From Ink to Impact: Zoe Yap’s Monash University Experience

Published by Afterschool.my on May 16, 2024, 10:36 am

In the collage of our lives, the seeds of childhood interests bloom into our adult endeavours, quietly shaping not just what we enjoy doing but also the essence of who we are. This truth finds resonance in the journey of Zoe Yap, who, fueled by her early passion for writing and language, began scripting her own short stories. This initial spark ignited her path toward tertiary studies in the creative industry and eventually led to her fulfilling role as a marketing coordinator.

Zoe pursued her bachelor’s degree in Arts and Social Science, majoring in Writing and Communications at Monash University Malaysia. As someone who enjoyed writing, she sought formal education to refine and enhance her existing skills. “I wanted to learn more about writing while expressing myself creatively.”

She also recognised the importance of effective communication in the industry she aspires to be part of. “Whether it’s journalism, public relations, or digital media, strong communication abilities are essential for career success.” All in all, the programme offered by Monash has a comprehensive curriculum aligned with her career interests.

Zoe is a Writing and Communications graduate from Monash University Malaysia.

Selecting Monash University was a strategic decision. Drawn by Monash's renowned reputation for academic excellence as well as the chance to immerse herself in a diverse and multicultural environment, Zoe found the university’s offerings compelling.

A Glimpse into Campus Life

Monash University Malaysia is the country’s first foreign university campus. Navigating the corridors of Monash University was like stepping into a lively mosaic of learning and cultural exchange. One thing that stood out was the spirit of collaboration among students.

Working together on projects was a highlight, especially in places like The Hive, where Zoe and her peers could gather to study and discuss ideas. Unlike the quiet library atmosphere, The Hive was buzzing with activity, making it a great spot for group work and lively conversations, in addition to its proximity to cafes and restaurants. The campus also offers plenty of other spaces to relax and study for students who need a change of scenery.

The university boasts facilities such as modern laboratories and cutting-edge research centres, ensuring an enriching academic experience for its students. From extensive libraries to advanced sports amenities, the campus offers a diverse range of resources to support both academic and extracurricular pursuits.

Yet, what truly makes the Monash experience special is its diverse community. “I had a good experience connecting with people from different countries in my programme,” Zoe says. Interacting with peers from different cultural backgrounds enriches discussions and broadens perspectives on global issues. These discussions are facilitated by the conducive classrooms, fostering a collaborative and engaging atmosphere among the students.

Monash University offers unique opportunities for hands-on learning such as the study abroad programme. Zoe had the chance to immerse herself in a different culture through her trip to Italy, where she went on field trips and attended classes. “The classes we attended were on global studies and included group projects among international students, where we applied theoretical knowledge in real-world settings.”

These experiences not only broaden horizons but also equip students with practical skills and insights that go beyond the classroom. “The combination of a stimulating academic curriculum, supportive learning environment, and great campus facilities contributed significantly to my personal and professional growth.”

Zoe had the unique opportunity to go on a field trip to Florence, Italy, during her time at Monash University Malaysia. 

Building on her enriching experiences at Monash University, Zoe acknowledges the pivotal role of lecturers as the heartbeat of academic inspiration. Infusing classrooms with passion, knowledge and a vibrant learning atmosphere, these educators guide students to unlock their fullest potential and confidently pursue their dreams.

Her time at Monash University was marked by the inspiring presence of Ron Backus, her Literature educator. His passion for the subject and commitment to his students left a lasting impact. Zoe had the opportunity to learn from him in her first, second and final year. Throughout her years, Ron’s vibrant teaching style brought each class to life with creativity and joy. Ron’s infectious enthusiasm increased Zoe's love for literature, enriching her academic experience at Monash in ways she never imagined.

Beyond the Books

Outside of classes, Zoe ventured into extracurricular activities that allowed her to express herself creatively and apply her knowledge in practical ways. She joined MUSA Monga, Monash’s student magazine, as a means of channelling her thoughts and ideas. Despite the pandemic limitations, she found a way to contribute, publishing pieces in the 2020 magazine and even submitting work to PARTICLE, a magazine from Nottingham University Malaysia.

“Unfortunately, I joined MUSA Monga during the pandemic, which restricted me from working on the magazine in person. However, it helped me with self-expression during the country’s lockdown.”

An integral part of Monash University’s curriculum structure is its internship programme. Zoe was a marketing intern with Food Market Hub, where she was a content writer for three months.

What’s more, Zoe also pursued an internship at Tatler Asia Group for four months, driven by her desire to explore the world of magazine writing. Taking the initiative, she reached out to Tatler and secured an editorial intern position. She juggled various responsibilities in her role, from crafting multiple articles each week for both digital and print platforms to assisting with the production of the tri-weekly newsletter.

An article that Zoe wrote during her internship at Tatler Asia Group.

Beyond the confines of a typical office role, Zoe’s internship offered diverse experiences, including participating in a food review and contributing to organising a company event. Through these opportunities, Zoe not only creatively expressed herself but also gained valuable insights into the media industry, further fueling her passion for her future endeavours.

Unlocking Success

While at Monash, Zoe honed many skills and qualities that have proved invaluable in her career and personal life.  One significant aspect was the development of communication and leadership skills through collaborative projects with peers from diverse backgrounds.  Working on graded projects with new peers every semester helped her with the unpredictability when she entered the workforce.

Another key skill she acquired, important for everyday life, was problem-solving, nurtured by lecturers who encouraged diverse approaches and perspectives on topics. The research-intensive environment of her curriculum also fostered critical thinking abilities, enabling her to analyse information and assess arguments effectively.

Zoe’s confidence in her preparedness for the workforce reflects positively on the university’s reputation. When asked about the impression employers have on Monash graduates, she emphasises the university's strong reputation in academics and programmes. “My peers and I are well-rounded individuals who came prepared for the workforce upon graduating.”

Feeling grateful for her time at Monash University, Zoe says, “The university’s offerings of experiential learning and hands-on projects complimented my journey and provided me with invaluable real-world experience in the fields of writing and communication.”

These experiences have shaped her into the professional she is today, equipped with the skills and confidence to pursue her passions in the creative industry.

After working as a marketing coordinator at Danfoss,  a Danish multinational corporation, for almost two years, Zoe departed from the role to get into social media in the creative industry, where she’ll pursue her passion for social media content and trends. While her career path has evolved, one thing remains constant: her passion for creative expression. From high school to university classes and beyond, she continues seeking opportunities to express herself creatively in all aspects of her life. As she looks to the future, she is excited to see where this journey takes her and is grateful for the foundation laid at Monash University.

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