Inspirations I Got Throughout My Life that Led Me Here

When I was young, I did not think much about what I wanna be. Life seemed so straight forward and smooth from the eyes of a child like me. During primary school I was quite obsessed about encyclopedia, so I said I wanted to study DINOSAURS because dinosaurs looked cool. Then after sometimes my ambition (teacher loved to ask about what we wanted to do in the future when we grew up, hahaha) changed into scientist (because scientist sounded cool, too! Haha) that I even grew bread mold myself, doing some sort of experiments that I forgot what were them. Then my choice turned into becoming a teacher as both my parents are teacher and it seemed like many of my classmates wanted to be one, too. This dream continued until quite a long time as I grew up.

I was not a very ambitious person in term of my future. Since I was young I wanted to be great, I wanted to have power (how evil that was!) but not in term of my future career. I just knew that I have to get all As for all the exams (my parents have high expectation from me). So basically, I got 7As during my primary school time in UPSR (primary school evaluation test) and got into the nearest and best secondary school without having to choose as if I was destined to study there. During form 3 I got 8As for PMR (lower secondary evaluation) and got into science stream, again without having to consider about any other option. During form 5, the most important examination for all students in Malaysia, I got 8A+s and 2A-s (ah so close to straight A+s) for SPM (certification of evaluation Malaysia). My parents insisted that I should become a teacher since I was young. They kept telling me how good it was to be a teacher with a stable income and more holidays compared to other occupations. At that time I was still uncertain of what course should I choose for tertiary study.

Due to the love towards animals, I thought of being a zoologist. This thought shocked my parents as it was considered as having no future in Malaysia if I chose that course. I gave way to my parents negative opinion on zoology and turned to ecology. Still, ecology was the same as zoology. They were too rare that no one could guarantee jobs after graduated. So I thought of veterinarian as it was close to animals, too. But at the end I gave up my consideration towards veterinarian as I could not make myself cutting into the body of an animal for experiment or what so ever. By chances, I came across the course of Environmental Science when surfing the net and found that this could be what I actually wanted! Again, no one knew about this course, not event consultant at tertiary study exhibitions. Most people I met gave me either neutral or not so positive feedback regarding this course. It was a very desperate period of my life. It was not simply about the choice of my future career, but also the choice whether to be a good girl and follow my parents’ advice or to go the other direction towards my own dream. I thought of succumbing to reality and became someone I meant to be (that was, be a teacher that did not have to worry about anything, just follow the stream).

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I got to know this person named Michael Teoh Su Lim, a very successful youth leader in Malaysia during a motivational talk given by him in a leadership camp. He shared his experience from being a timid ordinary boy to who he is today, confident and shining. He encouraged us to make use of the social media to connect with people all around the world, to share thoughts so that we could improve ourselves. So I started getting active on internet and reached out for people who are into the environmental thing. Then I found that there are actually quite a number of people took environmental studies and are having a good life now including many of my high school seniors. Besides, I metMatthias Gelber the green man who gave me his full support towards the dream of being enrolled in the environmental field. There were a lot more people I met on Facebook and the determination of taking environmental science got stronger and stronger. People running green organizations are not necessarily graduated from environmental studies. They are just from a wide area of fields including Chemical Engineering, Social Sciences, Architecture, Computer Science and the list goes on. To become an environmentalist, we can be anyone! So being an environmental students, we surely can do much much more!

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Being away from home during matriculation gave me the space to really think about that. I did become discouraged sometimes but I still managed to get myself back into mood. I was not active in any green event or organisation at that time due to the limitation of transportation and there was no way to declare myself as an environmental person since I had done nothing and proven nothing. Choosing University Putra Malaysia (the only public university with an independent faculty for Environmental Studies) as my first choice was the greatest decision I made as a student. And yes, I got into this university with four pointer of my matriculation results proudly, currently studying my dream course.

With high expectation, I came into this university and somehow thought that it was not what I really expected. Slowly I drifted into a comfort zone and just be a normal university student for the whole first semester. However, the subject Man and Environment taught by Dr. Mohd Yusoff did expose me to the green organizations that work hard on raising public awareness towards environmental issues. That was when I first got to know about International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM) which was also the first official green event that I attended. And this led to my first green article submitted to Malaysian Environmental Sustainable Youth Movement (MESYM) website. Since then I make use of my long forsaken blog to share my life in university and also make a copy for MESYM website which is the compilation of green events happening around Malaysia. For this semester, the trip to Lake Chini by various lecturers of my faculty was another boost of motivation for me that I am sure this path is the one I want.

The real inspiration that really gave me the push appeared during my second semester. That person was not someone great like those I mentioned above. I am sure that many of my coursemates remember the day I was very pissed off by a senior student of my residential college who scolded me because I advised her to save water when washing clothes. At that time I was totally shocked. Education does not actually make a person more civilised, it has nothing to do with awareness. It really hurted me (I am a very sensitive person) that out of a sudden i decided to change. I wanted to put my commitment into this environment thing instead of just saying about it.

Now I am an active volunteer and article contributor for MESYM. I wanted to do more than just being an environmental student who eventually becomes part of the workforce in our country. I wanted to bring up and motivate all the environmental students to let them know that they actually worth more than who they are. Together we can do greater things and one day we can stand out proud on this land in Malaysia.

 

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MESYM.com is a crowd-sourced platform and a living database for environmental movements in Malaysia. There are many good actions being done out there. Our goal is to bring them together. We connect the green dots.