Academics has always been a big aspect of my life ever since childhood up until now. I have gotten used to the heavy workload demanded of different subjects and the stress that came along with it. Because I felt pressured to excel especially since everyone expected something from me, I established a mindset within myself that I had to do well and study really hard even if fun comes last. Even though hard work does pay off, it wasn’t making a good impact on my health and emotional well-being. I then realized that this had to change but it wasn’t until I started taking philosophy classes this semester that I have asked myself this question: Is what I am doing really something that I want or something I just do for the sake of doing it? Is this something that makes me happy or not?
Reflecting and asking myself this question time and time again made me realize that there is a much bigger world that is yet to be explored outside academics. Yes, academics may currently be the center of a student’s life but this doesn’t mean that one can’t take time off it and just enjoy everything around. Yes, I also enjoy studying but only to a certain extent because there are also limits to how much one can take. Getting to this thought has took me a long time especially since I used to make academics my center but I realized that I have been limiting myself all the time by doing so.
Just like Dr. Garcia’s first lecture about what philosophy is by using David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water”, we have the freedom to choose what to think and go beyond our default settings. After this lecture, I was then able to also see how the way we look at things can impact the way things currently are. Our perspectives in regard to choosing what to think and how we look at things can in fact change our life. “This is Water” also gave me a chance to be deeply honest with myself with the fact that many people aside from me could possibly be experiencing the same thing as I am but I choose to ignore this and focus on myself when in fact, I could be helping others. At the end of the day, all of this made me see how this is how life is and that we have the freedom to make choices that allow us to lead meaningful lives.
It starts by remembering like how David Foster Wallace says, “This is water, this is water.”
Marion Nicole Lim