I can’t remember when or how it happened, but at some point in my life the ink on my pen was running dry. I filled my days with blank pages, as if all I could see was hundreds of flat lines; a heart monitor. Perhaps it was during my teaching days; standing in front of strangers with sweaty palms, tightened knees, and a bottle of anti-anxiety pills in my back pocket.
Maybe it was the silence.
Just then I knew I had to decide. I knew it couldn’t go on forever.
There was something about leaving home that was really attractive. It was the notion of a brand new start, a new pen to write with, a page to write on, new names to remember, and pavements to tread. But most importantly, it was the plunge.
How terrifying the plunge is.
So, one day, I decided to submit my application to an Australian University. Then I took a long hard look on my sheltered life in the Philippines, and I boarded the plane.
Being an international student is like being a child all over again: crying for that bottle of milk. You have to relearn everything, only this time you have no parents to guide you. From how to say a word, or where to go, what to do, how to act, and who to be.
It is a reshaping of identity.
And so I had to carefully choose where to study, because I knew little of the culture and people in Australia. The pressure of fitting in and being accepted was crippling. But gladly, I made the right choice.
Like any other great novel, film, or story, comes the unexpected twist! And settling into the university was not as hard, and far from what I imagined.
Thank you La Trobe.
The campus is beautiful with plenty of trees and far from the haste and hustle of the city. The people are wonderful and have treated me fairly, from the lecturers, to the staff, and the students. I’m truly grateful that La Trobe gave me an opportunity to be part of the university. With that I can finally let go of my bottle.
By Haj Songcuya