One of the sole reasons that I entered Form 6 is that to challenge how much could I endure and walking out of this battlefield triumphantly. It was a rash mistake, one of the most foolish mistake that I have ever made, I regretted every single second that I spent doing Form 6, the cost-benefit balance is just way off the charts, suffering grave losses and gaining great experiences at the same time. I will write this, as per from my perspective, how I felt, what I have learned, biased and based on my experience.
Before writing, I would like to state that I am quite the average person, but I do have some queers: I am arrogant at times, stubborn, hard-knocked, slightly more confident and positive than you would expect.
During the orientation weeks, which took about two weeks, wasting most of my time. It was straight up counter-productive, I could not even remember any good of this orientation. That was the first impression that Form 6 gave me, this school in particular, a place where time would be wasted like running water from a broken tap. From my perspective, this absurd two-week orientation signified poor management and planning of the school. As a summary of the orientation, “pick the right subject, everything is difficult, everything is hard,” that was what every single speaker of the orientation cited.
The first day of Form 6 greeted me with a weird welcome, I entered the class, seeing only a handful of students, some were lost, some were there just for the sake of being there, some were still in the rumination process of entering life, some were clueless, none of us were ecstatic about this Form 6 thing. This phenomena of being loss was conspicuous in the entire school, nobody knew what they were doing, nobody had a firm purpose of entering Form 6, this school in particular, everybody was just hoping that things would just play out in a way that would favour them when they continued with this Form 6 thing.
Just by the first week itself, the lower sixes had lost around 30 percent of its population, they either got an offer from Matriculation or a Foundation in government-funded universities, or they got a late scholarship offer, these were the privileged ones, the more fortunate ones; some of them got out of Form 6 because they had a hunch that this was not suitable for them or they had something better to do.
I could not get along with my class as for the first few weeks or so, I needed the time to adapt, and I did. I was ‘hated’ by the class for being overconfident, and having a slight advantage over them academically, a sense of tolerance grew within this unwelcoming environment. It was more or less like high school, with less ‘openness’ and more ‘stagnation’.
First-hand experience of the teachers.
The hand of teachers that I got was a rather good pick, first impressions only.
My Chemistry teacher is highly experienced and dedicated, she did all she could to save the entire school’s Chemistry, she is absolutely the best teacher you could ever get for Chemistry.
My Maths teacher is a fresh grad from England, it was her first few years in this education line, she did her best but I trusted myself more than her, (Do not get me wrong, she has the qualities of a good teacher except I do not know how to appreciate her).
My MUET (Malaysian University English Test) teacher, she was rather boring probably because of her age, we did not get along well even at the first sight, she did not inspire me in any way possible but some of the students did have a high respect for her, I still could not figure out why until now.
My Physics teacher, he gave me the false impression of a professional teacher. In fact, I could not understand a single thing from his teachings, but he did treat us well.
My General Studies teacher, he was horrendous. One of the worst people from the cesspool, our class’ grade for the compulsory coursework was most probably hitting rock bottom, and what he taught us, half of it was false or straight-up senseless, it was akin to crossing a mine-field, so I chose to believe myself more than him.
The long study hours.
Here is a list of the study hours of this school, simply absurd,
Monday: 7.20 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.
Tuesday: 7.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.
Wednesday: 7.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.
Thursday: 7.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.
Friday: 7.20 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
We only had a mere 20-minute recess time everyday, and an extra 20-minute break on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon before having any co-curricular activities.
Since I live at a half an hour drive distance from school, (one hour if there is any jam), I would have to spend approximately 8 hours for school and factoring in another hour of low productivity due to fatigue. Spending 9 hours in total per day for school, give or take.
This routine did tire me out eventually. My Saturdays and Sundays were completely juiced out by school, all I did was slouch around, sleeping, watching Youtube and playing games for my weekends. It was a bad mechanism that I honed during my first Semester of Form 6, carried on until now, probably it was how my body reacted to all of this bullshit.
Physically and mentally challenging, my sleep schedule was all over the place, I did not get enough of my miles in per week, my whole life was in a haphazard state. As I had mentioned above, I am just an average person, this type of schedule definitely left a malignant experience to my mind, body and soul.
Plus, I was doing a part-time job throughout my Form 6, it was not a major contributor to this state that I was in, I was rejuvenated whenever I was doing my job.
General Studies sucked. (for me, at least.)
My General Studies (PA) teacher sucked, for most of the times. He would deliver the wrong format for answering exam questions and the wrong facts from time to time. Even during our compulsory coursework in the 2nd Semester, he required us to do a coursework which its format differ very much from the rest of the school.
The start of the semester was quite smooth sailing, I was listening to him teaching, but I gave up shortly after, just because, one, his style of teaching does not suit mine; two, he kept repeating the same old nonsense during his class; three, his voice is irksome, loud, a cacophony, as if he was trying to brainwash us with his nonsensical mindset; four, his thinking is just archaic and repetitive, for instance uttering the sole reason of why males get into universities easier than females just because males are a stronger species, WHAT? Five, he does not leave us alone, at all.
