Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Motivation of the Week: Think Good of Others

Dear blog,

I realised something coincidental and funny. It seems like my favourite blogging day is Tuesday! :) It's been awhile that I realised since October that I enjoy or always think or feel like blogging on a Tuesday. And today proves that Tuesday is definitely my blogging day. Maybe because Wednesday is usually a half day, lectures just till 1 pm then I have fun activities like the HUG event, gardening for Volunteering week and gym class and many more fun activities on Wednesday so maybe I feel more relaxed to blog on a Tuesday? I am not sure hehe

So, less of an update from me in this post and aim to write more motivational. But if you fancy reading a quick update>> Well, today is the time of the month so I came home earlier than normal and decided to relax, eat fruits, have hot milk and then took a nap. I rarely take a nap in the day. I can confirm confidently that the number of times I take a nap in the day is less than 10, maybe even less than 5. Because I do not like taking day naps. I prefer sleeping early but only those rare days that I do not feel well that I do. So today I felt like being on the verge of getting ill, throat, nose and the time of the month that I do less physical activities. I feel that the first few days, ladies do not force yourself to do too many physical activities. I was planning to stay for yoga but my body did not feel like being in college once I finished at 4 pm so I went home early. Although my mind was telling me to be productive and stay for gym class at 5 pm or at least yoga at 6 pm, I listened to my body saying no I wanted to go back home and rest. 

Ok so back to motivation, in this article I would like to point out the importance of thinking good of other people, other humans and other creations of God. I read an article today about a girl with mental health on BBC News: The Story I Read Today. It was really touching.. imagine what things she was thinking. She was feeling low of self-worth that even someone's laughter can frighten her because she thought they are laughing at her. She felt very insecure. And she could not even ride her horse because she felt that she was not good enough. 

Dear readers, when I read this, do you know what I gain out of it? Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is the importance of being kind. If I met her on the street or was assigned a project with her and did not know her well, how would I perceive of her actions? From her behaviour, it seems like she would not be very pro-active in group discussions or even take part in any activity or be committed to any task she is given because she cannot wake up and have the motivation for the day. You see, if someone never experienced this, how would they know? They would be immediately annoyed and think negatively of the other person. People seem to be not understanding of the things they do not know. This is not a great fact but it is true. People think that other peoples' lives are all great and perfect and rarely give the benefit of the doubt. If someone is behaving strangely or not how you expect them to be, it might be something difficult that they are facing. They might not be too open to tell you about it because you are not very close to them or they do not feel that they can tell you. So what is the solution to this? Communicate respectfully and be kind. Spreading kindness has its power that nobody can understand or explain. It spreads warmth and creates a connection between people. Sometimes with that kindness, only the other person opens up. Just like me. I do not open up about anything I am facing unless I feel that the other person genuinely cares and can give me good advice or just supportive words. 

Also, speaking of confidence and self-worth, different people have different ways of gaining or developing their self-confidence. And recently I realised that social media is actually a platform that some people use to overcome homesickness, feel confident and to get any attention that they are deprived of. Of course, not everyone who posts on fb posts for these reasons but I know some people that do. I never actually thought of this that social media gives them a positive impact and helps them overcome sadness/depression or negative feelings but to me, if it helps them feel better then do. It is nice to share about your life (not everything of course) but it's nice to write it like how I enjoy writing in a blog and then reading it again after some time. I also have recently enjoyed this FB Memory reminder thing and it makes me so happy to see old pictures. This and the fact that I have been convinced by a few friends that sharing on social media more often brings more good than bad, I have decided to be more social media friendly. I am more open to sharing nowadays and yes it does make me feel happy. As for me, I like the feeling of being genuine and living my little private and happy life doing what I enjoy and do best. I like the feeling that I do not need to impress anyone but Allah and myself and this is something that I  try not to change because I can feel the vibe on social media that many people are trying to impress others. To me, if someone wants to or gives me the opportunity to be their friends or be part of their lives, then I am not a difficult person to be close to. I often need that assurance, otherwise, I would just be casual B) Also if someone's personality (a girl who is positive and kind) attracts me then I will try to be friends hehe. This journey abroad has made me learn so much of myself and built me to be a better person insyaAllah. 

If there is one take-away message from today's blog post: Every human is different, different personality, different likes, different dislikes, different things that offends them, different source of happiness. But if there is one thing you can do to overcome this difference which will make it easier for you is to think good of others. Realise that everyone is going through and fighting their own battle that you do not know of. Allah promised He will test each and every one of us. Nobody is exempted from being tested. Know that each person may be going through something difficult that you have no idea of, and slowly you can build compassion for another being and from compassion comes a kind heart and kind actions insyaAllah. Nobody is perfect, we all need to keep improving and hopefully this articles has motivated you to take that extra step this week/month to being a kinder and more compassionate you :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Discovering Myself

Dear Blog,

It's been over a month since I last wrote here. It feels amazing to think how much I accomplished from that day till today. Since that time, I completed the last parts of my MSci thesis, went on day trips with my <3 who came all the way from Malaysia, celebrated my birthday, joined the MSc Petroleum Geoscience classes for an entire 4 weeks 9-5pm and then had my viva (interview) for my MSci project. And now it's 13th February. Alhamdulillah there is so many things to be thankful for. 

Yes, it's so dark outside and super cold last weekend. I wanted to go to the park but it was too windy, rainy and actually snowed Saturday morning a little. I went out to get a small heart-shaped Valentine's cake for my friend who came from Cardiff for a post-birthday surprise. We cooked chicken tomyam together yesterday and for the rest of the weekend, I caught up on laundry, grocery, some revision, phone calls to mum and dad, skype with <3 and stayed warm indoors.

