Your tertiary years pass by in a flash, so it’s important to make the most of your experience. Ahead, we asked graduates to share their biggest regrets and personal advice for the class of 2018. Take notes, freshies!
Get out of your comfort zone
“In junior college, I decided to join choir for my CCA. However, it was the exact same thing that I did back in secondary school. I wish I had the courage to act outside of my comfort zone. I’ve always wanted to try something new, like rock climbing!” – Cass, 20
You might have been stuck in the same club for years, but you’re entering a new chapter of your life – take it as an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Don’t box yourself within the walls of familiarity and try dabbling in something new for a change. Who knows, you might just discover a newfound interest you didn’t know existed!
Seize the opportunities
“Apart from CCAs, there are also a ton of opportunities to help you expand your leadership skills outside of the classroom… which I didn’t take up. I regret not being more immersed in school life.” – Khairul, 21
There’s more to school than just academics – there are plenty of extracurricular clubs and after-school activities to keep you engaged! Not only are they platforms for you to widen your social circle outside of class, it’s also a chance for you to pick up extra skills and even prepare you for the workforce.
“I regret being so self-conscious back in school. I always felt like someone was constantly watching me so my actions ended up being very stiff all the time. But in reality, no one really cares. I was just overly suspicious!” – Janisha, 19
“Why are they staring at me? Do I look weird today?” – such thoughts would inevitably run through your head when you’re in a new environment with people you don’t know. But at the end of the day, no one really takes notice of these little quirks as much as you think. In fact, they might just love you more for it!
Live for yourself
“Although English was the second language in my international school, I’ve always enjoyed reading English books and took pride in speaking it fluently since young. But when the other students made fun of me and accused me of being pretentious, I ended up hiding the books and using English only with people who spoke it first. I wish I wasn’t so quick to conform to what my schoolmates thought of me.” – Wei Lun, 20
Never let anyone’s opinion sway your beliefs, whether it’s giving in to parental pressures or trying to fit in with others. If you’re truly passionate about something, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to pursue what your heart desires.
It’s okay to be alone
“I didn’t show up for a lot of the events and classes that I signed up for because none of my friends would go with me. I always felt that I won’t be comfortable alone so I’d choose not to socialise or participate in the activity, which defeated the purpose so there wasn’t a point in going. Looking back, I realised I missed out on a lot just because I was afraid of being alone.” – Joey, 20
It’s nice to have companionship when going for camps or trying out for a new CCA, but chances are you won’t always find someone with similar interests as you. Don’t shy away from signing up for activities on your own – new friends will come along naturally. Hey, being independent is a good thing!
Don’t slack off
“Although I had good grades in my first year, it ended up making me complacent. I didn’t put in as much effort into my studies from the second year onwards and I was spending way too much time with my girlfriend.” – Marcus, 23
You may think that only scoring well during the first year is enough and the remaining two years of your education won’t affect your GPA as much, but keep in mind that the cumulative grading system is based on your overall performance throughout the years. Keep up the good work and you’ll be duly rewarded!
“My clique got along well until we had to do our projects together. It wasn’t anybody’s fault; some of us just worked on different wavelengths – but it reached a point where there were tears and yelling before I left. I’m sure my old clique is as happy as I am now after the ‘break up’, but if we had the courage to stop forcing our friendship, we might still be on cordial terms now.” – Ke Xin, 22
While school is a place where you make lifelong friends, there are instances where friends can get rather competitive on the academic front. Just because you are grouped together for projects doesn’t mean you are obliged to stick with the same clique – you might be better off finding a new group of friends whom you can better connect with.
Love can wait
“I wish I didn’t have so many of those so-called relationships. Looking back, we were all too young and I feel like they weren’t even real boyfriends. I wasted time crying, fighting and healing when I could’ve spent it with friends or being more involved in school.” – Rebecca, 23
We’ve all been there – unrequited crushes, first loves and heartbreaks. When the hormones start to kick in, you may be at the stage where the idea of getting into a relationship is intriguing – but it can also result in unnecessary drama and heartache, so tread cautiously with matters of the heart.
No time for crime
“I wish I’d have just worn a skirt that wasn’t too short and proper socks. Once, I literally ran away from the disciplinary mistress because I didn’t want to buy a new pair of school socks, but she caught me anyway. Being the school’s resident troublemaker was an exhausting streak to keep up, I felt like I had just wasted my time!” – Daphne, 19
From skipping lectures to altering your uniform in every way imaginable, some of you are probably guilty of these. You might think that breaking the rules is cool now, but you’ll soon realise that it’s just a phase. Treat it as a learning lesson and move on!
This article was adapted from Teenage Passport To Your Future 2018.
Here’s a question for you guys: what’s something that you regret from your days back in school? Let us know in the comments below.
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