Thursday, 29 June 2017

to hell with that

in case you didn't see on my instagram-- yesterday was a really happy day for me. so many friends came over to raya at my house, friends i hadn't seen in years while i was in the states.

but little did i know that today i woke up feeling like an absolute crap. i spent the whole day lying down on bed, staring at the ceiling. too much emotions bottled inside me that i didn't know where their origins were. so when they asked me, "what's wrong?", the only answer i could give was "i don't know".

it's the truth. i don't know why i suddenly felt like shit. i didn't know why suddenly the thought of living the next days coming became so scary. i didn't know why even lifting my arms or eating a tiny bit food became annoyingly difficult. i didn't know why suddenly my body just lost the ability to function. so there i was, on bed, for hours. until the night came when i couldn't keep it in anymore that everything started pouring out of me in streams of tears.

i. did. not. have. control. over. it.

so i let be. i just cried and cried and in my mind, the bad thoughts were trying to cloud all the good things. i felt so worthless. i still do. there is no purpose to my existence. and i am so mad that i feel this way, because a dear friend of mine is suffering from cancer and would kill to have live a normal life like me but here i am, thinking of dying? i am that ungrateful prick, thus i loathe myself.

but i don't know how to stop this feeling. it's too suffocating.
my heart too heavy, my mind too cloudy.
i can only think of writing it out here-- my only safe space when i become all negative and wretched.

but even then, the anxieties still come. i just wrote about khazanah a few days ago, but here i am now in the worst state of mind? it's shameful.

but to hell with that.
this is my safe space. nobody can take this away from me, anymore.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

khazanah global scholarship (postgraduate) - stages and interviews

after that depressing post about biasiswa yang di-pertuan agong, my journey to secure a scholarship to study in UCL continues.

i remember sometime in january or february this year before i went to japan, i browsed through yayasan khazanah's website to see if they've opened the applications for scholarships. at that time, applications weren't opened yet, but there's a link that asks us to deposit our CV if we want to, and they'll let us know if there's any available scholarships that is suitable for us. thus, i deposited in my CV.

not long after that, khazanah scholarship application opened in march. khazanah scholarships are bomb af, they consider applications from non-traditional field of studies guys :'( one of the rare ones. anyway, i'll go into the details of the stages hoping it'll benefit future applicants :)


application stage

this was the pre-stage, as in you just need to complete the application forms on yayasan khazanah's application portal. it was pretty generic, but the most important part i think is the 1000 word essay that you have to write covering:

1. description of intended study
2. how this will benefit your country
3. personal qualities
4. details of research area you wanna pursue

when writing the essay, you really have to think through all those four points, because they matter. you have to sell yourself, making it sound like you're a great individual with so much capabilities without coming off as cocky. you have to emphasize why your field of study is important to our country. how can pursuing that field helps you bring in positive contributions to Malaysia? how does your personal traits and qualities support your goals and dreams? to me, it's really about what you can do to help Malaysia instead of what that field/university/khazanah can do to you.

do not plagiarize. you need to be sincere. i put so much effort on my essay tbh, written over 6 drafts before i finally felt satisfied with it. please get people you can trust to give you honest feedback about your essay, it truly helps!

a few days after the application closed, i got the notification that i made it to the first stage.


first stage - numerical and verbal reasoning online assessments

haha, sounds scary already, no? it was super scary for me when i saw the word 'numerical'... gosh last time i did maths was probably about 2 years ago. how do they expect me to answer maths questions?! *cries*

but nonetheless, if you want it, you gotta work hard for it. please do research about the assessments, you'll feel so much at ease answering the questions when you have an idea of what it's actually about. google is always around, so do not be lazy to do your research (!!!)

some tips:
1. again, do your research (!)

2. practice! the questions are not like calculus kinda of maths. it's just basic maths- spm level maths, i think? but hey i'm not saying it's easy. you have time restrictions-- questions can be simple but can you do it well under time pressure? that's why practice is important. there's a lot of free numerical reasonings practice questions available. even for verbal reasoning questions, practice!

