The 23-year old me would have been proud seeing this.
I didn't graduate from my undergraduate studies with stellar results. It was a mistake to have taken a double degree in political science and law when I loved the former but hated the latter. I even flunked one of the basic law courses. It was embarrassing. I eventually dropped the law degree but by then, it badly affected my total CGPA. I thought I'd never been able to do my postgraduate degree. I've always wanted to study at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); I distinctively remember going on a walking tour many years ago with Dayang and the tour guide pointed us to the direction of LSE in Holborn, London. I thought it would only be a dream to get into LSE. But somehow someway, with the grace of God, I managed to get into London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for my Master's degree. And I had the chance to study my favourite subject: international relations.
One of the goals I set out for myself when I arrived in London was to score a Distinction for my degree in LSE. I didn't know it was a tall order until I received the results for my first assignment. Despite all the hard work and sleepless nights, I attained only a Merit (<65). I thought it would have been next to impossible to get a Distinction (>70). But I kept that goal in sight to remind me. After all, what do I have to lose? I worked hard on every assignment but only managed to score High Merit (>65). It's bloody hard to score in LSE! For my dissertation, I spent 2 months at home -- dedicating many, many, many hours researching, writing, crying and editing my paper. I'm sure Dayang was annoyed with me. But Alhamdulillah, it paid off! Scored close to 80 for my dissertation and it brought me to just over 70!
I learned a few things from this experience. First, don't let your past determine your future. Failure is not personal, pervasive or permanent. Me failing to academically perform during my bachelors didn't mean I couldn't do well for my Master's. Second, if you don't try, you won't know. If I hadn't applied for the Chevening Scholarship and LSE out of fear of failure, I wouldn't have known my full potential. Third, always take on big challenges with small baby steps. How do you eat a whale or an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you write a 15,000-word dissertation? By writing one page a day. I'm blessed to have had the support of Dayang in London and subsequently, my parents during the quarantine. Thanks for believing me when I couldn't do it for myself. You are the greatest! This is for the 23-year old me: you did it!