My journey at IMU began in 2012 when I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Since the age of 15, I knew that Psychology is a field I would want to delve into because the human mind and how people behave have always intrigued me. After college, when deciding on which university to pursue my degree at, I chose IMU because of its holistic course structure, emphasising on building up a solid foundation through a coverage of a wide range of subjects. The lectures, tutorials and assignments were designed so that learning occurred not just through books, but by an ongoing process of discussions and interactions between lecturers and students. I also benefitted from the small classes that enabled me to form more personal relationships with lecturers. This, in turn, made it comfortable to ask questions and approach them whenever I was in doubt. Coming from Penang, the first semester was quite challenging as I had to adapt to a new environment and a new city. I was having trouble coping and missed a few weeks of classes, but the lecturers were very accommodating, and surprisingly, I did fairly well in the first semester. As the semesters progressed, I bonded better with my cohort and we helped and learnt much from one another. Finally, I graduated, topping my batch; this I attribute to God’s grace and to the continuous assistance and support from lecturers, family and friends. I have never considered myself to be a bright student, but I now know that consistent effort pays rich dividends.
A paper I wrote based on my graduation thesis with my advisor at IMU, Alexius Cheang, was recently accepted by a Scopus- indexed journal, with minor revisions. I am really looking forward to seeing it in print soon.
After taking one core module and three elective modules in counselling, I completed my internship at the Psycho-social department in Lam Wah Ee Hospital in Penang. I have always enjoyed listening to people and this made counselling a very rewarding experience. However, observing the Clinical psychologist at Lam Wah Ee, I realised that I could contribute even more if, along with my love for counselling, I majored in clinical psychology. Thus was born my passion for this area of specialisation.
Pursuing a Masters was always at the back of my mind. However, while waiting for the outcomes of my applications, I worked briefly at St. Nicholas Home for the Visually Impaired in Penang, teaching children aged 3-6 who were visually impaired and had cerebral problems. This was an eye-opener for me to see such little ones battling physical disabilities at such a young age.
I subsequently worked at Penang Care, which is a day-care centre for the elderly and mental health patients. This was another learning experience altogether, dealing with people at the other end of the age spectrum. I made wonderful friends at both places and we learnt from one another.
Earlier this year, I gained acceptance into Bond University in the Gold Coast, in Australia. I was one of the 15 students and the only international student who was offered a place after completing a personality test and 40-minute Skype interview.
I have been attending classes for half a semester now and though it is tough adapting to a new country and education system, I am thankful for the training I received at IMU. My wish is that IMU can provide a four year course in psychology to match the length of the undergraduate course in Australia. It will make both the admission process and the transition to graduate work that much easier.
Vive la IMU!
This article is written by Shreas Suresh Narayanan, who graduated from IMU in June 2015 and was the recipient of the Tun Zahir Merit Award as the top student of her graduating class.