It’s a common misconception among us that whenever someone graduates from an overseas university, that person is better than anyone else back home.
For high school students, you need to set your aim straight. There are so many people who want to study overseas and some asked for my advice. Then when I ask them why you want to go overseas, the common answer I get is “Because I heard the unis there are better than our local unis. And it’s so nice to say you studied overseas.”
I wanted to study overseas not for the glamour, but because I wanted to be in one of the top universities in the world which just happen to be overseas.
From the start of my application, my aims were these:
1) I wanted to be in a world-recognised university with a good law department.
2) My preference was to be in a university in London. I wanted to experience living in a world famous city and I knew myself better than anyone that I just cannot live in the countryside where you need to take a bus for an hour to go to the nearest shopping mall. I definitely need the busy city life.
Just thought I’d share with you a bit of my education history…..
My parents put me in a private Islamic kindergarten. I learned to read, write, colour etc PLUS I learned all the basic doa’s and prayers pretty quickly. I definitely want to send my kids there.
Looking back at my report card, my most prominent teacher’s comment was “Vivy is a very bossy child.”
SUCH a mean thing to say about a 5-year old. Just because I told the other kid to share his macaroni with me. And made a scene when he refused.
I was sent to a public primary school. Std 1-6 there, made most of my friends there. Was a good girl *halo*. Became a prefect and then Assistant Head Girl. Got 5A for UPSR.
I applied to one of the best public residential schools, Sekolah Seri Puteri. Toots and I both got in and we were pretty shocked at what awaited us.
This is the new SSP in swanky Cyberjaya, but when I was in Form 1, it was still the really really old school in KL (they don’t even put pictures of it on the internet anymore!!). They gave us creaky double-decker beds with bedbugs and some of the toilets had no doors on them 🙁
Loved the friends there, but couldn’t stand living with such little freedom. We couldn’t go out at all since it was a boarding school. We weren’t allowed handphones either so I had to sneak mine in. A handphone is a HUMAN RIGHT ok!!
I became popular with the wardens pretty quickly because I used to go back every single weekend (you’re only allowed one outing a month). I’d make up diseases you’ve never heard off, I’d scratch my arm until it’s all red and tell the warden I’ve got an emergency skin disorder, I’d stay under covers for a really long time until I’m super hot and run to her saying I need to go home because I have a fever. I had many uncles who passed away and I needed to go home for their funerals, and many siblings whose weddings I had to attend.
“No, Vivy, you went to see the skin doctor last week already.”
“I know, but his medicine is finished.”
Sighs really hard. “I don’t know what to do with you, Vivy.”
“Umm I understand…but my driver’s waiting outside…Now if you could just sign this…”
My parents had a hard time with me complaining about boarding school life. I’m just not cut out for it! My sister graduated from SSP so they had no idea why I was such a difficult child. They wouldn’t budge.
So I negotiated a deal with them; They let me leave the school if I became Top 10 of the batch for the final exams. This was pretty tough because Seri Puteri had (and still has) some of the country’s most brilliant students.
I studied damn hard and got Top 3 in the whole batch.
Hello, new school.
Off I went carrying my bags, smiling into the gates of Sekolah Sri Cempaka in Form 2. Had a blast there. Met the ducks. Enrolled tennis and piano lessons. Visited malls. Upgraded to the top Science class. Didn’t become a prefect due to occasional absence, long nails, unbuttoned shirt and blond hair. Graduated from Sri Cempaka. Got 8A for PMR and 10A for SPM.
Now comes the international education.
My parents wanted to send me abroad to a good English boarding school. They said they wanted me to learn independence. *Cough* just didn’t love me enough *Cough*
The only condition was it had to be a girls school of course. -__-
We went to visit several schools, but in the end I chose this one school called Badminton School in Bristol.
Yes, yes, enough with the badminton jokes. It was actually the name of the founder, I think??
Thing is, they only take September intakes, and SPM was in December. I didn’t want to wait 9 months after my SPM to go, so I took a brave step and just started my A Levels in September, studying for my SPM from the UK.
I was in 2 schools at one time and was studying for 2 major exams simultaneously. I had to promise both schools that I will deliver good results and I was under pressure to prove myself to both schools. God gave me some strength and in the end, I got straight A’s for all my SPM and A Level subjects. I was super nervous, but Alhamdulillah my hard work paid off.
We were allowed to have 6 options.
1) Oxford University
3) King’s College
5) Queen Mary University
6) Nottingham University
My preferred was the top 4, and I came back to my real intentions. I told myself unless I got Oxford, I wanted to be in London. I knew that if I didn’t get any of the top 4, I would want to come back because law in Malaysia is just as prestigious as the other overseas universities too.
I got rejected by Oxford University (read about my interview from hell here) and UCL, but got accepted into the rest. Took LSE.
3 years of horrid law school with thick thick encyclopedia-like books. Fell in love with an amazing guy. Traveled a bit. Shopped a lot. Finished law exams with bruises on my arm. Graduated with the ugliest degree in the world.
Through all these years, somehow I knew, home is where my heart is. I wanted to be in Malaysia. I wanted to learn whatever I can and even if I was overseas, I still want to bring all that knowledge back and contribute to the development of our country.
Yes, you all can say I’m working for my dad, so it’s easy. Well, it’s not. Getting the job was easy, but the rest is the same as everyone else. I am also a salaried employee and I still have to work. The only difference is that I get to go home where I can get some more scolding from my boss if I mess up at work. Yay.
Now, I see a problem in our country. We really are lacking the skilled manpower in professional industries. What is the problem? Have our people gotten jobs abroad? Or is it that our people are home but cannot find jobs? Is it the unattractive salary? Is it the lack of potential growth? Is it the decision after experiencing useless internships here?
What is it?
As a future leader in this country, contribute your views.
Take this short survey.
I can’t say whose initiative this is, but trust me, it will benefit us soon.
P/S: Dean would like to announce that he too got all A’s all his life, except one B. Hahahaha.