The perfect Rafflesian- it knows exactly what it wants and knows how it will get there. The perfect Rafflesian exists to succeed and success is measured by the results and grades and test scores, it is put through training and maintenance, all in the form of a four-letter word that starts with ‘e’ and ends with ‘m’, if you know what I mean. ‘If you know what I mean’, the perfect Rafflesian can only respond to this innocent figure of speech with ‘yes, yes, I know what you mean’ (because if it doesn’t, it has failed and a perfect Rafflesian can’t fail). Mistakes should be hidden and hard work is a necessity. It is the way of life, that does not deserve credit or rewards, it is expected of one. In 10 years down the road, a perfect Rafflesian settles into the workplace, a ‘stable family and a stable life’, they say. One that is not necessarily enjoyed best but of course, that is only complimentary and optional, the most important bit is the cash, it’s the prestige and the reputation. There you have it, congratulations.
I frown upon the above misconception that is often what we appear to be working towards. We claim that we are passionate, that we know what’s important; but more often than not our actions betray these words and we spend far more time doing endless homework and studying that we assume will end on the nth day that we assume will come. The nth day is the day in our lives, where we magically find out who is important to us and what we REALLY want to do with our lives and where we want all our time and money to take us. ‘That is the day we will stop having to study so hard’, we tell ourselves.
JC has introduced me to so many people who carry these mindsets to spend their weekdays and their weekends and their nights and mornings, sometimes afternoons, and I wanted to express my dissent. The nth day I mentioned- it exists and it is not wrong to expect it, but we have to see that this day comes with ample time of exploration, time spent on adventures, on things we think we may enjoy and on things that we may not be good at. I feel sorry that we only allow ourselves to try things that we are good at because there is really no way you can be good at something without trying anyway and avoiding them isn’t going to help us find out how good we can get. And I feel sorry that our precious time is solely allocated to finishing subject tutorials or rewatching lectures we’ve sat through.
Already our days have 10-12 hours on average taken up by physically being in school (at least that’s my estimate from my own experience) and yet we dedicated the next 12 hours we have at home on a ratio of WORK TO FAMILY/REST/ANYTHING ELSE at approximately 1:2. That sounds good but don’t forget a large part of it is gone by sleeping, which unfortunately we don’t even get enough of.
Tonight I feel afraid that this has become the lifestyle of our generation and it appears silly that centuries later, we will be the generation that worked hard but never really had much character, or anything besides certificates. I don’t suggest we keep this up claiming that we know where we are going because, clearly we don’t.