Oh dear, how shall I phrase this.. I do really miss home at this point. With this weather and especially after my <3 went back. It reminded me of home when he was here. Plus it's the time of the year when it's my mum, grandma and sister's birthday. Last month and this month. It's a complicated feeling. I like being here and studying in London but at the same time I wish this was near home. Living here feels like I am living the life of fab. Everything is so posh and fabulous and at times, extravagant and cool. I go shopping, feeding ducks in Hyde Park, my cool university, my cosy room, living in Zone 1 London! Smack in city centre with the Kensington Palace, Harrods, Royal Albert Hall and everything posh within walking distance. I look out my kitchen window and I see London Eye, the Chard and Sky Gardens. I look out my bedroom window, I see The Chelsea Stadium (Stamford Bridge). My friends are from all over the world, I have made good friends from France, Spain, South Africa, Cyprus, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Russia, China, Spain, Germany, America, Portugal, Hong Kong, Turkey, the UK and Singapore and Malaysia of course and many more. I never thought I would make this many friends and I thought I would just hang around with Malaysians but little did I know that I would be making some very good friends from all over the world. I am trying not to get too attached to anybody because I know I will want to leave soon. At the same time, I cannot deny that there is this nostalgic feeling  deep inside that I know I will miss this place. London has been my home for almost 4 years now. So that means I have spent 9 years of my life in America, 11 years in Malaysia and 4 years in the UK. I love this place but at the same time, I know myself and I have been learning about myself more and more on this lovely journey and I know deep inside what I eventually seek for in life. 

Something I would want you to do is to discover yourself. Discover your character and the person you are inside. In your early 20s, this can be slightly conflicting and you are not sure about this and that and many things. However, with time, I am sure you will know yourself more and more and the questions you had before when you were younger will be answered insyaAllah. It is so important to know yourself well. I have to say there were things about myself that I did not know until recently. 

My blog title today may sound a bit odd as I have never mentioned this before. I have heard the word 'Discovering Yourself' many times but I have not given much thought to it. Today, I can say that I have started observing myself and discovering new things about my likes and dislikes and it is starting to all make sense. I feel like this happens with age. As we get older we get more mature and that is why people always say its all part of growing up. I even read and heard many times in a motivational talk that the brain fully develops at the age of 30 and matures by the age of 25. This can be an average for most people. It can be higher or lower for certain people but what I am trying to say here is that this actually gave me some relief because if there was anything I was worrying about, I would say hmm this will sort out eventually when my brain develops fully hehe ;) Not that I am worrying about anything big. It's actually having the tendency to dwell on small things is what I want to improve and hope that with time, I can be more adult-ish in dealing with any situation be it trivial or complex.

So back to the topic on self-discovery, I have to say I realised many things about myself recently. I feel like a slightly different person from mid towards the end of last year till now. It may be that I am growing up (aww I still wanna sound like a baby, yes I like being a carefree baby hehe joking) and there has been a significant development in the maturity of myself that alhamdulillah I am thankful for. Some things that bothered me before no longer do. I have literally learned to 'not care' about certain small things. Do not get me wrong. I do not mean this in a bad way but honestly I sometimes have this 'I couldn't care less' feeling whereas before I felt like I was more naive and would be affected by these things. Let me give some examples of somethings I recently discovered. 

What I Dislike:
- People being too apolegetic for small things. It gives me the opposite effect and makes me feel bad. I would rather if someone is sorry to actually say it and take action to show they are sorry. Not dwell on the that fact they are sorry but then repeat the same thing again or do nothing to make up for it. Not saying sorry at all is bad but saying it at the right times  + actions is what I consider the right thing. Then again, people have their own ways of dealing with situations like this so this is my opinion and I am aware that not everyone may agree with this. Like for me, if you realise, I do not say 'sorry' very often. My parents especially my dad always tells me that I do not need to say sorry for small things. Sorry is a big word to show regret/remorse. I only say it when I mean it or when I need to. And I always always do something to make it up like a hug or a small gift or kind words. It's not complicated. If you have good intentions, it usually shows naturally.

-  When people change plans at the last minute without any good reason.  I always try to never do this to anybody because it's just bad to cancel last minute. 

-People taking too long (days or weeks) to reply my messages or emails. Unless I know they are ill or on holiday, I often easily think that my message is considered not important to the other person. If the person does not reply at all, I will not consider sending a message again unless I really need to or until they make the first gesture.

- People asking too much about my problems or personal things. You see, I can be quite a reserved person sometimes. It is hard for me to open up to people and discuss personal things because I either think they won't understand or they will not give the support I need. For me to open up with people, it usually involves them speaking of their problem/ personal issues first. It gives me the green light that I can mention mine to them and they possibly want to hear my story as well. And when I tell people a problem for example, I am not the kind of person who just wants someone to listen. I want advice or at least motivational words to make me feel better or boost self-esteem because obviously when talking about problems, you can feel down. If I feel this person fits the criteria above, then I can open up. Otherwise, I will just stick to general topics and listen to whatever they want to share with me. I sound so complicated hehe but hey, there are some things you cannot control. And this is one example. I am a good listener though ;)

- People criticising personal things or comments too harshly on anything in the world even Trump. To me, giving an opinion is very different to criticising. Oh gosh, on fb alone people love criticising. It's a bit annoying to read honestly. To me, everyone has their own thinking and ways of doing things. About Trump, let the people of America decide who they want as president. Period. Enough said.  Yes when you do not agree, you feel like telling the world but there is no need to sound harsh, rude and all the bad language. Be mature and have etiquette. 

-Bad language. I do not like using harsh words. To me, it makes me sound weak. But then again, that's is my opinion. It is not suitable being the person I am. 

-Rudeness, no manners, people looking down on others.

Now that I have listed these, I realised there are not too many dislikes I have. I do not like talking about dislikes to be honest. Its too much negativity and being positive and light-hearted is what I aim for always :) Then again, nobody is perfect and everyone has their likes and dislikes.
Plus, being the person I am, one more thing I dislike is :

- Hurting other people's feelings. Oh gosh, sometimes when I am offended I decide to keep quiet and not say or show anything so that the other person is not offended. I am very worried of offending people especially those I am close to and love. To me, as long as I know I did not do anything to hurt the other, I feel good at heart even if the other person did something wrong. If it was small, I'll just brush it away. If it is more serious, I'll have a chat. How do I stay so positive about someone who has offended me? Well, I always focus and think immediately about the good things they have done for me even if it is a small thing or their kind words/ gestures. I think to myself that probably they had good intentions but they did not know how to show it correctly at the time. Or I have compassion and think poor girl/guy, they are just another human being with feelings and weakness. If I am angry, they will feel hurt. Or I think how much I pity the poor or the homeless. So I think, this annoying person (at the time) could be this poor or homeless guy. Imagine how much empathy you have for this poor guy and try to channel some of that empathy to the person you are dealing with because God can change people's fate anytime. If you can feel empathy for someone in a more difficult situation than you, then I am sure you realise that your situation is not as difficult :) 

This may be an exception at the time of the month or if I am not in a good mood. Most of the times, this applies :)

Ok so while I was blogging I received an email from my mentees and from my mentor partner, Sophie. Since I am on my fourth year, I get to be a mentor to 1st year students and an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant. So I get to help out in class and have a group of mentees outside lectures to meet and give tips and guidance. Its so fun! I like teaching and being on the other side of the table. Usually I am the student and now I am like the 'teacher' during these sessions. You see what I mean by fun activities. There is so much going on in Imperial, I love what I do. It keeps me positively busy day to day. 

