Hi, My Name is Syed Jaffar Abbas, I’m 17 Years old and I’m currently studying in A2 (A-Levels) at Saint Mary’s Academy, Lalazar. In the past two years I’ve been bestowed with countless awards and accolades, I’m currently the Head-Boy of this amazing Institute, The Head of the SMAMUN Society, A Director in MMUNA (Multan Model United Nations Assosiation), An Aspiring Singer, and recently I got a chance to Captain the A-Levels Football Team here. But, Other than that I’m an everyday teenager, my life hasn’t always been filled with such successes, Thing have taken a turn for the better only recently.
When I was in Pre-School I was diagnosed with Asthma, It’s not anything serious but It did cause me a lot of problem growing up. In Asthma, A person’s bronchial tract gets obstructed and this leads to episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. It can easily be triggered by smoke, smog and in my case even dust. If you’re exposed to these for a long period of time, a person might suffer an Asthma attack that can lead to them being hospitalized for a week or more, depending on the condition. Now In Order to control the condition the patients are given Inhalers that are usually filled with a medication named “Ventolin”, Now since I had asthma at such a young age my body hadn’t been fully prepared for this treatment and I started experiencing the side-effects, some notable ones were tremors in my hands and having a fast speech rate/Stuttering in my speech.
As I was in preschool, I was at the age that I had to learn how to write and with these tremors in my hands it was almost impossible for my teachers to teach me how to write properly and this lead to me having a very messy handwriting, The tremors after my medication were changed after a year or two but had already done enough damage and I maintained that messy handwriting and the stuttering became a habit. These Asthma attacks become more common as my Dad got transferred to Lahore, a city known for its smog, at this time I’m in 3rd Grade and things aren’t looking bright, I was hospitalized after every couple of months, I fell back in schoolwork and got average grades, I was ridiculed my some of my teachers about my handwriting and how I talk in such a fast manner that its impossible to understand me, I still remember the remark my History/Geography Teacher once gave checking my exams “Son, I’ve studied Sanskrit and its easier to read than what you’ve written over here”. I was terrible in sports, I couldn’t play football, or cricket, or even badminton for that matter, because I started to wheeze and got tired easily. I was never a popular kid because in the age between 8-14, If you’re not good at games, you’re not considered good enough, my only consolation were novels and books that intrigued me and science which fascinated me.
Now Don’t get this wrong, I wasn’t a loner, I managed to make a lot of friends but I could never join them in all their activities because of my condition. This carried on till 6th Grade, The Same Bad Handwriting (With Meagre Improvement), The same fast speech and stuttering, the Bad grades, Me Being terrible in sports etc. etc. etc. , but then things started looking like they were getting better, because in 6th we started writing essays and the best were to be read in front of the class. As I had a love of reading in those days, I was filled with Ideas and was always one of the chosen few who had to read their work, I took pride in this and what I noticed was that whenever I read in English, I didn’t stutter at all and my speech rate was reasonably normal, this carried on until in 7th Grade my English Teacher enrolled me in a ‘Elocution Contest’ , Now this was a fiasco, we were told to recite it in an excellent manner but since I was hospitalized I didn’t get to come to the rehearsals and managed to completely screw up my reciting, I won nothing that evening, But I thought I had lost all of my confidence, but my parents and english teacher didn’t seem to give up on me and a few months after that, the same teacher enrolled me in a debating contest, My Mother wrote a magnificent speech for me, I still remember the topic “Media, Is the cause of the Problems in our Society”, I was standing against this, and due to the preparation my mother gave me, I won first prize in this event. That win made me brim with confidence and made me feel determined that I wasn’t average, and made me work harder.
In 8th Grade we Shifted to Karachi, There I joined ‘O-Levels’ and although I didn’t take part in any contests of that sort (I was really shy in those days, I was bullied a lot) , my main focus was to make my writing and speech understandable (even though I could control my speech rate when I spoke in english, when it came to normal conversations I was still the same and had to repeat myself numerous times) .I also wanted make my grades better than ever and things payed off after a while and In my 9th Grade CIE examinations, I managed to get 3 A’s in all 3 subjects I gave. In 10th Grade, we Shifted to Multan. The City in which I realized my true potential. Now, at this time the School which I joined was the Army Public School Multan, Cambridge Section, Here Well.. How Do I put this in words, I was enrolled in a class that had 8 Girls, and Zero Boys, Now Imagine this, Here’s me, A person who is low in confidence, has low self esteem and is thrown into a situation in which he has no idea how react, I was always in boys school and I was shocked at having to communicate with the opposite gender. Ha Ha! Luckily, things weren’t as scary as they seemed, I made friends and my classmates tried their best to accommodate me and crack me out of my shell, It was a lot of work I assume because I vividly remember me sitting idly in the front of the class, not saying a word and just staring into the walls for the first three or four months.
