This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to UCL, University of Bath, University of Birmingham and University of Sheffield for MEng Chemical Engineering and University of Manchester for MEng Chemical Engineering with a year in industry.
As a child, I would listen to enthralling stories of my grandfather tapping rubber at his family’s estate. The local community then was intertwined with the rubber industry as Malaysia was the largest producer of natural rubber in the world. Meanwhile in school, I would learn about the importance of natural rubber and wondered how a thick white liquid could be processed into remarkable products such as latex gloves and automotive parts and exported globally. I realised that complex processes involved in manufacturing raw materials into products were not limited to rubber but included myriad industries such as petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. During Chemistry lessons, I discovered that natural rubber can be vulcanized by adding sulphur to refine its properties, modifying it into an improved material by increasing its hardness and durability. At this point, I realized that vulcanization was only a small part of a larger process to produce rubber as the final product.
Albeit challenging, A-Level motivated me to pursue continuous learning and to be open to new ideas. Physics, Chemistry and Math helped develop my critical thinking and problem solving skills. I became interested with the idea of connecting the theories of chemistry into practical situations in life. The concept of creating products from raw materials using a series of processes drew my attention towards Chemical Engineering. I now look forward to generating processes for the creation of products, leveraging on my problem solving skills and ensuring that products made meet customers’ requirements.
Following up on this interest, I spoke to practicing Chemical Engineers who suggested I read up on Fluid Mechanics for a start. In “The Essentials of Fluid Mechanics”, I read about laminar and turbulent flows and learned how fluid flow rates are laminar at low velocities, represented by highly ordered motion. As the velocity of the fluid increases, the fluid flow becomes more chaotic and is hence turbulent. For example, cigarette smoke rises in smooth streamlines at first, then starts fluctuating in a random manner as it continues rising.
Realizing the importance of learning new skills and challenging my brain, apart from my academic pursuits, I have advanced my interest in music and learned the guitar, while continuing with singing and playing the piano. I joined Sunway Student Volunteers as I wanted to reach out to people of different ages and strata of society. I have helped at the National Zoo where I observed the zookeepers who were committed and took pride in their demanding tasks, a trait to leverage on to achieve my goals. I regularly teach children aged 5-6 at my church. Interacting with them has taught me patience, a strength I can rely on in the future.
I participated in shot put and javelin events and won a few medals for my school. I was selected to be on the netball team, won second place in my school’s cross country run and became one of the top athletes there. Sports taught me to embrace the failures in life and not be discouraged to continue striving. In 2015, as the President of Red House, a school sports team, I learnt that kindness and empathy were effective approaches in relating to people and building team spirit. This role taught me not to underestimate the importance of teamwork.
Born into a multiracial family, I engage easily with people of various backgrounds. Having mastered English, Malay and Hokkien, I have also picked up Spanish. This is the first step in preparation for me to practice in any part of the world. Attending one of the universities in the UK would not only equip me with academic knowledge, but would also sharpen my soft skills. My dream would be to have all these come together when I finally contribute my skills to advancements in industry as a full fledged Chemical Engineer.
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