The things I miss most about school.

While graduation was officially over just last week, I completed school a couple of months back, after my completion of my FYP poster presentation. That was officially the last day that I needed to go back school for any formal assignments or lessons. After that, it was a blur. I had to prepare to continue to serve national service. And before I knew it, I was a section commander for a bunch of recruits. The entire 5 weeks was turmoil. Everything was new to me while in the army. It wasn’t my usual vocation that I have dealt with before. So that explained why it was a complete blur. Time passed by in one fluid motion. Then after that, 2 weeks after I ORD, it was time to prepare for the graduation. After that was over, the thought of actually completing school, my tertiary education, that phase of life is slowly but surely dawning on me. Since then, I have been thinking a bit about some of the stuff that I will definitely miss about school, both good and bad.

Being the sentimental me, I tend to think about the good old days. And when my mind is idle most of the time, I tend to think about it a lot, sometimes to the point of obsession. It might be unhealthy, I dunno. But it’s hard for me to really find someone who would be willing to listen, and talk about these things. How I would like to imagine myself, being laid back, at some coffeeshop or cafe, just talking to my best buddies about these things. Reminisce the good old days. But I guess, one has to be realistic and not waste their time about these trivial things. So here it goes. Here are some of the things that I will definitely miss in school, or the routines that I went through in school that I will definitely miss. And they are in no particular order.

1. Waking up early to school so as not to be late for the 08.30am lectures. Those lessons were a pain in the ass. Literally. Despite having video lectures, I almost never missed a lesson, no matter if its in the morning, or in the evening. I reach there on time. And I go to school, taking the train, usually with a friend, and classmate who lives nearby me. I remember those mornings, half-awake, squeezed in the train with other commuters on their way to work. It wasn’t bad early on during the journey, but it gets worse as it travels towards the west side. More and more commuters packing into the train, till the point of claustrophobia.

2. The droning lectures that never seem to end. Yeap, 2 hour lectures are no laughing matter, especially when the lessons are uninspiring and the way its taught is as if you are going through a monotonous religious chant. What goes in on your left ear goes out on the right. But you had no choice but to listen to it all the way till the end, and despite the boring content, you still have to write stuff down on your printed notes that may be important for your exams.

3. Cheap macdonalds. I like it, though I don’t eat it often, it is without doubt convenient, especially when its not during lunch breaks which can get awfully crowded. The staff are friendly, fast and efficient. You can get your meal in less than a minute on a good day. Other foods from the food courts and the canteens, some are pretty good and I will definitely miss them. Quad has good laksa and decent japanese food like udon that I usually eat, because it’s near our school. There are days when I am just lazy to make the trip down to one of those canteens at either ends of the campus. Quad feeds on our laziness.

4. Carefree nature of a tertiary education. You can don’t go for lessons or you can attend them. It’s completely up to you.

5. Seeing your friends in campus and corridors around school. I love it. Just saying hello and goodbye as you make your way around school. While I have my main clique that I hang around with, it’s nice to see your other fellow classmates as well. I admit, I don’t make friends to each and every classmate in my cohort, but suffice to say, I make friends to alot of them, so I tend to say hi to most of them if I see them along the corridor. These are the simple things in life that gives me great satisfaction. Saying hello and goodbye, sometimes stopping for a minute or two to catch up on the mundane with your classmates. Such simple act can bring so much joy.

6. The automatic announcement regarding examination rules and regulations, while sitting for an exam. It is always played by a radio attached to the PA system, and it will repeat strict instructions on what you can or cannot do during an examination. My favourite sentence in which they played every single time I sit for an examination; “You are again reminded on the seriousness of cheating. If you are caught cheating, or attempting to cheat, you are liable to be expelled from the University.” I will never forget that sentence being played over and over again through the PA system.

7. Staying till midnight to have a sneak peak at your overall performance of your grades. You see, at midnight on the day of the release of the exam results, the actual results will not be released yet. Rather, changes to your GPA, will be reflected first. So seeing whether your overall GPA rises or falls, is a good indicator whether you have done well, or badly for that semester. After that, came a torrent of smses, facebook comments, chats, comparing each other’s GPA and congratulating or consoling your friends and classmates, depending on whether they did good or bad. For me, I did well overall. I managed to hit my objective I set out for myself at the beginning of school, which is during my first year, first semester. I achieved it at the very last minute. It was only during my final semester, when I did my FYP, did my grades increased substantially to be bumped to another class altogether. In the end, I managed to achieve Second Class Upper Division for my Honours Degree. But I have to credit my friends who were there for me from the very beginning. They were unrelentless in encouraging me to work hard and get the results I desired. I sometimes have to admit that I let them down, for I could have worked harder If I wish. Instead, it just wasn’t hard enough to give their encouragements justice.

8. Project assignments. Some of them were really stimulating to the mind. Others, not so. But I have always enjoyed group assignments, or the idea of team work. Working together, discussing about the problem, finding the solution, delegating work, and finally, putting it all together and polishing it up. If all goes well, it really brings great satisfaction, and as a group we can become so much closer, because we know that each and every one of us put in effort, in their own little ways.

9. Star Wars. The infamous choosing of electives, and putting your choices down, only to be disappointed that you did not get the elective module of your choice. What makes it even more frustrating is the camping of modules that comes afterwards. There is a window period in which one can add and drop elective modules. During this period, everyone would be camping at their computer screens, hoping someone would drop their slot of the module of their choice, so that they can snatch it up. It’s a cruel world out there. And it turmoil during the first 2 weeks of school, as you will be flooded with requests where everyone tries to exchange one module for another.

10. School events. You love them or you hate them. But one thing is true, you get to meet more people, make new friends. I enjoyed them nonetheless and I am actively involved in almost all of them. Be it, back-to-school bazaar, Halloween, Talentime, or Pageant events, I am always there, supporting those events. Hell, sometimes I am part of the organising committee. Nothing gives me a greater sense of satisfaction when my friends attended those events and enjoyed it at the end of the day. As for me, I make new friends!

Theres so many more, small things in school that I am starting to miss. I could go on forever. And I am sure I would have forgotten most of them by now. My friends would be able to job my memories back to life, we were to truly talk about it. But here they are, presented in 10 neat points, as far as I can remember and as much impact it had made on my life.

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