BMPIL Writing Challenge - Academic Background Throwback

Aug 27, 2021

Before we go into depth I just want to rant out a few things on what today's me with "this" academic background is currently doing. 

First of all, I had my second tooth removed the other day and although I had the day off, I still had to attend two online meetings, which I think is a good distraction instead of just sleeping throughout the day. Having said that, it was hard for me to fall asleep after the meeting even tho I slept for like four hours only last night. I always have at least six hours of sleep. I still sleep though, but I woke up at 6pm feeling like this isn't the real world. 

Also, the nurse asked for my age when she was taking my blood pressure and I am so glad that I can answer quickly and confidently and that was made possible only because I  just Googled BTS members age recently and also because I asked my friends how old we are when they wish me "Happy Birthday". I don't know how I can count drug doses but become so confused when it come to counting things that are time-related.

I think I might start telling people I was born in 1993 and let them count themselves.

Photo by Karley Saagi from Pexels

This topic is actually the 19th-day topic but I have started writing this challenge like two months ago. It's okay though. I don't really have anyone to hold me accountable and these prompts were made so that I can sit comfortably, writes some random stuff and just have fun. If there's anyone who actually read this because they wanted to become a pharmacist - ermmm, hello?

Let's start, shall we?

I went to a simple tadika Kemas. Or was it tabika? 5 years old me don't care about the spelling of course. I changed my kindergarten and my primary schools thrice each as my parents keep on changing places. I think they keep applying or something because they want to settle down at Manjung. I don't really put my thought about those except it means that I don't really have that friend since I was five years old. The one friend I have known the longest is probably since I was eight or nine, from my second primary school, and we kinda get back in touch later on as we went to the same high school. 

I have no idea how we could still recognize each other. I think it was sometime during degrees that we just randomly remembered that we actually knew each other for a very long time. Since my parents were primary schools teachers, I went to the same primary school that either my mom or my dad work and thus keeps on following them when they move. It was when I was 10 years old that I finally stay at one school and finishes my primary year's education. Yes, I was that anak cikgu. 

Remember how anak cikgu always ended up being a school prefect? I don't want to be one so I settled with being a librarian instead. I think that was one of my most fun primary schools experience. 

This is turning a lot more sentimental actually so I'm going to write so long.

Fun fact - this last primary school that I went to is a sekolah wawasan plan from the government to kinda integrate the three main races in the same compound and improves our unity? I think there's like three or four of these schools throughout Malaysia. The idea was to have three schools for each main race (Malays, Indians and Chinese) in the same compound and like the kids could befriend each other. 

It doesn't work though since the schools and hence the classes are still separated and we only saw each other during recess. Plus, the Chinese school was never opened. I don't know why. It was still a kids school so it is still very lively and fun. It was the prettiest school too since it was the newest built school around the area. We also only have morning sessions instead of the usual two sessions of schooling in government schools so it was a whole lot less crowded but it was a bit far from my home. 

Actually, my dad made a point for us to go to a morning session school throughout our entire primary schooling years. Something about wanting the whole family to eat together during lunch. I think that's the other reason why they keep changing schools.  

What this also means is that I only regularly went to afternoon schools when I was ten. We don't have afternoon schools from age seven to nine because they follow the government schools nearby scheduled who practices that two sessions of schooling. I still took UPKK though.

I don't have to follow my mom anymore when  I went to high school. I just have to go to a school close to my home. I remember feeling so scared because I'm going to a new school with new people that I don't know. I was turning 13 years old so it's natural to start being so self-conscious. I was afraid that I can't penetrate into the new clique of friends since the kids will most likely be coming from the same primary school and know each other for years while there I was - that new kid. I was just being too worrisome although as I get older, I started to realize that these changing schools actually have affected me so much in my way of approaching new people.

With high school thus begin my years of riding to school and become so beautifully tanned. I think my current tanned skin was due to all those years of riding under the near noon heat. I have this one friend who lives in the same neighbourhood as mine that I ride together with to school every day. We always end up in the same class and thus sits with each other throughout all those five years and somehow also ended up doing the same clubs most of the time. 

I was a kid and I guess I never really understand the whole friendship stuff back then. It was just always having someone. I think I was too clueless at that time to really appreciate friendship too. However, we do have this ease and comfort with each other and we also have lots in common too. I've known her since I was 11 years old. Also, she was that friend who I use her name whenever I want to hang out like -  "she's going to be there too so please let me go as well". My dad was the typical unnecessarily strict Asian parent. Oh my god, I miss her so much. She works in KL now so I thought it will be fun to hang out with her more often as I've moved closer now but then Covid-19 happen.

High school went on pretty peacefully. It was simple and carefree. Studying wasn't much of a struggle, alhamdulillah for that. My classmates were the nicest people ever too. We get along so well and most of us stay in the same class for all those five years. I even ended up being the class leader one time as I was simply promoted when the current class leader got an offer to a boarding school. Thinking back about that now feels kinda weird because I always remember being indifferent in school so why did the teacher think I have leadership skills?

I'm not sure if I was actually ever qualified for a boarding school but I did purposely not giving much effort when applying. I want to stay at home. You can't simply laze around and watch tv if you're in a boarding school lol. Apart from that, we had the best teachers too and since most of us were these well-behaved kids, we didn't have much drama like cikgu merajuk sebab kelas bising or not turning out our homework. Like I said earlier, it was peaceful. Also, my favourite subject was History.

