By Mavis Seah, SMU School of Accountancy
When I’d completed my final semester at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Accountancy) at the end of 2016, I thought that the stress was finally over. But what I didn’t expect was that the process of shortlisting, applying and going for the university interviews would be that nerve-racking.
Pursuing Accountancy in SMU was more of an informed decision I’d made after researching and speaking to seniors from the various universities. However, my decision often led to many of my peers asking: “Why not opt for a shorter programme that will allow you to graduate faster?” or “Why not choose a school that offers a better university ranking?” Honestly, these questions did make me ponder if SMU was the right choice for me. However, I always fell back on this predominant question: What do I really want to achieve from of my university journey?
I knew for a fact that university was probably the last chance in my education phase to learn holistically in a cushioned environment before entering the harsh working world. Not wanting to let this chance go to waste, I knew where my priorities were—fully enjoy my time in university, step out of my comfort zone and immerse in new experiences, push new boundaries, and discover my passions. The vibrant school life, highly interactive learning environment, and global experiential-learning opportunities were, thus, the main factors that motivated me to study at SMU.
Another thing that captivated me was witnessing first-hand the lively atmosphere and confidence of the students when I visited SMU’s Open House. I felt that its interactive pedagogy really did produce confident and outspoken students. It was something that I wanted to develop in myself as it would equip me with the skills required of a business-savvy student. It made me see that choosing a university really does go beyond the generic rankings; and that the school environment makes a difference in how we learn.
Having completed my applications, the next crucial step was the compulsory admission interviews. I remember vividly how anxious I felt before the interview. Like many others, I had prepared a template answer script for the commonly-asked questions, of which none were applicable. Contrary to what I expected, the interview questions were much more casual. The professors were friendly and I felt that they were on the lookout for intellectual curiosity and qualities in students that we would be of a good fit for the University’s environment. My tip for prospective undergrads: Be confident and be genuine in your responses.
While my experience at SMU’s School of Accountancy (SOA) has certainly been challenging, thus far, it has also been a very valuable one.
Before I started off my freshman year, I was fearful that I would have trouble getting accustomed to SMU’s culture and system. However, I started my university life with a BANG! Joining various orientation camps, organised by both the school and student groups, was a great help to forming many new friendships within my school, and also provided a platform to mingle with students from the other schools in SMU. Furthermore, having always wanted to be part of a competitive sports team, I took on the challenge of joining the SMU Dragon Boat, and have thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie within the team.
Freshmen Orientation Camp 2017
SMU Dragon Boat (Girls Team)
The stress of university life can really take a toll. In my first semester, I found it difficult to keep up with the academic demands. I was consistently faring poorly for my class tests and was not performing for my Statistics module. All these failures made me unmotivated and depressed. But I am thankful to have close friends both from within SOA and the Dragon Boat team. It was through their constant encouragement gave and the help offered by my seniors which provided me with the resilience to pull through.
I think I’ve been very fortunate to have found likeminded friends who have made my journey a joyful one. Whether it’s training, studying or just goofing around together in the library, these simple memories have built my sense of belonging.
Entrepreneur’s Corner Pitch at SMU
I am thankful for the rich university experience that SMU has offered me thus far. Academically, the programme is definitely challenging and setbacks are bound to happen. However, I believe that university life isn’t just about the academic rigour—it is about building invaluable experiences by seizing all the opportunities made available to us students. I’m most definitely looking forward to my next few years of the SMU Experience!
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