By HIU CHII FEN
Hey you! I am Chii Fen. Let me tell you a little about who I am. I juggle multiple important tasks such as Facebook-ing, texting, You-tubing, and my newest craze, Twitter-ing. I have A-levels finals in seven days but have yet to make a dent in my books. I have also finally gotten around to writing this article, about half an hour past the deadline.
Would you like to be me? More importantly, who are you? At this moment you are probably asking yourself: “What should I do after SPM?” The answer to that question greatly depends on who you are.
Many of us tend to carry around a mindset of “Where?” as we progress in life. For example: “Hi, my name is Maria. I am from Sekolah Sri KDU. I am currently studying at HELP University College and I would like to further my studies at Manchester University.”
Many of us also think and converse in terms of “What”, i.e. “What we have done, what we are doing, and what we want to do”. For example: “Hi, my name is Sophia. I graduated with 9 A’s and 1 B in SPM, I am currently taking the Cambridge A-levels, and I would like to study Engineering.”
These days, we tend to define ourselves by what we have done and where we come from, when in actuality, our achievements and background are merely subsets of the universal question of who we are.
Here are the three questions you should really ask yourself after SPM: “Who was I? Who am I? Who do I want to be?”
It is essential to seriously reflect upon what type of student you are, what your passions are, what you are good at, what you want to improve on, and who you want to be ten years down the road. Do not just go where your friends go, or do what they do. Do not do what your parents tell you unless you have given thought to who you want to be in life. Only by knowing yourself can you surpass the barriers of what you did or did not do, or where you are from.
This is one of the most pivotal moments in your life, and I urge you to give credit where it is due. Many of us find ourselves stuck doing something we do not enjoy or drop out mid-course because we finally realise we desire something different. In both cases a lot of money and time is wasted, and with it, I am sure a lot of regret is accumulated.
Dos and don’ts for life after SPM
- PartyAfter two years, 20 months, and 700 days of stressing out over exams, I think you deserve a few weeks’ break. Spend time with your friends who are leaving the country, take trips, and enjoy being carefree, because your freedom is not going to last for very long.
- Buckle downNow that you have partied away your need for partying (and it is important that you do), it is time to decide what you want to do with your life and who you want to be. Research pre-university courses and universities you are interested in. Find out which university offers the most recognised degree in the area you wish to pursue and take your family’s financial situation into consideration. If you are unable to afford further education, search for scholarships. You can also take a year off to work and save for education.
- Apply for universityYou would be surprised at the number of my friends who missed their university application deadlines. Ensure you are in the loop with the dates for applications; pay attention to your college notices.
This is my biggest warning for life after SPM! Actually, it is my only warning, and it applies to life in general. I can safely say I spend half my time sleeping, often to avoid doing work. When you have an assignment to finish; yes, you are awake enough to do it, no, you do not have to watch Heroes, and no, you will not have enough tomorrow!
I am a year older than most of you, but I am no wiser or cleverer than any of you. I do, however, have the benefit of hindsight. Back then, I told everyone I was a student at Sri Cempaka, I did pretty awesome for SPM, I was attending HELP Academy, and I wanted to study in the UK. But now I know:
- I was an involved and passionate student.
- I am a procrastinator.
- I will spend my life doing a job I am passionate about.
Who are you?
Hiu Chii Fen is a former student of Cempaka Group of Schools. She is currently stressing out about her final examinations at HELP Academy and will hopefully be flying to the United Kingdom as a student of the University of York in September 2009. Fingers crossed!
Note: The above entry was written in 2010 for What’s After SPM?, published in 2011. This non-for-profit book project is a collaboration between Leaderonomics and a team of young Malaysians. Click here for details on the project and authors.
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