I miss 4 things the most from university life:
1) Living solo
I stayed away from home for the first time when I enrolled at UMP. Somehow the transition wasn't difficult for me; I enjoyed my space even though the dorm was nothing to shout. I enjoyed driving out to shop for groceries or just for a meal. I liked the routine of running the machine, folding clothes; somehow since I got home, I've not been able to adjust to living with other people again. I'm improving but I sometimes yearn to lie down in my small narrow cot (top side of a double-decker bed) under the fan and dozing off alone in the room.
The only curfew I adhered to was the back-before-midnight rule. And I only broke it once. Or twice. Sometimes we'd get really hungry after late-night orchestra practice so we'd drive out for tom yam at Sinar Mesra or to McD's at Teluk Cempedak if we were up to it. We could impulsively decide to watch a movie or have 2nd round of dinner at another food court. I'd call up pals for brunch and it'd last for a few hours if we had time...plus the food was so good and cheap, I couldn't feel guilty about it!
It was at university that I experienced the trials and triumphs of performing in a group for the first time. Playing solo's fine, but there's a different quality to the music you play when you're part of an ensemble. Regardless of race and religion, everyone has a common goal: to share the music. It's a peaceful feeling when all the notes are played at the right time and flows together as a seamless piece. Sure it takes a lot of practice but our practice sessions have always been fun!
I realized I didn't mention one other activity that was also my salvation during this time: English debates. I still remember the first audition and the funny speeches I gave about periodic male tension (counterpart of menses in men)! The friendships I've made are still strong even after leaving UMP. I remember staying back for training and competitions during semester breaks, long bus rides to other universities, eating and laughing around. Debate gave me great clarity in organizing my thoughts and expressing myself through oratory skills; I also gained courage and confidence to voice out my opinion and be critical about issues that matter.
Well university life was challenging but it has a gleam that's different from high school or working life. I love working; the challenges are different and there's a sense of purpose to my job (plus money never hurt nobody) but the responsibility is huge and there's no escape. My advice to all university students struggling out there? Enjoy it. One day you'll look back and wonder why the hell you worried so much about making everything work. I certainly laughed a lot whenever I reminisce about my university days :)