Dear Clara


I don't know if it is your story or if it is your writing, or may be both. But, your e-mail is remarkably riveting and engaging, as evident from the passion with which it is written.

T is going through a phase which is not very different from what you are going through - strange land, huge opportunities, new relationships, uncertain future. It is natural for people in the school to see both of you and form their own understanding of where you both are in terms of your academic careers. As for you, it is important to recognise the signs of competition, and to acknowledge the feelings and frustrations that accompany them. Instead of having to score points to assert dominance within competition, one can go a long way by saying to themselves that they have nothing to lose. Your life is ahead of you, many opportunities are ahead of you, and competition can only make your life better if you are able to handle it healthily by seeing opportunities through them. I always use the analogy of the government and the opposition. You govern your life. Outside competition although, can influence your life which you govern. Whilst most governments tend to defend their point of view by justifying their views as better, a good government takes the criticisms and challenges as opportunities for shaping and expanding their vision. There is nothing here for you to prove, nothing to defend, nothing to lose and a hell of a lot to gain. So use this T episode to identify what you have learnt through this, and utilise it to shape your vision for your life. It could even include simple things like: who are my real friends? How do I learn to handle competition effectively? How can I handle situations without running away from them, denying them or sweeping them under the carpet? etc etc. I think you are learning lots through this, and I am very optimistic that you will learn more as days go by.

Coming to your questions about me. Yes, I am applying to Oxford and Cambridge for a Master’s degree which will eventually lead into a PhD. My topic of research will be to expand on the God/humanity/creation interrelation in the Old Testament scriptures, focusing on psalms, proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job. I will certainly be applying for scholarship, without which, I will find it very hard. I stare at Sophie's world every day. It is on my bed, begging to be read. I have been getting 2 hours sleep each night of late, which is why Sophie continues to wait for me. The same applies to Le Petite Prince, which is why I am kind of looking forward to the Christmas holidays.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the simplest things. I love to read and hear your stories, and I never see them silly. As a matter of fact I feel privileged that another person's experience can inform and influence my own life. So you and your stories are welcome as ever.

Good luck with all your preparations for Fiji. Have a blast.

The Piano Man


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