It’s currently the 26th of November as I’m writing this. Yesterday, I completed my Biology Paper 3 at 3:30 p.m. and officially ended my time as a budak sekolah after an eleven-year roller coaster ride of numerous ups and downs. God, it feels euphoric to walk on this earth as a free woman. Without having to worry about logarithms or alkalis anymore. Absolutely no strings attached to any educational institute.
Kami bagaikan burung yang sudah terlalu lama dikurung di dalam sangkar, yang bebas menerbangkan sayap jua akhirnya untuk melihat keindahan bumi Sang Pencipta ini.
The weather was my favourite kind — the weather that makes me question if I’m really in Malaysia (’cause this country is cloudy most of the time). The sky was clear and brilliant blue, allowing the sun to shine in all its glory over the green faraway hills and transmission towers. I actually had to stop for a moment at the DS to take in the picturesque view for the last time. Subhanallah. After all, in Subang, I will see more concrete than fauna. Maybe it was the heat of the moment, but Alor Gajah had never looked more beautiful to my eyes.
Then came the exhausting part of heaving all my stuff to the car, once Mum arrived. I truly despise packing and unpacking, but I’ve been forced to do so countless times ever since I entered MRSM AG on the 13th of February, 2013. And now I was leaving. The aspuri was completely devoid of my personal belongings and I had exchanged goodbyes with my friends. The only thing I clearly remember leaving was my locker tag back in 5 Actuary, with ‘Loy’ written on it in red marker — which someone will throw away eventually, whether it’s the makcik cleaner or a candidate of SPM 2015.
All evidence of human existence eventually fades away. The future generations aren’t going to know that the members of 5 Actuary held a freaking class party during prep one Friday night in 2014.
One thing almost every student who has ever studied at MRSM AG has aspired to do is, to climb the hill behind the aspuri up until the water tanks. Kiranya macam taiko sejati kalau dapat buat. I was this close to going, during my final days at the maktab, but in the end my skema side won me over. Plus, Dad did specifically tell me not do all those rebellious activities Form 5’s naturally do during SPM.
The last twelve days at the maktab were extremely memorable. The other batches had gone home, and everyone had to move down to ground floor. We picked our own roommates, hogged whichever rooms we wanted, and some of us decided to push the lockers against the walls to conjoin two rooms together. No more going up three flights of stairs to GS Top for me. The DS served superb food and parents brought superb food. There were jamuans almost every non-exam day – I attended jamuan BADAR (ayam masak merah!) and jamuan budak Seni (Magnums!). We had no roll calls, no formal classes, no cleanliness spotchecks. Some wardens didn’t even care about the mass of people who smuggled smartphones in. Sometimes I’d go for lovely morning walks with my gang and capture lots of photos. It was like paradise – except, you know, the threat of SPM constantly hovering over our heads.
But SPM is over.
I didn’t even notice the exact moment I drove out of the maktab because my Mum was talking about makcik cleaners.
It all just disappears, doesn’t it? Everything you are, gone in a moment, like breath on a mirror.
I am Loy. And I always will be.
But times change.
And so must I.
I used to think Loy was the stupidest nickname I had ever been given. Sometimes I still do. But I got it during orientation week when I still despised the maktab with every fibre of my being and wanted to separate my fake personality and my real personality as much as possible. So I gladly accepted that nickname, which my homeroom members gave me due to my sepet eyes (not because of Elfira Loy, though coincidentally my name spelt backwards is Hafira). Plus, I once read this insightful post by John Green about the nicknames our friends give us.
We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.
In Biology we learn that enzymes change the shape of substrates so that they can convert into products that allow the body to function efficiently. Once upon a time MRSM Alor Gajah was synonymous to hell on earth. A notorious nightmare I could not wake up from no matter how hard I tried. Jauhnya aku terbang — siapa sangka? This maktab was where I gained precious memories, unforgettable experiences, and more than anything, character development. This maktab was where I learned to talk in front of 800 students, to converse with adults, to use the proper method of ironing a school tudung, to read ayat Kursi every night before I go to bed, to form meaningful bonds of friendship, to become imam during Friday Zohor prayers, and so much more. This maktab was where I found myself. If I were to tell you the whole story I would have to write a book. It’s been almost 48 hours and I sorely miss everyone who made the past two years, the time of my life. I am a product leaving the active site of the enzyme. I hope my batch who took SPM 2014 will all turn out to become useful products. Amin.
I won’t forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear.
For those of you who watch Doctor Who, my shift from government school to MRSM was like the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration. It was bitterness at its finest. Remorse, hatred, anger and misery fused together to create an inferno. Just like Ten, I ‘didn’t want to go’. It was the worst period of my life.
And now my shift from MRSM to completing my secondary education is exactly like Eleven’s generation. Sedih memang sedih. Terlalu ramai orang yang aku akan rindu. Terlalu banyak kenangan indah yang aku takkan dapat ulang balik. Tapi aku sedia menerima dengan hati yang terbuka. I am ready to proceed to the next stage of this life.
People will call me Arifah again, ahah! Well, hopefully. But…
I will always remember when I was Loy.