Back then when I was 12, I completed a major examination in my primary school.
I did badly.
I scored so low that it was just disgraceful.
My friends and family did way better.
I remember my cousin coming to my home the day of receiving the results. She did decently well. She was happy. She was like, "What?!" when I told her my score. Oh, she decided to invite her friend to my place too. That friend too, did well. I felt like I wanted to die in shame.
I remember talking to my best friend on the phone. He did phenomenally well as he was a gifted child (as deemed by the school.) During the call, his mom asked about my score in the background. She was like, "Huh?!" when she found out about my shitty score. I heard everything.
Despite doing so badly, my mom still rewarded me with $50. The deal was that I would get $50 for every 'A' I gotten. I got one for English. I refused the money as I knew she and my late dad then were disappointed.
Right after that, I went to my room and cried.
It was because of this major-thing-by-society-that-literally-gave-you-a-score-which-dictates-your-worth that made me feel so fucking dumb and useless.
The thing is, I remember how proud and worthy I felt as a son.
I was polite to my elders. I always got rave reviews for being so as my aunts and uncles would tell my parents how polite and helpful I was.
That alone made me feel like I was doing alright in life.
But when I received my shitty score, everything just turned on its head.
In one day, I felt worthless.
I felt dumb.
I felt like everything I did for myself and others around me didn't count for anything.
That's life for you if you're living in a modern society I guess.
I proceeded to study hard after that in high school and attained the Top Student Award for... yep, yet another major examination that'd determine any student's future and supposed self-worth.
- Work hard. Study hard. The validation of living and belonging is honestly important, so just try your best.
- At the same time, ignore what others think, especially those who put a literal score on your self-worth. Continue being you and let the good stuff within shine.
- Parents, don't be so hard on your child.