Things To Do After SPMby Teemay (Share your favourite tips with 50,000+ readers like you!)
You know you’re really itching for freedom when the countdown to SPM begins and you start daydreaming about what you want to do when all of this is over. The funny thing is, once the exam actually finishes, and you breathe out a sigh of relief, all those daring ideas you’ve been thinking of suddenly vanishes, replaced by one single thought — college.
Malaysians are born with the misconception that college will somehow teach them how to change yourself to be a better person, how to secure a good job, how to overcome that awkward situation, and show them the path to a future career to become a socially accepted person after they have received their SPM results.
Let me tell you the painful truth.
If you have no idea what you want to do for your future, if you cannot envision yourself in an environment working as your desired career prospect; then you are not ready for college.
College is a lot like high school, where you take down notes, pass up homework on due dates, meet and socialize with your friends, and engage in extracurricular activities. The only difference is perhaps college fees costs ten times — no, twenty times — more than school fees do. For high and primary school education, you pay virtually nothing because the government supplies more than enough. They do so because they want their citizens to be well-educated enough to read, write and count. It's only in college, where you are sure enough of your passions and skills to lead you to a career that does not feel forced, that you have to pay for future study.
I was lucky because I knew exactly what I wanted to pursue before I even finished high school. I have been reading and devouring books since the age of 8, and have three bookshelves loaded with paperbacks. Yes, I am a proud book-hoarder.
But going back to the topic, it is unfortunate that many students do not have the slightest idea of what to do with their lives after finishing their SPM. Your entire high school life and products of labor have been leading to this moment. Passing the exam, or aceing it. And now that it’s over, you’re completely at a loss of what to do.
In the US, students are given the liberty of choosing a gap year before they venture into further study, to decide on their passions and affirm it as what they really want to do. However, we do not have this option in Malaysia. (Editor's note: some brave Malaysian students did manage to take gap year, read the gap year experience shared.) Fresh graduates from school are immediately pressured into A-levels or one of the medic courses if they have no direction. And sadly, most end up with jobs differing from their respective degrees, or quitting the course halfway because they can’t take the pressure. And to avoid that from happening, I’ve compiled a list of things you can do to find your true passions and also to prevent you from rotting at home during the holidays.
There are a ton of non-profit organizations looking for a pair of extra hands to help them with their charity events. You just have to take the initiative to find them out. As the nice person I am, I’ll even list out a few — Berjaya Youth, where the organization is split into four categories, Eco, Animal, Creativity, and Inspiration. Each of them have their own activities, and carry lots of life experience. Do you love animals? Join Berjaya Animal to protect animals and shell out some love to the shelters. Do you have a passion for the creative? Berjaya Creativity is just the thing for you. If all else fails, volunteer at your local church or temple instead. They won’t turn you down for sure.
I can hear most of you saying, ‘Oh no, I can’t, I’m not good in writing. My area is in Maths, and my English isn’t fluent.’ Well, here’s the catch. You don’t need supreme language skills or a Harvard degree to keep a diary, right? Exactly. So just start with that. List down the productive things that you’ve done for the day, or random happenings that struck you as exciting. Write down the memories that you love most. One day you might re-read it and fondly remember all the wonderful things you did. Keeping and updating a blog is also recommended. At least it won’t leave you slack-jawed in front of the tv all day, because your mind is working to give life to new stories for your readers.
3. Get a job.
This is something you really should do during holidays, because it might help you get snag future jobs easier. Also you get to earn your money and spend it freely (no more relying on mom and dad!)
There are many part and full time job vacancies everywhere, especially in malls. You can go online to look for part time jobs too, but you will have to send in your resume to them. Here’s where the volunteer experience comes in handy — if you don’t have any working experience, then you can include your volunteer activities to show your future employer that you have at least done something before.
Now that you’re no longer bound by all the never-ending schoolwork, what better time is it to take up that musical instrument you’ve been dying to play? Or pick up a new language? Ice-Skating? Often we are too obsessed with getting good grades, we forget to nurture the creative part of our brain. It exists, and as a career prospect as well. In fact, some of our local artists didn’t continue to college, but chose to pursue what they loved most. Just because you got straight A’s doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Put off looking at those college brochures for a while, and take the time to decide what new things you want to try. All work and no play makes you a boring person.
5. Have fun.
Go out, get some life experience, see places you’ve never been to before, attend music festivals. You better have all the fun you can get, because you don’t get this chance twice. Before you know it, you’ll be stuck in the office with the same redundant job every day, and wishing you were young again. Trust me, you don’t want to end up that way. There are plenty of events to keep you occupied during the weekends. The best ones would be Open Mics, where local bands and artists perform and you’re granted free entry. Of course, do remember to buy a drink to support the venue.
KLPAC has some good shows from time to time too, and the tickets are affordable. Or if you’re feeling the need for a good laugh, you can get tickets for a live comedy show. One Mic Stand offers weekly shows every Tuesday, and the tickets are an affordable RM15 (RM10 at the door for students with valid identification).
Well, that’s about all I have to say. My point is, don’t rush off into college without really knowing what you want. You’ve just turned eighteen, so don’t be in a rush to grow up. All the responsibilities and work will come anyway — we can’t avoid it. So take your own gap year off and just live.
Life is filled with risks, but if we don't take them we won't learn or enjoy from life.