Growing up in Singapore, education plays a prominent role in our lives, shaping the way we live and behave. As I step on the threshold of passing into adulthood, I am set to leave behind the life of a student after being immersed in it for the past sixteen years. What are some of my thoughts on approaching the end of student life?
Of course, it is always intimidating and a little scary to start off the next phase of your life. But there was a familiar undercurrent to it all – from the routines of primary and secondary school to broader world of university. Study hard and get good grades and you’ll be set up for the next stage of education.
How true is that in the adult world, I wonder? No longer is the guarantee that working hard will produce results and promotions. Other more complex factors such as co-worker relationships, office politics and circumstances simply beyond your control have an effect on subtly shaping that final moment when you are up for evaluation. There is no direct correlation between the amount of effort you put in and the results that you achieve.
Sometimes I wonder if all my education has prepared me enough for this adult world. In many ways, NUS has felt like a repetition of Junior College in that the main criteria of being successful is dependent on academic results. One can still easily pass through the university system without learning about the working world and the skills necessary to navigate it. By going for lectures, occasionally participating in tutorials and working on projects, it is all too easy to remain in your comfort zone and remain the same person who you were when you first entered NUS.
That is why as I approach my final semester, with the hindsight of an old senior, I would exhort all students to explore NUS to its fullest. Take a module that has nothing to do with your major and everything to do with your passion; join a CCA on a whim; pick up a new language (trust me, language courses are expensive outside) or just spend time with your friends before life pulls all of you in different directions. This stage of life where your primary concern is just you and you alone is quickly coming to an end. Make sure it counts.