Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Jom Kenali Universiti Awam (UA) Malaysia.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Marks Aren't Everything!

Hello there. I’m a twenty year old girl, fresh out of MARA College Banting (MCB) doing my International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Being the daughter of an army officer, I cannot really tell my exact location. People use to say I lead a nomadic life though currently staying in Kota Kinabalu. So right now, I’m waiting for my result and if all went well, further my studies in Ireland this September. Hope you’ll find my article worth reading.

Marks Aren't Everything!

by Afiqah Syamimi binti Masrani for Writing Contest 2008

Life as a student… is hectic! Your world as a student revolves around the school. Teachers, classes, libraries, extracurricular activities and the centre of this endless, spinning wheel are you books. Studies. Exams. You practically burn the midnight oil to go through today’s biology notes. Passed on an invitation to the cinema just so that you can finish all the additional maths exercises in your work books. Hovering from shelf to shelf in the library to look up last minute tips on how to answer in the examinations. Stop! Stop and think again. What happened to your life? Are scores so important than a little socializing? Are you a knowledge-absorbing machine that you neglect your social needs? Shockingly (for some), the answer is ‘no’. No, grades and socializing are equally important and no, you are not a machine. Though it is traditionally believed that grades determine your course in life, let me disclose a little secret… marks aren’t everything!

True, upon entering primary school, you are drilled with the importance of education and passing the exams with flying colours. However, this concept lacks a vital element – the social element. You meet people in your class. Some become friends, some become enemies or rivals while others were just plainly ignored. Even your teachers, the canteen lady and the gardener are people that you have to interact with. These people will, in a way, shape your characters and attitudes later on. Though academic is important, the informal education you gain from the people around you will help you more in understanding life’s concept and how to deal with it. It is the same concept applied in scientific subjects where in class, you are given the theory and in the lab, you are given hands-on situations to practice the theories. Just remember that are tons of people out there with a high IQ (Intelligence Quotient). However, the one factor that makes a person different and more favourable than the other is their EQ (Emotional Quotient). Hence, to gain the human contacts needed to cultivate a well received person is a vital part of being a student too. So neglect them not.

“I am so depressed. I failed my additional mathematics paper again and I’m going nuts!”

Does this seem familiar to you? Statistics show that lots of students suffer from anxiety due to the examination pressures. The more chronic ones may even turn suicidal. Hey, do you know that Bill Gates was among the lowest in his class in school? Now, he is the proud owner of Microsoft and creates a major impact to the world. As I said before, marks aren’t everything! It is not about failing but it is about falling and getting up again. It signifies a new beginning. The examinations not only test your IQ but also your attitude. How to cope with low marks and how to handle praises given for high marks. The grades do not determine whether you are a good student or a bad student. Rather, it is just like a piece of paper that shouts the words “Trust yourself, not me!” So why do you have to go all out in punishing yourself and being stressed out for the whole month for getting a ‘D’? Say “I’m going to get you next time,” and go on with your stride.

Another secret about exams is that they it will not portray the real you. There are some people who are known as the ‘late-bloomers’. These types of people have less consciousness than the average people of where their interest lies. You learn Chinese and you sit for a French paper. I can imagine how alienated you will be – terrifying! Different people have different interests. This leads to varying focus on the subject at hand. Examinations test you on one skill but not another. Thus, restricting your potential to that written on the paper only. It is as if you are required to draw a beautiful painting on an already restricted canvas. Your painting will not then reflect the real you. Moreover, if you splashed paint on the frame, people say that you are an unpromising artist, which you knew is definitely not true. Just like the painting, your grades also do not define your true ability. By understanding this concept, I do think that examinations will give lesser fear towards students and make them aware of where their capabilities really lie.

With all the reasons why grades are not your entire world, I hope that you students will feel more at ease with your marks. These are some advices for younger students on how to make the most of your time at school:

1. Share
Two heads are better than one, so share your ideas and discuss them. This is a tried and tested way to combine both studying and socializing to maximize their effectiveness.

