The ‘Saturday’ section of The Straits Times today featured articles about A level graduates and competition into universities here in Singapore. One of such articles is about being average when you get perfect scores. Of course, it is not the statistical average, but truly, a sense of averageness you get when you see that there are many others just like you.
I remember when I was in my secondary school, I saw other people getting 7 or more distinctions, and I was green with envy. I couldn’t make it to the statistic in the school yearbook of the 25% or so who got 7 or more distinctions. Fastforward to JC, where we count everything in As, I got 4As, or called perfect scores, ignoring the fact I got the C6 for my GP. But that was average. So many others achieved 4As. In the rival school opposite mine, there were already 400 of them. Because of such averageness, we all strove to achieve better results in S papers, for better distinctions. But so what? I got a distinction and a merit for Mathematics and Physics respectively, but that was average too.
Sometimes I don’t know whether to be happy or sad at my results. Happy because its a perfect score (if you only consider the A level subjects, not the AO ones), or sad because getting such a score can’t net one a scholarship? Thus when I read the article today, I felt that I understood.
I applied for 4 different scholarships boards, SIA, DSTA, Keppel and another one. I was only offered an interview with one – DSTA. No need to say, I never did make it. In the competitive world we have today, we have to get really perfect scores, in A or AO level, and even in CCAs, CIPs, what have you.
Looking back, I think it’s all worth it. I didn’t do the special papers for scholarships but for myself. I didn’t do the CCAs because I thought of the boost it would give me, but I enjoyed my time with my friends. I didn’t do my CIP thinking that a self initiated CIP would get more looks at my portfolio. If I had done all that with that narrow mentality, I would probably be regretting now.
Now in university, I have chosen to abandon this mad race to do CCAs for the sake of doing, to do CIPs for the sake of doing CIPs. I have chosen to improve myself through my own means, through my own interests. I think, that is the most important thing that we should do for ourself. We should enjoy our lives. After all, life is not about getting scholarships. As long as you make it into university for your degree, who cares? I hope I find an employer who’s not so into such mundane stuffs.