At The end of the year, I had the second highest Grades in the School and was taken into Beaconhouse Multan with a Huge Scholarship for my A-Levels. And What Did you know, I hadn’t experienced a Single Asthma Attack that year, and to date for that matter! My Asthma had died down and things were looking up. Now In Beaconhouse, I tried to trial in football and seeing as all the guys there were friendly, I managed to pick up a few tricks and started playing pretty well, (No Wheezing), In Fact I had maintained my stamina to such a degree that I was one of the last few who still had energy left in him at the end of the 90 Minutes. Now, I admit I was terrible in this sport when I began, but our school’s Football Team Vice Captain always showed his support for me, gave me occasional runs in the team (It must have been pretty frustrating for him because I made so many mistakes but he never seemed to show any sign of irritation and this helped me build in confidence), and slowly yet steadily I became a better player than I ever was, I played as a fullback and because of fast pace my teammates started calling me ‘Bellerin’ after the fullback who plays in my favorite team in English Football.
Now Other than in Sports, I tried out Debating and was selected to be part of the the MUN team that was going to take part in SadiqMUN, Bahawalpur. Here, I wanted to show to the world that I was talented and with the Constant support and important tips given to me by my great friends Moiz (President MOMUN’16) and Moeen (Secretary General BMMUN’16) I won a Honorary Mention in my first MUN. Later On, MUN’s became a common thing for me, I was part of the schools MUN Squad, Amazing People who I’ll never forget, and in June 2016, I was made a Member/Director of Multan Model United Nations Association (MMUNA) and was Director of Socials in the first privately funded MUN of the City of the Saints, MOMUN’16. By this time, my writing is readable, I’ve stopped stuttering and my speech is completely understandable, All traces of Asthma dormant and I feel better than ever!. Now, A Few Months and a couple of MUNS later, its August 2016 and Dad got posted to rawalpindi, I’ve joined Saint Mary’s Academy.
After the Success I witnessed in MOMUN’16, I instantly applied for the post of the Head of the MUN Society and I was selected as the Head of the SMAMUN society, and on literally my 8th Day in School, me and my classmates Held a MockMUN to raise awareness about MUNS and how they’re great for making people confident and turning them into leaders (Exhibit A: Me). I felt like a leader, I was no longer the kid who was terrible In everything, some time later we assembled an A-levels Football Team, for a match of A-Levels vs F.SC and I was handed the captain’s armband, we lost 2-0 but our team showed great grit and determination.
Now, Lets Fast Forward to November, I’ve only been in the school for 4 months and I managed to convince my fellow A-level batchmates to let me run for head boy, I did get some hate no doubt as to why I’m running and why not the older students, but the Deputy Headgirl (Now Headgirl) and me convinced them that I’ll be a great choice and to let me run, and against all odds, at the end of the elections I managed to win and got elected for the post of Head Boy by a margin of 240 votes against candidates who had been in the school for years. Call it Luck, Call it A twist of fate, but things had turned around for kid who suffered from Asthma, the Kid who had trouble speaking and was a ‘Nerd’ as some might call me. That Same kid is now a Charismatic leader of school of 2000+ Students. This Goes to Show that No Matter what the odds are, no matter who you are, Nothing is Impossible. I couldn’t have ever thought of the Success that I now have, and now that I think of it, It all seems like a Dream. So my message to all of the students out there, all of those who feel like they aren’t enough and who don’t think they’re good enough, Get those frowns off of your faces because you are special, everybody in this world has talent, potential and a capability to succeed, with the proper determination and perseverance you can achieve the impossible! Just a Drop of pure determination from the sea of potential that is your mind and soul can lead to amazing outcomes, All you have to do is believe in yourself, and that will be the first step you take towards glory.