This could be the last time in your life …

This year, I have a wonderful group of student teachers. They’re all highly motivated, active, positive, sociable, friendly, fun-loving, and diligent. They’re enjoying their studies, and each other, so much that observing them, I sometimes become jealous and I would start figuring out how I could make life miserable for them. Hence, I am now issuing them with the following pessimistic reminders about this year’s possibly being the last time in their life when ……

This could be the last time in your life to be able to study on a fulltime basis.

If you embark on further studies in the future, you’re most likely to be doing it on a part-time basis. There is a huge difference in terms of learning experience between fulltime and part-time studies. When you study part-time, you will only be concerned to complete all the course requirements and get the qualification as quickly as you can, so that you can get it out of the way and get back wholly to your fulltime job. When you study part-time, you can forget about enjoying your university life.

This could be the last time in your life when you can make some lifelong friends.

Well, we know that the older we get, the more we want to protect ourselves, by not fully opening up to others. If you’re super lucky, you may be able to make one or two good friends in the workplace one day, but when conflicts of interests arise (e.g., competing for promotion), even such friends can easily become enemies. On the other hand, your college buddies can easily become your lifelong friends. You have more time to hang out together. There’re many things that require you to collaborate with each other. You won’t hate a fellow student because she got A on an assignment and you got A- (unless she has also stolen your boyfriend).

This could be the last time in your life when you can work hard and play hard.

Once you’ve started your career in education, you will only be able to work hard. Your students will play hard, but not you.

This could be the last time in your life when you can enjoy what you are doing.

You might be thinking that you’re quite overworked already, with assignments, tests and exams piling up quickly. Well, until next September when you begin fulltime teaching, you have no idea what it means to be overworked. To any teacher, there are always more than one thousand and one things waiting to be dealt with. And you only have five hundred in hand (including many from Paul, of course). When you are a teacher, you may want to enjoy your teaching, and your relationships with your students. But the truth is, most of the time, you will be dashing from one thing to another. (That’s why you don’t see many fat teachers around.) Your only concern will be to get as many things done and as quickly as possible. You will find that enjoying what you’re doing is such a rare luxury that soon you will chuck it out of your vocational vocabulary.

Conclusion: Carpe diem!


5 thoughts on “This could be the last time in your life …

  1. Jan So

    Dear Paul,

    Thank you for all the positive comments for our group. It’s a pleasure for me and for us to be your students in hundreds of them in all these years. We are all the lucky ones.

    I have never seen a teacher(professor) like yourself who is so much excited about his/her students and their wellbeings. Merci Beaucoup!! Thank you!!

    I also hope to become a teacher who can make learning for my students enjoyable but at the same time meaningful.


  2. Ada

    Carpe diem!

    A phrase that I will never forget. Reminds me the good times back then.

    And I’m now here to break the norm. I’m still playing super hard while working super hard in this education field. ^^

    Da xx

  3. Joyce

    Dear Paul,

    Thank you so much for writing this. I couldn’t help but smile when I was reading it just now.
    I really need this today after an extremely bad start in the morning. We nearly got kicked out of our 1st benchmark workshop (which I sacrificed my precious homework morning to attend) …>.<…

    I feel very blessed to be in this group. Having you as our teacher and be a member of this class is an enormous privilege for me. Trust me, I have seen a lot of far less fun teachers and classmates. I hope we're going to enjoy the rest of the year together!

    Best Wishes,


  4. Jeanne

    Dear Paul,

    Thank you for the pessimistic reminders! That’s true, but I’m sure that we all are going to enjoy our last year being a full time student at CU. I feel blessed ever since I got the SMS from CU giving me an offer of this programme.

    Well, students can always feel whether their teacher truly cares for them. Reading from you is what we need. I feel warmth and being cared for, especially when some of us felt really depressed this morning. Hopefully I can let my students feel the same way in the future. Thank you.


  5. Nesta

    Dear Paul,

    Thank you for the note. Sorry for not noticing this blog entry until now…

    Now that I read this entry, I am sure that I should have much stronger feelings towards what you say than half a month ago. The semester is going to end soon and work is piling up. I have never been good at coping with stress, but I am glad that I have a whole bunch of classmates (as well as you) supporting me. I feel blessed to become your student! I am sure that I will enjoy this last year as a full-time student! Thank you!


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