Universiti Malaya – Wales

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An Unexpected Honour to Receive the Best Student Award at the IUMW Convocation

Sharmaine Mohd Shabil Lee
Bachelor of Professional Communication, IUMW Best Student 2020/21 (Faculty of Arts & Science)

Teachers and friends used to tell me I had a knack for writing and words, so it made sense to offer my trait to the Professional Communications table. 

Enrolling into a degree was a mix of awe, excitement, anticipation of the unknown; like levelling up in a game except this was an education and the end win was to earn my degree scroll unscathed. As a freshie, I made a note-to-self that I’d ensure my undergraduate life would be worth every step of the way.


I chose to study at IUMW, a unique local institute that offered affordability paired with global exposure to pursue my tertiary studies and gain a recognised degree. The humble campus was a very close-knit one and easy to reach via public transport. Facilities were modest but the spirited people and warm faculty members made us feel at home.

Preparation for the ‘Real World’

The best part about being a ‘student’ is really how much room there is to learn, to make stupid mistakes and start again before you enter the workforce. Taking part in various internships, programmes and the student council exposed me to different fast-paced environments, cultures, people and missions. As much as it helps mentally prepare you, learning facts by theory in a classroom is an entirely different story when you start to apply and react to real life scenarios instead. When you’re on the playing field, every day brings you new challenges to solve, new things to adapt.

It’s also during this time, you’ll discover yourself, write your own story alongside building your identity of being a student. While the university does hand you the tools and teaches you to be creative and to pursue your goals with perseverance no matter the odds against you, it circles back to how you define who you’ll be when you leave the university.

An unexpected ending to my journey

At the end of my journey here at IUMW, it was truly an unexpected yet heartwarming honour to receive the Best Student Award for the Faculty of Arts & Sciences. I’ll always be indebted to everyone who’s supported, inspired or imparted value to me during my time here. It feels surreal when you realise you’ve finished the game and feel the weight of the trophy scroll in your hands.

And hey, I guess I can finally give myself a high-5 for not disappointing younger me and making undergrad life an unforgettable rollercoaster ride after all.

Last but not least, congratulations to us, batch of 2020 & 2021 – we made it even in the midst of an ongoing pandemic!