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“Starbucks with breakfast at O-Week? This is the high life.”

I suppose, five years ago, that I must have been much more excitable.

But I was excited to start university. Life in the army camp had been richly educative in its own way, and although I eventually found my groove, I’d had to flail through many stages of it; I hoped that university, in contrast, would be a challenge more up my alley.

Still, this was an abstract anticipation.

I’m writing this at UTown Starbucks, sitting outside and looking out across the Green. I remember I spent a number of hours here in my first and second years of school (diurnal and nocturnal hours, respectively).

It was also here that the feeling of looking forward to university life first went from abstract to real for me. It might have been the second or third morning of O-Week, and I’d just jio-ed some guys to go buy coffee.

Not that I was consciously thinking this way at the time, but in that moment I’d just translated familiar things from my life-context – tapau-ing food and drinks for friends, buying Starbucks – into the context of my life beginning at NUS and UTown.

I’d not call it a decision, but I think of it as a first step taken into the new situation. I’d taken something I knew how to do, and put it into the routine of a new community of people –  perhaps the first step onto a slippery slope, since before I knew it I’d signed up to be Ops Manager for the next FOP.

Since then I’ve put more of myself into this place, but I’ve also come to experience new and different things – ‘takeaways’, I suppose you could call them, though it’s usually more of a give-and-take, isn’t it? I’ve also generated routines that are going to be associated with this place; if they crop up again somewhere else, maybe I’ll remember how I used to do this or do that at school. 

But whether at that first O-Week, or during the long days and nights at Cinnamon College, a lot of what I will remember will be of the me- and the you-among-us, e.g. ‘Remember when we met at that event where so-and-so did that thing and we laughed so hard?’

So I commence.


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