What I Like:

This is my favourite part because I get to talk about the positive and fun stuff.

- I like it when people spell my name correctly, it brings them up to a different level.

- I like it when people send me messages with smileys, it sets a positive tone.

- People remembering what I told them, for example important dates like birthday or wishing me on exam or interview day, plus plus point.

- People giving me cards/gifts on my birthday or anything really. It means so much to me to get a birthday wish or gift from someone. If there were hard feelings with anyone and they suddenly gave me something special for my birthday, I feel like all negativity has been erased away. When I say special it does not mean expensive but something they put effort into like a personalised gift or something of my favourite colour or along my favourite items: flowers, floral perfume/lotion, motivational diaries, tea, soft animals, anything green, any elegant jewellery like fine bracelets. My family, <3 and beloved besties know me well and yes I have received all of these this year and last birthday. Something else about me is that I do not like to show what I receive or what I am up to in my life too much because I am worried sometimes that someone who did not receive the same might feel disheartened. However, as I am growing up I realise that it is alright. Everyone has their own rezeki and being mature, we should be able to always be thankful with what we have and be happy for others. Remember how I told you earlier about pitying the unfortunate person on the street? If you feel sad when you see someone like that, shouldn't you be happy when someone else is happy in life? The reality is that Allah put different rezeki for different people. Keep an eye out for your own one and know that other people will have their own.  

- I like to know that I am needed/ important to the other person. Whether this is said verbally or shown in action, I feel happier when this is the case.

-I like it when I can rely on the other person for small favours or when I am in need. To me, a friend in need is certainly a friend indeed. For example, I will always remember the person who helped me when I needed help. This is a deciding factor if I can call someone a close friend or not.

Some of these things I realised only recently. Some of these I have realised since before. Whatever it is, discovering yourself is crucial and self-discovery can make you a happier and content person.

The key thing here is whatever my likes or dislikes are, I know that I cannot change people. I cannot change people's behaviour except myself. The crucial part is that I have learned more about myself so I can understand the situation better when I react in certain ways or why I am closer to this person than the other. Or why I get along with people with this kind of personalities. Or the decisions I make in life. It all falls into place and makes more sense. Of course, discovering more about yourself is a journey and it takes time. Life is so busy that I have never given much thought to this but this is something I realise is important. We are all so young and there is always room for improvement as long as you keep that positive spirit and remain upbeat.

Have a great week ahead :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year, New Me-en

Dear Blog,

This is my first post of 2017. It seems like my blog readers enjoy reading my personal updates ;) I checked the stats and the number of clicks for my recent post 'Updates of my Life at Uni' is double the one on 'Life Goals'. I have several resolutions but I will just share a few which I think can benefit you or give you an idea on ways to improvise yourself.

I feel that this new academic year has been a new chapter for me in a sense that I have developed into a better person. I do feel that after some changes and chapters in my life, I worry less about what people think of me and I focus more on improving myself and living my life- being happy, simple and who I want to be. I used to worry a lot about what people say, this and that, I worry and tend to overthink. As long as the people closest to me are happy with me, I shall do what is best and things that I enjoy doing. This is one of my resolution, more carefree and living life to the fullest without overthinking too much.

On a different note, friends may come and go. This is something I learned recently. It is hard to let go but the most important thing is to surround yourself with positive energy. Maybe a friend is gone because they brought too much negative energy in your life. Yes, we did have amazing memories but the past is the past and let's make the best of the present. I am trying not to be attached to people. I know I am living in the UK now and making amazing friends but I also know that eventually, I want to return home. And with that, comes goodbyes. Being less attached to people is one of my resolutions. Sometimes, the friendship becomes one-way and only if I am not too attached makes it easier for me. Sometimes, friends want more time than I can give them. This becomes tricky as well. I think I have dealt with both situations in 2016 and it makes you feel like a game of tug-of-war.  So now I learned that there needs to be a balance. In the UK, I am able to make more friend time compared to during my short visits back home. This becomes tricky. One thing I know for sure is that there are a few people even after these so many years, still keep in touch and care to remember important dates and drop a message to check in or make an initiative to skype. There are people who are not good at keeping in touch but when I meet them, make up for those days of lost contact and shower me with amazing gifts. Friends and family play a different role in your life and the same goes with different friends. There is less likely a person who does everything or plays multiple roles for you. If there is then that is most likely your mother, father or partner most of the time. When I think this way, I have less expectation of other people. With less expectation comes more positive energy and actually more things coming your way. This makes me even happier when I receive something from people that I do not expect. And as for me, I do my role and do what I can to spread positive energy. I am thankfully good at remembering birthdays and I enjoy giving people gifts and I like the traditional way of writing cards. I also like giving surprises or finding a common interest with my friend, then going out to do it together. I also enjoy hosting guests or cooking for people. So these are my ways of showing appreciation to people I care about. By thinking of ways to spread positive energy and make other people happy, more positive vibes would come to me. Do not ever underestimate the power of giving. God mentioned that He will reward those who make a human being happy and He promises that giving charity will not make you poor, only vice versa ;)

Another resolution is to lead an even more healthy lifestyle. Less carbonated drinks and more water and tea. Less sugar in my tea. More fruit snacks and salad for dinner. Gym yoga gym yoga! Exercising keeps me positively boosted and fills up my time well. I am following this Youtube video by Boho Beautiful and doing some of her exercises at home. 

