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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

scholarship1

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.