07 Jun Memoirs of A Former H2 Literature Student
Writing is stressful.
Yup, I who own this blog have said it. Writing is indeed stressful.
I know, you might be thinking, didn’t you create this blog to write?
And truth to be told I’m stressed out about what to write. Which explains the sporadic updates and long hiatuses. I know writing or blogging on this site should be this cathartic exercise. But I sincerely have no idea how to keep it chill without having some *war flashbacks* from my JC days, during which I took H2 Literature.
To give some context, I was never a Literature kid and prior to JC, I was real bad at the English language. I did score B3 for ‘O’ Levels but I could never get my tenses or sentence structure right. Heck, I didn’t even know what the subject-verb agreement or present participle tense was at 16. My basics were all over the place. The fact that I voluntarily took on H2 Literature and relied on this core subject to enter university was seriously audacious of me. The fuck was I thinking, really.
So then began my journey with writing. If I could just summarise it in one word, the whole process was catastrophic. I failed the subject throughout my first year and banked on the almighty bell curve to ensure promotion into the second year. I also had a handful of humilating experiences. One time during class, I volunteered to share my work because I felt like I had “written well”. Well, jokes on me because I hadn’t realized that I misquoted the author as the protagonist and vice versa. I got shamed really badly by my tutor then, as I should have, for making this novice mistake even months into the curriculum. I was embarrassed to say the least and resisted writing at all. I proceeded to depend on SparkNotes and took all analyses wholesale for my essay submissions. Of course, the tutors found out, but I didn’t really care. I just knew I was bad at the subject and I had to pass somehow. If my essays weren’t good enough, surely the writings of the smarter kids would work for me.
Lucky for me, I had a change of heart in my second year and decided to just do the work. Fuck your emotions and ego, your future is at stake, I repeated this to myself time and again. I went Super Saiyan mode. I read and reread my exam texts till I could remember the content on most of the pages. I produced full essays almost every day and vomited out essay outlines whenever I couldn’t write anymore. Any sane person would know that churning out a proper essay takes time, and that time happens to be an hour. For an amateur like myself, as much as I tried, I still took over 2 hours. I also ate like shit and disowned any notion promoting self-care. I had McDs more than 3 times a week and wondered why I had to buy new uniforms. Crying quickly became part of my personality then. I recall sobbing inconsolably in the midst of my H2 Math class, which was also very stressful lol, for no apparent reasons. I isolated myself and kept my circle extremely small. On several occasions, I briefly contemplated death when crossing the roads to and fro school. Lol, very dramatic right.
Unfortunately, this method kinda worked. I started showing signs of improvement, like scoring an E grade for the very first time. I thought I could finally earn the respect of my esteemed tutors who were known for spotting minor advances made by their students. They were often generous with dishing out compliments for kids who displayed any kinds of improvement and I was not-so-secretly waiting for my time to shine. While they did acknowledge my growth and potential (more on that later) on one occasion, I quickly found out in the latter part of the year that my tutor had established a secret study group outside of school with the A/B scorer would-bes.
I felt enraged, then embarrassed again. Enraged because I wasn’t invited, and embarrassed to have thought that I would be invited.
It then became clear to me that potential is simply a buzzword thrown around by educators to keep hope alive in students like myself. I was in fact, average, and had no potential to do well. At least in their eyes. Not being invited to these Secret Study Sessions (SSS) made me believe that I sucked. I felt like the perfect recipe for failure, having been left out during crucial periods leading up to the ‘A’s. FML lor, this time really gg.com.
Ok so spoiler alert, I didn’t fail my H2 Literature. I did however receive a big fat A. On results day, my tutor walked up to me and exclaimed verbatim, oh Alvina, what a shocker! An A! I smiled and thanked him. No hate, just thankful I didn’t fuck this major exam up. Well well well, if this isn’t the perfect ending we were all looking for. Hehe.
I guess what I was trying to illustrate with this long-ass narration is my fear for writing and how it ultimately started. Till this day, though I know I can somehow string words together to make them make sense, I’m never sure of how I am as a writer. Which explains why I’m constantly looking for ways to prove myself as one, through classes, internships, or even this blog. I may or may not be a sucker for affirmation.
So here’s my futile attempt at reclaiming the motto I lived by at 20 — Do one thing that scares you everyday. And that, my friends, is writing consistently at this site that I paid for. Rightfully, as I should.