my (british [not sure whether nationality is important here but well]) friend recently had an epiphany, which she shared with the all of us after a glorious afternoon playing board games under the warm -no kidding, 27 degrees- sun.
exams are only 4 blocks of 3 hours each, but we let them ruin our whole term
opinions are divided on this, i’m sure. the two most obvious and conflicting ones being (1) those “12 hours” certainly matter a lot more than a term- future module options, grad school, career prospects… however much further down that slippery slope you wish to go. so it’s worth it. (2) YESshesrightbloodyhell whatamidoingwithmylife. *proceeds to shift the focus away from studying so much*
this is an exaggerated statement, of course. i don’t think the term is dominated by the looming shadow of exams, even for the most diligent ones of us. caesarian sunday, spring BBQs, rowing races, movies, formals… it definitely not a whole term that’s being ruined. but how much time makes it okay to study? where should the balance lie?
i study mainly with my sg friends (third years at that, ahaha the lovely bunch) so i’m definitely studying harder this term than i ever have. because of that i’m also not tooo sure what the usual level of studying for exams among the students here is like, and of course there’s huge variation (M studies <1 a day, E aims for 8. and to his disappointment usually fails zzz). but i do wonder whether in singapore, given our passed-through-the-generations, Rule of Lore belief that hard work = success, we’re more predisposed to emphasizing and hence prioritising long term happiness over moments-happiness.
my prime metaphor for life used to be a straight line, with dots as the everyday moments that make up the life. i think most close friends have probably heard me reference it more than once aha. it goes: if you want a happy line, make each point as happy, satisfying, fulfilling as you can. many dots make a line right? create more treasured than upsetting moments, forge bright points to look back on, and life will sort itself out eventually. well… so went my linear logic. but i’m now starting to realise that each point may be more than just a dot; it may be a trajectory-changing point, a BIG dot to shadow the rest. i guess this isn’t news for some people, people who’ve warned me about the optimistic naivety of my views, but it’s a bit disheartening for me (or maybe it shouldn’t be?) – that sometimes… trying to live well, trying to live in every moment, is just not enough.