"There are two types of people in life, people who have talent and people who don't. The fortunate ones who have talent are able to achieve big things with minimal effort. Those who don't will try and perhaps fail time and time again before they can achieve the same feats. But at the end of the day, both types of people achieve what they want and find themselves at the same point of success." These were the words of my primary school teacher that started #MySunwayStory, and I carry them at a special corner of my mind until this day. Her point was that some people might not have the same talent and aptitude as others, but with grit, focus and determination to try and weather through the storms of failure, eventually they would achieve the same or perhaps higher level of success than those who had talent. I classify myself as the second type of people that my teacher mentioned.
There wasn't anything exceptional about me. I was an ordinary boy who cared very little about school grades and focused more on playing sports with friends and computer games. My marks weren't astounding, and I remembered that getting caught cheating in tests too. Being in an Asian family, it was no surprise that I got compared a lot by my parents to anyone who had outstanding results be it my cousins, friends, or neighbours. Growing up in that environment affected my self-esteem and confidence because I didn't want to be second to anyone, but at the same time, I knew that I had little to no talent in studying. I was not a fast learner by any means in contrast to the people I was compared. However, there was a burning desire in my heart to prove myself to my parents and the people around me. I wanted to not only make my parents proud but also be a role model that my younger brother could emulate. With the words of my primary school teacher echoing through my head, I knew that I could achieve my goals as long as I was willing to put in the work. That cognitive thinking and motivation carried me through my high school years. When it was time for me to pursue my tertiary education, I knew since then that I wanted to study at Sunway as they were able to provide the quality of education that I needed. Hence, I was beyond ecstatic when I found out that I was offered a scholarship to study at Sunway College as my hard work paid off and I was able to lessen my parents' burden while studying at the place that I wanted.
Since then, my student life at Sunway College has been nothing short of wonderful. I got to meet a lot of people from various walks of life whom I am glad to call my dearest friends. We uplift each other during times of need and improve ourselves beyond what we were yesterday. The clubs and activities also allowed me to try out new experiences like playing tennis and allowed me to learn new things through the various talks and events organised. Classes were fun too, and they motivated me to strive for my next goal, which was a scholarship for University. Armed with the determination and grit carried from my high school years and newfound knowledge from my time in college, I strived harder with the help of my friends to achieve my goal. And when college graduation came, I was dumbfounded when I was chosen as the Valedictorian for my college programme and was presented the Sunway Excellence Scholarship by Professor Graeme Wilkinson. Looking back at the past, it's amazing to see what grit can change a boy who didn't have much talent studying into, which is the message of this writing. "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." Hard work and grit have brought me to where I am today, and it will bring wonders to your life too if you hold on tight to these principles of life.
Calvin Lee Kai Meng
BSc (Hons) Actuarial Studies
Jeffrey Cheah Special Entrance Scholarship