My University Experience

Iam currently in Monash University Malaysia, Bandar Sunway, in the School of Arts and Sciences for my second semester. Things are very different from what I experienced in secondary school. Undergoing Monash University the Foundation Year (MUFY), Pre-U programme has helped me particularly in preparing myself for university, along with other skills.

The significant difference would be how self-directed the learning is in university. In the course, you do your readings and you go for your lectures and attend your tutorials. That would be where you get the main idea of the topic of the week. The rest is really up to you, though bear in mind that you get a few assignments per subject, and in a semester you can get up to 4-5 subjects. These can get intense. I can safely say I’ve never used libraries more than I have since I started my tertiary education. It’s wonderful to be in the presence of so much knowledge, and the potential you have to really learn, and not just study.

It’s also important to note that my lecturers in Monash and MUFY have been very approachable, and that there’s been a shift in the way I see the educators in my life. In school, I always felt that teachers were the authority source that should be respected, and that you did what they asked (and while I still believe this should the case) I now am able to have conversations with my lecturers, and ask them for advice. I perhaps lacked the confidence or presence of mind to focus on my own development and improvement in secondary school, and instead, was more concerned with getting things right. I suggest you try it out, approaching your teachers and really talking to them and asking them for feedback. It has done me a great deal of good. It helps with growth.

The Arts teaches many things, but perhaps the most immediate thing I learnt was there are no wrong answers. This may sounds strange, but it does make for open up the mind and many perspectives. I do miss objectivity and straight answers but the argumentative nature of my subjects have opened up the way I think, and think critically, and it has taught me to be able to stand behind my words. Another important thing to know is that what really matters are how good your work is in terms of content and information, and how strong your arguments are when writing. For some reason, I’d thought writing in university would involve some very fancy writing— at it’s core, it’s all about having strong arguments and presenting them in an organised manner.

The environment in university is different from secondary school. I’d say this because there is a sense of freedom present, and this is at a time in your life when you start questioning yourself, and are forming some sort of direction, which is really cool. Freedom feels necessary. It’s difficult to say, but it’s a wide spectrum of people you’ll meet, and you’ll meet many that you would not have expected to. I’ve met many international students, who are really interesting. You get to hear stories of their home, and they get to hear your stories.

Needless to say, I have learnt a lot, and not just in an obvious way. I’ve learnt to be more independent, and it helps to be good at planning and managing your time, and being able to speak up, and seek. At the end of the day, it’s really about you learning, and achieving. It may sound too familiar. But the time I have spent in tertiary education has felt like a spectrum with intense clarity and questioning at the end. It is a journey I am grateful to partake in.

By Christina Bethany Felix,18, Selangor

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