by Chloe Tew (P6 2021)
When I was packing my childhood room for my move to my university campus, something unique caught my attention. It had a golden sheen and it reflected the light as it lay on the floor. I picked it up in curiosity. It was my Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) certificate. My eyes glistened with wonder Immediately, memories of that fateful day when I made a detrimental error, which eventually instilled discipline and shaped me into who I was, flooded my mind. I could still recall that day vividly and everything played over in my mind as if I were still there.
“Revive my avatar!” My brother shouted as he slapped me.
He was raging with anger because I did not save his video game character from the dangerous villain. I slapped him back. We both started fighting with each other while waiting for dinner to be served. We could smell the aroma of the delicious pasta that our mother was making from the kitchen. In the past few months, my mother had been battling a sickness so no one was really close to her except us. As a result, we spent more of our time in the hospital. Now that we were home, we wanted to celebrate with a meal. Just then, I received a flurry of messages in my class group chat. The loud chimes from my cell phone were relentless. Curiosity got the better of me.
“Brother, I need to check my messages in the group chat. I’ll leave the game and join you later,” I explained politely, hoping not to be on the receiving end of my brother’s complaints.
When I opened the group chat, every single message said, “Good luck for your Mathematics examination tomorrow!” I looked at my phone in disbelief. I scrolled through the messages that discussed any revision tips for Mathematics. My knuckles turned white. I had been sick for five days too and tomorrow, I was going back to school. No one had told me anything… I wondered if they had forgotten about me. I even told my mother that the examination was two weeks later. I was sweating profusely, thinking I was going to fail the examination the next day. Immediately, I took out all my assessment books and school notes to revise. I had actually created a study timetable for my revision schedule and had only covered two chapters. I was determined to study as much as I could even if it meant burning the midnight oil.
When my mother had finished cooking, she called out to my brother and I for dinner. I remained oblivious to her calls for dinner. After a while, my mother realised that I was not at the dining table. My food was getting cold. She came to my room and saw that I was studying at the last minute.
“What are you doing?” She said sternly.
“I am just revising…” My voice trailed off.
I was stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. If I told my mother that I had an examination tomorrow, I would be in deep trouble, but if I kept the secret from her, she could eventually tell by my test results.
After weighing the options, I did the toughest thing. I lied and told her that I was just revising. I felt queasy because I had not lied to my mother before. I did not want to break the trust between us as it would ruin our relationship.
On the next day, I was so exhausted. I had stayed up the whole night studying for the test.
My friends asked, “Why do you keep yawning?”
“I forgot that there was a Mathematics examination,” I replied in exasperation.
“Well…… I hope you pass it! You can do it!” My friends said cheerfully.
My heart palpitated wildly against my chest when the invigilator entered the examination hall. When the invigilator handed all the papers out, I could feel the butterflies in my stomach.
“Your time starts now!” The invigilator at the front of the hall bellowed.
I flipped the cover page and my eyes widened as I read through all the questions. I did not study for most of them. I was trembling in fear, hoping not to fail.
After the paper, I was so worried that I would fail since Mathematics was my worst subject of all. In Primary One, I loved Mathematics. However, somewhere in Primary Three, I lost interest because it was getting more difficult. I was so anxious but luckily, I had a stress ball with me to relieve my stress. My friends also thought it was difficult but they had to dig for more clues for each question.
Months soon passed and it was December. My parents and I were waiting anxiously in the school hall for my results. I did not dare to flip over my thin piece of paper. Mustering all of my courage, I turned over the paper and saw I had failed Mathematics. Thankfully, I had passed the rest of the subjects. Tears welled up in my eyes. I did not know how my parents would react once I showed the PSLE certificate to them. I walked slowly down the eight flights of stairs to meet my parents in the canteen.
When I reached the canteen, I knew I just had to face the music. I showed them the paper. Their jaws dropped and their eyes widened in horror. As expected, I got severe tongue-lashing from my parents. I was devastated that I had to attend a course that I did not like. I knew I deserved this, knowing previously that I was irresponsible and dId not ask anyone when the examination was. It was not my classmates’ fault for not reaching out as I should have been more proactive.
That day, I learnt not to be careless. As the saying goes, we can never make a mistake without facing its consequences. Since then, I worked diligently and earned a scholarship to the university of my dreams.
I smiled as I reminisced that day.
Upon hearing my mother’s lovely voice asking me to come out for dinner, I snapped back into reality. Memories of that day would forever be etched in my mind.