Sunday, January 3, 2010

My decade in review

A friend passed along a good idea of outlining significant parts of one's life in the past ten years. In hindsight, I had a lot of firsts during the last decade.

2000. The year my family visited the Banaue rice terraces and Sagada. The year I returned to Ilocandia and Puerto Galera thanks to requirements in my humanities and physical education courses. Two years into college, I decided to major in Microbiology, one of the crossroads that eventually led me away from the plan. Music was an outlet of stress; I was playing various percussion instruments as part of the live accompaniment to the dance troupe in their concerts.

2001. An election year, I missed my first chance to vote. However, the day after the election, my dad gave me the keys to the first car I was assigned to use. That year, I was neck-deep in finishing my B. Sc. thesis while juggling a lot of subjects. I also finally decided to forge a new plan, to follow an unbeaten path.

2002. I graduated from UPLB that year, and attended the very first conference in which I had to give a talk based on my B. Sc. thesis. Job hunting brought me all the way to Pampanga, with dad, grandma, and siblings in tow. Then I got my first job as a researcher, in which my note-taking skills were put to the test.

2003. The first time I rode an airplane without my parents, and my mom was in panic mode! Stepped into the Visayas for the first time: went to Kalibo (and got lost in translation) and to Boracay (loved the talipapa, but didn't like the water). I entered the food manufacturing industry, becoming a student of the art of stress management in the process. 

2004. I left the manufacturing industry and became a researcher once again; new boss, new accent to adapt to. From biology, I moved on to chemistry. To top the year off, the parents and the brother embarked on a new adventure on the other side of the world.

2005. A seminar I participated in gave an opportunity for me to outline where I would want to be in five years. One of my goals became true sooner than I expected: I was admitted to the USyd graduate school, but not knowing if I've bitten more than I could chew. On the first of several trips as a graduate student, I was able to see a shooting star for the first time. 

2006. I went to the land down under twice; there I learned that being new is not an excuse to not venture out and getting lost led to great adventures. The year I got exposed to different cultures. True to grad student form, I lugged the laptop along on vacation, typing at night after touring markets and parks, just to finish a major school requirement on time. My communication skills were also put to the test. I got myself a new car; but was really sad to part from the old one.

2007. Sleep deprivation became a way of life, as experiments I needed to finish dragged on deep into the night. Needless to say, my social life shrunk to an all-time low, a bare minimum. I transferred my enrolment to UQ when my supervisor went there along with some of his other students, though my research was still based in the Philippines. I frequented the 24-hour congee shop at wee hours of the morning with other night owls. My college classmates became full-fledged medical doctors, and we all gathered to celebrate –– one of the rare times I went out of the lab while the sun was still in the sky.  

2008. The year I wrote and submitted my Ph.D. manuscript. The final stage of thesis-writing felt like I had a terminal illness, and I am very thankful for the support that I received during the ordeal. I traveled several times, but I failed to see snow in winter (being inside the airport during a snowstorm) and didn't see a volcanic eruption (because I was on the wrong island). Nevertheless, I got to spend time with cousins I haven't seen for almost ten years and with my parents and my brother. At the end of the year, it was their turn to visit us and the grandparents.

2009. The year I stayed low and recharged my batteries. Recovering from burn out, as it turns out, is a lengthy process. Graduation day finally arrived. I started getting my social life back on track, participating in sports and performances. Photography was a hobby again since I had gained some spare time; and my hands became bruised once more, thanks to a brief return to percussion.

In retrospect, a lot has happened during the last ten years. It makes me wonder what's next for me in the next decade. I shall wait and see. =)