As we embark on new chapters in life, such as choosing a junior college, polytechnic or university, most of us would feel immense pressure. The need to do well academically and ‘fit in’. Since young, we have been told that grades are extremely important and the need to excel has been ingrained in us. For most of the time, first impressions count and we don’t want to look like a loser in front of our new friends. (I remember buying new shoes and trendy outfits during my polytechnic days in order to ‘fit in’) Yet all these academic pressure and the need to ‘fit in’ could lead us to miss out on the priorities and greater things in life. So here are some tips on not just studying hard, but growing up smart.

Manage Your Time Well

Just one more Tiktok video, just one more game of Mobile Legends! How many times have we told that to ourselves, only to realize that we have spent an hour on social media or playing games. Know where your priorities lie and learn how to say no. Follow the principle of work hard, play hard. Study hard during the exam period and play hard during the holidays. Create a to-do list every week and don’t procrastinate! The more work you complete today, the more time you have to enjoy the next day. If you are distracted by the endless notifications buzzing on your phone, download apps that help to block distractions.

Save For A Rainy Day

Stop right there if you are thinking of buying the latest pair of Nike shoes. Do you really need that pair of shoes? Image is important and we all want to look good in front of our friends, but know when to save. What you save today could help to tide you through any emergencies that you might face tomorrow. Start by setting aside 15-30% of your allowance or earnings from work before spending any money. Sounds like a small amount? Saving $100 every month for a year is more than enough for an overseas trip to Malaysia or Thailand. It is alright to reward yourself once in a while, but always remember to spend within your means and differentiate between a want and a need.

Cherish Your Family

Sounds like something so obvious right? I thought so too! But looking back, I realized that I often took my family for granted. In the past, I quarreled with my family and didn’t think that they understood me. It was only after an incident, did I realize their importance. They were the ones who cared and accepted me for who I was. Most importantly, they were with me through my ups and downs. At times, it might seem that they do not care about you, but deep down, they care about you in their own ways. No matter how busy you are, remember to dedicate some time for your family. Don’t wait for something to happen before showing them concern.

Establish Healthy Relationships

As much as this might sound contradictory, it is also important to have a group of friends who understands you. Being out with friends and out with your family is a different experience. Even if you are an introvert, you can’t deny the importance of having a group of friends. Don’t be afraid to expand your social circle, but always remember to keep in touch with old friends. You’ll never know when you might need them. Be it a friendship or a boy-girl relationship, remember to uplift and motivate one another.

Be Street Smart

No, street smart does not solely mean being able to find your way on the streets. It also means having good situational and environmental understanding (knowing what is going on around you). Having good grades can only get you so far in life, but having the knowledge to deal with difficult and dangerous situations can get you even further in life. Street smart encompasses many soft skills like problem-solving and people management, which are essential in your life. Know that being street smart and book smart are not mutually exclusive and you would need both to succeed in life.

How many times have we heard our parents nagging us to study or do our homework? While it is important to focus on our studies, life is more than just studying and getting good grades. There is so much more to that! If you are feeling overwhelmed or lost at school, it’s alright! Being a young adult can be so confusing at times, as we try to find our identity. Take time to find where your passion and priorities lie, it’s easier when you know what your dreams and goals are. Trust the choices you make and more importantly, believe in yourself.

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