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How I discovered myself at Queen’s

You learn so much outside the classroom at Queen's.

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Two years ago, if I was asked to talk about myself, I would have been lost for words. It seems like an easy question, but it is not. I might have said I am a talkative, outgoing and sociable person. What I wouldn’t have realised is that the exact opposite is true. Back then, I was young but very lost, and I was always complaining how others didn’t understand me. The truth was I didn’t even know who I really was.

Then I flew to the UK to begin my university life at Queen’s, without realising how much the experience was going to change me as a person. Here are just a few of the ways I discovered myself in Belfast:

I started working

I landed my first job not long before I started my second semester. That job really pushed me outside my comfort zone. I realised my own strengths and, at the same time, my weaknesses too. I can say it was a mini turning point in my life because it redefined my outlook on life. I learned to face my problems instead of whining and complaining like I used to.

After that, I worked a few job on-campus, during which I continued to prove to myself that I don’t accept defeat easily whenever I am facing a difficult situation. I learned the importance of communication and speaking out whenever I sense something is wrong. It is easy to get angry and frustrated whenever a situation gets complicated, but I learnt to face situations head-on.

I tried new things 

I was pumped up to try out new things when I started university. One highlight is when I took part in the Qulture Shock event held by the Queen’s International Student Society. During the event, we had to act, sing and dance. I signed up for that event because I was always interested in stage performance but mind you – I had zero experience of acting on stage. Despite my shortcomings, I was given a relatively important role and in the end I nailed them all – no forgetting lines, no awkward pauses, no slipping and falling onstage (even during one scene where I had to run and jump onstage like a crazy person). The experience was overwhelming for me because I am not someone that is used to getting attention in real life. I am a natural introvert. However, once the spotlight shone on me and the music started playing, that all changed. All of a sudden, I was a different person. It’s hard to believe that the girl on stage was the quiet, nerdy, introverted girl who is always sitting alone in lecture halls.

I learned to be myself

I now realise my true personality and who I really am. Being an introvert is not easy, especially when you feel under the pressure to act a certain way. I used to find myself constantly running away from my true self and trying to convince myself that I should behave in a certain way. However, while I got myself involved in jobs, events and activities, I realised I should accept myself for who I am. Being away from home also helps, as I have more time to sink into my thoughts – I am a thinker and I am always talking to myself.

Looking back, it has been an exciting journey – a bold adventure – with plenty of peaks and valleys. I’ve realised life is about living through those good and not-so-good moments. Often it is the storms and thorns that make you who you are. Two years ago, I was lost and was struggling to find myself – but not anymore!

Jia Xin Chang

LLB Law| 2nd year |Malaysia

I’m a 20-year-old Law student from Malaysia with a weird accent. I’m occasionally talkative, however I’m a natural introvert. I’m a lone ranger who enjoys her solitude and calmness, but I’m not anti-social. I’m a music lover and I play the piano, and constantly regret not picking up a second instrument when I was younger. I love singing but I’m not vocally trained. I don’t listen to any other music except rock - the heavier the better! Sometimes called weird by my friends, but I prefer to think of myself as unique. I have had an immense passion for writing ever since I was very young, and I write in both English and Chinese. I was the editor of my school bulletin and a student journalist during my high school days. I’m now a casual blogger and I enjoy my job (despite suffering from writer's block all the time). Welcome to my space. ;

Jia Xin Chang


Photo: Jia Xin Chang
Jia Xin Chang
Guest Blogger