Afterwards, I went to Selangor Matriculation College. I knew I could've done better in SPM and since I wasn't a straight A's student, my chance was slim to none to get me to a foundation study. I choose matriculation and I remember wanting to redeem myself. Thus started my first experience ever living far away from home and living in dorms. Matriculation was my first shot at living independently which is kinda daunting but in a good way. Plus it is also my most honest life experience.

I remember being so good in my studies and everything that the lecturers taught just clicked. It was still all hard works and diligent discipline, especially in mathematics. It goes without saying that a person whose favourite subject being history most probably will not be doing so well in mathematics. I had a friend who taught me diligently earlier on and that tutoring of her really takes off. Her name is Afifah too. I could grasp the topic easier as the year goes by afterwards. I never get to thank her enough how that simple gesture of her really helps me a lot to build my confidence and better study habit. I daresay I might not actually become a pharmacist without her help.

The funniest thing is that it surprises me how much mathematics wasn't actually that bad. As my friend helps me with the basics that I failed to understand properly while in high school, the following topics were made easily understood as the lecturer was simply so good at explaining. The new concepts were almost welcoming and all the assignments were just these fun challenges for me. It was so surprising that I was even chosen to tutor a group of my classmates as matriculation have these programs where the better-performed classmates tutoring the other classmates. 

This might seems like obnoxious self-praise but it is honestly the best thing ever as I started to realize my actual potential. Not like to get you A's and good job but simply the attitude I've developed from it. It humbles me to know what vast knowledge really means, how to get around it so that I can provide myself with the necessary part that I needed and just understanding a lot better about myself too. Being a simple suburban kid of a primary teachers parent who meets the same person for years and hardly struggles in studies, except maybe like few months before SPM, this is a big thing for me.

With that, I got to enrol at The National University of Malaysia (UKM). But not the Bangi Campus. I was in the Kuala Lumpur Campus. It was kinda shocking when I realized that a simple girl like me is going to spend four years in the most metropolitan city in Malaysia. I never even thought of wanting to live in a big city. I simply apply for pharmacy and only upon receiving my offer letter that I come to realize that UKM's pharmacy study was on campus in KL. I remember earlier during orientation seeing how bright the sky was at night. It was glowing in orange as if a really big fire erupted. That was such a silly thought and then I started to understand what light pollution means. I thought I'd be more culture shock though. A real anti-climatic on that part.

It was a wonderful time. The KL campus was a lot smaller than the main campus, but that just means more close-knitted communities among all the different faculties. There isn't much to offer too but we're in the middle of KL so everything is just within reach. The funniest thing is how I needed to explain that our campus was smacked in the middle of Chow Kit and only a walking distance to both a monorail station and Kampung Baru. It was during those years when the cold looking Tun Razak Exchange started to be built. Also, our residential college is literally behind Tasik Titiwangsa. Tasik Titiwangsa is such a big perk but it's also a really big park. You need to walk about 1km to get you to the nearest bus station or pay for pricey taxis to get you to the nearest LRT station. We actually almost exclusively went everywhere with LRT and monorail, which then means that we have no idea how to ride those KL buses #lol.

With my newfound interest in studying, choosing pharmacy just makes so much sense. Although we do have this reputation being those who are "not qualified to become doctors so we applied for pharmacy" instead. It was a really childish thought considering how much money people be making in the pharmaceutical industry and how private doctors revenue mainly focuses on pharmaceuticals. I never have thought of pharmacy as a lesser thing of course. It's just an absurd concept for me especially since I myself purposely choose this. I remember one of the lecturer's speeches during our orientation simply questioning our choice and his readiness to give a recommendation letter if any of us want to change our mind. 

We were blessed with lots of talented lecturers and such an amazing curriculum as well. I learned to realizes this once I entered the working atmosphere. I was exposed to lots of opportunities and experiences to prepare me for the outside world. I realized how they really try to produce graduates with a good sense of consciousness and value while still being in a well-adapting character. At least I think so. I can recall direct and indirect exposures, exercises and a variety of assignments plus simply being taught by these well-rounded lecturers which leave me with a deep impression. 

Now I'm working. Working has taught me a lot more things but in an informal way of studying. It even shows more sides of me. This blog has become even more crucial for me ever since. It guides me to get a better grip of myself as writing helps me a lot to process this new "knowledge" and getting to understand it either in the sense of possible consequences or just reflecting. 

Someone told me that getting a degree but not working in that field of degree is okay. It's not a crucial thing to secure a job that reflects your degree. I never really understand that but I'm not saying it's wrong or anything. I guess it's because I always have this specific inkling not to study something that I don't really need to have a use for. Especially during this time of my life where there is no assignment to be done or exam to look forward to.

Although it is arguable that most of what I do day to day at work this time especially, as a community pharmacist, actually reflect what I learned. Heck, most of what I did wasn't even something that I was ever taught, ever. But I can say for sure that without my academic background, I can't pull this off. Also, I can't imagine being in this pandemic without my science background. It must be so confusing #lol.

I always believe that there's going to be things that will be exposed or provided to you along the academic pathway that you've chosen which will then intuitively guides you to your next future. Thus in that sense, it kinda makes more sense to me to always land on something related unless there's a big shift of things that just makes you feel that you can just forego it all and step onto a new future. Future is an undetermined timespan. You can have as many futures as you want. Also, pharmacy is a really flexible career.

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