Opinion by Angela Chong, former high school teacher
The summer vacation with its relaxed pace has drawn to a close. When asked whether they are prepared for the new academic year, most of the students will think of their textbooks and stationery. Those with good social awareness may declare their readiness to comply with the antivirus measures adopted by their schools. However, have they thought of something more important? Are they psychologically prepared?
To a certain extent, to be psychologically prepared means to be able to predict. A psychologically prepared person is ready for anything that will happen and will set careful plans accordingly. He will then meet challenges with confidence. He will not be easily taken aback or lose his head when things happen out of the blue. Such is the ability required of a student aiming at academic success.
The need is even more important this year as students underwent unprecedented changes in their school life during the few months of school suspension on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite class resumption in May, the reduced number of in-class teaching days may have somehow undermined students’ learning. Will the amount of learning thus achieved be enough to enable them to cope with the challenges of the new academic year? In fact, students should be prepared to go the extra mile to attain the learning goals.
Personally, I have a special concern for the sixth formers. In my opinion, they ought to be psychologically prepared for stringent university admission requirements and work hard to acquire the desired standard. They should try to upgrade their oral competence so that they will not only survive but even thrive at an interview. It is also necessary to review past years’ learning to cope with a wide range of test materials instead of complaining later about an exam question based on a long-forgotten topic. In fact, while an ill-prepared student keeps asking why, why, why, a well prepared one is confident of success.
Unfortunately, some students are unable or unwilling to be prepared psychologically. They refuse to think ahead and are content with the notion ‘Come what may’. As implied in a popular Cantonese expression, they eat whatever is prepared for them rather than getting actively involved in the cooking. In short, instead of taking the initiative to seek improvement, they will just leave everything to chance. But this almost always leads to failure. Towards the end of the year, they regret not having done enough. ‘If I had known better …,’ they lament. Sarcastically, it is failure that they are finally psychologically prepared for when they could actually have done a lot to avoid failure if they had cared to think and plan ahead.
Therefore, students must be psychologically braced for any hurdles and challenges in their school career and be determined to persist towards achievement of their education goals. As mentioned by Mr. Yang Liwei (楊利偉), China’s first astronaut to visit the moon, the opportunity will be there only for those who are prepared.