It was an exciting moment for two UTAR students when their names were announced as Top 25 recipients of Future Leader Awards (FLA) on 11 January 2022.
Faculty of Arts and Social Science’s Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) Guidance and Counselling student Ong Ji Wern and Faculty of Business and Finance’s Bachelor of Finance (Honours) student Luenna Lau Enn Teng were selected and awarded based on their academic and their extracurricular performances.
Apart from academic achievement and extracurricular involvement, the students were also analysed based on criteria, namely leadership roles, personal branding and other achievements of the students.
When asked about her opinions regarding the relationship between academic achievement and extracurricular involvement, Ong enthused, “In my opinion, both academic achievement and extracurricular involvement are equally important. When we are in the workforce, we need soft skills to perform well and these skills can mostly be learned through extracurricular activities. If we manage our time well, we can have a balance in between.” She added, “Participating in extracurricular activities trained me to be a more disciplined person. I learned to manage my time well so I can focus on both sides. This also helped me achieve better results because I learned to prioritise things in life. I feel grateful for being chosen as one of the FLA recipients. It is a recognition for my leadership skill.”
Meanwhile, Lau said, “I was pretty surprised when I saw the announcement of the Top 25 recipients of FLA. I feel happy because finally all my hard work is paid off, especially all the effort and time managing between academic and extracurricular activities. I think academic and extracurricular activities support each other, neither one should be neglected. Academic activities would provide a general understanding of knowledge or theories and guidance before going practical with extracurricular involvement. On the other hand, extracurricular activities provide practical experiences that act as a catalyst to obtain relevance, real-life experience and deep understanding of certain theories and concepts when studying. This then helps in achieving academic excellence.”
She added, “The most important element I gained from involving myself in extracurricular activities is self-awareness. Being constantly aware of my strengths was an added value for my teamwork projects and assignments as I was able to plan, provide insights and execute tasks both efficiently and effectively. Besides, as extracurricular activities often deal with uncertainties and changes, it trained me to think strategically and react fast in any situation. While studying, I put on my thinking hat to boost my academic performance. Attending extracurricular activities made me become more time conscious; now I have better time management and self-discipline.”
She also advised, “Make yourself valuable. Get your career directions clear. The best time to build your portfolio and network for your career is during your tertiary education period. There are limitless opportunities out there, so if you are clear with your future direction, utilise the opportunities to obtain the skillset needed in your field. However, if you haven’t got your direction clear, treat it as trial and error. Staying curious and constantly reflecting yourself will allow you to find your way out.”
FLA is an esteemed intervarsity award that recognises top university students who excel in both academic and curricular activities. Selecting and grooming the best of the best, this award provides a structured programme that serves as a career accelerator for students.
UTAR is a university offering courses in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the areas including Accountancy, Actuarial Science, Applied Mathematics, Arts, Chinese Studies, Malaysia Studies, Business and Economics, Biotechnology, Engineering and Build Environment, Information and Communication Technology, Life and Physical Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Media and Journalism, Education and General Studies, Agriculture and Food Science, and engages in the provision and conduct of research, consultation, management and leadership training and other related educational services at its campuses at Bandar Sungai Long and Kampar in Malaysia.
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Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)