An Education.


School, a familiar yet fresh experience. 12 years of moving up the education system to reach where i am now : University.
After all the Freshmen Experience activities, school has settled down. I can feel my life flowing into the mould of SMU, where i will be spending the next 4 years of my life at.

My Mondays to Fridays (Saturday mornings in fact) will be largely following the same structure for the remaining of the semester, and i like it. I like structure, knowing things going to happen according to plan. Structure does not mean inflexibility, life is not going to be mundane and dreary because i know everyday is a different day where i learn new things, meet new people, interacting with friends or even being alone but lonely.

And for the first time in my life, i see true meaning in education. From primary school to secondary school to JC and even in Army, i’ve studied solely for examinations, to get good grades to proceed to a desirable subsequent phase in life.
And for the first time in my life, i feel like i am studying to improve my knowledge and skills. No doubt grades are important, but now grades to me is a bonus that plays its part in recognizing my education’s progress.
And for the first time in my life, my insides feel all fuzzy and delighted when i learn something new, something that improves my knowledge or my skills.
And again, for the first time in my life, someone feels my education is important enough to grant me a scholarship and i am utterly surprised yet thankful. Me? A ‘scholar’?

To be honest, when i was heading to the interview for the scholarship, i felt good.
I felt that with my capability, i am going to be the one recipient.
My afterthought then told me to be humble, that i am not as great a person as i thought i was, that i wouldn’t be a winner in life. In fact, i haven’t achieved much in life.
What does achievement taste like? What does it even smell like?

Primary school i was in the table-tennis team. Didn’t excel. Now i play table-tennis for recreational at best.
Secondary school when i was in Chinese Orchestra. Didn’t excel. Now i play the double bass still having to translate my scores to alphabets.
Junior College when i was in hockey. Didn’t excel. Now my hockey stick is just lying at the corner of my room untouched.
Junior College when i was in student council. Didn’t excel. Thinking back, my term as a councillor hadn’t developed me to become a better leader much either.

In University when i see people joining CCAs they excelled in. I am still wondering should i have focused on one thing to excel in rather than touch and go so many different things.

I’m better than most at floorball but still not as good as i should be since i was a hockey player.
I can play the double bass but still not as good as i should be since i spent 4 years plus playing it.
I’m better than most at frisbee but still not as good as those who went for frisbee trainings.
I play Dota but i’m not owning as much as i should since i played for 7 years already.
I think i’m good in strategy games but still many people are better than me.
I think i have a great sense of rhythm since i have music background but i was frequently lost at Samba Masala workshop.
I thought i had a perfectly smart answer in class to say since i think i’m smart but my professor totally disagrees with me.

Seems like what i think i’m good at is actually mostly self-recognition after going through humbling experiences.
Even when i believed i’m good, i’m not as good as i think i am.

But you know what? I think i’ve found the underlying problems to all those things.
I’ve gotten things i really wanted when i feel that i probably can’t do it. And because i have the preconception that i probably can’t do it, i tend to humble myself as i worked towards those things i wanted. Somehow, things were better than i expect.

For PSLE, i was hoping i could get into a neighbourhood school with 200 points or something. Got 245 and went to Nan Hua.
For Chinese Orchestra, i was hoping to become the Section Leader but thought i was incompetent. Appointed Section Leader.
For O Levels, i was hoping to go to non-NJC because its impossible to get 6 points. Got 6 points and went to NJC, my dream school by the way.
For Student Council, i thought such a lousy candidate like me probably can’t get in. Got in (it’s quite easy to, actually)
For A Levels, i was panicky because i thought my grades will bring me nowhere. Got AAB/B
For Army, i wanted to become instructor but i thought i did too badly to be one.
Became instructor.
For my BMW telemarketer job interview, i thought i screwed up big time. Got the job, apparently they liked my voice.
Went for Ian Ferguson Scholarship Interview, thought that chances are so slim that it’s not going to be me. I got it.

Reflecting on my life, i have devised new approaches to achieving my goals.
Thinking i’m good is not enough, i have to prepare, concentrate, revise, execute, devote all my attention to the task at hand. Then i’m sure i will actually be better. I have the potential to be good! Just that i’m too complacent and serendipitous. I need to be humble not only on the outside, but internally as well.

Strike the perfect balance of being humble and being confident in yourself.
I’m sure i can steer myself towards the path i desire.
Hard work is a constant in all things, of course. I am often having too much fun than i should be. I have to become more disciplined.

I guess i have found my new impetus on how to excel at things now.
Time will tell if i’m right.

p.s. To Mon : Circumstances are different now, but we’ve gone through storms together.


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