Read more storybooks. I realised that I have not read storybooks in awhile. I do not think I read any in 2016. I recently got a Russian classic book called Anna Karenina. I have been reading motivational books like Chicken Soup so yes, of course, a bookworm like me has been reading but what I am focusing here is non-fiction storybooks. They take me to a place and gives me a nice, relaxing feeling when I am deep in the story. I miss that feeling, I shall read more in 2017. 

Another resolution is to visit some friends, this is more 2017 plans rather than a resolution to be honest. But I do intend to step out of my comfortable cosy room and go out to explore this amazing city of London and UK when I do have the chance. Classes and coursework are my priority but when and if I do get a chance, this shall be one thing on my to-do-list. 

Try new things, go to new places or restaurants. I am just feeling quite adventurous lately and trying new things excite me! I would like to at least have a one-time experience to some eating places that I have got on my list. 

Take more photos and capture memories. I realise the importance of taking photos and videos especially when looking back at old photos and seeing how much they helped me remember happy memories and made me smile when I look at them. My sister and my dad are the ones who are good at this, good at remembering to take videos and pictures. I shall improve :)

Write more on my blog :) I think this resolution has been evident recently I have had a nice Christmas holiday with more time to write here while writing up my master thesis. It is going well alhamdulillah and I am submitting it in a few days, do pray for me.

Have a nice year, month, week and day ahead.

I am feeling so content alhamdulillah. Had a nice workout session earlier and was in the library doing some last minute things before my submission. 

It's January!! My birthday month. My mum's birthday and also six other close friends. I am going on holidays soon after my submission and will update on that. 

Lots of love xoxo

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Life Goals

Dear all,

Here is the next post requested and since New Year is approaching, I thought this would be nice.

Hope all of you are doing good, in good health and happy thoughts. I am listening to some zikir now on YouTube and had a complete rest and stay-at-home day. Yesterday I left to Westfield early morning for Boxing Day shopping and enjoyed it! Got a few new things and some gifts for some very special people.

It is my fourth year now studying abroad in London, I can hardly believe how long it seems and fast it feels at the same time. Alhamdulillah I am so thankful to Allah for helping me and rewarding me with this golden experience. Every big achievement comes its sacrifice. I have been working very hard for these past few years and then enjoy the remaining days I have for holidays. I have had tough days, tearful moments (being a crybaby doesn't help but crying is like therapy for me as it relieves any negative thoughts for me- I cannot see someone cry painfully as I will immediately start tearing as well). I feel like this final year I have been more 'all-out' compared to previous years where I am more reserved and private. I do not like sharing much about my life publicly but this year I have been more open and confident. Being away from home, I usually refrain from going on social media because I can easily feel homesick if I see too much things posted by people. I strongly do not recommend someone away from home to go on social media too frequent. I prefer to get updates from my family, my <3 and close friends via WhatsApp or skype with them and I make the effort to maintain a good relationship with them. I know some people cut off relationships at home when they are away because maybe its too much for them to take to know they are missing out, but I try to look at it positively. To me, I am going through a positive experience that not many people have the chance to go through and its amazing, I am in London! One of the most sought-after cities in the world. I try to make the best of it and experience as much as I can.

This relates to my life goals. I realise that the reason why some people do not relate to this or feel the opposite is because of different priorities in life. For me, family is of high priority. Career, education and status are important as well but I would want a balance between the two and not solely focus on the latter. As a student my education priority is high as everyone can see I put a lot of effort and sacrifice in ensuring I produce high-quality work. 

Now that 2017 is approaching, its time to create new life goals. For me its always following this same theme : 1) achievement and education 2) religion wise 3) relationship with people- how I can be a better person. After these 3 main themes, I then list down some places I want to go. I enjoy travelling a lot especially with family and my loved one. The person I travel with is important. Usually if I have one close friend that wants me to be there, that can be enough for me to want to go anywhere. It's not really about the place or anything really, I am fine going to any place for the sake of accompanying a good friend who wants me to be there. For me, feeling wanted is an important factor to determine whether I go somewhere. Cost-wise, important as well. As a student, this can be tricky. I tend to spend extra money on shopping, one of my favourite things about London! I have some places in mind that are on my travel list and it motivates me to save money so that I can travel. Travelling freshens and broadens the mind, I strongly encourage it. 

I have been referring to friend a lot. This applies when I am living abroad, friend priority goes up the list. At home, I would need to re-compensate family time first. It is tricky living abroad, all these things come up and I try my best to make sure everyone important knows and feels that they are important to me.  Sometimes it gets tricky but since everyone is busy as well at this time of life, early twenties, people understand thankfully. Final year of university, graduating, finding a job- its nice to catch up and have new things to update. Its the time of a turning point in our lives. Creating new chapters. Yes, it can be a roller coaster ride but keep your life goals clear. What do you want to achieve in life? You may not have the answer and that is alright. We are all still young so relax and loosen up yourself a bit. Things will go into place eventually. God has good plans for all of us. When you receive His blessings, be thankful. If you are still waiting, then make prayers. 

I realise that I am good at having a positive perspective and focusing on my blessings. Its a good thing because alhamdulillah I look at the glass half full and not half empty. It really helps me feel good about myself. It makes me feel more blessed and even if there is nothing much happening in the day, I can simply feel happy just because the sun shone for a few hours in the afternoon or because I saw a cute ladybird in the kitchen or because someone was kind to me at some point in the day. I am giving examples so that you could apply it to your life and your long term life goals. Whatever your goals are, everyone wants to feel happy and positive and all the pleasant feelings. Do not think too much about others or compare your goals relative to others. Instead, take good examples you observe around you and apply the good in yourself and learn from the bad. Being happy about other people's happiness shows that you have a cleansed heart. And a good heart is the start and key to pure inner happiness. 

With a good heart, it is easier to feel happy. Aim for this if you are seeking inner happiness. Helping other people also makes you feel good about yourself. Help in whatever way you can- small charity, donating unwanted items, mowing someone's lawn, helping an old lady cross the road, observe and do any little thing you possible can. Make the idea of helping people one of your life goals. Fix a day and time maybe for you to help on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. 

