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The guest post below was written by Marc Raphael Parrikal, who has completed his matriculation programme (program matrikulasi) this year and is currently waiting for enrollment into local public university (IPTA). You too, can share with us your secondary, pre-tertiary or university life at school, college or university by writing a guest post!
I’ve decided to institute some order to this post by giving it subheadings where appropriate. This also means you can read/skim the stuff you want and ignore the rest.
Now let’s get to it, shall we?
Author’s Perspective1 year ago, almost to the day, I arrived at the gates of Negeri Sembilan Matriculation College (KMNS), far from eager to embark on what I expected would be a dreadfully dull year of “college life”, if you can even call it that.
12 months later here I am, alive and well, offering you what I can by way of advice and experiences to expect.
I hope you bear in mind throughout this post that I’m writing from a non-bumi POV. As you probably already know, matrics is only 10-15 % non-bumiputera, and getting in requires that you score fairly well in your SPM. Consequently, you’ll find that non-bumis make up much of the nerd crowd at matrics. If you’re non-bumi you’ll probably need a perfect CGPA (don’t piss yourself, it’s easily done) and high koko marks, otherwise it’ll be hard getting into your preferred course later on.
Orientation Week at KMNS (I don’t know if the exact same applies to other colleges)HATEFUL.
That’s the first adjective to pop up when I attempt to describe orientation week. Don’t get me wrong, the week is important. It’s when they explain things like college rules, how the system works, dos and don’ts, basically everything you need to know. Every question you could possibly have will be answered in a series of lecture-style sessions with the relevant staff (for example, the college librarian will conduct a session on library usage procedures, koko teacher will brief you on importance of extra-curricular involvement and how to get marks etc). These sessions will be spread out across the week.
So why then did I despise it? Because for reasons I could never fathom, they seemed bent on turning what could easily have been a relaxed yet informative week, into an exhausting nightmare for everyone. It was infuriating. Needless activities like the “boys vs girls cheer competition”, and “sesi bersama mentor” will saturate the timetable and leave you with no room for rest between talks. Sometimes they make you all sing the Negaraku for fun, just to mess with you. They know that you’re new, scared, friendless, and ultimately helpless. Suffer in silence, that’s what we all did.
That said, orientation week is also your chance to make some friends. You’ll need friends to get you through this, trust me.
Orientation only lasts a week, so there’s no point in dwelling on it for too long.
After orientation you jump right in to lectures, tutorials, labs…...matrics life.
|Me with the guys of my class. (I'm bottom row, in black)|
But all good things come with a price, obviously.
You can’t go out on weekdays over here. It’s a little ridiculous once you think about it. There we were, legal adults at the mature age of 18, and they just caged us in 24/7 because they thought it was best for us. Even weekend outings are sometimes disallowed because they want to hold some event/activity and they need you to make up the numbers. I hope you’re getting the picture here. They treat you like school kids. If you thought you’d be enjoying the same liberties as your friends at private colleges, you can forget about it. Unlike private institutions, matriculation colleges aren’t looking to profit from your fees, so they really don’t care if you’re unhappy and want to leave. Leave, by all means. About a million others would do anything for your spot.
My days were spent mundanely, mostly behind books or my laptop screen. After all, what else was there to do? Sports facilities were present, but I never really got into that because it’s so crowded most days, and unless you hang with the right people, you may never get a chance to play.
If you’re like me, then evenings = sleep, and night = study. Chilling out with friends is usually between classes, during meals, or on weekends. Assignments are brutal, but complete them (or not) at your own will and risk. I’m no exemplar for hard work. I barely ever did tutorial assignments, just concentrated on what I was weak at. But of course, this all depends on how strict your lecturer is. I had no male teachers, so lucky me I guess. =D
How To ScoreOkay don’t worry, I’m not going to be one of those people who defend the standards of matriculation and compare it directly to STPM.
Let’s get real. This sh*t is easy. Anybody can do well here. Trust me.
First thing you want to do is drop Bio if you’re uninterested and it has nothing to do with your course ambitions. Don’t plague yourself with it. Last year, when presented with that option (switching to Module 2), many were apprehensive and chickened out because Module 2 meant taking Computer Science instead. At the time, CS was a new introduction, so many didn’t dare.
As it turned out, Computer Science was probably the easiest subject in the entire matriculation program. Loads of useful tech knowledge too (and programming!). I highly recommend it. I know so many people left kicking themselves for not taking the chance. Instead they were all stuck with Bio, many late nights, and tonnes of regret. If you want a more relaxed experience at matrics, do yourself a favour and take my advice. Also, NO LAB REPORTS FOR CS! What more could you ask for?
As for studying practices, to each his own. But keep in mind, matrics is fast-paced. You’ll be breezing through chapters and it can overwhelm you eventually. Sometimes I wonder if anybody has time to digest anything. Lecturers rush through stuff during lectures, but many make up for it in tutorials (which are like tuition classes I guess haha). Try to keep up. If you can’t, you’re expected to go see them personally.
If your English isn’t too bad, you should really make use of reference books for better explanations. I can’t stand people who don’t bother buying reference books, preferring to rely solely on condensed lecture notes, then start complaining about not being able to follow what’s going on in class. Some lecturers give great notes, some don’t. It’s important that you recognise the difference. The library also has foreign references if you want a deeper understanding of things (especially Physics and Chemistry). You can also download them if you know where to look ;D
If you find that your classmates are lagging behind, help them out. Like I said before, not everybody can keep up, so don’t be an as*hole by letting the people around you fend for themselves. It’s not their fault everything is in English and they sometimes need a little support. They’ll be grateful, and you will have made yourself some awesome friends. I grew very attached to my classmates. After all, you spend so much time together, just the 20 of you.
Koko MarksThis was the only thing that bugged me throughout. I really wasn’t that involved. But fortunately, as I came to realise later, the point accumulation system they used made scoring very….errr...easy? Seriously, STPM students rage when they read this. Here’s what I mean:
Activity among hostel block members? Considered district level.
Activities within college? Considered state level.
Competitions against other colleges (e.g. KAKOM)? Considered national level.
If you win anything, you immediately get even more as markah pencapaian. Tournaments/programs will be organised throughout the year, so just get involved. Chess tourney, Scrabble tourney, calligraphy contest, Mini-KAKOM (many diff sports, competition within college), KAKOM (many diff sports, inter-college competition), Battle of the Bands, you name it. There are so many to choose from. Take part in one or two at least.
Maybe I should have run for JPP (student council thing). Seriously, it’s very easy to get on. Elections are a joke. There were 21 seats to be decided, and only about 25 candidates dared to run. As you can see, you really can’t screw this up unless people really hate you for some reason. So if you don’t mind giving one small campaign speech, I highly recommend running for a spot. Huge koko marks up for grabs.
STPM will soon be a 3-part course, and maybe it’ll be easy to get good grades there too. But even then, I can’t see STPM students amassing the koko marks on offer here at matrics, so that’s something you should definitely consider.
Little Myth I’d Like To DebunkYES, it is possible to gain admission to premier foreign universities with your matriculation qualification. Here’s an official list (non-exhaustive) by Ministry of Education, Malaysia.
A friend of mine even got an offer from Imperial College London (amongst several others), and he’s currently waiting on scholarship replies before he decides on whether or not to go there.
Thanks For Reading
|Just for LOLs, here’s a pic of my roommate trying to get to sleep while I’m still studying|
Sorry if I’ve left a lot of stuff out. I was rushing to get this done. If you have further questions, leave it in the comments please. Thanks for reading. Liked this post? Subscribe now to read more post like this one! Tweet