Sunday, 6 September 2009

Yeah Yeah Sour Grapes

Something that should've happened to me a long time ago but hasn't is a person coming up to me and telling me, "hey, did you know X is on the Dean's List? Impressive!"

Truth be told, this is something I don't really know how to respond to. In all honesty, I'm a lot more impressed if someone has intellectual curiosity, not if someone has a high GPA. A high GPA in SMU could mean so many things - the person is book smart, the person knows how to pick group mates, the person knows which profs are good to bid for, etc; ultimately, the person knows how to churn out the grade no matter what.

The closest I've ever come to a taste of the DL feeling is in secondary school when I was in the top 20 of my cohort. While most people feel an immense sense of pride being there, it never meant anything to me. I don't remember deriving the joy most Singaporeans would being declared a top student because getting 1 and 1 or 2 and 2 correct wasn't the important thing to me. As a good prof recently said in class, standard deviations and NPVs can deal with themselves. They're correct once you get them. But it's in the art of uncertainty where excitement and exploration really is. I think most locals are good with the math, and it's just not interesting to me at all.

Granted, I don't think I'm a fantastic student, so this could sound like sour grapes. But the thing is I've never tried and I've never really been bothered to. I've spent the most part of my education fucking up my grades because I'm more keen on pitting myself against uncertainty. I know a whole lot of people who wouldn't dare to try a mod because it's not known to produce fixed answers, which equates to not having the certainty of a grade if one works hard enough. In my SMU life so far, I've dabbled with OBHR, marketing, psychology, political science, sociology and economics, in the process failing to score many times but happy to have learnt something new from everything I had a hand in. University life couldn't have been any more fulfilling for me if not for this.

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