Saturday, 16 January 2016

My 2015 in Review and 2016 Resolutions

Hello everyone! HAPPNEW YEAR!!

While I was scrolling down my blog to see the number of posts I have published in 2015, I was shocked that I only wrote 9 posts last year! From the first year I started this blog, which was 2013, I had 24 posts, then in 2014 it increased to 38 posts. In 2015, it drop to a unbelievable low, nine!! This is unacceptable. At this point, I realised I need to set a goal for the frequency of my blog postings, and monitor it, so that I can achieve something that I will be proud of by the end of the year.

I reflected and realised the main reason I was not posting as often last year on this blog was because I was considering if I should move my sharing and postings else where, like on a different platform, such as Youtube (by doing Vlogs instead of Blog posts) or move to a new domain. This is because the site traffic on my blog here is quite low and I don't think I have significant amount of followers and that kinda dampens my spirit to continue writing here. Honestly, I can say this about most bloggers. What's the point of writing articles and sharing stuff when you've got few to no readers following?

Now, it's time for my review for year 2015!

Highlights
1) I got into The University of Melbourne!

As many of you know, I posted an article about me being accepted into Melbourne Uni in July 2015, which you can read about it here if you haven't already done so. So, that was an amazing and happy news for me at that time, to be able to get in to one of the top universities in Australia and in the world.

2) Joining some fantastic student organisations in Melbourne

While in Uni, I joined societies like Melbourne University Toastmasters Club (MUTM) and a non-profit organisation called the Australian Federation of International Students Inc. (AFIS)

In MUTM, I was really excited and happy to have won First place for the internal Table Topics Contest and able to represent the club to compete in the Area contest in RMIT University. I should have blogged about them, unfortunately I couldn't find the time due to a packed study schedule. Sadly, I did not win any places for the Area contest. But as always, it means there is room for improvement. I also learned many new things from my fellow competitors.

In the semester, I went up for several Table Topics sessions and completed my CC#6.

As of Nov 2015, I was elected as the Secretary for the 2016 MUTM Committee which is fantastic because this means I can serve my fellow Toastmasters community with my very best. 

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I first joined AFIS in August 2015. I loved every part of it. I joined initially as a Projects Officer, working in the Projects Department to help organise events, contact potential speakers or instructors and manage casual volunteers. In October 2015, I applied to be the Projects Director for the department for the 2016 term. Unfortunately I did not get the position, instead I was offered the Deputy Projects Director position, which is still awesome. Indeed, the current director who I am working with is much more experienced than I am, and I am super fortunate and pleased to work with her.

During the few months in AFIS thus far, I have already helped out in several fun and interesting projects, such as I Am FIT 2.0 and Spring Bazaar.

3) Starting my own body scrub line
During the Spring Bazaar, I tried selling the handmade body scrubs I made, 30 jars with 6 different scents. I did everything from scratch, such as sourcing for ingredients, buying the jars, asking my friend to design the label for me, printing the labels and also making the different scents. It was not very hard to do all of the above. I did all that in a week. But what is really really tough was Marketing the Product! After this experience selling at the bazaar, I finally understood why it takes a lot of hardwork and excellent strategy to launch a business and make it successful. I sold a few at the bazaar (not very happy with it) but it is exciting to know that I have tried and actually meet my goal of making a product. Right now, my products are selling on Etsy, feel free to visit my site and purchase if you are interested. 

4) AIESEC exchange in Hanoi, Vietnam for 5 weeks
Final awesome highlight of the year was my volunteering trip to Hanoi, Vietnam on a sex education project called SEXPRESS Winter 2015. It was a fabulous experience flying alone to another country for the first time, staying there for the longest time ever besides going to Australia to study. My team and I conducted three workshops on topics like safe sex, contraceptions, STDs, gender, sexuality and #TaketheWheel. The final project was particularly memorable but I won't tell you why now because "My AIESEC Experience in Hanoi Vietnam" series is coming up soon and when you read it, you will know!

Setbacks
Well, not everything is smooth-sailing throughout the year. I also faced difficulties too. People who know me personally will know that I don't deal with academic-related stress that well. So this year has been 30-40% difficult because of that. So number one on the list is of course:

1) Stress
In the beginning of the year, I was aiming to transfer my undergraduate degree to continue in Australia. I applied for Monash University and Unimelb. Thankfully, I have a lot of support from my family to help me pull through some stressful times during the first semester. 

During the second semester of the year, I was already in Melbourne. Surprisingly, anxiety episodes didn't come by so often. Perhaps it was because the situation forces me to be independent and take good care of myself, so I believe my coping skills have improved because of me moving to Melbourne.

Anyways, all were good eventually so I put a smile on my face again!

2) Rejected applications for jobs and volunteer roles
I applied for many jobs in Melbourne throughout the semester. Sadly, among 20+ applications, I was accepted for only two roles, which are AFIS and MUTM. I wanted to volunteer in Lifeline Australia to help man the suicide helpline but unfortunately the staff asked me not to apply because they require my visa to be at least two years which I do not have.

I learned from this experience of being rejected many times that it is in fact very difficult to find a job in Australia if you are not a Permanent Resident. But still, I will not give up. I will continue seeking for opportunities and apply even though it takes me hours to write up a revised Cover Letter and Resume because I know I have the ability and passion to work for the jobs that I apply for. So, for all International students studying abroad, don't give up if you can't find a part-time job yet. Keep searching, the right company will hire you and you will be able to contribute for what you love and be paid for it!

What's up for 2016?

My Resolutions

1) To see some results of my effort on this blog
This includes actions such as:
*Being consistent in posting (twice a week during vacations, and at least one a fortnight during semester)
*Expand the blog's visibility - either by hosting in my own domain, diversify into Vlogging on Youtube and/or Guest posting on other people's blogs
*Expand the blog's reach to benefit more people, students in particular.

2) Improve my studies' grades
I want to do extremely well in this year's subjects because it is a crucial year for me. It will determine whether or not I enter into Honours year in Psychology

3) Build up my day-to-day discipline
With discipline, I can do many things efficiently, I will use my time more wisely. Some things I will start to do are:
*Sleep and wake up at around the same times everyday
*Doing my assignments a few weeks earlier

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So, What was your 2015 like? What are you going to change this year?

As I write my post, it's a process of reflecting what you were your experiences in the previous year. If you have not done a reflection in writing before, I encourage you to do it and really implement the changes you say you are going to. This is how we all can improve ourselves and move forward to greater heights in life.