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The Road Not Taken

That’s the title of this post and you may/may not have come across a poem of the same name by Robert Frost. I don’t remember where and when I first learnt of that poem, most probably when I was still in school and English was a name of a subject I took and not just a language I used…
Anyways, it has been a while since I thought about that poem. I don’t memorise it or anything but once in a while that poem comes to mind especially when I find myself at life’s crossroads

The first of many was Secondary 3. That was a big year. It was my final year that I would be living with my family. I was leaving the nest. Looking back, I don’t recall being afraid. Albeit I was sad to leave home, I was excited. The whole world awaited me! But that meant some harsh realities as well. My leaving home after Form 3 was something we had been prepared for since I started school so by right, there shouldn’t have been any problem. It had always been planned that I would go to a certain school and stay with certain people…but when the time came, certain people were unwilling to take me in for reasons that remain unknown to us…Rejection was a lot to handle at that time. That was when the family realised that we could only rely on ourselves. And so I was floating adrift, searching for where I was to be…Some schools would not take me in. “Our classes are full”, “It’s too late”, “She’s transferring from a different country, our schooling-system is uncompatible to accept her”, were some of the “reasons” they gave…

Finally, one school accepted me and it wasn’t just any school either. It was one of the highly looked-upon schools at that time. It was a challenge. From staying at home to staying in a hostel…From studying in an all-girl’s English-medium school to studying in a mix Bahasa-medium school…and I registered almost 3 months later than my peers! I knew I had a lot to prove. To prove to those who rejected me that I CAN stand on my own…I guess that was indeed the right path, I really belonged in that school…My teenage years there were filled with new discoveries…about life…about love…about friendships…And I got flying colours for my SPM…I do not wonder about the road not taken…
Morality is a slave to emotion
But after that, came a major fork in my life – choosing what to do next. My hopes were dashed when I wasn’t selected to continue my Secondary 6. Was that the end? The Principal advised my to take up TESL (Teaching English as Second Language) as my command of the English language was legendarily one of the best in the school at that time *blush*…but I didn’t fancy teaching…at least I didn’t feel I did, although when I was young I used to pretend I was a teacher…

Honestly, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life then. I knew I wanted to go to University, but I didn’t know what discipline I wanted to major in. In high school, I was in the Social Science stream (I had all the Science subjects except Physics) – ironically, my Science subjects sucked!, so I knew that disciplines like Engineering were out of my league. I contemplated and discussed with my family and chose to go with Accounting since I was good in Bookeeping and Commerce during my Secondary 3, I took Basic Economics in high school and my Maths was pretty good…I didn’t even apply for TESL…Fate has it that that was the way to go. I was accepted to do my diploma in accountancy in one of the local universities…but sometimes I do wonder how I would have fared if I had taken TESL instead…

3 years later, after I completed my diploma, I came unto another fork in the road. My next target was to get a Bachelor’s Degree. So I contemplated again the same questions… I didn’t know what discipline I wanted to major in. In the end, I decided to continue in accounting since I seemed to be good at it…and I was accepted to continue in that discipline in the same university, but this time at the main campus…My bachelor days were not as easy as my diploma days but I still managed to fly through it *Thank God!*…yet again, I do wonder how would I have fared if I had taken up something else for my bachelor’s degree…
Another 3 years and I successfully completed my bachelor degree. Came another decision to make – what was next? To continue studying? That was an option, but it was not financially feasible…so the realistic thing to do was to step into the working world, earn some money and if later, should I still be interested to continue my studies, I would be financially able to do so…And that was the decision…Eversince then, I’ve left student-life for 2 years and have been in the working world for a year already…Though money was not as easy to accumulate as I thought, I was still doing pretty well, of course sticking to my discipline which really did seem to be something I was good at since I decided to take it up some 7 years ago…Does being good at it means I was destined to do it???

But NOW, soon after my first year in the working world, I find myself at another crossroad…This one seemingly bigger than any of the crossroads I’ve encountered in the past – I am given 2 very separate choices. One is to remain in the working-world. Another is to continue my studies. And the latter is fully-funded and comes with the possibility of a career at the end of my studies – to become a lecturer…Again, the option to enter the teaching world came knocking at my door…was this a sign?
Which road should I choose now? This is why the poem comes to mind…

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

I’ve been mulling over the 2 options and I’ve yet to make up my mind. Of course, to be able to get my Master Degree without needing to put out a penny and maybe become a lecturer after that is tempting…and I’ve no doubt that if I do choose to go back to school, I would do fairly well…but at this moment in time, I really don’t feel like going back to being a student…Haven’t I spent enough of my life being a student already?! Truth be told, I’m actually afraid that if I continue my studies, that would take me at least 3 to 5 more yearsI would be 30 years old by the time I finish!!! I don’t wanna grow old studying!!!…It’s even more scarrier if I’m still single then – honestly, and this question I’m asking the guys, honestly, would you guys even dare to get involved with a 30 year-old lady with a Masters qualification? Seriously!!! If I were a little younger, I’d have hopped at the chance to continue my Masters…but now? I really can’t say…But whichever road I choose, I know I will look back upon this time and wonder about that road not taken…
I just hope I don’t regret the road I chose…
P.S. Thanks for reading this till the end. I need all the opinions I can get regarding which road to take…
P.P.S. You may also answer any of the questions scattered throughout this post, especially those in bold.

