Michelle, at 6 in the morning.

“Adik, adik tingkatan berapa?”

“Um…tingkatan lima.”

The conversation above took place between a parent and I when I was assigned to usher parents who brought their Form 1 kids for registration today.

I actually hesitated for a few seconds before admitting that I was in Form 5. Which sounded absurd even to my ears at the time. Since when did I become a senior?

I’m not even exaggerating when I say it seems like just yesterday that I was the frightened little girl with short hair who was a ball of tangled nerves under the curious stares of everyone else the first day I stepped into Asma. And then I thought of my days back in 1 Kedah, 2 Asma, 3 Asma and 4 Negeri and where the heck did they go? They just flew past at the speed of light without warning. It was as if there was a huge gap between the moment I first entered secondary school and the moment right then. It couldn’t have been four years already. It just didn’t seem possible.

And throughout these four years, I’ve witnessed different batches of seniors preparing and finally sitting for SPM, and I’ve thought of the day I will be in their exact same shoes too, but the thought of it has always seemed vague and far away, almost light years away. And now it’s here and to be frank, it’s hard to think of myself as a senior. I’ve always been the one who needed taking care of, the child who needed help in almost everything she did, but now it seems that I can’t be that way anymore because I’m almost a grown-up now and I need to learn to grow up and be a lot of things I’m expected to be instead of what I am now. It still frightens me that I only have a year of being a kid left until I leave the house and my family to live alone in concrete jungles or wherever it is away from home.

I’m looking at the huge stacks of books with “SPM” labels on it which I have on my table right now, thinking that in 10 months time, all of this would be of no use, would be thrown away and never retrieved from the depths of the garbage pile again, and then that’s when my stint in Alor Setar would be over this time. It just doesn’t seem right.

Suddenly, I’m taking roads down memory lane back to the time of the internship, camp and even Christmas. Anything beats this right now.

I’m lacking the motivation and optimism I promised myself last year that I would have at the beginning of SPM year. Hopefully with just the right amount of tuitions and classes, I’ll be able to get into the right mood again.

On the bright side, at least I’m still in 5 Negeri, hey!

I would also like to thank God that I was born in 1995 and not 1996 because then I would have to study all three pure sciences and Add Math in Malay and be forced to take up Mandarin in SPM. Yes…you heard that right.

Published by

Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

5 thoughts on “Change”

  1. Seriously, mayo. That feeling will blow over soon enough. Meanwhile, sink into that feeling of seniority and authority.

  2. hey don’t knock ’96 until you try it! and plus our school sri aman is part of the 11% that’s not going to be learning in malay. yay!!!!!

  3. Hello, this year I am currently have my SPM exam . Can I ask u about how to study Chemistry and Sejarah?

    1. I’m not quite sure how to reply everytime someone asks me that. For Chemistry, the most important thing is to pay attention in class and truly UNDERSTAND what the syllabus is about. For Sejarah, well, there’s literally nothing to do but memorize, I’m afraid.

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