It was a drizzly Sunday evening at Kampung Gopuh. I was at my grandparents’ home, eating soto with my cousin, Marion, who had just completed her PMR. Being a typical inquisitive teenager, Marion asked me a question, “Kakak, should I go for science or art stream?”
I’ve had the same dilemma when I was her age. I attended a private school and we were only given two choices; science or art stream, and nothing in between. I scored straight As for my PMR and I’d thought that I was smart enough to survive science stream. At that particular time, my ego was bigger than my heart and therefore, most of the choices I made were based on the former.
But, all along I knew I wanted to read law.
And I struggled with the choice I made. I was living like a hermit. I sacrificed the opportunity to represent my state in track and field. I cried almost everyday because I could not understand how additional mathematics worked. Despite failing my science subjects exam after exam, I still told myself to endure and studied (and prayed) really hard that I would pass the big exam–which I did. But what’s the worst that could happen if I’d made the wrong choice, of all the possible choices? Nothing. I would learn my lessons and move on. In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t the best decision to choose science stream over art. But it made me realize that anything science related was, and still is, not for me. I struggled with the choice I made then, but it affirmed my choice to read law thereafter, a decision I made wholeheartedly and not propelled by my king-sized ego.
Marion, this dilemma you’re going through right now, I experienced it 13 years ago. If you were to ask me now, I would go for choices that’ll make me happy–choices that align with my heart and beliefs. Life is more than about choosing between science or art stream. It is full of hard choices, and the bigger they are, the more options we have and the harder they get. Learn to trust yourself when making choices. Life has a way of working out. Even when we make the worst possible choice, we still have the freedom and opportunity to make adjustments. It is a free world. Make bold choices, it is alright to make mistakes.
Marion, this is for you.
Rafeeqa is a young professional, residing in Kota Kinabalu. Naturally a caring person and deeply rooted in her hometown, she constantly strives to stay actively involved in the community. She has a flare for vintage floral pattern dresses and classic karaoke love songs.