My 7 Life-Changing Realizations

In the nineteen years of my life, I have had several realizations that either thrilled or saddened me. But don't fret; after all, the gains are inspiring lessons.

1. The reality is irreversible.

In middle school, I read a piece of writing titled “Forgive but Not Forget,” which presented a simile. Even if a nail is unscrewed from a piece of wood, a hole remains. As a remedy will not change everything back to the previous state, do not drive the nail in the first place—that is, do not hurt others with the “reassuring” belief that apologies will erase the harm.    

2. Express explicitly.

My mother always educates me that if I feel grateful, I should not hesitate to show my gratitude. The explicitness applies to any other positive emotions. In Orientation last year, some talks focused on explicitness of giving consent and delivering refusals. When expression is too vague or subtle, the communication may fail since the intended recipient does not realize the existence of the message.

3. Whoever has the power can speak for self and the powerless.

The above statement, which I learned from history of colonization, is self-explanatory. The follow-up learnings revolve around “speaking”—cherish the opportunities to speak, help others speak instead of patronizing representation, and examine knowledge production with a critical eye.

4. As one after another left me, I grew up.

I gained this lesson from Memories of Peking, a book exploring transition from childhood to adolescence. After the protagonist’s friends, nanny, and father leave her, she realizes that she is no longer a child. The truth applies to me as well. As I grew up, some family members passed away; I had to say farewell to classmates when I needed to attend a different school. Time flies. Therefore, I devote myself to documenting the past, valuing the present, and looking forward.

5. Be bold to ask.

This enlightenment fits into academic contexts. Every time I have questions, I will ask teachers/professors. I do not feel shame for having and showing confusion, and I am really thankful for people who are always there to help me.

Image from Flickr

6. “Read thousands of books and travel thousands of miles.”

This Chinese saying is my motto. Reading and traveling complement each other, always.

7. Believe in the power of accumulation.

As a learner, I found out that breaking a huge task into pieces and achieving little by little on a regular basis could be highly efficient. A daily basis has benefited me for learning foreign languages, writing books, and creating a poem portofolio!