I’ve wanted to write about life after the ‘A’ Levels for a while but I never really got to it. National Service makes it even harder for me. So here it goes: life so far…
Life after A’s was pretty weird. For one, I found my papers doable even though I wasn’t extremely well prepared. I spent a lot of my time worrying about how things would turn out on that fateful February day. In the meantime, I found things to occupy my time meaningfully.
I spent a good portion of December in India for the first time. It was a good experience learning about my heritage and meeting relatives I never knew I had. Visiting regular tourist sites aside, the life of India through the streets poised a sweet-sour view of India and Indians for me as a Singaporean Indian.
The days I visited the Golden Temple, I felt a warmth overwhelm me through the freezing winter temperatures. To me, it was an experience I could never describe in words. I was fully conscious yet fell into a trance. It didn’t make sense and yet it did.
I also realised my love for all Indian foods with the word butter in it.
A lot of my time after my trip to India was spent working at my previous tuition centre (Aspire Hub) as an “Academic Coach Assistant” which basically meant I helped teach students alongside the main tutor when crowds got big. Teaching Elementary and Additional Maths to Secondary school students gave me an immense sense of satisfaction which is why I continued teaching until right before I enlisted.
I also helped coach a primary school debate team at my alma mater. As I taught them the fundamentals behind debating, I formed a bond with my students that I look back to and reminisce to this day. It made me more confident in my ability to be a leader and a teacher.
Eventually that February death date caught up to me and I had to face it with my chin up. I went through those hallowed blue gates with my dad and climbed the steps in the foyer to where I knew would be my burial ground. I sat with my classmates for one final time, my stomach turning inside out as I hoped they called my name up as a top student and put away my pain with confidence.
Alas, it was not meant to be. My name has not been called up and I was even more jumpy than before. I queued up to collect my results booklet from my teachers who had already peered inside. The first thing that came out of my mouth was “how bad is it”. They said that it may be good or bad depending on how I saw it. I quickly grabbed my booklet and ran outside. My dad had been waiting there for me so I ran to him. We opened the booklet together and were equally gobsmacked.
Dad: what does this mean?
Me: I need to calculate my rank points
Dad: ok quickly
“Pulls out calculator app”
Me: ok 20 plus 20 plus 17.5 plus 10 plus 8.75 plus 10
We hugged each other after that. I didn’t want to let go. That day remains special to me.
I kept on working, applying for universities and scholarships and meeting friends until it was finally time for me to don my green suit.
(Part 2 coming soon)