2011: A Review.

This is it! Gabriel’s superdupermegaginormousTL;DR review of 2011!

To be honest, as the year was proceeding, 2011 hadn’t felt terribly interesting nor memorable. In fact, with the monotony of being firmly in the middle of university life (school changes usually being the major source of excitation) and an ever-increasing work load, I hadn’t paid much attention to the year at all while it was going on (unlike some other years marked by distinct life changes like, say, enlistment).

Once I actually set about thinking about the events of the past twelve months, though, it became increasingly clear that not only had a lot taken place, but several of them were of a generally positive nature and that my blessings had been pretty bountiful.

So, what did I do in 2011?

In 2011, I…

Joined two ministries in church (from a starting point of…zero)

I first took up assistant cell leadership in my own cell (which later became full co-leadership in the second half of the year) and also began to help out in the children’s church and both roles have been tiring but ultimately fulfilling as well. Plus, I’ve been blessed to work with lots of people who are passionate about serving Christ and so talented in so many ways.

And, it’s really true what they say: God blesses you in other ways when you serve – though I had never been as busy as this past year, I also enjoyed the best results I’ve had in my NUS life up till now. Which brings me to my second point…

Did pretty decently in school (by my, admittedly middling, standards)

While I still ended the year firmly ensconced in the second-upper honours range (which, while not actually all that spectacular, is pretty much all I can muster), I did get a first-class average for the two semesters I had taken, not to mention bumping my A count (and finally in psychology modules too, finally proving to myself that I’m not adequately proficient only at everything outside of my major). I’m finally Asian! I don’t actually have any idea how I did it because I totally approached everything the same way I had done for the two years prior.

Still, to all freshies and sophomores struggling in school and thinking that you missed your best chances for decent grades, it gets better!

Had a pretty kickass Chinese New Year

Four consecutive days worth of activities, including mahjong, relatives, snacks, cell visitations and the zoo! Infinitely more exciting than CNYs of yore.

Survived my first ICT

Admittedly it was only a four-day reservist consisting almost entirely of administrative headaches but still, that’s one cycle down. Nine more to go!

Chaired a camp committee

Prior to heading the camp committee for my church’s young adult camp, I had never ever even helped out in any way in any camp before. In fact, I’ve pretty much been allergic to camps all my life and have fastidiously avoided them at all costs. Still, the experience was an exciting one filled with challenges and was definitely an eye-opener. Not something I’d ever touch with a ten-foot pole again but definitely something I’m going to remember for a long time.

Thank goodness I had a fantastic committee (who, admittedly, did about 95% of the work but hey, leadership is all about delegation!) and thank God that the camp itself went pretty smoothly and that everyone had a great enjoyable time.

Got my first permanent part-time job

Ever since I had heard about this behavioural therapy (for autistic kids) job from Rhonda several years back, I had been wanting in on it. It’s entirely relevant to my field of education (not to mention the exact aspect of it I want to specialise in professionally), provides lots of real, practical experience and I get to (hopefully) help children grow up more adjusted as well! Plus, it pays decently too. So, when I heard from her that there were vacancies (and that I finally had the adequate qualifications for it), I leapt at the chance and passed the interview! It’s been a challenging ride so far and I’m pretty far from perfect but it has definitely been a huge learning experience and I can only hope it gets even better.

Made some pretty big purchases

I’ve never been one for practicing much financial restraint and, while I didn’t add any game console to my (needlessly expansive/expensive) collection this year, I did get myself a spanking humongous guitar (which has, alas, been banished to a decrepit corner of my room) and the Amazon Kindle (which has received a considerably higher amount of attention).

Ran in my first race in two years

Nike Run 2011, oh yeah!

Went for my first holiday with friends since Taiwan (WHICH WAS BEFORE NS)

A six-day eat-shop fest in Hong Kong with the cell group members which proved to be pretty bad-ass. Pictures and a recap of my trip coming soon! It was a pity, though, that my fragile, old self fell so deep into sickness that my memory of the week following my return to Singapore is tinged by a mucus-y haze.

Caught up with plenty of old friends

Too many friends and too many occasions to name, but you know who you are.

Made plenty of new ones

From cell mates like Jasmine (who gave me the most awesome present ever) to project group mates like Irene, Selene and Michelle to my brutha’ from another mutha’ Xiang Wei, it’s been a year of awesome fellowship and I pray that 2012 will be even better.

Oh, and I came back here!

Resolutions for 2011 (completed ones in bold, partially completed ones in italics):

-Read 45 books
-Save $3000 (haven’t closed my budget for last year yet but, if I’m not wrong, I’m actually in deficit so this was pretty much a farce)
-Pass my IPPT
-Do quiet time every single day, circumstances allowing
-Go for church service every single week, circumstances allowing
-Attend every single cell group meeting, circumstances allowing
-Join a ministry in church

-Bring at least three friends to church
-Run in (and complete) at least two 10km race
-Get on the Dean’s List at least once
-Stay in the second upper honours range
-Get a cumulative cap of at least 4.3
-Go overseas for a holiday at least once
-Finish a beginner’s tennis course
-Finish an intermediate tennis course
-Finish a beginner’s Japanese language course
-Finish a beginner’s vocal training course
-Eat fast food no more than twice a month (some months I did it; others were trainwrecks)
-Exercise at least three times a week, circumstances allowing
-Get a semi-regular part-time/freelance job

So, while I didn’t fulfill every single resolution, the ones that I did were pretty huge, no?

Looking back at 2011, it’s been a way wilder ride than I seem to remember (I guess being really busy actually softens the general stress of the year) and, while I’m sure there were times that were less than pleasant, the fact that I can’t remember any huge boo-boo moments on hand while being able to think of so many huge blessings would point to the notion that, overall, 2011 had been pretty awesome.

I can only thank God for all the wonderful blessings He has heaped on me and pray that in this coming year, as I continue to seek and serve Him, that He will draw me closer to him and meet my needs the way He has done the past year and that I’ll be able to do greater works for Him.

ps. I wanted to do photo montages for several points I made above but, seeing as it’s already 2012 and I’m already running so late for this post, you’ll just have to make do with individual photos from several of my friends’ Facebooks as well as from past entries on my blogs. I’ll do a better (and earlier) job next year, promise!

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