Thursday, December 17, 2009

Judgement Day

I've decided today to be my first official day of online blogging. I've been wanting to do this for a while, though held back due to a friends' passion for blogging. I didn't want to seem like I was copy-catting or competing. So instead, I migrated to a blogging site hidden from any friends' eyes. Sorry if my writing is a bit simplistic for now, but I'm guessing it'll improve as I write more. Here I am. My name is Kyle.

Today was Judgement Day, or more officially, the release of our ATAR's. For those who don't know, in a nutshell, this is pretty much one number which decides the future of your university path based on how you performed in the final year of high school. I've always disliked the concept - one numeral defining a person's intellectual capability. One could argue that the determination of the ATAR is an unfair way of classing a student's university work ethic, but to me, it was fair. The more effort you put in, the more you got out of it. Just like with everything else.

My results? Poor. Ever since I was in year three I'd realised I was a bit smarter than everyone else. Not just academically, but common sense, maturity, general intelligence. Why? The environment wasn't up to standard. I excelled in maths, due to my half-Asian heritage (sorry, but seriously, 99% of Asians have the work ethic to crunch maths), ripped junior science, proceeded to do well in foreign languages. Through this, I gained the "smart kid" label, one that had to meet expectations, but however, didn't stick long.

I moved schools a lot in high school. To be honest, when I was in primary school, I always found new kids as a threat. Who are they? What are they like? Friendly? Sporty? Smart? Competition for once? I'd loathe them, mainly because I thought sticking to one school was some kind of noble thing to do. Commitment or something.

Year 7 began in Warilla High school. Originally I'd tried out for a selective high school, but I didn't get in. Much confusion as to why, since I was.. you know.. the "smart kid". Mum made up reasons, though today I still don't know if they're true, or even if I still believe them.

Warilla was bad. Local public school, people getting caught for drug dealing, smoking, general inappropriate behaviour. I liked it as an introduction to high school, though. Very basic. I topped pretty much all the classes, not much competition.

Year 8 I moved schools - mum decided Warilla wasn't the right environment. I still hadn't been accepted into the selective high school, so next step was a private all-boys Catholic high school. Oh boy, what *fun* that was. Egotastics who only cared about sport and reputation with its corresponding all-girls Catholic high school. Topped maths, did above average in science and English. Three years of dealing with 'mob mentality'.

Year 11, accepted into the selective high school. Finally some competition. What's this? Too much competition? The first term of year 11 killed my spirit, no doubt. Here, the smarts were top of the range. Real effort, and I mean, real effort, had to be put in to even raise above the 'average' bar of intelligence in this school. It was a real killer for motivation, with my "smart kid" label finally slipping from my grasp. How did it feel? Traumatising. Was I stupid? No idea.

The question stuck to me for so long. Was I actually smart? Or was I just above average in a shit environment? To find these answers, I lurked a popular education website to find out details on
  1. How other higher-standard students were performing
  2. How our ATAR is calculated
  3. How much effort I needed to put in to get what I needed
The third point was apparently my real killer. I'd always been the minimalistic worker. Do only what you need, not what you can.

Year 11 degraded my working conscience, though. Dramatically. It was like taking blows from each subject, my report only stating "You aren't doing good enough". Thankfully, Year 11 marks meant nothing (it was rather a trial run for the preparation of Year 12.. I wish someone had told me about this earlier), and that next year, my final year, would be my last chance to re-claim my initial "smart kid" label.

Did it happen?

Ahaha. Apparently not. I only really improved in a couple of my subjects, which pinned me down as like a butterfly trying to escape a swooping net. Freedom became limited, which forced me to actually try my hardest in the final two months of study. These were seriously challenging, I had never worked this hard in my schooling life. Before, good results came with little effort. Now it was all or nothing.

The result? I won't give a specific number (again; one number defining capability), but I've decided I'm above average with regards to smarts. Not the "smart kid" anymore. Here's how its gone from primary school > high school
  • Primary: smart kid
  • High: above average
Now for university? I surely hope it doesn't follow the trend and turn to be "average". That label is truly depressing.

It all comes down to contrast, expectation, standards and realisation. You've probably heard this shit before from teachers, parents, whatnot. But seriously. What you expect of yourself, how you perform against those around you and how much effort you put in are major factors to how your intelligence levels are perceived in the competitive education world. It's all about the image and the ability to prove yourself a worthy contributor to the worldwide economy, but only as another individual competitor in the race for satisfaction.

I have so much more to write, to get down in words and express thoughts. I might write about the same topics here and there, just so I can cover everything I think about it. Sorry if I do this often.

I might blog a couple of times a week. When I'm feeling that friends or family don't really get what I think. At least anonymous words might make some sense to others.

I didn't really reveal much about myself as a person in this entry. I will introduce myself properly another day. I'll be mainly writing about social perceptions and standard issues, behavioural logic, people's reasonings. Just for practice.

Whether the blogs will have some set format, its too early to determine at the moment. I'll religiously add a favourite thumbnail picture from my deviantart collections at the end of each blog. At the moment, for this, it's my profile picture.

fly away
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away.

Thanks for reading.

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