One glance at Jasmine Yow’s resume and you know that she has it all. Academic achievements? Check. Co-curricular awards? Check. Community service? Check. Musical abilities and skills? Check. To top it all, she was an ASEAN scholarship student, with all promises of a bright future before her.
Such a student must be in an enviable position. Who wouldn’t love a chance to receive such honour and recognition, and to be looked upon by friends and family members with such high esteem? And yet, we humans have a tendency to admire the accomplishments of others, not knowing what they have been through to get where they are.
For Jasmine has a story, one that has been brought to light through the pages of this book–”Behind that Shiny Resume–Jottings of a Troubled College Student”.
I have heard about Jasmine even before she published her book. I knew her as the top student of a famous secondary school in my hometown. Which isn’t surprising, since even a noodle hawker and people at her sister’s Malay elocution competition knows and remembers her, as she reveals in the preface of the book.
“I was the kind of student every teacher liked and every other student admired,” was her truthful confession. “But somewhere along the line in secondary school, I lost it, all of the essence that made me eager to learn and achieve.”
And then, it began. The bouts of frustration interlaced with moments of hope; times when her writing reflected her frustration with the education system; sleepless nights when she yearned for someone to talk to, finding none……in the end, she sought medical help, and started taking medication to improve her condition.
The book’s writing style is personal and reflective. It’s just like reading someone’s personal diary, and I admire her courage and willingness to share her writings with the general public. The book is divided into two parts, the first being her days in the second year of Junior College, written as she experienced the events in life; the second being a reflection of her days in private college, and several entries of reconciliation and gratitude.
The book itself is very thin, but it makes for a good read. Jasmine has a interesting style of expressing her thoughts, not to mention a rather biting sense of humour. Even when she was down and depressed, the way she described something–e.g. the way someone was being forcibly and cheerily upbeat–made me smile involuntarily.
Some may dismiss the book as a personal diary brought to publication–but trust me, it’s more than that. Jasmine’s situation allows space for further reflection. A stunning string of ‘A’s’ or a mountainous heap of certs do not mean everything. Also, it is pointless to envy others for what they have achieved. For you never know what goes on behind that façade of perfection, and what lies behind that glittery and shiny resume.