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365 Days Of Failure (4): I cheated to get a CGPA of 4.0 in my final year exam in college.

365 Days Of Failure (4): I cheated to get a CGPA of 4.0 in my final year exam in college.

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I’ve mentioned previously in my first 365 Days Of Failure posts that I wasn’t a straight-A student.

Though the picture says otherwise, the actual fact was I cheated to get an A specifically for one subject. It was Pendidikan Islam (Islamic Studies).

Truth be told, all other subjects were legit A’s – but for Islamic Studies I had to memorize a Surah (a Surah is what we call as a ‘chapter’ in the Holy Quran). It was Surah Yasin (the 36th chapter of the Quran and has 83 verses, around 10-15 pages long depending on what size of Quran that you’re reading).

During the recital, our teacher gathered a group of 5 to recite the Surah. We gathered in a circle and the teacher was in the middle. He actually gave us a week to memorize Surah Yasin, but I didn’t memorize it at all. I scored a good chunk of marks in the paper exams and in order to get an A I had to memorize this Surah.

In my group, I can tell everyone memorizes it. Except me. When everyone started reciting, I recited together up till the first 10 verses and then I’m gone. I started mumbling, humming and produced sounds which sound almost exactly the same as what my friends were reciting. It was like a delayed type of response speech. I have to go through this. Only 73 verses left. Only 73 verses to hum.

And when we finally recited the last verse. I was nervous – I’m sure that my teacher would recognize that I wasn’t reciting the verses. I’m sure he might fail me on the memorization module and I had to settle with a B at least, or he might give me another day or so to memorize it and recite in front of him one on one.

“Thank you students. You all pass the memorization test,”.

I’m not sure whether my teacher was paying attention to the recital, or probably he was being nice. Clearly he was being nice because we were the last group to recite and I specifically chose to be in the last group because I hoped that this could happen. My teacher being nice to let me get to pass the memorization module although I didn’t recite most of the verses of Surah Yasin.

And I got an A for Islamic Studies.

I’ve had that guilt for years now and I had to write it out. So there you have it. If not because of my teacher I won’t be getting a straight-A after all. I still treat it as a B though, because my effort simply wasn’t there.

 

365 Days Of Failure (3): My Initial Failure In Getting A Scholarship Part 2

365 Days Of Failure (3): My Initial Failure In Getting A Scholarship Part 2

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Other than Shell, I’ve applied for scholarships at Petronas, Telekom Malaysia (TM), Sime Darby, Perbadanan Nasional Berhad, Bank Negara and Yayasan Sarawak. I didn’t even get an interview invitation. My only last chance to get a scholarship was through the government and as I mentioned before, I have a 0% success rate because my Malay was B. I still hope that somehow, somewhere or somewhat I will be successful in my application and get invited for an interview. All other scholarship bodies rejected me, and the only interview I went was unsuccessful. I needed a miracle and it was my only chance, although it’s 0%.

Before the application results day, I prayed hard – and my prayers were not answered as I didn’t get selected for the interview process. I was devastated, but I actually expected the outcome.

I didn’t give up. The government body usually gives another chance for its unsuccessful applications to plea – which I did and again I hoped. I hoped that I will be successful in getting into the interview process, at least.

Results were the same even after plea application.

I was unsuccessful.

I got desperate and a desperate man will do desperate things. I went to MARA’s office in Kuching and talked to the front desk helper. I told her that I wanted to inquire about the education scholarship and she told me to talk to one of her officers. I explained my situation to the officer in charge, and she told me to write a formal letter to one of the education directors of MARA in KL and fax it straight away. The officer told me not to get my hopes high and continue searching for other scholarships or continue my studies elsewhere.

At that time I was preparing myself to enter UiTM’s engineering foundation program at Shah Alam. Just 2 weeks before my induction, I got a called from MARA’s Kuching office inviting me for a scholarship interview. I was jubilant. I prepped myself well and I knew it’s a make it or break it situation. The questions asked were pretty generic as far as I remember – like what courses do you want to take, which universities do you want to go to, what made you choose the course or university, what contributions you could give back to society and so much more. The interviewer was actually the officer which I’ve talked initially about my situation, and again she told me not to get my hopes high and continue with my studies at Shah Alam.

I enjoyed studying at Shah Alam.

I’ve met a lot of friends there and the lectures were fun. Tutorial was a breeze but the walk to the halls and classes are tiring. I actually told myself that I won’t be getting the scholarship after all, because a month now has passed and some of my friends have already got their scholarship confirmation. I’ve set myself that probably I’ll settle for a scholarship later on.

