18 go­ing on 26

What is re­ally go­ing to count eight years af­ter SPM?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R. AGE -

IT’S year ei­ther some­thing­post- olds re­joic­ing,SPM acrossin be­tweensea­sonin the mourn­ing­coun­tryand over many theirareor 18 ex­am­i­na­tion Re­gard­less re­sults.of what let­ters were shown on their re­sult slips, most will be set­ting their sights on the un­cer­tain fu­ture.

Ques­tions like “What do I do now?”, “Where is my life headed from here on out?” and “What’s for lunch?” should be ring­ing in the heads of some young adults right about now.

Just think­ing about it makes me think about what I went through when I was about that age and some things that I have learnt af­ter go­ing through the process, as well as wit­ness­ing other peo­ple go­ing through it in their own ways.

When I was younger, I had very lit­tle idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I knew that I wanted to go to univer­sity and even­tu­ally grad­u­ate, so I chose a course that I was most con­fi­dent in pass­ing, which was Teach­ing English as a Se­cond Lan­guage ( TESL). Look­ing back at it now, I don’t re­gret that de­ci­sion. Be­ing able to go through the process of ter­tiary education opened up a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn about my­self. It al­lowed me to find out what I liked to do, what I didn’t like to do, and af­forded me the plat­form to make mis­takes. Think­ing back on my univer­sity days, I think that’s one of the things that I miss most: The lee­way to mess up. It was in univer­sity that I de­cided to make videos and put them on YouTube, which could have been a mess, but in­stead be­came a life- chang­ing de­ci­sion for me. It wasn’t easy at first. I’m a shy per­son, and mak­ing videos was lit- er­ally putting my­self out there for peo­ple to judge. On top of that, I had to learn so­cial skills when peo­ple started recog­nis­ing me. YouTube made me a dif­fer­ent per­son – all be­cause I made the de­ci­sion to get out of my com­fort zone and try some­thing rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent. What I would say to young post-SPM teenagers is, make as many mis­takes as you need to be­cause that’s how you learn about your­self and life. If you ever stop to think to your­self “this might be a mis­take, I should stop do­ing this,” one of the best things you can do for your­self is to go ahead, do it any­way and dis­cover for your­self if it re­ally is one or not. This is of course dif­fer­ent from think­ing “driv­ing off this cliff is def­i­nitely a mis­take” and do­ing it any­way. I do not ad­vo­cate that. It’s just in those mo­ments of un­cer­tainty that you should plough for­ward to achieve some sort of clar­ity.

If it turns out to be a mis­take, you learn from it. If it doesn’t, you will reap the ben­e­fits from it.

In any case, be un­afraid, and you’ll reap the re­wards of tak­ing that chance.

Af­ter my own univer­sity ex­pe­ri­ence, and watch­ing other peo­ple as they ex­per­i­mented with their hob­bies and pas­sions, I’ve found also that what you do out­side of your course mat­ters a lot.

I know many peo­ple pur­su­ing fields that are out­side of their course. They have vary­ing lev­els of suc­cess, of course, but for the most part, they seem to be very happy do­ing what they are do­ing.

For ex­am­ple, a child­hood friend I was in a band with holds a de­gree in video game graph­ics, but is now a full time mu­sic com­poser for an an­i­ma­tion com­pany.

My wife stud­ied me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing, but is now a writer/ com­poser/ singer- song­writer.

A good friend of mine stud­ied law and and now runs one of the most suc­cess­ful not- for- profit ed­u­ca­tional on­line move­ments in Malaysia (@ English­jer).

Th­ese peo­ple, along­side many oth­ers have shown me that there can be suc­cess out­side of what course you choose to en­rol in, as long as you have the right at­ti­tude and work tire­lessly to­wards get­ting bet­ter at your craft and be­come un­de­ni­ably good at what you choose to do.

They are an ex­am­ple of what hard work can do for you. If you choose to be re­ally good at get­ting good grades in your course, then more power to you. Go all out for it.

If you choose to be re­ally good at some­thing out­side your course, the same thing ap­plies: Go all out for it.

allther­age@ thes­tar. com . my

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