3. take your time in between tests. you'll be drained by the time you finish the numerical or verbal test, whichever you do first. take a few mins or a few hours to just relax a bit, then you can do the next one. calm your nerves first, don't rush. it'll help a lot.

you'll be notified in a few days if you make it to the second stage.


second stage - personality assessments

here you'll have 3 different personality assessments to answer, and a graphite test. the graphite test is inclusive of personality questions, IQ, etc... i really don't know how to describe it. what i can say is that there's no definite ways to really prepare for the second stage assessments, at least in my case. you just need to be mentally prepared.

don't take it lightly. your responses reflect the kind of person you truly are. they wanna see if you're fit to work in the organization. my tips is for you to study yayasan khazanah's and khazanah nasional's website page-- find out what kind of an employee they are looking for, what kind of leaders they wanna hire. be yourself. be the best version of yourself. be honest. and be consistent.

after a few days, you'll be notified if you make it to third stage.


third stage - e tray and competency based interview

i got both the notification for e tray and competency based interview in the same email. i decided to complete the e tray first so after that i can focus on my interview.

i know, i was at your place too. kinda clueless on what e tray is actually about... but as i said, do your research. try to find practice questions. google is your friend. for e tray, it's like the online version of assessment center. the only thing i can say is for you to be mentally prepared, be calm, be attentive to the details, don't take so much time to make your decisions, be assertive, and be aware of the time limit.

for the interview, it was at mercu uem building near kl sentral. since it's a competency based interview, i prepared my answers based on the competencies that i think they'd assess-- such as leadership, communication, teamwork, etc.

interestingly, i was the only khazanah global applicant there during my session. the others were khazanah watan applicants. not sure why i was misplaced there lol. not long after waiting, my name was called. i. was. so. nervous.

regardless, the interviewer was really nice. although i expected the questions to be on my skills or qualities, our whole conversation was actually on my field of study (clinical psychology), what i think about malaysians' mental health state, and the job prospects under khazanah (thank god i did my research about the company, phew).

the interviewer was really curious about my field of study because she told me they've never sponsored postgrad students doing psychology before. here was when i took the lead mentioning about how my field is important to our country right now, and mentioning how i see myself working under khazanah after i graduate. but again, these were some of the things i mentioned in my essay. that's why being honest starting from the first step is crucial.

so the tips here: dress smart and be prepared for any kind of questions during the interview! and, never not ask anything to the interviewer at the end of the interview. it's important to know yourself and what you have done so that you can convince the interviewer you deserve the scholarship.

if you make it to the next stage, you'll get the notification in a few days.


fourth stage - interview with YK management

i still remember walking into mercu uem's lobby and i saw this group of smart looking individuals talking and laughing together-- i had a feeling they were there for the interview as well. i was a bit insecure because they all know each other already... they all seemed so prepared and confident, laughing here and there... why don't i have any friends here....

and i was right-- soon after i got in the office, they all came in also. and then they all started being so curious about me, asking questions after questions lol. apparently, they're all PhD applicants and they were in the same session during stage 3, that's why they knew each other already. they're really nice and friendly people! :) but hey... am i the only Masters applicant here amongst these brilliant PhD students? i got so intimidated guys hahaha but alas, remember why you're there! i tried to keep my composure and focus the whole time (by reading a book i brought lol).

i was the second last person to be called, and it was really late already at the time. my interview was with YK Managing Director and another YK staff. this interview was a bit serious tbh. i didn't know what kind of questions they'll ask so i can't really prepare for answers. but again, as long as you're honest since step 1 i think you can answer any questions they ask.

basically, for me it was mostly about extra curricular activities i did during undergraduate studies. any leadership positions i took. we also talked about me being able to speak spanish and all. the kind of questions can seem a bit simple and mundane, but TAKE THE LEAD. lead the conversations. mention interesting things about yourself that are related to the question-- that will make them ask you more about it. don't simply give a yes/no answer.

most importantly, don't get intimidated by how little they talk or how serious they look. be the best version of yourself, peeps!

had to wait one week before they release the result this time...


fifth stage - interview with board of trustees

people say... if you get to fifth stage then most likely you already got the scholarship. but i don't really  focus on that haha. i just wanted to do my best. and it was nerve wrecking regardless.

you'll be interviewed by huge, successful people in the corporate world in malaysia. so it is scary. but i think you need to remember that this interview is for them to learn more about you, future leaders of malaysia--- and for you to take this opportunity to learn from them.