Health-wise, aim to eat healthy and exercise! I do not refrain myself from eating what I like. I am thankful that I am born with a strong taste for salad and fruits over dessert. However, I recommend please do not completely stop eating what you like eating. Eat if it makes you happy, just remember to eat moderately. I enjoy ice cream and eat it all the time even if the temperature outside is 5 degrees Celcius.

I always aim to improve myself as a person. I believe that nobody is perfect and there is always room for improvement. Add something that you can improve about yourself or your habits to your list of life goals.

Make it a habit or put a reminder to look at your life goal list every month or few months. Alternatively, write it and put it up in your room or home screen on your laptop.

Start thinking of your life goals and may you have a wonderful 2017 ahead. Warm wishes from LittleMissMeen, take care :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Update of my Life at Uni

Hi guys, hope you are all doing well and that SPM went good. I am sure that exam times are not my favourite and there could be certain papers that you felt more confident than others but that's okay. Over time, I realise that yes exams are important but try to look at the bigger picture and your long term life goals. It will make you feel less daunted. 

In this post I just sort of wanted to write a little informal update on what I have been up to lately at university. Honestly there has been nothing too interesting for the past two months. I have literally been spending more than 12 hours a day at the lab or library focused on my research project. It has drained me mentally and emotionally and physically. I go home, eat pray and sleep and start the day again the next day. I am very disciplined in a way I do not get easily distracted until I get my work finished or accomplish everything I set my mind to alhamdulillah. In the weekends then I would see my friends, go for social events or visit my cousins. A close friend of mine would visit me when I am too busy and one night she even brought dinner for me because I was too occupied with work that I did not feel like eating sometimes at night...not I do not recommend it.. I went to the gym less but still managed to squeeze time once or twice for yoga and gym. I accept it that I got very busy and hectic when term started because I got a nice long rest over the summer.

I really enjoyed my research project. I got to work in one of the cool labs in the basement where nobody gains access apart from the people in the research group and there are less than 10 people in the group so yes, not many people get to go in the lab. I used geochemical equipments like the Kiel, Clumped isotope, ICP-MS and CL-EDX and even a dental drill. Some of these I have never seen before or even seen anything like it. There was a special weighing balance that would open and close just with the wave of my hand. It had a motion sensor or something like that. Research life can get a bit quiet at times but thankfully there was a friendly lab technician and some phD students that I met on a daily basis when I collected data. All very much more experienced than me and I learned a lot from them. I made friends with a Russian girl who I got along well :) I have met and made friends with people from many countries but this was the first time making friends with someone from Russia. I really enjoy this experience abroad in London where I meet people from all sorts of countries and I am surprised how I can find common ground and get along well with people from very different backgrounds. And the best part is not only meeting them but being good friends and you learn so much about their culture and lifestyle and perspective. Its easier to make friends with Europeans than British people in my opinion as the former are more open to different cultures. The British are mostly conservative and only easy to make friends if you have the same lifestyle (especially drinking ;) but not all of course, this is just my general observation. I have some really nice British friends in my class. Its 90% locals and 10% internationals in my class.

Now I am on Christmas break and tomorrow I have got a visitor from Cardiff and another friend from Bristol next week. Both my friends from Malaysia during high school and A-Levels. I am staying over at my cousin's house for Christmas and can't wait for Boxing Day shopping! I have got a list and shopping is one of my favourite things about London. I try to spend wisely and moderately but I often use my savings to shop as it makes me happy. I am now eyeing lipstick, to be honest I never used lipstick before. I always use Nivea Lip balm with a lip liner sometimes but this time I am thinking of getting lipstick. I like shiny things and I got a Body Shop eye stick and recently got their membership card. Amazing!

I had an ISoc social with free pizza last Thursday and hostel social gathering last Friday. It was so nice I enjoy meeting new people and just socialising with nice people. Last Wednesday, a Bukit Indah primary school friend came to my flat with her sister. I cooked tomyam and garlic-herb baked chicken for them and they enjoyed it. It was so nice meeting them and we had a fun chat till midnight in my room. Then last week I managed to arrange two phone calls, one to my Bangladesh bestie and on Friday my high school bestie. 

I am replacing the days I missed for Ramadan fasting now. I have one day left now since I fasted yesterday and today. Its so nice since fasting is from 620am to 355pm. Last night I ate buka 4pm so by 8pm I felt like eating again, oh gosh so hungry when its cold. I decided to go meet my Spanish friend downstairs and had fruits and tea at her flat. 

I feel more relaxed now that I submitted my draft for the MSCi thesis. Final submission is right after New Year but even getting the draft done makes me feel sooo relieved alhamdulillah. The night that I submitted the draft, I got a text from my Pakistan friend and asked if I wanted to go out for Japanese dessert. I was like oooh yes sure. We went to Wagamama for Mochi icecream. Feel like showing you pictures but its so much effort to transfer them from my phone. If someone comments that they would like me to include photos, then I will make the effort ;)

Last weekend I was giving myself a break since the previous weekends I was busy at the library. So last Saturday, I decided to cook curry, tomato rice and chicken flavoured brocolli and carrots for me and my Malaysian friend. Then that night I went for dessert with my Cypriot friend  for her birthday. I surprised her with a gift and balloon. Before meeting her I was so tired after cooking that I fell asleep and took a one hour nap. If you know me well, I am not the kind of person to take day naps so when I do it means I am super tired. Then last Sunday, I went swimming at the gym pool. Its free for Imperial students. I did 12 laps then went home and had a movie skype session and watched BFG:)
After that I decided to continue working after a good rest that weekend. My Pakistan friend texted to meet so I went to see her and also did laundry that night. I bought this mask thingy from Herbaline and took it to her flat so we could put it on together. We looked absolutely funny but it worked nice on my skin after I washed it away. She told me it was best not too talk when we had our masks on so I tried my best not too move my mouth when talking and would burst out laughing because the words did not come out clear. We decided to meet today to exercise or do yoga so I might go after this. 

I ordered a Russian classic book and it arrived yesterday I was so excited! I enjoy reading and haven't had the chance to read a proper storybook in a long time. I am not sure how fast it would take me to finish it but I'll get there :) 

So now during this break and at this point in term, I am just working on my thesis and making the best of my Christmas break. Its the first time I have a break with no exams. So relieved but yes still need to work on the report. InsyaAllah it will go well. 

