Tuesday, 17 January 2017 07:12

The story of 3 photos

Life is full of surprises. One day while you are walking in the school corridor, you notice an colored, A3-size poster featuring GENIUS Olympiad. Although you are not confident in joining because of lack of experience and interest, your friend talks you into giving a try and send abstract.
A few hours later you find yourself browsing the internet to get more scoop about this Olympiad. You ask your never-asked questions to your friends and talk to your science teachers more frequently. Why? Because you want your medal displayed and your name scripted at the school lobby.

This is Zaman International School and “you” refers to not only the participants seen in the pictures but also any curious student, interested reader, motivated candidate, keen scholarship-seeker or maybe a well-known prospective scientist/ researcher. This is YOUR story.
Here starts the story of 3 pictures in this article. Action speaks louder than words. Pictures do the loudest. I will try to depict the past and the future of these snapshots, because every picture has a past and future but you, the reader, see that picture only.


AT THE AIRPORT
BEFORE: A few months had passed by very quickly. Lots of endless research and draft writing. Sleepless nights. Team work with sometimes enjoying collaboration and sometimes ending up in arguments. Follow-up and abstract submission with your supervisor. Snacks and biscuits in the breaks at the weekends. Experiments, failure and success. Everything was over. You packed what you had prepared and were waiting for the final stage. You remembered the moment when your supervisor told you that you had been shortlisted. You were jubilant, speechless and just felt the sense of pride of achievement and hope of being a champion.
After dreaming of grabbing the chance to study or even at least travel to the USA, you finally made it. You bought some warm clothes and a GAP coat as you had read that there was some breeze and chilling in Oswego, New York State. You did not forget to buy some souvenirs for the opponents during the competition and would-be-friends afterwards. You were very excited to get to know them and their cultures. You had heard about the activity of ice-breakers, held on the first day the arrival, from the previous year medalists. A few drops of tears accumulated at the side of your eyes, as you would miss your family, your friends, dogs and your country during this fortnight-trip.

AFTER: Your journey was long and exhausting but worth it. Your plane was flying across the Atlantic Ocean. While the other passengers were dozing off, you were awake maybe because of excitement or anxiety. You had set high goals with your partner in the beginning and so it was high time you did some prep going over the presentation and asking some questions that you would expect to get from the judges. When asked why you were still up instead of taking some rest, you replied with certainty that you were cool and not feeling sleepy yet. After many hours of flight, the plane finally touched down at(John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, USA. You bought yourself your first cup of coffee in the USA.


AT THE STAGE
BEFORE: The bus was taking you to the campus where the GENIUS Olympiad would be held.  Same type of cars, apartments, brands, sky, sunshine. Yet, wider roads, different vegetation, some deer in the forests, lots of space, overweight people. You started daydreaming of studying at an Ivy League university, then working at one of these skyscrapers in Manhattan, settling down in a mansion in the countryside, and so on. With lots of viewing, sightseeing, chitchatting and taking photos, the bus trip took shorter than expected and it arrived at the spacious and green campus of State University of New York. You went through the registration and got your room key. Finally, you were in the bed where you could nod off comfortably.

You were very anxious, which could be spotted anywhere anytime. As expected, it was too cold that you felt freezing and chilled to the bone. Most of the time you stayed in your room as you had wanted to realize your goal and make your teachers and parents proud. You left the campus once for only running errands and grabbing some sandwich at Subway, located inside the closest Wal-Mart.

On that remarkable day when the presentations were made, everything was stressful in the morning but your teachers and friends helped you calm down. Luckily, the presentation of your project and Q&A session went well and you were able to answer all the challenging questions thanks to your comprehensive study and analytical research skills. Considering that there were many top students from different states of the country and other nations, you just could not make sure to accomplish extraordinary success.

AFTER: The announcements started with the Honorary Mention, followed by Bronze medalists and then continued with the ones who won Silver. You barely lost your hope. However, when your name appeared on the large screen which could be seen from many seats in the hall and was announced as the Gold medal winner loudly, you were jumping up next to your table and hugging your partner. You shed some tears and wished that your parents were there to witness the indescribable, once-in-a-lifetime moment. You did not forget to take Cambodian flag that your team had brought along and ran to the stage. The medal was hung around your neck and you posed for the flashing photos and selfies. That day, Cambodia was one of the countries which were announced many times in the hall thanks to its smart, hard-working students and dedicated, motivated teachers. You were glad to be studying at ZIS when you were applauding all the way as it was awarded with a plaquette in recognition of being the school with the most projects shortlisted for that year’s Olympiad. You called your family paying no heed to what time it was in Cambodia at that time and shared the best news ever with your family members and sent the photos and the messages to your classmates and friends via social media.

BACK AT THE AIRPORT AGAIN, IN FRONT OF THE TV CAMERAS AND PRESS

BEFORE: Everything has taken its place in your mind as unforgettable memory. Hour-long shopping at the malls, taking painful strolls along the well-known avenues of New York City, visiting loads of shops of the popular brands, shop-till-you-drop experience, satisfying hunger sometimes at either fast-food or sumptuous restaurants. Your day at Six Flags, located in New Jersey, was superb, too. Heart-shaking thrills, wet’n’wild  waterslides, unique, pulse-pounding and state-of-the-art roller coasters, gravity-defying rides.

AFTER: Your baggage was heavy, as it had lots of gifts for your beloved ones and goods and souvenirs for yourself. Your family took you to their vehicle and bombarded you with lots of inquiries. You reunited with your family and would meet up your friends in the coming days. You were invited for TV programmes and newspaper interviews. Your picture was featured in the school magazine and you placed your GENIUS Olympiad certificate in your portfolio to submit to the colleges/ universities to earn some scholarships.

Good luck to the participants in GENIUS Olympiad 2017.

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