Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Plymouth experience #2: All that jazz

Author: Lee Kah Yuan Jocelyn

The quote, “life is not a bed of roses”, is an accurate statement. There were fun times throughout my studies – hanging out with my friends till the wee hours, impromptu steamboats, eating supper with my friend, and the list goes on.  One of my absolute favourites is being able to travel and tick off my bucket list. The flight tickets can be insanely cheap, a flight from Bristol to Dublin was only £19. Yeah, you did not read that wrongly. It was indeed £19. I got the opportunity to travel to places that I did not imagine myself going to, especially at this age. 

(Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin)

I went to Copenhagen (that pork belly burger from the Xmas market was AMAZING), Malmo (Sweden) for a day, Dublin/Northern Ireland (I’ve a funny story from it… which was not at that point), Amsterdam (even though it was just for 4h since I was on a school field trip), Antwerp and Rotterdam to visit the port. For my [mini] graduation trip, I went to Italy for a short five days – I covered Milan, Venice [!!!!] and Verona. I also went to Cardiff for Fifth Harmony’s concert and to London multiple times. I wish I got to visit Bath, Cornwall and Exeter (my friends will totally judge me if they know that I did not go!). I’ve got nothing to complain about. Just that I’d love to properly tour Amsterdam, Rome and Florence but I’ll just save that for the future. I bought a snow globe from evert city/country I visited and my parents were annoyed with how many snow globes I have! *shrugs* 

(Giant's causeway, Northern Ireland)



The field trip I mentioned earlier… yes. I went for two field trips with the school – one to London and another to Antwerp/Rotterdam. I got to visit prestigious corporates of the maritime industry, like the IMO and Lloyd’s. Let me dream. I also got the opportunity to visit one of the biggest container ports in the world, Port of Rotterdam, as well as the Port of Antwerp. The exposure was amazing. I reckon if I studied locally, I would probably not have gotten such opportunities.  

(IMO office rooftop)

(Port of Rotterdam)

(Amsterdam, celebrating King's day)

As for the funny story in NI, my friend and I went for a day tour to NI. We happily left our passports in the hotel, and when the bus driver mentioned to prepare our passports (I heard the authorities do random road blocks, I’ve no idea) … dum dum dum!!!! We did not have our passports. Surprise, surprise. We whipped out our phones and started Googling but er, thankfully we did not need it. Yeah. Moral of the story? Just keep your passport in your bag. We were really sleepy, but obviously wide awake thereafter. 


Obviously, university is not all fun and games. I admit that I doubted my decision of attending university on a few occasions. I doubted my work. I doubted myself. All of those were just a phase, thankfully. During that period, I went out a lot more to Costa Coffee to just chill out and went window shopping *coughs*. A lot of money spent but at that point, I really prioritised my sanity more. 

The stress from assignments, exams and dissertation is not something that I will want to feel again. Oh boy… my dissertation. I stumbled so many times, I changed my contents a few times… and once, three days before submission. I did not do well for my first submission, but this motivated (or should I say, traumatised?) to do more. The outcome is… *drum rolls* I GOT AN A. I could not believe my eyes, I went to check my results for a few days straight. My supervisor is really amazing and I truly learnt so much from her. She knows what she is doing, and knows her stuff so she has the right to have high expectations. 

(Submitting my dissertation)

Throughout the whole period of time, I drank so much coffee especially during exam revision. Coffee and food (my parents came to visit with Chinese New Year goodies!!! My friends were in for a treat, too) enabled me to keep my sanity. No joke, I thanked the existence of coffee in my dissertation acknowledgement. What can I say? I wonder if my dissertation supervisor had a laugh and gave me an extra point for that. 

Some days I would feel sad for no reason (my friend and I were saying that we had quarter life crisis). A lot did not see all the struggles I went through because I chose not post anything about them on my social media accounts, and just assumed that I had fun all the time. I was annoyed, but again, I can’t blame them because it was my choice to not publicise it. I just did not see the point of doing that. Nevertheless, always bear in mind to rise above your struggles. You WILL come out stronger. 

If you are going overseas to study, all the best to you! Everything will be okay, don’t be afraid. : )  It is a great experience, give your best effort in everything you do and don’t forget to have fun! I would give tips for exams etc. but my results are just average so I don’t think I’m the best person to ask. I can only advise you to do whatever works for you.  

(Lecture hall at Plymouth University)

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