Tomorrow, I start my sophomore year of high school. And believe it or not, I’m really not that afraid of going. I’m not sure if I will have the time to write any more letters because I might be too busy trying to “participate.”
So, if this does end up being my last letter, please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough.
That’s an excerpt from the last page of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
From the age of thirteen to fifteen, I used to be a wallflower, standing on the sidelines while everyone else participated. I disliked nothing more than socializing. I went to a school where the management was terrible and the teachers were disorganized. The students were self-centered, judgemental, materialistic, and divided into cliques. I had a low opinion of most people around me, and was never close with seniors, juniors, or teachers. I had about three friends — who were, unfortunately, also wallflowers. I found it hard to gather motivation to study. Putting up my hand in class was scarier than getting my PMR results. I was unhappy with my own life, so I lived vicariously through fictional characters, public figures and spent an unhealthy amount of time on the internet. I had a loooot of problems pulling me into misery and I didn’t know how to articulate them.
My wallflower-like ways strongly contradicted the constant urge to share my thoughts and opinions with the world. I wanted to join clubs and enter competitions and upload videos on YouTube and work on creative projects and support causes and go on rescue missions and debate and stuff. But I never knew how.
I got longlisted for The Star’s young journalist program twice (early 2012 and 2013). You have the chance to become a Star intern if you do excellently. But I never bothered competing for the second stage, because you had to convince thirty people to subscribe to The Star. LIKE, ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?!?! I probably talked to five people or less in a day. It never occurred to me to ask help from teachers or anything. I just gave up.
But Alhamdulillah I learned how to ‘participate’.
The simplest example I can give is becoming a photographer.
Ever since I was Form One, I wanted to be a school photographer. I’d watch movies about high school and admire any character with a camera hanging from their neck. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to have permission to bring a DSLR to school, wear a ‘PHOTOGRAPHER’ tag around your neck, and capture events. But I had no idea how. I was too scared to approach any of the photographers (who were seniors).
I tried joining the editorial board with a friend at some point, but as school was divided into two sessions (morning and evening), we never knew when meetings were held. I assumed meetings only involved those from Form Three to Form Five. I just stared on jealously whenever I saw a certain Form Two girl snapping away.
Most of my ‘participation’ started in Form 4, whether through force or through coincidence. BWP (student representative council) elections were held, and I badly wanted to be a committee member of the Information and Communication Exco. But the representative was a guy whom I had never talked to before. Even considering approaching him was like approaching a huge, hungry tiger.
Sometime during that period, a classmate of mine asked if I wanted to join the ICE (more commonly known as Exco Komunikasi) with another friend, A. Until today I’m not sure why — I think A mentioned that I had a camera. Of course, I was all cool on the outside and put my name and my IC number down, when inside my brain I was like, “IS THIS THE REAL LIFE??? IS THIS JUST FANTASY???”. I made sure to thank that particular classmate before SPM.
Anyway, Exco Komunikasi was cool. We had our fair share of ups and downs. But I got to make announcements in the bilik siaraya, become a radio DJ, and best of all, got a license to bring my camera to school and take photographs. I even kept bringing my camera after I stepped down. Bahahahahha. So YAY, becoming a photographer? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Even without owning a DSLR. The most interesting project I had to do was film 3-second clips of the teachers for Teacher’s Day. I sacrificed a lot of rehat time for that, okay! I had to suggest different types of actions because most teachers were very malu-malu. There was this one teacher who was extremely stubborn and didn’t want to be filmed AT ALL. In the end I managed to convince her to let me film her marking papers for three seconds.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am now part of Biro Publisiti for Jawatan Penggerak Masjid in UiTM. Therefore, once again, taking photographs is my job. Alhamdulillah. I also get to design posters and play around in Photoshop. Weeeee. I hope to be a PMDS (Pemimpin Minggu Destini Siswa) by my third semester, preferably under Biro ICT.
Anyway, my birthday was two days ago. Here’s a random list of 30 things I did in UiTM Lendu before turning eighteen that would make my Lower Form self proud, because back then, I could only dream of everyday adventures like these.
- survived MDS with less than two hours of sleep every night
- became emcee for a business talk
- rode on public transport (bus) to Melaka Sentral and back
- tried to sign up for PortaWifi but failed because I was underage
- visited MRSM AG untuk lepaskan rindu
- usrah was conducted in my house (several times)
- survived the Orang Utan Walk at Serama Camp, Melaka — IT WAS THRILLING
- bought a Don’t Mess With Melaka t-shirt
- got full marks for a Translation quiz
- attended a leadership course
- spent the night at my classmate’s grandmother’s house to film a short film
- solat terawih, open air style
- iftar outside UiTM with housemates
- got a ride on a motorcycle, multiple times
- got coloured powder + water thrown at me during MassColours
- successfully sold personalized tote bags and Raya cards
- survived more than a month with my family living overseas
- had a photoshoot with a blazer
- listened to talks from Ustaz Adnin Roslan, Adam Corrie and PU Yeop
- celebrated Raya @ UiTM, explored the Art & Design faculty
- filmed a vlog with a friend (review of a novel, Anugerah Cinta Paling Glamor)
- full attendance for every class so far, including ko-ko, and I haven’t slept in class after SPM
- was selected for JPM interview and passed, Alhamdulillah
- delivered (a few) awesome speeches and role plays
- cheerfully sang along to the Malaccan anthem when everybody else was like ‘?????????’
- kamceng dengan senior dari pelbagai fakulti heh
- went to Melaka town with the JPM family in a school bus, visited Muzium Islam
- bought a fisheye lens after YEARS of wanting one — padahal RM15 je
- designed an ad for a FOSSIL watch, and out of all my lecturer’s classes, it was her favourite
- and to top it all off, on the last day as a seventeen-year-old, I FINALLY took the bus home!