Back in 2003, when I graduated from Mara College Banting (MCB) with a diploma in International Baccalaureate(IB) , I have roughly about 7 months of holiday before going to Australia. The IB programme was initially designed for students who are going to universities in Ireland and United Kingdom (UK). Therefore the IB programme in MCB finished in the middle of the year and gave their students 2-3 months before starting their studies in UK or Ireland. Most if not all universities, at Ireland and UK start their intake on August/September.
At that time, there were only two Australian universities available to MCB graduates, namely University of Melbourne and University of Monash. I am among the first batch from MCB who are going to study at Melbourne Uni.
My friends who were going to study at University of Monash, Australia had their 3 months orientation programme starting from September that year. Their orientation programme is held at Melbourne, Australia. I guess at that time, I felt a bit disappointed to learn that my friends at Monash were having fun and getting allowance at the same time whereas I have an extra long holiday after finishing my study at MCB.
So, what did I do at that time? After few weeks discussing with our MCB principal, and confirming that I don't have any similar orientation programme similar to Monash Uni, thus began the era of me looking for various sorts of jobs.
I initially planned to work in a factory but the working condition and the low salary immediately turn me away from the job. Then, I thought of working as a cashier in a nearby petrol station but the position was not vacant at that time.
My mom suggested to me to work as a substitute teacher in her school. So, I took the opportunity and immediately got the job. I had to teach the entire Form Four in the school from the topmost class to the last class in the Form Four. It was an interesting yet challenging experience for me.
The last class in Form Four were filled by students who were not motivated to study or even came to the school. They had to come to school because their family forced them to come. They don't have any insight on the importance of having education for their own future. Compare this situation with the topmost class students who were quite motivated to study and willing to do lots of homework to improve their knowledge.
I had to be flexible in teaching these students and need to adjust the level of teaching according to their level of interest and knowledge. It was certainly an eye opener for me to learn the skills to teach students who are not motivated to study in the first place.
After two months of teaching, I retired from the job when the original teacher came back from her maternity leave. Thus, I was jobless again. I had to look for another job but what could I do then at that time? I had only SPM certificate and IB diploma, and hardly anyone knows what is IB programme anyway.
If I'm not mistaken, I retired as a teacher on middle of September and I had few months to go before I started my study at Melbourne Uni. Waiting for my flight to Melbourne was certainly a lesson in patience for me. Doing nothing during an extra long holiday is not something that suits me. I need to do something interesting. Otherwise I will be extremely bored killing all those free time.
After early retirement from teaching those students, I had to stay at home and look after my two younger sisters. My youngest sister was only 3 years old and her older sister was only 5 years old. Early in the morning, I had to sent them to a neighbour who will be looking after them and pick them up in the afternoon. Both of my parents are working and no one is at home to look after them. I'm not qualified enough to look after young children :)
It was during those days that I had the chance to learn how to cook. I never cooked any meals before. Hmm, looking back at those days, it was funny to see how I approach cooking. I always think cooking as a chemistry experiment where you add few of stuffs together and boil them in a frying pan. To get the taste right, you need the right amount of stuff and this ingredients need to be balanced. I constantly tried to find the right chemistry equation for different type of meals but I failed miserably in the end :) There are too many variables that need to be adjusted to get the right taste and it was certainly will take me ages if I were to write equations for all the meals. In the end, I had to use my own taste bud to adjust the ingredients.
This is an already long entry for Year Zero. I guess I will stop here and continue later whenever I have free time :)