9A+?

So… this happened.

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….yep.

I can’t believe it has already been 6 days since this happened. Please excuse my procrastination habits, but here’s my update on what happened last week.

For those who are not living in Malaysia, you might not know what SPM is. To summarise, SPM is a national exam that is sat by Form 5 students nationwide that is said to determine one’s future. For Malaysians, SPM is like the highlight of the senior year as it happens right at the end of the year. Needless to say, our Asian parents go to extreme lengths to ensure that we get outstanding results.

We had to wait 3 months for the actual results to be announced, which was on the 3rd March 2016. After long weeks of boring and idle days, the date has finally arrived.

A day before the results were announced, I was a nervous wreck. Those who are following me on Instagram and Snapchat would have witnessed my anxiety outbreak and excessive selfies due to nervousness. To be honest, the moment I completed answering my Biology paper (which was the last paper) I have already left everything in the hands of God. The questions were definitely challenging, especially with the High Order Thinking Skills (HOTS or KBAT in Malay) questions which wrecked my brain.

I kept telling myself that I would accept and be grateful for whatever result I will get but on the day before, you just can’t help but imagine the worst-case scenarios. About a week before result day, my dad had a dream and he told me I was going to get something REALLY good which scared me even more because now everyone has their hopes up and what if I messed up and disappointed everyone. I can handle self-disappointment but I really cannot face with the disappointments of other people. In short, I was a bundle of nerves, so I tried calming myself down by listening to recitations of Al-Quran (which was very hypocritical of me but it was the only thing that worked). Honestly, when things get rough the only person I truly believe I can turn to is nobody else but Allah. Every single time. So I did, lost in my nervousness I started to think of all my sins and how undeserving of me to get excellent results. Fortunately, by night time I was already too worn out to be even more nervous.

The morning of results day, I woke up feeling positive and calm. I keep telling everyone “aku redha je weh, apa apa yang aku dapat pun”. So I walked with Jun to school (which was just across the road) at about 8.30 am. Poor Jun, she was visibly more nervous than me. We went to the Surau and recited Yassin together, it was lovely to meet everyone after 3 months. Then, we headed to the hall. The day before, there were so many rumours about the TV3 coming and etc and it was true. There were reporters and photographers outside the hall, which did NOT help calm our nerves at all. In the hall, some of my friends have already checked their results through SMS and were celebrating among themselves, which made me feel like there are grasshoppers jumping around in my stomach.


 

*wow this post took me a long time to finish :’)*

So, we were all waiting for the ceremony to start, when a junior called me and said that Ibu wanted to meet me at the back of the hall. When I came to meet her, there was Ms.Zai, Ibu, Cikgu Halimatus and a reporter from TV3. They told me that I was going to get interviewed and I was soo confused as I have not even gotten my results yet. Then, Ms.Zai sent me out to call Zati and Diba as well, which sort of raised my hopes up as we were told earlier that only 5 people got 9A+ (which just made me even more convinced that I was not going to get it).

Izzatul was interviewed as well, so I just decided to go ahead and ask Cikgu Halimatus if I got 9A+ and when she said yes, I was just, speechless. I did not know how to feel, it all happened so fast. So when I got interviewed by TV3, they told me to pretend I already got my results and to “look happy” (lol) and asked me a few questions about my plans for the future and etc. To be honest, I really hate when people ask me my plans for the future. I don’t know, I just feel like it’s a very personal thing and it was the last thing that I would want to announce to the whole country -_- , but I had to because, OMG TV3 KOTT lol.

After finishing the interview, I went back to my seat where Amani asked me what was it about ( we were looking at the photos from her Europe tour when Ibu called me) and I just shrugged. Then, the ceremony has started where the straight As’ achievers will be announced and presented their result slip on stage. My name was the second last to be announced for the 9A+ category and although I already knew my results, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed as my mum was looking at me with a shocked plus surprised plus proud expression and I could not help tearing up when she hugged me before we went onstage.

There were seriously so many reporters at the hall and I felt that they took forever to take our pictures. It was kind of awkward as well as our batchmates were still sitting down there waiting for their results to be announced. As soon as we got off the stage, we were practically stripped away from our parents and dragged to the side of the hall for more interviews and photos. It took forever, and we had to pose in so many angles (only for one small picture to come out in the newspaper *rolls eyes*). By the time we have finished our “photoshoot session” they have already finished announcing the straight As’ achievers, which made me quite sad as I didn’t get the chance to clap and cheer along for my friends. 😦  I was so sweaty and dizzy by then and my smile was already looking visibly forced for the group photo session,haha.

