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If you take a look at most of my school’s garbage cans, specifically the ones placed next to water fountains, you’ll find these neat fill tubes, affectionately decorated with green recycling stickers.


The latter were specifically fashioned to contain used plastic cups. Why? The idea was to incite awareness on the amount of plastic cups used within the school; after the tubes are filled, all the plastic cups will be dumped into a big net, ostentatiously displayed at the main entrance.


In support of this campaign against disposable cups, the school also took the initiative of buying each student a little 300ml bottle from Lock ‘n’ Lock last year: “The good kind, the one that comes with a cup,” as affectionately chosen by our middle school biology teacher, head of this new environmental programme. But as of yet, the little tubes fill up as quickly as ever.


As I walk in through the hallways, colourful posters whisper me eco-friendly reminders for the day. Words that I really just brush off my ears as soon as possible (just like everyone else). At heart, ideas are certainly not lacking but practice is sparse. Personally, I couldn’t call myself nature’s number one best friend. However this year, the sight of the posters and the little tubes from the garbage cans triggered a reaction in me. Just like the collective attitude towards going green, I wondered whether I was also in denial and pushing back the important things on my agenda.




College applications are knocking on our doors, while final exams tug at our back; it’s difficult to do the right thing with deadlines framing us from both sides. So while my friends rush to perfect their applications, I’ve just decided to take a year off.


This decision was met with wide eyes from my teachers and “Wow! Really?” from my friends. One even claims she can no longer look at me the same. What follows is the expectation-charged question that goes: “So what are you going to do?” Be it relatives, friends or close family, they all manage to catch me off-guard with one simple sentence. Frankly, I don’t have an answer.


Throughout my enquiries, the main concept that seems to be recycled over and over is that my decision is “a waste of time”; “What if you lose your habit to work?”; “What if you end up not going to college?”; “Aren’t you just procrastinating?”. At a certain point, these questions started weighing me down and making me doubtful. Should I be doing more to secure my future? Am I just being the serial procrastinator that I know I am?


Wrong Choice, Right Path


“I’ve put it in my head that I’m going to make the wrong choice, said my best friend, but it’s a step towards making the right one.” Pep talk is very valuable at times of self-doubt, hers made me realise that there really is no right way to do things; we just have to go at it.


Do I have even the slightest idea of what I want to do in the future? No. Can I imagine myself in ten years’ time? Definitely not. So what am I going to do during my one year break? I am going to procrastinate. I am going to do everything and nothing, and I’m going to think about all the superfluous things that I couldn’t think about when I was in school. In that sense, there is a beauty in procrastination: for once, I can ponder on all the random impulses in my head and make some sense out of them.


So if anyone’s still asking, I’m taking up educated procrastination. True to Descartes’ methods, one small step at a time I’m going to analyse, decompose and plan the monstrous task at hand: my future.

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To Thu Phuong

One of the writers of the column Student Eye, Phuong is Vietnamese born and bred. A little (in fact a lot) smaller than her classmates, her voice makes up for her size. If you’re lucky, you’ll find her sitting on a plastic stool on one of the busy sidewalks of Hanoi, feasting on local street food.

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