Hi, I have graduated from SMU for almost three years. To be honest, I don’t have any sentimental or nostalgic feelings for the school.
Rather, I feel detached.
Truthfully, the school has enriched me for four years, broadening my horizon with loads of academic knowledge. However, it has also left me with a lot of negative feelings. Let me elaborate further.
The school culture is known to be muggerish and overcompetitive – it’s actually no different from NUS and NTU.
Libraries and group study rooms tend to be perpetually flooded during school terms for examinations and projects on school holidays and Sundays. Some people even went to the extent of staying overnight to mug for their examinations!
Project groups also tend to be competitive. Students put in a lot of effort on the “decorative” front to outsmart each other. In the end, grades got overinflated and it’s hard to get an A unless you are one of the elitist bookworm or a very illustrious worker.
To be honest, I have no competitive advantage over those worms, so a lot of my seniors advised me to get active in CCAs. Nevertheless, I am poor and can’t afford to dig out my pockets for activities like dragonboating or exchange trips to Europe.
Its way too expensive!
So basically I am a gone case.
The culture at SMU is known to be cold because there are too many “overachievers” fighting among themselves and the greeting tagline usually begins with “What’s your GPA?” or “Are you planning to go for any exchange trips?”
Even some of the foreign students claimed that our local mainstream students have a lack of emotional intelligence and positive volition because of the inability to connect deeply with people from different background.
At the same time, our local students would also shun foreign students because of the fact that they are foreign. So segregation and eventually cliques will occur. Over time, a line is drawn and you have to take your stand.
You either belong to the elite crop of ACJC (lots of them out there), foreign scholars or polytechnic upgraders.
Either you are a fan of the SMU culture or you are not. For those who are fans of SMU culture, they are the ones who benefit from this type of seminar-style culture and get to represent the school on business competitions.
Nevertheless, I realised that SMU has very good marketing strategy.
They tend to advertise on those elite graduates who get the best out of the school. The fact is though our school does produce high wage earners, they are also others who don’t get the best out of the school and draw ordinary or sub-par wages.
This marketing strategy does help to increase enrolment but they don’t represent the whole truth.
A lot of people is blinded by statistics and tend to overrate our school. After that, when they work with us, they understood that we are in fact “bluffers”. That some of us talk a lot, but have no substance.
On the high side, SMU has a good image .However; it’s not a school for everyone. I have learnt my lesson and moved on. After graduation, I have learnt much more, that life itself is generally more challenging than my time in school.
The real lessons are always out there…
Graduate of SMU