I nearly killed myself in high school for getting a straight A1 in high school. I nearly committed suicide just because of the stress and conflicts I had to go through to secure 16 A1 in SPM. Yeah, I got myself a 16A1 recognition. I was awarded a scholarship from JPA, and is currently studying in Intec and is going to further my study in US. However, it is because of this education experience and the people that I meet around in Intec that I gradually opened my eyes and have a clearer view on what I truly lost throughout the struggle to acquire straight 16A1 in SPM.
1. I lost friends and family
In the end you will find that friends and family are things that you can’t replaced with money and fame. The high school memories you spent with your family and friends are valuable cause these are memories that you created when you were still a teen, and you will never ever had a second chance to be a teen again. Much of my high school time were spent in studying and tuition. In the end, when I graduated from my high school, or even my current college, I was wondering: where are my memories?
2. Lack of sleep.
This is really true. When people keep looking at you shining glamorously as the “16A1″, you yourself know the best that it was paid with real hard works. Unless you are a genius, a good result has to be achieved through hard work; it’s the absolute. During the SPM I had a serious sleep deprivation and I forced myself to revise my works starting from 3 a.m. I have an average 3 hours of tuition per day, and subtracting my school time which is 7 hours per day, I had only 14 hours to do all my other things. Homework is directly proportional to the number of subjects that you took, so does the time you need to spend for revision. With the extra curricular activities coming into the schedule, my average sleeping time per day is 3-5 hours.
3. When A1 becomes just the average.
You will have no idea how easy it is to achieve A1 in SPM. One of my friends who almost did not study his Sejarah yet can still get an A2 in his SPM. The number of students having straight A1 is overflowing throughout the Malaysia, and you might be thinking just like me: having more A1 will make you stand out among your peers more. I can tell you the truth that, YES, but TEMPORARILY. When you go to college you will find out that there are more students who are BETTER than you even if their SPM has a Fail in Moral or C in Bahasa or D in Physics. They are very specialized in subjects that they truly love. They are very passionate in their own interested subject. Only when you are in the college, you will realize that, despite all the large numbers of A1 that you have in your hand, you are just AVERAGE.
4. Mediocre talents.
High school is supposed to be a place where you can try out new things in your life, discover what you are loving or passionate in, and nurture these discovered traits. It is a protected area where you are allowed to explore, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. It is the foundation for you to start discovering who you are and what you are good at. When I am at college, A LOT of my friends have their own talents. They play musical instruments; they take stunning pictures, they are good at socializing, things that you can’t learn if you are just confining yourself surrounded with books and books in your own room.
5. You forgot what you have learnt
I can’t denied that it is a good way for me to expose to things that I might not have chance to study, for instance economic and commerce study. It is a really great experience to learn things beyond your stream. But when I am in college I forgot almost most of the things that I have learnt in high school. If you calculate it you find that it isn’t really a good deal compared to what you had lost. The reason is that SPM is so examination-based that you, in spite of how passionate you are in your subject, will subconsciously study for the exam. With this attitude you tend to forget what you have learnt the moment the exam is over. I am still passionate in business study, but how many OSKIC you can join when you need to focus on 16 subjects and promise to your teachers that you can get them all A1?
6. All and all, nobody really cares.
Wake up! Nobody cares how many A1 you will have in your certs. JPA or Bank Nengara or Petronas might have a glimpse on it, but in the end, nobody will be amazed by your certs. Ask your future boss and he won’t really care a shit about it. It will be a past. In the end it is what who you are that shines to the others: your characters, your personality, your experience! A1 is not worth the price if you lost all these.
But wait! I need straight A1 to get scholarship!
It could be true. Some families are in dire needs to have a scholarship to provide their children a tertiary education. But trust me, JPA is not the only way to have the scholarship. Opportunities are everywhere. If you have the character, the personality, the experience and the courage to try things out and explore the possibilities that you can have beyond JPA and SPM, you will realize that, you can still success without a scholarship. I know friends who can get admitted to top university in US without a JPA scholarship (cause he doesn’t have straight A1 in his SPM).
So now, what should I do?
Nothing is too late. As for me, I realized this very truth when I am exposed to more people around me. I began to pick up interests and nurture them. I became more extrovert and socialize more when I am in college. I am not afraid to try things new, even if it means things that are embarrased. I read more as compared to my high school time. I am not saying that study is not important; I am just saying that knowing that what you really want in your life and who you are eventually is so much more important than just the numbers of A1 in your certs. (now they are having A+ instead of A1, but it’s still the same principle). Look further, my friends. My result is truly average now, but hey! The points and prides in my resume have tripled.