Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 in retrospect, and looking ahead...


Generally, 2013's been somewhat mediocre, and even though it should have been eventful (what, with my graduation), it turned out to be otherwise. Let's look back and see what happened, shall we?

So the year started with me planning my future. Or more specifically, which University would I be doing my Masters? I was putting together my personal statement for LSE, Exeter, Rotterdam/Erasmus, Nottingham, although I only sent in LSE and Exeter in the end. But it was a nerve-wrecking feeling, to not know where you will be in 9 months' time – much like what I am experiencing now. Thankfully, Exeter was quick to offer me a place - 14 January, to be exact. Masters, here I cometh.

Guild Elections month. I remember I may have lost my cool and, well, got a bit upset with how one of the nights went (Guild President debate, if I remember correctly - technical issues that weren't really issues - the issue with lack of preparation time and trying out new systems). Also, with each major event, I knew the clock was ticking for my time with Xpression and as Head of Production was coming to an end. Also, my 21st Birthday at the Vic was, with all due respect, a sweet yet awkward affair where almost everyone I knew was there, and while the plan was to head to Arena after the Vic, I actually felt a bit unwell (read: chundered - my alcohol tolerance was at an all-time low, following 21 dry days). I remember Nick Howe and Matt Bate taking me home, and we just played Slinky at my steps before I went to bed. An understated 21st Birthday. Oh, have to mention a special thanks to Alex Manning for abandoning his Valentine's Day plan with his girlfriend to come to my Birthday thing (I wouldn't recommend that).

March started with the news that I had been waiting to hear – The email from LSE came through, and I had received a Conditional Offer - an Upper Second Class (2:1) and I'm in. This was great news! Yes, I did consider running for XpressionFM Station Manager at this point, because I assumed LSE would reject me because it's been so long, but the offer sealed the deal - it's a rare opportunity, and I've been yearning to get to a less distracting (no offence) academic environment, I can't let this go. So, the Media Elections came and went, and I started winding down my Head of Production role.

I don't remember anything exciting happening in April, apart from NaSTA - took photos for it, and actually enjoyed the event - made me regret not getting involved with XTV more in my 3 years in Uni. Anyway, apart from NaSTA, I don't recall much else apart from revision and dissertation. Well, I say "dissertation", I actually went up to my supervisor and we discussed the possibility of getting an extension, seeing as I have 4 exams in May, and I did have a big sample for my paper.

Exams finished 18 May 2013 - my final undergraduate examination. And then there was the last ditch attempt to finish my Dissertation by 31 May. Flipped my body clock so I don't get distracted. And, apparently, it paid off. But to be frank, by the time the paper was in, I didn't care. In fact, I stopped caring 4 hours before I submitted my dissertation - I couldn't think properly, and I had no heart in reading through the 10,000 words to spot mistakes by that point. It was painful, to say the least.

Post-exams, and I'm still in the UK, enjoying the warm summer in Exeter as a graduand with no commitments. There was the Xmedia Awards, Sushi Night, Paignton Zoo, Beach Trips (went to Exmouth at least twice, and got sunburnt), watched E3 Press Conferences in the A&V Hub, Sushi and board games, and a trip to London for Wimbledon... sort-of.

Family got to the UK (barely - visa was only approved the Friday before the weekend they were leaving), and on Tuesday, t'was the Graduation ceremony. Change the world, I shall try, Baroness Floella. Starting with... the final Cheesy Tuesday (Lord, that was emotional - to think I'll never experience it ever again in the capacity of an Exeter student. And Nik, if you're reading this, my penultimate Cheesy Tuesday was much better - that's the one where it was just the two of us. :P). Anyway, post-graduation, the folks and I went to London to see where I'd be for my next stage of education - LSE. Looked around the campus, bought my core textbook, and jetted back to Jakarta.

Back home, I went to the family firm's office to shadow my brother. Had a bit of a tiff about staying in Jakarta to work for the company or, well, otherwise.

Work. Oh, and travelling! Because my parents are old and I've got nephews, and apparently, this is the new craze amongst upper-middle class families in Indonesia, we went on a cruise around Alaska. Think you've seen the photos on my Flickr, so I won't blabber on. It was... alright - not my thing, considering my age...

Visited Exeter for Freshers' Week, then moved and settled in London, in time for the start of my Masters - Shakespeare's Head and George IV beared witness to the start of new friendships.