I had a £5 M&S food voucher so I went there yesterday after break fast and used it. Oh dear I am in love with their Columbian Coffee and Walnut cake I ate two slices earlier and need to control myself from having more. It is so nice ! This is coming from a person who usually likes salad over dessert and goes to buffets and manages to skip the dessert option, yup that's me. So when I like a particular dessert it means its exceptionally nice!

So much going on in my life and its good alhamdulillah. My grandma called today because she missed my call as she was watching a drama.  Its so nice to talk to her, she says that she likes it when her grandchildren call because it makes her feel important. I would just like to say to all children and grandchildren out there, please guys, one day you are going to be old and grey and vulnerable at some point in life. Please remember that when you do good, good comes to you and vice versa. Please remember to appreciate your elder ones. Yes I agree, sometimes you do not have same opinions or do not agree with your elders on particular things but in the end they are family. They are much older and experienced than you. Imagine, if you were old, wouldn't you think the same? That young people know less than you because you have gone through much more in life so younger people should show respect to the elders. Regardless how your elders are, just simply try to at least be accepting and be kind and show that you care. One day you may be in their position and you would not have a grandparent because now you are the grandparent. Please treat others how you would like to be treated. Young people nowadays often forget this and I am speaking for myself as well as I always need to improve. Friends nowadays tend to care less about each other and too overwhelmed by their own problems. Try this when you are in a good mood and try sending a message or calling someone you were once close and have not spoken in ages. It would make them very happy trust me. Build new and healthy friendships and try to rebuild good friendships and see if they work out.

I'll end this post with a positive note and a little motivation for you to take away. Throughout these past two and a half months, its been a rocky journey. Research includes tears, frustration, joy, new findings, long hours or repetitive work, uncertainty, lone working, team working, hard work, perseverance, flexibility, positive perspective and more to the list. But if there is something I want you to take away today is to believe in yourself and think possible. At times, it seems so impossible given a restricted time period. However, please have some faith in yourself. Do and discover things that would give you the motivation to continue doing your best. 

I like sunny days and that is one of the cons of being in London for me. It always cloudy and gloomy which does not help with moodlifting but lately there has been  a number of sunny days and even though they lasted only for the afternoon, I make the best of it and make it like a little motivation booster to remind me that I can do this. I put up personalised motivation cards in my room so that I will always be reading and reminded of what I am capable of doing and as constant daily reminders. Motivation is something you constantly need so its good to find ways that help you motivate yourself regularly. 

Have a nice motivated and happy and healthy week ahead. Holiday periods are always nice. Take care guys :)

PS: My cute little brother has been going to so many badminton tournaments. Recently he went to the Badminton Finals!!!! He came in 2nd for his age group and that was the first time ever. I am so proud of him :)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Keeping Yourself Motivated

Dear readers,

Thank you for voting in my recent poll, I have not been writing much but I have been keeping track of the poll votes:)

Since I have posted some recent study tips, I decided to write on the next highest voted topic which is Keeping Motivated.

Have you ever had a long to-do list but not felt like doing any of them? Have you got a submission due but sometimes not in the 'mood' or just not in the correct momentum? Did you ever feel bored of doing the same thing over and over again? Do you often need a tight deadline for you to work hard towards a submission because otherwise you do not have the drive? 

To me, these are all signs that you are a normal person with normal feelings. However, these normal feelings should be overcome in order to achieve certain goals in your life whether they are educational or career goals or even smaller things at home like keeping tidy or managing grocery and laundry etc. 

So how do I keep motivated? Trust me, when I have repetitive and monotonous tasks like studying for exams or working towards a submission, I often feel the same. I have to push myself a little harder to get things done and then reward myself so I am motivated to do more and keep going.

The first key thing to keep yourself motivated is to ask yourself these questions. What is your favaourite food? If you could treat yourself to something nice to eat what would you get? Do you need something new to buy like a pair of shoes or a new bag? What do you wish of having or buying that you have not yet been able to buy? For expensive things like a vacation or so, maybe your motivation would be saving money to buy the item once you have saved enough.

Second, always always always have a to-do list that you check daily. If not then you need to paste sticky notes on your door (that do not fall easily) or sometimes I write on my hand hehe. These lists help you keep track of your daily or hourly goals, what you want to achieve and help you have a direction when you get things accomplished. But often, I know that to start is often the hardest part!

Third, to overcome that hard part of starting, let yourself do anything you wish before starting any work. Limit yourself to an hour or a few minutes of just doing anything like chores etc or browsing the net. Its fine, sometimes the best way to focus on your work is to feel ok I have done all I need to do, now I can start working. So relax and let yourself do whatever that is you need to do but add like a timer or alarm to remind yourself that the time is up and then you need to start working.

Fourth, remember step 1 when you asked yourself those questions? Now is the time to use them. Reward yourself for anything difficult you manage to do. Do not underestimate the work you do, give yourself credit and reward that sheer hard work and long working hours by getting your favourite meal or buying yourself something new.

Fifth, as much as it is good to save money, when I am working hard for a deadline or tired or during exam season, I try not to be too stingy with myself and ensure that I spend that money on eating food outside so I do not need to worry about cooking, take public transport if I am tired and want to reach home soon or give myself a massage treat once a term if I really need it. I ensure the heating is on high and good for me in my room and that I eat all my complete meals and sleep early. To me, its ok to spend that extra money on yourself and living comfortably within means. I know some people save money so they can travel which is nice, my mummy used to do the same when she was in uni in USA (I imagine her young, long hair, super slim and pretty from photos). I love to travel but I only travel if I have extra money after spending money on these things. I am more of a stay-at-home person and if I travel too long even in the UK, I will miss my cosy room in London ;) I know this depends on the person's priority and not many people I meet have same priorities like me but I recently made a close friend that agreed with me on this entirely. 

Finally, take breaks during your work to refreshen yourself and meet people, chat, spread positive energy with hope you will receive positive energy back. Do your hobbies and exercise :) Exercise helps mentally and physically trust me. Remember to reward yourself and then continue working and not stop the cycle there. Hard work will pay off, so stay motivated!

