Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dream Comes True with Maxis

Dreams do turn into reality, provided one puts in his or her every effort into realizing them. March 28th, 2013 marked another transition of my life. It was the day in which I was informed that Maxis has selected me as one of their scholars. The moment I knew I was awarded the Maxis Scholarship for Excellence (MSEA), one of which I have been eyeing for in a very long time, I sighed with relief. Unlike what most other people might have done, that is scream for joy, I just smiled to myself. It was not because I wasn't contented with what I have been blessed with, rather it was more of like a heavy burden lifted off my shoulders. The financial burden. It wasn't like my parents couldn't afford to pay for my education, it was just me. I am self-driven. I have always strived to achieve greater heights in my life, especially in my education. A year ago, I was offered a place in the Psychology program of 6 universities, 5 from the UK and 1 from HK. Unfortunately, financial constraints have deterred me from pursuing my studies abroad. So, I have settled for IMU. Despite all that, I have never given up on my dream of obtaining a scholarship to ease my parents' burden.  I have always worked hard in academics and also not omitting the ECAs in order gain different experiences outside classroom. Thus, this scholarship definitely serves as a recognition for all the effort I have put into my academics. This scholarship is even more meaningful to me with it being a merit-based scholarship. Here, I would like to share the experiences of my journey towards securing the MSEA with all aspiring Maxis scholars.

First Interview
The first interview is always deemed as a casual get-to-know-you interview. The first stage interview was a 2 to 1 interview which lasted for 30 minutes. Two Maxis staffs were my interviewers. They were quite friendly in a serious way.  For my case, in fact for this year's first interview (according to other candidates I talked to), the questions were quite challenging as they were asked with a purpose of knowing your leadership skills in terms of how you deal with different situations/challenges. The questions were more specific and requires some thinking. Basically, candidates have to be prepared in providing detailed descriptions/explanations for your experience. Being detailed shows that you are speaking from your real experience and you reflect on what you have been through. So, be wary of what you say or write on your CV as you may be asked to explain in detail your experience.

Second Interview
The second interview was a 3 to 1 interview with an interviewer from the external panel. Something I would never have forgotten is the awkward moment before I entered the interview room. The door (unlike any other ordinary doors) was so difficult to be pushed open. I struggled to open the door despite trying to push the door from both sides. It was not until one of the interviewers inside told me to push harder that I managed to enter the room, almost losing my balance as the door was so heavy! This time's interview which lasted for about 25 to 30 minutes (shorter than others who were in the same slot as me) was slightly easier for me. I wonder if it was just me or this applies to others as well.  I guess it was because I was more prepared this time as the questions revolved around my ambition or future career.  But there were some questions which I felt my answers were quite vague but I still managed to convey them in a calm manner. The questions posed will also base on what you present in your introduction. I ended my intro by mentioning about my ambition. Hence, the whole interview was about my ambition. One thing to note is that interviewer from the external panel was particularly nice, I felt at ease when I spoke to her as she was always acknowledging my answers, giving a slight boost to my confidence. Generally, conduct a thorough research on your field of study and express interest in contributing to the nation. I was told by my mom (who is also a scholarship interviewer) that second round interviews are usually meant to confirm whether you are the right candidate for the scholarship, instead of compete with other candidates in terms of who is the best fit for the scholarship.

Overall, both interviews have different levels of difficulties and  this varies according to individuals. My advice is to maintain your calm and be humble by not being too confident in your answers. However, substantial confidence is a key to eliminate nervous feelings.

That's all about MSEA. 

I just came back from Ching Ming and I seriously need some rest to deal with assignments and activities in the next few weeks. Goodnight, world!

To all aspiring scholars out there, realize dreams by imagination and then execution.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back to square one


2012 has been a year full of ups and downs for me but I'm glad I pulled through it. With every year being a new beginning for me, I definitely look forward to fulfilling some of the resolutions I've always been tied to but never really accomplished them throughout the previous years. If you're curious, here are some of the resolutions: a) to be physically fit and slimmer b) to meet and make more friends

Why a)? I realized that I need to stay fit if I am really interested to participate in runs and sporting activities. I really enjoy doing sports, but never had much of the opportunities nor the group of friends to engage with in any sport. Another reason is for the sake of self-satisfaction. I like being healthy. I mean, nobody likes being unhealthy. In a nutshell, having the fitness gives me a sense a security.

Then why b)? It's kind of related to a). Wanting to be fit would mean engaging in more sports/activities, thus being able to meet more people. Well, the philosophy is simple this year. Mix around without any preconceived judgment of others and at the end of the day, if the person is really not your type of friend, at least I've tried, at least I've made my move to have arrived at the conclusion of who he or she really is.

Done with resolutions. Now, stories that kick started the new year.
First, the dawn of a new year practically had no significance to me this year due to exams. The anticipation wasn't even there. I know, some people have had the same experience. But it was my first time pulling off the new year with my books and notes. Nevermind though. My hard work paid off this time with a 4.00 to end my first year. Unexpected but totally grateful and on cloud nine. Thank you, God.

It was only after exams that my new year excitement came about. A few of us in the same batch headed to Penang for a short vacation since we've been receiving endless invitations from our Penang friends to visit them. So, we finally made it this time! I have to say that both of my Penang friends are pretty good hosts. They know where to have the best ikan bakar, char kuey teow, roasted pork, assam laksa, you name it! I even thought that they have the potential to be tour guides. And I wondered if those living in Penang realized how lucky they are to be showered with great food, all of reasonable or I'd say really cheap prices. AHHH..the joy of being a Penang-ite.

Also, I had my first parasailing experience in Penang. It was a memorable one accompanied by scratches and minor bruises on my knees and arm aftermath thanks to our shaky take-off and landing. But it was fun, I wouldn't mind doing it again, next time, I'd like to have a solo parasailing. One thing I'm ecstatic about is that I can now proudly announce that I've tried bungee jumping, parasailing and skydiving, all before the age of 21. Wohoo!!!

That's about all for now. Before I end, I'd like to officially welcome 2013, this time with something to shout about; CNY!! Shoppings, visits, angpaos and wonderful delicacies graciously await us!

Cheers to a great year ahead with many many positive returns!