Restructuring (thoughts, strategies,…)

The past month has been occupied with several projects and programs: IMO Training camp (as a trainer and facilitator 😛 ), interviews, scholarship applications and several travels to Klang Valley. In fact, I have used the Electric Train Service for two round trips (Penang–KL) within two weeks.

Having done my A-Levels and received my offers, should I even be doing these? Yes–unfortunate or not. And my A-Levels comrades feel the same way too: adding applications to admissions and scholarships endlessly.

On the last Thursday, the decision of the much awaited Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship suspension issue was out: yes, we were “not affected” according to our dearest Prime Minister because automatic sponsorship continues BUT—for local universities only. In other words, no stressing over getting into universities glistening on the Times Higher Education ranking board, because there’s no use. Now we were in a dilemma: should we throw our offer letters away since it’s now useless, or laminate it as a collection of one pivotal achievement in life?

Obviously we Bursarians (including me) were crestfallen upon this announcement (despite sounding positive: not affected isn’t it?) : most of us wouldn’t have chosen A-levels should the PSD informed us earlier! This A-level, being unnecessarily hard, had exerted seemingly insurmountable stress before being conquered by us. Now, frustration aside, holding an A-Level qualification sends paranoia to us since we are put to lower priority when applying to public universities. What’s more when we have IELTS and TOEFL but not MUET!

The whole feeling was like the song “Bittersweet” by Olivia Ong if you interpret “love” metaphorically as “scholarship”, and “lover” as those “more powerful than us” (so the opening of the song will be “I woke up one morning to find my scholarship gone”: that’s punny!)

But in the end of the day we should appreciate the opportunity to study A-Levels. Appreciate the somewhat liberal teaching in Sunway College (e.g. no disciplinary control, no school uniform, more room to debate on classroom material), widening our opportunity beyond the traditional single-way interaction we had until high school. Appreciate the awesome friends we made with outings and celebrations abound, even with teachers (well only after getting there did I realize that birthday celebration is a norm, or a tradition that must not be missed). Appreciate the times when we spent time together, especially in ALSTAR( A-Level Student Ambassador) when we organized Food Carnival and chaperoned orphans to water park. Appreciate the time when four close friends and I embarked on a trip to Penang and Ipoh, unleashing our craze altogether.

Most importantly, appreciate how the 500-odd days transformed us to better selves-better academic abilities, time management and better personalities, to name a few. With top 20 universities as a requirement, I was trained to juggle A-Levels and SAT/application essays in my studies (simply because I wanted to widen my choices before deciding where to go). The stress culminated in October 2015 when I prepared my early application to US and Cambridge interview and written test amid the arduous A2 exam, but evidences showed that I survived.

If not of the higher requirement from top 50 to top 20, what else pushes us to achieve 65% 3A’s and above in the November 2015 exam?

One lecturer enthusiastically said “Take each offer as an achievement regardless whether you can go in the end, because you are entitled to study there”. This means we are successful and are capable of moving on to the next stage and finding other scholarships, so let’s proceed. That having said, no one should stop us from whining (cautiously) on social media while doing our things simultaneously, as we are granted the freedom of speech!

Ps: I like the unique way “Bittersweet” is being designed: light and active tone despite portraying pains. This should be the way of life, isn’t it?

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