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Making Education Serve You

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had quite a number of reflections on purpose, value and our aspirations. I recently attended a motivational seminar on achieving our goals. The main thing that I got out of it was this: We can choose to complain and grovel about a less than ideal situation, or we could start planning and executing methods on carving a way through.

Let’s kick start this week with some practical tips on how to make sure that we fully utilise the education system to enable us to meet our goals.

What exactly is an education?

I’d like to think that education goes far beyond just scoring A1s and avoiding F9s like the plague. That’s just part of something much bigger. As from the words of the great late Martin Luther King Jr, I’d say that the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

How is what you’re doing as a student building you as a person? What are the qualities you’re developing? Are you being complacent with your good grades or are you continually improving yourself? Are you just tossing aside the homework that you don’t like or are you developing an attitude of commitment and discipline in completing what’s needed, whether you like it or not?

Here’s the news :You won’t apply most of what you learn in school or tuition in real life. You’ll find that most of the relevant things to your vocation and life come through trial and error. However, what is going to be the greatest takeaway will probably be how you deal with situations in school. The consistencies of what you CHOOSE to do in school will cumulate and develop into your character.

Is education serving you or are you serving the system?

Too often, we fall into the trap of always being on the grind. We work day and night, trying to sore the highest grades in everything; we try to keep up with the incredibly holistic and well-rounded education.

The way Singapore’s education system is structured is to ensure that every single base subject and skillset is covered by the time we leave secondary school. It’s definitely overwhelming for a teenager, when faced with all of these. Particularly so when it’s put forth as if acing all your subjects is a mandatory thing.

Think of it this way. Our education system runs like a role-playing game, where you’re the main character. Based on the system available, you have every skillset put available to you, all at once. There’re pros and cons to this system, of course. The education is just a tool for advancement. All tools are only as good as the user.

Have you done your research on how this tool can be used to your benefit?

Assuming all finances, background, family and where you’re at are not an issue, what would you really do?

What do you see yourself doing in future; what are you going to be passionate about in your career? This is what we call the end goal.

At this point of time, a lot of us are going to say that certain careers are near impossible to achieve. We don’t have the money. Our families are against our choices. There is no market in Singapore.

I’m going to say this straight. Barring all debilitating mental or physical disabilities, or extreme circumstances, most of those are probably just really poor excuses. No one said our individual goals were going to be easy to achieve.

Just for some context, I come from a history of depression, family debt and poverty. I took loans and juggled two jobs, while studying and fighting with the daily urge to kill myself.

I don’t state that as a bragging right. What I’m saying is that if you think your dream is worth achieving, you’ll make the necessary arrangements and sacrifices to make it work.

Work it all backwards. What are the requirements?

Already have the end goal in mind? Great! On average, your foreseeable end-goal would be around 10 years. Based on the average age-span of our readers, this would be somewhere between the ages of 26 – 30; around university graduating age or early/mid-career building.

Find out what are the general requirements of the industry you’re entering into. Chart it backwards to find out what are the requirements to meet the each step.

What are the road bumps you’re going to face?

The future is unpredictable. Regardless of how many plans you’re going to make, life is going to throw a wrench into all of them somehow. Prepare to have things go wrong and always have a contingency plan. Analyse and recognise what are the potential roadblocks you’ll face, based on circumstance and the education system you are placed under.

Chart your progress through the various institutions.

Do your research and find out what are the institutions available in Singapore that’ll help you to get where you want to go, and whether they suit your learning style. Ask around. Get to know people who’re older than you and seek their advice. Find out what are the requirements to enter these institutions, the potential financial burden and the workaround to that.

Link to my previous article: What Do You Want To Be? (Dreams and Ambitions)

About the Author

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Kornelius, an artist, writer and designer. He also does English language tutoring and software training. A wearer of many hats and creates sparkly things. He is a graduate from Singapore Polytechnic, holding a diploma in Games Design and Development. It is said that he is nocturnal and spends most of the time drunkenly curled up in a corner crying. When he is not working, he can often be found rolling in a pile of soil and manure in the garden. Interested in more of his works? Contact him at heianedenwood@gmail.com

Rum Tan

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors.

You may try out his free home tutoring services via smiletutor.sg or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.