So, this past Wednesday (June 6th, 2018) marks exactly three year since June 6th, 2015. This date is when I officially graduated from high school at ST Andrews International School Bangkok (STA). So…today, I decided to take you all on a time travel, looking back at my high school life, going all the way back to year 7, where it all began. Ready? Let’s go!
My high school life, I must say, was a fun time, but there were dark moments, and…I mean a significant number of them. As I mentioned in my last post, my time at high school was not a time of sunshine and total happiness, nor it was a time of complete darkness and misery. It was…I would say in between.
To start off, let’s go all the way back to August of 2008, which is when year 7, and indeed my high school life, truely began.
Year 7 (2008-2009)
The first year of high school…I would say it’s not bad. Is it fun? Well…not that much as there was hardly any trips and there were no residential trips. Trolls did exist, and…I must say they’re quite nasty to some extent, though what they exactly did to me…I can’t remember as back then I didn’t really keep records. This was the time that I studied at Trinity International School.
Year 8 (2009-2010)
Year 8 is where my high school life starts to become more interesting. Finally there was a residential trip, which I’ve ranked as the best event of 2010. It was my first year at STA, and…I remember I actually enjoyed it. The residential trip was really fun, and…I mean really fun. Lots of games/fun activities throughout the day, all of them were team-based. Though I think it could have been a lot better if I wasn’t put into a team full of suckers…
Trolls did exist, just like back in year 7, but they took on a different form, mainly using rumors as means to annoy me, and this pretty much set the stage of what was to come and haunt me for the rest of my high school life.
Year 9 (2010-2011)
Year 9 continues the enjoyable experience of year 8, thanks to the annual residential trip in January. Like the year 8 one, it’s really fun, but this one was unique because I got to travel on an overnight train. Team-based activities form the core of this residential trip just like year 8’s, but…I think my team did somewhat better, I can’t remember exactly. Due to safety concerns, I actually ended up participating in some activities twice, as substitutions for a set of activities that everyone else in my team participated.
Trolls continue to play a role during this time, but at this point they still largely resorted to annoying me directly in school, but this would soon change. Once again, spreading rumors about me was their main tool to get me.
Year 10 (2011-2012)
Year 10 was, I must say, really fun, primarily because I got to go on more trips, thanks to ASDAN. The year 10 residential trip in January of 2012 was still as fun as the year before, and this marked the first time I recorded photos and videos with an Apple device, the iPod Touch 4. Team-based activity still formed the core of this trip, but it seems that they were based on more scientific stuff, instead of just pure games.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, year 10 marked the beginning of IGCSE, so academically things started to get tougher, but on the other hand I was able to opt out of some subjects I do not like, such as history, biology and physics (the decision not to study physics would later come to haunt me when I took principles of physics at MUIC). Also this was the first time I get to study a business course, business studies. This would eventually lay the bases for me to further study business in IB and, eventually, lead to that decision to change major to international business.
Year 10 marked the beginning of the big shift in terms of the channels the trolls used to annoy me. Beginning this time I started using Facebook more often, and soon this became the main target for trolls, which did not stop until year 11. Directly annoying me in school still took place, and moreover the trolls seem to have linked that to Facebook. This was the beginning of…I must say, my darkest moments of high school.
Year 11 (2012-2013)
If there was a year in high school that was the darkest, year 11 is the one. No residential trips thanks to IGCSE exams, and continued annoyances by the trolls. It seems that they have shifted back to directly annoying me in school, in combination with a range of other tactics that I can’t remember exactly.
However, things took on a very nasty, brutal and dark turn around May/June 2013, which is when I started using ask.fm, after I came across a link to it on my Facebook feed. Being a curious person I am, I decided to give the service a try. I basically just signed up, and…tried out some of the features ask.fm offers, and…I decided to put a link to my account up on Facebook and see what happens. Given that trolls by that point have practically given up annoying me on Facebook, I would not expect a lot of reactions, but it was the flood of anonymous questions that shocked me. Within a matter of days, the number of questions I’ve responded to skyrocketed into like triple digits and I can tell that those questions were from the trolls because of the language used and the content of the questions. This became an issue so much that, in early June of that year, facing pressures from some of my friends, I decided to temporary disable my ask.fm account. Oh, and just to make matters worse, the passing of one of my friends who actually helped me to settle in during my early days at STA sent shock waves across the whole class.
