A whole bunch of emotions inhabit me right now. But there’s one in particular that I want to home in on and vent out.
Sitting at my desk and seeing the piles of books by my side, I can’t help but feel distraught at the thought of giving that up for a scientific career. I love languages and literature so much. These are the things I’m good at; they are what my brain is hardwired for. They flow through me and I fill my hours of freedom with them.
But I can’t study them in university – because it’s fucking Singapore. It’s Singapore, where you can only be successful if you’re a doctor or lawyer or engineer; where you can only be successful if you study fucking science. It pisses me off so much to think that I have to give up my passion, what I love so much, what flows through my veins – to conform.
I think about my peers who are studying these subjects, being all artistic and philosophical. And it burns in my chest, how jealous I am. I look at M, getting accepted into Multilingual Studies in NTU. I look at A, studying linguistics in NUS. MB and P are doing English Lit. And I am so jealous. Why is this expectation imposed upon me? Why am I expected to do science just because I “have the brain for it”? I’m not smart. I don’t feel smart. I’m not a genius. Especially not when I’m doing science. I grew up with inaccurate and misplaced praise for being “smart” when in fact I’m just mediocre. I had to work ten times as hard as smart people to get the grades I did. But I’m not sharp. I don’t have the acumen that some people do, and I just don’t think I’m cut out for this.
I want to delve into the world of words and pages and rhythmic sentences – not numbers and figures. It’s not me. It’s the wrong skin; the wrong soul. I want to scream and push everything away. It gets so daunting and scary sometimes to think that I’m already going down this path into a science career and it may simply not be for me. It’s terrifying to think that I’ve already given up my dream when I told myself I would fight for what I wanted. I’ve already gotten a place in NUS Science. Is this where my soul starts to die? Where I start to lose my colour and become another mark on a black-and-white sheet of society?
Am I going to live my entire life with this acrid sting of jealousy and regret?