SINGAPORE - The O-level exams have ended and many secondary school leavers are carefully considering their options.
Most of them would take the "safest" route to success - entering the science stream in junior college and participating in "high-profile" co-curricular activities (CCAs) like the Student Council or Interact Club.
Of course, there are those who make these choices out of passion.
But there are also those who merely want to improve their resumes or future prospects.
They take this path due to pressure from external sources, such as parental expectations or following the herd, without considering their interests.
For example, many of my friends are interested in the humanities but take science subjects instead - and find their school life unfulfilling.
If a student chooses his subjects and CCAs based on interest rather than pragmatism, he will become more engaged in learning, increasing his chances of excelling in these fields.
As an arts student, I am aware that I will be unable to pursue "prestigious" careers in medicine and engineering.
But there are still many lucrative opportunities out there, especially in the steadily developing service and finance sectors, that will require the skill sets that arts students possess.
Also, there is no "right" CCA to join.
As long as one has a passion for one's CCA, universities will take this into consideration during the admissions process.
In fact, some universities (especially the American ones) prefer students who take up "unique" CCAs as it is an indicator of their pioneering spirit.
I urge all students to make choices with their interests and talents in mind, as it makes for a more meaningful school life.
I also call upon parents not to impose their ideas of "success" on their children, but support them in their choices instead.
Ng Qi Siang, 17, junior college student
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