Since this is an annual thing, I thought that I should just put a few words down to tell the kids who got rejected by JPA – Don’t Give Up!
Dear JPA Reject,
I shall use the words that I had once heard, from a good professor of mine: “Although you may feel dejected, do not feel depressed.” The reason is really simple. The JPA scholarship is not the be-all-end-all of your dreams. Your dreams are yours to keep. So, keep them alive!
I have been fortunate enough to get multiple education scholarship offers in my life and I had turned down a few of them. I have also made many friends who are both government scholars and non-government scholars alike. So, I would like to share some of these experiences.
First and foremost, the JPA scholarship scheme is just one of the many scholarships available, both local and overseas. You should realise that there are many scholarship awarding bodies in Malaysia. For those who will be facing their SPM examinations in the future, please remember to apply for multiple scholarships, if only to increase your chances of actually getting one.
You see, everyone has a different set of criteria. You may not agree with the JPA selection criteria and you may not fit in with it. However, there are also other scholarship bodies who do not agree with the JPA selection criteria and apply their own criteria in scholar selection. So, while you may not fit into the JPA mould, you may actually fit into some other mould.
There are also many overseas scholarship schemes available. In fact, many foreign universities are able to provide some sort of financial aid for their students. You should check to see if you qualify for these. There are also various international foundations and bodies who offer scholarships. This is particularly true if you are able to secure a place in a top university.
This brings me to my second point. This is not the end of the road. You can still try again at the post-STPM (and equivalent) level. There is nothing to stop you from continuing your education to a pre-university level and trying again. There are plenty of Malaysians who have done exactly that – do their pre-university education themselves and re-apply for scholarships again.
If you cannot afford to study your A-Levels/IB at a private institution, you can always do your STPM. You may not realise this but the STPM is actually a very well recognised pre-university level qualification. You will still be able to apply for various foreign universities with the STPM. Do not always believe what the private colleges tell you about the STPM.
However, some of you may be turned-off by the lengthy duration of the STPM exam. For this, I have only one advice – a single year is nothing, in the larger scheme of things. Think about this for a minute. What is a single year difference when compared with an entirely lifetime. In fact, it is a common practice to take a ‘gap-year’ to go explore various avenues in life. This can even help you figure out what it is that you actually want in life instead of blindly going with the flow.
This brings me to my next point. Not everyone is made out to be a doctor. In fact, you are probably not made out to be a doctor. The medicine path is a long and arduous one and if you are not made out to be a doctor, studying medicine is going to be hell. I have seen this happen to many friends. So, you should really ask yourself if you really love medicine or if you’re doing it just for the heck of it.
You can be a success, if you do something that you truly like – be it something as dull as accounting or something as exciting as engineering (alright, I’m biased!). But seriously, you need to think carefully of your career choice. It is something that you will be living with daily for the rest of your life. If you find that you hate medicine after so many years of study, you will lose more than just a couple of years.
And finally, do not let this little hurdle stop you from pursuing your dreams. There are many paths that can lead to your dream. Sometimes, it may actually be better to take the path less tread. So, do not think that your world has ended as a result of this rejection. Learn to handle rejection and to use it positively to improve yourself so that you will ultimately, still achieve your dreams.
PS: Do not stop dreaming!
(Still trying to achieve my dreams!)