What Comes After November: Part 3

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By Noh Sangeun (23S06Q)

A journey one, two, or even twelve years in the making is not easily forgotten. So far, this series has been focused on painting a picture of the ways you can enjoy your relative wealth of free time after November, but that time is as much a post-A-levels life as it is a post-A-levels life.

This article looks at some of the ways the interviewees reflected on their A-levels experience: their thoughts on managing academic stress, the process of figuring out how to spend twenty-four hours outside of school, and their advice for juniors taking on the A-levels.

Looking back

Evidently, the post-As period is prime time for introspection. “The moment A-levels are over, you’ll feel this huge burden lifted off,” said Mei Feifei (22A13A). Without a pressing academic burden, the period gave my interviewees a chance to ruminate on their journey thus far. As Lara Tan (22A01B) said, “A-levels is one of the toughest things you’ll do in your life, and not just academically — but it’s good that I went through that experience.”

For one, Rayner Chew (22A01B) felt that the experience taught him “how to plan time effectively” as well as “how to take care of friends and to reach out to them”. Similarly, Wong Kin Feng (22S03L) called it an “arduous yet fulfilling” journey. “The process of being able to bridge the gaps in knowledge felt very meaningful,” he said. “In hindsight, I am grateful that I understood my learning style, to grasp content more easily even under the time crunch [after Prelims].”

Though Sun Xiaoqing (22S06D) joked that she “still gets nightmares”, she was glad that her effort was reflected in her grades. Lara also recalled that “the fear and anxiety began to mix and became quite suffocating” during the lead-up to A-levels. “I’m proud of myself for making it so far,” she said. “There were times it wasn’t easy and I’m very grateful to everyone who took that journey with me”.

Who hasn’t studied the Production Possibility Curve backstage?

To those taking the exams, Rayner advised to “detach self-worth from grades” and to “maintain a distance from A-levels”. Kin Feng also pointed out the importance of going at one’s own pace: “Don’t pressurise yourself to conform to others. You should find your own cadence and momentum as you prepare for the examinations.”

In this essay, I will…

So far, you might have found everything in this series little more than castles in the sky. As Adam Guo (23S06S) puts it, “A-levels is a mountain looming in the distance and I’m still trying to climb Bukit Timah Hill”.

For Adam, who is planning his post-As life, the details are still a little hazy. He plans to pick up a skill, like the guitar, the drums, or sign language. As an animal lover, he also wants to intern at the zoo, which he calls his “happy place”. Though none of these are related to his future academic or career plans, he believes he can “explore these as sort of a passion project”.

“Post A-levels is such a blank void of time where you get to put yourself out there and see if things are suitable for you.”

Lara Tan

My interviewees would say that’s perfectly fine. Many of them only got down the specifics after they were done with their A-levels. Xiaoqing applied for her internship in January this year, and Feifei’s trip to Korea was planned in late February. Sometimes things came of their own accord: Lara was approached by the teachers in charge of CAP shortly before A-levels.

It is doubtless important to spend the time fruitfully. “It’s an excellent time to try something new,” Xiaoqing said. At the same time, Feifei emphasised the need to “think about the experience you’ll be getting”, instead of “looking for an internship for the sake of it”. “There are so many ways to spend time after As, and it’s the last few months where you’ll be at home all the time,” she said. “That’s equally important as an internship.”

“The very first step is to know what kind of person you are,” Lara said. “Post-As is a good time to delve into that; to not only delve into the professional value of getting work experience but also to know more about yourself. So, know yourself and have a plan.”

480750cookie-checkWhat Comes After November: Part 3


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