More or less three years ago, I sat at in front of an education counsellor, choosing where to go - UK or Australia.
Never in my wildest dream I'd imagine that the poor kid who grew up through poverty, had the opportunity to make the choice whether or not to further his study one day, and even better, get to choose to do it oversea.
When I was little, I hated the fact that I had to live in a small house with so many family members. I hated the fact that I never had new clothes - it was always prior owned by my sister, counsins or neighbours. I hated the fact that we can never afford to travel, and I can never have a pair of shoes. I hated growing up in a developing country, but it never affected the way I lived life. I hated, but I never bothered. At 14, life took a change and my dad was able to start his own business. We since, led an affordable life.
When I made the decision to leave my country, all by myself, to a country where the first language is my third language, I didn't know how much of an impact it will make. But I was set - when I got to wherever the hell Adelaide was, I was to extend my arms and use my full potential.
I was going to offer myself, in every way possible, and one of them was through Reach Out! (www.reachout.com.au) and Inspire. The other, through doing well at uni.
Both of which I did successfully. Three years gone, and tonight, I lie here in bed, with my laptop on my lap, listening to "With arms wide open", and ponder upon all that I have achieved and CAN achieve. And I am satisfied.
I have been named top students many times, received a number of awards and got a few letter of commendations. And I have done everything I can for Reach Out!. And these past three years, I wouldn't be able to achieve all these if not for the suppression and adversities I have to overcome through poverty. If not because I was over and over again convinced that I can never achieve anything because I was poor, I would not have give it my all when I was given the opportunity.
And these past three years, I have heard so many life changing stories, life can and will never be the same. The past three years, I have made some of the most amazing and inspirational friends, and friends who are there when I need and don't need them. Friends who are willing to listen to me, and ignore me when I want them to.
Who knows, and who would have imagined, the black haired, yellow skined asian from a developing country, surrounded with so much love, and given so many opportunities to shine.
And today I pay respect and thank each and every one of the people who have crossed my life, and touched me either directly or indirectly. As I draw a close to my first degree - graduating in a month time - I think back to the day I sat at the education counsellor's table. I think back to the time I spent most of my childhood barefoot. I think back of all the dreams I had. And I think back to all the "if only's" I thought about all through childhood.
And today, I realise that the reason I achieved all that I have, is my willingness to accept whatever comes my way. To make full use of every opportunity, whether I was successful or not at the end of the day isn't exactly important. Because what defines me is not what I have been through or how I look like, but that willingness in me, the decision I make... to dare to dream, and dare to shine.
And today, I ponder upon the things I have achieved, and I dream of the things I can achieve.
Three good years.