My MARA Journey: It’s not as bad as you think

Life isn’t about the destination, it’s the journey that matters

Posted by Nur Marsya Sorfina binti Mohd Yunus on August 24, 2019

“Good things come to those who hustle” is the saying that I have been holding onto since I stepped into Form 4. Although it might sound cliché, this phrase has convinced me to always believe that you will end up somewhere nice if you keep striving for the best.

My post-SPM life has been occupied with a lot of good memories and experiences. These include volunteering under NGOs, taking my driving license, learning a lot of new recipes, and going on trips and outings with my friends. I must say it was definitely the best phase in my life. Despite having all the fun, I still took the chance (during those long breaks) to get to know myself better. One piece of advice that I can give is to indulge yourself in a lot of activities which will help you to write better about yourself especially for your strengths, weaknesses and the draft of your plan in the future.

The days passed by until it was the time when SPM results were finally out. At this point, everyone was rushing to apply for scholarships and universities in haste, looking at courses available, picking their future careers, usually all within a matter of 3 months. And that included stages of assessments, personality tests, and interviews by the scholarship bodies. While you are applying, you might feel inferior to stand among your friends who scored really well for SPM, you felt as if your odds of being awarded any scholarships are slim just because you have an A- or a B+ on your slip but I can assure you, as someone who scored 9A+ 1A during SPM, that those A+’s do not fully guarantee you a prestigious scholarship.

Not to say it isn’t important for you to achieve those good grades, it is how you present yourself that will secure you through the final stages. After all the effort that you have put in, being rejected by the scholarship bodies is completely normal. I must say that it can be devastating at first, imagine getting rejected by a scholarship just because of your personality assessment. You would have these thoughts that you are not compatible enough to become a scholar but I can assure you it only lasted for a day or less than that. After all, it was the experience that matters.

After a series of scholarship processes and rejections, I set myself straight to only stay optimistic as it was the only safest step forward to keep my eyes on the endless possibilities. I still remember those days, it was 3 weeks before college and I was still clueless about where I wanted to go. I was scared if I would choose the wrong path or the wrong course but I told myself then that journeys are not always meant to go as we planned, we will just have to follow them or else, we will end up lost. I believe that each one of us in this world is born with a purpose, so it is up to us on how we would want to make the most out of it because a clear sense of purpose enables us to focus our efforts on what matters most, compelling us to take risks and push forward regardless of the obstacles.

Finally, I decided to take up the scholarship offered under MARA Young Talent Development Programme (YTP) because that was the only option that was left for me to do the A-Levels programme (as I preferred an examination-based programme). The process was not as complicated as other scholarships though, we are only required to register our application details through the MARA portal and do two sets of personality assessments. Due to the pandemic, MARA did not hold any interview sessions while for the rest, they were done virtually. I must say it was tough at first due to the bad Internet connection and first-time experience but it is still our responsibility to adapt to the new norm.

Fast forward to today, currently enrolled in my second semester in Kolej MARA Seremban, I am glad that I finally understand the reason I am here. Being surrounded by a lot of all-rounder friends (although it can be very pressuring at times), it has become a source of motivation for me to continue striving for the best. College life can be very hectic even during the weekends but I am grateful for the friends that I have crossed paths with here for always being there for me through ups and downs. Maybe that’s the reason why Allah placed me here, to be surrounded by amazing people in a peaceful environment. I cannot wait for what the future holds for my friends and I.

With that, if I were to give some tips, I would say just be comfortable and be yourself especially during interviews or group discussions because after all, knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Although everything might still be conducted online, just imagine yourself applying for jobs, dressing up in your formal attire. Make sure to choose the right pre-university path (A-Levels, IB, Ausmat, etc.) that you are comfortable with because it is the most important step for you before embarking on the university degree life. Lastly, accept everything that Allah has planned for you because Allah knows the best for you, He would not put you in a place He knows you would not succeed.