So, this week I failed my first JPJ test, and I failed horribly. Do make prayers that I will make it during my retake.
Yesterday, I checked my UPU application results and Alhamdulillah I have been accepted to pursue a Diploma in Communication and Media / Mass Comm at UiTM. Guess they liked me after all even though I didn’t know the name of our Yang di-Pertuan Agong, heh (now I do, okay!!!). I didn’t even watch the newest episode of The Flash until today because I was too busy thinking about university.
It’s a rather unconventional choice, especially for an ex-MRSM student. If you randomly pick five students, I can assure you that at least three of them want to pursue medicine, engineering or accountancy. Sadly, not all of them want to do so because they truly love studying cells and building machines. Quite a few feel the need to meet the expectations of their parents and relatives and that they don’t have a choice. Well, I believe that you should follow your passions and choose not to conform to the cookie-cutter mold of society if you don’t want to. Negotiate. Fight. Prove. And make sure you have the right intentions.
So, what on earth is Mass Communication? Basically, it’s communicating to society at large, through broadcasting, journalism, social media, radio, advertising, publishing, public relations and etc. The career scope is extremely vast, you can Google ‘careers in mass communication’ if you’re feeling rajin. At UiTM you actually have eight choices to further your degree after completing your diploma (I may be inclining towards Advertising).
I am 95% sure that I will go to UiTM, and I seriously hope to excel in my studies since Insya Allah I’ll be doing something that actually interests me instead of dealing with terms like molten sodium nitrite-potassium nitrite eutectic. I am also thrilled that I will have graphic design classes. Yay!
Underneath the cut is my interview experience. Beware though, it’s very long.
Basically, this week I got into science matriculation (which is extremely laughable because my science/maths SPM results just suck and I have no intention of furthering my studies in science, I only applied because the school counselor sort of made everyone apply) and into a certain college dedicated to the arts.
But the bigger news is that UiTM called me for an interview for a Diploma in Communication and Media. It was also unexpected as that course was my third choice in UPU, but I did my research on the internet, prepared questions + answers and practised multiple times with my parents.
Dad and I arrived around 7:30, when registration began at 8:30, yet there was already a pretty large crowd in front of the Mass Comm faculty. I saw more people I recognised there than I expected to. I was Candidate 3 for Panel 8. They told us to just wait and sit down for a while, so we did. It got boring very quickly, and we were sitting at one of the front rows so I didn’t realise that the crowd was slowly growing smaller and smaller. Until I saw a long line of 18-year-olds queueing on the third floor and started to panic.
Agh. Apparently everyone else had been lining up there ages ago. AND I was stuck with the people who arrived the latest (which meant that I would probably go home late), when actually I was one of the candidates who arrived the earliest.
ASSESSMENT #1: 200-WORD ESSAY
What you know about mass communication? Explain why you applied for this programme and how you can contribute.
I already wrote a draft at home. We were given thirty minutes to write the essay. So I spent seven minutes writing, one minute making sure my handwriting was legible, two minutes proofreading, five minutes pretending to be proofreading when all I wanted to do was sleep, five minutes staring at the person in front of me who probably wrote 500 words and kept checking her dictionary, five minutes making conversation with the girl beside me in the lowest volume possible, and five minutes staring into space.
And I didn’t even notice my old schoolmate was sitting in the row behind me. He kept calling, ‘Loy! Loy!’. …So much for NOT bringing that nickname with me to university. *facepalm*
Then they called the candidates for Panel 8, so I joyfully jumped up and went out the door.
ASSESSMENT #2: THE INTERVIEW
Thanks to me being unintentionally late, they skipped my turn. By then they were probably at candidate #8 and #9. But I just remembered this — candidates #1 and #2 didn’t show up, so I WOULD HAVE BEEN FIRST, if I had not been late. Well, I think so, because their names were just ‘-‘ on the list. Same goes to #4 and #5.
