Sunday, September 14, 2014

learning to love things I do

Someone told me, "Z, ko ni pemikiran rigid sangat, tu yang kejap-kejap down". I partially agree with her. I am pretty rigid in most things, especially integrity. I am the last person you'd want to cut corners with, but there is certainly one thing that I am least rigid about - learning.

I scored straight As during UPSR and PMR. And then I started to take for granted of my ability to learn fast, but I wouldn't blame myself fully. I was also frustrated with the way learning process went during highschool. My why, why, and whys, will always be answered by some of my teachers with, "Because that's the way it is stated in textbooks, so be it". 

Dear past science teacher in highschool who didn't bother to study beyond our syllabus, you could've done better. Honestly.

In highschool, it's mind-boggling how I could pay so much attention to documentaries when they're playing on the TV, but I couldn't stay still for even 5 minutes before starting to do mindless sketches during science class in school. I understand my parents' limitation in teaching me themselves. Ayah and Umi didn't have any background pertaining to science, but they did try their best in igniting my interest in it. Ayah in particular would bring me up and down Fraser's hill and point out certain plants, told stories about them, and gave me questions which even he could not answer. For Ayah, it's never, 'memang dah macam tu'. It's always, 'mesti ada sebab jadi macam tu' and we would go back and buy books at MPH pertaining to plants we saw or perhaps just search them up in the net together. Then while I'm pulling out his grey hairs, I'd tell him things I had read in those books and I'd get excited whenever I find my answers before he does. Our balik kampong trips wouldn't be without mathematical or scientific questions. I didn't need any materialistic rewards to utilise my brain to solve them. That's not the way my father taught me. Seeing my father smile out of satisfaction when I proposed him a few answers to his questions was more than enough for me.

Nevertheless, as I return to school, it's back to 'you just memorise every damn thing and don't ask me too much'. I eventually fely utterly disappointed. I started to lose my willingness to learn. "Why are you so lazy? Just do whatever I tell you to", my teachers would ask me. I couldn't answer at that time. I didn't understand the reason I am so resistant to learning in school. I just felt like my interest was elsewhere and I remember telling my friends, "Sumpah aku takkan ambil kursus kat universiti yang berkaitan sains, dowh".

It was only until I entered matriculation college that Allah blessed me with more passionate teachers who were actually much more enthusiastic in executing their duties. Honestly, I was haunted by inferiority complex at that time, because among all my peers, I had the worst SPM results. 2 As. My aunts and uncles chuckled when they heard of that. "There's no future for you beyond this point", a relative said.

I was so scared of asking questions during science classes in college such as biology and chemistry. Everyone seemed to know functions of Golgi bodies, ribosomes, and etc, and I didn't know shit about it! As my hands were cold and clammy, I went forward and said to my then biology lecturer, Pn Sudani, "Pn Sudani, saya ni paling teruk result SPM antara kitorang semua. Saya betul-betul tak tahu apa-apa pasal biologi. Result SPM saya 4B je biologi. Tu pun bantai je". I was expecting similar responses as my highschool teachers such as, "Ha, siapa suruh malas belajar?", but surprisingly, she gave the warmest smile and said to me, "Tak apa. Kita semua mula kosong-kosong kat sini. Kalau tak faham apa-apa, tanya saya. Tak ada masalah".

My days during matriculation college in 2006

I was still skeptic. 'They all said the same thing at first and always couldn't-care-less afterwards' my heart said, but little did I know that this lady is actually the very first real deal I would be blessed with! For the first time ever, I was introduced to international books such as Solomon and Campbell. While most of my peers had Campbell, I prefered Solomon. At that time, I decided that, screw this shit! I had been tailing my peers and that didn't bring me anywhere. Time to do whatever I felt most comfortable with. I guess my brain was pretty empty that I absorbed everything Pn Sudani taught me like a sponge. My every single 'why' would be answered with, "Kejap ya, saya buka buku kejap", and she'd come up with satisfying answers a few minutes later. And repetition of this led me to thinking, "If that book gives her answers to my questions, why didn't I have a look at it that much too?", and those books began to be my best and most loyal companions.

Maths. I was so dumb in add. maths during highschool, at one point I even scored 11% and my friends and I were making a joke out of it. I didn't bother to improvise myself anyway because my questions would always be answered with formulas. Formulas which my math teachers didn't even understand its origins. In college, I was again blessed with a dedicated teacher, Mr Fadhli, a very energetic person who I initially found to be irritating because he'd point out kids to answer his questions during lectures, but he didn't give me formulas when I came up with questions. He'd answer with how those formulas were created. I eventually were able to create my own formulas. I honestly didn't memorise any mathematical formula. I always looked at every question and deconstructed them. Then, go through each piece one by one, baby steps. And create my own formulas from scratch every single time I answer every mathematical question and I had never failed to score 100% for any of my maths papers. Alhamdulillah.

During second year in degree of dental surgery, DDS. (USM)

The momentum my lecturers in college set me on maintained till this very second. I learned to love dentistry although it's a course I chose randomly (no shit, I used 'A-E-I-O-U' to pick it out), although I received an offer to study medicine (which letter I hid from my mother till I received the other offer letter) because I just love bringing a change to something, just like amazing people around me brought changes for the better in me. And I learned to love dentistry. Well, at least much enough to graduate with an A.

Finally, working already :)

You know, come to think of it... Teachers nowadays have much tougher work plans, but they're also given so many benefits. We dentists and doctors, had always been burdened with ample of work. Since it had always been that way since forever, people no longer look at the amount of responsibilities we have seriously. Dentists have among the highest rate of suicide. Doctors have among the least job happiness experience. With all those benefits, I really think teachers should step up. And chuck those 'Dah macam tu, hafal je lah' shit away, because you're killing future scientists. Kalau nak asyik fikir 'Alah susahnya keadaan aku' memang sampai mati tak puas dengan apa yang kita dah ada. Cuba fikir 'Apa yang aku boleh buat untuk ubah keadaan ni?', but to all dedicated teachers who really teach your students with all your heart, I thank you and keep up the good work!