From Don’t Create Problems – I wrote this last year.
I did get into a fight with him, (using words, no violence involved). Basically, I lost my EQ on that day, rebutted one of his usual gibberish, he called me no-brain and I was pissed. Another incident was when he thought after I had forgiven him, I would have give my trust back to him. No, just no. I gave him a cold shoulder after his attempt of getting good with me. I would rather sacrifice my coursework marks rather than to shine his boots.
He not only made General Studies harder for me, but he successfully modified my brain into thinking bad about General Studies. This had a dreadful implication for my study etiquette and attitude, negativity is as contagious as positivity.
I did confront the higher-ups of the school about this situation, but they just smiled at me, saying that I should not worry about him and just go about my studies as usual. I had little to no trust for the school, so I just had to bet that my grades for my written tests were enough to cover my loss in the coursework grade.
Depression and Addiction
It is real, depression. I was in it, for who knows how long, but I managed to get out of it just recently by His grace and mercy. Last year, I wrote some rather depressing blog posts, and I did not heed any hints from my writings that I was at the brink of depression.
During the 2nd Semester, my writings were more and more depressing, I was feeling less and less happy from day to day. I realised that my creativity index was hitting rock-bottom, I was very unproductive, and depression engulfed me without me realising it. I sought social media, Youtube and games as an escape for myself. I was able to shut myself out from everything except to playing games, watching Youtube and swiping social media whenever I was free during those periods of my life.
I was feeble and weak, after receiving a beat-up from the first Semester’s result and the environment that I was in. Fatigue, negativity, the attitude of the people around me, my own incapability in adapting in these dire situations was indubitably my downfall.
Somewhere in between 2nd Semester and 3rd Semester, I did have the thought of nothingness overwhelming me. I kept asking myself, What is the purpose of all this? Why do I always feel so empty? Those questions kept me awake every night, bugging me to end all of these meaninglessness.
Why did I not just quit? I had nowhere else to go.
I continued this toxic life style until I was at the end of the 3rd Semester where my prayers were answered and I was saved miraculously by God.
It was a hard fall. But, I am proud to say I am triumphant over depression (addiction is still a work in progress), and I will not be in this abysmal state of depression (and addiction) anymore.
The diversity in the ‘closed-up’ society.
There are as many screwed up people as there are with nice people, and there are both of those in an individual. Not to mention how screwed-up, uncommitted, closed-up the extra co-curricular groups and the service units (e.g. editorial board, librarian, etc.).
Most of the groups existed just to fulfill the wishes of the school KPI (Key Performance Index) and to satisfy the needs of the Ministry of Education (MoE). In other words, no one wanted to give, to be committed and to submit themselves for the course of a particular group, most of us was just there for the sake of being there (and for some marks, of course), there was not a single shred of motivation behind all of these.
There were several reasons of this phenomena, one of them was from the teachers- wanting everything to go in their way, not wanting to accept new ideas; another one is from the students itself- having a ‘this is meaningless.’ mindset about almost everything about the school.
My personal experience was as mentioned above, I entered the Language Club, most of us just wanted to kill time; I entered the PISPA (until now I did not know what this is), just to kill time; I entered Futsal, at least this I could play some futsal. Most of the mindsets were off, I followed suit.
Another one was Editorial Board, come to look at this experience, it was sort of a win-lose situation for me because I was forced to learn the basics of Photoshop and editing because of my incapability of leading the Editorial Board. Yes, you did not see it wrong, I was the Editor (previously I was co-editor, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I got the Editor place). The whole modus operandi was broken, there was very less communication going on, and in the end, there were only a handful of people finishing up the magazine, I did most of the editing part, my friends did help me out (non-editorial board members) and the sponsors part, the photo part, the articles part, the management part were done by like five to six people out of twenty or so of us, only 25 percent of the Editorial board was functional.
Although it was a stressful experience, I learned a lot. Part of this dysfunctional system was also my mistake in mismanagement, I acknowledged that as one of my mistakes.
Finding the right source.
Since 80 percent of what my school teachers did had no apparent benefit for me, I felt like I was wasting my time listening to them, I had to result the tuition teachers. The mindset of studying is crucial, if I could not study positively by not feeling being in class as a waste of time, I am not able to take in the knowledge efficiently.
During the first semester, I thought I was good. Hell no, I sucked. I went for tuition for Physics first (as my Physics teacher in school only knew how to read from the slides). My Physics tuition teacher is an inspiration, he made Physics the easiest subject for my entire Form 6 life, I did not need to re-seat any of my Physics paper as I got pretty good grades for my Physics. I was still reluctant to attend General Studies, Maths, and Chemistry tuition.
When I entered the 2nd Semester, I picked up Maths tuition, and only I understood not only the school teachers were misleading at times, the reference books had some mistakes too. General Studies and Chemistry tuition happened in the latter of the 2nd Semester. At least after attending tuition, I had clues of whatsoever that I was learning. Without tuition, I would be screwed and probably would give up Form 6 sooner.
