When you leave high school, please don’t be one of the students who never came back. Even if you don’t become a big person, you are always welcomed to see me”
“I promise.”
That was a promise i made to her before I left high school. As i try to keep my promise, eventually I was also carried away by my studies and was never able to go back to meet my teachers. I wanted to, every time I pass by my school. But days becomes month and turns into years, and finally when I have graduated, I thought I was ready to go back and visit my teacher, she passed away.
A few years before that, one of the teacher whom had touched my life also passed away. And I couldn’t attend his funeral as I was away from home. Same goes to this teacher who have always welcome me like a family.
I am not good in keeping touching, I tried to call once in a while. But I was never much the person who would call them, but if I met them, I do enjoy talking to people and catch up.
Some of them, we slowly drift apart, and some I am no longer in touch with or talk to. They just exist only on facebook, and I don’t know why we are still ‘friends’ on facebook if we weren’t really friends in real life. Maybe they just wanted to know each other’s whereabouts now, even if its just in digital world. Its good to know that they are good and building their own life though.
There were no fights and what not, we just go our separate ways and probably decided that our road ended until high school. Some whenever we bump into each other, we would still say Hi and ask how are they. But that was all.
Be it with friends, or your teachers, we all somehow drift apart with people from our past. To the teachers that have taught me through out my school year but never able to visit again I am sorry, truly. The last time I visited, some teachers have gone grey, and those who used to run around the school catching students no longer do that because their age catches up with them. Some I heard have change schools and promoted to other schools or ministry. Some have their own grandchildren and retired. Its really nice to hear that.
I used to have this sort of thinking that I will only return to my school once I become a someone whom they can be proud to welcome me back.
So I waited and waited until I graduated to finally return because I was afraid that when my teacher’s ask me what I’ve become, I have become nothing. And that kept me from returning, when in reality nobody are nothing. Everyone have something in them, even if its not on your CV, its in yourself.
There’s always this pressure that once you graduated you have to become somebody right away and figure out what you are going to do next. There’s this invisible race that you need to do the next thing one after another, a degree, a master, and a PhD right away without even asking what the person actually wants to be. The idea of taking a break are so foreign now that we have become so consumed with the next big thing. Its the same cycle, UPSR>PMR>SPM> University > Work > Marriage. Everyone are racing to finish one thing after another but no one really knew what they are chasing for. Eventually, we find ourselves stuck in this cycle and become the person we expected to be and not who want to be.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
That was the question we were all asked, back then, I wanted to be a teacher in the morning, a doctor in the evening, and a police at night. I wanted to give my parents a million ringgit each. When I finish high school, I wanted to be a historian but my grade was not enough. When I finished university, everybody thought I’d be working in some tv station, but i decided that is not the life I wanted to be in.
And so when I finish my master, everyone I met asked if I would go into PhD and become a lecturer. Some was even puzzled to know how I started out from broadcasting to political science. They couldn’t understand why I would choose such course and not working in the field that I studied. Well, Tun Dr Mahathir is a doctor but became a Prime Minister.
Its 2016, and people still expect you to work in the same field you studied when in reality, there are a lot of people who didn’t do the same thing they were studying in back then, and they turn out alright.
Thing is, nobody has ever asked me what I wanted to be. I wanted to be so many things, until I stop wanting to be anything. It took me years later for me to understand that the world doesn’t go the way we want to.And we have to make choices and let go of other choices. But these choices makes up who you are meant to be in the future. Either way, the choices we make today, will somehow lead us to the path we are supposed to take. So even if we think that if we chose differently, we will become the person we are supposed to be. And that’s okay. We are not supposed to be able to figure out everything in our life in one day. Nobody even know what they are doing until they finally did it.
Success (materially) is after all not permanent but who you are to the people you leave behind will tell a lot about the effect you give to them. You may not be a somebody today, but how sad it is that by the time you become that person, there won’t be anyone alive to share that with you?
Point is, like my teacher told me before, its okay that you didn’t become a somebody yet, as long as you return ‘home’. And I am probably not the person to tell you this but, if you have the chance, do visit your teacher again. And if they have passed away, please make doa for them. Don’t wait until you become a successful person to come back because we don’t know if we still have time by then.
Happy Teacher’s Day.