Oct 19, 2016

The ruined Graduation

The shirt and the pair of slacks are neatly folded on the sofa in the living room. The brand-new pair of black shoes are still in the shoe box. Not the typical shiny black shoes where they go clickity-clack when you walk over the cold hard floor. The soles are thick and they made no noise whatsoever. The tie is ready. The jacket is also ready. Socks? Any two of them in the drawers will do. 

The plan is to depart from home after Friday's subuh prayer. That is in two day's time. I think it is quite an ambitious plan, seeing that the five of us will include both of my sisters. If my dad and I are alike in terms of wanting to do everything way too early and hate to be late, my two sisters are the polar opposite. Knowing my big sister especially, I surmised that we will only be able to leave the house by 8 am. If we are lucky.

Z said that graduation day is a big day in everyone's life. People feel the happiest on that day because it means a lot to them - to graduate from the university. But I don't feel happy at all. I don't feel excited at all. The thoughts of donning the black robe, lining up and walking on the stage, shaking hand and getting the scroll from someone I don't even know or care about, smiling and later throwing the graduation cap to the air (reality check: no one is dumb enough to do that stupid thing we all know only happened in the movies) do not ignite anything inside of me. 

If anything, six years (the first year was repeated twice as I failed my exams) of studying in medical school brought nothing but misery to me. When the topic of graduating came up from my family, the above situations were not what I was thinking at that time. Tonight as I drove myself home from work, again I remembered that on the day after tomorrow I will graduate. But instead of feeling elated, I was surprised that my tears easily came out. The same wretched feelings just poured out and I was confused.

I feel like this feeling will never go away, no matter how happy I will be in the future. I can still remember the crushing weight on my chest when I was studying. It was true despair. It was a feeling of helplessness so strong it paralyses you from the head to the toe. It broke me down before. I was never healed. I am still broken.

Whenever I think of those miserable years, I feel lonely as ever. No one can possibly understand how disappointed I am in myself. I feel like a fraud. I got lucky. Simple explanation there is. I just simply got lucky. How I had to struggle for months to understand one basic knowledge. How dismayed and angry I was when those efforts crumbled away as I was stammering, throwing useless bits and chunks when asked by the lecturers and losing it completely. How I wished I could be like the people I envy a lot - those who are excel at things that they do by simply existing to do it.

Whenever I think of those waiting-for-results days, the same shitty palpitations and the cold sweats come again. How I trembled at everything I do on those days, my mind went blank, I walked around but I saw nothing, I ate my food slowly tasting nothing, went around aimlessly at home, not remembering doing anything. I still remember the slow walk on the Park after I failed my Progress 2 exams in Stage 1 back in Newcastle. I was heartbroken. But at that time I was exceedingly ignorant. And a fool. But a greater fool I became then when I failed the resit exam in the summer of 2010.

That began the long and a new way of living for me. I have tasted true defeat, and I punished myself severely when I repeated my first year in Johor. I chose to start all over, away from people that I met in UK. I was a coward. I know I couldn't face them again. I dared not to think of daring myself to mingle with those crowd again because by then I knew and I believed that I am a failure. Over and over I told myself and those who listened that I chose repeating my study year back in Malaysia because I believe that Newcastle could not provide me the right atmosphere for me to study properly. But it's a lie. Even back then I think people already know it's just an excuse. An excuse to justify my failure.

Over the years, there were many incidents that humiliated me. I discovered more and more of my weaknesses that make me doubt myself. I become easily prone to thought blocks, especially when I am nervous. I was told by someone that I have to be realistic. I told him about my study. About how despite the amount of effort I put in, the results are not as what I expected. He said not everyone is the same. If I can't get a Merit, aim for Satisfactory only. He never know how deeply brokenhearted I was when he told me that. He never know how his answer had shaped me to be what I am now.

And on this Friday, as I walk on the stage towards the one who will shake my hand and hand me the scroll, I will not walk while smiling. I don't think I can. To walk across the stage is to acknowledge the misery that I have endured, to reestablish the belief that I alone know, how my life has been ruined by the school and how it can be trampled worse with more ferocity upon entering housemanship later. 

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