In the year 2013, under the pressure of a series of financial hardships, my family of six made the hard decision to move out from our hometown, Penang, to Kuala Lumpur, in hopes to seek better working opportunities for my parents. With the rather heavy living expenses and academic cost coming from four children, my parents were not confident in providing tertiary education for us. Since the move, I started working part time after schooling hours for daily allowance, and at the same time, saving for college funds. After graduating high school, I resumed the work-study life to fund myself through foundation year in University Tunku Abdul Rahman, while keeping my academics up to par with my personal expectations and goals. As I progressed towards the end of my foundation year, my hard work and persistence was awarded with a full scholarship to Sunway University for the BSc (Hons) Medical Biotechnology programme by the Sin Chew Education Fund.
Having to experience adulthood at the age of 14, in school while working to support myself and my family was not easy. But looking back, I see it as a blessing in disguise as it provided me with an environment that forced me out of my comfort zone and to adapt to change in order to fight for survival. Through this life-changing episode, I have since matured and grew a passion for helping out people that have experienced or still are experiencing the same struggle that I have gone through. I was fortunate enough to be granted a scholarship to pursue my undergraduate at Sunway University, where I was exposed to a student leadership body, Sunway Student Ambassadors (SSA), that is led by a body of scholars to give back to the community. Joining SSA has been an eye-opening journey, that opened windows of opportunity which further ignites my passion in reaching out to the lower-income students and helping them reach their fullest potential through providing scholarship application aid and, hopefully, inspire them, as the environment that they are in now does not shape their future paths. Since then, I have also developed a goal to work hard and forward to provide better opportunities for my younger sisters that are still in the K-12 education system.
Being able to fully contribute and give back to society through outreach programmes as a student in Sunway University can be said as one of the best experiences I’ve had in my bachelor degree journey. There were endless opportunities for us to not only grow as a member of a functional community, but to also experience the fun of learning. Don’t be afraid to take the first step, as you may never know where it will bring you!
Catherine Lim Wen Huey
BSc (Hons) Medical Biotechnology
Sin Chew Education Fund