2013 was, without exaggeration, a life-changing year in my life. On the 1st of January 2013, I was hoping for a lot, but nothing was certain yet. Gradually, every single thing I’d been working hard and praying for came true - I submitted a thesis I was proud of and which eventually received a very positive feedback. I graduated with honors, which may sound silly, but I really wanted to maintain an as good as possible GPA and perform well in my graduation exam. After staying up the whole night in front of my PC and hypnotizing the screen, I finally learnt I was chosen among the University of Tokyo Research interns. And a short time after, I was informed I was accepted to all three MSc programs I applied for, after a long consideration I chose FIPDes, and a couple of weeks after received confirmation of my scholarship. I got in an unhappy relationship, but realized soon enough it led nowhere - and I met Gerald at the end of August and we’ve been officially and happily together since the end of September. Even though my MSc has been full of stressful moments, hard projects, lessons I’ve never seen before and days when I barely had time to sleep for three hours, it has also been a very enriching experience, with satisfying results.
I am very very grateful for this experience - I have been in situations that would have made me cry a couple of years ago, but now I feel that whatever I will encounter, I will be able to solve it. I have been working with a very heterogenous group of people - culture, age and education-wise. I have wronged people, I have been wronged by others, but most importantly, I established friendships across the globe and got to know many amazing people I would never have met if I hadn’t left my country. I think I gained a more global perspective and I’ve been slowly realizing that I may not be always right, even though it’s very hard to admit. I have been challenged a lot - be it international groupwork, managing a big research project, living on my own in a foreign country or travelling and changing languages all the time. I have to learn new things on a daily basis, but it is very stimulating.
And I already know that 2014 and 2015 are going to be equally, if not more, amazing - you’ll learn very soon why!
And at the end of this post, I would like to give encouragement to everyone who dreams big or feels unhappy with his or her current situation:
Nothing is impossible, you just need a strong determination, willingness to work harder than others and self-confidence. Grab every chance you can to do what you love.
It is OK to wait and prepare and go at your own pace. If you don’t loose focus, you’ll get where you want to be someday.
Don’t fear changes - hate your major? Apply for another. Is your relationship more stressful than happy? Break up. Your life is too short to be spent in pain. Sometimes, quitting is a better option than pursuing a dead end. Once you’ve made the choice believe in yourself and work hard on your future - be it a new professional focus or a new love life.
It’s hard not to envy others - but transform envy into your drive for going further. Look for options to improve professionally and personally. Some people may seem to have luckier circumstances, but with hard work and strong will, you can get wherever you want.
Nothing is as hard as it seems at first, so accept every challenge coming your way. It will make you stronger and more prepared for those coming next.
I really wish all of you a happy and fulfilling 2014 and may all your dreams come true!