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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tempat Jatuh Lagi Dikenang, Inikan Pula Tempat Tak Jadi Blajo..

My sister Izati is gonna officially graduate from UIA this Monday, and I can't wait! Why?

1. My sister is graduating.. duhhhh!
2. I can't help but think, I was supposed to be the first one in our family to graduate there.. L

Actually, I’ve been very excited and looking forward to it for months now. I’ve even bought a bit too much of convo presents for my sister as, I think, I’m just as excited as she is. I told her I’m not gonna buy any flowers for her though since she’d be wearing two things I bought especially for her convo, and she’s already given out my other present for her friends, custom made badges J

However, as I was in the shower just now (its true they say, you do your most ‘profound’ thinking in the shower haha..), a feeling I had long forgotten suddenly came to surface and I found myself in tears at the sheer pain of the memory of it.

I was 17. Just finished my SPM and was filling up the UPU forms. Though I always had a hazy sight of my future and what I wanted to be (I wanted to be a teacher during primary school but as I grew older, so many more ambitions popped up that I just didn’t know what to choose.. though my friends can tell you, I wrote ‘Photographer’ in our assessment cards during Form 4 hehe..) but I always knew I wanted to go to university.

There were so many choices and my friends and I pored over all of our options, even though deep in my heart, I always knew I wanted to go to UIA. I dunno why, maybe because most of my seniors went there and sang praises of the place (bese laa, budak skola agama sume pakat mintak UIA pun) or maybe because it was far away from home so I could learn to be independent. Or maybe its because I personally think it’s one of the most beautiful (architectural-wise) universities in Malaysia.

I was so lucky when my best friend, Ami, also wanted to go there and since we both loved physics (Ami, coz her brother took engineering and me, for the pure love of the subject) we decided to apply for the engineering program there. I remember before submitting my form, I showed them to Abah for his approval, a bit afraid he’d be mad that I didn’t apply for USM but he gave me the green light.

After we got our results, I was already very sure I’d get a place in the program. We were asked to change our choices (if we wanted to) within 2 weeks of the results. I didn’t change my first choice of UIA Engineering though, but I changed the last two choices to TESL in I-can’t-remember-which-universities and again I asked for Abah’s approval before submitting.. and again he gave me the green light.

I was so excited. It was the only thing me and Ami could talk about. We talked about being able to still be buddies even in university and we planned to be roommates (oblivious to the fact that roommates were predetermined) and how we were gonna learn to be independent together. I kept calling the UPU Hotline to check the application eventhough they hadn’t announced the results yet.. yes, I was THAT excited.

When the results were finally out, I was suddenly overcome with doubt, would there be a place in UIA for me? My confidence after getting the results was lost and I dreaded calling the UPU Hotline. But I jumped with joy all around the house after I got through. It was confirmed, I was going to UIA!!

I immediately called Ami who screamed just as loud as I did. We were so happy and started planning on getting together right on registration day. We giggled thinking how happy and excited we were to be going there together and I couldn’t wait till the day we’d be ‘university students’.

I was smiling non-stop all day.. and I forgot what they say: Don’t be too happy in the day, or you’ll be very sad come night.

I was busy up in the clouds, making lists of what I wanted to bring, what I might need so I did not see it coming.

I remember an expression Mrs Phun had once used during English in school. That night, I truly knew how it felt like to ‘have your wings clipped’.

At first I thought my father was joking. I mean, I had asked his approval TWiCE! Knowing him, I’d made sure that I asked him first before submitting the forms but he still did this to me..

..reminded me of the other times similar things have happened. But those were trivial things, this was what I wanted to do as an adult, and it hurt even more than ever.

I begged him to reconsider. I even ‘sujud’ at his feet, pleading with all my heart that he didn’t force me to do it but he said the usual thing he always says to make me obey and in the end, I complied.

I called Ami right after that. She thought I was still high on the news but she cried with me too when I told her what just happened.

I delayed writing the appeal letter to change my choice to USM until the last hour. Even then, my heart wasn’t in it at all. I cried every night, afraid of showing my emotions openly, knowing I’d only be ridiculed as usual and I kept praying to Allah that there’d be a change of heart. But right until I got my offer letter from USM, nothing happened.

On the registration day, my heart was heavier that it has ever been before. I dreaded going to KMK (one of the matriculation centres for USM) and I felt a sharp pain in my heart when we arrived there.

The first few weeks were hard for me as whenever I turned, I kept seeing students from better schools than me. It didn't matter that my results were just as good as theirs. I’d always been someone with low confidence, but in addition to the heartache I was feeling, this was a new low for me. I cried again every night, not because I was home sick, but because I hated being there.

It didn’t help that they had misplaced me in the biology-chemistry classes, instead of physics-chemistry as in the offer letter. I hated biology.. but I hated being there even more that I didn’t even bother going to the administration and ask them to change my classes.

It  was worse that UIA at that time had a way different semester scheme than other universities. It meant that during my break, they’d still be in their semester and just as I started my new semester only did they start with their break. At least, I still got letters from my friends even though I knew they didn’t like writing as much as I did.

I spent the whole year tying to be invisible (a teeny weeny bit unsuccessful since Miss Marzita kept picking me for all the English activities: UNGA, Battle of The Word Lords and such.. but most of the time, I managed to be invisible)

I won’t lie, in the end, I DID enjoy my time there. My confidence soared (a bit of exaggerating but for someone who had no confidence whatsoever, I think I got better by the end of our 1-year program there) and I gained so many friends who are still in contact with me till now. I was lucky to get a cool homeroom teacher who, though understood my need to ‘hide’, still managed to coax me out from my hiding space every now and then.. (I wonder where he is right now?)

A few years later, we were sending my brother to BMI which is right behind UIA. I was happily doing Civil Engineering in USM by then but it still struck a chord in me when we passed in front of UIA and it was joked as ‘tempat kak Yong nak sangat pergi dulu’.. cruel! I thought I’d gotten over it but the pain of having my wing clipped just as I got them was still as painful as the first day..

..and even though it has been clipped a few more times after that, the first cut was the deepest.

Even when a few years later after it was revealed that my sister was allowed to go to UIA, there was this little girl in me who wanted to scream and shout (and probably throw a tantrum haha..) at the injustice of it. I was shocked, and hurt.. but I kept it inside me coz this is my sister, my own flesh and blood and I wanted to be happy for her. Sending her was a bitter sweet experience as there was a little voice inside my heart that kept reminding me that it could have been me.

I know, it was all Allah’s will. He knew that what I wanted wasn’t the best for me so He sent me someplace else. It’s not the ‘what’ that left a scar in me, it was the ‘how’. The thought that I was given hope before it was snatched away from me. I guess it would've been easier had I known early on that what I wanted didn't matter at all..

I guess, the reason I cried just now (and somehow am starting to again..) was because I miss that trusting girl who thought if she did what she was told, she’d be allowed to do what she wanted in the end. The naive girl who kept consoling herself, that her dreams were not as important as the important people in her life. But it was one thing after another and after more than enough ‘You don’t know what’s good for you or what you really want (READ: You don't know anything!)’,  I lost the want to have my own dreams anymore. What’s the use?

AND I see that I’ve been rambling quite a lot here..

I’m gonna enjoy my sister’s convocation this Monday.. and not only because my sister’s graduating. I’ve already planned to go take pictures at the Kulliyyah of Engineering, IF I can find it haha.. wish me luck! J


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