From KYUEM to Chemistry: Nur Izzati’s Journey to Success in Science

Published by Afterschool.my on Apr 05, 2024, 04:10 pm

They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and it holds truth in the case of Nur Izzati Abdul Ghaffar, with her journey into the world of chemistry being a prime example. Growing up surrounded by the influence of her scientist parents, who were both overseas graduates, it was almost inevitable that she would develop a passion for science.

Nur Izzati was motivated by the promise of cutting-edge facilities and high-quality education when she set her sights on universities in the United Kingdom for her tertiary studies. However, she realised the importance of having an A-level certificate and how it would set the tone for her ambitions.

“At an education fair, I stumbled upon Kolej Yayasan UEM (KYUEM) and was immediately impressed by its outstanding reputation and the diverse range of students it attracted,” she says. “It was then that I realised it was an opportunity too good to pass up.”

Nur Izzati graduated with a Masters by Research in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Manchester. 

Transitioning into A-Levels education at KYUEM

KYUEM serves as a transitional bridge from secondary to higher education, functioning as a platform for international study and the initial stages of professional development. Nur Izzati found herself pleasantly surprised by the adaptation to the KYUEM culture, which included extensive use of the English language and interactive exchanges with other students. “At first, it was quite nerve-wracking as I’ve never been taught by teachers from different nationalities, but I managed to complete my A-Levels with little to no problem.”

She later realised the importance of the learning and social environment at KYUEM, which helped her mentally and emotionally prepare for her time in the UK.

The calibre of education provided at KYUEM is truly exceptional, boasting top-notch facilities and highly knowledgeable teachers. For someone unaccustomed to the private education system, Nur Izzati was astounded by the institution and the unwavering dedication of its staff. She was particularly impressed by the tutors who not only worked closely with students but also willingly dedicated their time after hours to address any doubts or concerns students had.

KYUEM takes great pride as a fully residential college, ensuring students receive the best experience throughout their time there. Residing at a college campus facilitates a smooth transition from school to university, allowing students to take on the responsibility of organising their day-to-day activities. The college offers two types of accommodation exclusively for students: a chalet or an apartment.

Nur Izzati (second from the left) in her KYUEM chemistry class.

Since the classes were all conducted on weekdays, weekends were when the college hosted events and activities to keep the students engaged and active. The college provides excellent facilities for the student’s convenience. Outside the classroom settings, they have various sports venues such as a swimming pool, squash courts, gymnasiums and many more. “Overall, it is a good place for students to learn, grow, and become independent,” Nur Izzati says.

Balancing academia and co-curricular activities

Nur Izzati chose to undertake three subjects for her A-level studies, driven by her passion for Chemistry and her aspiration to further her education in that field. She scored well by attaining an A* for Chemistry, A for Computing and B for Physics. Initially, she enrolled in Mathematics, but she later made a calculated decision to drop the subject, as it was not a mandatory subject for the degree she wanted to pursue.

On the other hand, Nur Izzati was actively involved in co-curricular activities, particularly those centred around dancing. She found joy in expressing herself through movement, immersing herself in the rhythm and spirit of the dance. She represented KYUEM by performing in numerous events, including their renowned Bangsawan night. “Participating in such events was always enjoyable and provided opportunities to meet new people. Furthermore, it boosted my confidence in social interactions.”

Nur Izzati participated in all events featuring a dance performance, from annual dinners to cultural performance nights and even the renowned Bangsawan event.

Stepping Forward: Embracing the Next Stage

At the crossroads of her A-levels, Nur Izzati faced the task of writing a personal statement to be sent to her university of choice for admission. With guidance from her personal tutor and input from college teachers, she refined it several times before submitting it for review.

“The support I received from the Higher Education team and the collaborative effort of the entire college was instrumental in my successful university applications,” she says. Initially securing all five of her university applications, she reflects on the pivotal moment when a representative from the University of Sheffield visited the college. Facilitated by the admin team’s arrangements, this encounter solidified her decision to enrol there.

Nur Izzati acknowledges that KYUEM helped her pursue her dream undergraduate programme, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She is grateful for being equipped with competent teachers who always have answers to her non-exhaustive list of questions. The hands-on practical chemistry classes and facilities provided to aid the experiments were other factors that ignited her desire to pursue her dream programme.

Apart from that, at KYUEM, Nur Izzati acquired valuable social skills through interactions with students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, which prepared her for a multicultural environment.

This experience broadened Nur Izzati’s perspective and taught her to appreciate the unique talents and personalities of people beyond her previous environment. Additionally, having native English-speaking teachers helped improve her language skills which has been beneficial in her career at a Multinational Company (MNC). Overall, these experiences at KYUEM were instrumental in shaping her ability to navigate diverse social environments and communicate effectively.

KYUEM helped Nur Izzati gain admission to the University of Sheffield, where she studied BSc Chemistry.

Advice for Future KYUEM Students

Embracing every aspect of college life is the key to maximise growth and enjoyment. “While focusing on academics is crucial, it’s equally essential to treasure your college experience,” Nur Izzati advises. She encourages them to engage in various events, connect with teachers beyond academics and foster strong relationships with fellow residents as they will become their second family in college. Additionally, she urges them to consider the unique opportunities available at KYUEM and how they can positively impact their future.

After graduating from the University of Sheffield with a first-class degree, Nur Izzati pursued her postgraduate studies, earning a distinction in her Masters by Research in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Manchester. She currently holds a position specialising in pharmacovigilance at DKSH (Malaysia). Despite not working in the academia line, she is keen to help the younger generation of students by sharing the life experience that she has gained. After all, experience is the world’s greatest teacher.

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