Norleen Lowrans: Life as a scholar

No, she’s not a born-genius, neither is she gifted with strong photogenic memory. No, she’s not brave nor has a lot of confidence in her but she willing to learn, to try new things, to explore, and test her limits. Like others, she too has dreams. Dreams about how she wants to color her future, passions, and main goal in life. Blessed she is, she’s one step closer to her ultimate dream as money constrain is now out of the topic because she earned a scholarship. Pursuing her studies to the States opened thousands of doors for her. The States is like a sea of enormous creatures and she’s just a tiny fish with a fear that she’ll get engulfed by the big ones.

She also knows that a lot awaits her in America; culture shock, racism, dangers, temptations, stress and precious knowledge ready to be learnt. No matter how hard she strives to defend herself from the enemy, she realizes she can’t do it alone. The main lesson learnt during her time in foundation, is friendship. The unbreakable bonds built from love, respect and trust. A friend once told her that the strongest force is neither the hydrogen bond nor diamond's strong covalent bonding nor even nuclear bond. It’s the unbreakable bond of true love shared by two individual, be it a friend’s or a mother’s love. They stood beside her in good times and in bad times. They helped her face her fears and encouraged her to take up challenges. They also accepted her weakness and ignored the fact that she’s a minority. Equality was often prioritized and she fits in perfectly like the rest of the jigsaw puzzle. 

Coming to UNITEN has taught her to toughen up, increase her thirst for knowledge, and grab opportunities when it comes. It’s the people in UNITEN that changed her perspective of life. Originated from a background which never emphasis on the importance world issues, social justice, or impact of history and scientific breakthroughs. Friends in UNITEN helped her to view the world in a whole new dimension. Every day she discovers new facts of life and insights, thus, expanding her horizons. This gave her a chance to have intellectual discussion.

As a scholar, of course, there are many academic and discipline requirements to fulfill and expectations to uphold. William Shakespeare said “expectations are the root of all heartache”. True enough because when there are expectations, there’s the fear of becoming a disappointment and then stress and excessive worrying comes rolling in. Boy, was it hard to uphold JPA’s requirement. There were countless times when sleep was the ultimate sacrifice and coffee was only company at night. She had experienced falling off track a few times but that didn’t stop her. Life was never easy and she knows that. To gain something, she needs to earn it first.

Basically, life as a scholar was a never like a calm sea. There were moments when everybody’s brain were burned out with one exam after another and followed by organizing activities. Not forgetting the competitions participated in and talks where attendance was made compulsory, though it was very informative and beneficial. The girl mention earlier, well, that girl is me. To be honest, this journey that I set off on is just the beginning. I had my ups and downs but I learnt not to give up. I also learnt that juggling fun and study is not easy but it’s extremely crucial. My life as a scholar has been great and also very tough. It was a learning experience the whole way and I’m glad I made full use of it.

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