16 thoughts on “The Road Not Taken

  1. Well… Turning into a student now (once you’ve worked) is never easy. I am not for it. and if you want to get a master, why not join Swinburne now?? They are having some openings and I think you should apply for it.
    Then, you can persue ur Masters and probably meet someone there.. well.. I did say probably. Like they say.. Jodoh di tangan Tuhan..
    Do what you feel is right, and regret not the path you have taken.

  2. Nobody can make this decision for you. It really is up to you. Most crossroad decisions in life are difficult and quite oftren painful. I’ve made many in my life and still now I wonder “what if”, but I made the decision and stuck by it.
    And why at 30 do you regard yourself on the shelf? I met my wife when I was 50 and she was in her 40’s. If you find the right person then it will work and age really doesn’t matter. The question is do you want kids? If that is the case then you need to grow up with the family and the decisions you make will be tempered by that view.

  3. A real man wouldn’t mind dating someone in their 30s or more and with such qualification, mar .. this shouldn’t be a problem at all in contemplating your studies/career … I guess I mix around with friends that doesn’t think getting hitched is life’s ultimate goal .. there’s more to life than that … but then again, that’s just me! 🙂
    No matter what, you have to make your own decision.. follow your heart … know what your priority out of life is .. if you find you’re satisfied with your current career … then by all means … but if you’re not, then a fully funded Master degree could be the answer to your career advancement. It’s always nice to know that you have something that will be able to support you throughout your life .. life is a journey, girlfriend 😉 We’re students of life forever … haha ..
    p.s: I’m coming to 30, I’m single even though not available, and yet I’m still trying to improve the quality of my life… don’t you worry, like Martin said, he met his wife in his 50s and she in her 40s .. so if it is meant to be .. it will be yours! LOL You… of… all.. people… should.. know … that… have faith! 🙂

  4. does my ramblings answered your question?? haha … I just hope it helps …

  5. hmm, what do you want in life? What do you want to be? Guess that would help you pick.. would you take master if its not fully sponsored? Are you taking it just because its free? Do you want to continue working and make ends meet, or continue to build your career? Do you want to be a lecturer?
    someone once told me that you can control what you want to do in life, who you want to be, but there’s one thing you cant control is.. finding the guy. It will somehow come into your life if its meant to be yours, then its yours. 🙂
    Just pray about it, you will have the answer.. the answer is in your heart.. 🙂
    p/s : i know crossroads are tough! So, you’ll have my support friend..

  6. hi..take a deep breath yup…
    hmmm..u know what.. we are making decision in every steps we taken in every beat of our heart and in every second of our life..and there is always at least 2 different choices.. i am glad to hear that u r thinking bout ur master degree now.. what ever it is, u are the one who make up the decision.. it is on your hand..even when your are working u need to see where is your future then.. the same thing happen after you graduate your master degree and become a lecturer..i am pretty sure that you are not dat type of girl whom satisfy at one single level of achievement.. later you will see dat we always want more more and more in our life… making a wise decision is not an easy thing to do…i already get into it 🙁 …u r lucky as u r given the opportunity 2 decide but i dont..
    ask your self.. what do you want… why you choose A and left B? you really want to end up with ur current job? u know..we are study most of our life.. long life learning, remember…people never put a limit when we shouldnt be a student..
    most of the time we are not given both dat we wish 2 have. unless we r the lucky one or the choosen one i think… i think u already planned ur future..then go for it… bout the guys..i’m sure God had reserve some1 for u…hehehehe… whether u meet him now or later, we dont know…dont think 2 much bout ‘jodoh’.. ‘kalau ada takkan ke mana…’see.. Martin getting married in 50 bah.. his wife is 40’s… why so worried..even me still single and available bah.. i’m not worried bout it, what im worrying bout is what am i going to do when i retire..
    Make a wise decision girl…Nobody can give you wiser advise than yourself..(Cicero) Think for the long run..
    emm.. i think im too much…what ever ur decision, u’ll owest have my support fren..

