Mar 21, 2012

School and Other Horror Stories

Today, every kid fresh out of secondary school goes back to it to pick up their SPM - which is their final secondary school exams - scores. To most people in this fair nation of ours, it's a pretty big thing. To others, it's a big thing for a while and then they realize that's just the beginning of the parade of shit that will soon greet them.

Being Asian, we're obsessed with straight As. This particular exam allows students to take up elective subjects in order to be able to get more As on their transcripts. Compulsory subjects are 6, some kids take up to, I don't know, I think 16 was the most someone has ever took. When I took it, I took 10 subjects.

For those who aren't familiar with the Malaysian education system, our secondary schools -- particularly in the 4th and 5th year -- classes are categorized as Science Stream and Art Stream. Both streams are required to take the same core subjects (being Bahasa Malaysia/Malaysian Language, Modern Mathematics, History, English, Islamic Studies for Muslims and Moral Studies for non-Muslims) but Science students take up Chemistry, Physics and/or Biology and Art Stream take up Compound Sciences, Commerce, Geography, Accountancy, etc -- which they are allowed to drop as they are electives.

When I was taking my SPM, I took Bahasa, English, Math, History, Islamic Studies, Literature in English, Arts, English for Science and Technology (in my time, Science was taught in Bahasa), Tassawur Islam (which is pretty much Moral studies in an Islamic context which can be taken by non-Muslims) and Compound Sciences.

Let's just say when I picked up my results, it wasn't the proudest moment of my parents' lives. Although I did get As for my English subjects (save for literature, I got a C for that. I was horrible -__-), I did pretty average on a few other subjects and completely failed two subjects.

I went on to apply for university here in Malaysia because with my results I couldn't get a scholarship and my family can't afford to send my overseas. None of my siblings ever went overseas. I stayed at that university for a year until I dropped out due to some personal issues that turned my grades upside down. I figure I should do my dad a favor and stop letting him spend so much money on a private university. I spent 6 months after that in a total lull, and being quite depressed because my friends are out learning and I was stuck at home, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life.

6 months down, I decided to go with dad's idea of enrolling into a local public university. Everyone there were Malays and carry Bumiputra statuses. I didn't fit in that well. I couldn't speak Malay naturally even up to that point. At this point, I was 20. The 3 years I was in this university, I was depressed, solitary and develop a some sort of distrust towards everyone.

But I stuck with it because my dad wanted me to graduate, even if it was just a diploma (yes, we don't get diplomas when we graduate high school in Malaysia, which I think is ridiculous. We should graduate with a diploma after high school).

Even before I graduated I was already interning and have a job -- despite it being against school rules -- because I so desperately wanted to get a job immediately. While everyone went on to continuing with their degrees, I ran off to find a job because I refuse to let my parents pay for my shit any more.

I went through two jobs before I finally found where I belong. Which is here, right now, in post production.

My point is, even if you did or didn't get straight As in your secondary school exams, it's not everything. Even if you go off to the most prestigious universities and colleges, it doesn't guarantee you a job if you don't have the right state of mind and the passion to do it. Even if you only have a diploma under your belt you can still get the job you want, in the industry you want and be blissfully happy. And if you feel that you HAVE to go back to school afterwards, with online classes being all the rage right now, you can still take classes.

Which is what I plan to do. I stumbled upon online summer classes for screenwriting from UCLA and after discussing it with my dad about taking up a small loan (the class isn't insanely expensive because there's no travelling fee, visa, etc. And it being just ONE class from the syllabus). But of course, I have to take my IELTS and actually enrol and register the class... but it's okay. One by one. Even if it's one class, it's a UCLA credited class, and it'll be nice to have that under my belt and hopefully I can take the advanced class next summer.

So kids (if you manage to read up till here), don't worry about your grades. As long as you love and have passion for something and willing to work beyond the classroom, you can do anything.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you are such a passionate person, I am ready for you to move to the USA