Take the Safe Bet vs Chasing Your Dreams: Which Do You Choose?

Published by Afterschool.my on Apr 26, 2017, 02:58 pm

What happens when a student chooses a course he/she doesn’t like? What may seem highly unlikely, is actually much more common than you think. How common? Well, in 2015, the Higher Education Policy Institute and the Higher Education Academy of the USA conducted a study, which found that 1 in 3 students believe they may have chosen the wrong course. This particular study was conducted on a staggering 1.5 million students, meaning that an astonishing 500,000 of them felt they chose the wrong course. So how does this happen, and more importantly, what do you do if you’re in the same boat as one of these 500,000?

Well, if you’re like Syazwani Billah, you’ll try and figure this out as early as possible, and then, make the jump, once you know where your passion lies. The young lady initially got herself into one of the public universities in Malaysia and started her Foundation in Law, a course she pursued for almost a year. However, throughout the semesters, she found herself drawn to solving math problems and equations instead of reading her law textbooks! She was then left with a dilemma, to continue with the course she already started, or pursue her newfound passion in Math and numbers. While many run away screaming in the opposite direction when confronted by having to make tough decisions, Syazwani faced hers, head on.

“I discussed the matter with my father, and after some deliberation, we found a perfect place for me to pursue engineering studies: the German-Malaysian Institute (GMI). GMI has plenty of advanced technology and machinery for their students to explore. Imagine, they even have Computer numerical control (CNC) machines as wide as the size of half a tennis court and they have more than one unit for every technology they possess.”

Owing much to her father for introducing the institution to her, Syazwani cited the advanced, hi-tech equipment and facilities, packaged with small class size of not more than 24 each as the main factors of why she opted to join GMI. “I spent three years learning electronics studies specialising in mechatronics there. In my final year, I was selected to be the leader of Final Year Project (although I’m the only girl) and was required to supervise four of my team members. I developed my leadership skills from this assignment. All the sweat and tears paid off when our project was selected as the best project of 2013 and my final CGPA was the highest”.

With those achievements firmly under her belt, Syazwani was then offered by MARA to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in one of the top universities in the world. Her choice? None other than the no.1 ranked university in Australia, the Australian National University. The 22nd best university in the world based on the QS World Rankings was competitive, comprehensive and intense, the perfect culture needed to cultivate excellence. However, there was still something missing at the National University of Australia, something it lacked when compared to her previous experience with GMI.

“The hi-tech machinery is rarely found in most of the universities and institutions in Malaysia. Not even in my overseas university (the Australia National University) could I find technology of such vast quantities, to satisfy the needs of all students to explore”.

In December 2016, Syazwani Billah graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons.) in Electronics and Telecommunication Systems from the Australian National University. She flew back to Malaysia for good in early February 2017 and started working as a Process Engineer in Beyonics Technology Senai Sdn Bhd, after just a month of searching.

“I am in-charge of a new project for this company mainly in cordless phone production together with my team. In one month, we are required to plan and execute the project until it runs smoothly.” Syazwani once again highlighted GMI as playing a pivotal role in her moulding as an engineer, with their emphasis on both practical and theoretical knowledge complementing their advanced technology incredibly well.

“I equally developed my practical skills alongside with my theoretical knowledge. The students are trained to attend classes similar to engineering working environment. We were privileged to explore the latest devices such as SIEMENS S7-315F PN/DP Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), KUKA 6-axis robot, conventional lathe machine, conventional milling machine, Solidworks CAD software, pneumatic cylinders and valve, hydraulic cylinders and valves, different types of motors (DC, AC, and stepper) and many more.”

Not forgetting the teachers or, as they are known at GMI, Technical Training Officers (TTOs), who are the cornerstone of any educational institution, at every level. For a university with such a high emphasis on technology, one might expect a little less from the TTOs. However, Syazwani says the TTOs were the icing on the cake, adding how the lecturers and staff always assisted their students from the first day of their programme till the day of their graduation. “Since they always focus on small scale class, students can focus easier and they can get more attention from the lecturers.”

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