This was it. I put my pen down. Putting my pen down meant that it was the end. As I waited for the invigilators to come forward to collect my paper, I reflected on my journey. It was strangely both lonesome yet exciting as I made new friends along the way, like those from my study groups and coffee. Coffee and I had become best friends and I could not live without it. That was then. Perhaps it was now time to start having some new friends. It all began when I almost failed all my subjects and the endless chiding I received from my parents together with their disappointment made me so guilty.
Thus it began, the eventful journey of helping myself. It started with all the snubs I received from my so-called ‘friends’ as the fact that I was pulling my socks up offended those around me, as I received questions like why I was suddenly such a ‘nerd’, why I could not be as laid back as them and take things easy. I was eventually left to my own devices and became the class outcast. Who would have thought the act of trying to improve oneself led to reducing one’s social circle?
It did not help my grades had not made any marked improvement and got me really thinking if I was really in a better place than before. One day, things changed. I had gone to the school library, dragging my heavy-laden bag to an empty table. As soon as I sat down, a girl approached me. She was from the next class and her name was Alice. Alice appeared shy but I detected a sense of determination behind her wide-rimmed glasses. After talking about a common teacher we shared, she asked me if I wanted to join her study group.
I was stunned into silence. As I looked nervously over at her table to see the group of people sitting there, I was mildly taken aback that they looked as equally nervous as I was. Perhaps they have heard how notorious my class was and was thinking twice whether this was a good idea. I definitely was. After a moment’s hesitation, Alice mentioned that they met up with Mrs Tana every Wednesday afternoon to clarify any questions they had and I was welcome to join them then. That perked me up.
Mrs Tana did not teach my class but she was famous as she was a good teacher. That Wednesday, I appeared at Alice’s group. The level of support I received from my new study group was encouraging. Even Mrs Tana, who did not know me well, said kind words after observing the amount of effort I put in my work despite my rather unintelligent questions. I could not have been anymore surprised how things had turned out. Of course that was only the first step. Things were not without challenges.
My brother would pretend he was doing me a favour when I took a break from studying to use the computer of which he would loudly howl to my parents, “Mum, someone’s on the computer! ” I gave him a deathly stare with a painful promise that he would get retaliation for that. However, all was forgotten as I received a message from Alice. Mrs Tana had informed her class that I had topped the level in Chemistry and had used me as an example to encourage her own students to work hard. I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.