Blog Post by Rhea L. Gumasing
What did I know of the Asian Institute of Technology? Or the better question then was, what do I need to know? My curiosity began long before I entered AIT, and it cemented my resolve and enhanced my excitement to pursue a degree knowing that I will be learning in an international environment that transcends boundaries defined by age, gender, country, preference, and opinions.
I was also excited about the ‘international’ flavor of AIT as it spelt pursuit of lifelong friendships (and foes if I may say), as they bring out the best and worst in how we live our life in AIT and beyond. Armed with these thoughts, I opened my acceptance letter with gusto. It read:
“We are pleased to inform you that after a rigorous evaluation of your qualifications, you are hereby offered admission…” a familiar statement to all of us when we all got accepted. It sounded professional hinting at the rigidity yet warm welcome to a wandering student like myself.
And so AIT life began. I found myself transferring to another room in the middle of the night because of housing issues and believe it or not – reptiles! You can’t imagine the torture I put myself through imagining many horror stories because of reptiles and geckos. But as life began at AIT, I realized that the green campus of AIT is how nature should be.
It was time to line up for a room change, and the earliest possible time to get the best ended with me having received the last number for the queuing! It was time to get yourself photographed for the ID in true zombie fashion. Getting yourself settled at AIT took me at least three days, and it went by like a blur. While it was disconcerting in the beginning, I found it funny nonetheless. Where else can I get these experiences?
And off to the classroom. Classmates with different shades of skin, sound, and smell came as a welcome respite on the first day but it quickly gave me headaches. I had to adjust. But truly, adjusting was a choice and human as I am my curiosity unclouded my prejudiced mind. I say smell, because, I suppose we all have our own peculiar smells that reflect what we eat, how we clean ourselves, and also speak about our culture. I probably smelled like a dried fish just because I like to eat all kinds of dried processed food. Others smelled like ginger just because they like curry food.
Likewise, we also have different voices — some that are melodious and soft that I find pleasing (among French students), guttural sounds from South Asian males, high pitched voices from Thais, and rambling yet perfectly structured English from the Indians. There are variations but if I find it difficult to understand them, then I pity those who are also trying to understand me. Hehe.
At AIT, teachers are different. I got curious for another reason and sought to understand why they do things to make our lives unnecessarily busy. I asked one of my professors, and he said: To be busy means you are living your life to the fullest of your potential. If you are not busy, you are wasting your life.” Serious. Spoken like a true adult. So I thought, I better shape up to keep my end of the bargain.
My life in AIT has been marked with all these snippets, which to many others may be inconsequential. Curiosity is how I get to know people, care about people, and relate with people, in this chaotic space we call AIT.
What is your story?
Blog Post by Rhea L. Gumasing. Rhea is from the Philippines, and she is currently completing her PhD in Management from the School of Management , AIT.
(This was the award winning blog post in a contest organized for AIT students).
See Also: Award winning blog post of August 2017 semester: My First Days at AIT