SRA Nominations Announcements. Massively disappointed, not gonna hide it anymore - thought we'd get more than 2 nominations, but I guess it goes to show the calibre of entries and the competitiveness of the awards.

Student Radio Awards. Not gonna lie, 2012's was better. Not only because we won a Gold and got up on stage. Mainly because we went in with lower expectations and the night itself wasn't as enjoyable, once you've lost the magic of being an SRA virgin. Ah well... T'was probably my last, anyway. But in any case, congrats must go to Gareth Jones and Laurence Foreman for the Silver Award in the Best Entertainment Programme category - Wake and Bake shall live on...

My worst hangover ever - thanks to Mark Brazil for that - his birthday party was... well... mental.

Also, Christmas! Had a big dinner with my coursemates. (Some of us ended up in Tiger Tiger. That was fun.) Got the train back to Exeter to fix some Xpression stuff and to meet up with old friends. Came back to London, packed my stuff, and then left again - this time, on a plane towards Düsseldorf. For the first time in 10 years, I was back in Amsterdam and Germany - the last time I was in these countries, I was 11, and my grandma was still (barely) alive (she sadly passed away soon after we returned from the trip). Went to places I haven't been to in Germany - Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf. And to be fair, Amsterdam has changed somewhat in the last 10 years, and I don't remember much about where I went, so that didn't matter. Met up with Callum, Nik, and Timon. Did all the touristy stuff, had idle conversation on a Berlin S-Bahn, and learnt a bit of German alongside.

Came back, had a friend from my St. Andrew's School, Singapore days (i.e.: Reuben) over in London. Had a reunion-of-sorts with others from SAS as well - Alex Choo, Sara, and while we were in Leicester Square, I actually met someone who was my classmate back in Primary School, and is now at the same Uni as me! Small world indeed...

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So, that's a year in summary. Before looking ahead to 2014 with my new year's resolutions, I thought I'd score 2013 against the targets that I set myself at the start of the year...

2013 New Year's Resolution...

Academics & Job Prospects: 3/3
  • I will graduate with a 2:1 minimum, and a 2:1 minimum in my dissertation.
    (Got the 2:1, and a First in my dissertation. Ticked.)
  • I will keep in touch with my friends from Exeter.
    (Gone back 3 times, still actively in touch with people at Xpression, yeah, got this one covered.)
  • I will make it to a Masters Programme.
    (Yep. LSE, MSc Accounting, Organisations and Institutions.)
Society Stuff: 1.67/3
  • I will do a Breakfast Show in the new term.
    (Included this as a plug, apparently. Cheated.)
  • I will contribute to the best damn Guild Election Coverage, Varsity Coverage, and Busking Culture Show. (Didn't do much for Busking Culture, bar making a promo. Apart from that, 0.67/1.)
  • I will hand over every thing I do for Xpression by March.
    (Yeah, like that ever happened.)
Personal Life and Finance: 0.5/4
  • Personal Life Resolution 1
  • Personal Life Resolution 2(Not disclosing what these two resolutions are publicly - they are on my private blog, for the record. But I definitely achieved #1, although not to the extent that I had hoped, and I did not achieve #2 - that's all we need to know for the purpose of this tally.)
  • I will make it a point to do some form of exercise every week.
    (For as long as I shall live, resolutions like these will never be fulfilled. You'd think I would know this by now, but apparently not.)
  • I will not buy any tech stuff worth over £250/€250/S$500/US$400/IDR4,000,000. (Doesn't include bikes and cars, but does include Apple products, phones and whatnot. The only exception to the rule that I will allow is a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L ii USM Lens. Apart from that, nothing over the above-stated prices. Subject to change, with currency fluctuations.)
    Broke this one when I bought the Lumia 1020.
Total: 5.17/10. Decent. But not great.

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Now, looking forward...


Going a bit more generic with some of these... and more quantified with others.

> Get at least a Merit for my MSc.
> Become an MPhil/PhD Candidate.

> Get funding for the PhD.
> Don't ask my parents for more funds.

> Cycle a total distance of 365km with an app or my Heart Rate Monitor.
> Cut down on my chocolate, crisps, salt, Haribos and alcohol.

> Be nicer to others.
> Cut down on procrastination.

That's it from me. Happy New Year, folks.