In an article about thriving in a complex world, Thomas Oppong writes that we should “embrace things that require serious effort but will help you grow”.
“The effort alone can make you better — no matter the outcome. Even if you fail, you win because you are demanding more of yourself.” he wrote.
When I decided to further my education this year (during the COVID-19 movement control order), I considered pursuing an MBA. And then I thought about researching the future of journalism.
They both felt difficult. But would they truly stretch me, I wondered.
Eventually, I began work on and later submitted a research proposal on “pornography” in Malaysia. The work was brutal — mainly because I was exploring concepts that were completely new to me.
I read about “the body” (not a physical thing, apparently), about how anti-sex discussions are really discussions about sex (first foray into Foucault’s writings), and how modernity shapes cultural narratives.
Half the time I didn’t understand what I was reading, and even when I did, I found that I lacked the vocabulary to write down my understanding of it.
When I was finally done and hit Send on my Master’s application, I felt like a different person.
And isn’t that the point of education?