The only thing constant in life

It is Black Friday today, and I couldn’t help but have to (right, I just “had to” do it) check out all those discounted purses on I was so excited to see the daydreamer bag that I wanted sooo bad when I was a broke college student is now only a little over US$80! I can totally afford one or two purses (or even one of those fancy looking rhinestone studded fashion watches maybe???) now, but I decided against buying it in the end. I need to save up every dime I have to pay for my PhD! (Although I just bought two iPad mini’s with retina display, in my defence, they are necessities! One for myself and one for my loving mother.)


Then I thought of some of the most gullible thing I said when I was younger.

1. When I was a kid, I promised myself after I grew up and made “loads” of money, I would buy myself a big box of ice cream and eat it out of the carton.

2. When I was in college, I dreamed of carrying the said pink Juicy Couture tote to school. Trust me, it was the “it” bag for 20-year-olds like almost a decade ago. I really don’t know if it has become a classic. I’m surprised they are still selling those. I told myself I’d get it soon enough.

3. When I got a little older, I thought if one day I became a black-suit-wearing business executive, I’d buy myself a Louis Vuitton Sac Plat NM, so I could look like a “powerful career woman” sporting in a classy bag and high heels.


4. When I got my first job, I had very little disposable income. I was tired of having to wait for final sales to shop. I said if one day I was “fortunate” enough to make twice of what I was making (the amount was astronomical to me, but it’s not), I would go to my favorite store and buy whatever I like at regular price.

Today I noticed now I’ve met all the conditions. I’m an executive who makes quite a lot more than what I was making at my first job, but I don’t go crazy on ice cream unless I’m dealing with a break up; I have been using the same “work purse” for two years because it’s huge and the long straps are comfortable; I wear high heels to work on most days, but I’m usually in colorful business casual attire; I’ve long outgrown that particular brand of clothes that I liked cuz I consider the style too fluffy now.

So, here I am, having the ability to complete all my childhood and teenage dreams, yet I’m saving that US$80.

For a PhD.

I grew from a materialistic college girl to an aspiring academic. How did that happen?

I guess over the years, I’ve learned my lessons. Through disappointments, embarrassments, failures and heartbreaks, I’ve come to realize no purse, dress, shoes, makeup or even the nicest food can give me sustainable satisfaction. After the initial excitement, shopping couldn’t fill the emptiness in my life. What makes me feel fulfilled, is my knowledge and my ability to teach and write.

You can have all the money in the world, the coolest job, the most loyal partner, the best friends, but at a blink of an eye, they could be gone. Money could be lost, jobs could be cut, boyfriend/husband could cheat, friends could grow apart. The only thing that can never ever be taken away from you, is your education. Unless you’ve forged your research or cheated in your exam, no one could ever strip your degrees from you. Even if you’ve been convicted of murder, you are still called a doctor if you have a doctorate.

Besides my mom’s love, I gotta say my love for education is the only thing that is constant in my life, which is why I’ll do everything in my power to actualize my PhD dream.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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