  7. how was it garl..
    Three Things……….
    Three things in life that, once gone, never come back:
    Time, Words, Opportunity
    Three things in life that may never be lost:
    Peace, Hope, Honesty
    Three things in life that are most valuable:
    Love, Self – Confidence, Friends
    Three things in life that are never certain:
    Dreams, Success, Fortune
    Three things that make a man/woman:
    Hardwork, Sincerity, Commitment
    Three things in life that can destroy a man/woman:
    Alcohol, Pride, Anger
    Three things in life that, once lost, hard to build-up:
    Respect, Trust, Friends
    Three things in life that never fail:
    True Love, Determination, Belief
    The shortest distance between a problem and a solution
    is the distance between your knees and the floor.
    The one who kneels to the Lord,
    can stand up to anything..

  8. You will have to make your own decision! And whatever choice you make, you will have to be responsible for it yourself and live with it. In our Asian culutre…everything is decided by our parents and others! What to do, where to go! I find it very sad that students finishing Form 5 or Form 6 do not know what to pursue…and just follow what their parents say or flow with the tide…!!! Maybe that’s why there are so many disillusioned teachers these days? They were offered Education but they’re never really cut out to be teachers…and others who want to be teachers are given something else e.g. Law, the reason being the English is so good!
    P.S. Btw, u can join the Open University to do ur Masters on weekends (twice a month, I think)…all in Kuching. Others may offer off-campus…but u may have to fly over to go to the uni quite often. I’m not 100% sure…but u can check this out yourself!

  9. cdason,
    Thanks bro…
    Jodoh di tangan Tuhan..Amen to that. 😀
    Martin E,
    It’s not that I regard 30 as being on the shelf…It’s just that turning “3” in front is scary…and knowing you met ur wife when you guys were over 40 – thank you. That soothes somewhat. LOL. 😉
    But u gotta admit its kinda scary rite? Yeah,I believe that if its meant to be its meant to be…just overthinking things sometimes…LOL…Thanks for ur ramblings… 🙂
    What do you want in life? Happiness.
    What do you want to be? Happy.
    Would you take master if its not fully sponsored? No.
    Are you taking it just because its free? I guess.
    Do you want to continue working and make ends meet, or continue to build your career? I can continue to build my career while making ends meet…
    Do you want to be a lecturer? I don’t think so.
    If it’s meant to be,its meant to be…
    Thanks dear…ur Qs above might have just helped me find my answer…
    I am not satisfied at one single level of achievement. I believe everyone wants to go as high as they can…but I believe that that level is not just academic level…A person might have a PhD but be miserable…it all comes down to the person himself I guess…
    Yes, life is life long learning…but classroom learning…not what Im thinking of right now…
    And guys…I’m not really worried…I believe in God’s plan for my life…He’s done pretty well so far… 🙂
    Thanks my dear friend…really touched by your concern…Three things I’ll say to you: A TRUE FRIEND
    …and I will always REMEMBER…
    Yes, I agree with you…a child should grow up with dreams of their own and be supported by loved ones…sadly,that’s very rare…

  10. hehe I’m not going to admit something that I don’t feel, mar… but as I said, that’s just me .. I’m special … LOL .. or rather, life have indeed taught me something 😉

  11. hahaha…that was just a figure of speech ler…but Good for you!!! You go girl!!! 😀

  12. i remember this poem! my spm’s poem! haha.. 😉 nice thought mar!

  13. Glad to have help. 🙂

  14. Hi Mar, first up, let me first say that I love reading your blog and I must say that there are a lot of your posts that I can totally relate to. I also love your style of writing so keep it up, girl!
    I know that this is a long backtrack post that I’m responding to, but I was reading STP’s latest post, ‘I Saw Her Standing There…’ and my curiousity got the better of me. I clicked on his link and hopped over to your blog. And I’m glad I did that coz your blog is indeed a good read. Having said that, I hope you don’t mind me checking in every once in a while to see what’s up and what’s new with you, since I noticed that you haven’t been around in the forum much. I guess you must have made all the necessary decisions that you needed to make and that is the reason why you haven’t been in touch with the family much. Well Mar, we never really got to know each other all that well during the existence of the Afternoon Show, but now that I’ve seen and read your blog, I’m hoping that this would all change.
    Take care dear and always remember… ‘keep the peace and spread the love’. 🙂
    Thanks Zee for the kind words! I just write as how I write and I’m glad you enjoy reading them! And of course I don’t mind you checking in here once in a while! This is where I update on what’s happening and the best way to keep in touch with friends wherever they are, including you eventhough we’ve never met yet but hey, we are Family rite? 😉 So yes Zee, do drop by as frequent as you can since its hard for me to drop by the forum lately (unreliable internet access being one main reason)…Say HI to the rest of the Family for me yea? 😀

  15. Will do, sweetie 🙂

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