It was early last year when I was given the chance to go back to SASER and to speak with the new generations of SASER students or Saserians. It has been 4 years since I left the school and after all the years that have passed, I can see that most of things at SASER have changed. Walking around the academic buildings and hostels, it reminisced me of happy and sad memories that I had with my brothers in 4/5 Iota (which no longer exist) and D205 Kediaman Jebat back in those days in 2012 and 2013.
I can still remember, not vividly though, that I was asked by the Unit Bimbingan dan Kaunseling (UBK) SASER, to speak to the newly registered Form 1 students for their orientation. It was a new experience for the school and even more to me, to be speaking to Form 1 students since we never had Form 1 students before. Nevertheless, I was grateful that I was not alone at that time since I have invited some friends to join me for the session. It went smoothly as we separate the session into 2 parts. The first part was the ‘boring torture’ where I shared my stories and showed pictures of me back in those days in SASER to the Form 1 Students.
The second part was where we separated the boys into smaller groups and each group had one or two facilitators, who were basically my batchmates. During this session, I was moved by the questions asked by the boys. Well you could understand how they feel since they are only Form 1 and entering a fully boarding school is not easy when you are that age. You are not even fully a teenager yet, from staying at home and getting everything prepared for you to a place where you need to be independent in managing your life and your own time to play and study, all by yourself. It was never easy even for the Form 4 students when we were in those days. However, coming from an all-boys school myself when I was in Form 1 to Form 3, before going to SASER, I could share my experiences on the brotherhood spirit and encouraged them to see the bigger picture of where they could be in the next 5-10 years, post-SASER. This experience I had with the boys taught me the significance of humility and empathy.
To understand someone’s struggle, you need to put yourself in their shoes. Not just by listening to their stories, but you need to dissect their fears and to carefully choose the right words so that you would not demotivate them even further. On top of that, you also need to be humble to them and act as a brotherly figure to guide them, not to enforce ‘principles’ that you believe into their minds. Being humble will also make you more approachable and easier for the boys to share their stories and ask you questions.
Other than my session with the Form 1 students, I was also given an opportunity to speak to last year’s Form 5 students and I thanked UBK SASER for asking me to come back to SASER for the second time that year. The session was relatively simple like the one we did for the Form 1 students but this time I touched more on brotherhood and how SASEROBA could support them in their post-SASER lives through networking and supporting each other. This is crucial as SASEROBA is a newly launched organisation and without dedicated support from every batch, it would not bring that much of an impact to the whole SASER community. In this session, we also separated the boys into field of interests and future career paths. We shared insights on those topics with them in smaller groups according to their field of interests so that we could engage to a more specific audience and they could ask questions if they had anything that concerned them. This session taught me that there is a bigger purpose in life and that is to give back sincerely to the community without expecting anything in return. Honestly, I believe that we all need to start #givingback to the community, no matter how small it is because somebody out there, somewhere in the world is always in need of guidance and help.
The journey to find our own life purpose can be an endless one but once you figure it out or at least you know that you are on the right path, then you have served yourself and others as well, quoting Mark Twain:
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
With the intention to improve the way we had our sessions in mind and based on my experiences with the boys, me and a few friends came up with a project called SASEROBA International Affairs Summer Outreach (I know the name is quite long but you know how it is…) where we had a one-day event back in SASER last July that covered nearly the entire population of Saserians from Form 1, Form 4 to Form 5 students. I will be writing again here on this blog for the second part of #givingback to SASER series.
Thank you for spending your time reading my humble piece here and see you again in the second part of the series!
Please share your thoughts on this post and the experiences you have in #givingback to SASER or any other platforms and what you have learnt from those experiences in the comment section below.