Mr. President, fellow toastmasters and valued guest,
“This college experience is really important to me, and I won’t give it up for anything.” This is what told by Emma Watson when interviewed about her college life at Brown University in the United States of America. Emma Watson is one of the prominent actresses in the Harry Potters film series. In the series, she can do wonders with her magic wand. Well. If I had a magic wand, I would like to take a trip back to my past. This trip may never take place in reality, at least at the moment and also in the near future. However, I do believe that I can still walk down my memory lane by recounting about my freshman year at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s follow me on this trip back to my freshman days.
Before I was accepted to study at UPSI, I actually applied to study there online just a few hours before the closing time. I had to thank my former school Economics teacher, Madam Tay for helping me to buy the pin number needed to apply for a university admission online. A few weeks later, I received a telephone call that required me to attend an interview for the university admission at UPSI. My father and I first took a bus trip from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur before heading to Tanjong Malim from Kuala Lumpur also by bus. UPSI is located in Tanjong Malim. As we were very unfamiliar with some of the peculiar places in our journey, we faced a lot of problems. For instance, we were almost cheated by a taxi driver who told us that there was no single bus that went to Tanjong Malim. Fortunately, my father was wise enough to detect that the man was lying to us. Eventually, we managed to get a bus to Tanjong Malim.
On the next day, I had to sit for a written test before the interview. All the interviewees were required to write an essay about ‘How to Be a Good Teacher’. After that, Mr. Ahmad Zainuri, who eventually became my lecturer and Miss Intan Syafinaz Albakry interviewed me. The questions posed to me were rather tricky. In one of their questions, they wanted to know my stand about the widely reported existence of a giant ape, yeti in almost all newspapers. As I had not read about that, I told both the interviewers, that I did not believe about the yeti’s existence and that it was merely a rumour to sell the newspapers like hot cakes. As I worked as a pub waiter at Coffeetrap then, Mr. Ahmad Zainuri also asked me how the job would help my English proficiency. I told him, “Every day, I meet customers from all walks of life including foreign customers. I usually speak English with them. This is how I practise English.”
After my interview, I thought I was not impressive enough to be given a place to study at UPSI. However, once again I was lucky. A few months after that, I received a letter telling me to report at the campus. Once again, my father and I had to take a trip back to Tanjong Malim. During the first week of my campus life, I enjoyed the orientation week as I got the chance to make friends with students who came from all over Malaysia. I was very proud then because I was the only student who owned a 3G phone in the cohort of 1500 students.
The following week, I attended my first lesson, Reading Skills. The lecturer who taught us was a chubby but cute lady, Madam Azizah Atan. There is nothing much to talk about this class, except she threw some assignments to be completed by us. In my second class, another lady, this time a fierce looking one, Miss Noraini taught us about Writing Skills. She appeared to be a no-nonsense lecturer and none of her students dared to cause problems in her class.
As a freshman, I always struggled to adjust my life at the campus. There was a time after the mid-semester holidays, I accidentally arrived late to my Sociology class. The class started at 2pm. I actually came to the campus one hour earlier. Somehow, I thought the class would start at 3pm. What did I do between 1pm until 3pm? Well, I was chatting with my friend from Sabah at a café in the campus. When we were chatting for over one hour, I sensed that something was wrong. I felt remorseful because suddenly I recalled that I was late to the class. I had a dilemma. I did not know whether I should go to the class or not. After the second thought, I walked all the way to the lecture hall. Butterflies in the stomach. That describes my feeling. Finally I arrived right in front of the lecture hall. Even though I was hesitant, I braved myself to enter the class. Then, I apologized to the lecturer for my lateness. To my surprise, the lecturer, Dr. Amir Hasan Dawi told me, “Dia ni seorang budak yang baik. Jadi sekali-sekala datang lewat apa salahnya”. The whole lecture hall burst into laughing.
Despite being sloppy throughout my freshman year, I actually obtained almost all A’s for every paper in my final exam.
In conclusion, I want to tell you all that I am actually better than Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer before eventually becoming a congressman and the 16th President of America. In spite of that, he only had a formal education of less than one year. On the other hand, I graduated with my first degree as recent as last year. Even though, I may not become the second Lincoln, I am sure I would succeed and have a bright future in my life.
Back to you!