My palms were sweating and my legs were shaking. I tried hard to maintain my composure as I took in a deep breath and slowly walked towards the registration counter at the BRATs workshop in Johor at the beginning of the year.

I didn’t know what to expect, and to be frank, the people there looked intimidating. At the table where I sat, the other participants were staring blankly at me and at each other. It felt really strange and I reckon that the air-conditioning system was set at a temperature far too low for my liking.

But as the minutes crept by, people started talking to each other. One by one, those faces began to light up. I didn’t know how, perhaps someone decided to turn the thermostat up. The atmosphere had changed.

Suddenly, that moment of awkwardness was gone. I began to feel more comfortable and the four-day BRATs workshop ended up being one of the most exciting things I’ve experienced so far.

Sometimes, things are not as bad as they are made out to be. What seems daunting at first may actually become better as you go through the motions.

Analysis can at times cause paralysis.

Just know that behind that seemingly high wall of impregnability lies a deep well of opportunity. To get to it, all you have to do is to bravely scale it. A word of caution though, climbing walls is not an easy task – it demands blood (hopefully not), sweat and tears. But if you do your best, it’ll be worth the effort.

The BRATs programme has exposed me to many new experiences, ideas and of course, people. It gave me the opportunity to spread my wings and discover a little more about myself, gain new skills and make new friends.

So, as the school holidays draw near, I challenge you to push yourself to step out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. Be bold, try something new, go volunteer at a shelter home or attend that new language class that you’ve been eager to join. Let these new experiences change your perspective of the world and add value to your life.

In the words of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”.

Onwards and upwards!

The writer is a member of the BRATs editorial team. BRATs is a young journalist programme organised by R.AGE. If you have a story or event you want the BRATs to cover, email For more information about BRATs, go to

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