Lessons I get from Indonesian national exams

Also published on Wordpress.

This is an English translation of this article.

Lesson one: simply ‘studying’ is worthless.

Formal education demands us to ‘study’ to memorise things and to expect grades and bright future as the rewards. The demand becomes stronger once we are haunted by the shadow of the national exams, which easily kills students’ desire to obtain knowledge.

Ideally, we also have to learn critical thinking in order to not get deceived by the information we receive. We also have to learn because we love knowledge and we don’t expect any rewards; the sincerity is the thing which expands our horizons.

Despite university life being more demanding and the fact that degrees cannot guarantee a bright future, I prefer to study in universities.

Yes, the demand for grades is still there. But, because I chose my own major, most of the courses were within my interests. Moreover, we learned by analysing the information in front of us instead of simply memorising it.

The implementation of higher education is far from perfect and is not immune from indoctrination. It is also formal in nature and therefore, not everyone’s cup of tea.

But, compared to primary and secondary education, it is more successful in providing spaces for those who genuinely love learning.

Lesson two: In Indonesia, honesty is a weakness.

During my middle and high school exams, I was probably one of the few students who refused to cheat. Because I live in Indonesia, a country known for its morality, I was insulted by the people around me.

Both the students and my own parent perceived me as a smart-ass goody two shoes. The teachers willingly put blind eyes regarding this.

I passed the exams with relatively good grades and I achieved them without cheating. They were genuine results of my hard work.

But, to this day, I have yet to receive any praises for my achievement. In fact, some still insist I was just lucky. They are so obsessed with the final results, they venerate dishonesty and condemn honesty without any hesitations.

If that is not the case, they would have never spewed insults from their diarrhea-regurgitating face holes.

This experience teaches me that noble acts must be sincerely done, without any expectations of rewards. Besides fooling ourselves and others, the expectation gives us false hopes about our surroundings.

We will naively expect praises from others. If we are lucky enough to live in degenerate countries like Indonesia, the only thing we get is verbal diarrhea. We will end up dejected.

Even though I did not expect praises (and I already knew how degenerate Indonesians were), I am still a human being who can get hurt by insults.

Imagine if I had any high expectations. I would probably end up more cynical than I am now.

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