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Wait, let me breathe for a while *deep breath in, deep breath out*

Okay, let’s do this.

To provide some context, the release of ‘A’ level results is the most dreaded/anticipated moment for all Junior College students. It’s the moment where our dreams of getting into our desired course/university are either fulfilled, or completely destroyed. This seems really dramatic to most people, but for us, it is our reality. It is especially true for people in my Junior College, as we have the pressure of being the “top Junior College in Singapore”. As such, we expect our grades to literally be perfect (i.e. straight As), or as realistically perfect as they can be (maybe about 66.7% As). It also does not help that right before we get our results, the principal shows the statistics of our results. For my school, the percentages are something like this:

75% A rate in: Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, English Literature, Economics

70% A rate in: Physics, Geography

60% A rate in: History

And the number of distinctions go something like this:

At least 5 distinctions: 739

At least 6 distinctions: 530

At least 7 distinctions: 284

At least 8 distinctions: 89

9 distinctions: 4

We have approximately 1200 students in each cohort. That means that more than half of the cohort gets at least 5 distinctions. That’s all great and stuff, but what if you’re the lesser half that didn’t get at least 5 distinctions? What are you going to feel then, when you look at your results and know that more than half your school did better than you?

When I received my certificate with my results, I refused to look at it for the next 2 hours because I was so ridiculously wound up. The pressure was too much. When I finally did look at it, I was… Disappointed, for the lack of a better word. I got ABBB for my core subjects, which I guess was… I don’t know, ok? Though I expected AABB. But hey, I’ve never gotten what I wanted, so I guess my grades weren’t so bad. What I was confused (and still am confused) about, was my E in General Paper (it’s GP for short, and it is basically an English paper, complete with the essay writing and comprehension). I was usually within the top 50% of the school, and since 55% of us got an A for that subject, I expected at least a B. But an E? No, fucking, way. WHAT THE HELL MAN. I was so stunned, I went back home and sat under the cold shower for half an hour.

So yeah, that was the lovely day of the release of ‘A’ level results.

Now that the context is done, let’s get on with the mess that ensued after that. I still decided to apply for the scholarship, and I happened to know someone on the scholarship panel, so I emailed him to tell him about my application so that he could declare a conflict of interest. I also told him about my results, and he said that my E in GP was going to be a problem. WELL, SO MUCH FOR MY GP TEACHER TELLING ME THAT GP WAS USELESS AND UNIMPORTANT. Ok, fine, he was sort of right, because universities outside of Singapore don’t actually look at GP. But it’s important when you don’t have the money to afford an overseas education and you need a scholarship to go, because apparently, scholarship boards also look at your GP results. I don’t know what the bloody hell happened, I could have written out of point for the essay, I have no idea, I thought I did well! URGH. So right now, I’m already disadvantaged in this whole GP thingamajig. Fine, whatever.

I also happen to have another problem. Scholarship boards love to look at your Community Involvement Programme (CIP) hours. For me, well, I have zero CIP hours in Junior College. ZERO. NOTHING. NADA. I have some from secondary school, but I’m after a healthcare scholarship. Healthcare scholarships will definitely focus more on CIP hours, as the whole point of healthcare is to improve the quality of people’s lives. I wouldn’t complain if it was completely my fault that I don’t have any CIP hours, but the thing was that I was promised CIP hours for an event. All the way until we had to stop all CIP activities to study. Only AFTERWARDS did they go back on their word and say that they were not giving out CIP hours because “we weren’t involved with the public”. EXCUSE ME. IF YOU WANTED TO GO BACK ON YOUR WORD, COULDN’T YOU HAVE SAID SO BEFORE I HAD TO STOP CIP??? Since I can already hear people saying “Why didn’t you do more CIP then???”, let me just break it down for you. In the first year, I was heavily involved in school activities and CCA until end of April. Exams started at the end of June/start of July. My grades are not that good. I needed to spend time studying. After school exams, I had to start preparing for my Science Practical Assessments for physics and chemistry as they were in mid-August. In the beginning of August, I started to struggle with depression for nearly the rest of the year. I didn’t have any spare energy to take care of others. That event I did was at the end of December that first year, and I was promised CIP hours. 20+ CIP hours, if I might just add. When the second year started, my CCA also started (it’s 3 days a week by the way, and 4 days a week a month before competitions) and school started to get crazy because it was ‘A’ levels year. In mid-February, I got involved in another round of school activities again, all the way until early/mid March, when I had school exams. CCA competition was in late April, so we trained intensively for the whole month of April. We had to stop all CIP activities in April/May. Yes, I was most definitely busy. Furthermore, if I was promised CIP hours, I could spend my time doing other things right? Now I need to go back to the school and beg for my hours just to increase my chances for the scholarship. DAMMIT.

Currently, I’m stuck with my E in GP and zero CIP hours in Junior College, trying to apply for a scholarship that places importance on both of these things. Oh, and the scholarship application closes on 15 March and I need to beg for my CIP hours from school and submit my CIP hours to the scholarship panel within the next 7 days. Nope, this is not a mess at all.