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IMU Psychology Student Awarded Best Presenter at Malaysian Psychology Students Assembly

31 May 2022

IMU Psychology student, Agus Alysha Nadia binti Agosmustaram from the PS119 cohort (in the photo above), was awarded Best Presenter for the Developmental Psychology Sub-field Research at Malaysian Psychology Students Assembly (MAPSA), an event for undergraduate and postgraduate students to present ideas, learn new skills with workshops and connect with students from different universities across Malaysia. This year’s conference was hosted by the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Malaysia with the theme “The Real-World Approach to Psychology”. Here, she relates her experience attending the conference and winning the best presenter award. So how did it all begin? I was first introduced to this conference by my Programme Director, Dr Shamala Ramasamy and was encouraged by my thesis supervisor, Alexius Cheang, to attend the conference physically to present my research – this is a decision I am glad I made.

Due to the recent pandemic, students have been comfortably presenting behind their laptops and scripts. I wanted the sense of confidence and exhilaration of standing in front of a crowd in sharing a work that I am proud of, hence I pushed myself to attend the conference physically.

At first, it was slightly intimidating as I was the only IMU student there, but I made a new friend from another university who made the experience wholesome. Not only that, I was awarded with the best presenter for the Developmental Psychology sub-field research. I attended the conference with the intention of not only learning from others, but I registered to present my thesis research as well. The most prominent memory of that experience was being nervous. However, I could not be thankful enough for the friends that supported me virtually and a Psychology lecturer in Nottingham, who gave me a piece of great advice to calm my nerves, “Everyone is here to learn, no one is here to see others fail. If you make a mistake, take a deep breath and move on”. I will never forget that moment when I stand on that stage to share with others what I have been working hard on for months, a work I am proud of.

My Research: “The Experience of Overcoming School Bullying Among Young Adults in Malaysia”
Various past research has supported the negative long-lasting impact of school bullying sustaining up until adulthood, therefore, a deep understanding of the overcoming process was needed. My study revealed that a successful overcoming process of past experience of bullying required the presence of a catalyst which played a role in participants’ cognitive reappraisal that leads to the realisation of control. The key component found within the fifth theme that aid participants to overcome the school bullying experience is the concept of control and forgiveness, which is an empowering finding. My research outcomes provide additional insights into understanding the overcoming process of school bullying, specifically from young adults’ perspectives.

At the end of the conference, the organisers will choose one presenter from each sub-field for the best presenter award. Honestly, I did not expect anything more from the whole experience, but I am proud that my work received a recognition. It was definitely a boost of confidence that whatever I have been working on has an impact and that definitely pushed me further to do greater things in the future.

Additionally, attending the conference itself was a day I would remember for the rest of my life – it being my first conference and my first external public sharing of my research work. Not only that, I learned so much regarding the psychology field and met amazing young researchers that made me excited for the growth of the field in Malaysia. The most memorable keynote speaker from the event was a talk by Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat on Applying Psychology Profiling in Investigative Sciences. Forensic Psychology is very much still a budding field in Malaysia, but her interesting talk showed me a whole new sub-field that I did not know is currently growing here. Another enlightening sharing was by Dr Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan, licensed and registered counsellor, on “Mental Health in Times of Crisis”. She shared all her experienced on-site and shared a lot about Psychological first aid, which was a talk I was most captivated by. Her passion and knowledge in her work is something I want to strive for in the future. All in all, this conference made me ascertain one thing – Psychology is something I am passionate about and this is the thing that I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to learn more, contribute more and grow more in the field of Psychology. Therefore, I do encourage Psychology students to attend the upcoming MAPSA conference or other future research conferences; not only does it expand your network circle, it is a place for students to learn and grow.

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