I did hesitate before deciding to forward this. It's the timing, you see: It's full throtle time to final submission on May 13 and I really wouldn't like any of you to chuck it in at this stage.
Not that I think any of you would.
It's not so much the fixation with the A grade that some of us might have but rather the valid call towards the larger Life-Agenda that I think makes this email worth a read ... over a teh tarik...or ice-blended coffee...or something. (Moccha, Vanilla, All Choclate are all ok, actually.)
I really would like to hear some comments from those who got more than 3 As for their SPM.
(email from homefrontier egroup)
Sunday February 26, 2006
`A' is for attitude
Success in life does not depend on scoring straight As in exams, but rather on another kind of `A', opines ZAHIRA TIARA SHAFIQ.
I WAS a good student in school. Could have been a straight-A student, if only I had heeded my teachers' admonitions to study harder.
I did well enough in the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examinationsto qualify for the science stream, but opted to study literaturebecause I wanted to follow my heart. I knew I wouldn't enjoy science at all, so why go through the anguish?In school, I was very active. I was in the school's debating team in Form Four. We emerged district runners-up and even wrote the lyrics ofthe song for Teacher's Day celebrations that year.
I also became a major fan of Channel [V]'s By Demand and created a fanwebsite for them. They loved it, and I soon made friends with the crew and the VJs.
However, when I was in Form Five, I was diagnosed with panic disorderand depression, and had to undergo treatment for both. My headmistresswas sympathetic and asked if I wanted to take a break from school.
My family and I said no. I continued at school, but was appalled to see how teachers cared more about the number of As students could score than their welfare.
They relaxed this stance when one of my peers passed away from a heart affliction, but within a month, it was back to the mad frenzy for As,without regard for health or anything else.
Some of my friends were so stressed out over the impending SijilPelajaran Malaysia examinations that they went into depression. A classmate suffered a bout of hysteria and was transferred to anotherschool.
My teacher's response?
"I hope she doesn't take her SPM results here; she would only bringdown our perfect grade record."
Eventually, I scored five As in the SPM exam. However, those five A swere meaningless as I did not qualify for scholarships.
Not to be deterred, I took a year off after secondary school and did lots of things. I travelled, enrolled in dance classes, joined BRATs(even did an interview with Asha Gill which made the front page of OleBrats) and took a Radio DJ workshop.
I also designed and launched Asha Gill's official website Asha Gill.Comas well as set up my freelance production company Blessed*Be Productions.
Mind you, all this had nothing to do with my SPM grades. Later, I enrolled in university. I did well and was a volunteer withAmnesty International. I was even selected to interview our PrimeMinister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and the Democratic ActionParty's Lim Kit Siang.
I was also a semi-finalist for the Hitz.FM Radio Icon.
It was while I was in university that I started looking for alternative opportunities to education, and I stumbled into the UpWith People's WorldSmart Leadership Programme which offers successfulcandidates an inter-cultural global educational experience involvingtravel to seven countries around the world, with plenty ofexperiential learning.
In the application, they did ask for "high school results", but thatwas not a priority to them. What mattered was leadership andcommunication skills as well as the willingness to learn and be flexible.They asked me many things in the interview but nothing about the SPMresults.
I applied and became the first Malaysian in the WorldSmart LeadershipProgramme in its 40-year history.
I spent a semester travelling through the US, Japan, and Europe with people from 27 different countries, doing community service, learningabout the region, working on internships and projects, and living withhost families.
Due to my active involvement, I was elected Crew Representative for mygroup.
I am now on a hiatus from university. In a few days, I will start anew job with Channel [V] International, thanks to the fansite I madewhen I was not even 16.
And I realise that whatever I have achieved so far was done withoutthe scoring straight As in the SPM.
In fact, the SPM results did not matter at all.All that stress and panic for nothing.
I have been in touch with friends from school who scored straight As, and while they are doing okay, they sound envious of me.
I even gave a talk at my former school about the opportunities out in the world and the students were amazed and inspired.
It is not difficult to get enriching experiences.
All you have to do is to look out there and be open to new things. Opportunities are there if you look hard enough.
Some people say you need As to get scholarships. That is not necessarily true. FastWeb's Scholarship Search, a big online database for Americanscholarships, offers plenty of scholarships where priority is increative and critical thinking, as well as life experiences.
They have scholarships that require you to make a short film, writeessays, analyse books, write a science fiction story... but there isno mention of exam results.
There is no point in getting straight As if that is all you are goodat. Even Harvard encourages its students to take a year off and getsome much-needed experience before enrolling.
Employers do not care how many As you have as long as you get the jobdone. As for self-employment or entrepreneurship, that definitely hasnothing to do with your SPM results (just ask Bill Gates).
There are so many opportunities out there that do not depend on exam results.
Why stress yourself out over something that, in the long run, does notreally matter all that much?
Why put yourself at the risk of mental trauma, or even suicide?
Really, SPM results are not worth worrying over.
There is so much more to the world out there than just As.
Go out and learn.
Have the right attitude.
The world is much bigger than that slip of paper with your results on it.
Tiara's Blog: EducateDeviate <http://educatedevia te.wordpress. com/>>
Worldsmart Leadership Program <http://www.upwithpe ople.org/>See also < http://orgs. takingitglobal. org/6139>
FastWeb: Scholarships, Internships, Colleges <http://www.fastweb. com/>contains over 1.3 million scholarships worth over $3 billion.