playing table tennis. Most of them are professional. I was just a beginner who was trying to play the game and my friends were pros. They were teaching me how to play but when I played against my friends, I felt ashamed for being a noob. I felt that I was not worthy to play against them. If you want to be an opponent of others, you need to be a worthy opponent for them. You can’t call it a victory if your opponent isn’t worthy enough. And you need to be a worthy person for you and for them.
Lately, when I spoke, I produced only negative words. I thought, “What the hell is wrong with me?” I even discussed it with my friend from HPC major. One day, I was browsing on social media and I saw an image showing two plants. One plant is growing healthily while the other plant is dead. One plant is told good words while the other is told shits. I realized the root of my problem. We were scolded all the time in class. It was still bearable if we were scolded three or four times a week. But it was almost every day except weekends.
Their everyday repetitive scoldings lead to one destination. They use different words, different tones, different approaches but all of them have the same meaning. They say that they were telling those words for our good but their words seem more like insulting words. They told us that they were too tired because they had to scold us almost every day. So, they gave up and won’t scold us anymore but they forget those words the next day and continue scolding us. What they want to say is, “We are the worst and useless.”
A lecturer asked clustering concept that she taught last year. When we weren’t able to give the answer, she told us “Go die” three times. That was a bit too much. Sometimes, they said things like what they are teaching gonna make us very successful in the future so we need to give full attention and memorize their lectures. Aren’t they just teaching notes from corporate-focused textbooks written by western people? That was funny because you can count the number of corporations by hands here in Myanmar. Of course, those lectures can help us a bit in our career but there is still more to learn. We were taught many subjects and only at a basic level. When it comes to projects, they expect us to produce professional-level projects. Giving us only 100 dollars and ask us to bring back 10,000 dollars. I think lecturers’ expectations and students’ expectations are two parallel lines that will never meet.
I was in my friend’s room joking around. When jokes ran out, we started to talk about various things that happened in our majors. One friend from the same major as me who is always carefree joked about lecturers’ scoldings. To my surprise, she was able to repeat all sentences exactly like them. I was just laughing but I knew that it was a serious matter. Other friends only complained that teachers scolded them too much but I believe that those words were buried deeply in their hearts. Words can act like a slow-acting poison. If you add negative words little by little into your mind every day, it will show its effects one day. I don’t know how other people took those words, but congrats to them, I almost turn into a cynic.
Well, my cynic-self spoke a lot. From an alternative point of view, maybe they are trying to train us how to work under pressure, how to work with stress, how to deal with customers who love to complain, etc. But living in such kind of forced environment, I’m not happy that I considered dropping out of university several times before. Because of my energy, time, and money I sacrificed for this, it was hard for me to turn back. And, my mom said, “You are not the only one living in this kind of situation. While others can do it, why can’t you do it? Continue to endure and, one day, it will finish”.
I become what I am now is because of the pain I went through, the experiences I got, and the lessons I learned through the way. Whatever I say, I should thank my university for providing me with such problems, experiences, and lessons. Because of my university, I learned how to live in a forced environment, how to deal with stress, how to work under pressure, how to handle problems, how to manage time well, how to manage stakeholders’ expectations, how to act according to situations, how to make thing looks work even if it isn’t working, and how to abuse my own strength. Those are soft skills that not everyone will have. Thank you very much.
Revolutionary news was announced within uni, “The uni will start using the credit system in the coming year, 2019.” The new system faced some resistance at first but it was implemented successfully. The point is, “Even if you implement the best system, if you can’t change the quality of the stakeholders within the system, the result will be just so-so”. The new system may have some external benefits but will it really improve the quality of its key stakeholders within the system?
There was a fresher welcome for the 7th batch. All our seniors, faces we knew, are not here anymore and many new faces we don’t know come in. We became the oldest and we also gonna leave soon. I thought about the temporary existence of things and unknown sadness came into my mind. In spring, old leaves have to fall and new leaves take their place. Just like that, the old leave and the young stay.
It was the night of Dec 31. “In the future, please don’t let me meet with irresponsible people, people who take things for granted, people who scold too much, people who love to use force. Oh wait, I can’t control those circumstances. I wish for myself to become calmer, wiser, healthy, happy, be more patient, and have the freedom and courage to chase after my dreams.” and I shouted, “Happy New Year!”
It was a pain in the ass year but I somehow managed to survive.
I have no intention to offend anyone. I just wrote my experiences and thoughts from my view and please note that things will change and people may change. I wanted to publish this on 31 Dec but there were some events and I was procrastinating. It took me six days to finish and it was one month late. And in 2019, many things improved to be better.
Jan 31, 2019
When your hair is dyed by the mist of time, I hope you can craft a smile by reading this. Dear future me ……
Thank you so much for all the great people around me! Without them, it would be too boring!