When I was 13, I knew I wanted to study in the States. It was a dream of mine – for various reasons, but the most important being that I wanted a change in environment from the Singapore education system. As much as I benefited from the school system in Singapore (known for being one of the best in the world) , I knew I was looking for opportunities to learn beyond the classroom . I wanted to experience , learn how to learn, be put in uncomfortable situations ; all which was less probable to happen while in Singapore.
The opportunity was sealed when I was accepted to Northwestern , just before I had enlisted in the army. In retrospect, the boy who got accepted was diffeerent from the man who actually walked into the campus. I had seen the gravitas of life and death in the military ; I had dabbled in the life of an influencer as a YouTuber , with movers and shakers ; even learnt tough lessons in grit and strategy as an entrepreneur. But I still gained so much because of the people and experiences I was exposed to – with a mix of #77breaths, a good mix of clubs and organisations, as well as a solid group of friends – I was what many people called “thriving”. I can’t wait for more.
But I have many people to thank for making the experience what it was for me:
Igor – Probably my best bro on campus; thanks for being by my side throughout the whole quarter. You were a real pal, and I would have never imagined that because of being in the same dorm and PA group we would have hung out so much. We’ve been through so many adventures I’m sure they speak for themselves ; but all I have to say is that you’ve been a great companion throughout them all – we’ll definitely rock this campus.
Jonathan – Shenkman! I’ll always be grateful for inviting me in as a brother to your family – for Thanksgiving and beyond. It definitely cushioned the feeling of homesickness – and I’m glad I was able to learn so much about “American” living from you. We definitely have had our share of “What on earth happened” experiences – and I guess it’s because we share similar goals in life. I’m always inspired by your commitment to sustainable energy development – very excited to see what comes out of it.
Jacob – It was probably our first outing to the Bastille concert that sealed it, but I knew you were a guy that I could chill with from the get go. We share so many similar interests and principles, I really enjoy talking to you. Thanks for all the crazy experiences (especially the Bulls Game Box Tickets wtffff….) and I’m really looking forward to 2015.
Joe – Blackman! Throughout all the brainstorming sessions we’ve had for our topsecret project – I’m realizing that you’re definitely the right guy for our partnership. You’re a very forward thinking guy, and more importantly we speak the same language – we understand what works best and we can act on it. I’m glad I found someone with similar principles to take on this project with and am looking forward to full execution.
Atakan – Probably my first close friend on campus. With our commitment to make #college, every bit it was, I’m pretty sure we were successful with the past quarter. Although you’ve become quite the jock now, I’m glad we get to find moments to chill and talk about how’s life been going. We have similar goals in life,and that makes our conversations so much more meaningful. See you in 2015
Derrick – 2 years ago when we met back in Raffles, I never thought I’d be talking to one of my favorite seniors on campus. Thanks for really taking care of us and for opening doors to crazy experiences for us. I honestly really enjoy hanging out with you and the guys and am glad we managed to do so much in the past quarter. Winter is coming, and we’re gonna make it rock.
Sonia – Throughout this whole quarter, you’ve been such a sister to me ; I’m so grateful for having someone I can just talk to and who can empathize with complicated old me. To think our friendship started out with that night washing shot glasses…. But here we are, and I’m all the better cos of the conversations we’ve had. Thanks for being there for me , and for being you.
To all the organisations that have made me feel at home:
My ISO Group – Aman (for being the best introduction to campus life), Christina, Gordon, Filippo, Jethro, Karan, Upasna, Sherry, Rachel, Alex, Shane for making the first weekend in Northwestern so much easier.
My PA Group – Prof. Ben Jones(for teaching us how to make the best out of college) , David Dent, Michael, Rafi, Fellippe, Jacob, Dan, Alana, Shannon, Niki – I’m glad I get to meet so many of you guys still , in random campus encounters. Familiarity is a comforting feeling
My Triathalon team – Jason (for being an especially inspirational leader, I learn so much from you bro) , Nicki, Renee, Nour, Rae, Michael, Robert , Johan, Anna, Theo, Zack, Emily R. , Emily B. , Allie, Daniela,Andrea, Meghan, Daniel, Patrick, Justin, Will E. , Will S., Kamya, Hadley, Rachel, Jessi, Naomi, Brian D., TJ, Will D., Nikhil, Paula – for giving me a motivated and extremely fun team to hang out with and train with. i always feel so energised around you guys and am inspired by every one of you.
NUSAF – Karen, Zining, Hongfei, Benjamin , Kenneth, Chen Ming, Jeremy, Juliette, Yadanar, Dexter, Elden, Keishel,Grace, Daniel, for giving me a home away from home. It’s nice to let loose them “lahs” occasionally.
Leo S, Leo H . (for being the Asian crew I knew I was always a part of , and making the weekends so fun)
Sachin, Sumeer, Ben, Frank M., Nate, Micahel, Brian, Rob, Ashvin, Kuba, Burke, Harrison, Alex, Joe , Shuyao – for opening doors to a true college experience to me , and welcoming me to your house for all them adventures.
To all my friends of chance and consequence – Alex, Isabel, Clark, Javi (the people who will always be known as the guys who woke me up on my first night) , Batu, Wyatt (24 hours of coding definitely brought our friendship to another level), Yannick, Sinan, Kaan, Cem, Erkan, Jonathan, Selin, Ipek, Nida,Anna, Abhi , Raghav, Mihir (for being bicycle buddies) , , Justin, WIll Wright, Madison, Shou (esp. for practicing German with me), Jason, Connor, Julian, Austin, Marko, Gabriela, John F. (we’re gonna change the world, I tell you), Gerardo, Jimmy, Vicki,Kathie, Brittany, Angela, Iris, Aruj, Tony Chen, Tony She, Ashwin, Suesan (Honours calc. did some good in bringing us together) , Sam, Hansen, Russell,Andy Duncan, Keaton, Ia (resident Tumblrgirl) , Nicole (who would have thought laksa would bring us together), Agam, Alana, Natasha, Carol, Erica, Tina, Hal, Katie D. , Amol, Rheeya, Daniel D, Leon , Henri, Dominique, Evan, Hannah, Parker, Pooja, Faye, Bryan, Noah, Chris, Ariela, Emily, Clemence, Marc, Dixon, Parth, Bharat, Levin, Leo, Aditya, David,Dino, Mira, Adam, Leona, Srishti, Rushil , Shane, Carolyne,Saya- for all making my Northwestern experience so much more richer. We’ve all had so many unique encounters that made me cherish my time in school so much more.
I’m looking forward to Winter quarter so much – with Rush, Mayfest preparations, Triathlon training and so many other things going on – there won’t be any shortage of experiences. And I’ll be doing it with people I’ve found to enjoy being around so much.
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
– Helen Keller