I just graduated from high school, along with my batch mates. Do I know how to describe it? Was it the happiest day of my life? Well, I felt so fulfilled. At last, school uniform days are over.

As usual, in any occasion that involves saying adieu to people, I walk out as quickly as I can because I just hate goodbyes. I've always been a huge crier as well. I saw many of my peers taking pictures, also with the teachers, from the balcony, when I was about to take a picture with my parents taken in a photo-booth. How I wish I could do that. I wish I could ask my parents to wait for several minutes and allow me to circulate around the room and make memories into photos. But I just never want to say goodbye.

I was overwhelmed by the thoughts of leaving my classmates who have been around for four years, batch mates that I got to share my middle school and high school years with, and of course, my former teachers. I almost cried thinking of them. But the one that made me start to cry first, was my first class adviser in Binus Serpong. We were walking on the aisle, supposed to shake hands with all the teachers and we were congratulated by all of them. It was another great feeling that I had that morning. And there she was, on the end of the long line of teachers, hugging her former students. I stood waiting for my turn to be hugged and tears were just secreted in instant. She was my parent too. Whenever I fail or succeed, I think of her too. I want to do her proud as badly as I want to make both of my parents proud.

What did she do to make me feel that way toward her? The impact that she gave, is what has supported me for almost six years.
She picked me as a class secretary.
Here's an explanation to why it still matters so much to me.

I was very certain that I would do, one thing in my life: the arts. Be it in piano, singing, violin, choir, or theatre, any forms of performing arts.
After I hit puberty, everything changed. It happened almost simultaneously with the length of time when I was supposed to discover, instead of losing my identity; when I was supposed to open up to the world but I hid myself instead because I did not feel good whether I was good enough or not.
At that time, I lost my direction. Re-navigate? I was around 12 or 13-- I was clueless. I spent days whining, regretting, and blaming others. Then I started to blame myself, which ended up in a self-hate. To make things worse, I was bullied and it just made everything that I ever worked for, seemed to be useless if people would still identify me, the way that those bullies did. It made me value myself less. I was even younger when it happened. How on earth was I supposed to know how to handle those things? Lady Gaga or Glee did not exist yet. Nobody taught me how to work out my differences. As a result, I created a distance with everyone that I knew.

Somehow, she seemed to be unaffected by my initial responses to all the bad things that happened to me. She appreciated me keeping down all the agendas and reminder in the student's diary which has been a habit of mine. She also noticed that I was able to keep all my notes, papers organized-- I always got a response that it was quite a surprise to anyone I've known. All of sudden she picked me to be a class secretary. I earned a token of appreciation for it. So I guess it just came down to her that I could give a little help for my classmates with all the list of tasks and deadlines.

I have continued to get used to being asked about when to submit an assignment, keeping a group-work paper, until my final year in high school. These sound like little, insignificant things but considering that I was severely struck down by negativity, these things have helped in the recovery.

Now, it's no longer a habit. It is my way of life. In any field where I work, I hope to provide others with my, never-ending obsession with organized papers, neat schedule and my eagerness to make an improvement. I have decided to pursue a major, and a job, that would enable me to keep track of financial transactions, and a huge part of the requirement that should be met consists of being trustworthy and organized, aside from detail-oriented.

As I started to see her again days before the graduation and to the last time I she'd ever see me as a student, I realized that she was the one who made me feel that I was appreciated and I could do something else; she was the one who taught me that I could be judged also because I kept on doing things that could help others, not for a mere first impression. She was the one who put a more meaningful definition of trust from others and being trustworthy. She was the one who initiated the process of self-appreciation. It's hard to keep on loving myself but I'll achieve it wholly soon. She encouraged me to join student council, which brought me to a perspective that there are people who were very supportive and waiting for a growth in different aspects of my life.

She was the one who has given me a new direction, so that I did not have to live with regrets, that I could start over and somewhere along my journey, I can always find time to enjoy my first true love again. I'll just do whatever it takes for me to use up the raw materials that I've had, and work my ass off in the university just for me to be more purposeful and handy, not only just keeping track of things. I am eager to be given greater roles, life-affirming challenges and better meaning and appreciation of who I am.

To anyone who reads this: that is the power of a teacher-- generally, an educator or an adult. Homework and project irritate us, but they can do things that change one's life. Now, I understand what "Guru Pahlawan Tanpa Tanda Jasa" means.

After what she's done to me, I am pretty sure that she is one that people who I'll definitely share the result of my life-long struggle and hard-work.

This worked like a domino effect. One thing leads to another. I went from mediocre in Mathematics to almost achieving 100 in grade 8 final Mathematics exam. I have improved my English skills, which I never imagined that I could. I was involved in several organizations and it was a huge contribution to my learning process. I spent my break practicing violin by myself and I finally joined my school's orchestra. I was not able to swim but I finally could, for at least swimming stroke, for less than 100 metres. Heck, I would still be afraid of 180-cm depth pool if it weren't only for a grade in Physical Education. I have finally improved my score in Chemistry, a subject that I recently enjoyed, frankly. I tried to audition for a college in the U.S.-- a huge deal, but there was no pressure and I just enjoyed the experience and glad that I tried. Que sera, sera.

The bottom-line is, that I have been dared to do more for six years. Thanks to her. And I'll miss her more than I ever.


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