UPDATE: If, for some reason you’re interested in me speaking in the first place, I’m speaking at Youth 08 on the 19th January, about prototyping your ideas and the internet. It will be very different from this speech.
The session had already started when I arrived.
Racecar driver Alex Yoong was already on stage, sharing some interesting ideas about alternative, possibly higher paying, more fulfilling career options involving your “being good with your hands”.
NTV7 Breakfast Show host, Jessica Teng spoke next about broadcast journalism and her lifestyle.
Then, it was my turn.
Before I tell you about what really happened to me, there is a background story to why I was invited in the first place.
It happens every year, and its a whopper of sorts, attracting thousands of eager parents and children, shopping for their destiny.
They had career talks and such throughout the day, and the 3 of us were invited to speak on “University and working: Personal experiences”.
I was not entirely sure why I was invited, but I’m guess it was because theStar had written about me a couple of times, and they knew how much I loved infecting young minds with some crazy ideas on a Saturday morning 😉
Okay so maybe they didn’t know that. But it’s true. I love working with young-ish peeps like moi.
Anyhoo – my audience today were maybe a hundred over high school students, some college kids, and their parents.
We were in an overly formal setting, which tamed my usual animated character, but that didn’t stop me from being a beast.
I was swift… but reminded myself not to talk too fast…
After my 10 minutes of anarchy, the deed was done. I know 90% of the crowd must have disagreed with some of my points, but I have always looked out for the misfits who were going YES YES YES.
Misfits aside, I was approached by students and parents, many of them had good questions. Such as this young lad the name of Aaron who may grow up to be doctor.
What did I talk about?
Here is the full script…
Khailee’s Speech At TheStar Education Fair 2008
University Life – My Personal 5 Point Strategy
What’s up guys, I’ve got like, 10 – 15 minutes to help you choose a strategy for balancing out your university life.
So I won’t spend ANY time talking about who I am and what I do.
Let’s just assume I’m a race car driver, and my name is Khailee. We can talk about the details later.
For the next 10 minutes of your life, I’m going to dive into the exact strategy I have used to navigate my university life.
Why my strategy?
Well, my strategy has helped me achieve a couple of things.
- Get kicked out of the Malaysian Student’s Club in Sydney
- Have lecturers refuse to teach me
- Almost drop out of college
- Have a University recommend me into a mental clinic
I admit, this strategy is kinda risky and strange.
Dear parents, I’m not even sure if you want me to share this with your children.
But to be fair, my strategy also helped me achieve a few things before I graduated…
- Co-founded, theCICAK.com – a popular, influential socio-political youth magazine.
- Graduated Top student in business, and invited into a PhD
- Nabbed a couple of awards in art , photography, drama…
- More importantly, it enabled me to wake up everyday, paid good money to do what I love.
What am I doing now?
We can talk about that later. Like I said, let’s talk strategy first.
What’s Your Strategy?
How many of you have a strategy, for their uni life… like….
- “Try and pass all my subjects, try and get some working experience”
- “I’ll go with the flow / see how it goes”
- “Some other strategy”
Yes? No? Maybe? Cool.
Admittedly, I had no choice…
Honestly, between you and me… I didn’t know what to think – gawd – was 16 years old shopping around theStar’s career fair… when I got home, with a bag full of flyers, my dad asked me what I wanted to do… I told him I didn’t know.
BECAUSE I DIDNT KNOW ANYTHING – MY ONLY STRATEGY WAS TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO KNOW EVERYTHING.
I really had to get out there – stop doing normal boring stuff I’ve been doing all my life.
This was my only strategy. Do whatever it takes to know everything.
And this led me to do 5 main things.
I’m going to share these 5 things I did – which you may, or may not agree with.
1. AVOID TYPICAL PEOPLE (Especially Malaysians!)
I arrived in Sydney to discover the Malaysian student committee actively re-creating the comfort zone they were missing oh-so-badly. They organizes activities for Malaysians, mixing around with Malaysians etc… scary!
If you’re overseas – don’t waste it with Malaysians. You’ve been doing that for 10+ years and can do that the rest of your life. Invest your time wisely – learning about other cultures, and other sorts of unconventional people!
2. DONT GET A PART TIME JOB
Unless you have to fry char kwoay teow to send your sister to add math tuition – respect.
But for those of you who have parents paying for your education – my argument is that it costs more per hour keeping you overseas than you can earn being a waiter.
Think about how else that time can be used to enhance your learning – reading things online, learning a new skills, developing relationships with interesting people, and doing CRAZY things… especially…
3. JOIN CLUBS AND SOCIETIES
Personally I was active in over 6 societies Drama, Film, Business,
Malaysian Students Association, Outdoor, Debating, International Students Council… and through that I’ve met amazing people – had a loads of fun and good memories.
Every weekend I was doing something different with different people!
My advice is – whatever you are curious about, whether it’s something you like or don’t know anything about.. go out there to meet like minds… and throw yourself into leadership positions even!
Experiment while you can afford to 😉
4. TEST YOUR SUBJECTS / TEACHERS BEFORE YOU CHOOSE
I joined up to 8 classes at a start of a semester- and then I quit those I didn’t like. I would sit in on my friend’s classes to see what it’s like so I can take it next semester.
This is one way to really find the best teachers, and take the subjects you will really get into. In any school, there is always “the good teachers” – go find them. Follow your curiosity, excitement, whenever you can. It’ll make studying a joy, and getting great grades way easier.
5. GET THE BEST RESULTS
Have you ever looked back and “forgotten” everything you’ve studied? Well that happened to the subjects I scored “OK” in. But for most subjects where I scored top grades in – I realize it’s still in my head – part of my mental toolbox. Some people may argue that getting good grades doesn’t really matter – but I personally advise getting the BEST grades – try it once and you’ll feel the difference!
- Avoid Typical people – especially Malaysians
- Don’t get a part time job
- Joins many clubs and societies
- Test out subjects and teachers
- Get the best results!
For those of you who don’t see this working for you, or if you have already decided on a lot of things, forget everything I said and do it your way!
BUT – If you’re not ready to decide – Do everything you can to EXPLORE and LEARN.
You know, it’s your choice – you can believe your tertiary education is really just a piece of paper.
Or, it can be a chance to flex your brain. To grow as a person. And ultimately, find your place in this world 🙂