With the Penang Workshop only 3 weeks away, it’s time to meet our first featured facilitator, Amanda Ng. Lookout for her in Uplands!
Heya, I’m Amanda Ng Yann Chwen, a pre-frosh from Tufts University! I was born and bred in Penang, but spent a couple of years pursuing the Singapore A-Levels in Lion City as an ASEAN scholar. I love diving into new experiences and meeting different people, but am clueless about directions and terrible with names. I also use too many words (as this blog post attests). At Tufts, I hope to pursue Peace and Justice Studies, International Literary and Visual Studies and/or Education … Aiya, in other words, I’m happily undecided, and cannot wait to explore, discover and celebrate the world we live in! Eventually, I hope to return to our tanah air to help to make things a little bit better. I want to work together with fellow Malaysians to make sure that every kid in the country has access to the opportunities and excellent education they deserve – one small step at a time.
What do you do in your free time?
I read, write, watch CNN and terrible TV, try to help people and do random things. I’ve been on a gap year of sorts (eight months lah) since I left Singapore in December. So far, I’ve worked at a clothing store, waitressed at a bed and breakfast, interned at an arts festival, learned how to drive, taken dance classes, reached out to Iban kids in a jungle school, and been spending lots of time at home with family and catching up on sleep … Currently, I’m also a happy minion with Teach for Malaysia, helping the Fellows based in Penang with their initiatives outside the classroom.
What do you like about your college?
“Tufts oozes curiosity and enthusiasm like a rainbow-puking unicorn.” (And I got to write that in my essay.) A Tufts education is about celebrating knowledge, and then using what you’ve learned to make the world a better place, in your own way. I love that it’s a great school, but more importantly, it is unpretentious, and the people are really, really nice! The Tufts community is quirky, down-to-earth, warm, incredibly supportive, unafraid of challenging conventions and at the end of the day, kind. Every email I sent to current students was replied to in full, with a sense of openness and eagerness to help. My admissions officer knew me months before I applied, was more than happy to answer my questions, and still keeps in touch post-admission. With an adorable mascot (Jumbo the elephant!), courses like “The Politics of Pokemon” and the most diverse community of nice people I’ve ever met, what’s not to love?
How did the USAPPS help in your application process?
The Klang Valley two-day workshop I attended was awesome, in clarifying my doubts. Because of the workshop’s length, the speakers are able to address the various aspects of US apps in detail, instead of just skimming through everything. And as participants, we had plenty of chances to ask questions.
More importantly, I think becoming part of the USAPPS community was monumental, in providing the psychological/emotional support I needed to get through applications. To feel like you’re not alone in doing this, knowing that there are so many people you can reach out to if you need help. (Yay for the Facebook group.) The facilitators were amazing, always so eager to help. We kept in touch long after the workshop ended, and they would always be happy to answer the questions I bombarded them with. (Thank you Dylan, Amelia, SinSeanne, Sharon, Philip, Elaine and everyone else!)
Why is USAPPS 2014 special to you?
I remember this moment at the end of the workshop last year – Chen Chow had led all of us through this raise-your-hand, shout-your-dream-school, BELIEVE-in-yourself, you-can-do-it kinda emotional, motivational session. And standing among the participants, I looked at the facilitators all huddled together onstage, and told myself … I want to be on that other side of things next year. Lo and behold, I will indeed get to be on that other side as a facilitator, and thankful to write “Amanda, Tufts ‘18” on my sticker. USAPPS has helped me so much, so contributing a little time and energy, to hopefully help more young Malaysians achieve their dreams, is the least I could do!