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  • Jia You Station

Its never too late to start, Or is it?

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Going with flow

As far as I know, there are two types of youths.

Youths who know exactly who they are gonna grow up to be, who have planned their lives out to the tiniest details and have every idea on how they are going to achieve it. The “high-achievers”, so to say.

And then there’s us, everyone else who have never really thought about it before. And for most of us, I feel, we end up taking conventional pathways in life simply because we always think there will be time in the future to “start thinking about it”.

I was in the latter group. Throughout my JC, I felt that my decisions were rarely my own. I was either following what my friends were doing, or I took the “safer” choice. Choosing subject combinations and even choosing whether I wanted JC was ultimately decided by what others thought. Fear constantly drove me away from making any “big departures”. For example, “What if I go to Poly and lose passion for my course? How do I know what I want?”. As such, I resided in my own safe bubble.

Looking back, I went into JC with the wrong mindset, thinking that it was easier and safer, and most importantly, something that will give me time to think about the future. Ultimately, I was not interested in growing and exploring, but simply going with the flow and hoping that I will end up somewhere meaningful. In the end, I could have studied subjects that would have been far more useful to what I am pursuing now


An eye-opening experience

My wake-up call came while I was serving my National Service (ironically). Army was a melting pot of perspectives of people from every walk of life. Even though most of my time was sucked away by NS, I felt like it was lowkey a break from the constant pressure cooker of studying. For the first time, I had time to pursue what interested me, like cooking and investments.

I actually got into programming through exploring investments. As I researched investments, I was fascinated by many of the tech companies like Tesla. I have always thought that coding was a bunch of “0”s and “1”s. Finding out that coding was so profoundly more complex, involving countless rows of commands, was eye-opening to me.

I got lucky that through NS, I got access to Udemy for free (TOP TIP for all NS boys, remember to check out your free Udemy subscription). It is an online knowledge bank that teaches virtually every single skill imaginable - from Excel sheets to playing guitars. I started learning the basics of coding, through the course ‘2021 Complete Python Bootcamp - Jose Portilla’. Slowly I grew, going from the basics to really testing out what I had learnt, fiddling with simple games such as tic-tac-toe, and using apps to program simple code and getting it right slowly through trial and error.

That was how my journey in Programming began. In coding, every line of command unlocks endless possibilities for how your programme can be executed. Everyday, I learn something new that fascinates me. I am currently changing my entire course of study in University, and I am very sure that this is what I wish to pursue in the future.

Programming is such a versatile skill. It can be applied almost anywhere, like a virtual swiss army knife, and isn’t that amazing? No matter where I go, I feel as though I wouldn’t be trapped as coding is like a key that opens many doors. That’s what made me fall in love with coding.


Looking back

I am definitely grateful that I eventually tread onto the right path - the path for me. Yet, sometimes I think about all the opportunities in life that eluded me because I did not dive deep into my passion back in JC. My school even offered computing as a subject we could take and I should have seized that opportunity. That would have really been paradise for me, to be able to dedicate myself fully to study what I love and love what I study. A structured curriculum would work well for me to accelerate my learning, so that I can try more advanced things like coding a website in a more protected bubble.

This is why this is the ultimate moral of the story that I want to share: Start early! That would have helped to build up my portfolio, through my pursuit in coding, going for contests and competitions, which could help me stand out from others.


Programming your future ahead

We are always told that it is never too late to start. That is not wrong. However, we should not misunderstand this and forget that ultimately, our own actions play a massive role in helping us discover who we want to be.

Finding your passion may not always be an easy process and definitely takes time. It’s up to you how much effort you want to put into it. Taking that first step to do what I wanted made all the difference. What matters is not giving up on the search, there would naturally be failures in the search, but won’t that make the successes all the sweeter.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to challenge the norm and explore your possible passions. Don’t be too afraid of failure, after all that's part of the learning process. Pick yourself up and try again. Instead of having the ‘It’s never too late to start’ mindset, try having the ‘It’s never too early to start‘ mindset and see where that leads you.

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