Stitching yourself at the seams

A piece by Loke J-Han

Living the college life is never easy. Many of times, we hear that they’re going to be the best years of our lives; of self-discovery, a clean slate, the pursuit of our dreams, and getting lost or staying true to ourselves. But it is also true that – these could potentially be the worst years of our lives.

It will eventually boil down to how you decide to see things. Many of us will live the life of instant noodles, sleepless nights, and dirty laundry. Rest assured, it will be one of your most memorable adventures once you’ve gotten through the rough terrain because when the going gets tough, it gets really tough.

You’ll live through doing close to anything to lower your rent or surviving on a pack of biscuits for a whole day. We’ve all been there at some point, and you will too.

At my lowest, and I was sharing a room with 3 other people and was eating once in every two days. That was four years ago. Looking back, I wonder how I was able to survive that.

What made me push myself out of bed every morning? It wasn’t an end goal of any sort. There was no joy in a day and time passed without me knowing. But, that was a long time ago. Now, I am pursuing my Bachelor’s degree as a full-time student whilst working 2 jobs.

Although I’m much busier than before, I’m happier.

The mystery is, I still wonder what actually gets me out of bed every morning.

“You have to”

These were the words that run through my mind when I attempt to begin every morning, with heavy eyes and a restless aching head. Maybe it was the “Chinese” that was drilled into me but I was taught that hard work always pays off. I’m no hard worker by any means. I was always that one kid that was held back or forced to stand outside because he never did his homework. Compared to lots of other people I know, I still consider myself to be quite lazy.

I don’t see myself as brilliant nor articulate but one thing I know is that I am relentless. I’ve come to understand that no one is on the wagon for 24/7 and that you’ll fall off every now and then. Sometimes, you may fall off on Saturday, and again on Monday. It’s not easy, the college life that is. Giving up at any point just isn’t an option and it took me a good 5 years of being at rock bottom for me to figure it out.


When you look at yourself and see nothing that you can be proud of, you look at others. The people around me are all absolutely amazing and inspirational to me. For them to be able to wake up in the morning, feel motivated, and excited to start the day is a miracle. Watching someone do something they enjoy and create something they’re proud of fills me with joy. When you can’t find your own happiness, share theirs. Be happy for your friends, cheer them on, motivate them and by doing that you might just keep some of that positivity for yourself.

Surround yourself with people who provide you with some form of positive affirmation. Even if it’s something as simple as “You look good today”, or a “Nicely done”. Find people who will laugh with you when you make bad puns. Find people who will try to understand your dark humour and sarcasm. Find people who will make an effort for you, and you should do the same for them.

“It’s okay”

It’s not easy coming to terms with many things. One that’s especially hard is accepting and hopefully, loving ourselves. It’s okay that you might not be as tall as you want to be or as skinny. It’s okay that you have a crooked nose and wrinkles when you laugh. These little quirks are exactly what makes you, you. These little quirks will also be the things that one day, someone will love the most about you. When you’re in love with someone funny enough, it’s all the things they don’t like about themselves that you seem to fall in love with the most. It’s these features that you want them to highlight and to embrace. If you snort while you laugh it’ll be the cutest, funniest, and sweetest thing that they’ve ever heard. It will take some time to get there and it will be a very long journey, but that’s okay.

“Stitching your wounds”

Truth be told, not everyone is going to be with you when you need them the most. A lot of the time, you might be alone. A valuable lesson that I’ve learnt is that we have to be our own protectors and healers. It’s those times at night when you feel like your whole entirety is coming apart from all of the pressure that’s building up inside of you, and you know you’re going to burst. That is the most crucial time to know that it’s up to you, and only you – to find a way to diffuse the pressure as you’ll find yourself completely on your own and alone. You have to learn how to fix yourself, and the best part about it is that once you’ve figured that out, you’re invincible.


Honestly, I’m far from figuring anything out myself and I thought that it’d be a good idea to share whatever that I have. Life isn’t the bad guy, it really isn’t. Sometimes it just looks like it is but the truth is, there isn’t a bad guy in every situation. Things get better, they do, but only if you want them to and if you’re doing your best to make that change. Give yourself time, and it’s especially important to understand that everyone learns and changes at different paces. Don’t compare yourself to anybody and put your best foot forward every day.

Life is like the weather. There are sunny days, rainy days, typhoons, and dry spells. And just like the weather we change from season to season. The trick to being happy is finding the joy in all of the days.


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