SPM (Malaysian equivalent of GCE O Level) results were out two weeks ago.

I was reminded again how lucky I was.

I wrote about how a scholarship from The University of Sheffield allowed me to pursue my dream of studying law in the UK.

I know not everyone gets so lucky.

I know of students with excellent results who want to pursue professions such as medicine and dentistry but are limited by their financial circumstances.

Some of these students may not have adults at home or in school who can discuss with them their options (if any).

Being 18 or 19 years old with excellent results but no financial means to pursue your dream feels discouraging (to put it mildly).

I knew how it felt. I studied as though my life depended on it. (That’s my excuse of being a nerd). Of course, I am not suggesting getting a university degree is the only path forward. But for an 18-year- old with no other means or awareness, formal education was the only path that I could see at that time.

It seems foolish to say that things would work out just fine, without anything more.

But I want to say this – don’t just give up. Explore all options.

I applied for every scholarship that I came across-JPA, Shell, Petronas, Maybank, BNM and scholarships offered by universities. This was during the days of dial-up internet. Searching for information meant going to PC cafe and reading printed newspapers.

I didn’t go to the highest ranked/most reputable university that made me an offer to study. I went to the one that offered me the most amount of scholarship in the course that I wanted and I am grateful.

To all of you taking your first step towards your goal, you want to know that you have explored all options and done your best for your goal.

All the best.

This post was first posted on Linkedin on 29 June 2022.

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