Other than tuition, just for General Studies, I did seek out my friends who were taught by a fantastic ‘dictator-like’ General Studies teacher in school for notes, they (including the teacher) helped me out, a lot.
For three semesters, I went to school for only one reason- Chemistry class. Just for that, as for other classes, I reckoned them as a waste of time.
I would wake up every day, as usual 6 in the morning, watched one or two Youtube videos, reluctant to go to school as there was no apparent purpose in doing so except for the one or two reasons that I forced-fed myself with. Reaching school late was a norm for me, if there were no Chemistry lesson on that day, I would just skip school for the sake of me not wasting all the time and energy there.
Since, as mentioned, 80 percent of the class I rendered useless, I would be on my phone, killing time with social media and games, reading books (for me) was quite impossible as I take reading very seriously as a learning process.
Breakfast and lunch for me were totally screwed up, I had breakfast around 10 in the morning and lunch around 3 to 4 in the afternoon due to the ‘brilliant’ planning from the school. I would have to jam my way back home or I would just sleep or just waste my time again, until 6 or 7, then I was only productive.
Plus and minus all the crap that was going on, I wondered how I could waste almost a year doing counter-productive stuffs, wasting time when I should be doing something greater (like not wasting my time).
I was drained, mentally and physically, daily, for a year and a half. Even my boss and colleagues at my work place questioned me why I changed for the worse, it was plainly written across my face- the stress, the depression, the unwillingness.
Forget to mention about the rate of me being sick was the highest compared to other periods of my life, I was sick 7 or 8 times this year itself. I also had constant neck aches, decrease in stamina, headaches and nausea- bad coughs that felt like vomitting.
Unnecessary study hours in school.
The cramped and long study hours made me wear out when the school ended everyday, the school had this brilliant idea of forcing students to stay for extra classes. It was not that the extra classes were all bad, there were teachers who knew how to teach taught committed. But, the other end of the spectrum- the teachers who were clueless about the syllabus themselves, were teaching, with dedication which occupied the larger percentage of the extra classes. There were even extra classes on Saturday during the 2nd Semester, the Saturday classes were cancelled during 3rd Semester, probably because of the low turn-up rate.
I mean, if the teachers were good enough, there is no need for extra classes as the teachers should have done everything in class. But, even if the teachers were not good enough, give us more time to go home and rest, and do some self-study, instead having the teachers to suffer along with us.
Being me, I skipped almost all the extra classes throughout the one and a half year. I still believe that only what I trust is that can save me which is me.
It was with the MUET teacher, she was being a total jerk after the MUET exams. I got into a fight with her due to some petty stuffs, I was low on my EQ on that day, I slightly rebutted her with sarcasm, she threw her dignity away and got into a fight with me. I was like this is how un-professional can the teachers (not all) in Malaysia be.
Nonetheless, this taught me a lesson of letting bygones be bygones, and apologising so that the weight in the heart can be released. She just lost the dignity and professionalism that she had accrued for her entire career to a young, dumb student. What a trade.
Another thing that I had realised was that ignorance is bliss at times, just act nice and be nice to the people around you even if you have differences with them in order to negate any kind of negativity seeping into your soul.
I have wasted one and a half years of my life, it was the most unproductive period of my life.
I was a better person before I entered Form 6, I had the quintessential qualities of securing good jobs. But, for a more secured future, that is to get a piece of certificate, I sacrificed almost everything- my creativity, my productivity, my life force, to get it.
Is it worth it? No.
Did I choose the wrong path? Yes.
Am I wasting my time? Yes.
However, I had dealt with depression, coped with personalities beyond my imaginations (at the bad end), I had seen my darkest self and how much I can fall into the infinite abyss. I learned how negative the environment is, be positive.
It is like going one step forward and three steps back, this is how Form 6 felt for me.
Who is to blame? me, my weak soul; the education system; the downfall of the education system- teachers.
Thank you, Form 6, for teaching me to not waste time, the hard way. And for teaching me that if there is something wrong, very wrong, even when I can feel it in my bones, just step out of it. In the end, it is a waste that I chose this one and a half years to fight something this dark, and proving to me that how much time I can waste- nothing.
Form 6 was a good system, but it is demolished by the people that are or were involved in it. It was a prestigious exam previously, it was the best training ground for Malaysian youths.
Now, in my opinion, Form 6 just sucked, and it is the best and the worst training ground possible for students to pursue tertiary education.
Did I mention the lack of exposure in attending Form 6? Yes, you do not get much of it.
If you really want the challenging syllabus of Form 6, I recommend you to take this exam as a private candidate (attend tuition instead, it is way more effective than going to school) and start working, because to be honest, for me, the syllabus is way less strenuous compared to last time.
Alas, what can I say? Let bygones be bygones, learn from my mistakes.
Do not make the same mistakes, ever again.