"Different Strokes for Different Folks"

by Muhammad Alif Iman (Malaysia)

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Coming from a family of doctors, I have always set my mind on pursuing a degree also in the medical field - either being a doctor or a pharmacologist. From where I come from, people really look up to sons and daughters pursuing a career in professional fields such as doctors and engineers. Hence, ever since I was 16, I planned on following my two sisters’ footsteps on becoming doctors but my plans totally changed when I secured a full scholarship from the Malaysian Central Bank to pursue Economics instead at a top Russell Group University. I never have imagined myself pursuing a degree in humanities especially Economics. Everything sounds indeed new to me even at the time I am writing this post.  I accepted the scholarship due to my family’s financial situation. Living in Malaysia, most people do not have enough income to send their children abroad on their own. At the age of 17, students will compete with each other for government scholarships or private institutions study bursaries by going through a series of difficult interviews. I just knew I had to take the offer as my family could never afford my tuition fees if I were to ever study abroad especially in the UK. Luckily enough, I secured one but not for the course that I have always aimed for. I was definitely afraid to accept the offer because I knew nothing about Economics at that time.

However, over time, I began to develop an interest in Economics especially when I took it at A-Level. I also picked up a few books in order for me to have a better understanding of the subject. The more I read around the subject, the more interested I got. Long story short, I definitely understand if students especially at the age of 16-18 are still unsure of what they want to do at uni. In fact, it is totally fine if you are in that situation. Even if you are 100% certain like me, sometimes life might have something else in store for you. As they say, “sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place”. Never be afraid to be different and to take high risks. "