After Getting Your A Level Results, What's Next For You?
As a novice blogger, I was really thrown off balance when I saw my previous blog post on 'A' Level results go viral. I literally stared at my Google Analytics traffic page for a good few minutes. Very encouraging and heartening comments from people I knew or did not know also started trickling in. I am extremely thankful for all the support I have been getting from everyone, and hope you guys will keep supporting me. :)
Marinating that post in my head for a few moments, I realised why the previous post received so much attention was because it was close to students' hearts. And that was when it hit me that the next best way I could serve was to look at what possibilities there are for those who just received their grades. I do not aim to provide answers, but would like to suggest an alternative way of looking at things, just simply based on how as an individual, I have a unique set of lenses.
I'm pretty sure that some, after getting your results on Monday, may have lived the past few days in a daze, not really knowing where to go or what to do. Or maybe some have been inundated with comments from parents, siblings, friends, neighbours, house pet...(okay, maybe not.) Everyone seems to have an opinion on where you should go. Maybe you feel torn on many, many ends. I hear you loud and clear, because my post A-level-results period was a constant teeing back and forth about where I should go.
Let me just share a bit of my story. I knew I wanted to do linguistics. I did ELL (English Language and Linguistics) in high school and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I thought I should do it in the UK since some universities there are strong in linguistics. Then there was also the LMS (Linguistics and Multilingual Studies) department in NTU, and English Language in NUS. To me then, I knew I 'had' to go to the UK, for several reasons:
1) It sounded prestigious to say "I am going overseas to further my studies"
2) My brother did it too and so I couldn't lose out
3) I won't have as fulfilling an experience if I study locally as opposed to study abroad
3) A whole new experience overseas (I don't deny this.)
I had a lot of pride. Even as I did poorly for ELL (I scored a C), I felt a need to hide it because I was ashamed. Going overseas seemed like the best way to ward off any suspicion that I was a 'substandard' Hwa Chong student. Something like that.
So I applied and long story short, I got into a UK uni. Then where I should go for university became a family debate: my mum said yes, my dad said no. My brother was..."let her go wherever she wants to."
Then I talked to seniors, some from that UK uni and some from NTU and NUS. I consulted my high school's further education advisors, and searched online for reviews. I asked countless friends for advice. I went for the LMS interview at NTU, but even at that point, nearing the university application deadline, I still couldn't decide.
I struggled with this for months on end. It was one of the most stressful periods of my life.
I remembered the moment it was time to make a decision - I clicked on the 'NTU' button, and my brother timely prompted me: "You sure?" And that was when I swiftly changed to 'NUS' and submitted my application. Because deep inside, I knew that the UK university was not for me (they do pure theoretical linguistics and I wasn't interested in that), and nor was NTU (the university did not particularly attract me). And I was really glad that in the end, I made a choice I was satisfied with.
I've heard of so many stories where due to parental pressure or societal expectations, people chose universities and courses based on what they thought was right of them. But here's the thing: there is no right or wrong decision. There is only the decision based what you value.
I knew that I wouldn't enjoy studying in the UK. And that even if I wanted to please people around me, choosing what I felt was the right fit for me overrode everything else. And I recognized that beneath the 'Yes'-es and the 'No'-s my parents pelted, there is unconditional love. They said yes or no because they loved me and wanted the best for me.
If you score straight As and your parents want you to become a doctor even as you don't want to, don't see it as opposition, see it as love. Seeing things from a different perspective makes it more powerful, because coming from a space of love and gratitude opens up endless possibilities - for conversations with your parents, for your relationships with them to blossom, or for your parents to really know what you want and what matters to you. With a common form of understanding, you know that you have full support in whatever you do.
And even as you decide to do something you dislike but your parents urge you to, that says a lot about who you are: a loving child.
Making big decisions is scary, and it definitely requires time. But the decision you make is not yours if it is not yours.
Similarly, the issue of making decisions is also about taking responsibility for them. The reason is simple: rather than blaming things for the way they are ("my brother forced me to"), taking ownership of your actions lets you run the show all the time; you don't let events pull you by the nose.
I really love the quote above. In my interpretation of it, it can look like "I chose this because I wanted this" or "This won't be easy, but I know I want this and I will trudge on." It comes from within. Whereas if you do something you don't genuinely feel for, it really may seem like excuses: "Because my parents made me", "Because I don't know what to do". Have you had a conversation with your parents on why they are adamant about this? What do they really want for you? Or Have you tried different things? To give yourself a better idea of what you want?
It's a matter of coming from a space of abundance versus a space of inadequacy.
Which one is more empowering?
Putting on different lenses lets you see beyond what you thought was impossible. There is never a The End. There is always a What's Next. Keep asking yourself questions to get clearer on what you really want. You will eventually arrive at something you are at peace with. :)