My mum got her few seconds of fame as well, when she was interviewed by the TV3 afterwards- which she totally deserved after raising me up for 18 years. When it all ended, I met the teachers at the Staff Room to thank them and headed straight home. I prayed Zuhur prayer, replied to some people on Whatsapp and Twitter and slept for 3 hours straight. I guess that was the aftermath of baking Cinnamon Rolls until 3am the night before, and being nervous and jittery was exhausting as well, no lie.

We didn’t throw a bombastic party to celebrate, my mum just bought some satay for all of us to eat together, and it felt nice and warm to know that all my family members are proud of me 🙂

One thing that surely stunned me was when my father kissed me on the forehead, which he NEVER did before okay. My father is a man who rarely shows his affection- I don’t even remember when was the last time he hugged me- so when he did that I know that I have truly made him proud and nothing can describe how happy I was.

A lot of people asked for my tips on how I managed to get 9A+. My answer is, I honestly do not know. I believe that a lot of my friends deserved this too, they worked really hard and they were very disciplined and focused, way, way more than me.  If I were to give you some advice, it would be to get to know yourself. Understand which style of learning suits you best, because not everyone can study the way I did. I opted for the more relaxed way of studying, where I would focus on a subject for about an hour or two and then indulge myself by watching Youtube videos or playing games before continuing with the next subject.

One more thing would be to please, please do not study last minute for SPM. You should start focusing when you are learning the Form 4 syllabus, and I do not mean you just have to spend all year studying, never. I myself was frequently going out of school for competitions, events and more during Form 4 and Form 5. The most important thing is to understand each lesson and identify the topics that you are weak in. You should have stable grades by the beginning of Form 5 and constantly consult the teachers for questions that you and your friends have never encountered before, especially with the KBAT questions, it really takes your effort to either read a lot or ask the teachers a lot.

It is also very important to strengthen your bond with Allah. Honestly, my form 5 year was the year that I felt really close to Allah. I was able to wake up for Qiamullail, read the Quran after Maghrib prayers, become the Imamah for Isyak prayers, become the Naqibah for my usrah and refresh my Hafazan especially during Ramadhan. Last year, I had the best Ramadhan ever. I wish to have a better one this year. I am not boasting in any way, and if you think that being close to Allah for the sake of SPM is hypocritical, change your mindset. To me, it is SPM and everything that happened in 2015 (family problems, etc) that brought me back to Him and I am forever grateful for that. Take the opportunity when your heart feels sad and you feel worthless, that is the best time for you to talk to Allah about all your problems, and cry as much as you want on the prayer mat, because that was what I did and believe me, it made me feel so much better and so peaceful I could not even begin to describe it.

Many people have been asking me, “so what did you ask your parents for the SPM present, since you got excellent grades?”- and all I could reply was- nothing. How could I possibly demand a present when they were the reason I achieved this success in the first place? How could I bear to ask for a gift when this success alone was not enough to repay everything that they have done for me? I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. If they want to give me a present, that’s fine- but to ask for one? It would just make me feel bad.

Also, a lot of people have been saying that “lucky you, it must be easy for you to get scholarships now”,”confirm lah ni pergi overseas”. Not at all my dears. Getting 9A+ did not make me feel secure AT ALL. There are thousands of excellent and intelligent students out there that I have to compete against and it is not easy to do so. I will have to step up my game, as my grades promise nothing other than wider opportunites but there is nothing to be over confident about, and there is a long way to go. Nevertheless, I will do my best and see where my future takes me.

Veterinary Medicine is not something that people look highly upon in Malaysia, and I will be having a hard time explaining to the scholarship board why they need to sponsor a veterinary student, but I love challenges, and I am willing to take the risk, rather than to choose a safe route but end up studying something that I have absolutely no interest in. Some teachers and friends have questioned me on why I would want to choose a course that is not common in Malaysia, but I don’t see the problem. In fact, it is even better as I would be able to acquire a job with less competition in Malaysia. If I fail to get scholarships, it will be fine, there is always another way and I have absolutely no problem with studying locally. When you think that you have exhausted all possibilites, remember this; you haven’t.

The first step to success is understanding and believing in yourself. There is a long way to

go before I become that successful person I dream to be- but I will enjoy myself along the journey till I die, and live with no regrets.

Lastly, just be grateful with everything you are given, and say Alhamdulillah always, as He is the greatest planner.

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look how excited my mum was :’)

ps// I always wanted to be it the news and the newspaper!! Dream come true indeed!!

pss// I never could have done this without Arista, love you guys ❤