October is a horrifying month with both Halloween and examinations but what scares us students most is, exam. I am quite sure every students dread to face October (besides being excited for the long holiday during the year-end). In primary school and high school, you will be sitting for final school examinations. There might also be some public examinations like SPM, O-Levels, A-Levels, PT3 and IGCSE. In college and university, finals too, sigh.
Why is it that every students fear to face examinations?
Parents, peers and society contribute to the stress and burden that students in the 20th century have to carry on their shoulder. Especially when the only occupations Asian parents have in mind for their children’s future are 80% doctor and the other 20% would go for engineer, architect or lawyer despite the child’s interest and ability to perform.
We, children are scared to be the least performing kid in the family, the ugly duckling and the disgrace of the family. Some of us are pursuing a degree that we have no interest in. We do it to please our parents. We force ourselves to score an average of 90% in college to be eligible for a medical degree.
Now that it is a stressful exam period, I want to wish you readers the best. I am not encouraging you to go against your parents. There is something that you have to understand. You will only be happy when you pursue your own happiness. It is important to take advice from your parents but there are times that you have to stand up for yourself.
My high school life was a bad experience. In form 4, I was assigned to Science Stream which clearly have got nothing to do with what I would like to study in university. Well, having Asian parents, I was told that I would have better job opportunities if I were to stay in science stream. That was the worst mistake I have ever made throughout 16 years of my life. I wasted 2 years of my senior high school life blaming my parents who forced me into something that I was not interested in. I screwed up my SPM (equivalent to IGCSE and O-Levels).
Towards the end, I realised that I have no one to blame but myself. I gave up before I tried to understand the science subjects. I was overpowered by anger and accusations. I did not see that if there was anyone that I could blame, it was myself. I did not try to tell my parents because I was afraid to let them down.
So, this year, around April, SPM results were released. I knew I was going to do bad and yes I did pretty bad. I told myself that I have to move on. There was nothing that I could do. It is done. After that, I did give myself a fair amount of stress to make sure that I will not repeat the same mistakes again.
It did not turn out well though. A rich profusion of stress is not the best motivation, I guess? I was a mess before semester 1 exam. I felt so nervous and scared that I would fail. The stress was affecting my sleep schedule and eating habits. It is definitely not the healthiest thing. Even though I did well in my exam, it was not as good as I have expected.
This term, I took on a different approach. I was really stressed throughout this whole semester with assignments but I allow myself some time off. I encourage myself to watch drama series (I watched Gossip Girls, Suits, Pretty Little Liars, Doctors – that is a lot of dramas okay), I spend time with my friends, have one or two Dota 2 matches every two days (I know it sounds boy-ish but it helps to release stress! Well, at least to me?) and yes, I started blogging too.
I stop forcing myself to pay 101% in every class. It is important to pay attention, yes but we are all only human. We are allowed to cut ourselves some slack. I forced myself to pay 101% attention in every class in semester 1 because I thought it could make up for all the sleeping-in-class days I had in high school. Apparently, life does not work that way.
For those of you out there who are sitting for SPM soon (especially to my juniors), relax! You are going to do just fine. Do not worry about the outcome, enjoy the process. I know it is not easy but there is no point to overstress yourself. Your parents might have set a really high expectation on you but at the end of the day, despite your results, they are still going to love you for who you are. Communication is really important. Tell them your feelings or stress. Do not worry about ‘Straight As’ or even ‘Straight A+’. The only thing that money cannot buy is happiness. Enjoy little things in life.
And for my younger juniors who have just finished PT3, whatever end result it is, there is nothing that you can do about it. If there are friends of yours who did not do as well as you, do me, yourself, your friend and the society a favour; encourage them! Tell them to strive harder in senior high.
There maybe some of you who thinks that I am only saying this because I want to feel better for not scoring straight As in SPM. Well, I am getting through college and I am happy with my current life and all is well!
I kept telling myself to score straight As in PMR to be in science stream so my parents would be proud of me. Yeah, I did but I was not happy. I managed to pull through SPM, get into college, picked my own subjects (obviously without any sciences) and I am happy. Now, I enjoy the process of studying, I go to school everyday (even though I do happen to oversleep sometimes), I do not sleep in class anymore (Well, I slept 24/7 in my high school life and was even named ‘Sleeping Beauty’ by my english teacher) and is doing so much better than how I did in high school.
I want to wish you all the best in your upcoming exams. Note that As, A+s and HD is not the most important thing in life. The most important thing in life that money cannot buy is Health and Happiness. If you successfully scored straight A+s in SPM but is facing mental health issues and is not happy, what is the point?
Dear Parents, I hope that you understand not every child in the world has interest to be a doctor. If there are 7 billion doctors in the world, tell me someone who is going to design and build your house, give you legal advice, teach and educate your children, cook you dishes and bake you cakes? Love your child despite their ability to perform academically and support them in whatever career they see a future in.
Just study hard! Make sure you space out your time to study and relax. Do not go for last-minute revision and cram all the study areas. You would panic and most likely forget most of the important information. If you are a visual learner like me, make beautiful and colourful notes. It helps! It gives you more motivation to study and read through. Trust me, the satisfaction you get when you see those rainbow-like notes, just wow.
Good luck to all ’99 babies who are sitting for SPM and anyone who will be sitting for exam.
‘Do your best and God will do the rest’
Until then, keep your heads high, loves ♥♥