I have been looking forward to this. I hated school more than anything; sticking to it was a real challenge for me let alone completing it. But it happened for me. I completed my education and I’m picking up my scroll tomorrow.
I haven’t gotten the results that I wanted though, well the operative word here is “wanted” because I certainly didn’t aim for it. If I had aimed for it, I would have worked harder, wouldn’t I? But I didn’t and it kills me to think about it sometimes. If only I had worked harder, procrastinated lesser, researched more, slept lesser, yadda yadda. Sorry, too late to whine now. It’s not a 3rd Class, so I should be happy, my friends told me, I told myself.
I suppose so.
What is the best lesson I’ve learnt for being a by-product of Malaysian education? Follow your heart. Seriously, do what your heart tells you to.
From the moment you received your PMR results, think carefully about what you love to do. Don’t bow to parental, peer or societal pressure. Don’t be afraid of stigmas. Just do what you want to do. Because if you chose the wrong stream, your life may just go downhill from there. Not everyone could excel in subjects that they have no interest in. And should your performance deteriorates, you not only have to answer to your parents, teachers and friends, but yourself too. Some are able to pull through of course, but it involves a lot of heartache and sheer mental strength.
Really, your priority shouldn’t be another A1. It should be to come out of this vicious cycle called Malaysian education unscathed and optimistic. I’m not saying the pursuit of good grades should be shunned completely, I’m just saying that not everyone is made for it, not everyone could sustain it and not everyone learns anything valuable from it. If you are already doing what you like during your formative years, SPM should eventually become something of a breeze rather than a bitch.
“But I’m not a Bumiputera, I have to get all A1s just to get into university of my choice, I don’t even dare to dream about landing on the course I want to do”, you tell me. Man, it pains me to know that this is a real situation in my country. Only in Malaysia that you will find education a double edged sword. While the system could produce brilliant students (unfortunately, I suspect it’s because they are already naturally brilliant), it could also downright destroy the spirit and potential of young Malaysians. How do you expect someone to excel in something that they have no interest in? How do you expect someone who has no formative skills in something to succeed in it? How do you expect a bunch of misplaced students to lead this country in the future?
It will be rather standoffish of me to say that you’re better off studying in a private institution doing what you like than wasting time in a public university. But every non-Bumiputera knows that if we could afford it we would have left on the first plane to UK. So I’m just going to say, “Welcome to Malaysia. And hrm, good luck”.
The second lesson I’ve learnt for being a by-product of Malaysian education is to not allow my children to go down the same path as I did. I plan to work my ass off so that I will be able to give them the best education Malaysia couldn’t give me. I want to safeguard their optimism as mine was systematically disintegrated. Credit is where credit due, my university did help me to piece together some semblance of it.
In 2 hours, I will have my pictures professionally taken in my convocation robe. I will be surrounded by my family, boyfriend and brother’s girlfriend. There is no water supply at home but I’ve never been happier.
This is certainly not a celebration of academic excellence. This is just honouring the fact that I came out unscathed and rather optimistic that my potential could be fulfilled elsewhere.