October 3, 2009

The lost cause

I feel that there has been an exaggeration about scholarships (among my school mates at least).

Look up in any dictionary, be it Oxford, Merriam-Webster, Wikitionary, Wikipedia, etc, and what you get for the definition of scholarship is roughly like this: "Financial aid award for students to further education"

Notice it has the words 'aid', and 'award'. Does it ever mention the word 'must, compulsory, important, urgent' or anything of the sort? No right? No dictionary would define a scholarship as something you MUST achieve to further studies.

And yet, so many of my friends in school, they always keep stressing about all these scholarships, like government JPA, PTPTN or whatever. I see them studying their heads off, and if the reason is not because they are scared to drop class, then it will be because of scholarships. Then they'd go on and on and on about how vital scholarships are, how they can save the burdens on their parents, they work so hard and bla bla bla...

But then think about it, how did your parents further their studies back then, when scholarhips were unheard of in Malaysia? And in times when your grandparents' income was so small then compared to today? How did they do it last time?

Students should come to realise that although a scholarship has benefits financially, it has never been a must for all students. Even with our current education system, what are the chances of students now earning one? You will then reason that your parents have worked so hard to earn money for your future education and what not, and you dont want their efforts "to go to waste". What about your grandparents; and how did they fund your parents' education back then?  And honestly speaking, it would only go to waste if you cant even qualify to enroll in ANY college.

If you dont get a scholarship, that doesnt mean you've failed your parents. You wont die if you dont get a scholarship. You still have yet to look for a job; earn a living and then you can return the favour to your parents, when you are actually, properly financially able to look after them. You may then say that oh, your other siblings have used up so much money for education, without scholarship how will you continue? Dont you think that parents can set aside a college fund for each of their children? And they forgo luxuries and desires to save up for their children so that there will be enough to make it through?

You may then say what if they run out of money halfway? That isnt the end either. You can look for part time jobs and build yourself up. Read Hikayat Mat Jenin for a lesson. You cant be always pessimistic about it.

It may be harder without a scholarship, but please knock some sense into your own brains and remind yourself not to commit suicide or become emo over this. It's not impossible. It will not be a dead end without scholarships. If thats the case this world wouldnt have so many working professionals. If you think you, promising students are moaning and groaning and what not over getting scholarships, what about those who arent even smart enough to have one? And their parents dont have bags of money all over the house? They can still make it through and land jobs. Do all graduates have scholarships? Nope. Do all rich, successful people have scholarships when they went to college/university? No. So why the fuss?

Of course, who doesnt want a scholarship right? If you gave me one I'll take the offer for sure. But we must realise that scholarships arent the ultimate goal in exams, neither is it the straight As. Every person can only understand so much, and memorise so much. If the limit of how much we can understand and memorise and apply formulas etc etc (aka, the best we can do in exams) isnt good enough to qualify for a scholarship, we cant do anything else about it. We just have to accept it as part of life and learn to move on.

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