Scholar Stories: Kurniati


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference” – Robert Frost

            Kurniati did not expect a simple conversation with her university mentor could be the exact thing that changes her life but that was the case when she was introduced to ProjectEd and Knowledge is Free Scholarship Programme by her mentor. Coming from a family who originates from Indonesia, Kurniati was just starting her university years when she had some financial adversity in her study that fraught her journey with frustrations. Initially, she was elated when she secured financial assistance from her university for pre-university study but alas, it was not a smooth sailing journey as the arduous burden of A-level coupled with her unfamiliarity with it took toll on her academic result and it costed her the financial aid from the university.

            Being the first child in her family to be able to continue studying until tertiary level, Kurniati gathered her strength and worked hard to finish her A-level with decent result and worked part time to help relief the financial burden from her family. Just when she was accepted to study Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Science Malaysia, she was put in dire straits as her father passed away due to infection, leaving her mother and elder brother to be the breadwinners of the family. Kurniati admitted that she was taken aback, dejected and grief-stricken but knew that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and she can’t afford to give up her mother’s hope to see her graduate from a university.

            Hearing about Knowledge is Free Scholarship Program, Kurniati knew that it would aid her tremendously and was immediately relieved when she was selected. She realised that she was put on that path for a purpose and seized the opportunity to grow as a person while completing her tertiary education especially when she knew that she was able to confide in with her lecturers, close friends and ProjectEd’s committee members for support. The scholarship allowed her to gain new experiences and to acquire new skills that otherwise could not be learnt if she were unable to attend university. One of her steepest learning experiences was when she was suddenly assigned to be the lead of the group for a programme in her university known as Nursing Home. She was thrown into unexpected challenges as people withdrew from that activity due to other commitment but she pulled through with her team and they were praised for executing an engaging performance to entertain the people at the old folks home. Inspired by this event, Kurniati mentioned that she is thrilled to lead other projects in the future.

            When asked about her message to aspiring scholarship applicants, Kurniati said “Do not hesitate to try something new that nobody in your circle has done before. I took A-Level when I know nobody who had taken the course. I did regret initially because some things did not go the way I wanted it to be, but as soon as I saw the meaning and benefit behind it, it was one of the best time in my life and I did not regret every second of the struggles as they carved me into who I am today. You can make a difference too!”

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