2017 – Reflection on life as a student

By Najmi Mamat

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. – George Santayana

A famous quote which appeared in the first chapter of History text book during my first day of learning the subject in my secondary school. It is still fresh in my mind.

It reminisced me with the past days that I had been through as a high school student, where I bet it was similar to others, who would never realised how fast time went by until we considered it as ‘history’.

To some, every year is a brand new chapter that every single person would anticipate, while to the others, New Year means a golden opportunity that comes once in a life time to set new goals and new resolutions to achieve better things in life.

For some, it’s time to turn over a new leaf. Some of us don’t have much time to rewind the bad things that happened because they want to reminisce the good stuffs with all nice folks around them. No matter how essential it is, it only takes a few seconds in oneself – to grow up with more matured thinking and to continue life with no regrets.

To know others’ thoughts on what they have done for the year, I interviewed a few of my friends to share lessons they have learned as students throughout the year 2017. The different answers to the three similar questions given by the students showed just how colourful students’ life is.

  1. Achievement as an abstract goal

Starting from a small accomplishment was enough to tell that achievement is like an art – very subjective to some who felt satisfied, relieved, enjoyed and yet happy with the results. Therefore, the biggest achievement to Faiz Rahim, 22, was all of his little achievements that he had reached. He gave an example of his habit of consistently doing his hobbies, despite time constraints.

So, do you see how people interpret achievement?

For Amirol Najmi, 21, he set an ultimate “big” mission this year – to pass the Professional Examination. Being a Medical student, he felt satisfied with himself, as he was able to have all the information on his fingertips. Hence, he survived another year in Medic school.

Fazira Fairuz, 21, mentioned her “written achievement” in a long list of her new experience in managing different commitments but came out at the end to sum up that she had subjective achievements throughout this year.

“To learn, discover and improve myself is the most important achievement, especially in terms of managing stress, emotions and time,” she expressed.

Another friend, Aliff Nazrin, 21, measured his friendship as a level of achievement. He succeeded to get more friends from local and international backgrounds, he saw it as a good experience to describe this whole year.

  1. Failure is a learning process

Amirol remembered his failure in a sports competition day. He only managed to secure the last place in all categories. He admitted that he was born with no talent in any field of sports, which made him think he deserved the “loser’ placing.

But, does failure totally close all the doors?

To some, failure is a quick reminder to them as a person who needed another few steps towards success. For Arman Mohd, 21, he interpreted failure in a different way. He had no failure in his daily life because he saw failures as a positive measurement of success.

“Whenever I failed to do something, I don’t really see it as a failure but as another stepping stone,” he replied. To him, learning from mistakes in life is about a process to become a better person.

Meanwhile, I love to mention my friend, Azreen Azirinee, 23, who had a common resolution like the others for their new year –  to observe eating habits in dietary, or in another words, to reduce her body weight. However, she was being remorseful of herself for remaining in her comfort zone – sitting in the same group of people and doing the same job that she already swore not to repeat it.

Unlike Aliff, who managed to make his circle of friends become wider this year, Azreen realised that she did not achieve her goal to have lots of friends as a student who studied in an International university. That proved her choice of staying in the comfort zone of friendship.

Meanwhile, taking friendship as a serious matter in life, Aliff Nazrin told IIUMToday that his experience of losing a friend this year was a failure he encountered. Miscommunication was among several reasons which he had to leave his friends. He regretted that their friendship could not be mended again without a firm reason.

  1. Surroundings as motivation

Some people around us do influence us so much to the point of keeping our life going.

Fazira considered intention as a prime objective from day one she started any task.

“I would write it in my personal journal and read it again when things got really difficult to remind myself the reason why I started anything,” she pointed out that her journal is indeed helpful.

Nevertheless, Fazira thinks that people behind her are the real motivators in everything she did. She described people around her as problem solvers for any obstacle she encountered. Deadlines were pushing her anyway, but she had people giving her the moral support to go beyond her limitations.

Azreen set a goal for herself, and that goal has pushed her to maintain her pace throughout the years. The goal was set up because she put her beloved family in front of her mission. Not only to strive for a better job after graduating from university, but also to achieve her goals targeted only for her family.

Amirol also agreed that the people around him are those who kept him on the track. He regarded family and friends as amazing idols and he loved the way that they inculcated positivity in him. He himself was also a part of his motivation because he believed changes within ourselves have the power to change everything.

Reflection towards success

Until the last moment to think about what you have learned in the year, those three lessons that derived from my three simple questions were enough to reflect – what you had done, the pains that you endured and what supported you to keep going until now.

Reflecting does not distract your journey, rather it prepares you for the future. Thus, reflecting is a plan to achieve what you want, not to keep repeating the same mistakes, and to filter who you want to be with, along the journey.

By now, you should pat on your shoulder if you have already prepared with a new monthly planner of 2018 or perhaps a new calendar.

Another famous quote that I’m pretty sure most of us have come across: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

So, let’s start planning for success and pray for the good things to happen in life as we ushered into the new year. Happy New Year everyone! ***

Najmi Mamat

Travel. Student. Notebook.

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