So I told the guy in the waiting room that I was #3. 3 always seems to be my number. My angka gilirans for UPSR and SPM were both 003.
After like, 45 minutes, they called my name, and another girl who was #15. JUST after I made up my mind that I was going to take a nap. Also, I was not expecting to be interviewed with another person as all the past blog posts on the internet about UiTM’s Mass Comm interviews mentioned that the assessments were one-on-one. Someone mentioned that it was up to the panel whether they wanted to interview you alone or two people at once.
The interview went something along the lines of this. NOTE: I won’t include much of the Other Person’s answers.
Me: Assalamualaikum sirs.
Interviewer(s): Waalaikumsalam, please take out your I.C. and documents and please sit down.
Me: *does as told*
Interviewer(s): *laughs* Why are you wearing a Mass Comm badge? Trying to bodek me ah?
Me: *smiles* Hahahah, I got it from Ekspo Selangkah ke UiTM.
Interviewer(s): Haha, okay. Well, Assalamualaikum w.b.t., we will be interviewing you for this Mass Comm programme. Please tell us about yourself.
Me: My name is…. I come from… I had the opportunity to study in Japan and England when I was in primary school… In secondary school I was involved with the Communication Exco and I was scriptwriter for the drama team… I recently interviewed Mizz Nina for Niexter Online, a teen pullout from the NST, I was editor… et cetera, et cetera.
Interviewer(s): What’s so great about Mizz Nina?
Me: She talked about hijab fashion. Plus she used to be an international pop star before turning back to Islam and founding her own Muslimah apparel brand.
Other Person: *mentions something about surfing the internet as one of her hobbies*
Interviewer(s): What do you think of the internet? How many hours do you spend a day surfing the web? Is it a obligatory hobby for the young generation?
Me: Well, maybe some people view it as a tool to procrastinate, but I think it can be very educational, such as reading Wikipedia articles, watching documentaries on YouTube, reading blogs…
Interviewer(s): *looks at Other Person* Do you read blogs? ……… So, Arifah, why do you wanna study Mass Comm? You’ve already had experience being an editor, you could just open up your own business or something.
Me: Well, I would like to study formally, and I believe having a degree will open up many more opportunities for me. I would like to be in an environment where I can communicate with lecturers and friends.
Interviewer(s): Where do you plan to go with Mass Comm?
Me: I want to be a professional journalist… slowly make my way up until I become editor-in-chief… if not, I want to pursue a career in advertising or social activism… et cetera, et cetera.
Interviewer(s): Okay. What is the name of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong?
Me: (HAHAHHAHA LAWAK NYAAAA sigh penat je aku hafal nama penuh PM, timbalan PM, MB Selangor) ….
Other Person: ….
Interviewer(s): You have one minute to answer. If you cannot give me the answer, then you both won’t be able to get into Mass Comm. … 30 seconds … 15 seconds …
Other Person: …
Me: Is it Tuanku Mizan?
Other Person: …
Interviewer(s): Agong pun tak tahu!
Me: (unfortunately hears it as ‘Uncle pun tak tahu!’ so I made a sort-of laughing noise, BAD MOVE AGHHHH)
Interviewer(s): *repeats* Nama Agong pun tak tahu???
Interviewer(s): If you were a citizen of the U.S., you would get shot if you don’t know the president’s name! *one interviewer looks at other interviewer* Tuanku Mizan yang sebelum ni kan?
Me: (Mengarutnya…) Well, in my defense, we change our Agong every five years.
Interviewer(s): It doesn’t matter, as a Malaysian, you still have to know. See, this is the problem with the younger generation.
Interviewer(s): Do you watch movies? What was the last movie you watched?
Me: I haven’t been to the cinema for a while, the last movie I watched was probably Mockingjay.
Interviewer(s): What are some moral values you can get from Mockingjay?
Me: Have you read the books? Well, in the last book, Katniss was supposedly helping President Coin to take over the country to help it become more peaceful and civilised, but in the end Coin revealed her ulterior motives and stated her desires to do a Hunger Games for the Capitol children…
Interviewer(s): So, what do you think about the social gap between the Capitol and the districts?
