Ronald Robertson

Dr. Aaronn Avit Ajeng

Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Email aaronnavit@um.edu.my
  • AffiliationUniversiti Malaya (UM)
  • ExpertiseBiology and Biochemistry
  • Curriculum VitaeDownload here

A Journey After SPM

Hey there, welcome to my Throwback Thursday blog post! I have never done this before but let's get to it.

Below were the photos taken in 2014. It was when I attended my very first scholarship interview in Kuching for abroad studies after SPM, I was still in the National Service (NS) when I received the invitation email for the interview. With limited time to prepare, I still went for it.

This full scholarship was offered by MARA for students who excelled in SPM and wished to pursue their studies abroad. MARA scholarship used to be one of the top funding organisations in Malaysia for higher studies and it is every student's dream to be sponsored by MARA. I applied for biomedical engineering in Ireland because I had lesser options as i wanted to study medicine but I was cool with biomed. 

Did I pass the interview? Unfortunately, I did not. 

Why? Because everything overwhelmed me, and that caused me losing my self-confidence during the interview. I realized that I was not mentally ready for it as I went straight to the interview location from NS (Similajau Bintulu to Kuching using bus!) with my sister. When i arrived in the room where all potential scholars gathered, i began to look down as I was so embarrassed with my clumsy, dark and ugly look. That blue shirt in the photo, was exactly what I used to the interview as they required us to use collared tshirt with tracksuit. We were divided into groups and I waited anxiously for our turn. I was quiet during the waiting time, and a girl was trying to be friendly to me. She greeted me, asked where I was from, and she asked me how many A's did I got and I said 8As. I asked hers, and guess what? She scored straight A+. She was one of the top scorers in the whole Sarawak. I then became more quiet hahaha. I was humbled by the experience.

I had a very limited time to equip myself, and I failed to expect what will happen during the interview. During the national service, our mobile phones were only given on every Sunday afternoon, which had to be returned at night. The invitation email came in during the weekday, but I could not access my phone. The only time I had was when I was in the bus heading to Kuching. I tried to look up for every possible detail about MARA, and past experiences of students who attended the same interview. I thought I was all good, but the interview did not go as what I had expected. It was totally different. It was not an individual interview, but the students were accessed based on their performance in a group. We were given situations to discuss on, and of course it was an advantage to someone who can speak well, there were even debaters in my group. I was the passive ones.

Considering my effort for this interview which probably was not enough, I just surrendered. I was eventually given another chance to redo the interview but i rejected it as I was already in matriculation. But one thing I wish I knew before the interview was what to expect which motivated me to run this blog, to share my experiences that others probably will go through one day. Also, I wish I was not that passive during the interview, I would have nailed the group discussion. After all, I trusted God with His timing and thank God that I finally settled in the University of Malaya. I was also blessed with a full sponsorship from Yayasan Sime Darby. God has always reminded me to be faithful and grateful with what has been given to me. It is just amazing to see how God works when you are being faithful. 


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