It has only been a year since I left Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, a private boarding school inconspicuously located on the outskirts of Mantin, a small Hakka town in Negeri Sembilan.
I am not going to lie: those two years were not an easy time for me. My A-Levels were probably the least of my worries.
It doesn’t help that KTJ can be a high-stress environment. Sometimes it feels a bit like you are expected to be outgoing and spirited – two things which I am not.
Looking back, I do think that there are a few things I should have done differently: made a few more friends, broken a few more rules, been a bit more “normal”.
At the same time, I don’t want to be the sort of person that gets peer pressured into changing who I am.
I realise that I often appear or act callous, cold and detached. I don’t express myself very well. The amount of effort it takes me to think up and show emotion is immense – I don’t do it naturally, and, naturally, sometimes I do forget. My face does not always reflect how I feel.
I am still grateful for the opportunity to have been there and for the friends that I have made, and for the experiences that I had. It has only been a year, but it seems like a lifetime ago.
I would not call my time at KTJ the formative years of my life. I would not call it my home away from home for the simple reason that it wasn’t.
But one thing I cannot deny is that it changed me. Perhaps for the better, perhaps not; either way we will have to wait and see.