Christine’s Tea Room

A Stressful Life
by Christine Chen -- January 23rd, 2013

It’s another story about water, not in the form of rivers, streams, basins, estuaries, but in a special form, tears.

I felt stressful recently, about decisions for Master’s Project topic, internship applications, and the assignments from new courses which I don’t really understand yet. When everything is uncertain and all jumbled together, it’s like you’re cooking with caviar, truffles, lobster and filet, each is expensive and delicious (of course I do not encourage anyone to purchase or eat them, it’s reducing the biodiversity in this way), yet mixing these ingredients up is a waste because each ingredient should be appreciated well and alone.

Therefore, the schedule was repeated for a few days: for a day or an afternoon, I grabbed a cup of coffee – home brewed or fresh from blue express – found a quiet place in Christensen reading room, browsing the information about internships and MP, reading through every employee description, job function, qualifications, etc. I thought I knew what I want to be after graduation: an analyst working on water quality and related issues. I had faith in my skills with qualitative methods doing analysis, or giving a presentation to professional audience.

But life isn’t easy, and a sentence or word can beat you up! In the writing course for international students, which I’m taking this semester, I was shocked to know that the expectation for students after completing the course for a semester were “be able to use correct grammar,” or “not writing confusing sentences.” “So this is my level?” I couldn’t help but think to myself. “No, it can’t be! I know what I CAN do is much better than that.” If you’d like to know how hard it is to write a professional article for non-native speakers, try to write a short essay in any other language. It’s harder than you think!

But it still upset me that night, shedding one drop of tear, or more.

That night, I asked myself several questions: What would I do if I can’t get a job I want next year? What am I here for?… and it goes further  – As a human being, what is, or what do I hope to be my value to this world? I wasn’t being pessimistic, but more like in a case study, trying to clarify the problem. Shockingly, I found no answer to the last question.

Then I think it might be a good idea to do a survey by speaking with my friends.

(to be continued)



  1. Tawnee
    Jan 23, 2013

    Christine, you are definitely not alone in your search for answers – the most important of which, as you’re discovering, aren’t usually very clear! (See my blog post about finding a job from last year, when I was still a student… )

    Everyone in my year, including me, wondered if we would get a job, but we all did, sometimes with multiple offers! And the great thing about life is that we can change, so even if the first internship or job that you do land isn’t exactly what you want, you don’t have to stay in it forever – you can choose to move on to something different. You don’t have to get it perfectly right the first time.

    Thanks for sharing, and best of luck with your career/life explorations!

    PS – I always truly enjoy your blog posts and don’t find your writing confusing at all – especially given that this is a second language for you. Write on!

    • Christine Chen
      Christine Chen
      Jan 24, 2013

      Tawnee, you are so sweet 🙂
      Thank you for your sharing. Actually I’ve already read it a year ago when I was applying for schools and felt the same way then! I think you are doing a good job on your current position, so I guess the way works out with you perfectly, but as mine……still looking for it. I am more for a S-type person and steadiness works better with me. Anyways, sometimes I found that what we really fear is fear itself.

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