15-year-old Adam* met us at a neighbourhood street soccer court whilst playing with his friends. He shared some challenges he faced in his school and studies, as well as his struggles with attending school on time. Adam was eventually able to juggle his time better and get good enough grades to advance to his next year in school successfully.
Here is his story:
“I have been playing football since I was 7 years old, and I love hanging out to play football and Takraw with my friends. It makes me feel special just like my idols I see on TV. Playing with friends just makes it better because I get to spend more time with them. I prefer hanging out with them outside rather than at home because there’s nothing to do at home.
When I feel down or bored the best place to be is at the soccer court. I know that I still have to return home eventually but as long as the lights are still on and my friends are still able to be around, I will rather spend time with them. I also enjoy just chilling or “lepaking” with them when the lights are off. That is when we can talk about life without too many people disturbing us.
After the June holidays, the feeling of wanting to stay up late stuck with me even after school started. It was more fun to hang out late with friends rather than go to sleep early so I could go to school. It doesn’t help that my school is slightly further away from my house compared to my friends.
I was also told to stay back for more remedial classes as my results were not so good for my midterm examinations. I was also frequently late for school since I have been oversleeping and my teachers have been putting me in detention. My motivation to attend school just gets worse if I know I will get detention, so I would rather skip school or get an MC.
But if I get an MC, then my studies will fall behind even more. These thoughts run through my head and it becomes difficult to make a decision. The only thoughts that come to me are to play football and chill with my friends. These things don’t give me problems or make me choose.
A turning point came after one soccer session with my friends and adults from YGOS. They spoke to me about my struggles in school and told me that I just needed to make good choices, little by little, daily and that it was okay to fail sometimes. It helped me see that I was stressed over big decisions, like what would happen if I failed my end-of-year exams and got retained, but actually, it was just a decision to sleep a little earlier.
After that talk, my friends and I decided to go home by a certain time after the lights turned off at the court. On some days, I would stay home to study too. I managed to keep my attendance up and eventually got the results I needed to promote to Sec 4. I’m happy to be able to continue football, and yet not compromise on my studies."
Truly the small daily choices, end up with us getting bigger end results! We hope that you’ve been inspired by his story and see the significance of our belief in young people!
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of our youths.