Academically, year 11 was a tough year because of the IGCSE exams (especially the mock exams). But in the end I ended up doing only a few exams as I’ve taken some already back in October/November of 2012.
Year 12 (2013-2014)
From darkest to brightest…yeah, that’s the best way to describe year 12. Four residential trips…that’s totally amazing, and all of them were quite fun. The one in January 2014 was like the best. It’s just…really, really fun, and it’s pretty much a throwback to year 9 where all activities were games and don’t relate to any particular subjects. Once again, all of these activities were team-based and I think my team did just fine, although due to safety concerns I got to do some activities twice as substitutes for another set of activities that other people in my team participated, just like in year 9.
But perhaps the most interesting residential from this time was the one in March because it’s a residential trip that covers two subjects, and…the accommodation, and in fact all of the activities, changed drastically between the two subjects. From staying in a proper hotel in the city center and doing questionnaires and surveys about tourism and globalization to staying in a remote forest lodge up in the mountains doing ecological surveys and scientific research…
Academically, since year 12 was the start of the IB Diploma Program, things started to get tough, although I only have to take six subjects and once again, I got to opt out the ones I don’t want, particularly Thai and chemistry. Towards the end of the academic year, internal assessments and Extended Essay started to kick in, which makes things even more tough.
Trolls still thrive, and…the assault on my ask.fm account has resumed, albeit from time to time. There would be a brief burst of troll messages, and then things would go quiet for a while, until another burst of troll messages begins. However a big change from previous years is that trolls by this time resorted to using multiple rumors, or changing rumors from time to time, instead of sticking to a single rumor for extended period of time.
Year 13 (2014-2015)
Year 13 was…uh, not a good year but it was also a sad year, primarily because it was my last year as full time student at STA and the year only lasted two semesters (excluding the IB exams). There was only one residential trip, and it was to be the last one that lasted for two nights or more. And when I said last one, I really mean it. Since then I have not been able to join any residential trips that lasted more than a single night, no matter how hard I tried.
The reason that year 13 was a sad year because it was time to say good-bye to all of my teachers who have taught me, and also to say good-bye to all of my classmates, some of them I knew since like year 8, in addition to some other students in younger years that I’ve met and eventually became friends.
Academically, year 13 is where deadlines converged. Internal assessments have to be handed in, Extended Essay have to be submitted. IB exams are also well in the air.
Trolls…yeah, if there is a reason for year 13 to be particularly nasty and brutal, it is the trolls. Of course, rumors were still used, but they have turned to annoy me in forms that more or less resembled what I experienced back in year 7 – using physical means to annoy me (possibly even including physical violence from time to time). Flooding my ask.fm inbox with troll messages continued and even intensified. Eventually things got so bad that, faced with pressures from everyone, I decided to call it quits with ask.fm. Finally the almost six years long ordeal with the trolls came to an end on April 24th, 2015 when everyone officially went on study leave (in practice, activities from the trolls has stopped since the Songkran holiday of that year began in early April). Year 13 officially came to an end on June 6th, 2015 and with that, the Sun has officially set on my high school life.
Oh, there’s one last thing I totally forgot to talk about. The CAS activities.
I must say, CAS is what makes my IB Diploma Program enjoyable. Two of the four residential trips in year 12 can be directly linked to CAS, and the only reason that I even have a residential trip in year 13 is because of CAS. In addition, CAS has allowed me to participate in debates, particularly the model United Nations (MUN). It was really fun, and I enjoyed all the conferences that I attended.
Today, three years after high school graduation, I do still miss all the fun residential trips, and in general, those long residential trips that I had once so enjoyed. And…I’m still longing for another long residential trip lasting several nights.
So…yeah, I guess that’s it for now…