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A letter to end my secondary school life

Personally, I'm not too sure myself what to make of this note. Rainy, dreary November has been a time of goodbyes, of partings, of separations. One chapter of my life has ended, the times where I would be facing a whole class of noisy, loud and very active guys in a Catholic school. It's a time of change, of reflections, to see how much I've grown in the last four years.

It's puzzling, really. So many things have happened in these four years that seemed to have occurred for a lifetime.

My entry into the new world of secondary school, of frantic studying and a lack of the fairer sex was admittedly a very clumsy affair. I got lost on the first day of school, for god's sake, and I was amazed at how damn big the school was. It didn't help that there was a primary section and a secondary section in Maris Stella, and I got lost in the primary section for thirty darn minutes. The first time I did morning assembly (In Maris Stella, morning assembly usually involves standing outside your classroom and carrying out the usual "common activities" (read, propaganda) for the Singapore education system, followed by a long talk by the resident dictator in the school. Fun right?), it seemed totally unfathomable to me. My form teacher then was this really fierce woman who made Math lessons for the next two years a horror for me, but she was the one who pushed me to start studying to begin with.

"If you don't work hard now, you'll get kicked out of this school."

Being, well, me, I was used to lazing about and not doing much in primary school, so it came as a shock, somewhat, that secondary school would be this harsh. I didn't really start studying, of course, but I did study hard a week before the exams (the rest didn't, I suppose) and I topped the class. For the first time in my life, I was actually excelling in something (The only subject I aced in regular primary school exams was English) and the next two years just found itself.

I studied frantically. I suppose it was to save my newly found pride in my academic successes, and I became super competitive, a feat that I would have hardly thought possible a year ago. Granted, I totally sucked at some subjects like Math (always my weakness) and Design and Technology, but I grew incredibly passionate about Literature and History, doing pretty well in it. I was introduced to School of Thought in Secondary Two, and I met Mr Roy there.

I could still remember how fascinated I was with the impeccable manner in which the place was decorated. It had a room made of glass, and it looked, well, like a place in a kid's fairytales. Mr Roy was a charismatic teacher and he effortlessly made lessons interesting, easing the use of videos and small talk together with his comprehensive worksheets that made the classes a total joy to be in. I remember a girl called Sarah who sat beside me in my first lesson. She wasn't that feminine but she had a charm of her own. I think I had a tiny crush on her for a few lessons but she was too distant to have anything come out of it.

Secondary Three was a time of beginnings. I didn't remember much of the first two years because I was too focused on my academic work to forge strong friendships, so I wasn't all mopey when Secondary Two ended. It was the time I met Jingxi, the girl I fell the hardest for in my life, and although I lost contact with her in the end, I'm sure you all know the story by now. I wasn't the first in class for Secondary Three, and it came as a horror to me. There was generally greater emphasis on the science subjects, and I kinda suck at them. I topped English, Literature and the Humanities, but overall, I wasn't doing up to my expectations. Perhaps that's why I was able to ease up a little and become more personable to my classmates. They thought I was arrogant at first, but they grew to see my wacky side, and I had more friends in that year alone than the past two years combined.

Of course, Secondary Four was the time of trials. The O Levels were a horror to sit through, not because they were hard per se, but because it was a horror to study for them. People were studying frantically and the stress was growing to unbearable levels. Ironically, it was also the year I attended the most parties. I had a party at the start of the year as a friend was leaving for Australia, and it brought us closer as a class. We had the usual Chinese New Year party, and after the O Levels, we recently had Graduation Night.

Thank you, everyone, for making the last four years a pleasure to live through.

To Mr Roy, you have been endlessly inspiring and charismatic, and I've learnt a lot from you. It's not just in studies, definitely, but also the value of networking and making friends. "If a person desires something hungrily enough, the entire universe would conspire together to help him succeed. If he doesn't, it means that he found something much more worthwhile."

To my aunt, you have been a shining beacon in my life. I wouldn't have successfully endured the past few years without her by my side, being endlessly supportive and occasionally harsh when I'm in the need of tough love.

To Jingxi, you're probably never ever going to read this, but thank you for leaving such bittersweet memories behind for me. We might not meet again, but the time we met in China was a beautiful one. I remember the times where I would look forward to the "class" because I got to sit beside her, and I remember talking about our common interests and even singing for her on our last day together.

To my teachers in school (Mrs Melvin, Mrs Khoo, Mrs Chan, Ms Lee, Mr Tan, Ms Wong, Ms Koh), you have helped to make me a better person. I remember working my butt off in Chemistry lessons, where my teacher would give us her usual stoic face and "persuade" us to drop Chemistry. I remember my Physics teacher coming in to save our class after the horror that was our Secondary Three Physics teacher (Granted, I was never fully saved, but aaaaa). My history teacher was wacky and knowledgeable, and he sparked an interest in History inside me. Literature too, was a pleasure to sit through because it was a lesson where we would come together to discuss abstract notions and stuff that sometimes had nothing to do with the subject. And I think I'll remember Mrs Melvin for the rest of my life, because she was just charming like that.

To my best friends in school (Joey, Titus, Daniel Wen, Bryan Ong and Ashley among many others), thank you for being my friend. I know I'm probably overly competitive and annoying at times, but it has been a pleasure fighting towards our shared dreams together. I hope we'll continue being friends in the years to come.