Me: I think it reflects the real world very much where the rich people just get richer and indulge in luxury while the poor people are ignored and oppressed…
Interviewer(s): What do you know about MH370?
Me: The signal got lost from the radar…
Interviewer(s): (*immediately asks next question*) Do you think it was abducted by aliens?
Me (and Other Person): I don’t think so?
Me: Uh, it got bombed and it crashed on the border of Russia and Ukraine…
Interviewer(s): (*again, immediately asks next question*) What do you know about GST?
Me: It is tax based on consumption… (I was going to ramble about something like ‘the more you consume, the more you pay’ but they immediately went to the next question)
Interviewer(s): Okay, last question — and this is very important. You have good academics, you have an impressive portfolio, you studied overseas… (*says other stuff to Other Person*) …but you both are still unconvincing. Tell us, one last time, why you want to study Mass Comm in UiTM.
Me: (*I could have given a much better answer but I was panicking, okay*) There are lots of communication programmes in Malaysia, but UiTM is the only one that has graphic design in its syllabus and I really want to hone my graphic design skills to hone my journalism skills.
Interviewer(s): Alright. Do you have anything to ask us?
Me: What are the opportunities to pursue my first degree overseas, after doing my diploma in UiTM?
Interviewer(s): Oh, there are always opportunities, but you need to really score, even if you don’t do your degree overseas you can do it in UKM, UUM, etc…
Me: *only listens to like 50% of it because too busy planning what to say to convince them one last time, not happy with my last answer, doesn’t sound like someone ready to take on the world at all*
Other Person: *gets her question answered*
Me: Can I please try to convince you one last time?
Interviewer(s): Well, Arifah, there are a lot of people still waiting to be interviewed, you’ve had your chance… Now just doa je lah.
Me: *(this is so 2011, but whatever)*
Interviewer(s): Did you bring the documents such as your offer letter, birth certificates, Arifah? They’re not in your file — because we need them. Could you certify them before 23rd of April?
Me: Yes. Okay.
Interviewer(s): Alright, that’s all. Please call XXX and YYY to be interviewed next.
Me and Other Person: Okay. Thank you, Assalamualaikum.
Then, I stayed for a while longer because they didn’t receive my 200-word essay. I said I gave it to the guy in the waiting room, and they said, okay, they’ll get it from him later.
PHEWWWW DONE. I CAN NOW BREATHE. ALHAMDULILLAH.
The interview was better than expected, I guess. At least I wasn’t shaking and/or passing out. Doa dan tawakkal je lah.
The ‘unconvincing’ comment partly unsettled me, but I’m sure Interviewer #1 saje nak psycho orang. The more snide remarks were from him, while Interviewer #2 was more smiley and seemed impressed with me. Plus, it would be rude of them to say, “Okay, Arifah, you’re a shoe-in for Mass Comm! Don’t worry, you’ve practically secured a placeI”, in front of Other Person. Or vice versa.
Thank God that they gave us a few days to certify the documents, because I somehow missed it and only noticed at around 11 p.m. the night before the interview. I spent a good chunk of time feeling down in the dumps because of it — what if I win the interviewers over but don’t get in just because I didn’t certify the documents? Well, actually that was only 25% of my worries. Honestly, the other 75% was worrying about getting yelled at.
But luckily it seemed that many other people didn’t certify their documents either because the interviewers just casually mentioned it as if they were saying something like, “By the way, we have a cafe in our faculty, you can have lunch there if you want”.
Anyway, to any of my juniors who might read this in the next few years, if you are serious about joining Mass Comm (ceh macam aku dah masuk je doh), do your research properly, read every blog entry possible about UiTM’s Mass Comm interview, practice at home, and just keep calm and relax. Okay? Bye.
Alhamdulillah for everything. And I pray that Allah gives me what is best for me.