If you forget why you are doing something like working or studying in a particular company or doing a certain job role, remind yourself why you are doing it- Interesting job? Good money? Good experience? Good location? Get to treat yourself and loved ones? Want to buy a house? Want to graduate magna cum laude? Want to repay the kindness of your parents and make them proud? Remind yourself of the purpose you are doing what you are doing today.

Keep it up, 2016 is coming to an end and a fresh new 2017 awaits. Keep motivated! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Let's GOMO, Not FOMO

You must be wondering what GOMO and FOMO means, well I certainly did when I heard from Eventbrite about the fun fall project they organised this Autumn to promote GOMO and getting people away from Netflix and Chill and encouraging people to go out more often. 

GOMO simply means Going Out More Often and FOMO Fear of Missing Out. I hope this blog post will be beneficial to readers or spark some ideas on how to GOMO!

As a finalist university student, I totally understand how we often have busy schedules and can be anti-social at times...  I try to not be guilty of this...but basically the idea of GOMO really starts from having the interest in interacting with people and spending time with them. Interest is the number one key factor in my opinion which determines whether a person wants to go out or just stay home and get on social media or watch movies on Netflix. When people do get on social media, they realise how other people are having so much fun and then they feel like they have been missing out. But if they had put in some time to go out and interact with people, they would not have that missing out feeling. The funny thing is some people even feel pressured to post something online regularly to show and tell people how they are having a good time. It is not necessarily good or bad but the idea of genuinely having a good time going out and interacting with people is important. Human beings are created in a way that they like to socialise and interact with another and isolating yourself for prolonged periods of time will certainly be detrimental to your health and can promote negative feelings about yourself and about life in general. Do not ever underestimate of having a quick chat or catch up session even if you are busy. For me, its easier to catch up with friends when meeting up and speaking to them like on the phone or Skype rather than text messaging- my least favourite. 

Now I would like to share with you some things I implement on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to ensure I GOMO and not FOMO. 

Personally I enjoy reading and hearing about people's updates on blogs especially, I wish more people would blog sometimes or make their blog public but the truth is, it is so so so much better to hear updates from people in person rather than just by scrolling down social media and seeing what's new. Interacting with someone builds a bond and friendship with that person and like they always say, a thousand friends may not be enough, but one enemy is too many. I'll try not to deviate too much from this topic but what I am trying to say is that it is always nice to meet new people, new friends and interact and build good relationships with them. You never know how they will be helpful to you in some way in the future like updating you about a new job opening or a nice flat that you might end up staying or they might not be helpful in those ways but instead simply make you feel good about yourself and keep you happy and motivated. 

Some of the social activities I do are in the evenings or in the weekends and include some of the following:

  • Organise and celebrate a friend's birthday. I think birthdays are the best time to organise a social gathering because its a happy event and people are always eager to meet for birthdays
  • Join a society and meet new people who share the same interest, for me I do Yoga and Gym classes. Apart from keeping me healthy I enjoy meeting people who I can connect with and having a similar hobby helps us find common ground
  • I build relationships in the flat I stay. I would go for welcome parties, Christmas dinners and BBQ parties that my hostel organises to interact and meet people who live in the same place as me. I know that the close friendships I've built upon starting university have mostly been at the hostel because it gets more personal when we are living together or close to each other, These neighbours are our immediate source of comfort or people we might see on a regular basis so I make time to meet and spend time with them. 
  • Invite friends over to your place for a sleepover or just simple be the one to ask them out, it does no harm to out your ego away. Ego eats up much of quality social life
  • Do some things on a regular weekly or fortnightly basis, for instance watching a movie even on my laptop every two Friday nights with a friend helps to make me go out more often rather than trying to find a new time each week. A fixed time makes it a like a habit and is more likely to happen compared to something that needs to be planned each week. 
  • Put aside some social time each week in the weekends where you can unwind and relax, Within these hours, I will try to plan something with my friend like invite them over to cook lunch together and it is definitely more fun cooking  with a friend.
  • Visit people, I like to visit my cousins when I have a free whole weekend and play with the little one! Its nice just to be in a different environment at times and it keeps you refreshed. People enjoy it when you visit them, it makes them feel special because you put time to travel and come to their place so I certainly recommend this because I personally enjoy it when people visit me. 
  • Being an international student, I also have family and friends back home whom I want to keep in touch. It is so tricky trust me plus the enormous 7-8 hour time difference. I usually am able to skype with my family in the weekends because I am in college the whole day most weekdays and then able to skype with friends who go to bed a bit later like after 9pm even till 2am Malaysian time. University is busy as it is and keeping in touch requires consistent effort. What I believe is that true friendships will stay and GOMO will certainly encourage it.
  • Plan short day trips or outings together like shopping sprees! Update each other when you know something new or if there is a discounted trip. Holidays together definitely helps you build even better relationships. 

That is a summary of what I do in attempt to go out more often and build good relationships with family and friends. Hope these ideas might help encourage you to GOMO and live a balanced university life. Yes, uni life is so hectic, trust me I understand 150% and believe me, building good relationships with people is definitely a key motivator for myself to keep going and doing my best.  I am always looking forward to the fun activities we plan with each other either at the end of the day, end of the week, end of the month or end of term. It all makes a difference but it is also important to know your priorities and ensure that you have time to get all your work done.

That's all for me so let's GOMO so we won't FOMO :)

Here is a link to Eventbrite's event ticketing page selling online tickets for you to organise events or to get more involved.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Motivation Video to Keep Motivated and Doing Your Best

Homeless student achieves victory! Truly inspiring :)

SPM Tips from 11A+ student


Dear all, here is a special post from my friend May Lee Cai Ling who obtained straight A+  in all her 11 subjects. Thank you May for your  sharing your ideas in LittleMissMeen. Currently, May is doing her A Levels under JPA sponsorship. She obtained Biasiswa Nasional 2010 which is awarded to top students in MALAYSIA. I am not sure what is her ranking but wow that is a great achievement. FYI, she just had to write what course and what country she wanted to go and they offer full sponsorship. Awesome right? If you are want to know who this awesome friend of mine is, her picture is in this link:
(Second from the right-beside me. This picture was taken from Utusan Malaysia the day after our SPM Results were out)

Related posts:

 So yesterday she messaged me and told me that she has already emailed me these tips for my blog. Here it is: ENJOY! 

