“Two debate teams and I’m in one of the team. The first reaction I got was, “OH MY GOD”. We got a topic about the functions of weed but back then, I didn’t even know what that was. I thought, if we got the topic, I’ll die.

I was extremely nervous on the day of the debate competition because I saw there were many strong debaters around me like they’re competitive and had a strong grasp of English. I wanted to pull out the day before the competition and I told this to my mom about it. But she told me, “You know what? Just go for it. The least you can do is be silent. That’s all. It’s not going to be that bad. It’ll be an experience for you”.

So, in the end, I just went on with it.

Surprisingly, I became one of the best debaters for the competition. I was the second speaker but that surprised me. I guess it was just luck. It’s because of the topic that my team received was about whether celebrities are a good impact on society. So, I believe partially it’s since the topic became my advantage, and another part was because of me. It’s just that I didn’t believe in myself.

Even then, I wasn’t sure of myself whether I was able to make it through the competition or at least not embarrassing myself. This is because, in debates, every speaker mattered as there’s limited time to link the points from the previous speaker to the next. So, if you can’t rebut anything during the debate, it’ll be extremely embarrassing for you.

There weren’t any preparations before the debate because it’s an impromptu debate and held interclass. So, my team had like 10 minutes to prepare everything and we also watched some Youtube videos. It didn’t help that much.

Plus, I went to a Chinese speaking school and I wasn’t that fluent in English. So, I grew scared and nervous around people who are fluent in English. But I’m glad I started taking steps towards improving my English afterward. I’m aware that English is one of the important languages that brings you everywhere so in the process of it, I eventually build my confidence as well.

I learned that you shouldn’t deny your own potential. Give it a try and you might shine. For me, I guess I have the awareness to pursue my dreams and goals, but I was just lacking confidence in myself. But I realized this is a learning process. From now on, I’ll try and grab every opportunity while I can.

Honestly, it’s okay to not be good at everything in life. We’re just not born to be perfect. I don’t blame my younger self for not being confident enough. I know that without those regrets, I wouldn’t be who I am today. The regret I felt back then became the driving force that created this motivation in me. I am motivated to try out anything and everything that I am interested in.

Nevertheless, I’m still working on building my confidence.”

Photostory and edited by Elly Zulaikha

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