365 Days Of Failure (2): My Initial Failure In Getting A Scholarship

365 Days Of Failure (2): My Initial Failure In Getting A Scholarship


My maths teacher, Bidari – is an awesome teacher. During his classes, he usually tells us stories about his experience studying overseas. He studied chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was sponsored by Shell. That’s the top university that you should go if you want to pursue any courses in engineering. MIT has produced a lot of notable alumni. One of them is Salman Khan, creator of khanacademy.org.

So right after I got my SPM result, it’s scholarship hunting time. My top priority was getting a scholarship into Shell. I remembered that it took me quite an effort to apply for it. I didn’t have internet. I didn’t have a scanner. All I had was the big old CRT desktop which I’ve always used to edit my pictures.

Government scholarships require a compulsory 5A’s in these subjects; Bahasa Melayu, English, History, Mathematics and Islamic Studies / Moral. I didn’t get an A for Bahasa Melayu so government scholarship is out of the question. Shell is a private company so in their scholarship requirements they did not state that having an A for Bahasa Melayu was compulsory – this was my first scholarship application. I went to a cybercafé, surfed to Shell’s website and typed in my particulars. I didn’t have enough money for scanning so I brought my certificates to my math’s teacher office and told him that I needed his help. I need help for him to scan my certificates and upload it to Shell’s website. I asked Bidari about how was Shell’s interview process was like and went researching what were the type of questions that was usually asked. After applying, a few days later I’ve got an email and the email instructed me to choose a timeslot for me to undergo the interview.

There were 8.30AM. 9.30AM. 10.30AM and 11.30AM.

I chose 11.30AM.

So on Tuesday morning, April 28, 2009, I woke up early and went out for breakfast at 8.00AM. At 8.30AM an unknown number called me – I picked it up and it was from Shell. They were asking if I was ready and could they proceed with the interview now. I said I can’t and was still having breakfast. I mentioned that we agreed that I was to be interviewed at 11.30AM so the Shell interviewer obliged and hung up. I felt like this was a set-up.

During the interview the questions asked was what I’ve expected – school achievements, what activities I have done and what curriculum clubs that I was most active in. It was easy stuff. The hardest part was when they asked me the question – which one is good or bad; renewable energies or fossil fuels? The answer is obvious, but I didn’t prepare myself much for the question so I talked trashed for most of the part. I think I’ve flopped. I didn’t do my groundwork. I didn’t study enough about renewable energies and fossil fuels.

After the interview, the Shell interviewer told me that they will notify me through a call or an email if I passed the scholarship interview and to be considered for the next session.

I didn’t receive any follow-up, and the Shell scholarship pursuit ended there.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *