Having browsed through the Malaysia Students Blog, there is no doubt that a negative perception persists towards local universities in Malaysia. To a certain extent, I agree: from the ridiculous orientation, dirty politics to how they treat us like school kids all the time. Honestly, I hated that. Therefore, I vowed from the beginning of my course, by hook or by crook, that I shall turn these 4 years in the University of Malaya into the most kick-ass experience ever.
This article is a hard-thought, careful and honest description of the tribulations, achievements and lessons which I experienced in this wonderful campus. But more than anything else, this is a tribute to the beloved friends I made along the way, the powerful mentors that have laid down invaluable guidance and the enthusiastic juniors whom I shall meet in the future. Below, in no particular order, are the meaningful experiences and genuine lessons I want to share with you.
- University is a beehive of people, activities and
hot girlssocieties. Do not hesitate to jump into the nectar-filled river of opportunities. Make meaningful friendships. Join an event you never dreamt of doing. The options are endless.
- Do the most wacky/silly/ludicrous/nonsensical stuffs ever! You're only going to go through university once in your entire life. Unleash all those teenage and childish demeanour before adulthood hits you. And don't forget to take photos!
- Yes, be silly. But when the moment calls for it, be serious. Go all out. Show the world how good you are made of.
- Grab every opportunity to travel around the world and experience its wonders. Yes, you may be studying in Malaysia but like I said, the opportunities are always there and you just need to make the best use of them. I have learnt so much about the different cultures, perspectives and people in the places I have visited. It has no doubt made me a better person with a global outlook.
You don't need to be a Porsche-driving son of a CEO to afford these trips, most of the programs are partially funded and grants are available. More importantly, nothing beats travelling with university coursemates as they're so much fun!
- When all the fun is over, take a step back and reflect upon ourselves. Who are we? We're university students and the younger generation, the future leaders in this country. Always remember that we have a role to play in society. Give back to the less fortunate. Fight for a noble cause you believe in. Move your lazy asses of the backseat, stand up and be counted.
Honestly, I am quite ashamed of not doing enough for my part in civil society. Compared to my other friends who are involved in Clinical Legal Education and Community Outreach Program, I am nothing as opposed to their continuous efforts to educate prisoners, abandoned children and many more.
- Be inspired by the people around you.
Yes, every moment when you think you have achieved great things already, it will come to you that there are even better people out there.
I've known a girl who is a brilliant writer, passionate thinker and an admirable advocate of animals.
I've known a Sabah native who possesses so much zeal in orang asli rights and helps out tirelessly with the OKU community almost every weekend despite his heavy academic workload.
I've known a final year buddy who is a South East Asian Bronze medallist in ping pong, who has to train at the sports centre almost every day and still managed to graduate with a degree in law.
I've known a brilliant lecturer who has taught me the often-forgotten values of humanity, compassion and kindness. He has shown remarkable courage in facing a world which resists his dreams and hopes. I will miss him terribly when he flies to Korea this August to complete his PhD.
And the most inspirational of all, I salute my fellow coursemate who topped his STPM with flying colours, managed to enter law school and scored better grades than the majority of us. All of this, despite being blind.
This is not an article to show off whatever I have achieved. If indeed I joined those tournaments and events just to add in my collection of memorabilia, then I would have dumped those chances a long time ago. Because behind every personal best I have scaled, it involves tremendous amounts of failure, sacrifice, tears, blood, sweat and hard hard work. You feel like letting go of everything at times. That is what you have to endure to reach your goal.
But as I reflect back, it is not the trophies or plaques dotting the cabinet which matters most to me. It is the simple memories of friendship, fun and feverish fascination in pursuing my passion which I treasure with all my heart. To my batch mates at the law faculty and the seniors I know, I owe you all a big thank you for everything. I appreciate every moment, despite being critical at times.
I am proud to say that I have debated with superb Asian teams in Macau, mooted before the Senior Counsel of the Republic of Singapore, wrote for my faculty's Vox magazine, drank soju amidst -10 degree celcius snow in Korea, flashed a sword while wearing a hanbok like an asylum escapee at Seoul International Airport, performed a traditional Indian dance in front of hundreds of delegates, played futsal in torrential rain at 3am in the morning, acted like a possessed Syariah lawyer for a video, became an ardent follower of Lord Bobo's minions and had my balls shrunk while visiting the abandoned Vice-Chancellor's house at midnight.
It has been an awesome roller-coaster ride so far.
Each person's journey in university is inevitably unique; and can only be charted, discovered and cherished by the very path we choose to walk upon. We may not be setting foot on the grounds of prestigious Harvard Square or amble through the hallways of ancient Cambridge buildings, but I am a firm believer in making the best out of whatever God has given to me.
“ Stay hungry, stay foolish” ~ Steve Jobs, at Stanford University’s 2005 commencement address.
Always believe that we can achieve many great things in life.
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