August 16, 2016

Revising Directions and Goals.

By Aldric

It’s August 2016. A lot has happened in the past 8 months, but at the same time nothing has. When it comes to goal reviews, I’m late by 2 months. Nonetheless it’s important to re-evaluate one’s direction. Taking the time to reflect on values and priorities set against the changes. Anyway, there’s a lot to re-examine. For this entry, let me just focus on one: undergraduate studies.

Ever since dropping out of Law School in 2008, I’ve always harboured ambitions to: (1) pursue an undergrad course, and (2) take up law once again. I’ve researched various colleges and universities with either part time or distance learning options. After my short stint at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak (SUTS), full time courses are out of the question. The students are way younger than me. I doubt I can cope with them.

I’ve always questioned why I want a degree. It’s simple really:

  1. Social progression: An undergraduate degree is seen as a minimum requirement for today’s modern society. It is more of a rite of passage. A validation of one’s faculty. Where advancement is concern, it’s a badge of honour many yearn in this day and age.
  2. Academic progression: After an undergraduate’s programme, I hope to pursue postgraduate studies. Perhaps a Master’s Degree followed by a Doctorate. Of course by coursework. At the doctorate level, think Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) rather than Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Yes, you can learn the knowledge and information from all over the Internet. A stamp of recognition from a recognised institution is different.
  3. Personal Accomplishment: Failing my law degree left a bad taste in my mouth. No, it is not my former university’s nor lecturers’ fault. I accept full responsibility for my foolish actions back then resulting in my dismissal. The only way to redeem myself is to go beyond where I left. It’s not so much for job security or career development. Rather it is to answer that question: Am I good enough? (Please do not quote that Christian book having the same title.) It does hurt to see my former classmates who successfully complete their studies, whether in Law, Business, or other fields. Will it mean that my life is complete? I doubt it. Naturally I will always yearn for something better over time.

As much as I’d like to pursue Law once more, I cannot see myself practicing in the field. Back then, I wanted Law because it was the logical stepping stone towards a long and illustrious career in politics. Knowing what I now know, the odds of me going into politics is so slim. I think the odds for an A380 to fly through a moving needle are higher. Yes, politics continue to intrigue me. But not as it used to. Not as a player, but an observer. A student of human behaviour in opposition, support, or indifferent.

And that is where I see myself heading towards. A student of human behaviour. How and why people think and behave the way they do, individually and collectively. From the understanding of human behaviour, it is easy to see how it is expressed in commerce, codification of norms, mores, and morals. The ascent and decline of trends. Understanding what is said, how is it said, how it is not said, taking into account words that are employed, not employed or avoided. Human behaviour leaves ripples. Think of a boat moving across the lake. Or a submarine crossing the straits. Even stealth submarines leave its trace. What more to say human behaviour!

Being in the social data analysis field, I have the opportunity of understanding how those behaviours and attitude are expressed online individually and collectively. As a volunteer in a non-government organisation (NGO) focused on raising awareness for HIV/AIDS and safer sex, I am able to observe the various dynamics in human relationship, internally and among communities. Since 2008, I’ve been on this copywriting and communications journey: words and behaviour to persuade or dissuade individuals and masses. There are triggers to cause action or the lack of it. How is this happening? Why? How can we replicate it in our daily lives?

So it makes sense for me to continue in a Psychology degree. After all, I am already enrolled as a student at Wawasan Open University for its Bachelor of  Arts (Hons) Psychology programme. Why not complete it? If I’ve been dropped, there’s always the Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) at the Open University Malaysia (OUM).