I was a smart kid, who knew all the answers to the exam questions. Yet I performed below what was expected of me for the primary school national exam. Nervousness? Burn out? Overconfidence? Luckily, I already reserved a place for myself in a reputable secondary school before the national exam even began, because I excelled in the tests that school gave me that deemed me ‘intelligent’. So, naturally, I entered that reputable secondary school.
I was a confident tween, who was aware that I had the brains for academia. Yet I performed below what was expected of me for the secondary school national exam (for the more academically inclined stream). Nervousness? Burn out? Overconfidence? Luckily, I didn’t score that badly, as I have a good estimate of my own capabilities and shortcomings. Plus, I had community service brownie points (a legitimate type of grading here) and affiliation points to a fairly reputable affiliated junior college. So, naturally, I entered that fairly reputable junior college. There were more reputable ones that I did not qualify for, so this was the best one I could enter.
I was an angsty teenager, who despised being put in a class with similar grades from the secondary school national exam, but very clearly different learning attitudes which did affect me mentally, though I was blind to it then. I thought I was an easy-to-make-friends-with person, despite being a little weird, but in JC, I just couldn’t click with my classmates as well as my previous two schools. Now don’t get me wrong, my classmates are nice individuals. But oh, they were a poor class. And jeepers, the adults were not lying when they said the JC syllabus is much more demanding. Yet I performed above what was expected of me for the JC national exam. Tuition? Overconfidence brought down to a healthy level? Not having to see my classmates’ faces due to contracting chickenpox right at the start of the exam period? Fear that if I get anything close to straight Bs, I’m screwed for university? Luckily, I got nearly straight As, and that was good enough for me. It wasn’t a HUGE miracle. But it sure was a pleasant surprise. (One of my biggest fears is putting in a lot of effort for zero results.)
So, naturally, I can get into the university course I was eyeing since… somewhere between tween and teen, in any local university.
And this my friends, is where the ungratefulness begins.
You see, I never actually had a choice in my education route. My grades have always barely made it to the best school who is willing to accept me, and I knew I could get in prior to that anyway. It was always a straight path with a few brambles to step over. This sudden… freedom of choice in my higher education… is not, to me, the reveal of a few more paths to choose to walk. No. This sudden freedom in my higher education is in fact, a disappearance of the set path I was always on.
I have all the options, but no choice. I don’t know.
I don’t know how to weigh the pros and cons
I don’t know how to compare each university’s holism in education
I don’t know why the duration of study is a big deal
I don’t know how the lectures/tutorials will be conducted differently
I don’t know how the grading system works
I don’t know what I’m going to do if I fail anything
I don’t know how to live by myself in a hostel
I don’t know how to wake up before 2pm
I don’t know how to cook
I don’t know if this is the right decision
I don’t know what is the right decision
I don’t know why it matters anymore any uni anyone anything any time friends sleep play… any life. Any choice. Any choice any choice any choice ANY CHOICE and I will still be thinking on how to have my cake and eat it too.
This is what being given freedom means. This is what being given a choice means. It means having to use your brains to think for what is best for yourself (or society, other times). It’s what we strive for, to prove we are not organic robots, but beings who are conscious with conscience. Yet, the responsibility of choosing is sometimes tough to bear, since now I will have only myself to blame if I choose wrong, instead of having another to blame if they dictate wrong.
Still, reluctantly, I must choose by myself, for myself. For that is how things should be when it comes to affairs about myself. I don’t want to, but more importantly, I REALLY don’t NOT want to have to choose for myself.