In every class, she paid full attention. Ears towards the teachers, eyes on the whiteboard, hands busy with notes. Even being the top student in the region three years in a row didn’t slow her down.
At first they praised her as a hardworking student, then they used her as an example for others to follow, but when she showed no signs of relaxing, they started to ask her to relax.
“Life is more than just studies. You need friends,” her homeroom teacher told her.
“Balance is important. Do you have any hobbies? And I’m not just talking about the mandatory extracurricular clubs,” the school counsellor said.
“Why don’t you take a day off? You’re the only person in the school who hasn’t even taken sick leave,” the school nurse said.
No one asked her why she was so driven. They just assumed she was the studious type who was too serious for her own good, the kind of people who ended up never leaving academia for the ‘real world’.
If anyone had cared to ask, she would have explained that she was the middle child in a family of nine. They were financially stable enough for all her siblings to complete basic education, but not enough for all of them to continue on to further studies. Her older siblings contributed by working odd jobs to help pay for their own fees. Her aim was a full scholarship so that the money that would have been spent on her could be passed down to the next sibling in line.
With her younger siblings’ future on at stake, how could she give anything less than her best?
Genre: slice of life, family