Wow, classes have officially been in session for a month and the time flew by. Although we’ve only had 3 full weeks of classes, I feel like there’s already been so many assignments and notes to take. One big difference is that classes are an hour and 20 minutes opposed to 50 minutes at UF. I often find myself nodding off in class so then I quickly drink some water and place a cough drop in my mouth to slightly wake me up. It’s only happened in two of my classes, but a goal of mine has been to not fall asleep at all in class. Great goal, right? Oh, I also went to Singapore last weekend!
Being one month in, I’ve realized many different things:
- It’s been difficult for me to have an actual sleep schedule and stick to it. I often find myself staying up until midnight or 1:00 AM just working on homework in the library, but the time I walk back to Hall IV it’s already half past and then I need to decide, should I shower tonight or in the morning? Pretty much, should I stay up even later or wake up early? Typically I decide to shower in the evening, but a few times I try to be ambitious and think I’ll go to the gym in the morning and then shower — that’s happened about 3 times so far.
- I feel substantially less productive here which is a problem. Maybe I’m still adjusting to getting into a routine. This was barely ever an issue for me at UF, but for some reason, I just am not as productive here and that really has been bothering me.
- I’m spending WAY TOO MUCH TIME on my phone. I really tried minimizing my time on social media when I was back home, but I find myself on it all the time here, which is likely contributing to my lack of productivity. I feel like I’m in a weird spot though because my only way of communicating with people back home is via social media/phone apps. So if you notice my communication with you decreasing, know that it’s not because I don’t want to talk to you, but for the sake of being as present as possible, getting more sleep, and being a good steward of my time I need to be more mindful about when and how often I am on my phone.
- I need/want to learn another language (or two or three)! I know this isn’t an easy goal and is rather ambitious, but I’ve met so many individuals who speak multiple languages and I find that so fascinating and practical.
On a more positive note, being one month in I’ve learned many great things as well:
- I’ve spent much time with people from around the world so I’ve been getting to learn about what their life was like growing up and about different customs and values and even different styles of English! My friend from Ireland was telling me about a list of words they use that we don’t use back in America, and that’s been really cool.
- I lowkey feel like a pro MTR user. Not much of an accomplishment given people use public transport all over the world but coming from a place where you pretty much only drive a car, I would consider this a win!
- I got to visit Singapore! (I’ll talk a little more about this next)
- No matter where a person is from, you have more in common than you would think. Yes, there are many differences, but also many similarities. I want to challenge you to take time to get to know people who are different from you – be it political, social, racial, sexual identity, religious, or ethnic differences. Take time to talk to people, after all, we are all humans with incredibly different experiences and that’s a beautiful thing!
Singapore was so amazing. Consisting of influences from India, China, and Malaysia, I might actually argue that Singapore was one of the most diverse places I’ve been as far as cultural influence. Yes, I think Hong Kong is incredibly diverse, but Singapore was something different. One added bonus was that almost everyone spoke English which made it easy to go around the city. It’s hard for me to describe Singapore in a few words, but I enjoyed how there was a big city area but also small communities within – Little India, Chinatown, an island called Sentosa, Downtown and the Bay Area. There is also this one street called Haji Lane which had such a hip atmosphere – chill nightlife, live music, little shops and boutiques, some bars, and restaurants! Singapore could certainly put a hole in your wallet if you aren’t careful, but it is possible to travel there on a budget. The Singapore Dollar is fairly close to the US Dollar so unlike being in Hong Kong, when something says S$100, it’s much closer to $100 USD. The food is pretty affordable though, between S$5 and S$10, I even got some delicious butter chicken and rice for about S$3!
Besides food, there are some great tourist attractions and cultural/historic sites that are free of charge for entry. From temples to mosques to churches to gardens and light shows! We walked across the Double Helix DNA Bridge and went to the Marina Bay Mall, saw Sands Resort from the outside because we likely couldn’t afford to stay there or go to the rooftop bar, walked through Gardens by the Bay, and made our way to Sentosa to handout at the beach for a little.
Quick confession: I messed up big time. I originally scheduled my flight to return to HK for Sunday evening since I had class on Monday. Our class was “canceled” because our professor gave us a documentary to watch on our own. I decided to reschedule my flight to return on Mondy morning which was only an additional $63 USD (or so I thought). Unfortunately, Paige at 2:00 AM didn’t realize the 24th was Sunday and not Monday. What was even more unfortunate was that I didn’t realize the mistake until MONDAY MORNING when I was already AT THE AIRPORT. Little did I know I missed my actual flight. I thought to myself, “Nice going Paige, you’re an idiot.” Thankfully, it didn’t break the bank, but all I can say is the price I paid to get back to Hong Kong was about the same price if not more than a round trip ticket from Hong Kong to pretty much any other place in Southeast Asia. Yeah, not my most proud moment, but I learned something. I learned to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check and double check the dates on a calendar and on the ticket. Honestly, it was worth it to have a second full day in Singapore, but was a rather embarrassing and humbling experience, to say the least.
Okay, a few last things. The other week I actually got on the “wrong” bus. I thought it was the wrong bus, but God’s always at work. I sat in the back next to some random guy. I then asked him what his name was and if he was studying at UST. Barakeel told me he’s here for his master’s degree in engineering and he’s from Cameroon. He then asked me if the ring on my finger was a wedding ring, I replied telling him it was a purity ring to which he responded, “Oh are you a Christian?” The conversation continued and long story short, he actually connected me to someone who leads a Bible Study for one of the campus ministries at HKUST! HOW COOL IS THAT?!
Back at home, I got a wonderful mentee through Cicerones! Welcome to the Fam Jam, Craft (Sarah too)! I also just found out that I was selected to be a CAP Mentor and I am so excited for this new opportunity to learn, grow, and give back to other students in the Warrington College of Business! Praise God for new opportunities and responsibilities!