this time, there's a few other Masters applicants, as well as PhD applicants. so i didn't feel as intimidated. but in a way, i still did... because i was the youngest there. but i still took it as a great chance to get to know these brilliant people of malaysia.

again, i was the second last to be called. got inside the huge conference room and saw YK Managing Director sitting there as an observant, with two Board of Trustees as interviewers. be the best version of yourself guys. i was crazy nervous but still smiled ever so brightly and went in with good energy.

the interview varies between people. for me, they're mostly curious about my field of study again haha so we talked a lot about clinical psychology, malaysia, and my hometown. one of the interviewers told me that throughout his life he's only met one clinical psychologist and he still remembers that person until now, because he was psycho-ed by the psychologist lol. it was pretty laid back tbh, but it's important to still take it seriously. i took the opportunity again to mention why clinical psychology is important and how i wanna serve back to my country. that's basically how my interview went.

at the end of every interview, they'll ask you if you have any questions to ask them. my tips for you is to think of it as an opportunity to learn from someone successful, someone who has so much experience in the working sector. so ask good questions. don't take it for granted.

a week after that, i received the email saying i got the scholarship!


i was beyond happy guys :( it's legit my only hope to go to UCL. heartiest thanks to khazanah for believing in me and for giving me this opportunity. i'm not gonna take it for granted.

thank you to everyone who helped me throughout the entire process-- proofread my essay, comforted me when i was almost giving up, convinced me, practiced interview session with me, researched khazanah's website with me, lent me formal clothes for interview, and most importantly sending me prayers. thank you so much. i am forever thankful.

but of all, thank you to my parents who didn't stop praying for me. everything i have now is all because of your prayers and blessings.

wishing the best of luck to all.

Monday, 26 June 2017

it's a long journey



hello. selamat hari raya everyone, maaf zahir & batin.

i would like to use this free time i have to write about my journey to secure a scholarship to study in UCL.

end of september last year was when i was busy applying for a Masters program in UCL-- it was my first choice. the application process wasn't too hard, except for the fact that i had to make a personal statement. applying for a postgrad school means even your essay has to be wrapped with academic achievements and jargons...

how do i brag about myself academically? how do i make my essay stand out?! i couldn't even mention my skill to nap for 24 hours straight, so how do i make them notice me? well, those were the kind of questions i had when i was writing it. i took one week to finish the essay i think. bugged all my friends to read it and give me feedback, went to my uni's writing lab also. finally that one day i decided it's time to send it in, because if i keep editing it then it's not as genuine anymore. crossed my fingers. i figured that i would only apply to other schools if i got rejected by UCL.

fast forward 2 weeks later, i got the email notifying me that i have been accepted! this was before i even graduated so of course i was ecstatic. but hey, it's gonna get tougher now, i said to myself realizing that securing a scholarship will be extremely harder given that mara no longer gives out convertible loan for postgrad students, sigh. i knew what i was up against. but was i ready for it? i was not.

a few months after that, i've already returned to malaysia finally. i think it was in february that i saw the news about biasiswa yang di-pertuan agong. at that time i was almost at the verge of giving up-- no organizations/scholarship bodies in malaysia are sponsoring psychology postgrad students. but seeing the news gave me hope. i passed all the requirements to apply for biasiswa yang di-pertuan agong, however my field of study wasn't listed in the science field. i still applied regardless, hoping that everything works in my favor. at that time, it was my one and only hope.

the application process was pure m-a-d-n-e-s-s. i had to write a research proposal within a short period of time and it was super stressful. mind you, although i know i wanna specialize in clinical psychology with a specific interest in trauma-- i still didn't know for sure what would be my research topic. so it was really difficult to come up with a proposal when i haven't even decided on the topic. but i finished it after days of writing it in the midst of wiping my tears and snorts. i did it.

i had to submit my application by hand in putrajaya on the day of my flight to tokyo. i still remember myself wearing ziera's baju kurung so that i would make a good first impression when i send it in. it was nerve wrecking, because it was the only option i had left. after that, my friends dropped me off at the airport. ditched the baju kurung, changed to a proper travel wear, and off i went to tokyo. little did i know, about a month later when i was in kobe, i got the notification saying that my application was rejected. my dreams crushed. an absolute abyss of failure. it was a scary feeling-- worthlessness.

i kept remembering people's comforting words to me, that something better is coming. at that time, it was what kept me going.