Indeed, in the 2 hours of chatting, I realised that whom I was talking to was no longer the Val I saw or I knew in the CPA class, but is a mature lady who is able to draw out lots of observations and analyse situations very well. She has grown so much... Val did not come across as one who would express her thoughts and opinion so well in her secondary school days! Haha... she was definitely one of those quieter ones, but we knew, she was a kan-cheong spider afterall... oh yes, Zubaidah and me had a fair share of her those days... haha... (of course, Zubaidah had another 'nightmare' that she was very proud of, too. Ah! Grateful of the opportunity to catch up with her. I believe I would see similar changes in batches of students whom I spent time with in the computer lab those days.
We spoke over lots of things in those 2 hours. Indeed, it accounts from coping the university workload and stress, based her own self-analysis of the challenges (and what gave rise to the challenges) that she faced these days... to mental models of elderly at home and society, as well as those good old teachers who had taught her in those 4 years. Haha... almost everything under the sun :)
I guess, no matter is work or study, stress is always there... I guess it really goes down to
- weighing what is needed and what one wants. And yes, what one wants have another layer: Are we contended with what's enough for survival or we wanted to strive hard enough to actualise our aspirations, which might be set higher than what we are capable of achieving (within our comfort)?
- realising that one is actually competition against oneself, rather than others. Take for instance, many a time, we felt good because we saw ourselves progress within the same old environment over the years. We were happy (and to some extent, tend to be contended or happy over the achievements). However, it's still comparison within the same old environment, still within the same wall. Only when one starts to meet people from other communities, then it's the 'testing' time to tell where we are.. and realise there's always mountains higher than those who know :)
Of course, another common 'topic' is really about the school where she had great memories for 4 solid years, and for me, more than 10 years!
- CPA & EOA Lab sessions - ah! Those were the days when all spent hours to work on the coursework
- The meetings at the benches outside the then-HOD room
- Her teachers... yes, and my ex-colleagues like Mr Lee SL, Mrs Pong, Alice, Zubaidah,... and even Mr Chua! haha... Yes, Val asked a very interesting question that would make us respond with a laugh, "Does Mr Chua still like to put on his pink shirt?" What do you think? Hahaha...