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Why I decided to start a business

“Pursue your passion they say, follow your dreams they say!” But what if you didn’t know what that dream or passion might look like? Often times, as young people we mould our ideas and perspectives based on whatever is around us. So like most Singaporeans going through the public system of education, I was surrounded by the idea that STEM was the way to go. I was good at it, liked it, and was convinced that I loved it.

In Singapore, there is an abundance of research/STEM exposure for pre-tertiary students. Personally, I’ve participated in Math Olympiads, and research symposiums during my secondary school days (high school equivalent). And I really did enjoy it. I could see myself doing that as a career- or so I thought at the time. Currently, I’m coming to the end of my second year in university, doing a major in Life Sciences. While I still enjoy what I learn, these past four semesters have allowed me to open my eyes to what I am good at and what I am genuinely interested in. I had come to university with the end in mind: study life sciences with a minor in psychology. That’s it. My STEM background in secondary school and junior college (pre-university) had really shaped my motivations in what I wanted to pursue. I could not imagine myself doing anything else, because how could I when I did not know what else was out there?

Now comes the meat of this post, why I decided to start a business or more precisely what changed my career perspectives. So in my first semester, I took what has now become quite a dreaded module for all ‘non-computing’ undergrads: CS1010S. CS1010S is basically an introductory course to programming methodology, in my case it was taught in python. The ONLY reason why I took it at the time was that it was a compulsory module for all faculty of science undergrads. Let me tell you, as someone who was never exposed to the idea of computing, it was a pure nightmare. And it was not just because it was difficult for me to learn, but there seemed to be a stigma towards the subject in the first place. The other students from the faulty of science that were taking the course with me had a very discouraging attitude towards the module. It seemed that everyone was taking it for the sake of completion. I guess I picked up the same sentiments along the way. After the module, I knew I enjoyed learning about it but I told myself I wouldn’t touch computing again.

Fast-forward to my second semester, I was seriously considering a change in my major. I questioned why I was still studying what I was studying. A friend of mine was going through a similar crisis and we talked about what we would seriously consider doing after graduation. Would I be satisfied with doing research? Why am I afraid to venture elsewhere? Those were the questions in my head and that was the beginning of some serious thought into becoming self-employed. And so it began: the two of us started throwing business ideas back and forth, but nothing concrete was ever done. Dreamers on a cloud. Another semester passed, and I was still lacking direction.

Finally, enough was enough. I was either going to stop dreaming and do something about it, or stop dreaming and move on. I chose the former. I actively sought out ways to improve myself in terms of the technical skills I would need to start a business, interestingly enough that included taking another programming module in my third semester. Despite struggling to learn Java (a whole new world beyond what I did in my first semester), I was so glad I did because it really got me interested in the power of technology in businesses and problem-solving.

January this year, my friend (now business partner) and I have started on our milestones for this year. We began our marketing research, which is a topic for another day. I switched my plans to a business analytics minor.

Now, why I’m sharing this is also partly to document my journey but at the same time, I hope to encourage young people (in Singapore especially) of two things.

  1. Don’t be boxed in by what you choose. (There’s still time to explore other options.)

  2. If you want to do something, make small steps towards achieving those goals. (As cliche as it sounds.)

 

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We make this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.

Yesterday morning, as I was eating in the dining hall, someone came up to me and said hi. Here’s how that conversation went:

F: “Hey Jan, how are you? I saw from over there and saw you with your eyes closed for so long.”

J: “Oh, I was praying.” I smiled.

F: “What, oh sorry. Usually people pray really fast. Is there so much to be thankful for anyways?”

J:”…there’s always many things to be thankful for, especially for surviving this hectic week.”

H: “Yea, she always prays very long (before meals), and that’s a good thing.”

I’m really fortunate to be living in a time and place where I’m able to openly practice my faith. People in my RC, for the most part, are very understanding towards their Christian friends who say grace before meals. I guess the more you are around people of different race and religions you tend to become more empathetic when you understand their practices.

At the same time, I’m very fortunate to have meals with friends who say grace too, because I feel that our prayers together are so much more beautiful.

So whether or not you practice praying regularly, I just wanted to remind y’all that if you take time to reflect, there’s definitely a lot of things to be thankful for.

And there’s no need to rush through saying grace, you realise you’ll enjoy your meal a lot better.

monitor the condition

The patient’s condition has finally stabilized…*phew*

All vitals look normal. 7:45PM.

Good work everyone.

. . . . . .

What’s happening?

I’m not sure, but it was alright a minute ago! The readings are everywhere, she might go into a relapse. Her heart rate is erratic!!

I need a dose of 200mg of peace and 500mg of faith. STAT.

On it! …Patient’s condition is worsening.

Maintain the airway and breathing, we’re not going to lose that easily. Hold on, I see the source of the haemorrhaging. It’s much deeper than we thought.

Must have ruptured from the previous procedure yesterday.

Everything is going to be fine. Everything is going to be fine. Everything is going to be…

Heart rate is declining back to normal. I wonder what’s wrong today?

Didn’t she just go for healing treatment at the Ministry of Acute Specialised Surgery unit? The damage must have been pretty bad.

 

Grateful for your loss

You know the saying,

I’m sorry for your loss.

Well we all know it’s in the context of someone passing away, but what about physical objects that we lose? Most of us go into an epic panic after misplacing something, or knowing that we dropped our favourite wallet filled important cards and money, somewhere along the way home. I speak from experience, so I know I’m part of this majority. But recently, I misplaced not one, but two three things this week. Yes, that’s right.

It all started with me dropping my matric card on the way to mass last Friday. And I remember thinking, should I go for mass or turn back and look for it???? I went to mass. But my mind was in a complete state of panic (see previous post letting go), something in me was triggered by that incident, I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had in a while. I wasn’t necessarily worried by losing the card, but something in me was so attached to the failures and losses(yeah, pun intended) that I’ve been having over this semester, that it all came flushing back. I never let go, I merely repressed it. And that was so unhealthy.

Next to go was my folder with my tediously completed math assignment. Well this one is more of a non-loss because I thought I lost it and I really just lost my mind. I was angry and upset with myself again for making mistakes. But I’m a matter of a minute I found it in my bag. Silly me.

Last to actually say goodbye was my trusty wireless earpiece. By this point, I wasn’t really sad about the things I had lost, even though I really miss that pair. I just knew that it was gone, if it comes back it does, if it doesn’t then that’s okay.

Losing your card, doesn’t mean you lose your identity in God.

If there’s one thing to take away from all of this, it’s that I’ll always be grateful for the loss of my physical objects. When it happens because of us, that’s okay, we aren’t perfect in the things we do but we are perfect in God. When it happened because of other people, well even more reason we shouldn’t be upset and angry. I just hope that I don’t forget this and listen to the soft endearing call of God, reminding me that it’s okay Princess, those things are replaceable, but my love for you isn’t.

I’m home for the weekend, and yes there’s another pile of endless work to be done. Next week, I hope to apply for my new matric card and continue on towards finals, living life to the fullest without the worry of being sorry I lost something.

Casting all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you. —1 Peter 5:7 NASB

Hellü friend please don’t run away

LSM2231 lab session was pretty fun today when we had to monitor the respiration behavior of mealworms and crickets. The crickets were super jumpy. One of them even jumped out and had a tour of the lab.

When crickets are kept at lower temperatures they should have lower respiration because their metabolism lowers, hence breathing less. We didn’t really get to see these results but issok I had fun.