Monica Ashwini: Life as a scholar

 “Congratulations darling!”Say’s Mum with a huge beam on her face as dad glows with pleasure. I, meanwhile, can’t help feeling a little queasy and nervous. Just a few moments ago, I was notified that I managed to bag the overseas PSD scholarship.

I know that I should be over the moon with happiness and all that, but already my shoulders feel heavy with the responsibilities that are bound to follow now that I am a scholar. Well, that was how I felt 12 months ago really.

Today, having graduated from the Foundation program in UNITEN, I have a different view as a PSD scholar. Granted, I was never wrong when I thought that as a PSD scholar, the responsibilities would pile up over time but honestly, I enjoyed my time as a scholar, in UNITEN at least.

Imagine yourself in a class of super-smart students from all over Malaysia. These students are also scholars and obviously, one’s ego is at test here. I was supremely nervous and worried that I would get “lost” among all these people labeled nerds. What if I don’t make it? What if I am the dumbest of them all?

It didn’t help that I am a natural worrier. Well, the lessons started off with a bang and initially all went well until it dawned to us scholars that there were SAT tests and TOEFL tests and Foundation tests round the corner. That was when all hell broke loose. The one thing that kept me sane and grounded was the fact that the friends I had pulled me through all the challenges and thanks to some of the super awesome thoughtful lecturers around (Ms Gwen!). There were times when I actually shed tears thinking I would never pull through and a simple hug from friends (Aish, Norleen!) would suffice to make everything seem better. The academic requirements set by the PSD were also stringent and I was extremely worried that I would not live up to them. So I guess the stress does get to you sometimes.

Moving on to happier moments, well it is interesting to note that however of a hellhole one’s life may seem at times, there is always room for fun and laughter. Owing to the fact that UNITEN is minutes away from shopping havens like Mid Valley, KLCC, the Curve and the likes, we scholars tend to take fun a little too over the top occasionally. Nonetheless, if one is not careful, the meager sum of money the PSD supplies will certainly disappear quickly if one is not wise in money matters.

All in all, I believe that life as a scholar benefited me greatly, what with all the experience gained and the ideas shared with peers. So sod the stress that comes with being a scholar, the fun part of it wins hands down!

Monica Ashwini | University of Washington, Seattle(Class of 2015)

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