I was pretty damn stupid (and how I became valedictorian)

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Okay here’s a little Monday story for ya. It may tap on your Monday Blues though.

It’s about the time I was labelled “stupid”. Yep. A delinquent. A dunce. A boy hopeless in his studies.

Back when I was 12, I did extremely badly in a major examination all kids of that age had to take. It was the final exam we all took right before we left grade school.

This was my “brilliant” score for English, Science, Math and Chinese (mother tongue):

Out of 300, I scored 191.

The grades were A, B, B, and B respectively.

Now for real, this was considered an extremely bad score. I may have passed, but you couldn’t just pass this major examination and well, expect to get away with it.

It was all about the pressure.

I was pressured to do well in this strict society which enforced its rigid education system upon me. Even my parents were pressured (at least subconsciously for sure) that their son should do well for this exam, especially since other kids were taking the same test.

But I ultimately fucked it up. Scoring below 200 was a disgrace. Even if you hit a low score of 200, it wouldn’t have sounded so bad as that would be considered average, and being average meant being normal.

By the way, I now hold the record for lowest score of this exam in the family. My niece holds the record for highest score. She got 261. That meant she had 70 more points than me and that beat every single one of my subjects.

Anyway I was pretty damn sad myself. I didn’t think I’d fuck it up so bad. I thought I was normal you know? For the first time ever I felt stupid. I always did alright back in school, so to mess up this major exam was a huge blow.

To top it off, when selecting my high school, my parents had to drive me around so that I could take my pick… off a bunch of shitty schools that accepted crap students. I’m not kidding. These schools harboured young hooligans who were gang members, smokers and even kids who got pregnant young.

I was going to be one of “them”, I thought.

And get this, one of the shitty schools even rejected me. Apparently I missed the mark by a few points to enrol. The principal was like, “Erm, sorry. We only accept students of (slightly less shitty) scores”.

That was my turning point. I felt so sad and bad for my parents, that they had to chauffeur their own son around to tour a bunch of shitty high schools. I could just imagine them telling their friends, “Sigh… yeah. We had to go find a school that would accept Alden”.

I remember crying after that. The trigger was that my mom lovingly gave me 50 bucks. She promised that for every ‘A’ I got, she would give me 50 bucks, which was like striking lottery to me. I refused it. I mean… why should she reward me for fucking up?

For the next four years I studied my ass off.

At 16 another major examination came (the O’levels). I was valedictorian. I scored the highest in the whole school.

I then went on to junior college and finally college, where I graduated with a bachelors in communications and new media.

As much as I do my own writing and biz today, where I learnt that real experience is far more valuable than classroom education itself, I’m pretty damn proud of this achievement.

Yep. This young fuck-up turned his life around.

So what’s the moral of the story today?

Ahh you know.

Don’t give up. If I can do it, you can too. Hang in there. Work hard.

But here’s the most important lesson:

Never let school get the in way of your education.

Yes. School is important and all that shit, but that’s as far as it goes. Do what you have to do to get an education.

Then, make life happen for yourself.

Honestly, school is just a phase in life. I got over it. You can get over it. You might as well do your best for, if anything, to get the pressure off your back by this society. You may disagree with your anti-conformist rants or whatever, but whoever you are, wherever you’re from and whatever it is you and your family do, I’m willing to bet that getting a classroom education is important enough for you to WANT to survive.

It’s just learning.

We are all always learning.

You might as well make it easy for yourself.

I think all of us have the power to easily learn anything we want. It’s just that we get a little distracted from time to time. I pretty much screwed up my exams back then because I was busy playing Playstation.

Don’t be distracted. Be more focused.

It’d be a shame to be “forced” down a dirtier path in life by society because of some distractions.

You’re way more capable than you think.

So whatever it is you want to learn in life, just go for it. Screw distractions.
You can easily learn whatever it is you want.

The question is… how can you do it at your best? Your full potential? So that you don’t waste so much time and feel like a drag?

So many intricacies and subtlety in learning something…
Get the best results and make it your best life.

Then you lead your awesome life. Like I do now.

P.S. I looked up to some friends back then. They scored really well. They look up to me now on account of me daring to follow my passions.
Lol. What a weird life. Lead the life you crave for today!

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  1. Pingback: 13 things you probably didn't know about me // | Alden Tan| Alden Tan

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