Last updated 2012-09-01 21:23:39 SGT
Broadly speaking, there exist two kinds of people here: those who chose to study in Singapore, and those who had no choice but to study in Singapore. After a few weeks of getting to know people, it strikes me as odd that, for the better part, Singaporeans who choose to study locally find it attractive for precisely the same reasons why I don't (except the money bit. I am poor). I would surmise that, as usual, my small (and somewhat anomalous) social circle is responsible. My best friends are all going away, and I have no backups.
I think the worst part about studying locally is the dislocation from my friends. Not literal dislocation, in terms of imposing physical and emotional distances; that's going to happen anyway, as we grow up and apart. But instead of striding boldly into academia together, as equals, I had no choice but to get dragged into the thick of it before the party could actually start. Now I drudge away at lab reports while looking enviously on at pictures of MIT orientation parties and Oxford chalets and pre-term holidays in London, and I am left behind. It is a temporal dislocation more gut-wrenching than any time-zone difference.
The worst part of it all is that because of this, we have no time now for each other. Even though we're mostly still in Singapore, they're all comparatively free, and whenever they're not, they mostly go to the same pre-term events, anyway; whereas I find myself completely unable to join them, having been denied access simply by dint of not belonging to the same academic fraternity.
I resent this. Maybe I'm being deliberately antisocial and parochial, but despite getting (or having) to meet lots of new people, I still find many of them bland and unstimulating. Not that there aren't any interesting people in NUS, of course; but there are far fewer here than I am used to, and I say this without a trace of irony. I have been spoiled by my friends, and yet I feel robbed of them now.
TL;DR I miss my genius friends