The 3 year journey line: Becoming the successful student

“Nobody is going to sponsor you.. You think a company will pay to keep you..?” She said to me.

There are people who will encourage you blindly (I’m not sure if they believe it, but it’s a polite thing to say). There are those who will encourage you truthfully. And then there are those won’t believe in you.

It’s probably weird to say that I dated this girl. It’s probably even weirder to say I was still dating her after she said that to me. It was obvious she wasn’t what I needed in my life.

It was perfect though; the perfect piece to add to my journey line.

What’s a journey line you ask? I’ll explain in a second for those who aren’t familiar.

For someone stubborn like myself, I wasn’t going to let her statement become true. It was extra fuel to motivate me. I was better than that and I knew I could prove her wrong. It will be like one of those movies where the girl breaks up with the guy and the guy becomes super successful by the end of the movie. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

Fast forward one year later and I have proved her wrong. I’ve done everything she said I couldn’t do and more. And guess what? This is the beginning of the story.

Back to the journey lines. A journey line is a self description of how you got from one place to another. I don’t mean physically (although it can be), but a look at how your life unfolded, from one point in time to another. I spoke about journey lines almost a year ago in a Facebook post with the intent to write a post about it. Since I started this blog almost exactly three years ago, it feels like a good time to revisit the topic.

A lot has happened since then. Quite a bit a lot of shuffling around.  Lots of doubt, uncertainty and figuring out where (sometimes physically) I saw myself going next. On one hand, there’s been a lot of freedom in determining my path. On the other hand, there were hundreds of days filled with uncertainty and doubt. It’s not a bad thing. It’s okay to have doubts. We all have them, but it’s more important not to let your doubts control your path.

Some people believe that everything has its place in life. I don’t necessarily believe that, but it’s a nice thought. It gives us a sense of security or purpose. It brings peace to our minds because everything will “just work out”. I certainly don’t believe that everything would’ve worked out if I left it, but let’s entertain the thought for a moment. Let’s look at the most influential moments of my journey line that bring us to present day me.

My story started like a cliché; soul-searching travels that started with a girl.

She was everything I needed at that time: free-spirited, courageous, and in cliché fashion, seemingly also searching for something. From what I know, she returned home and took a job with her old company. I was disappointed. That’s not how I wanted her story to unfold. That’s not how I wanted my story to unfold.

Moment number one: the travel romance. She reminded me to make the hard decisions in life based on guts and heart. If you follow your heart, it won’t necessarily lead you down the easiest road, but it will be a worthwhile road.

Project Malaysia seems like the obvious choice for number two, but the experience felt like a bit of a “run around”. It still seems relevant but I can’t pinpoint a specific reason why. I’ve left it off the list for now.

Thoughts in front of the Petronas Towers

Malaysia will always have a place in my heart

Moving to Melbourne, working at Flippa, and dating the girl who never believed in me all seem like they have become part of the same story. If you believe some things aren’t meant to work out, this is a great story for that. In fact, those were the words of one of my former colleagues at my current company. He was impressed that I had made it (here). “You were meant for things not to work out at Flippa. Look at you now”, he said. A journey line needs a little drama. For that reason, the fallout of Melbourne would be moment number two.

After the train wreck of November and December, I enjoyed my January by watching lots of Australian Open before eventually heading to the farm to handle my visa days. Farm life easily holds the next spot at moment number three. Can I think of a time that reminds me of the simpler things in life? Where else could I pick fruit, babysit 30+ cats and hang out with awesome people? Unfortunately, I was pretty distracted during my time there since I was worried about all the things I had to handle in my return. Because of that, I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I should have. Nonetheless, I always have warm memories of the people of the Fruitshack. I look forward to visiting Michael and Debbie again in the near future.

Last farm family dinner

Last farm family dinner

After Melbourne, I never gave much thought to moving again even though I knew it was a possibility once I opened up my search to other cities. That being said, a part of me had a feeling I would end up in Sydney. I even texted my friend that exact message earlier in January. Ultimately, I moved because the leaders were sending the right message. It was a place where the leaders believed in investing in people; the perfect place to plant my flag.

Long gone are the days of sitting outside to use the wifi to get work done. Last past are the days of visa runs and asking where next? It’s felt like a very long journey but things have worked out for me. I feel like a success. I wonder to myself, am I still the unsuccessful student?

The name has always embodied my sarcasm and personality. I was never afraid to joke about it and it wasn’t from a lack of self-confidence. At the same time, the blog content is far more varied now and diverging to a point where I’m not sure if the name still makes sense. Nowadays when I’m asked what I blog about. I say… life? The purpose isn’t so clear anymore.

I hate to say it, but it feels like it’s time to retire the name. In fact, it feels like I have accomplished what I set out to do with this blog. I wanted to show you that you can do ordinary things that can create an extraordinary impact. There is a lot to be proud of and I hope those who have followed along have also found positive influences.

Nowadays, I am privileged to develop by day, teach coding in my spare time, and still hack and learn on the side. I even get to do fun unrelated projects like writing my first book. In the new year, I’m exploring a new part-time business.

The big question was, was it all meant to be? Was I destined to end up here?

If I had somehow stayed in Malaysia, I think the story would’ve turned out a lot different. It would be very unlikely I would be in Australia (which means I would never have experienced things such as farm work). Nonetheless, I think I would have found success in other ways.

As I’ve always said, it is what you make it and what you really want to believe.

And I believe that I found success by staying true to my mantra: explore, learn, create. I never gave up. I focused on getting better and making small steps based on my goals and ambitions. And I believe that I still have a lot to grow despite my success. Reflecting on my own journey line feels fulfilling and after 3 years, I think I’ve earned the title “The Successful Student”.

It doesn’t have the same sarcastic ring to it, but hey, I think I can live with that.


Don’t miss a post by following on the right hand side of the blog or via Twitter @chestertus

Share your thoughts