2. Chatter
Let your hair down once in a while and chatter about anything and everything with your friends. The little perks you gain from non-academic material will also make you aware of the world beyond your school.

3. Join extracurricular activities
These activities were not invented purely to burden your life. It is actually helping you to realize where your talents are and to provide a platform to release pent up stress. Join as many as you want and get to know yourself better. Not only will the school be happy with such a responsive student as you, you yourself will also find it rejuvenating.

Time cannot be reversed no matter how you try to build a time machine. Your life as a student will, one day, be the most memorable part of your life. So while you are freshly treading the path of school life, make it worthwhile. Create memories that you can smile about in the future as you go through your album. Live no regrets behind. Finally, when you are on the threshold of adulthood like me and look back, maybe then, you fully understand that marks are seriously not everything.
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  1. Hi Afiqah, your post is certainly an eye-opening one. :) Sadly, it is so, so true that students are spending way too much time with their school books nowadays. Even on Fridays when we usually yell out 'Freedom', some students are sent off for further tuition classes. Some may feel grand that they're putting in extra time for their studies but I just feel sad for them. I feel sadder for parents who don't give their kids a break.

    Anyway, I'm so glad I was born earlier, in the late 80s, so during my primary school years, it wasn't as hectic as it is now. Now, students as young as Standard 1 are being sent for tuition classes. That is crazy! When I was in Std 1, studies were the last thing on my mind. Well, if I had homework, then I did them. My parents would make sure I did them actually. After that, it was the playground for me. :D

    Yeah I know that the competition is tougher nowadays. But we do need to take a break sometimes, you know. So what if you didn't score all As? It's not the end of the world. Don't be silly as to hang a piece of rope around your neck. You still have other choices. You just gotta have faith in yourself. :)

  2. Indeed...marks isn't everything.

    Hehey, i wrote something similiar, but your ultimate focus was on EQ whereas mine was more on health.
    Read mine here @ 3POINT8.

    Great entry! No wonder you won.

  3. All right, this post does sum up, and really describe the typical life of Malaysian students nowadays. In fact, this morning I heard on RTM1, that more and more students prone to commit suicide. One of the factors (in the guest opinion) is the exam oriented education system.
    However, if you ask me what is the opinion, I may tell you that Malaysian education system is indeed trying to make Malaysian Jack-of-all-trade. That is why you can actually find a lot of talented and intelligent Malaysian students oversea... Far more in front of the others!
    On the other hand, we did feel the tension. Yet, secondary and primary schools are just too easy in contrast with tertiary education. We have less assignments, but the works are too tedious!
    So, choose your destiny! FYI, my major is Medicine, but my ambition, and my final target, is politics!

  4. Of course life isnt marks all the time... But later, life can still be categorized, poor, rich, happy, miserable.... these are levels, or marks in a way...

  5. This is a great article for IB students... that want to commit suicide, but have no time.

  6. hey!
    nuff said bout all the marks stuff...
    u'r indeed offering a solution to all of us malaysian students...yet i feel so alienated by the fellas in my class who get good grades n im on the brink of giving up~ i tink u mean well! kudos 4 dat!!

  7. As one of the students who along with everyone else, heaved a huge sigh of relief and cheered as PMR ended, I admit that I'm also riding the MAE (Mark's Are Everything) wagon. We nearly force ourselves to death just to get that piece of paper that says '8 A's'. In my opinion, to quote you, this 'midnight oil-burning' isn't really for the marks, but is actually caused by the irrational fear of 'losing'. We certainly do not practise what we 'preach' in our essays - that losing is the key to winning (a Chinese proverb); On the other hand, we are eternally afraid of getting lower marks than our peers and 'falling classes'. However, I think as long as you start revision early and pay attention in class, in addition to good time management, you can live your social life. It all comes down to discipline and time. Be free like a little birdie in the sky!


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