Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Not Everything

My results are out.

And I did well, considering that I took 8 subjects last semester (what on earth was I thinking???! >.<) and it happened to be the first time that we were not to have our much-needed Study Break.

I got 5A and 3A- Praise God ! :D

I am truly thankful. Last semester was really one of the worst. I barely had time to breathe, much less blog. >.<

Yet, in spite of all the stress, the suffering, the crying, the I-just-wanna-give-up moments, I made it through :)

I have never really considered myself an excellent student. Yes, I got straight As for my major exams; UPSR, PMR, SPM (not STPM though. B+ for Maths T. =.=) Teachers were always ready with praise, always looked upon me as a role model. Brilliant student, they'd say. Smart and hardworking, they'd say. Everybody else believed them. Not me though.

I knew that I was book-smart. I could mug when I needed to. Memorize, like a good girl, what I was supposed to. But immediately after the exams, I rarely remembered what I had mugged and studied and memorized like hell before. To the extent that I wonder whether I really did study Science in Upper Secondary and Form 6. >.<

People -- classmates, church members, acquaintances -- assumed that I studied hard every day, did my revision after school. But I never did. Sure, I made the New Year resolution of: "I am going to revise my studies every day after school" at the beginning of every academic school year, but that effort never lasted longer than the first week. Somehow though, I did okay. :)

Results were supposed to be out today (10th of December) but the Facebook-sphere was already buzzing the day before. Results can already be obtained via SMS. "Type UKM RESULT  and send it to 15888" was on many UKM friends' statuses. I remember thinking, Hm, no need to be so ganjeong la. Later only check the UKM website for results.

But more and more statuses started to appear: 

I'm stupendously DEPRESSED !
*sigh* nvm la, the only way to be happy now is to spend some cash & pamper myself
suddenly see RESULT ~make me so worry~ @.@

And it made ME ganjeong. >.<

Then I got a call from a friend who was really upset over her results. Don't get it wrong. She didn't do terribly. In fact, she did rather well. An improvement from the previous semester. But not up to her quite-crazy expectations.

Not new to me, I was the consoler. I always console. (I wonder why people come to me. Not that I mind, just stating an observation. :P) 

Always, It's okay babe, you did your best. And Don't be sad, cheer up. Just do better next sem !

But her words, this time, struck me.

"You don't understand, Lisa. You will never understand ! You're a brilliant student ! Even if you fail all your subjects the next semester, I'm sure you'd still make First Class ! You're not like me, destined for a life of mediocrity ! For once, I just want to be excellent. But my best is never good enough ! I feel like flinging myself off a building !"

Those are really sad words. :(

First off, I do understand. Yes, I may seem to have been doing well up to now, but that does not mean that I have never been disappointed before. That I've never failed before. That I've never compared myself to others and found lacking. Or never felt that shameful tinge of jealousy when others do better than me.

I have. I'm human too.

Having a goal is good. Graduating with First Class Honours. That's a wonderful goal to have. Who wouldn't want that? I want that. But what I want to say here is that, smack me if you must, it is not everything.

Yes, I said it. Graduating with First Class Honours is not everything. 

Many will tell me, "Of course you say that la ! You have a good chance of doing so !"

Even I don't know if I will graduate in First Class, how do you know? And even if that were true, it still doesn't change the fact that it is still not everything.

Not graduating with First Class Honours doesn't mean you're a failure. It doesn't mean that you're 'destined for a life of mediocrity'. It doesn't mean that your life is over. It doesn't mean that your future is doomed. Utter nonsense.

Seriously, what has our education system come to? That we strive for mere paper qualifications. Is it really the most important thing in the world? Failing which, we should just 'fling ourselves off a building'????

I tell her, "Annie*, isn't it more important that we learn the most that we can in our time of study in university? Isn't it more important to learn the skills that will help us in our future, rather than accumulating mere As?" 

Lecturers single her out as the top in her class; outspoken, charismatic, witty, smart, capable and responsible. I remind her. But it doesn't seem to comfort her much.

To me, who you are as a person, whether you work hard and honestly, is more important than anything else. I wouldn't want to have a smart-ass who is stubborn and lazy. I'd prefer a 'mediocre'-performing person who is willing to learn on the job, who is humble and honest.

Yes, I understand that sometimes it is damn frustrating to feel that you have worked and worked and worked so damn hard, done your utter best, and yet, seem to fall short. Well, frankly, that's life. Sometimes, hard work does not equal success. Sometimes, life isn't fair.

But should you allow such 'failure' to stop you? Don't be discouraged. I would say, yes, allow yourself some time to 'grieve', be sad, be depressed, be disappointed. Be angry, be upset, cry, ravage your bedroom, tear up all your notes, burn all your books.

But after that.

Pick yourself up, and continue working hard, honestly, sincerely. Someday, it will all be worth it. I truly believe that in the grand scheme of things, results like these will not matter.

Don't let what has happened dictate what will happen.

I don't see myself as a brilliant student, and I doubt I ever will. Maybe because I really know myself.

I hurt, I get disappointed, I fail, I fall short of my own expectations too.

As excruciatingly hard as it may be, I force myself not to let it get to me. And just do my absolute best. I don't want to be unfair to myself by giving up.

These are the kind of things we learn in university -- accepting disappointment, dealing with it. Not giving up. Cos we'll never ever run short of disappointments in life. And these are the things that we should take away with us from university into the real world. Not the A that you got for that Business course, or Entrepreneurship course, or that stupid Thinking Skills course (so useless >.<).

And to my dearest Annie*, I think you are an awesome person, inside and out, and an awesome friend too. I have always admired you, and I have a gut feeling that some day, you're gonna be a Somebody, and do extraordinary things. Not save-the-world kind of things, but extraordinary things nonetheless.

And I doubt your grade point average for the first semester of your final year would change that.

*Name has been changed to protect identity and privacy.


Arnan Koh said...

(somehow, I can't actually believe I am agreeing to this, haha.... I am known for having over-the-top goals)

Graduating with first class honors is just a goal, a dream. Not everything.

Right now. We all here, just hope to graduate...

SandraC said...

i like the way u said how it makes u a person not by the way u study, in my brain u and ur bros are born with super smart brains. hahaa

to me grad with 1st class IS everything, been fighting tooth and nail to get it..i'm so close to loosing it by 0. something points from now...

CONGRATS on the results. i would die with 8 on my hand and no study break. haha

..*AnNiE*.. said...

How true. Sometimes people have the wrong mindset. They think academic excellence is everything, which it is not. I always believe in 'study smart and play hard'. =)

Errr my name is Annie too! Haha such a coincidence! XD

hannah khaw said...

Congrats babe! :D
I love this post; it's really spot-on. Yup. :)

Liz ^^, said...

I really believe that academic excellence is important, but not EVERYTHING. People would kill themselves for not doing well, and that's just sad, cos it speaks about what kind of society we live in -- where academic excellence becomes a measure of your self-worth >.<

If only everybody would see it that way D:



It IS a coincidence ! It was the first name that popped up in my head. haha :P

Aravin said...

this post just made my day!!!!... i believe that the grades are important but definitely not everything (am just restating your point up there)..

finally some of those lisa-blogging which i have missed for so long!!! hehehe