In the midst of the hustle and bustle of your SPM preparation, you may catch yourself daydreaming about how you’ll spend your post-exam days. And once SPM is done and dusted, you’re perfectly entitled to become a permanent fixture on your living room couch and catch up on all the TV shows you’re currently sacrificing.
However, once the novelty of your newfound freedom wears off (yes, that is possible), you might find yourself feeling bored out of your mind! Since it’s never too early to plan for your post-SPM activities, here are some ways you can spend your carefree days.
#1. Travel the world
If you’re keen on travelling, now’s the time to do it!
Going abroad gives you a chance to explore cultural differences and network with like-minded individuals across the globe to provide you with a fresh perspective on how the world works beyond your four walls. Travelling also instils independence, what with having to navigate a foreign territory, its customs and sometimes, a delayed flight or two!
Even if you can’t afford to travel overseas, there’s no harm in exploring your own “backyard” and discovering some of Malaysia’s must-see attractions to strip you of the comforts of being at home.
All in all, travelling provides you with an invaluable concoction of life-lessons that would positively influence your personality and help you manoeuvre the working world in the future.
#2. Take a gap year
Spend a whole year doing nothing? As if my parents will jump on that bandwagon.
Before you (and your folks) brush this off as a colossal waste of time, a gap year is anything but sitting around and shaking your legs. It typically involves travelling abroad to experience a different culture or volunteering in global programmes.
Whether you are becoming an au pair to a family in France, diving with Great White Sharks in South Africa or cuddling koalas in Australia, there is plenty to learn! This includes getting a firsthand experience of life as a local in a foreign country and going beyond the superficial touristy stuff.
After SPM, I went on a student exchange program with AFS to Italy and it was one of the best times of my life! While I was there, I went to school, visited a winter camp in the mountains like other Italian teenagers and even picked up some Italian. It was such a refreshing experience and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a cultural experience. — Anna George, 24
#3. Make some moolah
You may have hatched some post-SPM plans with your pals since the beginning of the year, but none of them can come to fruition without one critical ingredient: money!
If you find yourself in need of extra cash, you might want to start by getting a part-time job. Not only is this a viable way of making your pockets grow, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to build your student curriculum vitae (CV) and explore areas of interest to help you decide a future career path.
So get creative — the internet has become a field of limitless opportunities, providing you with numerous ways to make money without moving an inch from your living room couch! From selling unused stuff in your home online to monetising your skill sets, you’ll also hone your innovation and entrepreneurial skills by capitalising on the things you already have.
#4. Do some volunteer work
Did you know that there are 152,170 refugees and asylum-seekers living amongst us without any legal status, exposing them to the risk of human trafficking?
There are many marginalised communities in Malaysia in similarly heart-wrenching predicaments. If you’re itching to make a difference in their lives, volunteering could be just the thing for you! There are hundreds of non-governmental organisations in Malaysia with a myriad of ways for you to give back to a cause you are passionate about.
Not only is volunteering a selfless act of kindness, but it is also known to benefit your health and boost your career prospects as you develop a range of soft-skills such as teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and communication along the way.
#5. Enrol in college
Right out of the pot and into the frying pan?!
We know you might not be keen on starting college immediately after SPM, but if you have already decided on a course to pursue after your exam, why not jump into the January intake?
Depending on your programme, you’ll not only graduate earlier than those who joined a later intake but enter the workforce sooner. This is a big deal, considering some 200,000 graduates are being churned out each year, all vying to begin their careers at the same time.
Even if you haven’t decided which degree to pursue post-SPM, you could get the ball rolling towards obtaining your degree by pursuing a pre-university programme, such as A-Level or Australian Matriculation, to help you decide what your next course of action should be. As the saying goes, “You snooze, you lose!”.
#6. Apply for scholarships
Tertiary education can be expensive, but you can take a load off your parents’ back and apply for a scholarship to fund your higher education instead.
The mountain of information can get overwhelming, so it’s important to start early and do some research on the scholarships available based on the course or institution you’re interested. You may also qualify based on academic merit, co-curricular achievements or other special needs.
Applying early also means you are well-aware of the application deadlines while giving you ample of time to prepare for an interview or write a personal statement during your candidacy.
#7. Develop your skill set
This period of temporary bliss before starting college or university is the perfect opportunity for you to broaden your skill set. So why not transform your interests into a legit skill that you can use for your future career?
It may sound expensive, but there are plenty of online resources that can help you level-up for free! So whether it’s learning to code or mastering your favourite mac n’ cheese recipe, taking an online course helps keep your mind alert in the midst of this post-SPM slump, so it’s easier to get back on your feet in time for college.
You could also use this time to get your driver’s license if you haven’t already before you get too busy with classes in college. And a bonus? Being able to zip around town on your own in no time.
We hope you find some fun and exciting ways to keep yourself preoccupied with your downtime. You may be tempted to while your days away in bed but life is short so get up, go out and make some memories. The world is your oyster!