Sunday, October 28, 2012

My first month in Cambridge

I deeply apologise for my disappearance since before arrival in Cambridge. Now that I've been here for a month (arrival 25/10/2012), I can only tell you it's truly of an adventure, even it's just the first month of the six years I'll be here.

It has been a roller-coaster ride.  

Dream come true
When I first arrived, it was an early morning in London. A few of us (Livia, Samuel, Meredith, Kah Wei and I)  travelled from Heathrow on national express coach (after missing our bus as we had to drag our luggages while getting lost a few times). 
My heart beats faster for every mile we travelled towards Cambridge. I dont know what to expect ahead but I only know this will be the moment I've been picturing since the university application last year. I've kept it a secret from everyone but the picture I had in my head was a panoramic view from my eyes of the Gonville Court in my college. I sort of developed that imagination through the pictures I've obsessively collected from the internet a year ago.   
We arrived at Park Side finally and it was a sunny, windy noon. I gazed across the green. This place is amazingly beautiful. Old buildings, Caucasians everywhere, bicycles and that cool British air. No, this is still not the 'moment'. I must not lose my breath at just this. 
After being shocked by the sheer humongous size of my room in Harvey Court, I went out to look for the international students seniors in the town. I was directed to walked through King's College but I was completely clueless of what that was about to appear in front of me. 
The iconic King's Chapel! That moment, my heart was leaping with joy and it hits really does hits me - THANK GOD I AM AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY! 

Talk about having the brain drowned in gushes of adrenaline. 

A prologue to 'Reality'
During International Freshers Week, we went around buying duvets, pillows and so many stuffs to set up the room. My first non-Malaysian friend here is Pop, a really sweet girl doing economics from Thailand. :) I've also met my college family and learnt that my college dad, Matthew is a great philanthropist. Considered the book fees he'd helped me saved on, I can prove that to be completely true. Or rather, our family has really rich inheritance. ;) We went punting, take lots of pictures. Set up bank account and learnt how to use the library system. Went for orientation and not to be missed, the pub crawl. To be honest, I used to think I'd enjoy pubs, clubs and alcohols back in Subang (tho I never really had the chance, time, energy and money back then and it's relatively unsafe to go clubbing in Malaysia). Now that I've been given the autonomy to attend these events, I'm shocked that I don't have the interest to join in at all. I enjoy chilling over ONE pine of beer (rarely) and the wines over Formals, and that's about my encounters with alcohols for this month. I do feel left out at times when I browse over Facebook and see my medic peers partying the night away, but slowly, I realise this is the part of growing up people told me about - taking your own stance. Given this autonomy, I've also been given this choice to NOT attend it at all without feeling I have to succumb to all these peer pressure, unless it is my own WILL and INTEREST. I only have to do things I really ENJOY. Just say 'no' if that's not what I want. 

Next, I bought a new bike, which I was really happy with because it looked so pretty. It burnt a hole in my purse for costing 185GBP. It is a must to get a bike here for me because I'm just plain lazy to walk due to the distance between my accommodation and lecture site. On the third day, I was about to register the bike so I parked it outside the college gate  without locking it because there weren't any poles around and thinking I'd be back within minutes. When I came out, it took me a few seconds to register what happened - MY BIKE WAS STOLEN. I panicked, looked around and didn't see my bike at all. Called my mom, called livia but I wasn't in tears at all. Livia rushed over with Eythan and they too were very shocked. I remember my mom telling me, "I'm very disappointed at this incident because I've always had high-regards to Cambridge, as a place. Now that this has happened..."
This is reality. No place is perfect. It's a dream place to LEARN, not exactly a dream place to live happily ever after. But then again, I am here to learn, no?

Realising the urgency of having a bike, Eythan walked with me to get a new bike immediately. We went to lodge a police report, which I find it was a very pleasant experience compared to what we had to deal with in Malaysia (not to trash my own country, but it's just the sad truth). While walking to Mill Road to the bike shop, Eythan was bemused by my response towards this whole incident. 
"Aren't you sad at all?" 
"Surprisingly, no. I have no idea why am I laughing now." 
Sometimes, I too doubt my sanity. 

I had my first dissection. I had my first lectures. I had my first supervision. They have completely overwhelmed me. I didn't know the gravity of being of a Medical Student, here in Cambridge and here in CAIUS. It WAS the best medical college, which has lost it's glory a couple years ago. As part of the effort in regaining the throne, they will do absolutely anything - that includes, working us medics like slaves. 

We literally do more of what every other medics do in their college. They have 3 supervisions, we have 4 every week. They did 3-4 essays for this month, we did at least 10 up till this point. The course itself is not THAT difficult,'s the volume of information that we have to digest that makes this whole process so daunting.

My performance isn't that good for this month. I've stressing and working like mad but thank God for my friends and Jeeyen, my best friend who came from London to make sure I'm still sane visit me. They've encouraged me, especially the seniors in cell groups! :) And Jeeyen truly calmed me because she has also been through gap year like I did. 
"Give yourself some time. This is a completely new thing, new culture and what's more, you just got over a gap year. Give yourself time." 
I've been blessed with a really good anatomy supervisor too - Prof. David Riches. He has been really kind and understanding, experienced supervisor. He was the dean of medical school in IMU and has been to Miri before. He's apparently attending the same church as I do now. We shared quite some common topics to chat about over the matriculation dinner...I just feel obligated to 'love' anatomy now. :p 

I'm done with week 4. Another 4 weeks to go till winter break. Surprisingly, I really do enjoy working. People have been telling me I'm working too hard, stressing too much but I find myself enjoying this whole process. I mean, for every mistake I've made, I gained more; for every lecture, dissection, practical and supervision I attended, I'm more amazed by how God designed our body. I've lived with this body for 20 years and yet I've been ignorance towards its structures. I've only realise the existence of many parts on my body now... I have also been writing so many essays, sharpening my writing skills while managing my time well enough to join activities. I'm just, really really glad that I've chosen this course here in Cambridge.

My social life has been really great. I'm just glad to have this really great support from this group of Malaysians. I know people have been talking about how we should mix around to have the thorough, real British experience but sometimes, I could really use some sense of familiarity in this strange, new place. Thank you for being there. 

My spiritual life may seems to be starved by my work. But I think God's telling me more through the people around. It's all about who I think Jesus is and what are my priorities at the end of the day, don't blame work. Church, cell group and christian fellowship - I just couldn't ask for more! They have served as reminders throughout the week on the ultimate purpose I am living and working - for the glory of God. So when in stressful time, I always remind myself, I'm working for the glory of God through the strength and wisdom He has blessed me with.
Keep calm 
serve Him cheerfully. 
Besides, even after a year of drilling through the bible, I realise I still don't know much and this relationship with the Lord is still primitive. So I'm praying for this relationship to grow! :) 

So, that's it for half of my first Michaelmas term here in Cambridge. Autumn is coming to an end soon, I was puzzled by the whole daylight saving drama but work goes on! 

No comments:

Post a Comment