Through Projek Kalsom, I have witnessed how powerful inspirations can be. This is a story that I always share with my “adik-adik Kalsom”. It is my personal story but I hope it will touch the lucky hearts:
After the SPM result was announced, I was lucky to have various options in pursuing my tertiary education. I followed the mainstream and applied for medicine. Honestly, at that time, I was clueless of what I wanted to be. Later, I found myself sitting in an interview for a medical scholarship. The interview was conducted in English. I can’t really remember what the questions were but one of them was related to dengue. In response to the question, I was trying to tell them the ways to prevent aedes mosquitoes from spreading virus.
Unfortunately, my English proficiency was poor. I could not even utter a complete meaningful sentence in English to answer the question. I felt like a loser. I did not manage to secure any scholarship during that time. It is peculiar how I scored an A+ for English subject in SPM but could not even speak proper English. The main problem was that I was good at reading and writing which were the main skills being tested in SPM but I rarely spoke English as I scarcely had the chance to practice speaking the language. The situation was the same when I participated in the News Straits Times Spell-It-Right challenge. I did get a place at the state level but when I was interviewed, I could not speak without producing lengthy gap fillers.
Anyhow, I managed to pursue my tertiary education in one of the local universities in Malaysia. I did life science. At that time, I found myself struggling to understand Mathematics. I could not even solve a simple differentiation or integration question which I had mastered and could solve when I was in Form 5. Biology, which was once my favourite subject, also failed to intrigue me. My result was horrible. I passed my foundation studies but it was not good enough.
The only thing that I managed to gain from there was English speaking proficiency. I was lucky that the system streamed us into classes according to our English reading proficiency. I was put into a group of students who are good in English and luckily they proudly use English in their daily conversations. I started slowly by gathering my courage to speak although I tend to make grammatical errors here and there most of the time. After awhile, I started to feel comfortable speaking in English and eventually, after day-by-day practice, I improved my speaking skill.
When I was struggling to finish my foundation studies, I got the inspiration to be an English teacher because I do not want people to face the same problem as I did of which they can read in English but are not able to converse in the language well. This happened a few years back. I am currently completing my degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). I am also thankful, that my life was led to this path. If I did not do my foundation studies, I would not learn and gain mastery to speak in English. If I did not decide to do TESL, I do not think that I will apply to volunteer for Projek Kalsom back in 2013. If they did not pick me as one of the facilitators for Projek Kalsom 19, I would not be one of the committee members today. These experiences made me believe that everything happens for a reason.