Things that I did for SPM =D
General comments:
·         NEVER leave a question blank. Write anything but not nothing. Do your best attempt for each question.
·         Allocate your time properly. Do not spend too much time to produce a perfect essay especially for sejarah and science essays, you won’t get the points that you might lose if you do not have enough time to complete the other essays. If time allocation is 20 minutes for each essay, that’s it, after 20 minutes, stop whatever you are writing and proceed on the next question. Come back when you have the time.
·         DON’T SLEEP or leave early during the exam!  If you have plenty of time, check, recheck and check again until the end of the paper. 
·         Make sure you shade your answers correctly in objective questions.
·         Look through all exercises that you have done before. You should have make notes on the difficult ones before, so take some time to read through them.  
·         Have at least 6 hours of sleep. Stay alert, don’t make careless mistakes.
·         Stay calm, don’t rush or panic.
·         Make sure you have everything you need (pens, 2B and HB pencils, rubber, ruler, calculator, IC, the piece of paper that you carry into the room, etc.)
·         Check the exam timetable every day! 
·         If you have problems, ask immediately. 
·         Don’t sleep too late, have a balanced and regular diet.
·         Don’t forget to laugh and smile every day. =) This keeps stress away. Have confidence.
·         Maintain your momentum even if you just have one more paper to go!
·         Pray hard!
BM and BI 
·         I read quite a lot of sample essays. If you get any tips for essays, I don’t think you have to read samples for each and every topic. Eliminate those that you know for sure that you won’t attempt. Focus on those you are confident of. 
·         Learn the interesting phrases and write them down somewhere, then reread them the night before the exam. Obtain useful points from the sample essays, you will find different topics having similar points, for example, gejala sosial dalam kalangan remaja. 
·         Don’t panic when you get your exam paper and find that you have not prepared for any of the topics. Think of related topics and find appropriate points that might be useful. 
·         Read and reread the exam questions. Make sure you get it right and fully understand what it requires. Even though you may have prepared for one of the exam questions, the instruction of the question might require something different from what you have read before.
·         Write down ANY points that cross your mind, regardless of whether you are using them or not so that you will not struggle to remember them when you are halfway through writing. The points help you to brainstorm too. 
·         When you write, remember NOT to put two points in one paragraph. Each paragraph for each point. Write the MOST IMPORTANT points first. Organise the points so that they follow a certain order. For example, you can start with peranan kerajaan and end with peranan individu or vice versa.  
·         For BM essays, we are required to write as long as possible. You should have been told this before, but do spend more time on your long essay. For the short essay, don’t elaborate TOO long, stick to the points that you are required to include in every paragraph (isi, huraian, contoh and kesimpulan) and write not more than 4 lines for each points. For long essays, stick to the points also, but elaborate longer. Use definitions, peribahasa etc to elaborate and include a few more examples; remember to extend on the examples by relating them to the main point given.      
·         This might be quite hard for certain people, but bigger handwriting really does gain you some advantages. Your essay will look longer and the examiner will be happier to read your essay. Remember to leave a line before starting each new paragraph.
Novel and Komsas/Literature:
·         Well, some seniors who obtain really good marks for this component might not agree with my way of studying, but I think there is no other way of understanding the text fully unless you really go through the texts not once but a few times especially for the novel. Some reference books provide good synopsis but I don’t think that will be sufficient for full understanding. Knowing the FLOW of the novel is important in a way that you do not have to put too much effort in memorizing the plot and the nilai-nilai. Even if you forget about the points that you have memorsed earlier, you can simply make some out yourself and get them right. Knowing the flow is even important when it comes to the random questions like “what do you learn from the novel, how do you think it is important” etc. Due to the very limited time, it is easy to get panicky and you can hardly think. Understanding the text will allow points to pop into your head as you write. Anyway, it happens to me…
·         For literature/komsas questions, prepare by reading and doing as much exercises as possible. Check the answers and learn them. But do try the questions before you check the answers, for some of the answer schemes provide only the main points and so you need to give your own elaborations. It is always better to have 1 or 2 extra points to back up your answers in especially in BM.
Ringkasan/Summary and Tatabahasa/Grammar: 
·         Your teacher would have taught you the correct way of doing it. Follow their instructions!
·         Be careful on simple things like punctuations (full stops, hyphens), capital letters, etc.
Mathematics and Add Maths:
·         Remember to label the axis of graphs and write correct unit.s
·         Look through exercises that you have done before and make sure you understand each and every one of it. 
·         Normally I don’t do practices the night before Maths exams, unless I have finished going through all the exercises that I have done before. Doing exercises is too time-consuming. For me, doing tough questions the night before Maths exams will just get you all worked up and frustrated. Difficult questions should be attempted and understood long before the exams. What you do before the exams is just to refresh your memories on them.  
·         Teachers will not be happy with this, but I really do find tips extremely helpful in studying for Sejarah. However, it is very important to collect tips from various sources and from different people so that you can put them all together and have a whole collection of them. Then there is a higher possibility that what you read will come out in the exam. What I do before the exam is to go through the tips one by one.  I know it’s a bit risky, but last-minute study, what to do? =b    
Moral (Sorry, I don’t know about agama Islam):
·         Well, remember your DEFINISI!
·         Do your exercises and past years (trials) properly. If you are too lazy to write whole essays, at least do in point form so that you can go through them before the exams.
·         I don’t know what format they require you to do this year, but make sure you know the correct way of answering. Listen to the teachers’ instructions!
·         Practice makes perfect. 
·         Be careful in calculations. Don’t panic when you can’t balance your account. Skip and leave it first , then come back if you have the time.
BIO, Chemistry, Physics:
·         Do past years papers. 
·         Write precise and concise answers, straight to the point.
·         For most of you, Chinese will be the last paper. Don’t WASTE the given time, use that time fully to read more essays and look through exercises.  
·         Don’t take 剪报 and 日记for granted.
·         Read sample essay. For the first essay question, you might find it useful to read texts from the Paper 2 comprehension questions because they provide some interesting stories with moral values.  
·         Remember the format for letters, notices, etc
·         Remember the proverbs and meanings. I don’t realy care much about 出处 , just have some rough knowledge about them. 
·         Do more exercises, look at sample questions.