Almost two months at Shah Alam, I’ve got an unknown number calling me out of nowhere. At first, I didn’t want to answer as it might be some insurance or telco company offering me promotions but I answered it anyway.

“Is this Encik Mohammad Bazil?”

“Yeah, speaking,”

“Congratulations, I would like to inform you that you have been awarded a scholarship by MARA. If you’d like, you may wish to collect your scholarship offer letter at Kuching or in KL,”.

I did not expect that at all. 2 months after the interview and I got it. I got the scholarship offer!

I told my friends, lecturers and tutors about it and they were supportive. A friend of mine, Saufi offered his help to fetch the offer letter together with me at MARA’s office in Kampung Baru. It was nice of him, as I wasn’t familiar with KL’s busy street. I was only 18.

I’ve said my goodbyes and welcomed a new chapter in my life. I was preparing myself to study overseas. A dream which I always dreamed about. A dream that I shall make it a reality.

Patience and persistence, is a virtue after all.

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

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

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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.

 

365 Days Of Failure (1) : My Failure In Getting Straight A’s In School

365 Days Of Failure (1) : My Failure In Getting Straight A’s In School

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I’m not a straight-A student. I never was and I might never will be a straight A student. Ever since kindergarten, school and university I’ve never gotten a straight A.spm

Does getting straight A’s in your examination mean anything to you? When I was at a tender age of 7 my parents told me that I should be getting straight A’s and coming from an Asian family, when you don’t score straight A’s in your exams it means either you’re stupid or your parents are stupid – but mostly because you’re stupid.

I never understood the meaning of getting straight A’s. I thought it was meaningless. It’s true that parents usually brag about their kids if they got straight A’s and I’m not the kind of son that my parents usually brag about. I was rebellious, always gotten into trouble and I like to do things my own way; that’s probably one of the reasons why a teacher of mine hated me in school – I never listened to her. She talks, I slept; she talks, I interrupted  and when she talks, I skipped her class.

Though I never got any straight A’s but during my final year in secondary school, I was the number one student in my class. In my school, there were 8 classes in total and I was in the second science stream class (B) and there were a mixed bunch of Malays, Chinese, Ibans, Bidayuhs and an Indian. During that time most of the students had a common goal in class – and that was to score straight A’s. The whole year I was number one in every semester but still, there was never a straight A.

In Malaysia, the “Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia” (SPM) or the higher public school examination (like a SAT) is where scoring straight A’s is the real deal. Getting straight A’s means you get a higher chance in successfully applying for a scholarship, being admitted to top courses in universities and of course – your parents total bragging rights. One of the ridiculous things that I remembered was my school had a student result forecast. Like literally forecasting a student SPM result after a mock trial exam. I was forecasted to get straight A’s. I was jubilant. I finally thought that this may give me some confidence in doing well in the actual exam.

I never felt so confident in my entire life.

In the actual public exam, out of 10 subjects, I got 9A’s and a B. I’ve never gotten as many as 9A’s in my school exam; I got number one in class duly because I scored A in my additional mathematics. Most students either fail or the second highest was either 50 or 41. The rest were all below 40. 0 was normal and in some cases you may get a negative. No shit.

I was actually shocked that I got 9A’s. 9 out of a possible 10. When I knew that I got 9A’s I jumped in joy at school. I got 9A’s goddamnit! And it feels good. Some of the subjects like history and biology are the killer subject that I’ve known to be hard to get an A which I did! Never in my life I got an A for history. Since form 1.

However, I still haven’t managed to get straight A’s and one of the subjects that I got a B was Bahasa Melayu; a national language of Malaysia and a compulsory subject for you to get an A if you were to apply for a government scholarship. A “B” on Bahasa Melayu means getting a scholarship is out of reach. Did I fail on that too?

And oh, I’ve forgotten to mention that I also did go to college. I actually did get a straight A during college but I cheated in getting that straight A; so that doesn’t count. I’ll tell how I cheated in another post.

So when will I get a chance to score a straight A again? Should I continue my studies and do Ph.D. just to get a straight A?

I don’t know.

Like I said, I’m not a straight-A student.

In 2015, 9721 out of 440.682 candidates who sat for SPM scored straight A’s. Congratulations.

I’ve met a lot of people who were successful although they didn’t get straight A’s. Some are millionaires now.

Are you a straight A student?

If yes, what are doing now?

If no, are you successful?