Foundation Studies student Paing Hein had a testing year – dreams of living on campus crushed, illness, and political unrest in his home country. Yet, as he writes below, Paing found the silver lining amid the challenges, and is going into 2022 with optimism.
Since 2017, after visiting my sister at the Trinity College campus, who at that time, was studying there, I’ve always aimed to study here. I witnessed the busy and happy life she had, and I wanted that. I wanted to walk around the campus with my friends, just like she did. I wanted to go to lectures and study, just like she would every day. Since then, I would always envision myself at the grounds of Trinity and reminisced the time I was there.
In the middle of 2020, when I was about to finish my last year of secondary education, my plans to study at Trinity College were coming to fruition. However, the global pandemic commenced and everything shut down. I was devastated. All the plans I’d made and the goals I’d set for myself meant nothing anymore. However, I waited patiently for the situation to alleviate in 2021, yet nothing happened. I could not see the light at the end of a tunnel. I was angry and frustrated, yet had nothing to blame.
Reluctantly, I started Trinity through the online environment, and there, I saw many people around my age in the same situation. That helped immensely, as I did not feel like I was alone and had people to share my frustrations with. With that, I managed to get through the first semester of school happily, learning to live a fun life with the resources I had available to me.
All seemed well until a military coup took place in my country – Myanmar – and everything went into a frenzy. There were protests, gunshots, and killings all over the country. I was terrified of what would happen to me, my family, and my country. Yet, since I’ve made a promise to myself – I would be proficient in studying, I continued to try my best for school. Trinity offered a lot of help to me, which I honestly really appreciated. And like that, I continued.
As if things could not get worse for me, I caught COVID-19 and passed it along to my mum and dad. Because of the country’s political situation, I could not take them to the hospital and had to take care for them all by myself and continue my studies, whilst being sick. This carried on for about two months. During that period, I didn’t feel like I was actively taking part in anything, but was passively drifting and following the routine I had. It was really tough. I had to learn to get through hard times and stay as happy as I could, which I’ve managed to do with the help of Trinity College teachers and my friends.
Me saying all this is not so that people take pity on me or validate what I was able to achieve. This is to show that hard times, ones out of anyone’s control, may come to you, but that it can be overcome and good things will await you on the other side. I truly believe I’ve come out of this battle as a more resilient, optimistic, and happier version of myself.