Thursday, March 20, 2008

Too Many Dreams, Too Many Choices

One may say I have too many hobbies, some may say I am over-ambitious, others may say I am a "jack of all trades, master of none few", and my mother would say I am mutli-talented no matter how much I beg to differ, but I always, always get a major headache everytime someone asks me "What do you want to study in university?" or "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Many adults think these questions are fairly simple and straightforward and thus bombard little kids with them. While many teens have made their minds firmly on what their ambitions are, be it medicine or engineering, I have come to a conclusion that most kids my age cannot perform the task of deciding what they want for their future careers any better than I can. But why is that so?

I attended a seminar in school several weeks ago done by some people from Sunway University. It was called "Mind Makeover". This is what they said about the reason why many people don't know what they want to do:

1. Fear - eg fear of failure, not knowing if they are capable or not.
2. Uncertainty - too many courses, too many choices - what to do??!!
3. Dependant on others - many prefer to stay in the comfort zone.
4. No power - eg financial constraints, no family support...

The solution? Mapping your future:

1. Change your mindset - stay positive!
2. Self-assessment
- personality - must enjoy what you do
- passion - the things that push you forward (like in Happy Feet, find your heart song!)
- strengths
- values - belief system (work for money or service?)
3. Research occupations - education pathway, salary, work conditions, future outlook
4. Set your career goal - plan ahead
5. Research on potential institutions
6. Check financial aids

So I took their advice and assessed my abilities and passions, and then I got an even bigger headache... crap!!


1. Arts
Arts here refers to the area of drawing, painting, sculpting and stuff that gives pleasure to the artistic eye. I have always dreamed of being a famous artist like Pablo Picasso and Da Vinci, but I have seen too many talented street-side artists barely making a living because of lack of opportunity and business strategies.

2. Music
Lately another one of my dreams would be to become a famous musician in a Christian band like Hillsongs or Planetshakers. When I was younger, I thought I would like to be a professional pianist, but I realized that only the most gifted prdigies can make it to the top, so I changed my mind and now I want to play for God. In fact, I am already playing for God but I'm referring to my dream of doing it as a career. I also want to be a songwriter, and currently I have 9 complete songs as well as a whole file of unfinished songs that I hope to work on after SPM.

3. Design
I dream of being a designer - interior and exterior designing as well as electronic designing, internet designing and fashion designing. During my weeks of study before PMR, I would doodle on pieces of paper, drawing houses and clothes and whatnots when my parents were not watching because I couldn't stand studying for long periods of time.


1. Believe it or not, one of my dreams is to become a teacher - an English teacher at that. While I wouldn't mind teaching Science or Maths, I dream of taking up English and education because I love the language and the people who teach the language. This desire was mainly fueled by my father who is also an English teacher, as well as my favourite English teacher of all time, Mdm Anita Wee from SMK Batu Lintang. Nevertheless, I also dream of taking my PhD in this field and become an English Professor with the title Dr. Samuel Lis!

2. Literature
Ever since I was very young I have begun writing poems and short stories for the reading pleasure of the people around me. Sadly I have never kept most of them because I either gave them to people or I decided that most of them were too childish, but now I regret it. Now, the poems I used to write were simple ones that were strcutured and rhymed properly like a Malay pantun but of late I like writing poems with no definite structure.
I also have another file of many pieces of paper that contain many, many ideas for stories and novels that I have never had the chance to start. I have only one semi-novel which is called Warflare but it's too cluttered to be called a finished product. I also hope to work on them after SPM.
My parents keep telling me that this hobby can be done to complement a "proper and more stable" career, but I dream of being a famous writer of best-selling novels anyways.


While this is not so much of a dream than just a side thought, I may end up starting my own tuition school to teach high-level English to school students who find their English syllabus boring and unchallenging. I may also open a bookstore or music store or art store filled with all imaginable art supplies. There really is an endless possibility in the field of business because just about everything and anything is or can become a big money-making business.


Notice how I placed this option as the last one? Because this is not exactly my dream, but an ambition seemingly forced upon me. Now, it's not that I'm not interested in Science, because I am, but I have come to resent it slightly because my parents keep telling me to do science, "must become doctor!!"

I have grown in an environment of health science because my mom used to be a nurse and is now a lecturer, so most of the shelves at home were filled with books on health, the human body and biology. When I was little boy, bored and restless with no computer games or TV, (my parents disapprove of electronic entertainment) I used to open those anatomy and physiology books and read through everything although I had no idea what they meant. Now, as I study Biology in school, I begin to understand more and more, and so I was nurtured to have an interest in human health. Naturally, I would seem to be on a direct express train to doing medicine just like my two elder sisters - three doctors in the house!

But no, I decided long ago that I have a "Science brain but an arts heart". I may be able to do Additional maths easily or solve Physics problems with one eye closed but I have never really enjoyed doing Science. OK, so that's a small lie to convince myself that I do not like science, because in reality I enjoy doing differentiation and graphs, and I love Chemistry because it explains so much about everyday life, from rusting to polymers and fats. However, I dislike Bio for the one reason that it takes so much memorizing to score, and I don't like memorizing at all! Also, for some reason, I feel so stressed when I do Physics. I don't know why.

In conclusion, I will definitely not do Engineering, I think. I might, however do architecture as it involves drawing. I might do something related to Chemistry, or I might do medicine after all because it is soooo noble to provide treatment to the sick, but... I might not?

So, there you have it, my passions, abilities and ambitions. Too many choices! Besides, I am studying in Science stream right now, so if I were to study arts for tertiary education, it would be a difficult shift.

As the poet Robert Frost wrote in the poem "The Road Not Taken":
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could do not travel both...

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