Jung Kian: A Scholar's Life

I once thought everybody’s life was pretty simple, simple as mine. I went to a kindergarten, went to a primary school; attended a high school and a college. I thought that was what everybody would go through because my mommy said so. I remember the time when I collected my exam results the next day after I got out of National Service, a period which I had no worries for nearly four months. The number of A’s on that thin little piece of paper was definitely unexpected. The joy filled from the bottom of my heart rushed to the top of my face. With a bunch of friends, we put on the smile for the success achieved together. But little did I know that we were actually the cream of this year’s exam candidates across the country.

Maybe I grew up and studied in a state’s top school, where everybody always did better than me, I had never thought of my future, as a scholar; only thought of my future as a college student, and studying in a local university was always my dream. I tried to apply only to a scholarship, not knowing how far this could bring me, but I knew that was going to be my future. I was filled with confidence and without much surprise, a few months later, I got it.

Following the honor from Public Service Department with a ‘scholar’ title, I felt proud and egoistic. I thought I deserved spending the taxpayers’ money for my education. I found out later most of the friends who put up the broad smile in front of the journalists together did not get the same that I got. They deserved better, but there were just me and a few others. The system was ruthless and cruel but I couldn’t help it. I knew I just had to mind my own business.

A lot of people understand securing a scholarship is the end of a stage of life, but they seldom look at the beginning that comes right after the end. A scholar’s life has got no difference from that of any other student, except that scholars borrow money for education from the taxpayers or an organization. Some borrowed so much that they’ve to become slaves for six to ten years to repay the debt. Nevertheless, a number of those who borrow the money and titles refuse to be enslaved.

It was a time of change for me. Throughout the years, I understood that the one who got the better chance held greater responsibility. Spiderman definitely has to take the credit for reminding me this: With great power comes great responsibility. It is now responsibility of us, commonly known as scholars, to do our best and contribute to our nation, the people and the next generation of the people who paid for our education in any way we could.

As a 2-year-old scholar, I’m already middle-aged. So allow me to give you a piece of advice. Life’s short, and you’re lucky to have the financial hassle and burden taken away from you during the best years in your life. Do not be arrogant, never try to be conceited. Do something worthwhile in your life, something you love and something that keeps you awake at night (I ain’t talking about DotA). And do it for the people and the country anticipating your success.  

Lastly, you lose half of my respect for you when you say you want to work solely for money. You lose another half when you will work solely for titles and fame. Those things could be the by-products of your success but they could never be the essential thing. They will let you forget your dreams and lose your conscience. My respect might be worthless to you, but it’s priceless for me. This is not only a reminder to you, but also to me, that there was once an enthusiastic self who would work hard and strive for passion. This guy might lose his way in the future but if you ever come across this piece and still recognize the author, no matter how much effort it takes, remind him of this. Thank you in advance.

Ng Jung Kian | University of Southern California(Class of 2015)

1 comment:

  1. You have articulately put into words that which I could not. Thank you for the reminder.