Follow your heart


As someone who is stepping into tertiary education, I have been thinking a lot about what I can do to lead a fulfilling life.

Unlike most of my peers, I chose a path less taken. After graduating from high school, I joined a student exchange programme in Germany and spent almost a year abroad.

While others may not be keen to spend one long year overseas that does not give you an education certificate, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Of course, when I made that decision, I was well aware of lagging behind many in the “rat race” to obtain that coveted scroll.

In Malaysia, society seems to be driven towards achieving education in the shortest possible time. Hence, students would opt for the usual route of high school to a pre-U course (in one year if possible) and then university (to graduate within three or four years).

Thus, by the age of 23, they would have graduated and started seeking a job or aiming to earn their first million.

There are many people out there who struggle to conform to this societal pressure. As a result, they give up golden opportunities to pursue their own dreams and passions.

In my opinion, it would be a real waste for individuals to just give in and let others dictate how their lives should be. I found a lot of meaning in this quote by Harley Davidson: “When writing the story of your life, don’t let others hold the pen.”

Life is about many different experiences. Through these we gain much of our knowledge. Not only does it help us make sense of this complex world, it also makes us a fraction wiser each time.

This brings me back to my point that we should not just care about that piece of recognition but also realise that life experiences are equally important because they help us mature in our thinking.

Furthermore, a person needs to have good interpersonal skills to communicate with others, which very often come with time and exposure.

So, why don’t you think about what really matters to you and whether there are doors open for you? If there are, do take some time to consider them because opportunities are not easy to come by. Life is so much more than just a race to the end of our imaginary finishing line. Always remember that. 🙂

The writer is a member of the BRATs editorial team. BRATs is a young journalist programme organised by R.AGE. If you have a story or event you want the BRATs to cover, email the editorial team at! You can also message them on

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