As you can see above, I was one of the selected candidates to participate in the Petronas YoungStars Day event (also a slightly less intimidating term for “scholarship interview and assessment”, don’t you think? Good going there, Petronas) and so on the 12th of April, a Friday, my parents and I drove down to Subang as the programme commenced early in the morning the next day.
When we finally reached Subang, we had no idea where to go to Taylor’s Lakeside (because my GPS broke down OF ALL TIMES) but in the end, thanks to some frantic calls and texts to family members and friends, we managed to find the place out of sheer luck. Then, next came the problem of finding a place to stay as San Ku’s place (which we almost always crash at whenever we go south) is in PJ and that would be quite a distance. So we tried asking at the hotel at the building adjacent to the campus but found out it was booked so we had to get back into the car and try to find a nearby motel based on pure instinct (broken GPS, remember?) and we finally checked in at De Uptown Boutique Hotel near Taylor’s College because Dad stayed there once when he was scouting for colleges. After settling down and everything, would you believe it when I found out that Ken (who was going for the interview as well) was staying in the same hotel on the same floor in the room directly opposite ours???? TALK ABOUT COINCIDENCES
The next morning, Ken hitched a ride to the university and when we reached the campus, we bumped into Jing Sheng (who was also joining the interview on that day), Zhe Han (who was joining the interview on a different day) and their other Kolej friends and NOT ONLY THAT because William, a fellow debater, Mea, a schoolmate and Farhanah, a friend I made at MCYDS last year were also there! AND NOT ONLY THAT because Ju Mei appeared too (who, according to her, only managed to find me because I dropped my water bottle in front of approximately 500 other candidates while we were lining up) and the world honestly cannot get any smaller (actually it can but I’ll get to that soon enough).
So we registered and headed for the hall for a briefing where we were also sorted into groups A, B, C and D. I was in group B, sat next to a girl named Amani whom I found out was from SMK Wangsa Maju (right? I’m sorry I can’t remember clearly but if it’s wrong I’m so sorry!!!) and immediately warmed up to. After being briefed about our schedule for the day, our group was sent to a holding room where we waited for an hour plus during which I felt like throwing up multiple times because I just wanted to get the interview over and done with. It was my first interview, so naturally I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. After the wait was over, we were finally brought to Level 8 where we were once again put into a different room and given different case studies (on “corporate social responsibility) each. We were then given half an hour to complete our analysis and reasonings on the studies and then subsequently sent to individual rooms in groups of fours and fives. My group consisted of me, Mimi, Alia and Mai (whom I later found out was friends with Anis, a girl I’ve been following on Twitter for a very long time now [The World is A Small Place #2]). First, we had individual interviews and I was the first to go in. I was, quite surprisingly, calm and perhaps even a little confident, something that was nice to have despite the fact that I knew, subconsciously, I was a giant ball of nerves waiting to be unravelled. Instead of the stereotypical interview questions I’d expected (“Why did you choose this field of study?” “Why do you think you deserve this scholarship?”), the entire session was about presenting the analysis we did during that half hour period in one of the many rooms we were placed in. Basically, to me, it was like being given a caseline in a debate and giving your own reasons and elaborations on why you supported aforementioned caseline (which, in this case, was called “recommendation”). I didn’t speak for 10 minutes, but I thought I did okay. After that, we had a group discussion during which we had to come up with a general consensus from all our recommendations. By the time we were done, we were terribly behind the schedule as it was already 2PM and according to the schedule, the next test was at 2.30PM which meant we only had half an hour of lunch.
But then later, we found out the entire schedule was delayed by an hour so our tests only began at around 4PM. As my first choice for my intended field of study was finance, I, unlike Amani and the other candidates who were opting for engineering courses, only had to take the math test, as opposed to their math and science test. That paper lasted for an hour while the subsequent two papers, critical reasoning test (verbal) and critical reasoning test (diagram) were 30 and 20 minutes respectively. I was glad that I had experience in this field after taking tests like the UNSW Global ICAS English test and the IQ test during last year’s ASEAN scholarship selection test. After that, the YoungStars Day officially came to an end and some of us briefly exchanged contact numbers before separating.
After dropping Ken back at the hotel, we started our journey back home but not before I finally got to try Subway for the first time! It was a tuna sandwich and tasted like heaven.
Despite the fact that I walked into the campus filled with dread and fear, I have to say that I did have a good time there. Bravery always feels good no matter the outcome. Whoa Michelle, that was deep. Of course I hope the results of my assessments will be adequate enough to be honoured the sponsorship programme, but even if I fail to get it, it was a fantastic experience and I’d do it all again.