If you have followed me for the past months, you probably couldn’t have missed my whiny-self, who was constantly posting about exams, thesis, work or applications for my Master studies.
After I came back from Asia, a bunch of work piled up and studies had to be retaken. This was because before going to Taipei, I had to decide if I sit down and study for all the courses to pass them or to neglect some and work instead, in order to save up enough money to go abroad. I chose the latter. That is why when I came back, I had to study 1,5 semesters in just 4 months, go to lectures, meet with study groups and write my Bachelor thesis and a project paper which is like a mini-thesis. To make things even worse, two of the courses were Corporate Finance and Chinese. In Chinese, we had to write a paper and defend it in an oral exam .. in Mandarin of course.
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On top of that, I was still working 3 student jobs and a freelance one. Luckily I could most of them from home and only had to go to the office once or twice a week. Still, I was stressed. Most importantly, I had to pass all courses before the summer because I should be moving to China in August for the new semester.
And to really kick a girl while she is on the ground, a court case was filed against me due to a mistake of my bookkeeper. But now, I passed all my courses in time, I managed to do the workload that was given to me in my jobs, and I also saved enough money to go to Taipei and move permanently to Asia after the summer! 🙂 So how did I stay sane and managed all these tasks?
Put your mind on the important things first
When I left Taipei in January, I was heartbroken and you can ask my friends Cindy and Rachel, I cried so much at my departure.. loud and dramatically. But as soon as I was on the plane, I knew I had to put my mind on the important things that decide over my future. So still with tears in my eyes, I whipped out a napkin in the plane and wrote down the most important tasks I have to focus on. The lists had only a few things on it:
- Prioritize my choices for the Master programs and write the application
- Find a topic for our Bachelor Thesis
- Focus on passing all the courses and graduate on the regular time that’s given
The short list made me feel that things were doable. I can do it. So the next 16 hours on my flight back to Copenhagen, I wrote the outline for my motivational letter and the factors I have to consider when applying for that university. I sent my application 2 weeks after that day and I got admitted into the double-degree Master at Aalborg University based in Beijing (yep, its a Danish uni in China) in mid-April. The university sent me the student card already that month, so I stuck it on my bedroom wall. Until today, it was the first thing I saw every morning. It motivated me, and reminded me of the “bigger” picture I am aiming for, no matter how stressful the day will be – I know if I get through the tasks, I can change my life situation soon and be in completely new life setting. Which makes me come to the next aspect.
Motivation was what kept me going. I am honest here, some days I didn’t know how to manage this all and broke down in tears, while I still was on my laptop or in front of my books, stressed to get stuff down because I simply couldn’t afford to lose time. The thing that got me through this was me – motivating myself. I had the mindset that I owe it to myself to become the best possible version of myself and no one can help me with that other than me. How did I motivate myself?
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- Forget excuses
When it comes to the right mindset, I didn’t allow myself to make any excuses during the most stressful months. Because that was the time, I really needed a strong will and mind to pull through the day. So even if I studied all night and went to work the next day or to lectures, I still forced myself to hit the gym for 1 or 2 hours before going home, preparing meals and then study from 10 pm till 3 or 4 am again. Yes, it was tiring and I was frustrated so many nights, my mind spiraled and I also went through some emotional pain which even drained me more. I wished I could have a day doing nothing or meeting friends or skipping the gym – but no. The next morning I woke up, I didn’t allow any excuses for feeling tired or drained, and I powered through all these tasks again. Day by Day, until the goal was reached
- Be organized
I made weekly to-do lists, to see what I have to manage that week. To cross out the finished tasks each day motivated me – because I knew I can tackle it, one thing at the time. I also put things on the to-do list that I liked to do, like preparing meals for the next days. That was my way of giving myself a break while still doing a task I needed to get done. Of course some days, I was so tired and didn’t want to go to the gym at all, but since I promise myself that I had to go 3 times that week and I wanted to cross it out on my to-do list, I still went. It’s a mindset thing and once you realize these things will all contribute to a bigger picture and make you become a better version, you will doing it happily and without the feeling of “urgh I have to do this..”. 🙂 Small steps will build upon the bigger picture and this makes me come to the last point of this blog post.
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The big picture
Everything I did the past half year was to change my future life. I didn’t see myself studying and working in Denmark anymore and I wanted to go to Asia without taking a big risk. So studying at a Danish university based in China was the best way to start. Since the study schedule is similar to ones in Denmark, I don’t need to be in Beijing all the time – I can be in Taipei for months and just fly back for the exams or hand in the assignments online. The Master program is 2 years long and in the third semester, we have to do an internship, which I plan to do in Shanghai and again, not stay in Beijing. That way, I can learn about life in another Chinese metropole. After that, it’s time to write the Master thesis. I can actually be in Taiwan the entire time and write my thesis from there. So you might see, the bigger picture for me was “change” and daring a new, but calculated move to Asia, with lots of time in Taipei. That is why I forced myself to study basically every night, to work out and get in shape, to organize my work tasks, (and not forget about my blog) and to prioritize my goals.
Today I finished packing my suitcase and am ready to head back to Taipei in 3 days. This weekend, I will be hanging out with my friends and finally be back at the place where I left my heart. I will eat lots of delicious food, go out and sing karaoke and enjoy myself. The only reason why I would be awake at 4 am now, is to get a round of food with my friends in Taipei and not because I have to re-read finance.
The big picture is one thing that keeps you going – but the real happiness is the feeling after you made it. The heartbreaking moment at the airport, when I left Taiwan in January seems so far away now. At that day, I didn’t know when I will ever have the lifestyle, these friends, culture, and life in Asia back. Now, that moment seems so far away – but it was only half a year. Six months aren’t long. I am so happy and proud that within that time, I managed to step up my game, finished my studies here and find a reasonable way back to China and Taiwan. You can’t imagine how happy I am to be back in Taipei this week 🙂
Lots of love, Tuni ❤
Have you read my previous article? I graduated! About my Asian parents, background and our chances 🙂
German-born Vietnamese📍 based in Taipei
Co-Founder @arn.gency + @ouran.studios
#TaipeiTuni #BeijingTuni #TuniTravel #CPHTuni
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