To my best friends outside school (Kai Quan, Chloe, Sze Chun, Zhi Xin), it has been a pleasure knowing you for so long. Our friendship has withstood the test of time (somewhat), and I hope we'll continue talking and being generally supportive of each other even as we walk different paths in life.

I see a long road in front of me, but the last four years have thought me that the end is not important. All that matters is the journey towards that end.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Good luck with everything! ♥
Dec. 1st, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
Dec. 1st, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC)
Hi, it's a Mysti!

Good luck getting into your JC/poly of choice. :D (And yeah, a lot of secondary schools tend to emphasise science more; I had the same problem back in Sec 3, although my science combination was pure Chem/pure Bio.)
Dec. 1st, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
Haha, hiii!

I'm aiming for JC, haha. Which did you attend back then? Dude, at least you didn't have to take Pure Physics. That, man, is hell.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
Meridian! Third batch. XD Which are you aiming for?

I got lucky, actually. My class was a triple science class and I dropped Physics. Took, um, pure Chem/pure Bio/full Lit/elective Geog, and both E and A Maths. Went on to do Lit/Econs/Math in JC... I'm old, mine's the syllabus before all the H1 stuff came into play. XD
Dec. 2nd, 2011 10:23 am (UTC)
XD Mm. I'm aiming for Victoria, Temasek or Meridian. 8DD I live in the East, soo...

Ahhh. Lucky you. I'm taking pure Lit/pure Chem/pure Physics/elective History and both E and A Maths. 8DD I'm planning to take the same subjects as you too.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 11:16 am (UTC)
! Where, exactly? /also lives in the East

If you liked O level Lit you'll probably enjoy A Level Lit even more; I found it more flexible and less 'we'll shove obvious symbolism in your face and tell you what to think of the characters.'

Dec. 2nd, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
Eh? That's a coincidence. I live in Tampines. You?

Hah, that sounds interesting. 8DDD Lit has always been my favorite subject (besides History), and I'm really passionate about it. I'll definitely pursue it next year, and yessss I want more flexibility!
Dec. 2nd, 2011 11:22 am (UTC)
Singapore is a small place. Hello, fellow Tampines-person! (And next thing you know it will turn out that actually, you're maybe two blocks away from me, or something.)

I admit my experiences of O Level Lit have been heavily coloured by the abject horror that is I'm The King of the Castle. (Best described as various repeats of "Omens of DOOM! /run away!")
Dec. 2nd, 2011 11:25 am (UTC)
Well, it is pretty small. Hello~~~ (LOL I live at Street 71. You?)

...I have no idea what that is. I'm doing Fahrenheit 451 and the Crucible for O Level Lit~ Those two have been amazing books though.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 11:31 am (UTC)
Okay, you're not my next-door neighbour, then. XD Avenue 5, near Telepark.

...oh, those are excellent books. I really love Fahrenheit 451 (although sadly, my reading it came shortly before the news of the destruction of the OWS library...) and while I love the Crucible somewhat less, it's still a very moving book. Count your blessings you haven't heard of I'm The King of the Castle... apparently it was the lesser of two evils. (The batch before mine got to do To Kill A Mockingbird, which is one of my all-time favourites. I was jealous.)
Dec. 2nd, 2011 11:42 am (UTC)
LOOOL. If our friendship ever gets that far, it'd be super easy to meet up. Man, most of my LJ friends live in the West and it's super difficult to meet up with them.

...I haven't heard of I'm The King of the Castle. Is it that bad? Personally, I loved both of the books. I thought that Crucible was an excellent study of social hysteria and the miscarriages of justice. Danforth was my favorite character despite being an antagonist in the book. I have a strange sort of fondness for fiction in a dystopic setting (Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451... even Final Fantasy VII.) and I personally thought that Clarisse reminded me a great deal of Aerith/Aeris. (Her interaction with Montag seemed very much like how Aeris interacted with Cloud in-game, just without the romantic element.) Beatty, too, was a fascinating antagonist.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's true! XD My LJ friends are all over the place...

It could have been worse, but it didn't feel like there was anything worth analysing, to me.

Danforth is an interesting character, I agree! I also generally found it fascinating how the characters exploited religion for their purposes - and how easily religious fervour leads to social hysteria.

Hmm. I hadn't thought about that before you mentioned it, but now that you've said it, you're right, Clarisse is a lot like Aeris! I'm also fascinated by the scene in the later stage adaptation, where Beatty tells Montag he used to be an avid reader until books betrayed him; there's something very, very painful about the bitterness of that betrayal, that'd lead a person to burn libraries. (My soul cringes at the thought of someone deliberately dog-earing books. Fahrenheit 451 made me cry.)
Dec. 13th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)
D'awww, I didn't make the list? [Look! LJ finally let me in!] Haha, no, just kidding. Looks like I can never pass up a chance to poke fun at people even when I'm hermit-ing. Hmm.

Well uh, I'm done. Shall withdraw then.
Dec. 14th, 2011 03:55 am (UTC)
...I forgot about you, hahaha. You're definitely one of my best friends ever lah. 8DDD

Withdraw? What for?
Dec. 14th, 2011 06:11 am (UTC)
I was just kidding. Remove my name! Now! Before I implode and admit that it's nice to be appreciated every once in a while.

Because I'm hermit-ing. Doh.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )