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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Obama's Visit Sparked Excitement Among Campus Community, Marking Historic Day for UM & Malaysia

THE date – 27/4/2014 – will forever be etched in memory for all of University of Malaya's campus community as the leader of the United States of America, President Barack Obama paid a visit the nations premier institution of higher learning in conjunction with his two day state visit to Malaysia.

The visit of President Obama, the first African American president since 1789 and the first to arrive at our shores since the visit of Lyndon B Johnson almost five decades ago sparking Obamania amongst the campus community and beyond with invited guests lining up the Dewan Tunku Canselor (DTC), the venue of the Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall entrance hours before the allotted opening time of 1 pm.

Invited students and almost 150 press corps waited patiently.
Invited students and almost 150 press corps waited patiently.
Braving the heat and long queues, the invited students and almost 150 press corps waited patiently for the arrival of the 44th President of the United States (POTUS) and it was worth the wait when President Obama made his grand entrance at the DTC at 4 pm.

Escorted by his Secret Service entourage, President Obama was introduced to the audience by emcee, Anita Woo to thunderous applause by the 400 capacity of the temporary boxing ring enclosure specially designed for the town hall session.

President Barack Obama arrived.
President Barack Obama arrived.
During his one and a half hour session, President Obama's message was heard loud and clear across the 4 corners of the DTC: “Youths, yes you can!”.

In his inspiring session with the students, Obama urged them to take the bull by the horns and chart out a future for their respective countries instead of waiting for it to happen.

“Lets take the example of something like climate change. The voice of young people on this issue is so important because you are the ones who are going to have to deal with the consequences of this most significantly.

“And you're going to have to deal with this, unless we do something about it. So the question is what can we do? Every country should be coming up with a Climate Action Plan to try to reduce its carbon emissions.
Obama gave speech at Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Town Hall.
Obama gave speech at Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Town Hall.
In Southeast Asia, one of the most important issues is deforestation. In Indonesia and Malaysia, what you've seen is huge portions of tropical forests that actually use carbon and so reduce the effects of climate change, reduce carbon being released into the atmosphere and warming the planet -- they're just being shredded because of primarily the palm oil industry. And there are large business interests behind that industry.

Now, the question is are we going to in each of those countries say how can we help preserve these forests while using a different approach to economic development that does less to damage the atmosphere?

And that means engaging then with the various stakeholders. You've got to talk to the businesses involved. You've got to talk to the government, the communities who may be getting jobs -- because their first priority is feeding themselves, so if you just say, we've got to stop cutting down the forests, but you don't have an alternative opportunity for people then they may just ignore you. So there are going to be all kinds of pieces just to that one part of the problem. And each country may have a different element to it.

The point, though, is that you have to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. You have to say, this is important. You don't have to be a climate science expert, but you can educate yourselves on the issue. You can discuss it with your peer groups. You can organize young people to interact with international organizations that are already dealing with this issue. You can help to publicize it. You can educate your parents, friends, coworkers. And through that process, you can potentially change policy.

So it may take -- it will take years. It will not happen next week. But our hope is that through this network that were going to be developing that we can be a partner with you in that process,” he said.

Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Town Hall.
Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Town Hall.
During his one and a half hour session, President Obama touched upon many issues including a few light hearted questions, one which touched upon his dream and ambitions in the early 20s

“When I was in high school -- so, for those of you who are studying under a different system, when I was 15, 16, 17, before I went to the university -- I wasnt always the best student.

“Sometimes I was enjoying life too much. Dont clap (Laughter). This guy is the same way. No, part of it I was rebelling, which is natural for young people that age. I didnt know my father, and so my family life was complicated. So I didnt always focus on my studies, and that probably carried over into the first two years of university.

“But around the age of 20, I began to realize that I could have an impact on the world if I applied myself more. I became interested in social policy and government, and I decided that I wanted to work in the non-profit sector for people who are disadvantaged in the United States. And so I was able to do that for three years after I graduated from college. Thats how I moved to the city of Chicago. I was hired by a group of churches to work in poor areas to help people get jobs and help improve housing and give young people more opportunity. And that was a great experience for me, and it led me to go to law school and to practice civil rights laws, and then ultimately to run for elected office.

President of the United States, Barack Obama
President of the United States, Barack Obama.
And when I think back to my journey, my past, I think the most important thing for -- and maybe the most important thing for all the young people here -- is to realize that you really can have an impact on the world; you can achieve your dreams. But in order to do so, you have to focus not so much on a title or how much money youre going to make, you have to focus more on what kind of influence and impact are you going to have on other peoples lives -- what good can you do in the world.

So I think the most important thing for me was when I started thinking more about other people and how I could have an impact in my larger society and community, and wasnt just thinking about myself. Thats when I think your dreams can really take off -- because if youre only thinking about you, then your world is small; if youre thinking about others, then your world gets bigger,” he said.

President Barack Obama at University of Malaya (UM)
President Barack Obama at University of Malaya (UM)
President Obama had many things to say and it seemed that no amount of time would suffice an audience with the man dubbed as the most powerful man on earth. His graceful and down to earth demeanor certainly belied the power that he inherently holds over the whole world, winning over the hearts of the young South East Asian students who were fortunate to be in the audience.

Source: International & Corporate Relations Office (ICR), University of Malaya


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Thursday, April 24, 2014

What Being "The Leader" Taught Me

Guest post written by Esther Ling
The Pencil Box
“Leadership, it’s not for me.” “Let someone else be the leader.” “I think I want to be a leader, but I’m not sure where to start.”

Sounds familiar?

We have all been there. Leadership is a scary word for people just starting out, for example, when we first became president of a club or the organizing-chairperson of an event.

Here are some things that being in a leadership position taught me.

It taught me to think on my feet
I was the chair of an organization at my university last year. Throughout the year, I experienced firsthand that events do not always go according to plan. Unforeseen circumstances cause you to change plans and come up with an immediate decision. When I was the leader, people naturally came to me reporting unexpected situations and looked up to me to make the call.

Independent But Not Alone

Here’s what I wrote a year ago recalling the tension while organizing a big event:
“I realize stress comes from not being in control. You have many uncertainties laid out in front of you – which call for effective problem solving. Sometimes, you lack the luxury of time and of the whole team coming together to decide on the best course of action. Plans are dynamic. The frustration comes because there are open ended options, and plans keep changing.”

One example I remember was a Project Demo-Day that had a few objectives. Last minute occurrences made it impossible to meet all of them. Holding a quick discussion with my main team, I saw that having multiple objectives was part of our wanting to kill a few birds with one stone, but to make the event a success we had to decide on our most important objective and compromise on the fringe ones. This real-time simulation gave me a firsthand experience of thinking on my feet.

It taught me to be brave to make decisions
I have never enjoyed making decisions that would have an effect on others. It meant you would be susceptible to blame later, should the decision bring about a negative effect. It is always easier to sit on the fence and wait for someone else to make the call.

be brave to make decisions

But then I became the Project Leader of a community project two years ago. It put me in a position to analyze situations and make the decision while everyone else sat back and waited for me to make the decision. It didn’t mean I would have the perfect solution, but stepping out to say “OK, let’s do this and not that,” taught me about being responsible and accountable for the team.

It taught me to direct attention in a group of people
I once read an online comic about introverts. “Q: How do you kill an introvert?” “A: At a large party, put poison in his drink and place the magic potion across the room.”

Leader Directs Attention

Yes, I’m an introvert and I prefer to stay out of crowds, much less have attention on me in a crowd. So how did I manage when I became the leader? I found out that I did have the capacity to speak and direct attention when I was needed. For example, I once led a team of students to run a programming workshop in a secondary school. There were a few instances when I had to get a message across to the whole team, and I naturally spoke up assertively to the crowd to get the message out. Once again, it was the act of doing so that stretched my boundaries and caused me to grow.

Conclusion
Don’t shy away from being a leader. I once mentioned in an article that university is a great place to learn, experiment and make mistakes. If you are afraid, it means you are stepping out of the comfort zone, and that is good because it will bring growth. If there is a takeaway from this article, it is these three words: “Have a go.” So, step out and have a go at being the leader!

Esther Ling
Esther Ling is a final year electrical power engineering student at Curtin Sarawak. She founded The Pencil Box in 2013, which has since been featured on The Ant Daily. The Pencil Box helps students accelerate their learning curve at university, by providing articles on self-development, leadership and creative learning. The Pencil Box website: www.jclathepencilbox.org


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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Win RM100 in 30 minutes or less* - here's how

Posted by Chong

Be one of the ten people to win RM100 cash** from us by submitting a post/essay/article on any topics relevant to education or students in Malaysia to our writing contest!

Do you know, Malaysia Students Blog by students for students, the most popular education blog in Malaysia***, is still alive and kicking in our 9th year this year since established in 2006! In fact, our readership has been growing strongly year over year. Over the past eight years, many similar student blogs were started but eventually became inactive or even disappeared completely as the bloggers moved on to focus on other commitments in their lives. To remind you that we are not dead yet and see no sign of dying, we now announce the exciting writing contest!

Okay, that's a lame excuse for a writing contest. The truth is, we did organise one writing contest back in 2008 to reward our talented readers and it went very well even though we had a very small readership then. The 13 entries that we received were insightful and covered a variety of topics. After that successful writing contest, we wanted to organise another one the following years but due to blah~ blah~ haze, water crisis blah~ [insert lame excuses here], finally, we are here to announce our writing contest today!

This writing contest will not be possible without the support from our distinguished sponsors, Hotcourses and EasyUni!


Hotcourses provides extensive info on undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses for Malaysian students in Malaysia and overseas. Do not wait, visit Hotcourses today to plan for your further studies!

What we really like about Hotcourses are the helpful student guides on applying to university, visa guides, student finances, career prospects and other relevant topics, offering free and practical advices to those going for undergrad and postgrad studies.


EasyUni, the Asia's largest university and college portal, offers comprehensive info of thousands of courses, from 1959 universities and colleges in 27 countries for FREE. You are really lucky that EasyUni exists today as you can get all education info in one portal. We wish we had EasyUni last time.

What we really like about EasyUni is the info on tuition fee, which is really critical for many of us during the decision making on whether it is the right and affordable university for us or not.

Writing Contest on Education, Examination and Experience

The steps are as simple as 1-2-3 below:
  1. Understand the rules. Deadline for submission is 18th May 2014 (Sunday) 11:59PM. Result announcement: end of May 2014.

    This writing contest is open to all students in Malaysia (including international students) and those who have been students in Malaysia (can be working now or currently further studying abroad).

    Your writing must be original (never published before) and is written for this writing contest. Do not submit your school essay or modify your old blog post and send to us.

    90% on the usefulness/insightfulness/practicalness etc. of your content or idea and 10% on English grammar, spelling, sentence structure etc. Unlike most writing contests, our writing contest is not about your English language or your essay writing skills. The main criteria to win is your contents or ideas add the greatest value to our readers who are mostly SPM, pre-university students and undergraduates in Malaysia.

    Update: No minimum length, no length limit, all writing styles are welcomed (formal, informal, :sarcasm:, emoticons, hashtags...). As long as your writing can convey your message clearly and concisely, any length will do.

    By submitting your post/article/essay, you have given full permission and all rights for us to publish it on Malaysia Students Blog, regardless winning or not. We reserve the rights to edit your submission for clarity, change the title, insert links to other relevant posts on our blog, correct spelling or grammatical errors before we publish.

    You may submit more than one entry but one person can only win maximum one of the ten cash prizes of RM100. Cash will be deposited to your personal account with Malaysia's major banks.

    Malaysia Students Blog will decide the winners based on the criteria we set and we have the final say on who are the winners. Call us dictator or whatever, no questions on why this entry does not win or why that entry wins will be entertained.
     
  2. Write a post/article/essay on any topics relevant to education or students in Malaysia. Your topic may be general (e.g. 10 simple ways to improve your english) or specific (e.g. how to score MUET). You may write on your insightful and thought-provoking opinions on specific education issues (e.g. who ever said that matrix was easy, don't go to university for the sake of it), share your extraordinary student life or education experiences (e.g. life at matrikulasi, why I regret getting straight A1 in SPM) or offer practical advices and helpful tips to fellow junior students (e.g. how to score straight A+'s in SPM, 5 habits of successful college students).

    Let's share with you 10 examples of topics we managed to brainstorm in less than five minutes:
    1. Apa lagi student mahu? What we really want from our education system
    2. Healthy diet for students - more nutritional than just kangkung and ayam
    3. How Ultraman inspired me to be an ethical student
    4. How I earned RM5,000 a month while I was still a student
    5. How I get Band 9 in IELTS - 10 simple tips and tricks
    6. How to master SPM Additional Mathematics? 10 little-known effective ways
    7. Should students buy SPM exam tips? Why and why not
    8. My amazing internship experience that you won't believe is true
    9. 10 mobile apps that help me tremendously in my study
    10. Save money guide for students - 20 creative ways to save money

    Browse through our blog archives for inspiration or ideas. If you are still in doubt whether your topic is considered relevant or not, feel free to check with us by email before you start writing. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
     
  3. Submit your entries in doc or docx format with creative title to us through email with the subject 'Writing Contest'. If you use photos, pictures in your writing, state the original source of the images. Include a short paragraph of your intro, for example your nickname or real name, age, education background, hobbies etc.

    Example of author's intro (example only, you can be more creative and personal): Linda, 20, has just completed her STPM last year and is currently waiting for enrolment into local public university. During her spare time, she enjoys reading lifestyle magazines and news on business startup. She aspires to be a successful social entrepreneur in the future as she believes the purpose of her life is to make the world a better place through social movement.

    Optionally, include a photo of yourself (selfie is perfect!), a link to your Twitter or blog. Our email address is

    Check our blog often for writing contest updates and winner announcement. Recommended: subscribe to our mailing list to receive latest news on winner announcement and read all great writing contest entries we will publish by email.
Questions? Leave us a comment below and we will get back to you. Good luck!

* It took us on average 30 minutes to write a post on this blog.
** A big thank you to 44 readers who responded to our survey. For this writing contest, we make the decision to award ten winners each with RM100 instead of five winners each with RM200 based on the survey result.
*** Based on our own observation of Malaysian blogs focusing mainly on education. Blogs that cover many different topics other than education such as entertainment news, politics are not included in our definition of education blog. According to our blog statistics, Malaysia Students Blog was visited by more than 100,000 unique visitors in February 2014 and has 19,000 subscribers.


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Thursday, April 17, 2014

5 Habits of Successful College Students who Become Successful Adults (#2 will surprise you)

Guest post written by Lu Wee
The Pencil Box
Getting good grades in college is a status symbol. You have the privilege of being seen as one of the smart ones. You receive accolades and commendations from your peers and professors alike. After being recognized as a successful college student, you think, ‘I’m ready for the world.’

But are you really? Does getting good grades prepare you for the real world?

The answer, unsurprisingly, is no.

New studies have found that a wholly academic college experience handicaps young adults for the real world. Too much focus on passing exams leaves little room for developing the skills that the real world would pay for.

More and more college students graduate to find themselves unemployable. How can you be different? What habits differentiate successful college students who go on to become successful adults?

#1 They participate in activities which helps them develop their leadership skills
Participate in Activities

Reading books and articles about good leaders is great. But being a leader in practice will make you an even better leader. In order to do this, you need to actively seek out opportunities where you can exercise leadership. The leadership skills that you develop in college will be useful in your college projects as well as future career.

How to start: Ask around to see if there are any open opportunities to be a leader in an already established group that you are interested in on campus. If no such group exists, you are welcome to start you own.

#2 They have fun with their friends
Networking with Friends

Socializing with your friends isn’t a waste of time. The social skills you develop right now will help you connect with people you work with in the future. These social skills will help you network with people of influence and propel your career after college.

How to start: Plan regular outings with friends you’ve known for a while and friends you’ve just met. Outings can vary from simple lunches to meet-ups on subject interests (programming, books, anime are just a few examples of subject interests that are currently popular among college students).

#3 They exercise regularly
Do Regular Exercise

No matter how busy you get at your assignments, projects and exams, carve out time to exercise. Not only does it help you keep fit and look good, research has shown exercise to be key in stress reduction. Exercise helps you relax your brain and ready it for the next studying session.

How to start: Find an activity you enjoy and get some friends to do it with you. Doing things in groups usually keeps it going much longer than going at it alone.

#4 They experiment with projects that excite them but aren’t necessarily related to their academics
Experiment with Projects

Sometimes you go into a field of study because your parents or teachers thought it was a good idea. ‘You’re smart, you should be a doctor!’ ‘You’re good in Physics, you should be an engineer’. If you secretly think you would be happier if you could bake cakes your entire life, you just might want to give baking every weekend a shot!

How to start: Ask yourself this: What’s one thing I wish I could keep doing my entire life? Once you’ve identified that, plan the interest into your schedule. If it’s writing, you might want to start writing a couple of articles a week.

#5 They find mentors to guide them
Mentor' Roles

What do professional basketball stars and golf players have in common? That’s right, they have a coach. Think about it. Why do professionals need coaches? Professionals need coaches because they want to be even better than they are now. Like how professionals need coaches, you need mentors. Coaches and mentors are people who can see the problems you don’t.

How to start: Email somebody you admire and add value to them. The more value you can add to their life the more they will want to connect with you. Never, though, start a first interaction with an ask for help!

Lu Wee teaches young college students and recent college graduates how to break mental barriers and start their own business or projects on her blog. She believes that everyone should be able to spend their life working on things they they enjoy and things that are meaningful to them. Lu Wee is also the founder of Entrepreneur campfire - a community which connects aspiring entrepreneurs with young entrepreneurs. She started this community as a way to connect and to connect like-minded people together. Whenever she can, she goes around campuses in Malaysia to talk about entrepreneurship as a really cool way to spend time, make money and do things that might change the world. She is always looking to connect with young entrepreneurs or anyone who enjoys starting projects. Feel free to leave her a message at [email protected]


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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Students to Own University Student (Campus) Election Commission

Written by Marcus Lee, Law Student of University of Malaya
Universiti Malaya (UM) Dewan Tunku Canselor
Universiti Malaya (UM) Dewan Tunku Canselor

Annually, the University Student Election (Campus election) is organized in every single Malaysia public university concurrently, or around the same time. The elected students will form a body, namely Student Representative Council, representing the students and channel their opinions to the university level, somehow it is just like the Members of Parliament elected by the people to lead, care and defend the rights of the people. However, is that so in reality?

Allow me to share my experience and some humble opinion on the campus election of the University of Malaya (UM), top university in Malaysia (I hope UM is still in the “Top 200” list in QS ranking). Well, the election in UM was organized by the university authorities, by forming a committee similar to the “Election Commission” to handle the campus election.

The students from Pro-Mahasiswa party (anti-establishment) were skeptical towards the independence of the “election commission”, whether the organizer was biased towards the Pro-HEP party (pro-establishment). E-voting system was used by the university, and the students casted their votes online using the computers prepared beforehand by the authority in the residential colleges and faculties. Compared to manual voting method, the E-voting is not flawless, and its reliability is often questioned by the students. For instance, the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), a public university, experienced a glitch following an emergence of phantom voters during its campus election in 2012, and a re-election was held.

Some of the students were reluctant to vote for the anti-establishment candidates, because they believed that their votes can be traced in the system. One said: “If the system can identify who has casted their vote and who hasn’t, then the system might be able to trace which candidate we have voted”. Especially to the students who were staying in the residential colleges in UM, they were afraid that if they vote for the anti-establishment, they will not be able to renew their tenancy.

Apparently, rumours were spreading like wildfire; some of them chose to believe the “hidden meaning” behind the placing the voting centres in their residential colleges. Mind that, students’ matric numbers (nombor kad matrik) were used to generate a code for the students to log in and cast their votes, so they are not convinced even the authorities assured the secrecy of the election. Whether the data in the system can be captured when it was sent to be kept in the database due to the advancement of technology remains another question.

Apart from the voting method, let’s look at the Student Representative Council (Majlis Perwakilan Mahasiswa, MPM), the elected members of the council, are they involved directly in the development of the university? The answer is NO. The name of the council explains it well, they are merely representatives, they have no power and thus their positions as students’ representatives are very much ceremonial. Look at the top western universities, they have Students’ Union (University of Malaya once had a Students’ Union too) that fight for the rights of the university students. For example, the Cambridge University Students’ Union fought against tuition fees and fee rises, they fought for equality and diversity as well as environmental sustainability.

In UM, the Student Representative Council organizes the graduation ceremony, giving multiple suggestions to the Students’ Affair Division (Hal Ehwal Pelajar, HEP) of the university, and nothing more than that. The existence of University and University Colleges Act 1971 (AUKU) and the rules of UM have very much restricted the freedom of assembly and expression of the students. Recently, some of the representatives fought for hidden fees (every students staying in the residential colleges are compulsory to pay RM120 for the colleges’ dinner at the end of the year), suggestion made to the university for making the event to optional instead of compulsory because the rising of living cost burdened the students’ family.

The suggestions were ignored, no solution has been decided, and nothing else is heard after that meeting. Thus, compared to the Students’ Union that we once had, the current council is only ceremonial, and helping the students only at a very minimal level.

The education aimed to produce students who can think out of the box and of most important, empowering students. The question here is why the campus elections are not in the hand of the students? Let the students grow by allowing them to organize the election, allow them to form their own “election commission” and carry out the election with integrity and full maturity. The committee will be more independent, and they can bring in improvements to the campus election, such as changing the election from E-voting to manual voting.

Besides, this can raise the awareness of the students of their rights of voting as the major stakeholder of the university (at least the university and the residential colleges can save the money of buying free food for the voters). It is not stated in the AUKU that campus election must be organized by the university authority. Through organizing an election in UM, I believe the students can earn valuable experience without compromising the integrity of the organizing committee.

In conclusion, the university authorities or the Students Affair Division have no reason to take care of everything, they have to allow the students to be involved in the development of university and organizing committee for campus election will be a perfect platform for the students to grow.

Notice: University of Malaya (UM) Campus Election of Student Representatives


The article was first published at HarakahDaily on 29 March 2014.


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

7 Tips for Surviving College

Guest post written by Daniel Oon Wei Rhen

College can be incredibly stressful at times. This is especially true during exam periods and as deadlines for assignments and projects draw near. Here are 7 ways to help make these stressful periods more manageable.

1. Don’t stress out!
I know this is easier said than done but stressing out about stuff would not make things easier and all it does is it sucks the fun out of your studies, which makes it even harder to find the motivation to study.
Stressed College Student

2. Prioritize
It can be overwhelming having to deal with multiple assignments and exams all at once. When one is in such a situation, it is generally a good idea to try tackling the more difficult tasks. Why? Because the more demanding tasks require a lot more concentration and effort, and hence, by hunkering down and hacking away at challenging tasks first, we are able to achieve more. We tend to be more motivated and mentally fresh in the beginning of the day, and as the day draws on, we get tired and lose our mental concentration. If we were to tackle the easier ones first, then we lose momentum by the time we get to the more difficult tasks.
Prioritize: First Thing First

3. Set daily targets
Setting a reasonable target for each class AND writing it down goes a long way in keeping you motivated. Study the syllabus carefully and try to get a good idea of what is expected of you for each class. Talk to the professor in the beginning of the semester to get a ‘feel’ for the class. Writing goals down is important because it makes the goals tangible. As humans, we forget easily. Writing goals down and placing it where you can see them every morning before you head to class helps you to stay focus throughout the semester.
Set Daily Targets

4. Count your losses
If things get to the point where you have to choose between tasks, then you have to pick the more important task and abandon the rest. Part of being human is that we can’t always achieve every single thing we want to. For example, say, I have to finish a problem set for my Mechanics class that is due 8am the following day and I have to submit a paper due at the same time. The Mechanics problem set, however, would only account for less than 5% of my final grade while the paper would account for 35% of my final grade. In this instance, I would have to forgo my problem set and use my remaining time to work on my paper. This advice applies to your working life as well. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we have to make a decision on the spot. The right decision is not always perfect but it is the one with minimal losses.

5. Go to office hours
Try to read your lecture notes before each class and if you find yourself confused about the material even after sitting in on the lecture and re-reading some of your notes, then it is crucial for you to get help as soon as possible. Do not wait until a couple of days before a big exam. And do not feel too proud to ask for help. Professors are there to facilitate the learning process.

6. Stay motivated
How? By constantly asking yourself why getting a good grade in a particular class is important to you. Try to go beyond generic answers like “I need to pass this class in order to graduate”. Search deep and really ask yourself what you want to get out of a particular class and how will the materials learned in said class help you in attaining some of your long-term goals. Attaching meaning to a seemingly boring and abstruse class can do wonders in motivating you to ace the class.

Stay Calm College Student Tips

7. Stay calm
What do you do when you are on the verge of having a mental breakdown? When you find yourself in such a situation, you need to find some quiet time to unwind and take a step back from everything and just relax. Meditate, pray; get more sleep…find whatever works for you. Personally, I find that picturing myself lying in a hammock on a beach on a deserted island helps me relax.

Remember, if you do your best and still don’t do as well as you expected, know that it is ok. It is not the end of the world. You will survive this. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Assess your mistakes and move on.

Daniel is a first-year student at Curtin Sarawak who has a penchant for all things related to Sociology, Government and Analytical Philosophy. He spent two years in a boarding school in India and four years in America. Daniel has traveled widely and is always down for a spontaneous trip to an obscure part of the world. He loves cooking and treasures the company of good friends. Daniel enjoys writing and has contributed to The Pencil Box, a community of high performing college students who are interested in spending their time away from classes to develop world-changing ideas.


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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

8 Simple Ways to Make Money While Studying

Written by Shumie - Write a guest post and get featured here

Parents giving us money during school time, RM3 to RM5 a day, well, not anymore when you’re a college or university student. PTPTN is there to help you, or any sort of loan, but trust me, they are never enough. So what can you do part time in college or university to save up some cash for yourself? Here are eight simple ways to make money while studying.

So here we go:
1. Student cab Service
Prerequisite: A car
Think about it, not many students are fortunate as you and owns a car, therefore why not make a business out of it. At most parts of Malaysia, the public transport (bus) is ineffective and private transports (taxi) will cut throat like nobody’s business, so doesn’t this sound like an opportunity to you? Lower your charges, be more efficient and friendly, that’s the key to the business. Don’t worry about someone already doing it or competition, there are always competition. And be smart, if you can’t beat them, join them.

Ways to Make Money While Studying

2. Bakery in the room
Okay, chill out, I am not asking you to open a bakery in the room. But for those of you at the hostel, you must’ve experienced the crazy hunger pang in the middle of the night and you have no food left. Now, a microwave is not that expensive. Neither is some bread and some breadspread. There, idea. Simple food, but due to hunger, anything and everything becomes delicious. And why would people want to buy from you, you might ask? Well let’s see, some people are not that keen on walking a distance, some are bored of their room food and some just want something new for supper. Makes sense?  As an additional idea, microwave can even cook burger meat. Now I’ve said too much..

3. Room tidying for lecturers
Ever walked into a lecturer’s room and worry for the safety of your life due to the stacks and stacks of books in their room? Yeah, trust me, they want a clean room too, just that they do not have the time to tidy it up. What they do have is resources (money) but unfortunately, no one has this kind of offer, to clean up a lecturer’s room. So… is the story good enough yet? Be resourceful, be smart and you can build your business around this simple act of tidying up.

4. Printing and scanning
Well, I am not asking you to own all these machines, but hey, guess what, the three in one printer that comes with all these features helps you to make money as well. Not everyone owns a printer in their hostel room and if you have one, then start up your printing service by printing their assignments, or notes, or what they need. Trust me, some of them will be so desperate to print out their assignments during the midnight hour or some are even lazy to go to the printing shop located outside their colleges or universities. And so, here comes your chance to earn some bucks!

5. Sell up your creativity
Chill out people! Selling your creativity here means doing something out of your creativity and selling them. For example, you can create hand-made greeting cards and sell them during Valentine day, or even Graduation day for your seniors and friends. People just tend to appreciate these kind of hand-made things and there is some sentimental touch in your creativity.. Use your creativity to earn some bucks!

6. Editing and Proofreading Service
You have a good command of language? Grammar and good sentence structures are at your finger tips? Then this would be a good chance for you to earn some bucks. Offer and promote that you are doing editing service for resume, assignments and thesis because many students out there always have problems for grammar errors. You can offer to do it for the language you are keen on. Perhaps one buck per page and just imagine how many pages are there for a thesis or assignment. This can be a great part time job for you if you enjoy doing it.

7. Henna / Mehendi Service
You have talent in drawing henna? Lots of people love decorating their hands during events or any functions. Some of them would even like a temporary tattoo on their hands or legs and this would be a good opportunity for you to earn some bucks. Promote your service through social network in your campus and open up booth when there are events in your college/campus. People will definitely visit your booth and you may start drawing henna on your new customers hand.

8. Nail Polish ~ Manicure
Girls and nail polish can never be separated. If you are an expertise in this field, why not give out a try and offer this service for a cheaper price compared to those manicure outlets. Promote the service and designs you offer especially during some upcoming events or functions in your campus or college and those girls will start lining up to get your service. This will help you to earn a little bit for your daily needs perhaps. It is not easy to start up something at the initial stage, but it will definitely pay a good price at the end of the day.
So people, sit back, relax and think what you can do to make some money out there while studying. Life is all about exploring new stuff and learning new things.


Shumeenabuvani Chandresh or simply known as Shumie is currently 22 and she is studying in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), doing a degree in B.A. Hons English For Professionals (second year currently). She did her SPM in Science stream and moved on STPM in arts stream. Her hobbies are basically writing, reading materials, and surfing the net. She is also a debater in her uni and a part time tuition teacher as well.


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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Taylor's University is in a Stray Dog Crisis (Updated with Official Response)

Posted by Chong

Update 4 April 2014: Taylor's official response:
Taylor's University is appalled to learn about the treatment by the external contractor hired on recommendation of Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ) on one of the stray dogs. We regret that this incident took place as it is something we do not condone. We have since ceased the services of this contractor, who was engaged after efforts carried out by MPSJ to address this issue was met with no success.

Taylor’s is committed to providing a safe environment for our family. The decision to remove the stray dogs comes after numerous complaints from our students, parents and staff. We are now seeking to involve our community to come up with measures to help solve the problem of stray dogs within the Lakeside Campus.
According to a video (see below) that went viral on Facebook, Puspa Pani, the founder of Malaysia Independent Animal Rescue, claimed she received a report from Shivany SenthilNathan who witnessed this incident at Taylor's University Lakeside Campus.

Taylor's University is in real PR crisis now, with some of the Facebook comments like "Taylor university .. shame on you" and "Taylors college u [sic] are a disgrace" getting high number of likes. One person even left a comment calling for a protest outside the campus "If you guys really care, should make some signs and protest outside of Taylor university to stop this cruelty. Make it a big deal because it is a big deal, let the media point out the ugliness behind this university!" At the time of posting, this video post has been shared 2,195 times on Facebook. Will dog lovers still want to enrol in a university with an environment like this?

We've reached out to Taylor's University for comment and will update if we get a reply.

In the meantime, Shivany SenthilNathan just posted the message below. Any dog lovers out there?
Taylor's University in a Dog Crisis
Another stray dog gets caught / Facebook


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