A rant on my educational journey as a Singaporean student

As I make the transition from junior college to university as a student living in Singapore, I have had 8 months' worth of free time to truly reflect on the past 12 years of my life as a student in the Singapore education system. What I realized is that I never gave myself the chance to explore and be more extroverted.

The Singapore education system, like any other typical Asian education system, molded me to be purely focused on grades throughout the past 12 years (not that my grades were any good). Growing up, I was quite an outspoken and sassy little girl but primary school completely destroyed my personality. I became someone very closed off with only a very small circle of friends. I merely participated in co-curricular activities (CCAs as we call it) when required by the school or invited by my teachers. Even in such CCAs, I simply did what I was tasked with as a regular member of the CCA and never pushed myself to lead projects or take up leadership roles. Heck, I even transferred CCAs because I thought my previous one was too taxing and wanted a more relaxed CCA.

Oftentimes, I hear from the wise old ones of what they hope to tell the younger generation and most of the advice is along the lines of how youth is fleeting and to be adventurous while you can. Well, I never took such words to heart until 10 years into my schooling years when I was forced into a new school and new environment where everyone seemed to have done some significant activities during their primary and secondary school life, while I had barely anything worth mentioning apart from academic-related achievements.

Thus, I made the resolution that during junior college, I would truly pursue my hobbies and finally take up a leadership position. Well, neither happened. When I was applying for my leadership position, throughout the 3 or so interviews, I constantly mentioned how I may be a “breath of fresh air” as I never had any leadership experience before. However, in the final round of interviews, I got completely overwhelmed and was eventually denied the role. So I told myself it was okay, there is still year two to make up for it. Well, year two was during 2020 so you can imagine what happened. Eventually, my final CCA transcript was barely more than a page. Technically, most of my schoolmates’ were also of that length but they have their secondary school experience to make up for it while I had nothing.

So I made another resolution, that I would finally make my schooling life a fulfilling one in university. Yet, these past few months, I begin to feel that maybe nothing will change. With the recent rise in cases in the past month and the partial lockdown that they announced just a few hours ago, my university life is looking bleak. That’s not to say I didn’t try, I applied for on-campus accommodation, signed up for camps, went for engagement talks. I tried to do whatever I can to finally redeem myself from my depressing 10 years of education and yet I feel like my efforts are in vain.

Eventually, I may become that wise old one that once again tells the younger generation that youth is short-lived and to go crazy with their lives, but who knows it may fall on deaf ears of some child who is just like my younger self.



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