"Which school do you go to?” Jessica asked me. “Pakistan Embassy College Beijing,” I replied. The answer I got was a blank look on her face. “Huh? Where’s that?”I am used to getting a blank face when I mention which school I go to. After all, Pakistan Embassy College Beijing (PECB) IS a small school. People used to ask me why I don’t go to a school like WAB or BCIS. They have bigger labs, better facilities, swimming pools, etc. And my answer to those questions was always, “Because I like it over there, that’s why.”
Most of my friends who go to other schools never understand why I love my school so much. Okay, so it’s a teeny bit small, and there’s no swimming pool or football fields or beautiful lakes and the student population is really small too. But I like my school.
So why is that? You see, when you go to a small school, there’s a lotfewer people, so you know each and every one of them. Not just the students but also the teachers. It’s like one big family. Maybe you think I am bluffing, but I am not. I still remember the time when my physics teacher got married. My class threw a surprise party for him during physics. So maybe the food we ordered was just Annies’ margarita pizza and not some exquisite food from some expensive five-star hotel; maybe all the students and the teachers ate with plastic forks while standing in a tiny classroom. But we had fun.
Then, there was the time when my class teacher had to leave for America forever. It was so last minute and by the time we heard the news, she was preparing to fly to America the next day. My class rushed home directly after school and spent three hours on Skydrive and Facebook collecting all the pictures we couldn and then scrambled to Kodak to develop the pictures. We almost didn’t make it. It was eight o’clock at night and they were ready to close the shop. But I guess our persuasion skills were quite good because the guy stayed for another half an hour to develop two hundred pictures. Okay, so our only farewell gift was a photo album and some crank up story we wrote for the teacher (since she was our English teacher) but this is how we do it in PECB. Our parties and gifts were never lavish or expensive but to show that we care was what really mattered to us.
As long as I have a place to study, teachers who taught their subjects very well and friends who really care about me, I will be satisfied. I don’t have just one bff (best friends forever) or two bffs. I have SIX bffs. Hanan, who is a total shopaholic, Hina, who is one of the sweetest girl I ever know, Shizza who writes novels about our high school life, Narma, who composes songs and have a really good voice, Safiyya who is crazy about actors and rockstars and Pradeepta, who is like our big mama, who breaks up fights when we do have them.
The school you go doesn’t matter, nor do the fancy cafeteria, swimming pool and school labs. It’s the people: the students, the teachers, all your bffs and crazy field trips that really count. They are what make waking up at six o’clock every morning, doing homework until late in the night, and listening to teachers rambling on about calculus worth it.
Jun Wei Loh, 15, is a student at Pakistan Embassy College Beijing.
Photo courtesy of Jun Wei Loh.