I was an all A student. Was. When I was in primary school, it was even rare to find a non-100% score in my report cards. 2005, I was at Standard 2 and it was the school’s Excellence Award Day. Being top students for all subjects but PAI, I made the most laps around the stage that day. Each award recipients were given a ribbon to stick on his/her shirt. People could barely see the colour of the Baju Melayu that I wore. I looked like an idiot. I went home that day with around 20 plastic files filled with notebooks, color pencils and stationery. I gave some to my sisters and ended up selling the rest to my classmates who always had more than enough money for recess. Kaching, kaching. I’ll tell you more about my business in another post. Haha.
I switched school the next year as I moved to Bangi. I barely had friends cause I snatched all the awards away being a newcomer. I still remember the emcee’s intonation when she called my name for the last time. “Abul Munzeer Mohamad Isa… Again!” It’s normal for students, even teachers who I do not know to talk about me. When I was in Standard 5, the ceremony went differently. The emccee called up my name, then only list out all the awards that I received. I even had the Head Student accompanying me to help with the prizes. They even list out all awards that I received in one single certificate. Save the Earth, huh?
There was one award that I never received up till now. The Full Attendance Award. Haha. I skipped lots of classes. Once, my mom drove me to school. It was few metres away from the school gate, when I “don’t feel like going”. Umi asked me to duck under the seat and to home we went. My mom is super cool, ain’t she. I faked lots of sickness. I represented the school for Malay, English and PAI story telling competitions, faking a migraine was nothing.
But once, karma hits. I had a stye, it wasn’t that bad cause I got it almost every month. But I wanted to go home. By recess, I went to the office, drama king mode on, cried a little, my hands never left my eye, went ‘urgh’ and ‘ouch’, trying my best not to fake it too much. And as always, it didn’t take long before the office called my mom. But that day I got a company. My classmate’s fever had gotten worse and she’s waiting to be fetched as well. My mom arrived first and I wished the girl goodbye. It was definitely not a good goodbye. She had measles and guess what, me too.
I received the ‘Best Student in Academic’ when I graduated from both my primary and lower secondary school. It was of no surprise to anyone. I did not feel special, amazed or whatnot. Everyone think that it was expected. So did I. And hence, I gave up on the A’s when I went to highschool. Academic excellence is no more my ultimate aim. I wanted to grow out of my comfort zone, out of people’s expectations of me, out of this world. The trade I made was a success. I earned more satisfaction than I ever had with all of the A’s. I found me. I gained a wholesome personality. I made lots of friends. I received Holistic as my nickname as well as an award upon graduation.
Being an A student, I was the smart one. And most of the time the outcast in my circle of society. I had friends, but mostly my works’ copiers. The attention given by teachers to me was nice, but I like it better if it came from my drama teacher. At least, she knows that I can act as well. Being too much of a book smart, I was sports dumb, socially awkward and lonely. I traded all of these off for the greater good. Only then I found out that I could hit a bat, catch a softball, shoot a 3-pointer, conduct a field trip, be a team player, be a friend. I couldn’t belive I forgone all these for a green grade.
The hard part is convincing others, especially the close ones, that this trade off is the best for me. My exam results might not be flying colors anymore, but my life is filled with rainbows and I am flying at the cloud nine. I am fulfilled. I have seen a lot, I wanted to know more.
A for Abul, ends here.