Upon getting my SPM results, I was restless for most of the time. Not that my grades were bad, but standing among my friends who scored straight A+, I couldn’t help but to feel inferior to the rest of them. I knew at that moment that my chances to be rewarded with any scholarship were thin, almost none. However, I knew that the best step forward was to remain positive regardless, so I continued to apply to some major scholarships available.
As if I jinxed my own chances, I heard back from a few sponsors, but luck was not on my side as I didn’t manage to secure a place in the final stages. Believing that I stood no chance at obtaining any scholarship, I diverted my attention towards my UPU application instead.
It was rather late when, unexpectedly, I received an email from Yayasan UEM stating that I was shortlisted alongside hundreds of other candidates. “There is still a glimpse of hope,” I reckoned. That was when my journey as a Yayasan UEM scholar began.
During the application process, the applicants were required to write two short essays on “the turning point of a better me” and “reasons why you are the perfect candidate to receive this scholarship”. I would say the best way to go is to be honest and stay true to yourself. I didn’t sugarcoat anything in my writing. Instead, I took a few days to fully reflect on myself, and afterwards encompassed all of my visions and stories in one complete essay (two in this case).
Fast forward a few weeks, I heard back from YUEM stating that I was shortlisted and qualified for the next stage. At this juncture, we had to produce a video presentation on the pandemic and how it had affected the world.
It was an exhilarating and a refreshing experience because, among other scholarships that I have applied to, this was the only one that asked us to film ourselves talking about current issues that are going on in the world. I must say, I enjoyed the process of writing my own script, alongside filming and editing the video. A few weeks after sending the video, I heard back from YUEM. The next process to go through was an interview with the executives.
It was a nerve-racking experience to be completely honest, but having made early research about UEM (i.e. getting to know the interviewers on LinkedIn) as well as the courses they offer, I was able to structure my ideas and interests better. There were four panelists that day, and I must say each one of them were incredibly kind and friendly. I remembered the conversation I had with Mr Vicky about my passion in Software Engineering and Bioinformatics.
His enthusiasm in hearing me out is a memory I cherish very much till this day. Overall, I would say the whole interview process was intimidating at first, but the panelists did make it comfortable and an enjoyable experience for me. A month later, I found myself standing inside the Mercu UEM building for our little ceremony. I also made acquaintances with the other two scholars as well as the staff there.
On that note, if I were to share some tips from my experience, I would say have no doubt within yourself and just enjoy the process. Everything that we encounter in our lives engrave valuable experiences, and these experiences cannot be bought. Therefore, always keep a positive outlook and remember to always give back to society because we owe them that much.